Wonderful Wednesday: January 2019

30 January 2019

I'm not going to lie, this month has felt about 800 weeks long. Have you all felt the same way? Thankfully, when I stopped to think about it, there were lots of good things to look back on that made January stop feeling quite so very 'January'. 


♥ Barbican adventures... We visited the Barbican twice at the beginning of the month. I bought my mister membership for Christmas so we used the card to go to the cinema there because it's like going to the cinema in an old theatre, it just makes it that little bit more special. It's so lovely to get the opportunity to travel to a favourite part of London and spend some time together - regular adventures with my favourite person. We also discovered the members' room, a quiet place to people-watch (it's right over the gift shop) while sipping a cocktail. Methinks we'll be using the membership a lot this year!

♥ Dinner with an old student... After university, I moved to Japan where I taught English and foreign culture in a senior school. It's one of my life highlights and I have so many wonderful memories, not least all the incredible students I was lucky enough to teach while I was there. I received a message from one of my old students before Christmas, saying that she would be in London for a few days in the new year if I'd be free for dinner one night. You know how strange it is seeing people completely out of context? That. But incredible too considering how so much time has passed! She was 15 when I interviewed her for part of the English test to enter the senior school and I was 22 - my goodness, how time has flown!

♥ Homemade ragu...the perfect dish for a cold evening. Nuff said really. I raved on Instagram on Sunday about the new episode released of Dolly Alderton's series Love Stories. If you haven't listed to it before, I huuugely recommend the series in which she talks to famous people about the relationships that define them. This new series starts with Stanley Tucci who I could honestly listen to for hours, particularly when he's talking about Italian food. There's something so special about listening to people talk about something they clearly love and this episode had so many moments like that. I listened to it at about 8am on Saturday, curled up in bed with a cup of tea and by the end of it I was craving pasta like nobody's business. I managed to get through the whole day before falling on a plate of homemade ragu later on that evening. Carby bliss. 

♥ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child... It was absolutely magical. When can I go again?! It brought back all the joy, anticipation and excitement of the news that films were being made of the earliest novels and a new book being released. I can't say anything at all because they really encourage you not to share any spoilers (hashtag keep the secrets) and honestly, I went into it with absolutely no idea what to expect and it was incredible. 

♥ A mid-week treat... I follow a variety of artists and designers on Instagram, it's such a fantastic place to discover wonderful creative folk and an array of thoughtful gifts that are just that little bit different. One of my favourites is Kate Rowland, who I was really sad to miss at a craft fair in London before Christmas but I took the opportunity to treat myself to some items from her shop in the earliest weeks of January. 

It was delivered in the middle of what felt like an interminably long week. The postman had left the parcel behind our pots and even having to shake off some rather large spiders didn't lessen the excitement. I'd ordered a hand-made brooch and a zine about her time looking after three shiba inu in a farmhouse in the mountains in Nagano - gorgeous photos and paintings. It's inspiring me to do something similar...perhaps during our holidays this year. It's really one step up from a scrapbook diary, which I love to do for special holidays already.

♥ Snow... I've realised something. I only really like snow when it first falls, I'm wrapped up warm and walking on an entirely flat surface or I'm cosily indoors looking at it falling through the window. It is very very pretty though but if this realisation is what being an adult is all about, I'll take it.

♥ Easter chocolate... Yes, you heard me correctly. The Christmas trees are only just down but the Easter bunny is alive and well in the supermarket. I am ever so slightly outraged but only slightly, as I adore Cadbury caramel eggs and I'm making the most of this early bounty! I draw the line at anything else though. Maybe.

♥ Do let me know what's made your week/month 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, LauraSarahPetaElMimmiLynseyKatie 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! 

Wonderful Wednesday: December 2018

2 January 2019

Rounding-off a year's worth of Wonderful Wednesdays with a summary of December's highlights and what a splendid December it was!

I'm finishing this off on the first Wednesday in January, back to reality with a heavy bump so this reminiscing is very much needed! I've got the Christmas tree twinkling beside me, enjoying the last few days before having to take it down this weekend. Christmas seems to disappear faster and faster each year, as does the year itself. It's a real treat to be able to take the time to stop and look back at some of my favourite moments, to savour them just that little bit longer.


♥ Galleries aplenty... I was lucky to be able to visit lots of galleries over the course of December, visiting the incredible Burne-Jones exhibition for a second time as well as a few hours wandering the National Gallery one evening between Christmas and New Year (including a veritable scrum around Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers'), and a last minute invitation to a Yayoi Kusama exhibition in East London just before Christmas.

All incredibly different but offering so much to think about in their own ways. More art this year please.

♥ Puppy spotting... A highlight of *any* month but December's puppy spots were particularly special. One Christmas shopping trip included both a baby boxer dog and a 10 week old black velvet pug puppy. The latter was particularly excited to stop for some friendly behind-the-ear scritches and it made my whole day (/month!)

♥ Trips to the theatre... Not one but two trips, in fact! The week before Christmas, I watched a performance of the Box of Delights, which is an old children's story but one which my brother and I discovered through the magic of a slightly terrifying 1984 adaptation that we were bought on video when we were really young and watched obsessively for years afterwards. I  only actually read the book recently but have the ability to quote the TV series almost verbatim. So, when we saw that this was being dramatised in London over Christmas, we had to go and dragged our long-suffering other halves along too. (Who doesn't love being quoted at really?!) It was absolutely magical - they'd made some changes to the plot as I know it, included some wonderful Christmas carols and some amazing puppetry (honestly, the dog was incredible). I may have cried a few times but all good tears and came away feeling so ready for Christmas. It was being shown in Wilton's Music Hall - a gorgeous old music hall in Whitechapel, which was a magical experience in and of itself, such an amazing building with so much history. If you get the chance to visit, do.

Between Christmas and the New Year, we also donned our gladrags and went to watch the Nutcracker at the London Coliseum. This was a gift for my mother in law, bought at the beginning of the year so we'd had a long time to build up our expectations and it did not disappoint in any way I've seen this ballet a few times now but I think this was my favourite interpretation yet. It was over far too quickly.

♥ Christmas... Christmas this year was such a delight and will always be one I'll treasure because it was the first time that my husband and I hosted Christmas dinner in our own house. There were 7 of us in total in the day, which coming from an Irish family is a relatively small number, but it was still enough when you're juggling 800 roast potatoes and trying to keep the turkey hot. It all came together though and I felt so very grateful as we were all seated round the table toasting the day, arguing over the bread sauce and reading out bad cracker jokes.

♥ The time between Christmas and New Year... I stumbled across a tweet by Matt Haig on Twitter, which said "I love this time of year. I LOVE it. I know we are meant to say 'oh that weird limbo between Christmas and New Year, fuck that' but why? No work. No emails. No expectation. No rat race. No knowing what the actual day is. This is the calendar's safe space. It's bliss." and it summed up the time between Christmas and New Year so perfectly for me, whilst at the same time making me appreciate it so much more. I adore Christmas so much and have a tendency to start feeling slightly down on Christmas Eve because it's all almost over but this made me stop and think, and really relax. It is that one time of the year when you can put everything else to one side for a few blissful days.

♥ My own little desk... We hauled the table we've been using in the garden over the summer out of the shed to add extra length to our dining room table for Christmas day. (Long, tenuous intro but bear with me...) Rather than put it away after Christmas passed, I've popped it in the corner of the room, covered it in a table cloth and am using it as my own little writing table - a little space just for me, where I've popped all of my notebooks and pens, and can sit down to draw/journal/daydream away from the kitchen table. I'm loving it! It's a temporary fix because I'd love a proper desk but that's not high on the list of other things we need right now so this will do for the time being...and hopefully encourage me to spend more time doing all of the above!

♥ Wintery walks... I know I've said this a few times already but it's something that I don't think I'll ever stop enjoying and I really hope I don't ever stop appreciating. Since moving out of London, I really notice the change in seasons more and I'm loving seeing these gentle changes as we go for walks through the nearby fields. I'm really enjoying pulling on my boots at hte moment and hauling my chocolate-filled person up a hill, feeling the burn of the cold air in my lungs. Well, the burn is either that or just the sheer quantity of chocolate I've eaten this Christmas. That should really be its own separate paragraph but hey, that's a given right?

Happy New Year, all! 

♥ Do let me know what's made your week/month 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, LauraSarahPetaElMimmiLynseyKatie 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 2019.

1 January 2019

Photo by Sylwia ForysiƄska on Unsplash

Seasoned readers of this little space will know that, rather than set a number of resolutions for the year ahead, over the last few years I've decided to choose a word for the year instead - an intention, of sorts. I love the feeling of a new year, like a brand new notebook it sits before me fresh and unmarked and full of opportunities.

I usually start pondering which word to choose when Christmas passes, a word that encapsulates how I'm feeling at this moment in time, but also how I feel looking back over the year that was and what I'd like to accomplish over the year to come. Lots of words popped into my head but after a little thought, I quickly discounted them thinking that they would be too easy to forget as the months pass. I wanted something that encapsulated something more, the little things that are important to me but which I so often lose track off as work takes over - family; friends; my little home and transforming it into our space; travelling and discovering new places; art, writing and the time to be creative in a myriad of small ways; health; and also considering our impact on the world and what can be done to make the world a better place.

This year, I've opted for 'priorities' as my word to focus on for 2019, to help me keep sight of the all-important 'life' in the 'work/life balance' and to do my best to prioritise each of the above. 

And with that, I'll leave you in the hands of Neil Gaiman who has written many new year wishes over the years and who always manages to send a message that is both touching and empowering at the same time, and so much better than I feel I ever could:

Be kind to yourself in the year ahead.

Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It's too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand.

Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.

Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them.

Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love.


Happy New Year to you all and thank you for stopping by over the last year, for every comment and every friendship sparked by these pages. Here's to 2019 being everything you wish it to be and more! Do let me know if you've chosen a word or an intention for the year - I'd love to know!

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