Be Nice It's Tuesday


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Happy New Year

I’m not going to write something really long and elaborate today, I think there are enough people writing meaningful New Year messages and I am just one tiny voice in the massive crowd that is the internet.

But at this time of year I think it is important to look back on the past year and everything that has happened. To be grateful for all the wonderful things that have happened in our personal lives and in the world as a whole. And to reflect on the not-so-good things, and think about what we as individuals and as the human race can do to improve the societies, living conditions and political world that we are carrying forward into this new year.

I wish you all a wonderful New Year. I hope that in 2017 you will be happy, peaceful, healthy, and surrounded by love. But even if you get all of these things, I hope that we all remember to spare a thought for the people who are ill, lonely, threatened, and don’t have the luxuries and privileges which I know I often take for granted. I don’t have New Years Resolutions as such this year, but I do hope and intend to do good in whatever ways I can, and I hope you will join me on this.

Much love ūüôā

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Winter Kindness part 2

(Read part 1 first here)

Yesterday, as I said in the previous post, I was thinking about small, random acts of kindness, and then I came across a¬†post by a Facebook page I follow, Kissing Fish (whatever your views on Christianity, I recommend having a look at this page, you may well be surprised at what you find). This post linked to a blog post by Make Me Happy Today, which has a free download of a ‘Kindness Advent Calendar’. I’m not going to repeat everything said in the post, I recommend you all go and look at it here. I think this is a beautiful, fantastic idea – I kind of wish I’d thought of it, it’s just so lovely. I shall definitely be doing it this year, and since day one is to share the calendar with other people, I’m doing well at it so far.

If you are a Christian, then advent is a time of preparation, of looking forward to Christmas and the coming of Jesus. It’s a time of looking for peace, and spreading joy to all people. I often think that Christian celebrations in the western world have become commercialised, and made all about self and not others. I do have a chocolate advent calendar, but do I really need a little piece of chocolate every morning in order to prepare myself for Christmas? Isn’t loving all other people, and spreading that love and happiness a far better way of embodying the Christmas spirit, and making myself open to Jesus?

I have made this a lot about my religion, but the original post was not, and I think non-Christians who celebrate Christmas will see a lot of their values and Christmas spirit in what I have said. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I would still recommend looking at the calendar, and choosing and 25 days to try and do these acts of kindness.

A little kindness can go a long way, and remember, happiness is like jam – you can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself. So Happy Advent, and I hope you can all go out and bring joy to the people around you.


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Winter Kindness part 1

I am very busy with deadlines, applications and music rehearsals at the moment, so I will keep this brief, but this post felt like it was just meant to happen.

I’ve written before about the power of small acts of kindness in making the world a better and happier place, and when things happen to me I often want to write about them but don’t get round to it. But today there were two occasions when a stranger was kind to me, and although they weren’t big things, they really made me happy.

This morning I was sitting at my desk, which is next to a big window overlooking the road, and I saw the postman walking up the path to my front door holding a package. I’ve been expecting something from my friend in Manchester, so I ran downstairs and opened the door as the postman was putting the package down in the porch, so he handed it to me and said ‘ahh, you were expecting it’. I smiled, but then saw that it was addressed to my housemate, not me, so I told him it wasn’t what I’d been hoping for – just as a way of making conversation. I thanked him and went back upstairs, and as I sat back down I saw that he had gone back to his trolley and was searching through the bag of parcels, presumably to see if he’d missed one for me. He didn’t find one but it was so nice that he cared enough to check.

Later I was walking in to uni. It was very cold today so I’d decided to wear my hat that looks like a penguin. I walked past some workmen on their break and one of them said ‘Is that a penguin on your hat?’ I replied that it was, and he said ‘That’s quality that, I love penguins.’ Again, this was just a nice interaction with a friendly stranger.

These two people probably didn’t think twice about what they did or said, but it stayed with me all day. But I try to do things for others too. This morning there was a very heavy frost, so I ran outside to look at it and take photos and enjoy the closest thing to snow we’re likely to get in Bristol. Our porch door had frosted over, so I scratched ‘good morning’ reversed into it, so my housemates would see it when they left the house, and one of them told me that that had made her day. It’s so easy to do little things that make other people happy.

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Continued tomorrow…


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My Summer So Far

Hello!

Recently I’ve been struggling to actually get out the ideas I have into fully formed blog posts, so I apologise for the lack of content. But I quite like writing chatty posts, just about little things I want to say that don’t need a full post, so I’m probably going to be doing a few of them.

In my last post I mentioned some of the things I’ve been doing since I got back home from uni. I went to my older sisters’ graduations in St. Andrews and Edinburgh at the end of June. They were two lovely days with the family, and I’m very proud of them both. And I enjoyed the excuse to dress up posh. One of my sisters is home now, but the other is still in Scotland for a few more weeks.

It’s very nice having nothing to do, but I am aware that I don’t want to just laze around for 3 months, so I’ve been sorting out some things to do.

I took advantage of an offer at a local gym for 4 weeks membership for ¬£20, so I’ve been going there a couple of times a week. I don’t push myself too hard, I’m not trying to transform my body shape in 4 weeks, but I know my fitness levels aren’t great, so I’m hoping this will help a bit. I have noticed it’s getting a bit easier. It is tiring though, especially as the walk between my house and the gym is 2.5 miles each way. I’m not generally much of an exerciser, but I’ve been enjoying going more than I expected, especially when I remember to take my iPod.

I was inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee to get back on my sewing machine, which I hadn’t really done much of since A-Level art. So far I’ve made a scrunchie and I’m half way through a dress. I’ve also been asked to make a scrunchie for a friend, and my mum want a table cloth and chair cushions for our garden, and a new sewing machine cover as our original one is very ripped. I’ve also been making more jewellery which I will be selling.

The other main thing I’ve started is volunteering at my local Oxfam book shop. I couldn’t really get a summer job as I have holidays booked, and didn’t particularly need to money or want the pressure. But I did want to be doing something which will hopefully help people and improve my CV, and volunteering is much more flexible than having¬†a paid job. I’ve only done two shifts so far, but I’m enjoying it. I have to exercise great self restraint though, being surrounded by so many relatively cheap books, but my bookshelves are overflowing already!

I’ve been seeing my friends, mainly at the pub, but one has been joining me at the gym a bit. I also had lunch with a few friends, including one who, in the time since I last saw her, has got married, got pregnant, and separated from her husband. I wanted to have a catch up anyway, but after hearing about this thought she might be wanting support from old friends. She seems to be doing well, and I did enjoy seeing her scan pictures and all the baby talk.

The rest of my time I’ve been reading, gardening, putting off the revision I should be doing, despairing at British politics, and doing nonograms, which are fun Japanese logic puzzles (link to a website where you can do them).

The other day I bought myself a daisy plant, because daisies are one of my favourite flowers and I really wanted one.

Finally, my bedroom floor is currently rather sparkly. Last night I was feeling a bit sad, and my sister had asked me to make her some flowers out of sparkly paper and glitter, so I decided it might cheer me up to sprinkle my room with glitter. It did.

Hope you’re all doing well, until next time xx

 


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I am Happy

I think it is a fact of life that there are times in your life which are happier, and times which are less so. In the past year I’ve worked quite hard at recognising the times when I am not so happy, when I’m struggling, and really working to keep myself as upbeat as possible.

But after the post I wrote yesterday, I got to thinking about how it’s not just admitting that you’re feeling down that can be difficult. I’m guessing it’s not just me who gets so caught up in the business of life that I rarely stop and think ‘I am happy right now’. Not just in an immediate, ‘this is enjoyable’ kind of way, but that my base mood for a prolonged period has been happiness. I’m guessing I’m also not alone in that this is not always the case, but right now it is. Recently I have been happy. And this has allowed me to get through my exams with no more than the expected amount of stress. It’s allowed me to try new things, set myself goals, and be pleased when they’re successful, and not be too disappointed by failures. It’s allowed me to meet new people and enjoy close friendships ¬†It’s allowed me to enjoy the beautiful weather, and¬†time off from exams and¬†university. It’s allowing me to go through things that I often find difficult and emotional; I’m still getting emotional, but it’s manageable. And yet it was only when I had to stop and think about it that I realised just how happy I have been, and how lucky I am to be this happy. I know it’s not going to last forever, but I also know that it will come back. But I decided I needed to write it down, to properly acknowledge how well I’m doing, so that next time I feel like I’ve been constantly unhappy since 2013, I’ll have proof that that isn’t true.

There are times when even being slightly happy is a real struggle. There are also times when it sneaks up on you, and you might not even notice it until it’s gone again. But whether you achieve happiness with effort or unconsciously, it is always worth stopping to appreciate how amazing it is.

I really think people should take more notice of their emotional wellbeing, so I advise you to just stop and think this evening. Think about what your basic mood has been for the past month or so. If you are happy then that is great. Remember the feeling, savour it. Think about why you are so happy, and appreciate and hold on to those things. If you are not happy, then think about why that is. What could you do to improve your happiness? Can you get help from somewhere, or is it something you can work on alone? (A bit conceited I know, but maybe check out more of my blogs in the ‘happiness’ category). However you’re feeling, you might also like to get a notebook and write it down,or leave a comment here,¬†so you can look back in a few months time and see whether things are different. Knowing why you are/n’t happy now could help you be happy in the future.

In todays world, happiness and emotions can often be forgotten about; not as important as careers, busy lives, social media, etc. But I really believe that happiness is one of the greatest things in life, and it deserves work and appreciation.


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The Best Week of the Year

A lot of people go on about how great Freshers’ Week*¬†is, how it’s the best week of uni and then it’s all down hill. But I disagree, and I’ve only just realised how much I disagree with this. Freshers’ Week was good, but I was scared of the new place I found myself in, I was homesick. I met loads of people, but didn’t get to know many people well. I did quite a lot, but they weren’t necessarily things I loved doing.

I had my last exam five days ago, but I decided to stay at uni for an extra week rather than rushing home. And I am so far having the best week of my time as a first year uni student. That’s not to say that the rest of the year hasn’t also been good, but this is the first time since Freshers’ Week that I haven’t had any work that needs doing. I’ve been unbelievably busy, but busy doing things I want to be doing. Rather than lectures and revision I’ve had a night out with some course friends, gone shopping, spent a lot of time in chior rehearsals/service/social, gone to the zoo with some family, explored some strange places with a great group of friends, taken a trip to the beach. A lot of these are things I’ve been wanting to do for most of the year, but not had time, so I’ve been planning everything for after exams. And most importantly, I’m with amazing, close friends who I’ve spent the past nine months getting to know, but I’ve still been making new friends this week.

There’s no real point to this blog, other than I’m having such an incredible week and wanted to share it. I hope that whatever you’re doing, your week can be as good as mine.
*I’m not sure what it’s called/if it happens in other countries, so if you’re confused then Freshers’ Week is the first week of the university year, when there are no lectures but there are loads of events to help first years socialise and settle¬†in. For most students it typically involves a lot of alcohol and clubbing.

 


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Positive Notes on Trains

The other day I wrote about a long train journey I had, and how much people were complaining on that train. Today I wanted to share a more positive side of that journey.

I’ve probably said before, but I try to leave little notes in random place with nice messages on. I usually forget to do this when I’ve meant to, but I usually find trains and busses are good places to do it –¬†I think people often need a lift when they’re on public transport! On that particular train journey I had plenty of time to stick notes on the backs of seats around me, and I took photos of some of them:

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A quote from ‘Good Day’ by Ron Pope (I know I go on about that song a lot, but it’s great)

IMG_2674More song lyrics, this one from ‘Get Better’ by Frank Turner

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Something which is always important to remember when you’re feeling sad or fed up

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My standard thing to write on these notes, just a nice thing to read

I love leaving these notes, when I remember, and I would recommend other people to do it. Think what a lovely world it would be if every time you sat on a train, or opened a newspaper, or bought a second hand book, or used a public toilet, you saw a nice message like this.

Let me know in the comments whether you’ve ever left or found notes like this