Archive for ‘happiness’

May 30, 2010

happiness {Sunday breakfast}

Image House to Home

Have a great Sunday!

May 10, 2010

making a home {including a bit of primitive in our urban lives}

Yesterday the fantastic writer Amanda Talbot posted an article on her Heart & Design blog about “Primitive Living”.  She writes that “…according to the Future Foundation 45% of 25-44 year-old’s feel the need to be closer to the countryside” and in my opinion the 55% that don´t simply haven´t yet realised their need to be closer to nature.

I grew up in the countryside so whenever I spend long periods of time in the city I start craving that connection with nature.  I miss waking up in the morning and hearing the birds tweeting rather than cars rushing by, I miss opening my window and seeing greenery rather than grey, I miss being able to leave my house in jogging bottoms and welly boots and walking for miles without seeing anyone.  Whether in the countryside or the city I always try to buy locally produced British food that does not come in 2 tons of packaging, not just because I realise the importance of buying locally, but also because having grown up on a fruit farm I know how much better produce tastes that has only travelled a few miles rather than 8000 miles.  It always amazed me how ignorant my flatmates who grew up in the city were to these commonsense ideas.

Luckily opinion and awareness is improving and people are starting to realise not only the importance of nature and preserving it, but also how good it can make one feel.  We have done a bit of research into how us Twenty Somethingers can add a little bit of “Primitive Living” to our Urban lives.  So here goes:

{Buy British} This is a small change that we can all make.  Rather than buying ready-packaged fruit and vegetables from supermarkets make a conscious effort to buy fruit and vegetables that are labelled with the British Flag and only select the amount that you need.  Ideally locate your local fruit and veg shop and only buy as you need.  Also try and buy what is in season; if you buy an apple in January it is either imported or has been grown in artificial conditions.  Click here for a table outlining the fruit and vegetable seasons.  You will be amazed at the difference in taste as well as how good it makes you feel supporting your local community.
{grow your own}  It doesn´t matter what, but growing some kind of plant (no puns here) will make you feel more connected with nature.  Also, plants help absorb the Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere so it will make your urban flat/house a healthier place to be.  It can be anything from a small herb garden for your windowsill – I found this great little set for £9.99 from Amazon

Image from the Amazon website

It will also make your home cooked food taste great!

If you´re feeling more ambitious the French Company BACSAC provides an “alternative solution to get round the constraints of the creation of a roof garden in town: difficulties of transportation, excessive weight, but also lack of choice of containers, most of which are often very expensive”.  Their varied collection means there is something for every home and space so if you´re looking to create your own vegetable plot but you live in a 50 m2 studio flat this is for you – and the prices are reasonable too:

Images courtesy of Botanique Editions and Jardin Chic websites.  Both stockists of the BACSAC products.

{weekend activities} There are all sorts of activities that you can do out in the countryside at the weekends that will get some fresh air in your lungs.

One of my favourite group activities is GO APE

Image courtesy of the GO APE website

Get a group of friends together and scale your local treetop course!

If you´re working on more of a budget simply go for a walk.  The Walking Routes website offers thousands of different routes for all abilities so get your boots on and get walking!

Hiring bikes is also a great way of seeing the countryside.  The Enjoy England website offers ideas for every region in the UK.

{primitive, vintage and handmade decor} Next time you are thinking of redecorating, rather than heading down to your local Ikea, think primitive, vintage and handmade.  As Amanda Talbot writes; “When we bring handmade into our homes the pieces speaks of the connection and love with which the object was made.  It can be sensual, full of sentiment and imperfect”.

A great website for buying handmade and vintage furniture and homeware is Etsy.  Etsy is a community of artists selling their homemade products.  You can find everything from furniture to jewellery to bags.  Here are a few of my Etsy picks:

Dureza Dining Table, $1,900

African Masks, $9.00

Bankoffee – Velvet and Burlap Coffee Sack Pillow, $50.00

All images courtesy of Etsy

These fantastic hessian cushions not only look great, but they are made from burlap sacks which were once used to transport green coffee beans all over the world, so you are recycling as well as redecorating!

So there you have it – a few simple ideas to help us Twenty Somethingers feel more connected to the nature.

May 7, 2010

fun stuff {Friday Five} old school songs

This week we have been delving back in time, reliving some of the classic old-school songs that we grew up with!

This will make a great Friday playlist at work or studying – you Twenty Someythingers should recognise them all!

Here are our top 5:

(1) {Berri – Sunshine after the rain}

(2) {No Mercy – Where do you go}

(3) {Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers}

(4) {Hanson – MMMBop}

(5) {Lumidee – Never leave you Ft. Fabolous & Busta Rhymes}

Hope you all have a great weekend!

May 6, 2010

happiness {more colouring in}

I have just discovered another colouring in book designed specifically for adults! It’s definately the next thing!

On the fabulous website thingswelove you can buy this very sophisticated colouring in book for £7

MS ELLIOTT, Colour me Good ART

It features work by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Gilbert and George, Sarah Lucas, Tony Hart and Morph, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Michael Landy, Gavin Turk, Julian Opie, Grayson Perry and Ron Muek

May 5, 2010

happiness {rediscover your childhood creative side}

Who didn´t love colouring – in when you were little!?  NO-ONE!  It was the best thing ever –  making sure you coloured between the lines, selecting the appropriate colour… ahhh memories!  Well who says colouring-in should only be for children!?  NO-ONE!

A little bit of creative time now and then is important for people of all ages – not just for children!

Our picks of creative fun for Twentysomethingers:

(1) The Domestic Sluts have inspired our first pick with another fabulous Etsy find.

The old childhood favourite – colouring in (for adults):

Inbalimor Colouring Book

(2) Paint your own pottery, glaze it and take it home with you!  A favourite pastime of mine – the Glazydayz Pottery Cafe even organises hen parties:

Glazydayz Pottery Cafe in Ledbury, Gloucestershire

(3) If you´re that bit more serious about developing your creative side the Online Artcourses directory will help you to pick out the ideal course for you:

Artcourses directory

I am definitely going to invest in the colouring book – depending on how that goes I might consider classes!

May 5, 2010

politics {The General Election}

So tomorrow is the big day – and for many of you younger Twentysomethings this may be your first opportunity to vote!

So – who are you going to vote for and why?

If the answer is along the lines of “I don´t know” or “I´m not really bothered” or “it´s too confusing for me” or “they´re all the same” – then we beg you to please reconsider, do a bit of research and make the use of your right to vote tomorrow.

Millions of people have fought so hard for centuries for the right to vote and today´s young people are just throwing it back in their faces.  We Twentysomethings are the future and it is up to us to vote for the candidate we believe is the right person to lead us.

To help you clarify things a bit the BBC have created an excellent Guide where you will find a summary table of each of the main party´s plans for Constitutional Reform:

Where They Stand: Guide to party election policies

For more information and a more detailed manifesto of each of the parties, click on the link to their website:

The Conservative Party:  David Cameron

The Labour Party:  Gordon Brown

The Liberal Democrats:  Nick Clegg

May 4, 2010

happiness {picnics}

My wondering imagination and the gorgeous Cath Kidston hamper that featured in my blog yesterday got me thinking about how to organise a great picnic on a budget and avoiding the usual soggy sandwiches and warm Fanta.

Here´s what I came up with:

Take one:

4 Person Picnic Hamper, £45 from Next online:

Set contains 4 porcelain plates, 4 acrylic wine glasses, 4 napkins, 4 stainless steel knives,
forks and spoons, bottle opener and an insulated cool section.

Add one: Waterproof picnic blanket, £25.95 from The Pod Company

Chuck in one: Pink Ice Bag Wine Cooler Champagne Bucket, from £1.85 on Ebay

Mix together: a selection of finger foods including cold meats, cheeses, olives, foccaccia bread (follow Miss Cay´s recipe on the Domestic Sluttery website)

Treat yourself to a bottle of Lanson Black Label Champagne (OK now I´m really dreaming but it could always be substituted with more bank-account-friendly alternatives)

And to finish off nibble on some: Green And Black’s hazelnut And Currant Dark Chocolate (or your preferred alternative)

And there you have it – one squashed sandwich and warm drinks free picnic that doesn´t break the bank!

May 3, 2010

happiness {bank holiday}

Let´s face it – bank holidays are great!  And as the UK is one of the countries that ranks globally as having the fewest public holidays us Brits like to make the most of it.  Generally we cram the weekend full of activities and visits to family and friends and arrive back at work on Tuesday even more exhausted than when the weekend started.  As a kid I remember that I would always get confused when glumly packing my bag for school on the Monday night and would end up with all my Monday books instead of my Tuesday ones!

I always think that the key to a great bank holiday weekend is really thinking about what makes you happy.  Here´s a few examples:

{lie-ins}  As Bright.Bazaar blogger wrote about last week, some days you just feel like curling up in bed and watching your favourite series back to back.  If this is the case – do it!  Don´t feel like you should be doing something just because it’s a bank holiday – you´ve got a whole extra day don´t forget.

{picnics} I always dream of the idyllic picnic laid out under a shady tree on a sunny spring day.  Homemade sandwiches, sausages rolls, cakes and a bottle of  bubbly –  all of which has been elegantly carried to the spot in this gorgeous Cath Kidston hamper:

…normally things never go to plan; I end up carrying all the food in plastic bags as I cannot afford this beautiful hamper, the sandwiches go soggy, the only bubbles that touch my lips come in the form of a can of warm Fanta and we get attacked my a swarm of ants!  However as long as the weather´s nice and you´re in the right company picnics are always fun… Cath Kidston hamper or not.

{family and friends}  Normally I find I am happiest among family and close friends.  Others may feel happiest as far away as they can get from the in-laws, but what´s important is that you spend the weekend with people who make you happy!  Obviously one is obliged to pay the family the odd visit, but that does not mean that your whole weekend has to be lost to it!

{long pub lunch}  Now by writing this I am in no way encouraging drinking.  But a cheeky afternoon at the pub is a great way of spending a Sunday (or Monday)- accompanied by family and friends.  It is also a fantastic all-weather activity; snuggle up by the fire on a rainy day or lap up the sun in the beer garden on a nice day.

{me time}  If you never get any time to yourself a three-day weekend is the perfect opportunity to have a bit of a pampering session.  This doesn´t cost much money AND its a great thing to do if the weather is bad.  The Anatomicals range is great for a bit of TLC:

(1) Farewell the Scarlet Pimplehell Cleansing Mud Mask, £6.95

(2) Don’t look Like your Ma Home Spa Pampering Kit, £11.95

(3) No Old Bags Allowed Eye Gel, £2.99.  (All from The Pod Company)

{DIY} There is nothing like that sense of achievement when you complete something (that actually stands up) with your own hands.  Even if you think that you´re not much of a DIY expert I bet you will actually feel quite pleased with yourself when you stand back to admire something that you have made with your own bare hands.  If your DIY skills are of a similar standard to Homer Simpson´s then this book might come in handy:

Available from £8.25 at Amazon UK

We would love to hear about your ideas for a happy bank holiday weekend!