Be Happy

There are lots of deep and meaningful things written on the subject of being happy and the life pursuit of happiness but today I just want to focus on the simple little things we can give ourselves that bring a smile to our face and a moments happiness.

Lisa O’Neill in her book Look Gorgeous, Be Happy: What A Woman Wants talks about the importance of being filled with happiness because she believes that their are huge benefits when women are happy . She believes that happy women are filled with loving feelings of joy, bliss, trust, enthusiasm, optimism & acceptance. While she believes unhappy women are infected with fearful feelings, that they feel anxious, angry, impatient, envious & critical.

She suggest that to help move yourself away from unhappiness towards happiness you should start with a unhappiness detox of sorts. She recommends limiting the negativity you put in by;

  • Limiting time spent with people who moan or revel in gossip or drama
  • Stop watching cop shows on TV about bad people doing bad things.
  • Stop reading murder novels
  • Monitor & limit your news media exposure including newspapers to enough to know what’s going on without knowing the gruesome details.
  • Not reading gossip magazines who’s negative & sensationalist stories can destroy lives & careers
  • And last but not least, making sure you don’t spend your family dinners discussing any of the above.

Now that you are limiting some of the negative influences on your mood time to start increasing some of the positive like:

  • Reading uplifting books, watching funny TV & enjoying comedy movies
  • Hanging out with happy people who lift your mood
  • Having flowers in the house, it tells you that you either, had enough time to pick them, made enough money to buy them or did something wonderful enough to be sent them.

She also shares her list of things in her life that make her happy

  • Handmade Chocolates
  • Good espresso coffee
  • Books
  • Flowers
  • Skincare
  • Balloons
  • Bright lipstick
  • Tiaras
  • 1950’s everything from dresses to vases
  • Sequins
  • Polka-dots
  • Bows on anything
  • Boxes, fancy, plain empty etc.
  • Crocheted rugs
  • Tulips & Dahlias

Happy movie list in case you need some inspiration

  • Pretty Woman
  • Amelie
  • Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
  • Love Actually
  • Grease

Happy songs for when you are in a bad mood and need a quick lift

  • I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas
  • Beautiful by Carole King
  • Top of The World by The Carpenters
  • Smile by Lily Allen
  • Never Knew Love Like This Before by Marcia Hines
  • I got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown
  • I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred
  • Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
  • Lucky by Colbie Caillat & Jason Mraz

 

 

Movies

Movies entertain, educate, inspire and effect mood. I use to watch a fair few movies and fancied myself a bit of a connoisseur, these days I rarely have the time or patience to sit and watch a whole movie at home. Sometimes we go to the movies for date night but the kind of things we see are generally not too long, big budget actions, impressive on the big screen and boy friendly, because we usually do this fairly late at night after dinner out we aim for movies easy to stay awake in. There are however many good reasons to indulge in a movie and I am going to share some of those that I have come across along with their recommendations below.

Lisa O’Neill in her book Look Gorgeous Be Happy; What a Woman Wants talks about movies that actually make her feel happy as inspiration for your next movie night. Her all time happy movies are:

  • Pretty woman
  • Amelie
  • Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
  • Love Actually
  • Grease

Michele A Court in her book Stuff I Forgot To Tell My Daughter suggest that in the event of a heartbreak emergency when you would rather let the tears flow for someone else’s tragedy rather than your own you cant go past the following two movies for a good old miserable weep-fest.

  • Rabbit-Proof Fence
  • Rent
  • Frozen, for when you’re done & now need to let it go & pick yourself back up again

In Meik Wicking’s book The Little Book of Hygge; The Danish Way to Live Well it talks about enjoying movies with your friends & family as a way to relax together. In this book it says the important things to remember is to, keep it casual, get each person to bring snacks to share, pick old classics that every ones seen, so it doesn’t matter how much people chat.  The recommended movies are:

  • Forrest Gump, for movie night with friends
  • The Shining, scary movie for Halloween
  • The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, for Christmas Eve?

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance; A Daybook of Comfort and Joy shares her movie indulgence recommendations;

  • Creative Excursions: regular solo rendezvous with your authentic self  designed to make your heart light & your spirit sing. Start the day with an early breakfast at a French café, cruise the isles of an Italian market, explore a fabulous thrift shop, browse in a used book store, visit an art supply store & take in an afternoon matinee English period drama at the movies.
  • Setting Aside a Personal Sabbath: set aside one day a week reverence, rest, renewal, rejuvenation, reassuring rituals, recreation rejoicing, revelation & most of all gratitude. Ban strenuous household chores, catching up on work or making a head start on it & shopping in department stores or any other store that sends out glossy junk mail. Start your day with breakfast on a tray in bed popped up with pillows with the paper, then head out to your place of giving thanks; church, mosque, temple, synagogue, on a walk in a park. follow this up with some foraging, antiquing, visiting art exhibitions, then take in matinee movie. When you arrive home again, pop on some opera, sip some sherry & prepare a fabulous feast.
  • Feeling Blue; when you cant hold it together and the tears are building up, it is time to leave work early, stopping on the way to grab a can of good tomato soup, supplies to make a cheese toasted sandwich, a ready made cheesecake, some tissues & to rent a three hanky movie. Nestle into the couch with your soup , sandwich & cheesecake to watch your movie, put the kids to bed early, soak in a hot tub, raid your comfort drawer, find five things to be grateful for and sleep it off.
  • Home Inspiration; Rent old movies from the 1930’s & 1940’s and indulge in the TCM movie channel looking for old fashioned treasures. Look for domestic details like the trim of the upholstery, the curtains, the knickknacks in the kitchen. Consider why these charming sets draw you in to stay a while and what touches you might like to add to your home.
  • Dinner & A Movie: arrange a dinner around a film where you pair the cuisine with the film. Enjoy Mexican enchiladas with chocolate mole sauce while watching the sensuous Like Water for Chocolate: order Chinese takeaway to accompany the delectable Eat, Drink, Man, Woman; make French cuisine de femme to counterpoint the sumptuous Babette’s Feast.  Since all the passionate hungers are explored in these foreign films, they’re definitely for viewing after the children are in bed.
  • Joyful Simplicities For July; Rent & watch the movie Out of Africa, just do
  • Christmas Classic Film Fest; Each December hold a Christmas classic film festival. In the week before Christmas while you wrap packages, string & eat popcorn, hang stockings etc. indulge in some classic Christmas cinema. Watch: White Christmas, Christmas in Connecticut, The Bishops Wife, Miracle on 34th Street, A Muppet Christmas Carol & It’s a Wonderful Life.

Trinny and Susannah in their book What Your Clothes Say About You: How To Look Different, Act Different And Feel Different they recommend the following movie experience to remind you that its okay to be silly & girly sometimes.

  • Grab yourself a bowl of strawberry ice cream and settle in for some chick flicks. They recommend both the Legally Blonde 1 & 2  as well as Brigit Jones 1, 2 & 3.

In Trinny & Susannah’s book Who Do You Want To Be Today: Be Inspired To Dress Differently they talk about using movies as inspiration to tap into different personas such as;

  • Bombshell; When you want to feel hot & sassy start by getting inspired by watching, Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman or Marilyn Munroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, next switch your shower out for a bubble bath, then pop on a Rufus Wainwright CD while you get ready. Fire engine red nails & lip preferably Chanel. Lashes curled to within a inch of their life, beauty spot applied. Hair curled & finished of with a spay of L’Oreal Elnett Satin hairspray. A spritz of Woman by  John Paul Gaultier. For a daytime look for a picnic in the park, school sports day or trip to the local greengrocer, think pedal pushes stopping just below the knees, fitted t-shirt in a narrow strip, tiny polka dot or small floral pattern, accessorised with cute high heels and a belt. For a night time look for a date night think sexy lace underwear that boosts your cleavage, a pair of magic knickers, a figure hugging dress, cute high heels, white fake fur, shiny gold purse & diamonds.
  • Gamine: When you want to feel innocent & childlike start by getting inspired watching Bambi, Madeleine, The sound of Music, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Audrey Tatou in Amelie while sipping camomile tea from a porcelain cup. After your shower pop on Baby Grace body lotion from Philosophy. Listen to some Natalie Imbruglia while getting ready. Natural pink nails from Nails Inc. Think a twisted ponytail, girly fringe & Bambi eyes topped off with YSL False Lash Effect mascara. A spritz of Miss Dior Cherie by Dior. For a daytime look for planting flowers, visiting animal sanctuaries &  shopping at local grocery, think knee length tunic dress or flared or A-line skirt teamed with white cotton round collared blouse, under a neat knitted cardigan or sweater. Accessorise with flat ballet pups, nude or opaque tights, huge round sunglasses a delicate slim belt, beret or headband, sweet charm bracelet or delicate name bracelet & a cute handbag. For a night time look for a fundraiser dig out your Little Black tunic Dress team with a wool, flared, knee length coat, small understated handbag, small simple delicate earrings & high or low round toed shoes.
  • Cutting Edge Cool; When you want to feel original & experimental start by watching Pret-a-Porter while brushing up on the latest cool magazines. Think Mac eye shadows, Nina Ultra-Pro nail varnishes & a spritz of Truly from Stephen Burlingham while putting together your look.  Catch some public transport out to do some shopping at charity stores & antique shops before checking out new designers for inspiration at summer markets & graduate fashion shows.
  • Androgyne; When you want to kick arse in a mans world start by watching Katharine Hepburn in the movie Bringing Up Baby while reading the newspaper sipping a straight up Martini before popping on some smooth jazz or Annie Lennox to listen too while you get ready. Slick your hair back into a low ponytail with a little Quiff fringe. Do simple makeup consisting of just Laura Mercier mineral powder, Givenchy Eye & brow powder, Baume de Rose Terry lip balm and a spritz of Man 2 from Comme des Garcons. For a day time look team a pinstripe dress with super high heals or a trouser suit that flatters your shape with either a white T-shirt or shirt, flat masculine shoes from brogues to converses, a manly hat, a large plain watch, plain navy or black tie, minimal smart cufflinks, superfine plain socks, plain leather belt, & a no-nonsense plain leather clutch. For a night time look think black & white like a black silk waistcoat , stiff white shirt, black skirt, tuxedo coat.
  • Ice Queen; When you want to feel enigmatic cool perfection start by watching Tipi Hedren in Marni, While sipping Earl Grey from a bone china cup. Pop on some Doris Day to listen to while getting ready. Hair in a French pleat, unobtrusive makeup by Dior, a spritz of Chanel no 5. For a day time look team a fitted, cashmere or fine merino twinset in white, ivory or cream, knee length fitted skirts, or fitted shift dress, slim belt, leather gloves, understated jewellery, sheer nude tights, simple court shoes & pearl necklace. For a night time look a dress with a fitted bodice & either a pencil or A-line style skirt in silver, grey or white, sheer natural tights heel, diamond studs, delicate watch & a stone broach worn on your coat.
  • Sophisticate; When you want to be assured & stylish start by watching Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada while reading Architectural Digest. After that clean & organise your desk before replacing the pansies on it for an Orchid. Burn a Mimosa scented candle by Diptyque while getting ready. For which you will need a perfect professional blowout for your hair, natural makeup professionally applied over Lancôme La Base primer before adding a spritz of White Jasmine & Mint from Joe Malone. For  a day time look team classic tailored wool gabardine trousers with a classic fitted white shirt with a princess collar or V-neck jacket, a Birkin bag, restrained muted shoes, plain big round sunglasses, a silk square, a chain belt, drop earrings, or a long necklace. For a night time look a black, navy or grey cocktail dress or a full length black skirt with a chain belt& tailored white shirt with simple shoes.
  • Minimalist; When you want to feel calm & authoritive start by having a massive tidy up then watch Derek Jarmin’s Blue while reading Heat magazine. Pop on some Philip Glass & Laurie Anderson while getting ready . Cleanse with Eve Lom cleanser, pop some Elizabeth Arden Eight hour cream on anywhere that may need it, some Chantecaille foundation & concealer, some NARS red lipstick & a spritz of Bois 1920 Vetiver Ambrato from Firenze. Next put your hair up into a sculptural bun teamed with; black t-shirts, buttoned up white shirts, palazzo pants, pussy bow blouses, sculptural dresses, long plain coats, asymmetric skirts.
  • Boho; When you want to feel like an arty fairy because you are off to a music festival start by watching Snow White while you eat pizza. After your shower spray your hair with Bumble & Bumble Surf Spay & put into Boho twists, while you wait for it to dry rub NARS body Glow all over,  dad on some concealer where needed, some tinted moisturiser, natural cream blusher, eye powder, a flick of mascara, Philosophy lip gloss in pomegranate, spritz of Daisy from Marc Jacobs. By then hair should be done & ready for a spray of L’Oreal Elnett Satin hairspray. Think smock dresses, leggings, long hippy skirts, waistcoats, big cardigans, jeans, tights, funky sunglasses, sandals & flip flops, Moroccan bangles, vintage hats & African beads

 

 

Autumn Decorating

In late Autumn home becomes a retreat from the wintery world. A warm safe haven to bunker down in .

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance :A Daybook of Comfort and Joy says that as you walk through your home there should be comfortable places from the living room to the bedroom that encourage you to sit, relax & reflect. There should be small indulgences from the kitchen to the bathroom that pamper & please. There should be sources of beauty that inspire, order that restores & simplicity that soothes. And the way to do this is to clear out what you no longer need or want to make way for;

  • A snug place to sit
  • Plump pillows to support & encourage naps
  • A place to put your feet up
  • A proper reading lamp
  • A bookcase filled with good things to read
  • A place to display your favourite things
  • A table for refreshments
  • A well organised & well stocked desk to run your life from
  • A decent sound system & a good collection of music to cater to all your moods
  • A good coffee maker, pretty tea pot & juice squeezer
  • Plants & flowers to delight
  • Outdoor furniture that beckons you to linger
  • A pretty garden or terrace to linger in

And to give it all an Autumn feel

  • Fill your home with wheat sheaves, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, bittersweet, dried flowers & preserved leaves.
  • Arrange jewel coloured flowers, preserved leaves & vines in natural pumpkin vases
  • Make pumpkin lanterns

Chinese art of Feng Shui

This is a subject I know nothing about and have very little experience with but if it in anyway contributes to the wellbeing, no matter how minutely of the residents of your home surely it is well worth a little investigation.

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests that a good way to start to bring order to your home is to;

  • Clear cupboards & junk drawers & move furniture to dust behind & under to release positive energy throughout your surroundings.
  • Move 27 objects that have not been moved in the last year which will enhance your ability to move forward in life.
  • Hang a brass wind chime inside your front door for clarity
  • Have books in plain view as you enter your home to increase insight
  • Hang a round mirror in your bedroom to bring more love, compassion & understanding to intimate relationships
  • Place flowers in your bedroom, kitchen & study to cultivate good luck
  • Hang a mirror behind or adjacent to your stove to reflect the burners which are symbols of wealth & prosperity

Start A Collection

I am an avid collector of books, non fiction books about everything from food to fashion to flower arranging and everything in between. I also dabble a little bit in stationary and cosmetics. They bring me little moments of joy.

Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project says that A collection provides a mission, a reason to visit new places, the excitement of the chase, a field of expertise and a bond with like minded people. She suggests trying the following things

  • Creating an empty shelf somewhere and finding something that gives you great pleasure to collect and display on it
  • Allowing yourself one chaotic messy  junk drawer in which to collect all sorts of little things that may come in handy one day
  • Put together a Happiness Box to collect all sorts of little trinkets that trigger happy thoughts and memories.
  • Start a Toy Jar, a jar in which to keep all those silly little toy giveaways that you get from super markets, petrol stations, fast food outlets etc. You never know when they might come in handy (craft projects, cake decorating, entertaining unexpected guests etc.)

Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple abundance also talks about the importance of surrounding yourself with the things you love and finding a new way to display your cherished collections.

  • Tackle your junk drawer
  • Take pictures of the walls, clear the tables & mantle tops for a week before deciding what to put back & keep
  • Spend an hour pottering to your favourite music while you rearrange your collections of personal mementos and pictures
  • If you have a collection find a way to display it
  • Start regular foraging at garage sales & flea markets

 

 

Go Off The Path

Cultivating new interests, exploring new experiences and being adventurous.

In Gretchen Rubins book The Happiness Project she recommends that every Monday in May you buy three new magazines, throughout the week read them from cover to cover, recording anything of particular interest to you in a little notebook to be called “The Interest Log”. Use this log as inspiration for new places you would like to explore, experiences you would like to have and interests you would like to develop.

Magazines at the end of each week can be chucked into your basket for using in your Illustrated Discovery Journal.

Take Time To Be Silly

I am generally a fairly serious person, I’m not even really that funny. Sarcastic yes, funny not so much. I’m not big on goofing around or fart jokes so I think I may struggle a little bit with integrating more jokes, games & tomfoolery into my everyday life. However I have it on good authority ( thank you Gretchen Rubin) that there is such a thing a emotional contagion, meaning moods are contagious. So if you are silly & happy those around you are one third more likely to be that way too.