5 steps to have the cutest fun night in with your girlfriends!

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Whenever I feel a bit blah, I make time to hang out with my girls.

They always put a smile on my face and make me feel human again!

So if you are feeling a bit down or you just want to try something new with your ladies here are some really cute ideas for a fun night in. They are guaranteed to make you giggle, your tummy ache and have you feeling pretty awesome in no time!

The 5 steps to a cute night in:

  • Decorate! Set the scene. Whether it’s your bedroom, your friends house or your family lounge room~you need to decorate!  Yes, this may mean balloons, flowers, coloured napkins and glitter! One of my friends is amazing at finding decorations that just transforms the room. Things like paper lanterns, or floating butterflies make it special and create an expectation for the night ahead. Whatever your theme is, create a world for your girls to walk into. Strings of fake diamonds, bubbles, coloured scarves, faux fur rugs and pillows…Make sure you prepare a themed music list too, and line up some key movies!
  • Get dressed up! There are a few cute ways you can do this. You can invest in a onesie. I have Stitch and a very pink Hello Kitty onesie that I love. My husband has a Totoro and a panda. Our collection seems to grow every Winter! They are so much fun and really it’s hard not to feel both warm and cute in them. However, if you are not up to transforming into a fluffy being, you could theme with colours, characters or movies. Have a super heroine theme, or break out the bunny ears and tails. Everyone could wear purple and gold, or load up with (fake) diamonds and tiaras! Have a Frozen event, with plenty of iced drinks and icy themed clothing. Dress up in your best gothic lolita with cute skulls and deathly patterned skirts. (yes skulls can be cute too!)
  • Yummy food. Ask everyone to bring something to share. Then make something together. You could bake some cute themed cup cakes with plenty of sprinkles and edible glitter, or make some adorable snacks like the ones you would find in a Japanese Bento Box for kids! You can also ask everyone to prepare something for a take home party bag. Someone can organise the bags (themed of course!) and you can all add items like tiny bottles of nail polish, chocolate frogs, magic wands, cheap eye lashes, manicure sets, little bottles of champagne…well you get the picture!
  • Cute activities! Start with a pedicure or manicure. Paint your nails with crazy colours or head to your local chemist or KMart and pick up some nail art and extra bling with nail crystals and wild stick on designs. These are so much fun and not too expensive. Make sure you have a few bottles of champagne and some fresh strawberries to add to the excitement! Dance! Pop on some music that you can all dance to, or a great movie. You could make it a game. Every time someone burps, or swears or says someones name the music is pumped up and everyone has to do the bum dance or the mexican wave, or milk shake! Expand the night into a pyjama party with your favourite soft toy or pillow and animal slippers. Perhaps your girls are up for a trial make up session on each other? You can teach each other your favourite make up tricks, or buy some cheap wigs and have fun styling new looks!
  • Photo shoot! Get out the cameras and the iphones. Set up some funky music to pose to and take pics of each other. Add some frames, some sparkles and hearts then post away on Instagram! (There are some awesome apps available now on itunes). After the event print some photos off, pop them in a frame and send them to your girls as a reminder of the day or night.

Hope you all have an adorable evening with plenty of kawaii (cute) and fun!

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Are we having fun yet?

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I sat was sitting on the floor building a tower out of coloured plastic blocks. My one year old grandson kept picking up my carefully constructed towers, breaking them apart and throwing them on the floor again. Every time the blocks bounced against the floor boards he erupted into a fit of giggles. Apparently it was hysterical. Our whole afternoon had been like this. We had built things, chased each other on the floor, cuddled, sung at the tops of our voices, read books and made plenty of mess. In between we stopped to investigate the contents of the fridge for something to eat or take a breather for a bottle of milk.

There was no reporting, no stress, no goal to achieve by 5 pm. Just Cruz and I hanging out together. Just the two of us rolling around on the floor giggling.

I have to say it felt a bit weird at first. Like I was trying on someone else’s jacket.

It wasn’t that my six ‘to do lists’ had vanished. I had just given myself permission to step off the roller coaster for a day. And once I stopped thinking about all of my life goals and tasks, and stopped feeling guilty that I wasn’t diligently ticking them all off, I surrendered to the bliss. I sank into the present and I started to have fun.

Hmmm fun. Remember that?

We often talk about a rage of key factors that support a healthy lifestyle and positive mental health. Things like having our basic needs met; a home, good fresh food, exercise, education, access to medical care and some form of work where we can contribute are the foundations of a healthy lifestyle and a healthy human being.

We know we need to feel safe and connected. Having a sense of belonging to our families, friends and our community helps us to feel that we matter, that we have a purpose in life and a tribe that we not only care about but we belong to. When we give something back to our world, beyond our normal daily work, it boosts our own mental health and our connection and sense of belonging to the world we belong to expands.

I often talk about how acts of kindness have a way of benefiting you as the giver way more than the person or people on the receiving end. These things help us to stay positive, to seek the goodness in the world and to connect with like minded people in our community.

However one of the things that seems to be missing in the equation is having fun. It’s as if we have forgotten to enjoy ourselves. We are so busy ticking of the to do list or the bucket list or chasing our dreams that we have forgotten to stop and have fun. If we’re not having fun, what exactly are we living for?

Frankly it’s exhausting. I don’t know about you, but it seems like even though I am making my dreams happen, achieving a lot and ticking plenty of those boxes I’m often tired and grumpy…and oddly a little sad. There is something not quite right when you are looking forward to the weekend or a day off just so you can sleep. How un-sexy is that? Woohoo! A few extra hours in bed not being woken up by the alarm clock.

So, as I lay in the pirate tent with Cruz, snuggling with the pirate bunnies and teddies and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with our hands in the air, I realised that I could learn a few important things from my little grandson.

  • Laugh. Loudly. And Often. Laugh as much as you can. Every single day. If you get to the end of the day and you haven’t had a good giggle, then make time to watch your favourite comedy or Youtube your favourite comedian. A day without laughter is pretty much a day wasted.
  • Be curious and explore. You don’t need to have everything sorted. You don’t need to know everything or have an opinion on everything either. Ask questions. Read. Talk with other people. In fact it’s much more fun when you haven’t got all the ducks lined up and you’re slightly out of control.
  • Step off the roller coaster (and the guilt) and breathe. Hang out in your garden…for hours. Step away from the housework, or the office. Lay on the floor and read all day. Hang out with people that make you giggle as often as possible. Go out with your girlfriends and do a cafe crawl (similar to a pub crawl but with coffee and cake!) and talk.
  • Watch how kids find the fun. Ever noticed how children instinctively seem to find the fun in almost everything they do? When the milk gets spilt all over the floor, it’s hysterical. When they fall over, they laugh. When it starts pouring with rain, they jump in the puddles instead of getting grumpy. When something supposedly goes wrong, or isn’t quite right try breathing and laughing instead of imploding.
  • Celebrate. Rock on. Party. Find reasons to celebrate with cupcakes. PUMP the music up and dance…yep even in your office. Sing loudly and often in your car. Party with your friends at least once a week. Party in your own way. Go out to that burlesque show, hit that Latin night club, find a cool and quirky cocktail bar, have a BBQ in your back yard, or organise a onesie sleepover with movies and pop corn at your place. However you party or celebrate make it happen! Enjoy your achievements. Enjoy having friends. Enjoy being here, right now.
  • Surround yourself with the ‘fun’ people. If you are struggling to wake up your funny bone, hunt down the people that always seem to be having the best time and enjoying their lives. Make them your mentors, or your role models. Watch what they do throughout the day and how they turn challenges into bliss.
  • Finally, give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to enjoy your life. Remember that life is pretty awesome when you are having fun.

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans…” Beautiful Boy, John Lennon

5 quick tiny tips to help you smile

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DAY 84

Some days we all feel sad. Perhaps we’re sick. Perhaps we are overworked and just plain tired. Sometimes shitty stuff can happen. It’s not the end of the world but it feels like everything is going wrong. Or perhaps something major has happened in your world and you are struggling to find the good.

So to help a little here are my 5 tiny tips to help you smile.

  • Call your best friend. The one who always makes you feel a bit better about yourself and the world around you. Even if you only have five minutes – call her.
  • Go for a 3 minute walk around the block or into your own garden. Get yourself outside in the sun or the snow and walk. Remind yourself about what is good in your world. In fact challenge yourself to find 10 things on your walk to make you smile. The next door neighbour’s cat. Little people walking in all their Winter gear. Flowers. Birds making nests. Sunshine on your face.
  • Find your favourite song right now. Pump up the music on your ipod and sing at the top of your lungs. Or just dance. Imagine that you are playing in the band and air-guitar the flip out of it!
  • Eat chocolate. Because there is never a time when chocolate can’t make you smile.
  • Hug it out. Hug your dog, your cat, your pet turtle. Hug your best friend or your partner. Hug your kids and your grandkids. Hug your blanket and your pillow. Be kind to yourself. It’s ok to feel a little down. Take a little time to nurture yourself and remind yourself of all of the beautiful people and animals (and fluffy toys) who love you back.

You’re in a good place.

It’s going to be ok.

“I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.”
― Paul Simon

 

A letter to 10 year old me

DAY 80

I watched this cute video from the folk at SoulPancake today. They often post things that make you think outside of the box.

So todays video was all about asking people to write a letter to their 10 year old versions of themselves. They didn’t tell them that they would ask them to share the letters after  they had written them, so people were pretty honest. There was a lot of advice about taking risks and not being frightened and plenty of encouragement, especially around making it through difficult times and things getting better.

I got to thinking, what would I have told my 10 year old self?

  • Don’t wish your red hair away, one day the same boys who tease you mercilessly for being a red head will love you.
  • Find what you love doing, and don’t give it up for anything ~ even if someone tells you that you can’t do it! Keep singing, keep dancing and don’t stop writing!

What stood out to me more though was how some of the things that I would tell my 10 year old self may be very similar to what I would still tell myself now.

  • Don’t be afraid to take risks. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just do it! You will learn so much more from riding that bike than just looking at it!
  • Spend time with the people you love. They won’t always be there to hug.
  • People are more important than money. Really.
  • Work is only one part of your life, so don’t spend every hour of your life working ~ unless you are running away from something…

Most of all, I think I would tell us both to choose to be happy. You may think this is easier said than done, but the research tells us that we are the architects of our own happiness. We choose how we react and respond to what happens around us. We choose to be happy or miserable. Every day.

So I thought I might leave you with a video from Nick Vujicic who is both inspirational and chooses to be happy. Every day.

Share It Forward Sunday!

I love Sundays.

Often my Sundays are full precious moments, like sleeping in, reading in bed, chatting over hot cups of tea, giggling on the couch, snuggling my Cuba and MiMi, bubble baths and date night with my husband. I love sharing the extraordinary things I find online as well. So many things touch my heart or inspire me to be part of creating a better world for all of us.

Sometimes though, it’s just about being simply happy…

Much excite, many joy

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DAY 77

I have a cute and quirky friend, Katey,  who has an equally quirky way of telling the world about how happy she is. She often mixes up her verbs, nouns and adjectives. Instead of saying, “I’m really happy about this.” or ‘I’m having a lot of fun.” She will say “Ohhh much excite right now!” or, “This has given me many joy!” I can’t emulate her cute voice, but just the words being written in the wrong order, or out of context somehow makes me sit up and listen. I can’t even write the sentence without an exclamation mark, it carries so much emotion!

It got me thinking about how we can go about our daily lives and miss the extraordinary. How amazing things can become a bit ‘ho hum’ because we don’t acknowledge it. How we can miss the beauty of our world around us because we have forgotten somehow how to articulate it in a way that has meaning for us.

So how do we renew our passion and inspire ourselves? How do we jump start our hearts to see the richness and extraordinary moments and things in our lives?

Here’s 5 tips that may give you much excite and many joy!

  • Change your daily language to describe your emotions! You don’t have to do what my friend Katey does, but think about your go to words. I spent years saying, “that’s cool”, or “I love that”. Both words ended up loosing all meaning for me. They felt like dried out prunes. So something that really was cool was no longer really touching my heart. It gave me zero joy. Think about how we greet people every day with “How are you?” or “How’re you going?” the automatic answer is “Good thanks, and you?” After years of saying ‘good’ on auto pilot, it just rolls off our tongues like paper; dry and awkward.Try changing both the greeting and your answer. “It’s so good to see/meet you. How has your day been?” might elicit a different response. The other week I asked one of my sons this question and he said “Mum, I’m living the dream!” It’s hard not to have a conversation after this!!
  • Make a list of words that describe your feelings. Check out your words and their meaning on the dictionary online or my new favourite tool: visualthesaurus.com. Make sure that your words reflect who you are and what you feel. They should feel luscious and true when you say them. Put your top 5 words on a post it note and pop them in your diary so you see them every day. At the end of each day, I like to shift my post it note to the next day in my diary, so I see them every morning when I get to work. Or you could put them on your fridge, or bathroom mirror. Change your words up every week, or every month! It’s also a great way to expand your vocabulary.
  • Listen to your most inspirational role models. Who inspires you? Perhaps it is someone physically in your life like your mum or your best friend. A co-worker or a coach. Perhaps it’s someone you don’t know at all, a celebrity, a politician, a world leader? They could be dead or alive, it doesn’t matter. Focus on the things that they describe around them. How do they articulate the journey that they are in? They inspire you with both their words and their actions, so how do they communicate that with you in a way that makes you feel inspired to step up and be a better version of yourself. One of my many inspirational role models is Gala Darling. Her daily posts on both her facebook page and her website always make me think about who I want to be. When I have had a particularly shitty and disheartening day, she always draws me back to a place where I can find my own inner power and an acknowledgement that I am the decision maker in my life; I am the one who decides whether or not to fight. I am the one who chooses to love my self and to be happy.
  • Start with your heart. Your feelings are the most powerful drivers in your life. If your heart isn’t right , then your life will be a mess of spaghetti! If you haven’t already, do some work on your heart and your feelings. Who are you really? What are your go to feelings every day? What story do you tell yourself every day? How do you speak about yourself every day. What do you therefore see every day? If you are feeling like a complete waste of space, because the story in your head is that you were never wanted as a baby and nothing you can do will prove that you deserve to be on this earth, then you are likely to be telling yourself that you are powerless to change yourself and your experience of life. Your words will revolve around a deep inner sadness of abandonment and fear. Your expression of yourself will be full of pain. You will only see the grey mist. But if you can be brave and be honest about that one feeling that is driving your life and foundation story, and courageous enough to step up and change it, then you will change your existence. You might like to start with Gala’s Radical Self Love Project, or if you are feeling particularly brave today, try some Desire Mapping with Danielle LaPorte.
  • Try something different every single day for 30 Days. Write a list of 30 things that you think will bring you many joy. Don’t think big picture, just small every day things. Perhaps putting a bunch of flowers on your bedside table to wake up to every day because they remind you of love and make you feel like a goddess. Or perhaps small bunches of flowers everywhere you sit like your desk, your coffee table, your kitchen bench! Perhaps you could try a different morning drink, like a herbal tea because it makes you feel a little bit daring and adventurous. Maybe you could dress up in your favourite outfit to do the most mundane thing, like supermarket shopping, or going to work, or walking your dog because it makes you feel wicked and cheeky and happy! Put on false eyelashes, just because they make you feel glamorous. Buy a special pen because it feels exotic to write with. Write a card to your friend about how much you love and care for them because it makes you feel like a bloody good person. Eat one of your favourite childhood cereals for breakfast, even if it’s not too good for you because it connects you to your inner child and you feel palyful! What ever you do, think about how it makes you feel inside. Think about the words you are using to describe your experience. Do your words give your experience justice? Do they breathe life into the moment? If not, go on a quest to find that perfect word! Write it down and add it to your flourishing vocabulary!

Just a few of these things will not only change up the way you see and feel your daily experience, they will open up your heart and mind to the richness that is already present in your life. They will also open you up to new possibilities and opportunities.

Ah yes, much excite, many joy!

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

100 Happy Days

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DAY 67

8th March, 2014

You may have heard of the 100 Happy Days Challenge. Or perhaps one of your friends has taken up the challenge and all of a sudden her facebook page or instagram or twitter feed is full of cute and happy pics of what makes her day happy.

The idea is that every day you submit a photo of what makes you happy for 100 days. Then share your picture with the hashtag #100happydays. That’s it. Cool idea huh? If you don’t play on any social media platforms you can simply email your photo to myhappyday@100happydays.com. You still need to register on the site though, because registering is all about making a commitment and following through. You are way more likely to complete the challenge if you have made a public commitment.

I love that people start to notice what makes them happy during this challenge. They realise how much they already have, feel more optimistic, are in a better mood, start receiving compliments and some even fall in love!

I have some dear friends that started this challenge a few months ago. One of my friends has posted everything from an outing with her dad, to meals in restaurants that she had never been to. She has posted pics of her new hair style, a new dress, a visit with her best friend, a visit to the park, her farewell from her job and snuggling with her beautiful dog. Over the past 80 plus days I have watched her transform from a grumpy and sad possum to someone with a perpetual smile who literally radiates from each photo!

She talks about realising what she has had all along, and also the realisation that she had to actually get out and start doing something with her life to feel happy.

Over the past few years there has been a fair bit of research around happiness and our mental health. We know that the happier we are, the more resilient we are when we are dealing with tough situations in our lives. The happier we are the more we are likely to notice the good stuff in our lives, which leads us to being grateful for what we already have, which enables us to be even happier.

Apparently 71% of people tried this challenge but failed quoting ‘lack of time’ as the main reason. I know I have been guilty of saying this too. I have been so overwhelmed with work and a task list that never seems to end that I can’t imagine how I could possibly fit anything else in. But if we don’t have ANY time for happiness what kind of lives are we living?

Think about it: We don’t have any time to be happy anymore. Really? Wow!

So in the spirit of believing I deserve a happy life…and that I am probably happier and richer than what I realise, I registered for the challenge. I think I have a little time in my busy day to be happy – don’t you?

If you are interested in joining me on the 100 Happy Days Challenge, register on the website link above!

Happy Days!

Born

hope

DAY 56

25th February, 2014

BORN

It was Spring when you arrived

A cool early morning

A team of nurses and surgeons brought you into the world

I was young and exhausted and delirious to have you finally in my arms

Your small head was pointy and sore and you screamed at the world around you

Such a little thing

Demanding so much attention

We loved you to sleep

We rocked you and held you until you knew we were there for you

And when you finally smiled it was a good day

We felt blessed through our sleepless nights

Completely thankful that you had chosen us to nurture you, to teach you how to make your way in the world

And as you thrived and grew and danced through the neighbourhood

We smiled with pride

We made you

We were responsible for the boy you had become

Such a lofty place to fall from, so high above, so far away

Such a big thing you have grown to be

So strong, so clever, so sick

We don’t smile so much any more

We step on egg shells and wonder where we went wrong

What did we not see

Did you not feel our love?

As you struggled and fought through the neighbourhood

Did you not realise we were proud of you?

As you left to be alone

It was Summer when we realised that we couldn’t help you,

A long dark evening stifled with heat

I am old and exhausted

But I am still delirious to have you in my arms.

Caz Espinoza, 25th February, 2014

“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
― Stephen King

7 Wild little gestures of love

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DAY 43

12th February, 2014

So with Valentine’s Day a few sleeps away, I thought it might be fun to share some wild little ways to love your precious.

I hope you have some loved up fun!

  • Kiss! If ever there is a time to kiss – It’s Valentine’s Day! Kiss your love everywhere and as much as you can. Be creative! Kiss your valentine’s hands, hair, forehead, neck, arms, tips of their fingers and backs of their knees. Remember to take your long winded time! Don’t rush a thing! Long luscious kisses in unexpected places are exciting. So kiss in the kitchen, or the car, or in the supermarket aisle. Kisses in the back of the movie theatre are seriously the best. Remember how you felt when kissing was all you were brave enough to try? How much effort did you put into that one kiss? Heaps right? So take your time and kiss your love in places that you have never kissed before.
  • Write a quirky little poem about how you feel about your Valentine. Make it rhyme…or not. Add pictures, even if you can’t draw, get as creative as you can with stick figures! believe me – your love will LOVE it! Pop your poem into a handmade valentine’s card, covered with hearts and filled with sparkles of love…you can get these at your local $2 shop in the craft section. Sneak it into their work diary, so they find it at the office, or leave it in their lunch box. Make sure it’s not just about getting a giggle, but also about expressing how you really feel about your Valentine. Remember to be genuine…as well as sparkly!
  • Prepare a love feast to eat in bed. I’m talking food here of course! This could be breakfast, or a late night snack. Make sure you put some effort into this. Set up a beautiful tray, or find a basket to present it all in. Theme in the colours of love. Add nice napkins, cups and plates and a cool table cloth, so you don’t mess up the sheets too much – well at least not with the food! Include your Valentine’s favourite yummy foods, but also add something healthy. You don’t want just beer and chips! This is all about expressing your love. So if she loves chocolate or he loves a special kind of ice cream, make sure it’s on offer. You could also bake some fresh scones, or bread, or make home made pancakes with fresh strawberries, jam and cream. Or champagne and late night nachos with your own home made guacamole! Make it yummy and make it fun!
  • Dance. Everywhere! Learn a few cool moves and dance with your honey in the street, in the supermarket aisle, along the beach, in the kitchen, or in an actual dance class! Book a beginners rock and roll class and have half an hour of awesome, breathless fun! Then head to a good burger joint for yummy burgers and milk shakes…and perhaps a bit more ‘dancing’!
  • Locate as many photo booths as you can and go on a wild photo booth, photo shoot adventure! Dress up in a Valentine theme or just dress up. You want to pose for the photos with lots of hugs, kisses and expressions of love for each other!  In between each photo shoot take a break – have something to eat or drink that inspires the next shoot! Eat strawberry ice cream cones, strawberries dipped in chocolate, hot chocolate, milkshakes or red fruit juices! You can keep your photos on the fridge or frame them, or perhaps put them in a special scrap book with messages of love to each other.
  • Plan a bit earlier, and plant some seedlings in a lovely pot or a second hand rustic container, so they are ready to give to your love on Valentines Day. Perhaps he loves herbs? Or maybe she loves jasmine? A friend of mine used to take an early morning walk every Valentine’s Day (or a late night one in the dark) and pick a flower from each of your neighbours’ gardens to make up a massive bunch of ‘wild’ flowers for his girl friend. Now, I am not advocating stealing your neighbours prized roses, but most gardens have a bush, shrub, tree, or flower bed that hangs over into the street, or lane way, so just pick one. You will end up with a huge bunch of flowers from the neighbourhood! Tie a ribbon or a scarf around the bunch. If it’s freezing cold in your part of the world, perhaps you could make some paper flowers, or origami flowers, and hang them in a chain around your bed, or your love’s favourite chair?
  • Massage your honey’s hands, head, or feet…don’t know how to give a massage? Head to google for a quick tutorial! Plan this before hand and find some yummy smelling massage cream or oil. Light lots of candles around the room and put on some gentle relaxing music. Put a soft blanket or fluffy towel down on the floor, or on the couch, and provide some pillows or cushions. Remember to take your time and have fun with it. Massaging should be about taking the time to explore and touch your love and shouldn’t feel hurried or difficult. It’s all about showing your Valentine how much you love them and making them feel awesome!

Of course, you could go for the grand gesture of romance and organise dinner at your love’s favourite restaurant, tickets to a movie or theatre show, or shower your babe with flowers or gifts ~ whatever you choose to do, however you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, remember to be genuine, and come from a place of kindness, love and gratitude…and you never know where the wildness will lead…

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars