Five Things That Have Cheered Me Up This Month

You ready for a smile?

I’m generally a pretty happy person. It’s just my temperament. Sure, I have my Dad’s hot head temper from time to time and I can be a moody mare when I have to do something that I’ve already decided in my head is an epic waste of time – I ain’t no saint – but I’m a pretty optimistic happy chappy most of the time. However, this month I’ve had occassions where I haven’t felt so spritely and have needed to source a boost which is where the list below has come in handy. In reality everything is fine and it’s just those classic millennial feelings of overwhelm and stress creeping in; so actually most of these methods boil down to moments of self-care in the centre, which is really what needs to come into play when you’re down in the dumps. They’re small and might sound insignificant to some, but just having a watch of an old favourite TV show or a 30 minute blast of a podcast has turned my frown upside down…

SNOW DAYS! I feel like we’ve had more this year than if you counted up all the ones we’ve had in my entire lifetime. I’m pretty gutted that I’m no longer at school and so can’t do the whole giddy ‘student on the loose’ routine that we tuned into whenever there was a snow day or the boiler was broken and we got sent home. IT. WAS. AWESOME. Here’s the thing – if it’s a snow day and I can somehow re-jig my plans so that it involves leaving the house as little as possible, then I love ’em. There’s nothing quite like snuggling up, nagging Mark to light the fire and then complaining whilst he spends the next five hours doing nothing but poke around with it and filling our bellies with comfort food like stew and dumplings, with a side of even more dumplings. I feel like they are a self-care goldmine and I like to see how many baths, face masks and body oil applications I can weave into them too. It’s natures way of forcing us all to press pause, take a breath for ourselves (de-ice the car) and press play.

Ashlee Simpson (yes, really). I spotted a few people on Twitter mention Popcast’s recent podcast episodes on Ashlee Simpson and before you knew it, I was eight episodes deep into the Ashlee Simpson Show, all thanks to some angel who has uploaded the entire two seasons onto YouTube. Around the ages of 13-15 this MTV reality gem was my oracle. I cut my hair to have the same jaunty fringe as Ashlee. I bought Converse. I wore striped tight rugby-style tops and low slung jeans. I really believed that I could nail ‘Autobiography’ if given the chance to perform live on SNL. Watching it again gave me a swell of nostalgia that made me laugh as I remembered how I used to try to channel Ashlee’s angsty lyrics in my room and magic up a Ryan Cabrera musician boyfriend. I haven’t stopped listening to ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘Love For Me’ (my favourite album non-single track) since which has thrown my Spotify into a 2004 tiz and I ain’t mad about it.

All the podcasts. Speaking of podcasts, I’ve discovered even more since our last chat about them and there’s something about the earwigging of these conversations between hosts that just feels calming to me and like you’re catching up with mates, once you get a few episodes in. If you fancy a list of my original favourites, check out this blog post, but here are some new ones that have tickled my pickle. Popcast that I mentioned earlier do great critiques and profiles on pop industry players, trends and news. Unpopped is a relatively new offering from the BBC where each episode discusses different modern and pop culture phenomenons from Ru Paul’s Drag Race to the Spice Girls – my top two recommendations from their roster so far. Ever since I read Dolly Alderton’s book I’ve become a little obsessed with everything that she does, and so obviously adore her podcast Love Stories. I love LONG podcasts and the Switched On Pop one definitely fills that brief as two music buffs pick apart the bare bones and influences of some of the biggest chart topping songs; I’ve learnt a lot from this one. Basically I stick them on whenever I’m getting ready/cleaning/cooking/travelling and it’s nice to tune into something, whilst still being able to do stuff. What did we do before them, eh?

Holding down a New Year’s Resolution. I know I keep bleating on about it, but holding down a New Year’s Resolution that isn’t financial, career or fitness focused, but instead a personal growth kinda one (feel free to eye-roll there) feels really damn good. The aim is to read a book a month this year and I’m on track – I speak more about how I’ve made it part of my daily routine in this post – and I actually enjoy having something to flick through when what I would be doing instead is having a mindless scroll on my phone. I’m currently reading ‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara which is HEFTY. Like over 700 pages hefty. The font size has pushed me to book in an eye test too and I can only get through a couple of pages a night; so if anyone has any tips for how to tackle such a meaty read without feeling a little disheartened that it may take you the rest of the year, then I’m all ears. Overall though it’s a part of my day that I always look forward to and is a great wind-down every evening.

Travel plans in the diary. Aside from a quick trip to Amsterdam last month to visit friends, we’ve stayed pretty set on U.K soil since our New Zealand adventure over Christmas and it’s been nice to get reacquainted with the timezone and our bed and all the other homely things you miss when you’re away. But for the next couple of months there’s a fair amount of travel plans in my diary and I’m really excited to go away with my parents for hopefully two of our trips, which is something that I haven’t done in years. First up though is a trip to Vietnam with Kiehl’s, which I head off for TOMORROW! Side note: Does anyone have any Hanoi recommendations? I’m waiting with my pen and paper – thanks! Then there’s a family trip to the Lake District, which my parents visit every single year and we haven’t been able to join them on for about four years. Mark is looking forward to being a mountain goat and I’m looking forward to revisiting the pub that does my favourite Beef Cobbler. Afterwards there’s possibly another family trip on the cards, but hopefully to someone a little sunnier this time. Right, I’d better get packing. OOPS…

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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