Thursday, 26 November 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Nancy is thankful for her giant stuffed turkey, naps and eggs.

I am thankful for my husband, family, horses, dogs (save some time here - all animals really) crisps (all of them) my health (admittedly this is at odds with the crisps) the fact that my car is still working (touch wood) and a million other things like the moon and stars, our big comfy bed, the upcoming arrival of Christmas and trees (I like trees. Plus they're useful if you need to touch wood).

Happy Thanksgiving to you all x 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Fluffy ponies and sadness cannot coexist

Having a Sunday snog

Two months ago husband and I decided we wanted to have a go at this whole adulting thing and think about, possibly, maybe, sort of buying a house.

We thought of loads of reasons why this was a terrible idea and we should just stay as Peter Pan and Wendy and then my mum popped in for a cuppa and painted a heavy, terrible logic all over us.

Me: "I need to sell my flat."

Her: "Okay, why don't you do that."

Me: "Oh my God! Stop rushing me!"


Me: "And we like where we live at the moment."

Her: "You could look at some houses and see if you like them too."

Me: "Oh my God! What are you saying? Just chill out with the craziness!!"


Me: "Maybe we could buy a little house. And maybe that wouldn't trigger a personal Armageddon."

Her: "Maybe."

I may have applied a smidge of poetic licence to the conversation but you get the gist. I made some very careful, tentative plans to 'look into it.'

And 8 weeks later we have effectively all but bought our first house together. Hurrrahhhh! Thank God for mums and logic and stuff like that.

All very cool. Less cool when Foxy the car breaks for the fourth time this year while you have every last penny tied up in a deposit. 

Damn it! Money will be in short supply for the next few months. So tough adulting choices to make - no more riding lessons for a while, no more PTT for a while. Time to buckle under and save up again like a mother bear. 

Which normally would make me very sad. But I'm not sad. It's all fine. I'm going to run instead and get super ultra fit and save loads of money and then pick up my training in the spring and It. Will. Be. Fine.

I'm using my Ben Hobday positivity. This is not insurmountable. 

Also, I have the floofiest pony in the world to cuddle and fuss every day. Ponies and sadness can not be in the same room together. All the sweetie cutie floof drives away all feelings of sadness and makes everyone near the pony feel grateful and joyful.

So. I have a plan. I have a cure for sadness. I have a new house with my lovely husband.

It's all good. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Your Horse Live 2015

Now one of my most treasured horsey pics

It's that time of year when our horses begin to hide from us as we return armed with fresh ideas and 1,000 new rugs...

That's right - YOUR HORSE LIVE 2015 has just happened and the flames have barely been put out yet. In fact, my fingers are still smouldering as I type.

For strangers to my blog, here's an intro: We [gang of friends united by fondness for horses and crisps] go every year. Excitement and anticipation begins in June. 

And the event itself never, ever disappoints. It is basically a two-day equestrian oasis filled with professional riders and their stunning horses teaching you things: and thirty million shops. Only full of horsey things. And there's no proper food. Just two days of chips and coffee and doughnuts. It's a bit like those dreams that you really, really don't want to wake up from. 

Kelly Marks with The Pie

Skipping forward a bit - look at the top photo. Look. At. It. That's me and Anna with BEN HOBDAY. We love him! He's touching us! There's photographic evidence! He doesn't even look frightened! Well...

They say don't meet your heroes but he definitely contradicts that rule. He was super nice, said he liked our headbands and stayed and chatted to everyone who wanted to talk to him. He's also a Rocky fan, judging from the Rocky Balboa clip he played before his grand entrance.

"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!"

Right on the money since Ben has just finished treatment for cancer. He must have been bloody exhausted but he rode great and made everyone laugh with his craic. At the end of his demo he had a shouting competition to win a voucher for Red Horse products and I won. Many nice gloopy products have been ordered.

So now I am an even more ridiculous Hobday stalker, and not the least bit apologetic about it either. Ben supports a charity called Bright Red, who do amazing work in the North. Find out more here

Pretty horses, shopping, quirky turkeys

Speaking of high spots, I was also lucky enough to win a gorgeous Charlotte Dujardin Annabel Brocks headband thanks to The Brooke and their charity raffle. Taking it off again has proved a challenge - it is too warm and beautiful and cosy for its own good. It's an actual head hug. I'm not sure I've ever owned anything so fancy.

And just before you start really wanting to punch me, there were some tough bits too. Namely, the 'singing' of our friend Anna. Think car alarm meets rageful turkey and you're getting there. I did think about opening the door and leaping out as we sped down the motorway but that seemed slightly over dramatic so I did this instead. 


In between watching demos we did some good shopping and some even better chatting. And we sampled the chocolate fountains. Repeatedly.

I got luminous jackets for husband and I, a quirky turkey for Nance-a-tron, a scarf for my friend and some very lurid socks. I also saw a beautiful painting on the Katie Hough stand and my friend sneaked back and bought me the card of it and got Katie to sign it which was soooooo nice.

vast amounts of shopping

So now it's all over and I am very sad, but happy to see pony face again. He didn't die of mud fever after all. Maybe there's something to be said for a positive outlook.

Be happy x

Friday, 6 November 2015

Fog of Evil departs, life is good once more

L-R - Fog of Evil; Fairy Starbucks; The horizon returns.

The everlasting fog of evil returned to Mordor this morning and it must have taken my foul mood with it which was a blessed relief for everyone.

I woke up brimming with alarming energy and took Nancy round the golf course to make sure all the trees were still there. After that I went and sorted out ponyface's mudfever patch which is roughly the size of a ladybird.

A small ladybird at that. I sprayed his heels with a load of Hypocare and covered the ladybird with Aromaheel which seems to be very effective and then brushed his fluffy little face. He's so terribly charming. 

'I'm so verrrr lovely!'
Thanks to all that early morning activity I had a couple of hours which I spent at Field House, riding Maggie and lunging Snip. With Maggie I did a lot of finding the rhythm in walk as she tends to rush off, and then built that into walk - trot - walk transitions. Short and simple but she seemed more relaxed by the end which was the aim.

Then I lunged Snip, who is three, and cute as a button. He tends to do baby broncs while he's organising his feet but these improve with transitions and he did some nice work. My lunging is still creaky, but a little better. Just got to keep plugging away at these things.

In the afternoon I had my lesson on Jazzy. We walked on leg yielding and jumping a straight bar at a slight angle which requires a bit of organising if you don't want to merrily plough into the arena fence.

We still had our painful first canter [where I get hold of him too much and he storms through my hands like a juggernaut] but I really loved riding him. He's a young horse, very talented, but you can make mistakes on him without ending up in a top to toe plaster cast. 

Then I did my first training session towards my BHS PTT exam (Preliminary Teaching Test). I was watching, not teaching, and it was very interesting. I do love a good bit of H'Education.

Be happy x 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Goddamn mangey fog

For the past few days a thick grey fog has been lying like evil over the North East. Everyone has forgotten what the horizon looks like and whether it's night or day.

Night time:

Day time: 

See what I mean? 

Zed is still getting little open cracks on his near fore - the field is really good but when the weather's like this, there's no chance of it healing up. Which is causing me to have a major brood on the best plan of action, since the principle of treating mud fever is to keep it clean and dry and at the moment I can promise neither.

I've convinced myself that he'll probably develop an acute infection while I'm at Your Horse Live and explode in a ball of pus sometime during the Sunday afternoon while I'm clapping my hands in delight at Charlotte Dujardin like a neglectful bastard. 

Perspective - where are you? - we need you here asap.

My cheeriness is unhelped by having contracted the plague a cold and fighting the urge to boil the crusts off in a hot bath every ten minutes. 

On a less depressively whingey note, Nancy had a fab time running amok at Hamsterley forest this morning. Here's a pic.

Just kidding, here she is:

Now she's sulking on her bed because the slow cooker is on and the smell of meat and gravy drives her nuts. She wanders and wails round the flat like a Bronte sister until I make her go and lie down.

It's now 13.37pm - too early for bed?

Monday, 2 November 2015

"Done is better than good"

What it's all about

To mark the end of a very good holiday, I decided to have a jolly nice Monday.

We're house hunting (eeep!) at the moment so I drove an expectant Nancy down to our potential new neighbourhood and we went for a charge about together.

She LOVES new places, especially when they have woods, and open fields full of noisy crows to chase. A spooky mist made it feel just exactly like November.

At one point Nancy stood stock still and I thought she'd seen another dog but it was a tiny Roe deer tottering across the path. I always feel like it's good fortune to see a deer, though Nancy thought I was a first-rate meanie for stopping her sprinting after it.

After our walk it was time to spend time with my other fluffy child. Weird patchy weather had evolved into bright sunshine as evidenced in below pic.

We took another walk out and saw one car, several dogs and their owners and a gorgeous black pony pulling a trap. Zed seems to enjoy these trips, and although he's very alert, he's also very sensible. No leaping about which is good for my adrenalin graph (formerly detonated by Princess of Darkness Pony whose name I cannot speak in case of a Beetlejuice style incident).

In the afternoon I headed over to Field House to do some lunging. I'm a bit rusty but Snip and Spot stayed patient with me and I enjoyed it. Reading Big Magic has reminded me that perfectionism and happiness are never in the same room at the same time, so every time my ponies trotted egg shapes instead of circles I used Liz Gilbert's mother's motto - DONE IS BETTER THAN GOOD.

Forever I shall nail it inside my head - it is the foundation of a great day and a satisfying life.

My friend pinned this poem on my FB today - we are both obsessed with autumn and Christmas and I think it's just beautiful. 

Later on I was hunting around a tat shop for a plant pot for the rose Phil bought me for our one year anniversary when I stumbled across this little gem - it has red berries and white snow - just like the poem. Just look at it! Too pretty.

So, a gorgeous day - fitting to end a memorable holiday. Work tomorrow, but tonight will be dedicated to pyjamas, macaroni cheese and Friends. 

Be happy x  

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Falling in love with Big Magic and Rising Strong

It was my birthday recently, and Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, was on my list, but Phil also got me a copy of Rising Strong, knowing that I have a super pash on Brene Brown.

Top marks to him, as these books go hand in hand so well.

Rising Strong can be best summarised as: Sort Your Shit Out.

While Big Magic follows on with: And Now Get Your Dreams Moving.

These are books to read when you've forgotten how wonderful life is. They're much smarter and more knowing than most self-help books, which I often find fall into the realm of Just Try Harder, You Idiot.

They're the written equivalent of that one friend we all love - the one you have a cup of tea and a 40 minute chat with and then you feel like you can do anything again. The reset button is pressed and all your miserly doubts are in the bin where they belong. 

With my new found enthusiasm I decided to get Zed out on the open road this morning and took him for a walk in hand. He was a joy. A total smarty pants awesome dude - alert, attentive and as well behaved as a scout. Here's a couple of pics of him in full cutey pony mode. 

He's much more settled in his bridle now and he was very easy to lead - not nappy or worried at all. Just pottering along and gently introducing things is working well with him so far.

By the way, all of the TED talks by Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert are very very very worth a listen. If you're lacking mojo, you need to know about these women. Even though EG is often talking about art, her ideas are very applicable to horses, or any sport/obsession/passion. 

More soon, be happy x 

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween

Pumpkin pony

Thursday's lesson with my friend Helen - dressed as skeletons naturally

Happy Halloween everyone :)

I've never been bothered before but this year I'm very much on board. An excuse to dress up, make things and eat chocolate must not be missed. I can't believe it's taken this long...

We went to see our friends last night and their two children have gone bonkers decorating the house with cobwebs and skeletons and they'd made a big Halloween treasure hunt for us. It was brilliant fun and really cool.

Then this afternoon I walked into the living room and found Phil carving a pumpkin so I had to try too - equine themed of course! I love my pumpkin pony :)

Real pony is still a jolly little soldier, though it's been a rainy week for them and he's got a touch of mud fever. No swelling, just some small scabs on his near fore. I've been putting Aromaheel on which I find very good but if it flairs up more he'll need antibiotics.

Yesterday I did Step 1 of the The Pony Club Coach Development Course. I was a bit lousy with cold and not feeling super confident but my mini lesson seemed to go quite smoothly and the feedback was good. 

There's a lot to think about now if you want to be a coach. You need sound knowledge, people skills and horse skills of course, but also you need to be on top of your paperwork. When I spoke to the tutor afterwards she said that the Olympics coming to London had started a tidal wave of improvements in coaching. I never thought of that - but I love the idea. It was so exciting to watch, and made dressage so popular, and it's nice to think that the influence carries on and even affects little tadpoles like me! 

The course was very well taught and I'd like to do the second part in the spring. 

Be happy x

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Zed is brave and clever and wonderful

This photo is entirely unrepresentative of my appearance 
The photo above seems to suggest a human with her shit in order. She has new hair, a beautiful pony, and a seasonally-appropriate scarf.

Sorry to disappoint, but I'm normally wearing joggers with a hole in the seat and have peanut butter in my eyebrows. Still, it's nice to have the occasional good photo to keep you motivated :) 

And - look at the lovely pony. He really is lovely - inside and out - and today he made my day by being brave and clever and wonderful. 

I've started doing a little bit of lunging with him and he's been slightly less at ease on the right rein, as I would expect. But we've been chipping away at it and today we managed very nicely. I gave him a huge fuss and 80 million kisses on the nose and he seemed content with a job well done.

It's such a huge responsibility to have a youngster, but I'm gradually finding my feet with the idea. At first my default thoughts were: "ohshitoohshitohshitwhatwasIthinking" but now its changing to: "ohshitohshitwhatwasIthinking...oohthisisfun!"

I got to ride two beautiful horses yesterday. Bramble, who took me on a lovely hack out in the sunshine, and Jimmy, possibly the most handsome horse in the world IMHO (will get a pic at some point). 

I'm still not quite my usual self but even through the waves of apprehension I could feel his gorgeous, powerful paces. He's very well schooled and straight and just the teeniest bit spooky but he only did a bit of peering, no whipping about, so I certainly won't complain.

Picture of the sainted one - How I love her 
Nancy has had a horror poo bug so most of the week has been cleaning up and dealing with evil smells but she's on the mend now, for which I'm very grateful. Today's been very foggy and autumnal which gives me every excuse to curl up on the sofa with my best girl and read the papers.

Be happy x 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Where the hell did my confidence go?


A couple of weeks ago I was riding a horse I've ridden maybe 50 times. He's lovely, good paces, tries really hard and is so sweet I have a real soft spot for him.

He can be nervy sometimes, and when he frightens himself he finds it hard to calm down again. A lot of people have fallen off him. My first fall from him was a good few months ago when the string on the end of my whip had unravelled. I got on and he felt it tickle his side and freaked out. 

I was down to ride him the other day, put my foot in the stirrup, sat down and he bolted, at speed. I came off backwards and was unhurt apart from a sore side and sore pride. 

But actually, that fall has bothered the shit out of me, because it was frightening, and because I don't know exactly why it happened. Theories are: 

a) he may have caught something out of the corner of his eye that spooked him.
b) girth might have been too tight.
c) he was full of good grass, having escaped into the giant field and gorged himself. 

It also bothered me because I felt like a crap rider for letting it happen, and because I wasn't able to get back on without help. Which sort of puts your ego firmly back in its box.

Which is where it belongs really. There's no place for ego with horses, it always ends in tears and humiliation. 

After a mild existential meltdown I've decided that there is every likelihood that my confidence will return to its normal level if:

a) I keep riding.
b) I keep the fall in perspective (everyone falls off, and the more you ride the more likely it is that you will)
c) I take extra care when mounting to do so carefully, with my reins nice and short, and with my brain in gear in case anything does happen.

Riding horses can go wrong. And when it does you realise what a miracle it is that it doesn't happen more. When you get binned, you get a reality check. And it doesn't feel nice, but it does give you a chance to pause for thought and ask: "Is this worth it?"

The answer, for me, is always: "Yes."

Be happy x

My Nancy

I'm forever grateful to the friend who told me about the Robert Burns poem quoted in the picture. I'm pretty sure he wasn't writing about a lurcher but me may as well have been because the words fit her so well :) I'm equally grateful to my other friend, who took the photo and captured her beautiful little face so well. To see more of his work click here or follow him on Twitter @bbtakesphotos 

Be happy x

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The hidden terror of owning a horse

I want to write only about how happy I am to have a horse again. 

Especially one as adorable as Zed. I want to tell you about how good he is. How he's been an absolute treasure as I've introduced bridle, roller, saddle bit and the teeniest spot of lunging. How he rests his head on me and falls asleep again when I go to see him early morning. 

But that would only be half the story. 

I'm frightened he's going to die. I'm frightened I'm going to arrive at the field and find him half dead, like I did with Rodney. I'm worried I'm going to fail to look after him and it's going to kill him. And I'm also afraid that he'll die even if I get everything right.

Life is two stories that run parallel to each other. One is the glossy, fun version that appears on Facebook, or in the news you tell a friend you haven't seen for a while. It's the highlights - the parts that happen when the sun is shining, the good days that give you hope and fill you with enthusiasm.

The other is the part that grabs you by the leg at 4am and tells you that you've got everything wrong and you're too silly and small not to fail.

I'm NOT writing this looking for sympathy, more as reassurance for anyone else who feels like that. And I think most of us do at some point.

We all need those two sides of life. Sharing good news and successes makes us all happy, and confronting our fears and failures makes us tougher - if we let it.

I think trying anything in life after you've failed is worth it. It's worth accepting your fears and doing it anyway, because not doing it is worse.

So here we are: I am a horse owner again. My horse might die. And it might be my fault. But I'm going to love him anyway. 

Monday, 31 August 2015

Life changes - Part 2

We all know that the minute you start thinking about whether a new horse is a good idea, it's time to set fire to your bank account and jump aboard the Inevitable Train.

Which is just what I did. Armed with a firm shopping list and a tiny budget, I began the search. After one maybe and a few not suitables, I began to feel a bit impatient.

And then a message dropped into my inbox from an old friend who I met when I had my first horse and thought I knew everything. With incredible diplomacy she did a lot of hand-holding and stopped me from killing said first horse and taught me an awful lot, for which there is a debt of gratitude still to be paid.

And so we began to-ing and fro-ing about this youngster she had: three years old, Cob x, unbacked but well-handled... And only because the message was from her, I asked if I could meet him.

The night before I talked myself out of it. I didn't want a three year old, and I didn't want to have to back one either.

When I met him my reservations faded away. He was sweet, friendly, well-mannered and a really nice stamp.

A deal was quickly worked out and he arrived one week ago today. His name is Zed, he's living in pony paradise which belongs to my best friend, and he's great. I spend time with him every day and we're just doing little things like picking his feet out and brushing them clean, leading from both sides, leaving his friends, halting in hand and general hanging out. He likes a nice scratch and seems the most trusting little soul.

I'll record our adventures here :)

Life changes - Part 1

I signed up for camp this year in a flurry of excitement, paid my deposit and sort of forgot about it except in a hazy way.

Then, in the run up, I had a week-long meltdown about Rodney. Don't ask me why, not a clue, but I ended up in tears several times a day and the thought of going to camp seemed like a cold shower.

But as my friends and family know, I am a turner-upper. If nothing else, I will be there. On time, with clean underwear and possibly in tears - but there, nevertheless.

And holy shit I'm glad I didn't miss it. Hours of riding, great people, great instruction, sunshine, lasagne, pub rides, cross country, show jumping - the works.

I had Jazzy (red and white above) and Crystal (blue and white above). Both top horses, and Crystal is an experienced jumping beast-mode machine. She dragged my ass over anything and everything and gave me a bucket load of confidence and delight.

All my Rodney grief evaporated and I spoke to lots of horse owners who'd been through similar things. I drove home on the Sunday with a big, happy smile on my face wondering...

"Am I ready to have a horse again?"

To be continued...

Monday, 6 July 2015

Dare to try

I make no apologies for the long absence...I grafted my bum off for my Stage 2 exam, plaiting, bandaging, lunging, riding and reading the book again and again and it left precious little time for anything else.

And I really enjoyed all that work. It woke me up and gave me a focus and I liked seeing the improvements, even if they were just a tiny bit at a time. 

At times it was annoying and frustrating and when the day of the exam dawned I wondered why I had bothered. Normal people do not get up at 4am to drive to the over the side of the country to face cruel judgements. Except I'm sure we've already agreed that horsey people definitely miss the 'normal' category by a mile or two!

The day of the was pretty tough. All the candidates were nervous and I was pleased I got to ride in the first group just to burn off a few jitters. I got good horses and made it through to the jumping. My rounds may not have been stylish but I just rode as best I could and got round pretty well.

The care was fine, I enjoyed it, but I struggled with the oral questions bit, and gave a wealth of gaffy answers. All in all I quite enjoyed the day, even though it was tough. I didn't feel as nervous as the day wore on, just a bit annoyed that I fluffed easy questions.

The day after though, was horrible. By then I'd remembered every tiny mistake in  full technicolour, knew I wasn't going to get it and just wanted to kick myself for blowing it when I'd worked really hard and knew the answers. Worse, everyone kept telling me I'd pass and I kept trying to explain that I really wouldn't and it wasn't just false modesty talking. At best I thought I might get a couple of modules and then have to resit the rest.

And then...I was sitting at work when Phil rang to say my certificates had arrived. I didn't believe him and made him check all the paperwork at least twice! Even now, a week later, and I'm so happy and excited to have passed. And I had a tear in my eye when my lovely friend Helen got me my very own medal - it really is the most thoughtful gift and I'm going to look at it whenever I'm tempted to hang back and not give things a go. 

I've now decided to work for my Stage 3 and PTT now as I love the work and doing Stage 2 really improved my riding and lunging etc.  

So, onwards and upwards. I'm so pleased I dared to try. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Super swot

I'm too busy to blog now* I've become...super swot. A few weeks ago our instructor asked if I was still planning to do my Stage 2 and I made loads of excuses about various smelly bills that have landed on my doorstep lately. 

Then I went home, thought about it, and decided "Stuff it. Let's enter. There'll always be some reason not to so I might as well just get on with it."

So I hastily renewed my BHS membership, booked the exam and then proceeded to wonder what the hell I'm doing since I am rustier than a scrapyard weathervane.

Actually it's worse than that. There's a fair chunk of the syllabus I've barely touched upon, but kidded myself I knew all about because I've watched other people do it. Ha. Haha.

After the initial meltdown of having lots to learn and very little time, I calmed down and got to it. Shockingly, I am absolutely loving all the revising. I'm going to the yard as much as possible and doing as much as I can and then when I get home the books come out. It's totally woken me up out of the drift I was in. 

The feeling reminds me of what Jim Rohn wrote: "The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them."

Got to go, stuff to learn!

Be happy x 

*Clearly I'm not. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

21 day challenge - update 1

Galloping steady with the 21 day challenge. Patterns are emerging - most of the things I'm grateful for, and the good experiences I have, are centered around...

1. Husband 
2. Nancy
3. Something lovely in nature

No coincidence that these three are my strongest sense of connection. The times when I'm with my husband, or with Nancy, or outside somewhere beautiful (or all three) is when I feel most like myself. 

I was driving home from a long, tiring day at work last week feeling a bit flat and arsey when I saw a heron fly overhead in the evening sunshine. I saw that beautiful, freaky-looking bird and it just clicked me back to normality and stung me out of WorkWorryBrainGarbage mode. 

The less expected pattern in my records so far is how much I enjoy good television. We found the boxset of The Sopranos in a second hand shop last week and it is such a stellar treat. Neither of us had remembered how funny it is.

I always feel a bit guilty about loving telly. I feel like I should be writing a book or weaving a basket out of recycled yarn or something. But actually when I think about it, it makes sense. I've always loved good characters and getting to know them, and you can't be a journalist for 8 years if you don't love people and their stories. 

Here are some of my favourite characters at the moment. Warning, I am not high brow about these things. If it makes me laugh - I'm watching.

Gina from Brooklyn 99

Bonnie from Mom...

Tony from The Sopranos.

So there you go. Love, nature and a load of telly, turns out I'm a lot more straightforward than anticipated. Everyone should give this project a go. If you hate it, so what? Just give it up after a few days. But if you like it, you might get a clearer idea of what and who really makes you happy. And then you can do more of that stuff, or spend more time with those people.

Makes sense to me.

Be happy x

Thursday, 7 May 2015

21 day challenge

This happy. I want to be this happy

Following on from yet another TED talk by Shawn Achor, I am currently in the early stages of a 21 day challenge to give myself a more positive outlook.

If you can stop vomiting and bear with me, I'll explain.

I am, without a doubt, the happiest I have ever been. The world around me is just as I would like it and I am more blessed than Jesus, on a rollercoaster, sitting between Buddha and the Dalai Lama. On Prozac. 

I have NO complaints about all the good fortune surrounding me, not limited to but including: my wonderful husband, our beautiful dog, our happy home, our healthy families, our priceless friends, our jobs that enable us to live, etc etc.

But. Sometimes I feel worried that I'm not grateful enough, or I get a bit stressed if something goes slightly not-to-plan. Perfect example, I rent my flat out and upstairs has sprung a leak which is now bulging through my kitchen ceiling. It's a minor, minor thing but I could be better at keeping that perspective.

I loved Shawn's TED talk because it's short and funny - baby unicorn anyone? - yet contains a simple plan in the last few seconds.

Every day, for 21 days
  1. Write down 3 things you are grateful for from the past 24 hours
  2. Write down one positive experience from the same time slot
  3. Do some exercise
  4. Meditate
  5. Practice random acts of kindness
So I'm now on day 3 and so far, me likey. Often I catch myself during the day wondering what I'm going to use as my 3 things, or what positive experience I'm going to write about. Which has to be better than fretting about a collapsing ceiling, or the fact my car needs major repairs.

And it's keeping me focused on meditating and yoga (my choice of exercise). So I'm interested to see where 21 days of this will take me. If you fancy it, try it to. Let me know what you think. 

Be happy x 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Durham with Darling

A beautiful icon, and Durham Cathedral

We went to Durham with the darling today, and enjoyed a good mooch about admiring the blossom in the sunshine. 

It's been a quiet bank holiday due to the weather, except for a monster walk on Saturday with a stop off for chips and hot chocolate.

I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend too!

Be happy x

Thursday, 30 April 2015

All the animals

I'm undergoing a strong love affair with Pic Monkey as you can see...
It's super easy and you can make a lovely collage in about three seconds. The one above is now my FB cover and includes some of my happiest animal memories from the past year. I just love fuzzies and every minute I spend with them just reinforces that feeling. 

My favourite mare at the yard foaled on Sunday. I saw them Monday but very briefly so this morning I went up again and drank my coffee under a tree and watched from afar since mother mare is quite suspicious of people in general and very protective of her baby. Even her field friend isn't allowed near. The owners did bring her in on Monday as she hadn't cleansed and needed a shot of oxytocin but now they're back in the field.

Baby is a dark mahogany bay and looks like she might have a Roman nose in time. She's very strong and feisty and when I was there today she was leaning against mum and pushing her away and when she wasn't allowed to feed she had a tiny temper tantrum and jumped up and down squeaking!

These photos are not very good as the camera on my phone has gone crap but the mare I like is the black and white and you can just about see baby. I'm not sure why I like her so much, I just do. She's nice to ride and there's just something I like about her. She's quietly tough. The skewbald mare is lovely too, her foal was born a few weeks ago and is extremely sturdy and fluffy. I like the photo where she's peeping out from behind mum. 

I've also chucked in a pic of wor Nancy in her pretty new collar from Lozza's Lurcher Rescue. A worthy cause in MHO.

Be happy x 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Yoga twit

We had so much fun on Saturday morning being first rate doilies. It was cold so I'd started jogging about while we were throwing the ball for Nancy, and that escalated into a spot of outdoor yoga using available landmarks. I highly recommend it.

Our Friday night session was tough but very satisfying and it's lovely when you feel even a tiny bit of progress in the poses. Plus, one of the ladies had potted up lots of spare mint for us which was a smashing bonus. 

Mild obsession of the week is the Gypset Goddess Facebook page. Some seriously beautiful photos, some astounding yogic flexibility and some videos that I am desperate to pinch the moves from! Not sure I'm quite at that level yet though...

Be happy x