Lifestyle Updates/Personal & other blog posts.


brighter 2019

It’s a brand New Year and you’re promising yourself that you’ll make real changes this year, resolutions, call it what you will. More often than not, you fall flat on your face as you realise that you just didn’t make it to the gym after all, the diet has failed dismally as winter intensifies its steely grip and the mash potato and stew and the iced bun just look so enticing. Yes, New Years’ resolutions are just another disappointment as January ends and February beckons, the promises you made at Christmas are a distance memory. The strong belief that this New Year will be different, better, more productive, you’ll go places and do wonderful things, then, it’s autumn again and the end of the year is fast approaching. You get angry and frustrated as you ask yourself what happened to all those dreams, promises and resolutions?

It doesn’t have to be that way if you think small.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be ambitious, I’m not here to kill your motivation or your dreams whatever they are but rather than face disappointment which can consequently lead to a possible melt-down however small. It’s surely better to set yourself small achievable goals that will really brighten up your weeks, months and ultimately the year.

Because I suffered with depression which I wrote a post about recently, I started to think of ways I could make my New Year happier, little things just for me. I see it as a way to stop myself from sinking into that terrible black hole again. I decided to make a list of 20 little things that won’t break the bank, little tasks that I could do either daily or weekly. When you set yourself small goals you don’t feel the pressure you might otherwise feel if you had set yourself massive goals, no one needs to know, this is just for you, simple pleasures to a happier you in 2019 and beyond.

Don’t join a gym…. I know you’re desperate to, images of you on the treadmill happily jogging away or lifting weights so elegantly without a bead of sweat on your perfectly made-up forehead is just a dream so treat it as such. Unless you’ve been to a gym before, you’re 100% committed and you have a goal in mind to aid weight loss for example or have been instructed by your doctor for health reasons, don’t bother, you’ll sign up and waste heaps of money.


  • Promise yourself that you’ll go for a walk every day even if it’s just half an hour. Instead of catching the bus, walk, just remember to pack your trainers when you leave for work in the morning. Walk during your lunch break if you can and if you’re hard-core and really dedicated, get the gear on and go for an hour walk every day but start of small, baby steps and all that. Walk up-hill and switch up the route and the terrain, it’ll get those endorphins going and it’s far cheaper than the gym. Your beautifully toned legs will thank you for it in a month.

  • Buy yourself fresh flowers every week, every day if you want! It’s amazing how some freshly cut flowers even cheaper flowers like tulips or daffodils will put a smile on your face. Who needs a man to buy you flowers? unless it’s Valentine’s Day of course.

  • Invest in a luxury candle and light it every evening. Some of my favourite brands are JoMalone, The White Company and Diptyque. They make all the difference to the ambience of a room when lit in the evening with their gorgeous scent and gentle glow plus it’s just what I need to put a smile on my face.brighter 2019

  • Practice meditation and mindfulness.  Download an app like Calm (it does cost though) or from iTunes and practice to relax and free your mind from everyday stresses. Light an aromatherapy candle at the same time, Neom are a fabulous luxurious brand which were recommended to me by my sister-in-law. They really help restore balance when used side by side with meditation and are so therapeutic with ingredients such as lavender, jasmine, lime and Moroccan Rose, they’re uplifting as well as relaxing. Try Malée too, a brand I am fond of since being introduced to it at a pop up I was invited to.

Malée brighter 2019

    Malée candles.
  • Leading on from mindfulness and meditation, take up a local yoga class, it will do wonders for your posture and flexibility, it’s also a great de-stressor and trust me, it’s harder than you think it is so you get a mini workout too.

  • Go for a coffee even if you’re on your own, it doesn’t matter, just sit down and enjoy 15 minutes to yourself while watching the world go by.

  • Do you have a pet? If not, get one. I know its responsibility, not saying you must get a dog, but do you know how calming stroking a cat is? It’s been proven to relax and calm you down and help with depression. Whenever I’m feeling down, 5 minutes stroking my cat really helps me feel better, I look forward to seeing his cute little face, I’m utterly devoted to my cat Buddy.

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  • I know this next one is hard if you’re at work every day so make an effort to at the weekend, forget the housework, just sit down for half an hour with a cup of tea and read, a glass of wine if you prefer, why not. You could watch a short film or your favourite series on Netflix, just make sure it’s at least half an hour and don’t feel guilty about it.

brighter 2019

  • Get your apron on and BAKE!! Yes, get ready, set and bake just like in Great British Bake Off.  How many times have you heard people saying it’s so relaxing to bake a cake or make some biscuits? Get creative if you want to, my personal favourite is making bread, it clinched me an A in my O Level Food Tech. I love kneading dough and punching it, I think of someone who’s made me angry and I really go for it. It’s great exercise for your hands and arms, have you ever seen those therapy balls, well for me, kneading has the same effect. When you see the end product whether it’s a cake, bread or iced biscuits, it gives you a real high and sense of achievement.

A Malteser Cake I baked.

milk rolls brighter 2019

My speciality – Milk Rolls. I love baking these, I find baking so therapeutic.

  • Take a day trip once a month whether it’s to London, to a museum followed by lunch (doesn’t have to be expensive). Go to the City of London, some of the old pubs are worth the trip alone. Visit a market such as Leadenhall, Borough or Camden Market. Walk in the steps of Charles Dickens or Jack the Ripper, there are so many walking tours around even Harry Potter which I took my son and daughter to a while back, I never tire of London. The Cotswolds isn’t that far away by train, it’s one of the most beautiful and most visited parts of England. My husband has a business in Henley-on-Thames, I really recommend visiting this Oxford Town by the river, it’s beautiful to spend the day there especially in the summer or during the Henley Regatta in July.

Henley on Thames

The beautiful town of Henley-on-Thames is so gorgeous in the spring and summer.

  • Promise yourself a weekend away to a European city if your budget allows.  There are some cheap bargains around. If you book early enough, you can get £29 tickets to Paris each way or £39 to Amsterdam. Trust me, Paris isn’t as expensive as you think, try the Hotel Chopin for around £100 per night.

  • Window shop! I love just visiting some of London’s department stores, my favourite is Liberty. It’s a stunning historic building quite unlike any other in London, it’s a real feast for they eyes. It’s right by Carnaby Street and Kingly Court, if sushi is your thing, indulge in all manner of sushi, sashimi and tempura at Oka, so delicious!

    brighter 2019 Libertys

    Liberty, one the most beautiful and historic department stores.

  • If driving is your thing, go for a drive – anywhere, drive on a country lane and allow yourself to get lost, stop off for lunch in a country pub, it’s how I discovered many of my favourite pubs. Somewhere I love going to and isn’t too far when my daughter and I fancy a longish drive where she can connect her iPod and put all her favourite songs on which incidentally, I love too, is the Chilterns.  Either to Beaconsfield, Amersham or Great & Little Missenden, how often do we put on our favourite music? so going for a drive is the perfect way to do this. Plus if you’re alone, let your hair down and your inhibitions go and dance!!

  • Have a long soak in the bath with some of your favourite and most indulgent bath products, there’s nothing more relaxing as far as I am concerned.

  • Drink champagne, any day of the week, why not? Do as Gabrielle Chanel says “I only drink champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not” champagne is good any time of the year not just on a special occasion, that’s my moto.

brighter 2019 champagne

I often have a glass of champagne but it doesn’t just have to be a special occasion drink.

  • Go for Afternoon Tea – anywhere even on your own, there’s nothing more special and it’s my guilty pleasure. There are some great offers at If you can afford it, go to the Ritz for Tea, everyone has to at least once or twice in their life.

tea at the Ritz

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz is so special, it’s the ultimate luxurious experience.

  • Do you like oysters? Well if you love and adore them like I do, make it a regular thing, go for oysters and champagne at one of London’s many establishments.  Some do special deals a bit like Happy Hour where you can indulge in your seafood fantasy. At Bonnie Gull Soho for example, you can have oysters for £1 each and a glass of prosecco for £5 every day between 4-6pm. I do this regularly and there is nothing wrong with that thank you very much.

brighter 2019 oysters

I always treat myself to oysters and champagne or a glass of delicious Chablis or Sancerre.

  • Treat yourself to a  facial or a massage, what could be more relaxing than an all over body massage with scented oils or a deep cleansing facial for extra soft glowing skin. Nothing screams luxury like a massage or an indulgent facial. Schedule one in before an evening out because it will make you feel extra special and super-sexy in readiness for the romance to come, it makes all the difference to me.

  • Go for a hand massage at Jo Malone. Just ring them up and ask, it’s usually complimentary. Sometimes if you’ve bought something from there, they’ll slip a little invitation card for you and a friend to enjoy this half-hour treat. Sometimes they’ll even offer you a glass of bubbly too, how wonderful! It’s a super fabulous way to de-stress and unwind after a bit of shopping in London. 


  • Exchange romantic texts with your loved one, well it is Valentine’s Day soon after all.  You never know, he may surprise you with an evening out and more if you hit those those buttons right!

brighter 2019

These are just some examples of the things you can do to enhance your life and hopefully bring about a happier you. Nothing really breaks the bank, just little things and little goals that are perfectly achievable to make you more content, relaxed and bring a little joy to your life. These are not resolutions so you’re not putting pressure on yourself to achieve specific goals. See it as little indulgences to spoil yourself with because you deserve it, your happiness comes first not just in 2019 but always….. enjoy!

Love Helen X



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