Wonderful Wednesday 45

17 January 2018

And just like that, Wednesday's here again! Somehow they seem to come around a lot quicker when you're noticing the good things in between!

This was a Sunday snap but is also remarkably similar to what's happening on Tuesday night as I put the finishing touches to my happy snippets. There has been notebook planning, a cup of tea or two and as soon as I finish this, I'm heading to bed with my new book - it's the first Dorothy Sayers book I've read and I'm loving it so far. I do love to cosy up with an old fashioned murder mystery. What are you reading at the moment? Let me know in the comments below, as well as what has been particularly delightful over the course of the last week. Mine are below! Happy Wednesday all :)


♥ Snowdrops... I spotted my first snowdrops of the year on Saturday morning. Snowdrops were my Nanny's favourite flower and so every time I see them, I think of her and wonder if she's looking down on me. Saturday's were a particular highlight and I'm taking them as a good sign of things to come....not just the first sign of spring and slightly lighter mornings!

♥ Quiet Sundays... While I did my yoga on Sunday morning, my husband went for a run and came back with a newspaper, which we sat and enjoyed over a leisurely brunch and big mugs of coffee. The rest of the day was spent pottering at home, catching up on laundry and plans for the week to come, reading and blogging. It was so well-needed and I started the week feeling refreshed and on top of things (with an empty laundry basket - woo!)

♥ Trip planning... Two of my dearest friends are coming to stay at the end of the month and we've been excitedly trip planning for a little while now. As they've been to London on a few different occasions, we've decided to spend a few days of their visit in Brighton. We've booked an airbnb, which I'm really excited about as it looks like a lovely flat which we'll have all to ourselves in a good location, and we're currently looking at all the different things to do - mostly food-related because that's how we roll. How many afternoon teas in one short trip are too many? Asking for a friend.

♥ Daylight... It's happened! As we were walking to the station yesterday morning, I suddenly noticed that I could see a short way in front of me and the flashing collars on the dogs being walked ahead of us weren't the first sign of a dog in the distance. The mornings are officially a little brighter already - spring is on its way!

♥ Yoga... Can I really have this on my list twice in two weeks?! Well, it's my blog so I'm going to. This week's #YWAtrue has got quite a bit tougher but in return, so much more satisfying. Those 30 or so minutes that are truly all my own each day leave me feeling so positive and energised. It stretches away any hint of tension in my back and shoulders, and I feel ever so slightly taller each day.

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoSamKerri, LauraSarahPetaElLauraMimmiMartinaLynseyKatie and Em (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

A poem.

14 January 2018

I've never been someone who has really appreciated poetry. I remember liking some of the poetry we studied at school and enjoying some of the poems that my husband has shown me over the years we've been together but I've never felt the urge to pick up a poetry book and just lose myself in it, as I would with a novel.

But last weekend I was listening to Cerys Matthews' show on BBC 6 Music while I was getting ready to go out and she was talking to William Sieghart, who founded the Forward Poetry Prize. He said that people turn to poetry in times of need and often the challenge is finding the right poem for the right difficulty. This made perfect sense to me, that sometimes you discover things and they stay with you when you need them most. 

He then read out a poem which gripped me so completely that I forgot what I was doing for those few moments and just listened. 

It felt like the perfect poem to read at the beginning of a new year, with all its new adventures to come, because how dull would life be if you planned every moment and knew what was to come around every corner? I'm sharing it here because I thought you might like to read it too - who knows, perhaps this is the right poem for your difficulty too?

What If This Road by Sheenah Pugh

What if this road, that has held no surprises
these many years, decided not to go
home after all; what if it could turn
left or right with no more ado
than a kite-tail? What if its tarry skin
were like a long, supple bolt of cloth,
that is shaken and rolled out, and takes
a new shape from the contours beneath?
And if it chose to lay itself down
in a new way; around a blind corner,
across hills you must climb without knowing
what’s on the other side; who would not hanker
to be going, at all risks? Who wants to know
a story’s end, or where a road will go?

Wonderful Wednesday 44

10 January 2018

This was my post-yoga breakfast on Saturday morning and what a treat it was! The first Saturday morning of the year after the first week back at work - the sun was streaming through the windows and the radio was tuned to Huey Morgan on 6 Music. Now that's the way to start a day! Here are some more of this week's highlights...


♥ A New Year's tidy... I'm not a person who tidies away Christmas as soon as the clock strikes midnight on 31st December. I need the cosy twinkling of the Christmas tree to ease me into the first few days of a new year and the first few days back in the office. By the time Friday evening came around though, the branches on our tree were drooping sadly and it felt like the right time to pack everything away. I feel as if the house hasn't looked this tidy in weeks, full of space and light (when it hasn't been blowing a gale outside), and I feel very happy and positive about the year ahead.

♥ Studio Ghibli season at the Prince Charles Cinema... Non-London folk, have you heard of the Prince Charles Cinema? It's a fantastic cinema in Leicester Square (usually an area to be avoided at all costs), which as well as showing some current releases mostly shows classic and cult movies. Fancy singing along to the Sound of Music or bitching along to Mean Girls? You can do that there! At the moment there's a Studio Ghibli season on and on Sunday we went to watch Nausicaa, which is one of my husband's favourites and it was wooonderful. Hoping for Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Whisper of the Heart, which holds a special place in my heart as it's the first manga I read entirely in Japanese! (Years ago, doubt I could do that now.)

♥ Yoga... As part of the whole, being a bit kinder to myself plan this year, I signed up to Yoga with Adriene's True 30 day yoga programme for January. I thought that it would encourage me to take some time for myself each day when I'm not doing something else at the same time or dwelling on things I should be doing. 8 days in and I'm absolutely loving it. I'm not going to lie, coming home from work on Monday evening and the thought of getting onto the mat before having dinner was almost too much to bear but I did it and felt so good for having done it. And at the weekend, when I did the day's routine first thing in the morning, I think I realised for the very first time why people actually enjoy exercise (ha!) and the happiness lasted all day. Sam, Kelly and I are cheering each other on on Twitter and I owe it to those ladies for keeping me motivated during the week. Is anyone else taking part?

♥ Veggie meal planning...My husband and I have talked about trying to cut down on the amount of meat we eat for a while now. We've slowly been working our way through the stockpile in the freezer over the last few weeks and when I ordered our food shop last night, it was entirely meat-free and we've lined up some new veggie recipes to try over the course of the weeks to come, which I'm really excited about. If you have any favourite vegetarian recipes, please send them this way.

♥ Friends on Netflix... Could I be any happier? I think it says a lot about today's day and age (or perhaps just me?!) that I'm excited about this despite already having the boxset on DVD but it's just so much easier to marathon-watch them on Netflix than to have to keep switching the discs over. Oh God, I've just read that back to myself. I'm so ashamed. Not really. How you doin'?

And just like that, a sprinkling of wonderful on this fine Wednesday. It's been a while but it's good to look for the snippets of light, particularly in dark January - when are the mornings going to get lighter again?!

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJo, SamKerri, LauraSarahPetaElLauraMimmiMartinaLynseyKatie and Em (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Hello 2018.

6 January 2018

Hello hello and happy New Year to you!

It feels like forever since I last sat down at my computer, loaded up this page and tapped out a post...about 4 months ago. There was no sinister reason for my absence, or even an exciting one. It was just that little thing called life getting in the way as usual.

Over Christmas I stumbled across a link to Susannah Conway's Unravel your Year workbooks. I downloaded this year's and sat down on New Year's Eve to start working my way through it, unravelling 2017's highs and lows, and noting down my dreams and plans for the year to come. It's a really lovely idea and something I think I'll try to come back to year after year. It made me take some time to take stock and, what I think was most important for 2017, to look for the good times in a year that I've really struggled to see the good in. It has monthly reflection posts for 2018 too so I have no excuse not to check in and do the exercise on a smaller scale each month.

As I was completing my workbook and thinking back to January 2017, all those months ago, when I wrote this post about my chosen word for 2017 - 'balance' - I came to realise that despite my best intentions it's something that I'm just not very good at! When things get stressful (and 2017 really had its moments!), I often lose sight of what's important to me - the little important things that I need to keep me going and retain a sense of self. For a while there I couldn't even focus on reading and hello to the 4 months hiatus on this little space! In fact, looking back at last year's post, I said exactly the same thing at the end of 2016 (perhaps the lead-up to Christmas is particularly stressful?!) which in turn made me feel even more stressed because I hadn't achieved enough/done enough/ticked enough off my to do list. I think the quest for balance in my life is something that will take time and I don't think I'm alone in that.

It took me a while to decide what to choose for this year's word but I eventually landed on 'kindness' - kindness to others is something I think I'm ok at (right, people who know me in real life?!) although that's also not something to ever stop doing, but to be a bit kinder to myself and to try not to heap so much pressure on these shoulders. Practising self-kindness will involve reading, yoga, blogging, more adventures with my love and saying no more. As a dear dear (half Danish) friend said to me, "you need to find more time for hygge!" and that's particularly pertinent on this chilly January evening. So instead of listing 801 things that I should be doing tomorrow, I'm curled up by candlelight with a big mug of tea, a chocolate egg (because yes, they're already in the supermarkets!) and catching up on some of my favourite blogs. 2018's off to a good start.

What are your plans for the year ahead?

Wonderful Wednesday 43

30 August 2017

I'm sitting here in my kitchen, sipping a cup of tea and writing this on the last day of an extra long (for me!) bank holiday weekend, and it's also my birthday! Could this Wednesday get any more wonderful?! I've been thoroughly spoiled already and it's not even 10am yet (as I write this), this getting older mallarkey really isn't so bad.

I'm breaking the trend ever so slightly this week as my Wonderful Wednesday is pretty much focused on this weekend, as it really was the highlight of my week. So without further ado, let the wonderful begin!


♥ Long weekend adventures... I've been looking forward to this weekend for weeks (having a birthday just after, with a few days off tacked on unsurprisingly has that effect!) and it really didn't disappoint - it contained everything I look for in a good weekend; time with my husband, good food, family catch-ups, a dash of culture and all manner of London adventures. The husband unfortunately has to work today so we decided to spend the weekend doing some of the things that I'd have chosen to do on my birthday itself and thankfully, it was gloriously sunny all weekend enabling us to spend a good amount of time outside adventuring.

On Saturday, after getting the cleaning out of the way, my husband made us a delicious breakfast (it's been an age since I've had boiled eggs and soldiers) and we then headed to Leighton House to check out the Alma-Tadema exhibition. Leighton House in Holland Park is the former home of the painter Lord Frederic Leighton and it is absolutely stunning in its own right, particularly the Arab hall with its mosaics and beautiful tiles. Upstairs, in Lord Leighton's studio, you'll find lots of his paintings and other artworks in different stages of completion. At the moment, with the Alma-Tadema exhibition on, his paintings are on display around the house. Although I recognised some of the paintings, he's a Victorian artist that I knew very little about but you're always onto a winner sending me to see something Victorian with classical themes, I loved it. It was wonderful to see some paintings I knew but had never considered in such detail before. Look at the perspective on this picture below, which I absolutely adore - how high they are looking down at the small ships below. I know that thought is is no way earth-shattering but I had never actually noticed or thought about that detail before. Oh to have that talent!

A Coign of Vantage (1895) - Sir Laurence Alma-Tadema
Image found here.

As it was such a beautiful day, we decided to walk from Leighton House through Holland Park to the Design Museum, which is now located on High Street Kensington. The building itself is absolutely incredible, I spent a good amount of time just standing in the main hall looking up! We didn't go into any of the paid exhibitions on Saturday but popped into the permanent exhibition on the top floor, which is an exhibition of contemporary design from three viewpoints - designer, manufacturer and user. It was really interesting to see the evolution of some products that I use everyday and to spot some of the things that have formed part of our lives over the years. If you're looking for a museum to add to your list when you're next visiting London, do check it out. There's also a really excellent shop (!) with lots of fantastic gift ideas if you're looking for something a little different for someone.

On Sunday we visited my parents for lunch. My brother and his girlfriend were there too, as well as my grandmother and my aunt and uncle, with one of my cousins. My mum put on the tastiest buffet lunch, including a homemade gluten free apple cake which I thought I'd be too full to try but hey, I managed it. Sunday was absolutely glorious down in London so we were out in the garden for most of the day until we were chased inside by the smoke of a neighbour's bonfire (seriously guys, on a bank holiday?!)

Monday was the most splendiferous of days! We started with brunch at my favourite café in London - Beyond Bread in Fitzrovia. I know I've raved about it here before but it really never disappoints and the thrill of knowing everything on the menu is gluten free and completely safe to eat just never gets old. My husband opted for the full English (he'd been for a 10k run already that day so it's fair to say that he'd earned it) while I deliberated between pancakes or waffles or something more savoury. In the end, the smoked salmon with avocado and poached eggs on toast won out but I'm still thinking about those waffles, even now as I write this...

Feeling exceedingly full but very happy, we then walked from Fitzrovia to Regent's Park and through there to Primrose Hill. Before braving the hill itself, we stopped for a few drinks in a lovely old pub on the high street, then wandered along the street and people-watched for a little while (well, dog-watch in my case...there are always lots of beautiful dogs in that part of London) before re-fuelling with some ice cream before heading up to the top of the hill. Although hot, it was a gorgeously clear day and the view from Primrose Hill over London itself is incomparable. The park itself was full of people; picnic-ing, playing games, reading or just having a little snooze in the sunshine. Everyone in London was determined to enjoy the bank holiday sunshine, it was a wonderful atmosphere.

We sat on a bench at the top of the hill for a little while, watching a chap with a dog who was just longing to have her ball thrown for her at every opportunity. He clearly just wanted a short rest and she kept picking the ball up, walking a little closer to him and then dropping it down again, looking at him expectantly. Even when he poured her some water into a little bowl he was carrying for her, she didn't lose focus. She took the smallest of sips before picking up her ball, dropping that into the water and then plucking it out again and dropping it down. Such a good dog.

We headed back down the other side of Primrose Hill and walking to St John's Wood, where we hopped on a train home. A lot of walking and talking with my favourite person, it was the best day.

♥ Extra long weekends... There's something particularly delicious about having a few extra days off, when everyone else is heading back to work! My body clock has been waking me up at my normal time for work over the last few days but it's been fabulous to curl back up under the sheets for a while longer. This morning, I put on an old Desert Island Discs podcast and lay in bed listening to Gregory Peck's dulcet tones. There are certainly worse ways to start your day.

♥ Delicious pastries... Thanks to that husband o'mine, I've been kept in delicious pastries for the last few days. He picked up a brioche loaf and two croissants for me at Beyond Bread on Monday and I've been eking them out ever since! I can't tell you how long it's been since I've had either of those things and my word, it has been worth the wait. This morning, I had a warm croissant with jam and it made my heart sing. What a way to start the day!

So, those are my highlights from the last week and now I'd better get ready and head out for my birthday day! I've also just noticed that all of my photographs this week have been food-related...definitely the sign of a good week. Hope yours has been just as good!

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoSamanthaKerri, LauraSarahPetaElLauraMimmiMartinaLynseyKatie and Em (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

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