Films 2

This week I went to see Inside Out at the cinema with my little sister and it reminded me of all those films I watched and loved when I was a child/teen. I absolutely adored Inside Out, it was the most intelligent, thoughtful Disney film I have seen in a while and also a film I think will be genuinely helpful for children confused about their feelings as they grow up. Watching it with my 11-year-old sister, about to start senior school, made it all the more poignant and I definitely cried a couple of times. Disney, I feel, are absolutely nailing it at the moment with recent releases like Frozen, Into the Woods and now Inside Out. They’re growing up and creating classics for the 21st century.

But it did also remind me of the nineties classics, the ones I watched to death when I was growing up, and once I’d landed on Disney there was no stopping me. In the past week I’ve watched all six of the below films and loved re-living my childhood through them. If you’ve got a lazy weekend planned, definitely factor in some of the below (or perhaps some of your own favourite classics):

  1. Toy Story: My absolute favourite nineties classic, this reminds me of lazy Sundays or school holidays spent under a blanket in my lounge re-watching a hundred times. I love number one, two and three but controversially my favourite is Toy Story 2. Released in 1999 when I was 7 years old, I think this was the perfect film for that age and I loved it. I loved Jessie and had her as a toy too. ‘When She Loved Me’ still makes me cry – I remember hiding my secret tears when I was little.
  2. Harry Potter: How could I not include Harry Potter?! I am still yet to have a full Harry Potter marathon but I can easily watch 2 or 3 of these in an afternoon. Harry Potter almost defines my childhood, I watched and read them an insane amount of times. Re-watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone this week made me want to slip the books into my holiday reading list (I’m off on Saturday).
  3. The Lion King: An absolute Disney nineties classic, this was Walt Disney at its best. The highs, the lows, the tale of growing up, it has everything you could ever want. My favourite moment? 100% the hakuna matata song. I’m not sure a double act has ever come close to Timon and Pumbaa in my head.
  4. The Parent Trap: My favourite film for a very long time, I absolutely adored this film and Lindsey Lohan. It still blows my mind that she plays both twins, how do they do it?! Just like most of the films on this list, the songs in this film absolutely make it. Here Comes The Sun is still by far my favourite Beatles song, even after listening to every single one of their albums, simply for the scene in this. Perfect for a cold, calm Sunday afternoon.
  5. Ice Age: Oh Scrat, how I love you. Ice Age is the ultimate feel-good and perfect if you’ve had a little too much of the sun. Get ready to whack on the air con and cool down. The characters make Ice Age, it’s a film that reminds me of times with my brothers because I spent such a lot of time watching this with them when growing up, and even more time listening to them quote from it. ‘Where’s the baby?… there he is!’ was our favourite game to play with my tiny sister.
  6. Frozen: Bit of a cold theme here, maybe I’d had enough of the sun this week. Frozen is the ultimate classic, and whilst Ice Age reminds me of my brothers, Frozen reminds me of my sister. She loves Frozen like every little girl does, has the dress, the dolls, everything. Only slight problem of watching it, ‘Let It Go’ will be straight back into your head and not leaving for a very long time.

Reward Yourself

You may remember right back at challenge 3, I cleared out my wardrobe (http://100waystohappy.com/2015/01/11/challenge-3-clear-out/). It was the perfect new year challenge and I ended up with bags to take off to the charity shop. I wish I could tell you that that order had lasted right the way through the year, but alas of course it hasn’t. Last week, I was thinking about packing for my holiday and took a look in my wardrobe. It was a state, I couldn’t even begin to think about packing and I realised I had also been wearing the same things week in week out to work in order to avoid diving into this mess. It was time to change.

But I just could not be bothered. I think you have to be really in the mood to clear out your wardrobe, and when it’s hot and you would rather be outside then you’re not in the mood. That was until I read this post from Hannah Gale: http://hannahgale.co.uk/2015/07/30/17-fashion-tips-to-instantly-feel-cooler/. And suddenly I needed everything on this list. Coincidentally it was pay day too. So I made myself a deal, if I cleared out my wardrobe I was allowed to go on a shopping spree for my holiday. What brilliant motivation.

I think rewarding yourself every now and again is something you should definitely do, but it also works brilliantly to make yourself do that task you’ve been putting off for ages. This deal with myself made particular sense because I didn’t want to buy more things and shove them in my messy wardrobe where they’d get lost forever. Instead I did a huge clear out, had another big bag for the charity shop and also packed away my winter clothes. It revealed so much within my wardrobe that I’d forgotten about, and sneakily cleared the way for some newbies.

As you can see in the photo at the top of this post, I bought lots of summery bits ready for my holiday. Some white dungarees which are super comfy and make me feel about 5 years old, some new mirror lens sunglasses, a stripy top, daisy print playsuit and a triangle bikini which I’m in love with. I’m off to Cannes on Sunday for my summer holiday and cannot wait to wear these, I think I might do an OOTD for each day of my holiday over on my Instagram so make sure to follow me there if you want to see these pieces in action: https://instagram.com/100waystohappy/.

What is it about buying new clothes which makes you so happy? I really can’t put my finger on it but I know that this challenge certainly made a task I was dreading a lot more bearable. And now I get to enjoy my new purchases and a tidy, organised wardrobe to put them in. Let me know ways in which you reward yourself in the comments? I think I may want to repeat this challenge!

Bed

August is beginning to have a bit of a theme, I’m becoming a bit of a health nut. It started with drinking more water and it’s turning into going to sleep earlier. I have and always will be an insomniac, it’s one of those things that surfaces its ugly head every now and again. My current situation is that I can sleep unless I’ve had a full day at work, I think I have to be completely knackered in order to sleep. Therefore Saturday and Sunday nights are the bad ones.

I would class that as pretty positive, there have been periods in my life when I haven’t been able to sleep at all. I’ve got maybe 2 or 3 hours a night (around 5-7am) for periods of up to six months. Insomnia is truly the worst thing I’ve faced in my life, tiredness makes me grouchy, angry and sad. I never have a good day when the night before I haven’t slept. If you’re suffering at the moment, I truly empathise and think the best advice I can give is to promise you it won’t last forever. When you’re in the depths of insomnia, it can feel like you’ll never be the same again. Go and see your doctor, see if they can help you find the root of the problem. Even if that doesn’t work, know there will be an end to this.

In my life, I’ve tried just about everything they tell you to try. Meditation, not watching TV an hour before bed, reading, avoiding electronics, getting up and giving up, eliminating caffeine (giving up my beloved tea was tough!), counting sheep, relaxation techniques, focussing on something else, focussing on nothing, only going to sleep when tired, setting a routine, I could really go on forever. At the moment, I’ve stuck on a routine which works and it probably goes against the rules. Every night before bed, I watch 20 minutes of TV on my iPad, turn it off, roll over to the other side of the bed and sleep. It works (touch wood!) However this can make for late nights, I get up at 6.30am so I know I should be aiming to be asleep by 10.30pm. This never happens. I usually get into bed at half 10 and turn off the iPad by 11, it then takes me around 30 minutes to an hour to nod off. Until now, I’ve been terrified to adjust this routine. Part of the reason I know I sleep at the moment is because I am exhausted, in the past moving my bedtime by just 10 minutes has affected whether I can sleep or not. Even if I am completely knackered and falling asleep on the sofa I wont go to bed before 10pm because I just know I then won’t sleep.

The problem with having to be exhausted to sleep is that I am never truly refreshed or at my peak. I get by on my 6-7 hours because that is such a long bonus for me when I’ve been used to just two before. I know, though, that if I could just hit that magic 8 I’d be so much better off. This week I had quite a free week so I gave it a go. Every night (apart from Saturday) I aimed to be in bed by 10pm, ready to watch something for 15 minutes and then go to sleep.

It started off well, I was asleep by 10.30pm on day one and the next day I definitely felt better for it. I felt more awake in the morning and wasn’t falling asleep on the sofa in the evening. A positive start. Day two and three went worse, it was the weekend so I wasn’t exhausted and on Saturday night I just didn’t sleep. This always happens if I concentrate on sleeping, I’m thinking about it and therefore I overthink it and that signals the end. Sunday was better but still my night drifted in and out of sleep.

I decided I needed to give it less thought, all I was doing was adjusting my routine by 30 minutes and watching slightly less TV, the change was very small. So I stopped focussing on the time in the evening for the rest of the week. Usually I settle down to watch a TV programme at 9pm, it’s my hour of relaxing and then I know exactly when it hits 10pm. I spend half hour getting ready for bed and know it’s half 10. For the rest of the days this week I watched Netflix or Youtube at 9pm, it might have only lasted 20 minutes, I didn’t look at the time and then started getting ready for bed. Without me consciously trying, this small change got me ready for bed earlier and meant I went to sleep earlier, without properly thinking about it.

It sounds an odd way to approach things, and it will probably work for nobody but me! But the ‘not thinking’ adjust of the routine was the one I needed in order to change things. I can honestly say, much more than my increase in drinking water, I have noticed a difference in myself because of this. Sleeping more is the one thing that gives you instant results and I’ve felt more awake and generally happier. This is also a good point for insomniacs to focus on, it only takes one night of sleep to break the pattern and feel better. It won’t take months of recovery to get back to yourself, just one, so remember that when you get into bed every night and be excited that you could be back to normal any night this week.

Let me know if you have any tips for insomniacs or any ways of getting to bed earlier?

DIY one

You may remember that way back when this blog was still a child, I started a budget http://100waystohappy.com/2015/02/22/challenge-15-budget/. Back then, my main focus was about what I was going to use to help me stick to this budget, I talked about analysing your spending, setting yourself a limit and making sure to record everything you spend. I’ve gone through phases but on the whole I’ve stuck to this, and one of my lovely readers suggested I try using a mobile app if I ever found it hard. I’m now a devout follower of Toshl Finance which allows you to record your daily finances and categorise them too. It’s really helped me to keep recording easily and also to keep track of what I’m spending on.

The app has highlighted a few things which I regularly spend money on which you may class as ‘luxuries’. Not clothes or holidays or evening out kind of luxuries, but other things which I was definitely doing too much of. I identified my indulgences as the following:

  • Takeaway morning coffees
  • Meals out with friends
  • Smoothies/drinks with my lunch

Obviously these are little things that I love so I didn’t want to cut them out altogether. I’m still living at home and earning a normal salary so I can afford not to completely scrimp, however I want to seriously save for the future and cutting down on these little things would help. What I decided to do was still indulge but find ways to DIY and save money.

Takeaway Morning Coffees:

Every now and again, I have one of those mornings when a cup of tea just will not do and I need a caffeine hit. On these days I always turn to the coffee shops which line the central London road my office is on and find myself spending that £2.70 to get my day off to a smilier start. I love this little indulgence, I probably only have it once a week on my tiredest day but, whether placebo or not, it does genuinely make me feel better.

BUT what if I could still have my coffee and not spend that £2.90. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Iced coffee has been my thing this summer so I learnt to make it at home. I bought a nice powdered coffee and some caramel sauce from Costa and made my own. Here’s the little recipe in case you’re interested:

  • Put a spoonful of coffee into a mug and mix with a small amount of boiled water
  • Put 10 ice cubes into the Nutribullet (or other blender) and add the coffee mixture, blend!
  • In a cup add one teaspoon of caramel sauce and fill to a quarter with semi skimmed milk
  • Pour the iced coffee mixture over the top
  • Ta da!

Then I bottle or jar it up and take it on the train for a refreshing, early morning caffeine hit which costs much less than my takeaway coffee habit and tastes just as good.

Meals Out with Friends:

DIY 3

I’m not a big fan of the night out, don’t get me wrong every now and again I’m up for a drink and a dance. But I think I’m getting old because now I much prefer some good food and a natter. The problem is that whilst my lack of nights out is certainly saving me money, going out for dinner with friends is definitely starting to add up. A few weeks ago I realised I had gone out for no less than 4 meals in one week! It was time for something to change.

I mentioned in my Instagram a day post http://100waystohappy.com/2015/02/05/challenge-10-record-every-day-for-a-month/, that at the beginning of the year I started a Wednesday dinner club with my friends in Surrey. Every Wednesday, to stop ourselves becoming depressed midweek, we’d head round to someone’s house, one of us would contribute ingredients and we’d all cook something yummy. We tried all different cuisines, from Mexican to Greek to Thai and it was both delicious and a lot, lot cheaper then going out for dinner every week. I think on average I spent about £4 per week and I got to see my lovely friends to catch up on all their goings on.

Smoothies/Drinks with my Lunch:

DIY 2

This is more of an odd one but I noticed on my budget that everyday I’d go out and buy something for lunch at work, adding a little extra. I have soup and toast nearly everyday and I usually buy a loaf of bread and two soups at the beginning of the week, then in the week I’ll pop out for my bananas. However, bananas cost 25p in my local Sainsburys and these expenses were definitely not 25p.

Because I (or maybe my app) had been super organised, I recorded everything I bought and tagged as ‘lunch’ and a lot of it tended to be some sort of drink, usually a smoothie. I’m a sucker for a deal and so often Innocent or Little Miracles are on offer and I can’t help but pick them up. On noticing this, I decided to start making my favourite home green smoothie the night before work and bring it in for a lunchtime treat. Here’s the link if you want to make my smoothie: http://100waystohappy.com/2015/06/18/challenge-46-make-a-happiness-smoothie/ I make enough for two and transport them in the little Nutribullet containers.

These are just some of my little tips, if you want to give it a go I’d say use a budgeting app and keep an eye on those little troublesome expenses. They’ll probably be easier to eradicate then you imagine, whilst not actually having to cut anything you love out. Let me know if you’ve got any favourite DIYs to save money?

IMG_4086

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a woman (or man) should drink more water if they want better skin, better kidneys, an ability to concentrate and stay alert, better digestion, an increase in energy, the list goes on.

But unfortunately I am one of those people that just doesn’t get thirsty. With the exception of when I go running, I really honestly never crave a drink. I crave tea and coffee (I’m pretty sure for the caffeine hit) but I never crave water or squash or juice. So I drink copious amounts of tea, five or six mugs a day, and virtually no water. I have one glass of squash with my dinner and maybe one herbal tea a day, and that is it. I know, it’s terrible, and it’s something that I’ve been feeling guilty about for a long time. So for this challenge, I’ve tried SO hard to fix it and it’s been a massive struggle.

I knew just resolving to drink more water simply wasn’t going to be enough. I’ve tried that before, but because I don’t get thirsty, I just forget my resolution. In order to give myself a better chance, I set about researching the best apps which help you drink more water. I’m an app lover, particularly for making me do things I don’t want to do. Apps have really helped me to budget, to workout more, and to meditate, I think it’s something to do with the ‘guilt’ factor and also the ‘reward’. If you don’t do something, the app will remind you and make you feel guilty about it. If you do do something, you can tick it off on the app and it will reward you with praise. I’m clearly a simple being. After much research I settled on the app ‘Waterlogged’, it seemed to balance the guilt and reward well and was also free. The app gives you a daily aim of 2 litres to drink and allows you to log the amount of millilitres you drink each time. I’ve become absolutely obsessed with working out how many millilitres fit in each glass I own, much to the annoyance of everyone around me. The app also gives you targets for every few hours so you can make sure you are keeping up and don’t just down it all at the end of the day when you run out of time (honestly, I still do this occasionally!)

At first I found it fustrating because I really couldn’t manage 2 litres a day, it was such a huge jump for me. I started off managing about 1.4 litres and finding it really tough. I’d make sure to drink water throughout the day, with lunch, as soon as I got into work and when I got home but it still wasn’t enough. I tweeted this out and you guys were so supportive, letting me know that the 2 litres can come from everything including your food so if I could manage 1.5 litres I was doing well. I had heard that tea is actually more dehydrating then anything else as the caffeine counteracts the benefits of the water, so I don’t record any tea I drink. I have begun to cut down some of my tea, swapping it for herbal teas which I can record in order to make my target. But tea is such a comforter for me when I feel stressed or busy so I really don’t want to force myself to lose it altogether. This is resulting in a dramatic increase in loo breaks everyday as I’m drinking around 8 glasses of water and 4 or 5 cups of tea! After receiving the tweets, I reassessed and thought if I can aim for 1.5 litres a day then I’m doing well.

Since then, I’ve met that target everyday except for one. My work day routine now includes starting the day with a glass of water when I’m making my first cup of tea, aiming for one before lunch, one with lunch and one after lunch and then two glasses after I’m home. I also swap one tea for a herbal tea a day. Another problem I’ve encountered is that the glasses at work are very small (around 200ml) so I have to constantly refill them. To solve this problem, I’m looking to invest in a water bottle. I’m thinking about going for one which you can add fruit into – I think it’s called the Fruition – let me know what you think if you have one?

And have I noticed any results? It’s really hard to say. Although I need to go to the loo a lot more (TMI?) which I find very annoying at work, my digestive system genuinely does feel clearer. My skin also feels as if it’s repairing itself a little faster, though this may be wishful thinking, I’ve just found that the last few spots I’ve had have cleared up a lot quicker. The main benefit I’ve found is that I just feel better about myself for doing it. It’s always been something that I’ve been nagged about and something I’ve felt guilty about so it was a problem that I was keen to solve, for that alone it’s worth it.