This week was a week of trying to stop the clock, slow down and appreciate the little things again. Anyone who stalks this blog regularly enough (all 5 or so of you!), will know that I like to post at least twice a week, and that I’m trying my best to be more active on social media. Sadly this has all fallen by the wayside a little. I got to the point of feeling a little rundown and in need of a break. So I escaped to the country this week, and went to visit my Mum during my days off. Quite a few of the happy memories this week come from that, although there are a few from London too. And they focus on the simple pleasures – catching up with old friends, comfort food, appreciating the sunshine and not trying to overload my brain or my schedule. So the Things That Made Me Smile this week may seem simple to you, but they really did make my week brighter!
+ Wearing some funky blue nail varnish – nice and bright, like the gorgeous sunny skies we’ve had this week, to get me in that spring mood!
+ The gorgeous sunshine and warmth of the last few days. I’ve swapped my boots for canvas shoes, a thick jumper for a cardigan and a ski jacket for a light coat. The dose of Spring warmth was so welcome. Sunshine is just the ultimate placebo, and with my Vitamin D levels restored I feel so much more positive!
+ Going home to my mum during my days off for some much needed R&R. I had the nicest three days at home. On getting home, I spent the evening cuddled up on the sofa with my book, trashy TV (Don’t Tell the Bride double bill, hell yeah!), and pasta and chilli pesto with cheese. Which is one of the most glorious food combinations in the entire world, and one of my ultimate comfort foods! That was a heavenly evening. But the whole visit home was wonderful: waking up to a view of the fields, afternoons and evenings with Mum, comfort food which reminded me of growing up: it was perfect.
+ Colouring books. This will make me sound about five, but I really enjoy colouring in! (I should have done a Geography degree…ba da boom…) I recently bought an art therapy colouring book to counteract stress, but hadn’t had the chance to use it yet. On going home, Mum found the old books we used to colour in on holiday, with pages of scenes and patterns for shading as well as our old pencils. I took them over and spent the next three days in a blissful trance, colouring away to my heart’s content. Its unbelievably therapeutic – I highly recommend it!
+ Helping out at Mum’s school. My Mum is a Teaching Assistant in a primary school, and on my days off back home she commandeered me to help out for Writing Week. I am quite nervous of small children, but I love reading and writing so I gave it a bash, and it was the nicest change from my job. Hectic but somehow also peaceful! I immersed myself in primary school life for a few days. It was a welcome change and a fascinating insight into my mum’s working life. Now I feel I can really appreciate her conversations about work so much more.
+ Finally finishing Travelling to Infinity! I have been reading Jane Hawking’s biography for weeks now (in my defence, it’s a big book with a lot of small writing!), and finally finished it on the journey back to London on Thursday. It is a fascinating read, and I will (hopefully!) be reviewing it in the next week.
+ Baking Guinness Gingerbread. Ben and I got back from work this evening and promptly spent an hour trying our hand at this surprisingly simple Nigella recipe. The tins of golden, fragrant, spicy gingerbread are currently cooling in the kitchen, and they look and smell wonderful. I’m very much looking forward to sampling them tomorrow!
+ Getting my groove back at work. For a while now I’ve been feeling demotivated and fed up at work. A combination of factors seem to be getting me down, and I just wasn’t enjoying it. Last Sunday was probably one of the worst: travelling back from my Dad’s 70th I was in tears, telling Ben how much I was dreading work that night. But this week it seems to have changed a little. I went to a conference day on Friday which really gave me direction and a focus for the next few years, and the motivation from that has rubbed off into my day to day working. It’s still early days, but I’m hopeful!
+ Meeting four old school friends for a catch up on Friday. Two of them I haven’t seen in about two years (yep, I’m a terrible friend), and one is getting married in August, so we had plenty to talk about. My friend’s wedding will be the first wedding of someone my age I’ve been to, and it all feels so grown up and formal! (Example: Proper wedding invites where you can’t tell her you’re going, you have to RVSP to her scary dad!) We wandered round the Tate Modern and along the South Bank in the sunshine, and then headed to B@1 for their Happy Hour. Some awesome cocktails were sampled (including the Popster popcorn cocktail above!), and then we rounded off the evening with dinner at Byron. It was a fabulous catch up with wonderful ladies whom I definitely don’t see often enough!
+ Seeing Ben for the first time after a week apart. This is fairly unprecedented for us, as we usually manage to see each other every couple of days, so a week apart seemed quite long! So I had a rather silly grin on my face when we were reunited on Saturday evening, and he got an awful lot of hugs!
What made you smile this week?