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I was reading a book and it was talking about being at a lake. The author, in their creative flow, probably thought absolutely nothing about mentioning it was a lake, and now come to think of it, I can’t even remember what book I was even reading. 

Coming back from my small tangent, reading about this lake took me back to July last year and being at Lake Windermere with a lovely girl from Michigan. I had put on my tour guide Barbie suit on and I was out for the day in the lakes and I got to show little hidden things that I found great and absolutely beautiful. My Michigan friend and I stay in touch and although I wish more than anything she could come back just for a little bit so we can do more exploring, I really love the great nostalgia I hold from that day.

So what 10 things, make me happy? And not just 10 tiny things, like getting an extra marshmallow in your hot chocolate that makes you smile and sigh at the guy in Starbucks, but happy in your stomach that you feel in your whole body?

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For me, my number one, is being with my family

Don’t get me wrong, I argue with them so much, and if I had a pound for every apology I’ve ever made from being a *bit* of a diva, I would be so rich I’d have a deposit on a house already. My family and I hold a great relationship which, frankly, I feel could never be beaten. My dad and I share the same cynical, sarcastic, dry sense of humour and we’ve both been crying and howling with laughter. My brother says very little, but he has his spectacularly hilarious one-liners which are aptly timed and comedic genius. My mum and I get on really well together most of the time! We have a great mum-daughter relationship and I think it’s fair to say that I actively seek opportunities to spend time with my mum because I enjoy it so much. When the four of us are together, there is never a dull moment!!

Number two for me has got to be being with my fiancé.

I know it’s going to be pretty much a given for the post, why would I be marrying him if I didn’t like spending time with him, or he didn’t make me happy!!? I genuinely feel grateful for him every day, he is a great guy and he always makes so much effort for me, I’m blessed that I am almost his wife!!!

Number three, is being with my best friends.

My three best friends are completely different people. I don’t know if this is why I love them all so much, because they are so different, but it certainly means that I have a wonderful, and vast, array of opinions on matters!! I don’t mind if it’s sitting on a bed drinking fruit tea and laughing until my tummy hurts or watching films and drinking wine or going out for dinner in small cafés, they all make me feel great and they are the best friends in the world.

Number four, is being warm inside when it’s raining outside.

It sounds like a silly one, next to my other three, given that the others sound so profound and meaningful, and this just feels well, kind of lazy. There’s something really quite special about being cuddled up somewhere and not needing to move, and hearing the rain battering the windows and feeling like wherever you are, it’s your safe haven.

Number five, is surprising someone with a small act of kindness.

I’m going to admit, I really don’t do this often enough. Have you ever experienced the warm sense of gratitude from someone, when you do something for them, that you really didn’t have to? Like, for example, where I live, in the city centre there are a lot of beggars who sit out on the main street during peak hours. Whatever reason they are sat there for, I don’t know, but especially when it’s cold this time of year, I always aim to go and buy them a cup of tea from Subway or a café to at least keep their hands and their insides warm.

Number six, is dancing like no-one’s watching.

OK, own up, everybody does this. Everyone gets their iPod’s out and dances around to Queen or some European DJ’s remix whilst they’re cleaning up. And nobody really feels too embarrassed about it, because it makes you feel good. Especially when you have Cillit Bang for a microphone.

Number seven, is being at church, celebrating God with my church family.

There is actually nothing that makes your soul feel more replenished than being with people who love you through all stages of your life. Being at church, for me, is not about following rules or being made to toe a line set by ancient men who wore tea towels on their heads, it’s about discovering God, and your own faith, wherever you are with it, and celebrating the good news that the Gospel brings.

Number eight, is forgetting that when you sing with earphones in, people CAN still hear you.

See point six. Apparently, just because your earphones block out the noise you are making from yourself, doesn’t mean that it blocks off the noise for other people!!

Number nine, is being with my grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins.

Lots of people who know me, know that I come from a B-I-G family (and the majority of the people this post will get publicised to are my family *waves*) and that my big family, make me very happy indeed. I enjoy being around the people who are like me physically, whether that’s the same nose (hi, cousin Holly) or the same unruly wavy hair (hi, cousin Lauren), or the same eyes (hi, Grandad) – or whether it’s because we have a similar personality, for example clumsiness (need I say more Ella!) or the same unapologetic dry wit (hi, pretty much all of my dad’s side of the family), but there is a reasonably warm comfort to just being with your family. I know, that I am blessed to be related to such a great bunch of people, and compared to many I am so rich, and I am grateful for their support and their love always.

Finally, number ten, is when you do a great big belly laugh!

I saw a vine on FaceBook titled ‘how I laugh compared to normal people’, and I watched it so many times over, the second example of laughter is so much like me that I know Dan gets embarrassed of me if I laugh really hard in public!! It’s proven to be really good for you to just let out a big laugh, so give it a try!!!

What makes you happy, like REALLY happy?

E x