One Little Happy Thing

Quirky home decor & lifestyle blog

Tag: culture

Why you need words to live by.

What are words to live by?

Words to live by are phrases, mantras and affirmations which hold greater meaning to you. It can be anything. A quote from another person, a line from a book, proverbs, whatever.

These words should inspire you to be better, do better and improve your life. They should strike a chord with what you already believe or feel, and enhance those beliefs. They should also make you think deeper about your current situation, your life style choices and pretty much anything which happens in your life.

These words are not a fixed thing in your life. They can chop and change dependent on what is happening at any moment in your life. When you’re feeling down they could be something which pulls you up. If you’re feeling unmotivated they could inspire you to make a great change in your life.

Why you need words to live

Why you need to find your words to live by

The power of words is highly underrated. Reading something positive, inspiring or empowering has an impact on the way you feel. Read something uplifting and you’ll be inspired to be more than you are. Read something negative and you will start questioning your life and your decisions.

Words also have the power to inspire you to make great changes in your life, if you let them. They can sow a seed of brilliance in your mind and through a bit of nurturing your life could end up being massively different because of it.

Personally I like surrounding myself with these words. I have a board dedicated to this on my Pinterest. I also like creating my own art work incorporating some magical words. There is something about mixing together art and words that really gets my blood pumping.

Particularly when times get tricky I find solace in words and inspiration on how to move forward. This self help blog and many many others are brilliant sources for inspiration on how to get through those tricky moments in life.

My words to live by.

My favourite quote is “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds”. It’s an old Mexican proverb. It is powerful and wonderful. Being a typical Brit I love an underdog, and this makes me think of the struggles we all face against the nameless higher figures who try and tell us how we should be living.

I’m also a bit of a feminist, and this quote was used at a rally in London not so long ago. It speaks volumes to the feminist part of my identity, the oppressed vs the oppressors, and how the oppressed will grow through this.

However, this may not mean anything to you. Words are personal. For some they have no meaning, for other’s they can mean the world. You need to find the words which mean the most to you, and surround yourself with them. Immerse yourself into their meaning, the connotations attached and the images they inspire in your head.

Finding your words to live by.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a fantastic resource when it comes to finding inspirational, motivational and uplifting quotes, all set on beautiful backgrounds and incorporated into products. Create a board and pin some of your favourites.

The wonderful thing with Pinterest is that once it knows what you like, it will show you more similar things. So, the more quotes you pin the more it will show you. Like a big snowball effect. Guaranteed you’ll find something which speaks to you.

And if you don’t it’s almost like a limitless resource. Something will eventually pop up, so you just need to stick with it. I find a lot of the quotes on there can be a little samey, but wade through the rubbish and there are some gems.

Films, books, songs.

Think of your favourite song. Is there a particular line in it which says something to you? I love Everlong by the Foo Fighters. There is one particular line which goes “Breathe out so I can breathe you in” which I love.

Any sort of writing is a good resource for finding something which speaks to you. I can think of all my favourite books and films and think of a few quotes from each which mean something deeper to me, and I’m sure if you think about it there’s probably a few out there for you too.

Write your own.

Can’t find anything on Pinterest? Nothing inspiring you from your favourite song? Write something for yourself!

It’s not too difficult to create your own mantra. Think about what is the most important aspect. Do you want it to be about growth, or change, or motivation, or faith? There is an endless list of possibilities, but whatever matters to you at this moment in time is what you should be writing about.

If you’re struggling to find the words then google synonyms for what you want, and you may be able to make anything you write sound a little more beautiful.

Let me know what your words to live by are in the comments. I’d love some new inspiration!

10 things to do on a no screen evening

(This post contains affiliates links, see my a full disclosure on my About page. I may receive a small commission for any link to Amazon. Any purchase you make helps support me write and provide this content.)

10 things to do on a no screen evening

I wrote another post recently about why you should have a no screen evening, but now here’s some ideas for what you can do on these evenings.

No screen evenings are a fun way of unplugging from the modern world and spending some time with family and friends. You can remove yourself from distractions, like TV and phones, and enjoy the company you are in. Or, just enjoy your own company.

These are some of my favourite things to do on a no screen evening, hopefully you can find some inspiration to plan a no screen evening of your own!

1. Read a book.

Not just any book. Its that book which you’ve read a few pages of, but have gotten too busy to read anymore. Mine was The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks (a brilliant read about some really interesting case studies of very unusual neurological disorders, check it out if you like the weird and the wonderful). I managed to finish the book through a no screen evening. Make time for those unloved books.

2. Cook a new recipe.

Top tip for this one: make sure you either have the recipe written down or have a cook book to hand. The no screen evening can be ruined if you have to fire up the tablet for the next step. At Christmas one of our gifts was a vegan friendly hamper (my partner is vegan, I’m mostly vegan), which included The Vegan Cook Book for Beginners, perfect for us as I’m still coming to terms with vegan cooking. Get yourself a copy though as it is full of really handy tips.

3. Play card games.

Buy yourself a deck of cards. You know have the capability to play hundreds of card games. You can play Solitaire on your own, or invite some friend’s around for a game of poker. If you’re like me and have a wicked sense of humour then check out Cards Against Humanity. If you’ve not heard of it before then tread with caution. It is essential a question and answers game, you have to come up with the funniest answer from your hand of cards. However the answers are rude, crude and sometimes down right offensive. I find it hilarious.

4. Have a board game evening.

I have some really fond memories of playing board games with my family when I was a kid, bring some nostalgia into your life and find some of the old board games you used to play. We recently invested in Monopoly, and have spent a few evenings playing, although I am slightly over competitive and a sore loser. I’m working on that though.

5. Pamper yourself!

Turn off the TV, run yourself a bubble bath, pour a glass of your favourite drink and treat yourself. You could always get some face masks, hair treatments and really pamper yourself! One of my favourite things to do is pluck my eyebrows, they always seem completely untamed so this is a good opportunity to get on top of things.

6. Pick up a new hobby.

You’ll need to do some groundwork here, figure out whats the right hobby for you. I’m quite partial to a bit of knitting, but you could try anything. Paper craft, crochet, cross stitch, wood burning, home brewing: the list is literally endless. There are a tonne of books you can invest in, or pick up from the library, just make sure you have the basics to hand and go for it.

7. Catch up with friends.

Invite your friends over, and then all of you place your phones in a bowl. The first to break and check it has to take the rest of you out for dinner. This is a perfect opportunity to strengthen bonds with loved ones, and you’ll find without the distraction of technology you will learn so much about each other, particularly if it’s people you haven’t seen in a whole.

8. Clean all of the things.

Without the distraction of TV or Facebook you can really get into the nitty gritty of cleaning pretty much anything. I don’t enjoy doing the cleaning BUT I do enjoy a deep clean. I mean the kind of clean where you get on your hands and knees and scrub the skirting boards until they’re gleaming. Nothing is more satisfying than actually seeing a noticeable difference. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend a no screen evening but guaranteed you’ll feel better for it.

9. Visit a local park.

You don’t have to stay in for a no screen evening! Find a local park and go for a walk. Take a loved one, or go on your own, just make sure you leave your phone at home (or turned off, I always get worried I’ll need it). Without your phone to hand you won’t be tempted to just take pictures of the beautiful scenery, you can truly enjoy it.

10. Do some writing.

Get yourself a journal and write an entry. Get together with friends, each armed with a pen, each person gets to write ten words on a piece of paper with only the last word of the previous sentence showing. Hilarious. Always wanted to write a book? Now’s the time. You could even invest in an old fashioned typewriter! I’m a big fan of the written word, if you push yourself you may be able to come up with something interesting, just have plenty of pens and paper to hand.


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Why you need a no screen night

(This post contains affiliates links, see my a full disclosure on my About page. I may receive a small commission for any link to Amazon. Any purchase you make helps support me write and provide this content.)

Why you need a no screen night

What is a no screen night?

It is exactly what it sounds like, no screens for an evening! No phones, no TVs, no laptops, no tablets. This could be something you could try to implement monthly, weekly or even nightly. But you need to give it a go.

It’s something I’ve been considering for a while, and I do try to unplug as much as possible, but I have been struggling, mostly due to my love of writing blog posts! (And Pinterest, always Pinterest).

My partner and I have decided to dedicate some of our time together as being no screen time. I’m terrible for browsing through my phone, and he’s just as bad browsing through his tablet. But there are so many reasons why we should unplug.


Why should you have a no screen night?

There’s many many reasons why a no screen night is a good idea. If you’ve clicked on the link for this post you probably already know, in your heart of hearts, that a no screen evening is a good idea, but here’s some detailed reasons why.

1. Spend less on electricity.

Seems pretty obvious once you say it out loud, but the less electrical gadgets you have plugged in, the less you will spend on your electricity bill. I can’t say my partner and I use a lot of electricity anyway, but we’ll be monitoring how much our usage drops over the next few months. You can actually buy monitors to see how much electricity you are using, which is an awesome idea! This means you can actually compare your no screen evenings to plugged in evenings and see a numerical difference. Money isn’t the key to happiness but being able to save a few pounds is never a bad thing either.

2. Quality time with loved ones.

Again, this one seems pretty obvious. But without the distraction of TV or smart phones you can really reconnect with the people around you. I’m guilty of casually scrolling through Facebook when people are talking to me, I don’t mean to do it, I don’t want to do it, but its an unconscious action. Without the opportunity to grab my phone (I turn it off for no screen time) you’ll find yourself more engaged in the moment.

3. Happiness, pure blissful happiness.

Raise your hand if your guilty of scrolling through Facebook and getting a little bit jealous of what you see? Yep, me too. FOMO is a real thing and something you should be aware of. People only generally tend to share the best parts of their life on social media and so it’s easy to think that’s the way they always live. Not true. Even the most glamorous of Instagram models wake up with messy hair and smelly breath, just remember that. It’s almost like a weight off your shoulders making the effort to disengage from the rest of the world.

4. Self awareness.

No screen nights are also a brilliant thing to do on your own. Use that time to find something you’re passionate about, whether it be a new hobby, batch cooking meals for the week ahead, or even just having a bit of a pamper session. You’ll maybe learn something new about yourself. I’ve already learnt that wood burning is the coolest hobby in the world. I have a similar kit to this one which is good for beginners, but there are so many options out there to suit any budget. Pick something you can get passionate about.

5. Finding yourself with a lot more time.

Kind of linking to number 4, you’ll be surprised just how much time you waste either watching TV or scrolling through social media. Without a screen to distract you, you’ll be able to achieve so much more in one evening. I like to spend as much time as possible at the weekend unplugged so that I can prepare meals for the week ahead, and get ahead on all of the house work. I’ve batch cooked and frozen a tonne of pancakes. That’s a win in my book.

6. Saving the planet.

Yep, a pretty solid reason to unplug don’t you think? The less electricity we use, the better for the environment, simple as that. If you’re pretty dedicated to unplugging you may also find you are buying less gadgetry, which is again brilliant for the planet. In our house we have 1 TV, 1 smart phone, 1 tablet and 1 laptop. I see this as being slightly too much, but I know compared to a lot of households this is unbelievably little. But you know what? It feels good to have less.

Treat yourself, plan a no screen evening with friends, or even just on your own. Unplug from the world and see the benefits for yourself. There is only so much I can write to convince you it’s a brilliant idea, you’ll never know for definite the benefits without trying for yourself. Let me know how you get on in the comments.


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The Sunday Schedule – My Top 10 Tips for an Awesome Week

(This post contains affiliates links, see my a full disclosure on my About page. I may receive a small commission for any link to Amazon. Any purchase you make helps support me write and provide this content.)

10 tips for a more awesome week

I’ve been thinking a lot about Sundays recently. Usually this is the laziest day of my week. I wake up late, watch a film with my mum, then return home to do nothing but sit on my bum and watch TV until bed time.

But this is such a waste of time! We only get a certain amount of free time every week to get things done. So I’ve been thinking of things which could specifically be done on a Sunday to make the rest of the week awesome.

As is my mantra, these are small things you can do to make a big difference. Not just organizational, but also to put you in a better mind set for the week ahead.

1. Check your calendar.

This is essential for the Sunday schedule. You need to be prepared for what the week has to offer. Make sure you check out your calendar and remind yourself of any big plans you have. The amount of times I’ve almost forgotten birthdays and social events because I haven’t checked my calendar is unbelievable. Doing this on a Sunday gives you time to run out and buy gifts, organize baby sitters, essentially just get yourself prepared.

2. Plan your meals.

I’ve got a weekday planner (similar to this one), and on a Sunday my partner and I sit down and write out the dinners we’ll be having all week. Doing this on a Sunday means we have time to also make sure we have all the ingredients available. Having a plan also means you’re less likely to order a takeaway or cook something unhealthy, saving you money and keeping you nourished. It’s a win win.

3. Prepare your meals.

So, you’ve got your meals planned, now is time to prepare as much as possible. I’ve read a lot of log posts about prepping all meals; breakfast lunch and dinner, then freezing or refrigerating until using. Seriously, go looking on Pinterest, there’s so much you can make beforehand, in bulk, then freeze. I cooked up so much soup last weekend I now have a freezer full! It’s a great way of saving time during the week, but it does take up a lot of your Sunday hours. Do as much as you can, you’ve got your weekday planner to fall back on if you don’t get as much done as hoped.

4. Change and wash your bedsheets.

Is there anything better than getting into a bed with fresh bedsheets? No, no there isn’t. Make this your Sunday treat, fresh bed linen. Making sure your bedsheets are washed the same day also ensures you don’t have to wash them the following Sunday before changing them. Going to bed will be a more exciting prospect. You won’t feel half as dreary about Monday.

5. Organize your outfits.

This saves time and stress every morning for me. I’m not exactly fashion conscious and tend to wear the same clothes week in week out, but I throw the outfits onto a hanger and keep them separate from my other clothes in the wardrobe. This way I don’t have to think about it in the morning. You’ll be surprised how much time it does actually save you in the mornings, especially if you also have little ones to run around after.

6. Pamper yourself.

Take some time out to focus on you. Have a bath, wash your hair, put on a facemask, and relax. This couldn’t be better for your sense of wellbeing and sets you up for a much more chilled out start to the week. Self care is important for your state of mind, don’t forget about it just because it doesn’t really like the most productive thing to be doing.

7. Yoga time.

Yoga is the best. Seriously, it is. Do some stretches and aim for about 30 minutes. New to this? There are tonnes of tutorials out there for beginners. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to yoga, and I’d highly suggest checking out YogaWithAdrienne on Youtube. She’s my favourite as her videos are instructional, easy to follow and she has videos catered to any need you may have. Yoga is brilliant for relaxing your muscles, and the focus on breathing and being grounded will clear your head.

8. Do something creative.

Get your creative juices flowing in preparation for the week ahead! Take up a new hobby, knitting, paper craft, or painting: whatever makes you happy. You could even DIY something for your home or a loved one, enjoy spending some time being artistic. Again, Pinterest is a brilliant source for finding small crafts to try at home.

9. Talk to yourself in the mirror.

You talkin’ to me? Just kidding. This sounds like a weird one, but give it a try. Tell yourself this week is going to be awesome, you’re going to make the most of every second and achieve something. It doesn’t have to be anything specific, pump yourself up. Words have more power than we release.

10. Go to bed early.

Something I always struggle with, but make sure on a Sunday night you get into bed nice and early. Starting the week refreshed will set you up better. I always make sure I’m in bed by 10 o’clock on a Sunday night, but choose a time for you so you can ensure a full 8 hours of rest. You’ll feel a lot better on Monday morning for it.

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The art of Fika

the art of fika

Fika basically means “to have coffee”. It’s a concept widespread across Sweden and Finland, similar to afternoon tea in the UK, where you meet with loved ones, have a cup of coffee with a pastry or a cake. In Sweden pastries are called fikabröd, literally meaning fika bread.

Fika breaks are common place across Sweden with many workplaces having 2 throughout the day. It’s a good time for colleagues to get together, chat and relax. Not to dissimilar to a tea break across the UK, however it does generally include eating something, whether it be a pastry, a sandwich or even some fruit.

As this isn’t a concept which has managed to reach other parts of the world as of yet you may think that bringing fika into your daily life could be a struggle, but with some minor adaptations to your day it could be achieved.

learn how to fika

Fika can be broken down into 3 main parts: a drink, something to eat, and a break from your daily routine. These are essential.

The Drink

Traditionally this is coffee, but it doesn’t have to be. I really dislike coffee but a cup of tea is a perfect substitute for me. Consider your options: what do you have available and what do you really want. If you’re in a café the world is your oyster but if you’re at home or at work you could be limited in your selection. Pick the beverage which you can see yourself enjoying.

The Food

It is commonplace to enjoy fika with a pastry, biscuits or cinnamon bun, but if you’re like me and trying to maintain/lose some weight, this may not be the right option for you. Consider having a lighter snack such as a piece of fruit, or maybe even a small sandwich or wrap.

The Break

This, for me, is the most important element to fika. It is a purposeful way of removing yourself from work and enjoying a short amount of time with friends, family or colleagues. We all know taking a break is good for our mental wellbeing: it gives us time to process information and lower the amount of stress we put on our brains. It’s also a good way of building, strengthening and maintaining the bonds we have with other people. We’ve all been there, we’ve lost track of time and before you know it we haven’t spoken to our closest friends for days, weeks or (if you’re like me) months. Use this as an opportunity to get back in touch.

There are so many ways of bringing a touch of fika into our lives. It doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence if you really can’t manage it. It could be a weekly treat. A weekly fika treat.

If you work and have allocated breaks, consider spending one of these breaks with another colleague. Have a chat about work and your personal lives. This is a prime time to build a bond with someone you otherwise may only see during working hours. Bring in some pastries or biscuits, put the kettle on and sit down for a chat.

Outside of work you could maybe organize a weekly fika break with friends. Make an occasion out of it! Get together at your favourite coffee shop and shoot the breeze. Remove yourselves from your general day to day activities and have a break with friends.

Fika is a fun concept and I hope you take some inspiration from it. My plan is to bring some fika into my Sunday routine. Let me know how you get on!

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My top tips to bring lagom into your life

lagompinterestpin

Wait, whats lagom?

The culture wave of hygge is finally starting to settle, and in it’s wake we’re learning about all new aspects of Scandinavian culture. Lagom is a Swedish word which means just the right amount. It is not too much, not too little. No excess, no deprivation. Everything in moderation. Its a principal which could be used across so many different aspects of your life. And that’s what makes it so interesting.

Lagom could be a game changer for so many people when it comes to simplifying and improving their lifestyle. Scandinavian countries always fair well in the world happiness report, Denmark winning out again for 2016, and there are so many reasons for this. The principle of lagom is one of them, Scandinavian countries aren’t well known for their consumerism, preferring a modest lifestyle instead. This is also one of the many many reasons I love them. So far I’ve only been lucky enough to visit Norway, which was one of the most spectacularly beautiful places I’ve visited. The above photo was taken on my trip there, stunning right? Maybe I’ll be lucky and get a chance to visit the rest of them sometime soon. But I digress…

Here’s just some ways you could bring the spirit of Lagom into your life.

Your Home

  • An uncluttered home is a lagom home. Everything should have purpose, and if it doesn’t then maybe it’s time to get rid!
  • Do you really need anymore books, or cushions, or ornaments? Stop buying and enjoy what you already have.
  • When friends or family are visiting don’t be tempted to show off your home, let them enjoy the space.
  • Keep it neat and tidy, but do you really need to be able to eat your dinner out of the toilet bowl? Probably not.
  • Got 3 wardrobes full of clothes? You know what I’m going to suggest. Keep only the clothes which you wear regularly and donate the rest to charity, sell them on ebay, or give away to friends and family.
  • Have space in your home for family photos. Don’t plaster the walls in them, pick your favourites and hang them proudly.
  • Same goes for art work. Don’t be tempted to cover every inch in beautiful pictures. They will look all the more beautiful for having space to be beautiful.
  • Don’t leave your home spartan though, it is your home, your personality should be evident from those key pieces you choose to display.

Your Diet

  • Don’t be tempted to over eat. Listen to your stomach. Leftovers can easily be stored and eaten the next day.
  • On the flip side, don’t leave yourself hungry for hours just because it’s not a meal time. Enjoy a light healthy snack to keep you going.
  • Moderation is key. Fancy a piece of cake? Have a piece of cake, just not every day.
  • Carry water with you, you don’t want to leave yourself thirsty for extended amounts of time.
  • Ask yourself before eating: “Does my body really need that?”. If the answer is no then step away and go for something else.
  • You can’t be too tough on yourself for the occasional binge. Just accept that it happened and say to yourself “not again”. I find actually thinking the word lagom when eating sweets stops me from eating too many.

Your work

  • Don’t take on too much, know your limits and stick to them.
  • Don’t do too little, procrastinating literally doesn’t achieve anything, be pro-active and don’t put anything off.
  • Work your allocated hours and then leave. If your shift finishes at 5pm, leave at 5pm, don’t stay longer. Unless you’re asked to, in which case consider it if you real up to it. Some days I don’t mind doing the extra work, other days I make sure I’m out the door before they get a chance to ask.
  • Take your lunch break. Have a real break. Get completely away from the work environment if possible.
  • Appreciate that your manager, boss, co-workers all work at their own levels and you shouldn’t feel the need to compete. Know you’re own work levels and don’t draw comparison to anybody else.

Your social life

  • Seeing friends is great. Make time for those people you love, go out for dinner, go to the cinema, just go for a walk together.
  • Know you don’t always have to say yes. If you really don’t feel like spending time with them you don’t have to!
  • Sometimes the best nights are the ones which go on until the early hours of the next day. Sometimes they’re the ones that end at 8pm. Listen to your body, it’ll tell you which one it is, and don’t feel bad for cutting plans short.
  • If your friends have organized an event which really isn’t for you, don’t feel bad for not going. You don’t have to do things you don’y enjoy.

Your spending

  • Do you really need that? If the answer is no, don’t get it.
  • Allocate money for the occasional splurge. Life without any sort of excess would be highly boring. I let myself have one special treat every month, and since doing this I’ve saved quite a bit.
  • Give to charity. It’ll give you a little boost and the charity will appreciate it. Consider signing up to a monthly payment plan. Pick something you believe in and you won’t miss the money.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. But don’t be too harsh on yourself if you don’t manage, budgets are tricky and for the first few months can be a struggle. Give yourself a break.
  • Before borrowing any money consider if what you want to buy is essential or not. Sometimes borrowing money is necessary, and sometimes its not. Don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary debt. It’s a burden you don’t have to carry.

The above list isn’t exhaustive. Lagom is a principle, a way to consider every decision you make in your life. When making a decision think about the overall effect it may have, living a much more simple life is brilliant, I know from experience. Steer clear from the unnecessary. Think lagom.

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