So the first thing that’s making me happy is this set of photos. I LOVE them.
Charlie took the ones with me in them, and I took the ones without me in them. Then I edited them all in Lightroom, and now I think they might just be my most favourite photos I’ve ever shared on the blog. Ever.
I’ve always loved editing photos (just ask anyone who’s seen me prepping a pic for Instagram…), but I’ve recently got properly hooked on it. I can (and do) spend hours and hours playing around with the settings on Lightroom, just experimenting with the light, shadows, curves, color settings, and special effects.
It makes me happy. Taking a semi-decent photo from scratch, and turning it into something that (to my eye) looks beautiful, is one of my little joys in life.
It’s silly and probably not the most productive use of my time. Most people wouldn’t even notice that much of a difference from the original. But that process, that creative outlet, makes me smile on the inside.
I reckon the world can always use a few more little happy things, so here are a couple more of my current ones:
My autumn commute
I love my new commute. I mean, the 6am start isn’t exactly the one, and obviously ideally there would be NO commute… but as commutes go: mine’s making me pretty happy at the moment.
There’s a view of a pretty church, framed by red and gold trees. Then there’s the lovely walk across the green, with friendly locals on their way back from buying the morning paper, who nod their head and say good morning.
The bus ride is short and I always get a seat. The tube ride is long, but I always get a seat. Then I buy a coffee from Pret, and I have a very short walk to my office.
It’s a longer journey than it used to be, but it’s infinitely calmer and nicer, and I get to work every morning with a smile on my face.
If you follow me on Instagram you may have spotted this one already. I’m a woman obsessed with crosswords.
I’ve always loved puzzles, but I actually first got the idea from my lovely friend Katie Brennan, who suggested games and puzzles as a way of battling anxiety. It’s a fab little distraction when you feel like you can’t get out of your own head. Crosswords require focus and concentration, and it’s definitely one of the reasons I’ve felt calmer this year.
I pick up both the Metro and the Evening Standard every day and try to complete both as much as I can. I’ll do a little bit at work when I need a break from the computer. Then I’ll do a bit on my way home from work. And then I’ll do some more at home, to help me wind down before bed.
There’s nothing quite like completing a full crossword to make you feel like the ultimate #GrannyBoss.
I can see clearly now
I had my eyes tested by the fab team at David Clulow a few weeks ago. They did all the tests, and they made me a new prescription for perfect 20/20 vision, and then they helped me pick out a new pair of snazzy Rayban glasses (RB 5154 in tortoiseshell and gun-metal), and now I can see again. And it’s wonderful.
I have astigmatism, which means I’m not short or long-sighted, but that everything is just generally blurry. My lovely optometrist explained how it all works, and it’s something to do with the shape of my eye and how the light hits it at an odd angle so it’s not processing the information properly.
Either way, it means that without glasses, I can’t take photos (because I can’t tell if anything’s in focus) and I can’t edit photos (because looking at screens gives me a banging headache). And as those are two of the things that make me happiest, I’ve basically never been more grateful to have access to expert (and super friendly) eye doctors and proper glasses.
Note to self: stop putting off important health checks and just get things sorted already. Life is happier when you’re not bumping into doorframes.
Learning a new language
I’ve started learning Japanese with Duolingo, and it’s great fun!
I thought about doing a proper course, but I’m just not in the right place for it at the moment. Life’s too busy for me to commit to a specific time and day of the week. The app is a good way for me to do just a little bit each day, at a time that works for me.
I’ve already picked up a bunch of words and phrases that would have been helpful on our trip (hindsight is as good as an optician…), and I love making the connection between words I recognise, what they actually mean, and how they’re put together with other words to make new ones.
Making food makes me happy. I like feeding people. I like shopping for ingredients, and then I like putting ingredients together and creating something yummy. I also like not having a clue what I’m doing and just throwing things in and hoping for the best.
I like kneading dough, and I like chopping veg (except onions because they make me cry), and I like playing with seasonings and spices, and I like flicking through cookbooks and deciding what to make next…
The whole process is like therapy to me. My happy place is my kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, where I can mix and bake and fry and sing along to cheesy pop music.
Bonus points for a glass of wine and a bit of sunshine.
And one last happy thing: I’ve just remembered I have a cinnamon bun in my bag.
Happy Friday! ♥
*My eye test and new glasses were gifted by David Clulow.