10 things that make me happy

"Just remember to smile, smile, smile" - Smile, McFly

Following youtuber In The Frow, Victoria's, recent video about ten things that make her happy, I got pondering on what my ten things would be. Some are things that generally just make me smile, others are things that I perhaps turn to when I'm in a bit of a funk as a way of improving my mood. Either way, these are the ten things that make me happy...
Book shops are one of my favourite places. There's nothing better than the feeling I get when I walk into a book shop. Walls and shelves filled with paperbacks and hardbacks, new releases and old classics. I could wander around Waterstones all day, deciding on which books are the new additions to my reading list. There's also a sense of great satisfaction when you pass a book you've already read, almost as if you're excited for the person who picks up that book, knowing it's a great read and hoping they'll love it just as much as I did. I'm a self confessed book addict and will happily admit that the smell of books is wonderful too; maybe thats why book shops have such a wonderful feel to them, the pure smell of brand new books and the anticipation of picking one up and taking it to the till. Yes, you can buy books online but there's nothing like having it in your grasp as you pay for it and spend the rest of the shopping trip with it in your bag, just itching to get home and start reading.

Curling up with a book in hand is possibly one of my favourite little pick me ups. When I'm feeling a little down it is pure bliss you snuggle up in a chair with a book and a steaming mug of coffee and have the words on the page transport you to another world; the perfect get away from stress. On winter evenings throwing a blanket over myself and lighting a candle with fairy lights twinkling around me help to add to the magic of reading. When it's lovely weather outside, sitting in the sun with a refreshing drink whilst reading about far off places and ancient lands is my getaway to my happy place.

Sunshine is nature's remedy for bad moods. As soon as the sun appears and the clouds disappear the world seems a brighter place. Being able to go out without a coat or in shorts without feeling chilly, the instant rush to give yourself a pedicure so that you can wear sandals once again, and the way that the parks are no longer dismal and deserted places just fills me with happiness. Sunshine also means Pimms and it's truly lovely to be sat out in a pub garden with friends, chatting over a refreshing, fruity, alcoholic beverage. There is of course all the science-y vitamin advantages of summertime but for me it is the way it instantly lifts your moods and does the same for other people too, the world is a brighter place in the sun (literally and emotionally!)

Vanilla scented candles are the only candles I ever buy. Anyone that knows me is well aware of my undying love for vanilla candles. I can't quite explain why I love them so much but just lighting a few and letting the entire room fill with the sweet scent of vanilla, quite possibly whilst reading a book, is the height of happiness for me. My favourite one to date is the WoodWick Vanilla Bean candle, it crackles as it burns and the sound of it is absolute bliss. 

Concerts are my ultimate happy place, in particular 5 Seconds of Summer concerts. There's something extraordinary about being in a room filled with thousands of people who are all so focused on just two things; the people on the stage, and the music. One moment that will never fail to give me goosebumps is when the singer/band goes silent and listens to the audience singing their song back to them. It's really quite remarkable to really think about it, to realise that all those thousands of people are so invested in the same music that they know the words and attend the concerts. There, in that moment, you are surrounded by people who all share a common interest with you and it's an interest that means a heck of a lot to you. When it comes to 5 Seconds of Summer Amnesia and Beside You are the songs that give me goosebumps as their own vocals cut out and the audience sing along. In that moment, with all the camera torches swaying at the same time, lighting up an arena or stadium filled with people that I am truly happy. (video credit to  Niamh Irwin on Youtube)

Friends are undoubtedly some of the most important people in my life; be it friends from school or university or friends that live on the other side of the world and across oceans. Just going out for a coffee, going shopping or even the simple things like catching up in the comfort of my own home, I'm often at my happiest when surrounded by friends. They're the people who like me despite my flaws and put up with me when I'm being silly and vice-versa. Admittedly I didn't have a particularly wide friendship group going through school but since the beginning of sixth form I've been surrounded by people who want the best for me, laugh with me and are generally just top notch human beings. You know who you are; and thank you.

Disney, in particular Toy Story, I'm a sucker for a Disney film and nothing quite matches an evening on the sofa watching classics like Lady and the Tramp and The Lion King or new releases such as Tangled and Frozen. However, Toy Story is the trilogy that will always and forever hold an exceptionally strong place in my heart. Whenever I'm feeling a little down in the dumps a Disney film will nearly always cheer me up!

A refreshing drink is the best way to cool down and unwind in summer months. My current go-to drink of choice is water and ice with mint leaves, a slice of lime and chopped strawberry; a drink that tastes like summer in a glass! The sound of ice hitting the side of a glass and the fresh taste of lime and mint symbolise pure tranquility and bliss. If I'm out and about Starbucks' new tea over ice range is perfect for that instant cool down (and they look so pretty too!)

Drawing is one of my favourite pastimes, there's something about the sound of pencil running over a sketch pad and the satisfaction of a just sharpened pencil that makes me instantly happy. It's something that I'm still working on, with each drawing I improve a little and work out different techniques but most of all it's what I want to do when I'm at my happiest.

Center Parcs is my happiest place ever. Having been on Center Parcs breaks numerous times and having some incredible memories in the secluded woodland makes this my absolute favourite aspect of this list of happy things. Although Disney World is the happiest place in the world (which I totally agree with and would give every single one of my limbs to go again), Center Parcs is my happiest place. From the subtropical swimming paradise to walks through the woodland it is the ultimate retreat. I also don't get phone signal when I'm at Center Parcs and that adds to the feeling of being totally cut off from the outside world and it is terrific. I can't stress enough how much I love and appreciate this place and life's always a little better when I have a break booked - bring on December! (video credit to Travel on Inspiration on Youtube)


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