100 happy days_week 03

Whoa, I can’t believe another week has gone by already! January is nearing the end with February fast approaching. It has certainly been a busy month. I don’t know where time goes, but it often feels like it is set on fast forward living in London. All the more reason to take notice of the happiness in each day, so one day doesn’t blur into the next.

There has been so much more this past week that has made me happy; dining out, going to the theatre, love notes, surprises, wines with friends, connecting with other bloggers, being spontaneous and running improvement, but unfortunately I can’t include everything. I think a combination of a lot of fun and paying more attention to all the positives has led to a super happy week.

Are you being more aware of what makes you happy each day? Here’s a snapshot of my past week:

Days 15 and 16

Day 15: A bit random, but this made me laugh at the supermarket. Psy (better known for his song ‘Gangnam Style‘) is now on packaging for a range of Korean food. Certainly maximizing opportunity from having his hit go viral.

Day 16: Arrived to an empty gym for a workout before work. Always a great start to the day.

Days 17 and 18

Day 17: Came across a quirky drawing while flicking through a cafe guest book during lunch.

Day 18: Woke up during the night thinking it must almost be time to get up and it was only 2.23am! Love that feeling.

Days 18 and 19

Day 18: Another double-up day, but I was very happy to get my ring back from the jewelers after having it re-sized so it fits the right finger.

Day 19: Catching up with (and meeting) other fabulous blogger babes including Holly and Che at an event held by Sarah from The Prosecco Diaries. We got to have our hair and nails done while drinking Prosecco (out of cute teacups).

Days 20 and 21

Day 20: Sitting at home on a rainy Sunday… what to do? Book a spontaneous, last minute stay at The Mayfair Hotel, including getting Monday morning off work to make the most of the 5 star luxury. Staycation!

Day 21: As Winter continues, all I seem to be thinking about are holidays and sun. I needed a Summer fix, so looked back through photos from our holiday in Croatia last year and our day spent Relaxing At Bonj ‘Les Bains’ Beach Club, Hvar. This photo always brings back happy memories. Lying on a day bed in Hvar, the sun shining and the crystal clear Adriatic Sea at my feet… Pure relaxation. Take me back!

Summer sun and staycations,

Vienna Christmas Tree Hunting

I love Europe at Christmas. Having grown up with hot Summer Christmas Days, it’s a refreshing change to have a cold, Winter Christmas. Cards and wrapping paper covered in snowflakes, snowmen and fireplaces over the years finally make sense.

Aside from the ice-skating, decorations and festive feel everywhere; a favourite has to be the pop-up Christmas markets. Arriving into Vienna prior to Christmas, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. From mid-November many of the squares transform and you can’t walk far without coming across one of the many seasonal markets the Austrian capital has to offer.

Christmas Tree Shopping

Many families were about, rugged up and carefully picking out their Christmas trees while braving the fresh Winter air.

Toffee Apples

Vienna Christmas Market Waffle Stand

Altweiner Market Vienna_Austria Pretzels

Walking from Schottentor to the Museums Quarter we came across several different squares transformed into Christmas markets. Pop-up wooden stalls sell a range of decorations, handicrafts, gifts, food and warming drinks. Even if you are not hungry, the aroma of toffee apples, bratwurst, pretzels, waffles, roasting chestnuts and Glühwein (mulled wine) are tempting and hard to walk past without stopping to sample.

Altweiner Market Vienna_Austria Punsch

Having already tried Glühwein, I decided to go for some Orangenpunsch (punch) at Altweiner Market. It was sweet and warming and can be bought with, or without alcohol. I liked that you get proper mugs to drink from at the Austrian markets. Market goers browse the stalls, hands tightly wrapped around their mugs to keep themselves warm. When you return the mug to the vendor you get a portion of the drink price refunded, or you can choose to keep it as a souvenir.

Christmas Market Village Maria-Theresien Platz

Maria Theresien Platz Market Vienna_Natural History Museum

A market with the most incredible setting is the Christmas village on Maria-Theresien-Platz. Sitting in between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum, it makes for a very stunning backdrop. After walking through during the day, we returned Christmas Eve for more Glühwein and to admire both buildings illuminated against the dark night sky. No sightings of Santa and his sleigh though. Perhaps that comes after several more Glühweins?

Winter Wunderland Sign_Vienna Austria

Museumsquartier Vienna

Not far from Maria-Theresien-Platz, the MuseumsQuartier also transforms with the Christmas spirit into a Winter Wonderland of sorts (just without the snow during our visit). Cosy pop-up bars with furry indoor seating and outdoor bar leaners allow patrons to enjoy the atmosphere and sounds of the DJ in the evening.

Austrian Parliament Building Vienna

Vienna Rathaus

A few blocks away, under the spires of the Rathaus (City Hall) and a scenic walk past the Parliament building is Wiener Christkindlmarkt (Vienna Christmas Market). Another beautiful setting, this market had a lot to offer, though was noticeably busier than some of the others.

Wiener Christkindlmarkt Gluhwein Stall

Wiener Christkindlmarkt Goulash soup in a bun

Eyes bigger than our stomachs, we couldn’t resist sampling more food when we discovered goulash soup served in a large, hollowed out bread loaf. Most around us just ate the soup, but not one bit of our bread went to waste.

Word of advice when visiting the markets – go on an empty stomach. You won’t be disappointed!

Christmas is a beautiful time to visit picturesque Vienna. The only thing we were missing was snow for our first white Christmas to truly top off our festive experience. Maybe next time…

Missing markets,

100 happy days_week 02

How are you going with the #100happydays challenge? Have you been taking part, or consciously thinking about what makes you happy each day?

Over the past seven days, I’ve realised just how much I enjoy going out for meals. I became aware and conscious that my week was very revolved around food and several food photos had featured, but when I thought more about it, it wasn’t the food that made me happy, but being out with friends.

This past week I’ve been out for wines with girlfriends, dinners and lunches with friends, Saturday brunch with Mr M and had friends over for a home cooked Sunday roast. It’s bringing people together, being social and the connection over food that is enjoyable.

Second week in and I’m realising more and taking a lot more photos each day. I often have to narrow down which to use for the 100 happy days. A good sign of looking more at the positives in each day.

Days 08 and 09

Day 8: Waking up to a positive text from my Mum letting me know that Facebook thinks my A Life Less Beige Facebook page is similar to blogging Queen Gala Darling. Gala is a fellow Kiwi and the very first blog I started reading. I met her last year at The Blogcademy, so this put a huge smile on my face and was a great start to the day. Mum’s ‘Minx’ nickname for me always makes me smile too.

Day 9: I love positive quotes and sometimes we all need a little reminding.

I had been out for a fun evening with girlfriends and wanted to post a photo of that for Day 9, but sometimes it is good just to switch off and keep the phones away. Being present and enjoying the moments are more important than trying to always capture them.

Days 10 and 11

Day 10: Trying new restaurants with friends that have great food and service.

Day 11: Meeting a friend for lunch on a Friday for delicious, fresh Thai food.

Days 12 and 13

Day 12: Not having grown up with squirrels, they’re still a novelty and always make me laugh when I see them bouncing along. I liked watching this little guy enjoying eating peanuts in the sunshine.

Day 13: Running progress! Training for my first 10km run, I was excited on Sunday when I ran an extra km and took an average of 15 secs per km off of my first run the previous week. Seeing improvement helps keep me motivated.

Days 14 Tulips

Day 14: Coming home to colourful tulips. It’s a nice treat receiving fresh flowers. The thought and gesture always means a lot.

Looking forward to what happiness the coming week will bring.

Remember, I post my #100happyday photos on Instagram, so connect with me there to see them daily, plus other photos I don’t post on here, or other media.

Grateful,

100 happy days_week 01

Could you be happy for 100 days in a row? I saw a link to the #100HappyDays challenge and decided to sign up and take part. All it involves is taking a photo of something that has made you happy each day. Easy right? Surprisingly, 71% of people who tried to complete this challenge failed quoting lack of time as the main reason.

WAIT! WHAT? People don’t have time to be happy?

We live in busy and high-pressure times, where it is all too easy to focus on what is missing, or not going right in our lives. What if we shifted our focus and looked at what is going well and makes us happy? That’s got to make for some positive change.

Do you take the time to notice what makes you happy each day? Join in the challenge and make the time to take notice and acknowledge your happiness each day. Let’s see what difference we feel after 100 days. Even after just seven days I’m looking for the positive and paying more attention to what makes me happy rather than unhappy. I’m all for feeling positive, optimistic and happy in life.

Here is what made me happy over the past seven days:

Days 01 and 02

Day 1: After a lot of rain in London I was having lunch at work, when the sun decided to come out and play. Seeing blue sky and the buildings lit up across the square made me happy.

Day 2: I discovered The Secret Of London’s Millennium Bridge, AND

Days 02 and 03

Day 2: When I got home, a beautiful, personalised bottle of champagne and two champagne flutes had arrived from one of my best friends congratulating my recent engagement. This thoughtful gift was definitely worth a second photo for the day.

Day 3: We receive a lot of job applications at work, but getting a letter in the internal mail addressed to Rapunzel in ‘The Tower’ certainly made me smile. Perhaps it was sent by Prince Charming?

Days 04 and 05

Day 4: Plenty of people bring their dogs to work. How can I not be happy when these cute faces are looking at me during the day?

Day 5: Catching up with close friends for high tea and champagne.

Day 06 and 07

Day 6: Mike making me his specialty for a delicious Sunday breakfast – banana pancakes topped with strawberries and maple syrup.

Day 7: Beautiful flowers. Walking past florists always makes me smile. Even better when an unexpected bunch is delivered!

Connect with me on Instagram to see my photo for #100happydays each day, or check back here each Tuesday for a round up of the previous week.

Acknowledge your happy,

London Millennium Footbridge and St Pauls

This week I discovered a secret about London’s Millennium Bridge. A discovery I almost don’t want to share to keep it special amongst those who take the time to look closer. In a city of over eight million people, it’s rare to find something about a well known icon not many others know about.

An artist at work

While crossing the footbridge from St Paul’s to Borough Market, I saw a man resting on one arm while creating with the other. After noticing a set of paints and brushes near him, my curiosity got the better of me and I walked closer. A small girl was also crouched next to the artist, questioning what he was doing. After he had replied, she asked “Why?”. I now wish I had stood around long enough to hear his answer. Perhaps not knowing adds to the quirkiness and mystery.

London Millennium Bridge Dinosaur Art

I walked along the bridge further, still intrigued and while looking down something caught my eye. In the tread of the bridge are possibly hundreds of small artworks created by this artist. Most crossing the bridge were rushing along, not seeing what I had noticed. To the untrained eye, the small artworks look like old gum, or other general city grime pressed into the grooves.

Millenium Bridge Art 001

Millenium Bridge Art 002

Millenium Bridge Art 003

The more I looked, the more I noticed. I stopped and started taking photos. Most people rushed around me, not taking time to notice the colourful artworks scattered across the bridge. A woman nearby was watching me and realised, then started looking closer at the small creations herself. She laughed and we smiled at each other, happy in the discovery of this artists almost hidden work.

Take the time to look around at your surroundings. Things are not always what they seem.

Look closer,