One Little Happy Thing

Quirky home decor & lifestyle blog

Tag: travel

My top tips to bring lagom into your life

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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.

How to plan the perfect mini break

How to plan the perfect mini break

Mini breaks are fantastic. My partner and I have recently returned from a visit to the Lake District and we are both feeling so much better for it. The wind was howling, we stayed at a cottage completely in the middle of nowhere (single track roads down steep hills, over stone bridges, right in the heart of the countryside, perfect) and walked until we couldn’t feel our legs anymore. For us deciding on a place to visit was easy: we both enjoy the outdoors, aren’t massive people people and live in the UK. There are so many spectacular secluded destinations all within a few hours drive, however it got me to thinking: how does someone plan the perfect mini break? How do we make the most of those precious few days away? So I’ve decided to put a little list together outlining some of the things I did, and wished I had done.

Selecting a destination.

This one can be difficult. Are you a fan of big cities or secluded villages? Do you enjoy fine restaurants or pub grub? Do you want to stay in your own country or travel abroad? Think about the things you enjoy and would like to make the most of over the course of a few days. The essence of a mini break is for it to be only a few days long, possibly a long weekend. We travelled on the Friday and returned on the Monday, not much time to make the most of anywhere. However we knew straight away the Lake District was for us, but if you prefer more hustle and bustle maybe consider a city break. I’d highly suggest checking out Groupon and Wowcher as you can get some fairly decent deals so long as you are flexible with your times and dates.

Find out whats on offer

Once you’ve selected your destination you pretty much need to check out TripAdvisor. This lists almost everything in that area which you may want to visit: restaurants, attractions, museums, art galleries, cafes. The list is endless. You can also check out hotels and B&Bs and can sometimes get pretty good deals for accommodation. Overall its the top website to check out when visiting some place new as it also features customer reviews. I’m an avid user and always make sure to leave reviews of places when I come back, even if it is somewhere local. This knowledge is invaluable to other people who make be thinking of paying that establishment a visit. Just bare in mind the internet can be a callous place and sometimes there is more at play when reading a negative review. I always think how the establishment responds to negative criticism is more telling than the negative review itself.

Packing your suitcase.

You’ve selected a destination, booked your dates, now all thats left is to pack! Make a list, and check it twice. Is there anything worse than unpacking at your chosen destination and finding no toothbrushes in your carry case? Don’t be that person! I always make a list and tick off as I pack. And I always take an extra pair of pants, socks and trousers. You never know what may happen! Another thing to consider is groceries. Is it self catering? Then make sure you take essentials like tea, coffee, milk and bread. Also, always take a loo roll with you, you just never know!

If you only have a small carry case/rucksack and are struggling to fit everything in, I have a top tip for you: don’t fold your clothes, roll them. I fold in half once, then roll them as tight as possibly into a cylinder. I also do this with the towels and flannels, and can fit a surprising amount into one bag. When visiting Dublin with a friend I managed to fit enough clothes and toiletries for 4 days in quite a small rucksack. Save your space, roll your clothes!

Travelling to your destination.

All you have left now is to get there! Plan ahead. If you are travelling abroad, get to the airport with tonnes of time to spare. Either stay at a hotel nearby the night before or travel up with at least 2 hours to spare. If you are driving, then add an hour onto your driving time to take into account breaks. Our trip to the Lake District was four hours, I was driving and foolishly I decided I wanted to get there with minimal breaks. During that four hour drive we stopped once for 10 minutes. What. A. Mistake. By the time we reached our cottage I was exhausted and had to sleep for an hour, wasting precious time. After tedious motorway driving I was also cranky and hadn’t eaten properly the whole time. Don’t be a fool like me, make the journey itself part of the break! Pack a picnic and stop every hour or so. It doesn’t have to be the boring part before the fun begins. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you could plan other places to visit on the journey. Make the most of it.

Enjoy your mini break!

This is a pretty big one. Spend your days away doing what you enjoy, whether it be on your own, with a partner or with friends/family. Make the most of your time away, wake up every morning smiling and looking forward to your time ahead. Little bit of dust in the place you’re staying? So what! Unless the cleanliness levels are complete abysmal don’t let it detract from your stay! The cottage we stayed in was part of a converted farmhouse, wooden beams, the lot. This also meant a little bit of dust. Did we care? No! Everything which needed to be clean, was clean. And it was more of a base camp for us whilst we went out and explored the local area. My point is to not let the little things build up and become big issues. You have the power to put a positive spin on any negative thing that happens, so do that. And you’ll feel all the better for it.

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I hope these tips have been of some use, please let me know if you’re planning your own mini break soon! My partner and I are off to Devon next month for a few days staying in Combe Martin, and you can be sure I’ve already checked out tonnes of things to do on TripAdvisor. Enjoy your break!

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