#279 // Happiness Delivered: Letters to 2018

Potentially unpopular opinion: I really hate premium beauty advent calendars.

It's not that I disagree with them per se, I'm just really not comfortable with the idea of spending the cost of a Christmas gift, or in some cases, the entire Christmas budget on an additional thing. It just feels like another commercialised, over-indulgent and unnecessary thing to add to already bulging festive Christmas to-do lists and strained purse strings. I dunno, maybe it just me.

So for my advent calendar this year, well for the twelve days preceding Christmas, I've decided to write a letter or card everyday and post it to a friend or family member. By now, you should know I love a pithy project title, so I'm calling this one: Letters to 2018.

Given Christmas and year end are typical points for down time and reflection, I want to look back and celebrate memories with that person from the past year, maybe even things they've forgotten or things they did that they didn't even know had an impact on me. Essentially, it will just be one long piece of "do you know how awesome you are?" prose. And why? Because our memories play tricks on us. Our negative biases will always have us looking at what we did wrong, bad decisions and who we aren't, instead of celebrating everything that we are. So step forward me as an intermediary to provide a timely reminder.

And then, even though I'm a firm believer in the New Now, rather than New Year, I've chosen a few choice, positive and uplifting words for them to hopefully keep in mind as we move into 2018.

So, here's to a positive start to the New Year.

Oh, and look out for a special edition dedicated to all my internet friends!


#278 // How to live slow when life is moving a mile a minute

The last few weeks have been cray at work.

We're mid-office move and that's all on me, post Company restructure which took us all by surprise, and even on the other side of it, I don't see things slowing down much before the end of January. We thank God for the Christmas break on the horizon. FYI: WILL. NOT. BE. LEAVING. PYJAMAS.

So I've been thinking about small ways I can slow the pace while running a mega rat race for a while.

You can still make time, even when time isn't on your side.
It's not always got to be two hour home spa sessions, luxurious baths or a full evening dedicated to whatever it is that feels indulgent or delights you. To be honest, I've been thinking about all of the time my current lifestyle affords me. I have a full time job, but it doesn't consume me. I don't have to take work home, I don't have kids. Much of my time is my own. And I know that not everyone has that. So here are a few ideas for you-time achievable in minutes.

Say no to shit tea and coffee first thing in the morning I took some loose leaf tea from my mum's house a few weeks ago. Given I'm someone that professes their love for the stuff, I'm really having to question my prowess given I'd never had proper loose leaf tea up until this point. I'd convinced myself it was a big faff that took ages. In reality, it takes about thirty seconds longer, but the the pay off is threefold. I may not be able to wake up an hour early to meditate and do yoga and journal, but I can get up a few minutes earlier to make a proper cuppa and sit down for five minutes to drink it properly, rather than take a gulp, forget about the rest and leave it on the side.

Use the good stuff I recently bought the Sanctuary Spa foaming shower scrub from Boots. It's absolutely lovely, with a great scent and exfoliating sea salt. At £7, it's not the cheapest option, but if you get an average of two weeks of showers out of a bottle, you're worth the fifty pence to start the day off right.

Get away from your desk There may not be time for a full lunch break, but take a quick walk round the block. Do that ASOS return at the local collect plus shop. I listen to the 'Little' podcast episodes of Happier by Gretchin Rubin. Every other episode is a minisode, which allows for a shot of screen-free time, inspiration and fresh air all in one hit. 

Self care can be found in the strangest places There aren't many places where you're uncontactable these days, but every so often, I go to the loo and just sit there for a few extra minutes to just get away from everything and everyone, close my eyes and get my head together.

Write it out I've got a mini diary that sits next to my bed. I've only started this in the last few weeks after hearing time and time again about the merits of getting all of your thoughts down before you hit the sack. I've been writing bullet points about how the day felt, things that were good, things I may not be looking forward to the next day, and actually, it works. My sleep has felt deeper and more satisfying for such a short and simple task. I think I'm going to keep it up.

Do one slow(ish) task, fast When life's a blur, you can often get bogged down still feeling you should be achieving, ticking boxes and progressing, when actually, just staying afloat and awake deserves a medal. Give yourself a quick win and an ego boost, by completing one task that usually falls to the wayside. You know, the thing that, while not a mammoth task, takes more than a few minutes or Amazon clicks to do, and gives a massive pay off when done. For me, it's things like moisturising my hair, or filing away my latest financial documents. The things that are small, but of significance to you.

Candlelight Cleansing Yes, this is now a thing as of last Thursday. No time for lounging in baths, a girl has got, lists to do, places to be, and zzzzs to catch. But I have discovered the perfect addition to my wind down routine. And it's so simple it sounds ridiculous: cleanse your face at night by candlelight. That simple action immediately transports removing your make up from tedious task to indulgent mini-moment of me time. Switch off the lights, close the door. No kids, no partners, no noise. Bliss. Follow it with a no light, no screen rule and slink off to slumber, resting and refueling for another jam packed day.

Et voila. Seven slow moments for hectic weeks. And on that note, it's good night from me.