Tag Archives: love

Friday Finds – Keeping it Kind

6 Jul

It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for kindness and random acts thereof.  I’ve written a couple of posts about being kind (if you missed them you can have another read here and here).  I like the feeling that kindness gives me, and the changes I see it making in others.  It’s not hard to be kind, and if there was more of it going around I think the world would be a happier and more harmonious place to be.

Today’s Friday Finds isn’t a thing that you can touch and feel, it isn’t a new super cool design trend or must have outdoor designer piece.  It’s a blog that I follow, and always makes me smile.  Kindness Girl thinks up different ideas to spread the message of kindness in ways that are different and sometimes just a little bit magical.  Interwoven with the Kindness projects are stories of her own children and family.  Entirely relatable and full of love, Patience has a knack for creating beauty both through her images, her words and her actions.

If you’re in need for a kindness hit, a little bit of love or a dose of the warm and fuzzy’s, take some time out and visit Kindness Girl or her Guerrilla Goodness page.

Sam

Note: all photos from http://www.Kindnessgirl.com

Does kindness = happiness?

27 May

I’ve been trying to be kinder lately.  I recently asked the question “have you been kind today?” in a post.  I’ve not really gone out of my way, haven’t planned any over the top grand kindness gestures, I’ve just been doing the things we should really be doing, but that are sometimes forgotten in the daily rush of things.  I’ve been doing things that don’t come so naturally to my generally more shy personality.  I’ve been chatting to more people, saying hello more often and definitely smiling more.  I’ve helped upset kids in the playground find their lost Mums and let the Drama Queen’s friends at child care treat me like their climbing frame.  I’ve tried to help where I can, and generally spread some happy karma into the world.

I thought I might take stock of this kindness and see if it has made a difference to my general happiness, and because I’ve been joining in the Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May project, it’s perfect timing to reflect while I’m posting my weekly happiness post.

Has it made me happier? Has mindful kindness affected my general mood and made my world a happier place? The short answer is yes, or at least I think it has.  I feel as though the people I interact with seem happier.  Maybe it’s because I’m reaping what I sow and the energy I’m sending into the world is being reflected back.  I’ve definitely had a lot more casual conversations with strangers in the street.  I have seen a lot more people smiling, and it looks like they’re returning my smile a lot of the time.  My general mood has been a lot better and my patience with the little inconveniences of life is definitely improving.  I haven’t measured anything, don’t have any facts and figures, just a general feeling and a hunch, and that hunch says that kindness does equal happiness.

I do have a kindness highlight that I would love to share.  About 18 months ago I had a bus trip into the city.  While this in itself isn’t extraordinary, I catch a bus quite often, the bus driver I had on this trip was extraordinary.  She embodied all that is kind and happy.  In a world where it is all too easy to just go through the motions, this bus driver went out of her way to greet every single passenger onto her bus.  I chatted to her on the trip into the city, and it made my journey unforgettable.  I went home and sent an e-mail to the transit authority thanking and praising this bus driver.  I hoped that she had received a copy of the e-mail because I knew she deserved to know how much happiness she had injected into my day.  This isn’t where my story ends.

This week I was out shopping with the Daredevil, I was waiting for a lift and started chatting to a lady about the lifts and which one would come first.  The lady looked familiar, and when I saw the Sydney Buses logo on her shirt the penny dropped.  This was my bus driver, the one who had given me the best bus riding experience ever!  I couldn’t let the opportunity pass, I mustered up the courage and asked.  It turns out that not only was she my bus driver, but she had also recognised my face and remembered that I had been on my first night out without the Daredevil (he was only 6 months old at the time).  Unfortunately she hadn’t received a copy of my e-mail, but I think I made her day by remembering her and thanking her in person.  I know it made my day!

Now for my Happy Days in May update.  If you want to catch up on the last couple of weeks, you can see post 1 here, post 2 here and post 3 here.

21 May 2012 – I ran into my bus driver lady today!

22 May 2012 – Today I got to be a eucalyptus tree for the Drama Queen’s imaginative child care Koala friends –  lots and lots of laughing.

23 May 2012 – Mt Perfect went away for a boys golf escape, so the Munchkins and I got to have carpet picnics for dinner.

24 May 2012 – Mr Perfect and I escaped for our night of culture at the theatre, I always feel happy being immersed in another world, another reality and expanding my creative horizons, though Jack Thompson’s smooth voice almost put me to sleep!

25 May 2012 – An afternoon nap for all of us recharged the batteries.

26 May 2012 – Lunch with the family at the Hard Rock Cafe – cocktails, too much food and Brownies to die for, Yum!

27 May 2012 – A morning of garden creation with the family lead to smiles,  a lot of mud and a big mess to clean up, hope our green grows!

I’m off to polish up my smile for tomorrow!

Sam

Going to my happy place

20 May

Doesn’t everyone have a happy place?  The place that you go, whether it be a physical or more metaphorical, when you’re not really feeling the happy vibe.  When you want  to pick up those failing spirits, or when you just want a happiness boost.  Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and go to your happy place.  I’m loving joining in the Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May Project, but thought I’d switch it around just a little this week.  I’ve concentrated my happiness sentences on the happy places that I visited this week.  In this instance the happy places are physical, though they definitely did have an emotional effect.

This is part three in the Happy Days in May series, you can check out part one here and part two here if you want to catch up on the happiness goodness, and with a couple more parts to come, it really has helped make a happy May around our place.

14 May 2012 – In all the party planning pandemonium I took the opportunity to visit Spotlight to collect some “essential” supplies for the party, I also managed to do a little bit of other looking too!

15 May 2012 – Headed over to Haberfield to catch up for coffee, great coffee, great company and lots of fun with the Daredevil and his new “friend” in the park.

16 May 2012 – Ordered balloons at the party shop – how can a party shop not be a happy place???

17 May 2012 – With Mr Perfect taking a day off work, I got to go to the supermarket alone!  Not normally an exceptionally happy place, but this time a tranquil haven of happiness without two munchkins sneaking contraband into the trolley or running away.

18 May 2012 – A trip over to Surry Hills with the Daredevil to see the doctor is a trip down childhood memory lane, plus a brush with fame as I park behind Hugo Weaving (mmmmm….)

19 May 2012 – We don’t have to travel far to find a happy place today as the party comes to our home - perfect people, weather and location!

20 May 2012 – A walk through The Rocks to get to Walsh Bay for the Sydney Writers Festival – inspiring talk and buzzing atmosphere, but more about that tomorrow!

I do have to admit that sometimes I do feel like my happy place is a little bit like this….

… though fortunately not very often!

Where was your happy place this week?

Sam

Drinking from the happy glass.

13 May

We have a happy glass in our house.  It is, of course a wine glass.  We were given it as an engagement present, and it came with a beer glass mate.  The base of the wine glass is engraved with “happy” and the beer glass with “engagement”.  Therefore it is my happy glass, and at the end of a long day designing or kid wrangling I do enjoy a sip or two from the happy glass.

As today is Mothers Day in Australia, I’m having a little drink from the happy glass to finish off the day.  I’m having a drop of a special wine.  Mr Perfect and I have a tradition for the respective parents days, we organise for a case of wine with personalised labels as our mothers and fathers day gifts.  The labels always feature the Drama Queen and Daredevil and we try and come up with a clever name for our special drop.  This year I’m drinking “More Trouble and Mischief”.  We have collected a great timeline of empty wine bottles (we’ve only kept one of each!).

I’m talking about happy glasses because today I’m doing my second instalment for Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May Project.  (You can see my first instalment here if you missed it last week).  What’s made you happy this week?

7 May 2012 – Bigger than expected tax return – big smiles all round.

8 May 2012 – Babycinos and magazines with my little Daredevil – could do this all day.

9 May 2012 – 12 months of blogging, so proud that I’ve stuck with it, grown and am still wanting more!

10 May 2012 – PJ day at home followed by Mothers’ Day afternoon tea at child care – according to the Drama Queen I have pink and purple eyes and her favourite thing to do with me is dance – I feel magical!

11 May 2012 – Happy dances as the Drama Queen is moved up a class in swimming lessons, it has taken a while, but she’s finally getting a little bit more confident in the water.

12 May 2012 – A sleep in followed by a boy free morning – chill in with my girl and a bit of Drawn Outdoors.

13 May 2012 – Running around the wildlife park pretending to be kangaroos, emus, tigers, eagles and crocodiles is too much fun, we were so good at being monkeys that the Cotton-topped Marmosets all came down to the window to watch us!

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the Mums out there, I’m off to have More Trouble and Mischief from the happy glass!

Sam

Have you been kind today?

12 May

Kindness generally doesn’t cost anything, but has a value beyond measure.  There is a burgeoning kindness movement starting to sweep across the globe.  Google “kindness” and you’ll find a whole heap of kindness movement websites and associations.  They tell you about being kind, it’s benefits, ways to be kind and all about world kindness day, and information about the activities they have organised.  These sites are great.  They are happy places and you leave them with a bit of a warm and fuzzy feeling, hoping that everyone will find their site and just implement one or two of the ideas.  My favourite idea for today is

Drop a few coins in an area where children play, where they can easily find them. Do you remember how excited you felt, when as a child you found a coin lying on the ground? – from Australian Kindness Movement

But now it has left me wondering whether our world has become so self absorbed that we need kindness associations and movements?  When I was young my sisters and I were taught to smile, because it not only makes you happy, but everyone else that sees it too.  A smile seems to me to be the general communication of kindness.  It is rare that a kind act isn’t accompanied by a smile.  I don’t think I see quite so many smiles out and about that I used to and I’m hoping that this isn’t a reflection on how much I’m smiling, I don’t think it is, at least I hope not!

I like to smile.  I like to smile at shop assistants, when I travelled in the UK, I made a game out of smiling at the shop assistants and telling them that I hoped they had a great day.  Sometimes I was greeted with a scared look – what’s this crazy Aussie chick trying?  Sometimes I got a surprised little smile.  And a couple of times they replied with “You’re the first person to say that to me today” and we had a bit of a chat, apparently it’s not all that common to be kind to shop assistants in London, other areas of the UK are different.  It was easy, didn’t cost me anything, and made a difference to somebodies day.

Do we treat our shop assistants, service professionals, tradesmen, waiters, teachers, nurses, insert appropriate occupation here, that poorly?  There are numerous stories of increasing stress levels in service occupations.  Hospitals and schools are full of signs asking people to be polite and non aggressive.  Have we become so focused on ourselves that we forget that we have an impact on others?  What in the world are we doing?

Kindness can’t be seen or measured, but if you make a choice to be kind, make the choice to give to the world what you want to receive, then we can create the kind of world we want to live in, but you need to start with yourself.

My challenge to you today is to be kind.  Smile more, worry less.  Say hello, ask how someone’s day has been.  Leave some loose change for the kids in the playground.  Make someone else smile.  Be kind to your family, your community, to the earth.  Maybe, just maybe, it will change your day, your experience, your environment.  If you’re not really up to getting out there, how about just be kind to your garden, not only will your plants love you, but the benefits will spread beyond your fence.  You can even be cyber kind.  Bloggers love getting comments and likes (hint, hint) it really makes us smile!!!

I’m starting by just laughing with the Drama Queen while she steals biscuits from the pantry, hiding behind a wall of open cupboard doors.  Then we might move on to some more hard core kindness I know the Drama Queen and Daredevil will be up for the game, Mr Perfect will warm up to the challenge too.  Maybe I’ll post something about what we did and how we went next week.

Sam

With genetics like this, I can’t go wrong

2 May

Today is a special day – it’s my grandmother’s birthday – Happy Birthday Nan!

I won’t tell you how old she is, she would hate for you to know, all I will say is that she is in her eighties, but looks like she’s still in her very early seventies or even her sixties – she is completely ageless.  She always told me she was 29 when I was growing up.  I’m sure that she was gutted the day that I turned around and proved, through my powers of primary school mathematical deduction, that she couldn’t have been 29, and in fact had to be much older.

This is one lady who has been an inspiration to me throughout my life.  She has done it tough, got through the hard way, but not once did she let this show.  She is now and always has been, in my mind a perfect family style icon.

Nan has achieved a lot, and I’m sure there’s more to come.

She’s a mother to three fabulous daughters

She’s a grandmother to eight

And a great grandmother to another 13

I am grateful to have had such a strong female role model in my life.  She doesn’t have a garden, and she doesn’t really design, but she has bestowed upon me both directly and through my fantastic mother a sense of style and an ability to look for the finer things in life.  Regardless of your budget, regardless of your place, it never hurts to be the best and look the best you can look.  I have learnt from her to always be the best I can be and to strive to make the world a more attractive place.

I have fabulous memories of helping her out in Casaropa – the fashion boutique she owned.  Ahead of her time and at the forefront of Australian fashion in the 1970’s and ’80’s she stocked Carla Zampatti, Jill Fitzsimons and Prue Acton amongst so many others.  Her boutique was listed in Australian Vogue, and was a shopping destination.  She dressed the whole family for weddings and both of my school formal dresses came from Casaropa.

The one thing I will always love about my gorgeous grandmother is her ability to speak her mind and stand her ground.  I think this comes from being the older sister to five younger brothers.   If she holds a belief it’s damn hard to shake her and she will stand by her convictions through thick and thin.  She holds those she loves close and her favourites even closer.

Happy birthday Nan, heres to many many more!

Sam

 

Sydney – sun and sand minus the surf

28 Feb

I was inspired to create this post by Design Mom, a blog I have fallen in love with, particularly since it helps me deal with the Drama Queen’s current French obsession. I’m posting as part of her love the place you live theme.

It’s not hard to love the place I live. It’s hard to fault Sydney, she is so pretty, but the postcard image of the harbour bridge and the opera house, while spectacular, is only the tip of the iceberg. As a family we love to spend our weekends outdoors enjoying the sunshine Sydney normally has on tap (though the sun does seem to have been on holiday this summer). The beach is a favourite for all of us, and last weekend we headed to one of our favourites, and a Sydney gem, Shark Beach at Nielsen Park.

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There are two types of beach in Sydney, the surf beaches like Bondi and Manly, and the calmer harbour beaches. Shark Beach is one of the calmer harbour beaches, and while the Drama Queen and Daredevil are still so young, it’s a great place for them to run around, splash and build sandcastles without too much stress.

The beach is part of the Nielsen Park heritage parklands that form part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. We love setting up on the grassy banks above the beach under the shade of one of the well established trees. The park is really popular with families, so there are always crowds of kids in the park and the beach. It’s not uncommon for the Drama Queen to make a new best friend while building sandcastles on the beach.

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Nielsen Park is located in Vaucluse, in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and in the latter part of the 19th century formed part of the Vaucluse House Estate. The parkland, including the Heritage Greycliffe House and it’s estate we’re dedicated as a public reserve in 1911, and it was then that many of the gorgeous historic parkland features, such as the kiosk, change sheds and beach wall were constructed. In 1975, the park became part of the Sydney Harbour National Park.

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If we’re feeling a bit more adventurous, we have been known to tackle the Hermitage Foreshore Walking Trail. This walking track links a lot of the quieter and smaller harbour beaches and provides spectacular views of Sydney, the harbour and some of the more impressive harbour real estate. Nielsen Park is one of the highlights of this walking trail.

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Yes, that last photo wasn’t from last weekend, it was a while ago, and the Drama Queen has grown up a bit since then, but it is a great view!

My favourite part of a lazy day at Shark Beach is the almost compulsory coffee, baby cino and cake that we enjoy in between swims and sandcastles.

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What do you love about where you live?

Sam

Valentine your garden

14 Feb

Happy Valentines Day!  Instead of the usual soppy cards and roses, I like to look for some different, fun and unique ideas for showing my loved ones how much I care.  It’s not often that we go over the Valentines top at Drawn Outdoors HQ, but one day I might just surprise Mr Perfect!

Oh Happy Day had this idea for transforming your lawn into a loved up artwork. You might like to try it out, the instructions are at Valentine’s Day Garden Heart Attack

Activekidsclub.com has a great idea to spread the valentines love to our feathered friends (though the instructions will need a little adaptation for those of us in the southern hemisphere).  Take a look at Give a Heart to the Birds.

trendhunter.com has found a more extreme way to demonstrate your love.  Check out their Valentine street art gallery

And my favourite outdoor valentine project is this one from Playscapes.  Because everyone loves a playground, check out this fantastic playground designed by a year 3 class in Denmark and realised by landscape architect Helle Nebelong.   The Playscapes article is here.

Love and Valentine’s kisses to you all,

Sam

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