Tuesday, 14 January 2014

My Recipe for Happiness

A while back, I bought this gorgeous addition (below) to my kitchen which I thought was really cute and quirky but really uplifting. When I get up first thing on a morning and wait for the kettle to boil I look at it and it always lifts my spirits as it gets me to focus on what counts and what really matters.

I love the idea that happiness is like a recipe - it's so true. What ingredients we add to create a dish is like life; we choose to add certain things or avoid certain things for our recipe in order to gain a certain quality and result. It's a process; a bit like sifting flour and allowing some bits to pass through and removing the lumps we'd rather not add. It doesn't mean the dish will end up perfect as there are certain things we don't have control over.  Sometimes we may try to perfect a dish over and over again until we feel we have the right mix and quantity of each ingredient. I think that's similar to attaining happiness and this evolves and changes as we grow older and hopefully wiser.

In a Carrie Bradshaw way "it got me thinking...." of what else I would add to the recipe. There are loads and to name them all would end up being a complex Heston Blumenthal type of recipe as well as a being a bloody long blog so here are just a few:

Surrounding yourself with fabulous people
Of course I don't mean this in a superficial way ie swanning around town with beautiful people to make you look cool and chic (but it's allowed for some camp high drama fantasies Ab Fab style) I mean those people who really count. For me that's my gorgeous husband who supports me with every decision I make no matter how bonkers, my wonderful sister who I can tell anything to and makes me roar with belly laughter and my friends who are always there for me no matter what. This counts BIG time and although it sounds so obvious, sometimes it's so easy to take these things for granted. I have had periods in life when this aspect has been imbalanced ie only including this as a small part of the recipe To get technical on your ass a bit like adding 10 grams when now 1000 grams is much better. More is more in this respect. We need people. But quality people; like organic vs value range.

Having an open mind and heart
I think that being open to new possibilities open up your world so much more and affects the quality of your life. I think I'm quite good at this one which shows with the different hairstyles, careers and hobbies I've had over the years. Some people may call it fickle but I want to try out different things as variety is the spice of life isn't it? Where's the joy in sticking to one thing or holding onto a limited set of beliefs and thoughts? To be brutal we're all going to be 6 feet under at some point eventually so while we're on this planet for a short space of time we may as well feast on everything that's there. The more ideas, concepts, and thoughts we flirt with, new ideas form, new possibilities dance right under your nose taking you to some potentially amazing places. Put down your plate of meat and two veg and get on the all you can eat buffet!

I always thought I was a cat person until two whippets came into my life and now those skinny little hounds are like my babies and I love them so much my hearts feels like it will burst. They way they go nuts when they see  me - even when I've been outside for two minutes to take the bin out is just so heartwarming and their loyalty breaks my heart at times. Their personalities are so different  - Teddy is sociable, boisterous and rough and Jack is shy, gentle and loving. The unconditional love they show is overwhelming. On days when I just want to hide under the duvet they force me outside to take them walking and I'm back re-balanced connecting to nature while the two of them go hell for leather chasing each other. Their physicality and running speed blows me away as well as their appreciation and gratitude of the basics; love, warmth, food and exercise. We can all learn something from animals I believe. ps - I still love cats!

My babies
All through my life people would always say "you must be creative then" after looking at the way I dressed/wore my hair and makeup. That annoyed me a bit as I don't think creativity equates to painting, writing etc. It could be how you tackle a challenge in your life. Nonetheless, I used to write when I was a kid and adult hood knocked that out of me and I'm pleased to say I'm reunited with it. I met my artist husband almost six years ago and he's really encouraged me to experiment with creativity. I thought I had none and that you had to have loads of qualifications/exhibitions/accolades under your belt and I've found that is utter nonsense. Doing it because it feels good is a good enough reason to express creativity and taking this approach has really opened up a whole new world. I started this blog, been writing for Vintage Life magazine, restoring furniture and experimenting with photography (a tiny bit!). Previously the inner perfectionist would prevent me from even having a go but these days I just have a bash of it and enjoy the process. If the outcome is decent then all the better but that isn't the driving force behind it. In a world full of boring stuff like pensions, housework and never ending chores, expressing your creativity is the perfect antidote where you create your own happy space.

Messing about with paint and colour - total therapy
Being silly
Being an adult with responsibilities, mortgages and trying to maintain professionalism can be a little stifling at times and it's good to unleash our inner child at times. I have been tempted to throw myself on the floor in Sainsbury's and have a tantrum especially when jalepenos are out of stock but I understand that may not be appropriate or even comfortable. However I really believe that can life can get a bit serious and while we sadly can't live life like Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (sighs) we need to move the scales the other way and re-visit our child like silliness. Whether it be singing daft songs of the top of your voice out of tune or doing a ridiculous dance in the kitchen, releasing your inner child gets all of the crap out of your system makes you bellow with laughter and and re energises you big time.

Other ingredients that are vital to me I want to talk about but don't want to bore you with a HUGE blog post:
Glamour, books, spirituality, makeup,tea, Autumn, hairdressing, hog roasts, the countryside and the coast, mashed potato.

Mash potato on top of fish pie. mmmmmm
What ingredients make your recipe for happiness? Leave a comment below, I'd love to know.