52 Weeks of Happy (28/52)

Joining in with Jen at Little Birdie and a whole lot of other nice people, inspired by the quote below.

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”

∆ Xavi went to a pottery painting party (ten 5-6-year old boys - madness) which Louis totally derided until he spotted the decopatching kits. One very peaceful afternoon of craft ensued. We discovered if we can get past the gaudy colours, decopatching is quite cool.

∆ Xavi is taking such care watering his little pumpkin seeds.

∆ We spent a beautiful day at the weekend in the company of our very good friends in the town where we used to live. Lovely food, excellent company and a trip to our once local park where Xavi (a previous non rider) got on his little pal’s bike and just pedalled away. No stabilisers, no wobbling, just proper balancing and pedalling. Proud! Also at said park, we bumped into A Crafty Chai who I knew lived locally but had never met. We fell in love with Poppydog and had a good old chat in the late afternoon sun.

∆ Our little pop-up art project is gathering pace! We have the beginnings of website, we’ve been on the radio and we’re starting to put a programme of events together for our first pop-up. Watch this space!

So, now over to you - what has made you happy this week?

52 Weeks of Happy (26/52)

Halfway! A whole half-year of posting a weekly set of pictures to honour the maxim that “the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”

In a six-month round-up type-of-thing, you can see all my previous posts for this project here. And you can see more happies over with Jen from Little Birdie, who we have to thank for this lovely project.

And so, on to this week’s happies…

∆ This little boy. He’s had us worried in the last few weeks, causing us more than a few sleepless nights and a tear or two but he seems to have turned a corner. He’s an amazing ‘human bean’ and has been a great source of happy this week (along with his brother of course!).

∆ His homework. So neat. So funny. So legible. He’s coming on in leaps and bounds and it’s great to see.

∆ There might be snow on the ground but I’m forcing it to feel like spring in our kitchen. It’s nearly Easter for heaven’s sake.

∆ For the first time in ages, we had a really relaxing Saturday and Sunday. Sports clubs were cancelled, there was only one party to go to and five out of six of our weekend meals were eaten all together as a family, around our kitchen table. We had proper down time and it did us all good. No DVDs, no screens, the boys listened to their Horrible History CDs and played together whilst we did the housework (I KNOW!) on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon we even experimented with natural dyeing eggs for our Easter branches - I will share the results soon.

Not pictured but also cause for much excitement this week - booking tickets to see The Who play Quadrophenia in my home town in June and Spence’s band possibly playing at the same festival as one of my most favourite bands this summer - woo hoo!

So those are mine, what were your happies this week?

52 Weeks of Happy (19/52)

As ever, I’m joining in with Jen at Little Birdie for the 52 Weeks of Happy project. Week 19 already…

∆ Inspired by Caroline’s mini prints, I have created a stack of my own prinstagrams which I’m really pleased with. It’s all too easy these days to leave images on your hard drive or iPhone (something I am definitely guilty of) so I’m very happy I have a set of impossibly cute-sized images to handle, gaze at and arrange on my wall.

∆ Putting up balloons and bunting to celebrate Louis’ birthday on Friday. It hardly seems five minutes since we were arriving at hospital for his birth. He loves to hear the story of his arrival and I love recounting it to him.

∆ Most of you will probably think this is a mad happy, but assembling his drum kit and seeing how naturally he took to it on the morning of his birthday has made me and Spence very happy. He’s definitely a chip of the old musician block and that makes his dad (and me) very proud.

∆ Gosh, it’s mostly Louis this week isn’t it? He received his Beavers Bronze Award on Thursday. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it seems to be a big deal and he was very pleased indeed to be presented with a new woggle and lots of new badges. Well done Louis!

So those are my happies for this week. I am also finding lots of happiness in the early signs of spring that are popping up our way. A few scattered tulip bulbs are forcing their way through the earth in our garden. There are early crocuses on the school run. This morning, it was noticeably lighter when I got up. A little blackbird and his lady wife are visiting our garden at breakfast time each morning and feasting on our bird feeder.

Oh yes, Spring is definitely on its way!

What has made you happy this week?

52 Weeks of Happy (18/52)

Joining in with Jen at Little Birdie for this project, these are my four slices of happy this week.

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∆ Ah the joy created by a tidy set of shelves. This never fails to lift my mood.

∆ A tiny slice of spring in daffodils that bloomed overnight and filled the room with that lovely fresh fragrance.

∆ James the Bear has been re-stuffed! Louis did it himself and even though one of his arms is now much firmer than the other and sticks out at an odd angle, he looks much happier. Fatter but happier. And so is Louis.

∆ I found a frame and mount among the selection of pictures and frames still idling in our garage after our house move and put our new House Rules print on the kitchen wall. With a spirit level. On my own. And it is still there. This very minor DIY achievement makes me happier than it probably should…

What has been making you happy this week?

52 Weeks of Happy (17/52)

It’s been -5º during the daytime most of this week with the thick blanket of snow that arrived on Friday still hanging around today, so perhaps unsurprisingly, this week’s four slices of happy are all about home comforts.

∆ My trusty fingerless mittens with a fold-over glove bit - so practical, so warm and so needed in this weather.

∆ Home-made bird feeders. Louis made this one and we’ve watched a hungry little robin feast on the nuts and lard it contains. A happy feeling knowing we’re helping these little fellas in such harsh weather.

∆ Making paper planes and whittling sticks in between sledging expeditions. It is so nice to spend a long time doing traditional non-screen-based activities.

∆ Laying the perfect fire whilst it’s still light outside. So decadent yet completely justified don’t you think?

As ever, I’m joining in with Jen at Little Birdie for this project - what has made you happy this week?

52 Weeks of Happy (16/52)

Joining in with Jen at Little Birdie, here are my four slices of happy for week 16/52:

∆ The sentiment of this poster and thinking about where to put it.

∆ My mum and dad coming over when I was poorly and helping me de-clutter my kitchen, clean the window and generally lighten the load a bit.

∆ This season’s oranges. I adore them.

∆ Making a cup of chai with our new kettle. Boiling water on the stove-top camping kettle has taken an age this week and the whistle has made me jump every time. So nice to return to the 5-minute cuppa.

Also, this week I have really enjoyed reading through the archives at Chez Larsson. I am very fond of Benita’s inspiring blog about her Swedish home and whilst I’ve been poorly, I have found inspiration in her light-filled home, her renovation stories, before and after shots and her can-do attitude. I’m off to Ikea at the weekend to invest in new storage to order my home a la Benita and who knows, I might even tidy out my toolbox in her honour!

52 Weeks of Happy (15/52)

Joining in with Jen at Little Birdie, each week I’m celebrating four things that have made me happy in the preceding seven days.

They’re not bold, brash or materialistic things, just moments in the week that have raised a smile. It all stems from the quote that “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”

Here are my four happies for week 15/52:

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∆ Old technology (a cardboard box) meets new technology (the iPad) as the boys settle down on the kitchen floor on their last day of the school holidays yesterday. The house is very quiet today.

∆ Back to work and although I am feeling poorly, having succumbed to the bug that laid all the boys down over Christmas, I had to smile at my newly-filled pencil pot.

∆ Tea. The only thing when your chest feels like it has a gaping hole in it and it hurts to breathe in… (can you tell I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself?!).

∆ I’m reading a chapter a night of this book to Louis at the moment. Like all of David Walliams’ books, this one is very good and rather amusing and I love having just a little bit of me and boy no. 1 time at the end of the day before stepping up the next flight of stairs to read Atticus Claw Breaks the Law to his brother.

So those are my happies. What has made you happy this week?

52 Weeks of Happy (14/52)

The first 52 Weeks of Happy post for 2013 - I’ve sort of lost track of the days but I’m sure everything will be back to normal next week.

Along with Jen at Little Birdie, who started this lovely project, I really enjoy selecting my four photographs to sum up the happy moments from each week. I’m going to create a little book at the end of the 52 weeks to show all of the photographs - I reckon it will be a good thing to look back upon. But that’s a while off yet, in the meantime, these are my four happies for week 14/52:

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∆ Waking up on New Year’s day to blue skies - finally!

∆ A colourful, healthy lunch to draw a line under the festivities and to start the year as I mean to go on.

∆ The essential ice-skating companion on a chilly day at the hilltop ice-rink - our last trip there before it packs up on Sunday.

∆ SuperLou. Having two weeks off school doing very little has restored all of our powers and SuperLou is back!

So those are my four happies for this week - what has made you happy?

52 Weeks of Happy (13/52)

It was quite easy to put together this week’s 52 Weeks of Happy post - we have had such a fab time. A simple, quiet Christmas with plenty of happiness, lots of playing and quite a lot of Calpol and cava (not together of course….)

Here are my four happies for week 13/52:

∆ Our bramble vodka works e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y well with Prosecco

∆ Recycling five very elegant wine boxes into a little side table and a bookshelf for Louis

∆ I have wanted this book for ages and was very pleased to find it under the tree!

∆ The Boxing Day Lego building marathon

Hope you’ve had a great time this week too. Don’t forget to check out Jen at Little Birdie’s happies too - she created this brilliant project after all!

52 Weeks of Happy (12/52)

Here we go, hurtling into Week 12 of the 52 Weeks of Happy project, the brainchild of Jen at Little Birdie.

As I’m sure you know by now, this project is about celebrating the small things that bring a little happiness into each week and was inspired by the quote “the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything”.

Here are my four slices of happy for Week 12/52:

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∆ The hyacinth bulbs have flowered and are filling the air with the most beautiful fragrance.

∆ I’ve finally finished the Christmas cards - between us, we have written 95!

∆ Last week’s couple of days of freezing temperatures made the countryside around us look more amazing than ever. Looking back at the pictures I took on Wednesday morning makes me very happy that I went out there and captured it.

∆ Small fry painting very carefully between the lines on his paint-your-own Santa Russian Dolls (the moustache is left over from his matinee play performance).

What are your four happies this week? I hope you have had a good one.

52 Weeks of Happy (11/52)

Another Tuesday rolls around and so does another 52 Weeks of Happy post. This in itself makes me happy as it is a weekly reminder that life isn’t about how much you have, it’s about finding the best in what you do have.

Jen at Little Birdie started something fabulous with this project and I’m already planning my little book at the end of the year to celebrate and look back on each week’s four slices of happiness. Two of this week’s four are unashamedly festive in spirit but that’s ok isn’t it?

Here are my four slices of happy for week 11/52:

∆ The Once Bitten stall at Saturday’s farmer’s market in town, where I found tiny gingerbread reindeer and white chocolate & vanilla fudge. This made me very happy…

∆ The live version of Angie, played very loud in my kitchen as I plough through my seemingly endless work to do list. I will never tire of this track.

∆ The massive reindeer and tiny polar bears may not pass an Attenborough test but they are very happy in amongst the bottle brush trees on our window sill

∆ Glitter ball! Enough said I guess…

Hope you’re all having a good week and managing to find and savour your own slices of happy!

52 Weeks of Happy (9/52)

I’m still uber-stressed dealing with ‘the week that nightmares are made of’ but nothing was going to stop me from finding my four happy things to share with you today - it’s just a good job they are from LAST week as this week’s selection might prove a bit more difficult to find…

Anyway, as ever, these photographs are inspired by Jen at Little Birdie whose 52 Weeks of Happy project has been a regular feature of mine and many other bloggers’ weekly schedules for a couple of months now. It’s all about not always having the best of everything, but always striving to make the best of everything. And in this week of nightmares, that’s a mantra worth hanging on to…

Here are my four slices of happy for week 9/52:

∆ Louis made the sweetest little letter for me on Sunday and presented it to me in a beautifully-decorated envelope containing £1 'for being good’

∆ Spending far too long making new business cards (shots 2&3) using this new branding (circles and rectangles anyone?) and super-cool fonts on the reverse of each card - oh yes, that has definitely made me happy this week

∆ These dinky bowls have been filled with all sorts of small boy-related treats this week

∆ Snow globe polar bear - I give him a shake every time I walk by and keep dreaming this rain will stop and be replaced by clear blue skies and frosty mornings once more

So what has made it onto your list of happy slices this week?

52 Weeks of Happy (8/52)

Goodness, Week 8 has rolled around already - where did those last seven days go?

Keeping in mind the quote “the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything”, my four choices were pretty easy to select this week.

We haven’t done anything unusual or exciting but we have been hanging out as a family, ticking off chores at the weekend, drawing, reading and taking Dennis the Campervan out for the odd spin with the boys’ mates. He doesn’t feature in this week’s photographs but he’s a constant source of happiness I can tell you!

Here are my four slices of happy for week 8/52:

∆ Fresh, pretty new bedding is such a simple pleasure don’t you think?

∆ Oh how happy my new cushions and throw have made me (and my sofa)

∆ I have a Russian Dolls commission to finish this week so the artist pens are out in force

∆ Xav won Player of the Week at football training on Sunday. He wanted to win it so much and tried really hard - I am very proud of him.

So those are my four happies - hope you like ‘em!

52 Weeks of Happy (7/52)

It’s Tuesday so it must be 52 Weeks of Happy time. For those of you who don’t know, this project is all about taking some time each week to recognise, appreciate and share four simple things that have made you happy.

The project was conceived by Jen at Little Birdie and if you hop on over to her blog you will see her selections and comments from some of the other lovely people who are taking part. It all stems from the quote “the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything” .

Here are my four slices of happy for week 7/52:

∆ Happy times making my first Christmas cake this weekend. Not so happy times dropping it on the floor and it breaking into three pieces once it had cooled :(

∆ Another frosty morning - bright, cold weather is SOOOO much better than wet and warm don’t you think?

∆ Louis had his drawing and letter printed in The Phoenix this week - yay!

∆ Self same boy was picked to lead his Beaver colony in Sunday’s Remembrance Parade - we were so very proud!

What has made you happy this week? As ever, if you feel like participating in the project, leave a link to your selection in the comments below and help spread the happiness far and wide!


52 Weeks of Happy (6/52)

We’re into week 6 of Jen at Little Birdie’s year-long project to celebrate four simple, happy things each week and I’m really enjoying it.

Looking back over my last five selections still makes me smile and I really look forward to seeing everyone else’s choices each week. It has the potential to be an enormously rewarding project - just imagine how ace it is going to be at the end of the year to look back on 208 separate happy things and re-live those happy feelings all over again. I’m thinking a little photobook at the end of the project would be a great idea.

As I said last week, it all started with the quote “the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything”  and it’s turning into something quite brilliant.

Here are my four slices of happy for week 6/52:

∆ Home made rocky road - enough said really

∆ I had a little helper to set up for this weekend’s photoshoot

∆ Our tree is still losing those leaves. Bathed in golden sunlight on Saturday afternoon, the bare branches were as pretty as a picture

∆ My favourite exhibit from our Science Museum trip - how did they get them up there?

What has made you happy this week? If you feel like participating in the project, leave a link to your selection in the comments below and help spread the happiness far and wide!

PS: I’ve added the 52 Weeks of Happy badge to my blog (over there on the right, sort of haphazardly plonked). It links back to Little Birdie where you can see Jen’s shots and find links to other bloggers who are also taking part.

52 Weeks of Happy (5/52)

Jen at Little Birdie kicked off this project at the end of September and I am so glad to be part of it - it really does me good each week to take a step back and think about four simple things that have made me happy.

It all started with the quote “the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything"  and it’s turning into something quite brilliant. And checking out what the other bloggers taking part have chosen each week is just as much fun as making my own selection!

Here are my four slices of happy for week 5/52:

∆ Arranging a pretty tableau by the front door with a pumpkin and lilies

∆ Saturday morning kicking back. It’s half term so no football club and plenty of time to build and relax in a little den of his own

∆ Brothers making me laugh

∆ Issue 03 of The Simple Things. I’ve enthused about this baby before and it just keeps on getting better

What has made you happy this week? If you feel like participating in the project, leave a link to your selection in the comments below and help spread the happiness far and wide!

52 Weeks of Happy (4/52)

I am really enjoying this little project, which is the brainchild of Jen at Little Birdie.

The idea is that in photographing four things each week that have made you happy, you keep in mind the maxim that “the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything”.

It is definitely doing me good to consciously think about and document in photographs the things that have given me that happy feeling each week and I’m pleased to say that it was actually rather difficult to limit it to four shots this time - I think it’s because it’s autumn (my favourite season), the weather has been crisp and bright (the best type of weather) and we’ve had a weekend of hunkering down and doing family stuff in a bid to remind the boys that they are loved and that tough times at school are hopefully fleeting.

Here are my four slices of happy for week 4/52:

∆ The beautiful sunset on Saturday evening. It turned all the Cotswold stone a deep honey colour and then finished with a spectacular pink and purple display

∆ Apples and pears - so tasty at this time of year

∆ Starting to make fondant fancies with my faithful old Kitchen Aid (I wasn’t so happy by the time I’d finished but more on that tomorrow…)

∆ Seeing Louis (finally) relaxing with some drawing, whilst Xav looked on with encouraging words - he has really looked after his older brother this weekend


What has made you happy this week? If you feel like participating the project, leave a link to your selection in the comments below - it would be ace to spread the happiness far and wide!