I really fancied a change with my blogging. SmartCookieSam is a baking blog but to blog about that, I have to bake. Of course, if it’s testing out a recipe, then I end up eating some of it. Not good for my waistline. I thought about what else I could write about until I was in Paperchase the other day. On the shelf was a bright, A4 coloured notebook called My 30 Day Writing Challenge. Looking through the different pages, each day covered a different subject to write about. I loved the idea, all except the book was really geared up towards children. I googled the #30daywritingchallenge and found several images, including this one. New month, new start and here is the beginning of my very own #30daywritingchallenge.
Day One: Ten Things Which Make Me Happy.
Mr SmartCookieSam thinks I’m a pessimist and I’m really negative. I’m not a negative person, I just don’t like getting my hopes up too much and having them dashed. Like when you go to an interview, you think you’ve done really well and then you get the phone call to say you haven’t got the job. But, on the whole I’m a generally happy person and have a lot to be thankful for. Life is not perfect for anyone, no matter what Facebook and Instagram say! It was very difficult to narrow down to ten things what makes me happy. They are not meant to be in any order, like a Top Ten as they are equally important in helping me to be the person I am today.
It would have to be obvious to put Baking on my making me happy list. I am happiest when I am ensconced in my kitchen. It is definitely my favourite room in the house. Music or the radio on, I can relax and forget about everything else. It’s amazing what a bag of flour, some eggs, sugar and a mixing bowl can do. Not only does baking relax me, but it has helped me through some difficult times in previous years. When my children were young and had started school, my teaching career had taken a nosedive. I felt I was on the scrapheap and had nothing to offer. Being able to bake made me feel as if I wasn’t useless and gave me a focus during those dark days.
I’ve always enjoyed knitting, cross stitch, crochet and sewing. I learned these skills when I was young and was teased by other children calling me Old Granny and weird because I did knitting. Well I have the last laugh now, it’s now trendy to be able to master these skills and I’m so glad both my Nanas taught me. Cross stitch helped me relax inbetween revising for my A levels and doing my degree. Later on in life it helped me relax during my first pregnancy and when my two children were babies and had gone to bed. I’ve always got a project on the go and can never just sit down and watch the TV without something in my hands. I enjoy making presents for people and now there are two new babies in our family, those knitting needles are very busy.
Walking my dog
I’m definitely not an outdoorsy person but I do love going for country walks with my black labrador, Charlie. He gets me out into the fresh air and we go walkies to places I never would normally think of going to for a walk. Since having Charlie my fitness levels have improved enormously. Our favourite summertime walk is along the old railway line which has now been converted into a cycle track from Ripley to Bilton through the beautiful Nidd Gorge near Harrogate. We walk over the disused viaduct which was featured in the fairground train scenes in Paddington 2. It’s a 5 mile round trip and definitely blows the cobwebs away.
Going to see Wet Wet Wet in concert
I love music and listen to it all the time at home. Whether I’m cooking the dinner, doing housework or just relaxing there’s music on in the background or playing out at full blast. I love driving to work or on another road trip with my favourite tunes on the stereo. Although I have a wide taste in music, my favourite band of all time is Wet Wet Wet. I’ve loved them for nearly 31 years now, since their first single was released in 1987 when I was 15! I love going to their concerts and have made lots of friends through our mutual love of the band. More recently we have seen Marti Pellow and Graeme Clark in solo concerts.
My family and my friends
I know it’s a cliche but my family do make me happy. As with all family relationships there are times when you think “Oh, for crying out loud!” or ruder, swear words to that effect but if you didn’t think this then you would either be lying or you wouldn’t be human. No relationships are perfect all the time but I wouldn’t be without my family. We are all spread out around the country and I have my older child down south at uni. Not only that but I have family over in Canada. So when we do all get together, it is a real celebration. I often wonder what it would be like to have my family all living in the same town, though.
I am lucky to have great friends, especially my Clandestine Cake Club lovelies ( as my friend Sharon names us) as well as a group of friends I affectionately name my Wettie mates. As I mentioned above, I love Wet Wet Wet and I’ve had some fantastic trips away with these ladies. Both groups of friends keep me sane and I wouldn’t be without them in my life. We have had many a laugh, a giggle and a gossip over afternoon tea and prosecco!
Playing The Piano
I learned to play the piano when I was 11 and played all through secondary school. I passed my Grade 5 but gave up due to A levels. I’m very rusty and in recent years will not play in front of other people as I get really embarrassed. So, when everyone’s out of the house and I have a spare hour I get all my books out and play my heart out. I keep saying I’ll go back and have more lessons but I never get round to it.
I know being pampered makes me sound like one of those bored housewives who has nothing better to do all day! But I really feel fantastic when I go down the road to my friend’s house to have my nails done or to have a relaxing pedicure. To me, they’re my treats for working hard. I’m on my feet a lot of the time and I like to look good. I can’t paint my own nails without making a mess so that’s why I ask my friend to do it for me. The same goes for getting my hair done. I have my hair coloured every six weeks as I don’t want to succoumb to the grey hair just yet. If I dyed my hair myself I’d not only get the dye all over my face and neck, I’d get it all over the bathroom as well. So, I’d rather pay my lovely hairdresser to do it instead.
Travelling and going on holiday
I’ve always loved travelling. As a child it would be around the UK and to France on the train as my Dad worked for British Rail. We had free first class rail travel throughout the UK and heavily discounted fares in Europe. When I was old enough to travel by myself I would get hold of the big British Rail timetable book and plan out journeys so I could get around visiting places as much as I could. We lived near Nottingham and one day I remember travelling to Plymouth and back. As time has gone on, I’ve visited places I’ve wanted to see such as New York and Iceland as well as family holidays in France and Spain. More recently I have been to Canada to visit my brother and his family. There’s still loads of places in the world I want to see but they will have to wait for the right time and when I have the spare cash.
Giving presents to people
I love nothing better than making someone happy, especially when I have given that person a home made gift. It could be a box of my cupcakes or a stitched padded heart. It makes me even more happy when the recipient understands what love and care has gone into that homemade present and that it isn’t just “any old tat”
Being a teacher
I enjoy my day job as a primary school and nursery supply teacher. It gives me the best of the job. I can teach children and not have the pressures that a permanent member of staff has. I purposely have never applied for a permanent role since going back to teaching as I like to have time for a life outside school. Although supply teachers get a bad press as people think they aren’t proper teachers because they can’t get a job, I choose to be one. I love the variety that the job brings and the wealth of experience I have gained over the past three years in all age ranges. The only worry is that work can be hit and miss in September and October and I like to know where I’m going to be teaching in advance. But I couldn’t imagine myself in another career, apart from cake baking of course!
So, there you have it. The ten things that make me happy. I wonder what ten things make you happy?
Love Sam xx