Monday, 13 November 2017

April Happiness Project Round-Up

I’ve been absolutely terrible with updating you all about my Happiness Project for this year. I have still been doing it each month, just haven’t got the blog posts and YouTube videos up. But because I have been doing it, I’m determined to get all my updates up, even if it means them being ridiculously late! So I really hope you’ll still enjoy hearing about them!

So, if you’ve seen my last few posts about this, you will know that this year I decided to give my own Happiness Project another go after failing a bit with the last one I tried. If you’ve never heard of The Happiness Project before, you can check out my introduction to it here. I made a sort of bucket list for each month, of things I would like to do and also national days I could celebrate. Some I came up with myself, and some I found on Pinterest. But I made sure not to put any pressure on myself to do them all because that would just take away from the whole idea of it being a project to increase my happiness! I said in that post that I would share my project with you over the year, so today I’m here with my next post about the things I did throughout April.

First on my list for April was to decorate my home for Spring/Easter. I’m lucky that both my Mum and I love to buy cute seasonal decorations, so I had a few different bits and bobs that we could decorate the house with. I think if I lived in my own house, I would probably end up going overboard throughout the year, but living with my family helps to keep me a bit more restrained! We hung this beautiful heart decoration on our lounge window – I believe it was from The Range, but I could be wrong, as it was a while ago now! I then bought this white tree from Hobbycraft, which can actually be decorated all year round with different things. But, as it was spring and Easter, we found some cute little decorations in Waitrose and The Range – I think they looked really lovely! We also found some fluffy chicks, which I believe came in flower arrangements that we’d got in the past. But they looked great stuck in some of our houseplants.

I always think April is the perfect time of year for pretty flowers, so next on my list was to buy some tulips. I find it hard to choose my favourite flower and it does seem to change over the course of the year. But I do think tulips are one of my favourite spring flowers, especially in these rainbow colours. They just really brighten up the house and are such cheerful flowers.

Next on my list was to make rose petal tea. I’ve never tried rose petal tea before, especially one made from real rose petals. But I noticed my local Waitrose had little tubs of dried rose petals, so I picked one up on a trip down there and just made the tea as I would with loose leaf tea. Obviously it doesn’t actually have any tea in it, but I just popped a spoonful of petals in a tea strainer and added hot water. I didn’t expect the water to turn blue, so was a little worried about what it would taste like! But it was actually really nice, and perfect for the slightly warmer weather you’re starting to get in April.

Something I don’t think I’ve ever done before at this time of year is to make an Easter basket. I guess I’ve never really had anyone to make one for, and have always thought it’s more something you make for a younger child rather than an adult. But because my best friend, Sarah, now has a little boy called Charlie, it was perfect timing! This year he was too young to have a proper Easter egg, so I decided to put a basket together for him. I found this white basket on eBay and lined it with yellow tissue paper. I then found lots of spring-themed toys and books to put inside the basket. These included Spot’s First Easter, a VTech Baby Soft Singing Birdie Rattle, a cuddly sheep, finger puppets from Tesco and then some baby foods for him to try, as he was just starting to wean. It all went down really well, and I’m very tempted to make another one next year!

This time of year is the perfect time for baking, so I had to include making some Easter treats on my list. It’s become a bit of a tradition for my Mum and I to make Easter nests out of Rice Krispies, chocolate and, of course, Mini Eggs, and they never last very long in our house! We also decided to try and make some Crème Egg chocolate brownies. They didn’t turn out quite as we’d hoped, but they were still very tasty, so that’s the main thing.

I was really looking forward to having a picnic this month, but the weather was not on my side! It was also National Picnic Day on the 23rd, so double the excuse to have one! So, despite the rain and cold, I wasn’t going to let it stop me! So, I invited over my friend Charlie and her two little ones, Izzi and Joe, and we enjoyed an indoor picnic instead. Charlie brought a mat with her, so we laid it out on the lounge floor and put out all the yummy food. The kids loved it and it meant we could pop on a DVD while we ate while Charlie and I had a good catch-up. The bonus of having a picnic indoors is that ants or wasps don’t plague you either!

April is also a good time to start planting seeds in the garden. A few years ago I planted some sunflower seeds in a little tub outside, but it was when Freddie was a puppy and, once they had started to grow, he decided that they looked rather tasty so chewed them all! So, this time, I went to a garden centre with my Mum and picked up a little windowsill growing kit as well as some small flowerpots. I bought the seed tin a few years ago, so chose a few different seeds and got them planted ready to flower later in the year.

Despite trying to follow a gluten-free diet because of my digestive problems, I did cheat a bit this month because I was desperate to eat some Hot Cross Buns. I know you can get gluten-free ones, and I had some of those too, but then my Mum and I saw these mini ones in Waitrose and they just looked so cute! And the chocolate orange ones were so tasty – why don’t they make yummy things like this in gluten-free form?!

April was National Pet Month – I didn’t really have to do anything special for this one, as we spend a lot of time with our four pets any way. But I made sure to give Alfie, Freddie, Jaffa and Xena some extra cuddles and one-to-one time, as, having a few of them, they don’t always get a lot of individual attention.

Another celebration during April was International Children’s Book Day on the 2nd April. I absolutely love books, but especially children’s books, as they hold a lot of special memories for me. I’m so excited for my niece or nephew to arrive so I can finally have an excuse to start buying children’s books again! I’ve kept a few books from my childhood, but two of my favourites are The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson and Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian. I was lucky enough to meet both of these authors while I was at school and they signed these books, so they’re very special to me. When I was younger, I would always carry around a little Sylvanian Families white rabbit, just like the character in The Suitcase Kid!

On the 10th April it was National Siblings Day, and, if you’ve followed my blog or YouTube for a while, you will know I have four siblings. I’m really lucky that I see a lot of them all – both of my sisters still live at home, and my brothers and their wives all live very close by. They are always over for a chat, coffee or dinner, and when we’re all together I think my parents despair because there’s so much banter and silliness! I particularly love this photo from my brother’s wedding because I think it just sums up our silly relationship.

Of course, this time of year wouldn’t be the same without Easter Day, and this year it was on the 17th April. We had a fairly quite one this year. I always try to go to church on Easter morning with the rest of the family, and it’s always a lovely celebrative atmosphere. Then we have an Easter roast dinner and give each other Easter eggs. It used to be crazy when we were younger, as we would all get Easter eggs from various family members and we would have to write names on them so we could remember which ones belonged to which people!

So that was everything I managed to do in April. I think overall it was a fun month and doing these little things really did help brighten my mood and make life quite enjoyable. There were a few more things on my list that I didn’t get to do though – I thought I would share them with you too, just in case you’re looking for ideas for your own list. I’m going to hold on to all of these ideas and either fit them in as the year goes on (not that there’s much of it left now!), or do the project again next year! I’d love to hear your ideas of how you would celebrate this month’s list of ideas – maybe you’ll give me an idea for my next project. The goals I didn’t manage this month were:

·      Lavender manicure and pedicure
·      Go to the park
·      Read poetry
·      Jump in puddles in April showers
·      Buy Spring clothes
·      Have tea with an old friend
·      Stress Awareness Month
·      April Fool’s Day – 1st
·      National Gardening Week – 10th
·      St George’s Day – 23rd
·      National Stationery Week – 24th (how I managed to not do this one I don’t know, because I’m always buying stationery!)

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing how I got on with my April Happiness Project. I’d love to hear your comments and if you’ve done/are doing a similar project I would love to hear all about it too! Keep an eye on my YouTube channel too for more videos from my project.

Have you done a Happiness Project before? What do you think of the idea?

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