#30daywritingchallenge: Day 20: My Happy Place.

The phrase my happy place is used quite a lot these days but it rings true with me. We all have a happy place or several happy places. Places which instantly make us feel relaxed, content, that all is well in the world and away from it all. It may be a place you remember from childhood which you call back up and instantly transports you back to those halcyon days. Or it may be a place you visit regularly.

When thinking about my happy place, I realised I don’t have just one. I have several:

My kitchen:

My kitchen is my go-to happy place when I have a day off. I use baking as a way of relaxing and de-stressing. When I bake or cook I lose myself and concentrate on the project in hand. I guess it is a form of mindfulness for me. I love my kitchen even though I wish it was slightly bigger so I could have a sofa and a kitchen table in it. It used to have a table in it before we redecorated it but we had to take it out so we had more room for cupboards. When I am cooking I have my music on and I get completely lost in the moment.

My grandparents’ back garden:

Both sets of my grandparents lived in Kent when I was growing up. My Dad’s mum and Dad lived in a pretty village near Gravesend on a cul de sac which over looked a sheep field. On summer days we used to play in their back garden and sit out having cups of tea. Later we would watch the beautiful sun sets. I used to sit and do my cross stitch on a garden chair in their back garden and look out at the gorgeous view. Sadly I lost my grandparents one by one and their house was sold. I would never forget how content I used to feel in their pretty back garden so when we first viewed our own house back in 2003 I was so taken with the view in our garden. Although our house is in the Vale of York, in the height of summer the sun sets right at the back over a view of a field just like it was in my grandparent’s garden. I’m not at all green fingered but I remember the scent of the colourful sweet peas growing up along some canes as well as some pretty hydrangeas. I also remember Grandad’s strawberry patch and raspberry canes and how when the fruit appeared it was like finding treasure.

Fountains Abbey near Ripon, North Yorkshire:

Fountains Abbey is about 15 miles from where I live and it is a beautiful, tranquil place. I have been numerous times over the past 21 years of living in North Yorkshire and never tire of going there. From walking at a snail’s pace with my then toddler daughter holding one hand and me trying to steer her buggy with another, to going there on a workshop as a teacher where I had to walk around dressed as a monk all day! It is a place which feels so peaceful even when it is heaving with people. From time to time I park at the Studley Royal end of the estate and walk my dog. Although it is a chore keeping him away from the geese at the edge of the lake!

The Isle of Arran:

Mr SmartCookieSam and I have always loved going to Scotland and our first ever holiday together in the summer of 1996 was a week on the Isle of Mull. We had both been there before and we decided to go there together. We loved it and since then have been back to stay there with our two children. But we have fallen completely head over heels with the Isle of Arran. We went there about 6 years ago on holiday and the scenery was stunning. Not only that but I loved the quiet pace of life. Totally different to all the running around and getting stuck in traffic that we have to put up with in our daily lives back in Yorkshire. Mr SmartCookieSam often gets his laptop out on an evening and sits there looking on RightMove at houses we can buy on Arran. Last year when the ferry left Brodick harbour, I felt like crying because I had enjoyed my time there so much.

The South of France:

I have been to the south of France several times. France, to me is a very special place but I prefer going to the south because of the better weather. A few years ago we considered buying a home in France but never got round to it. It was to be something for us to have as a villa rental business or maybe somewhere where we could go on holiday ourselves. I speak fluent French and feel very at home when we go there. Last summer we stayed in a villa just outside Draguignan. Going to the local market to buy food and walking around, drinking local rose wine and sunning ourselves on the beach as well as sunbathing by the pool. Every time it is cold, wet and rainy here, I think back to last summer and walking through the local town in the hot sun.

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