100 days to be happy: Catch up – My Top Ten ways to relax.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting my happy reasons recently… well, doing this sort of kick-started my writing and I’ve managed to write two and a half chapters so far! So I’m really rather happy…


I thought today I’d catchup a bit by doing a sort of summary post… in the form of a Top Ten List:

My Top Ten ways to relax.

1) Breathe.
On of the things that happens when you are stressed is that you take shallow breaths, so the best thing you can do to relax is to take some deep breaths. Try my Breathing Exercise from my earlier post on Breathing.

2) Close Your Eyes.
Shut your eyes and you shut out the world. Yes, your hearing intensifies, but by shutting your eyes you put your body into that “pre sleep” state and it automatically relaxes. Just don’t keep them shut for too long or you might doze off…

3)  Listen to the Wind.
Find a quiet place and listen to the wind and everything it carries with it. Try naming the things you can hear. Don’t think about anything else.

4) Read a Print book.
There’s one thing that Print books have that e-books don’t. It usually occurs with older print books; that wonderful relaxing smell that reminds you of trips to the library as a kid…

“Scientists say that “old book smell” is more than just mustiness; it contains hints of grass and vanilla.  That’s because all the compounds used to make the book release distinctive odors as they break down. For example, lignin, which is present in all wood-based paper, is closely related to vanillin. As it breaks down, the lignin grants old books that faint vanilla scent.”
– Taken from ILAB website.


5) Listen to Japanese Music.
There is something ethereal about Japanese Music. Maybe it comes from the unfamiliar instruments they use or the inspiration of their beautiful islands, I don’t know, but listening to it can be very  relaxing.

Here’s a taster:


6) Go for a Walk.
Gentle exercise can be strangely relaxing. In fact there’s a type of meditation that relies on walking. You just focus on what your body is doing and forget about anything else. Sadly this doesn’t work if you have children with you…

7) Play.
This is fairly simple actually. Just let go of all those stifling adult inhibitions and play. It doesn’t matter what. Have a tickle fight with your partner, throw water balloons at each other on a hot day, play tag, find a playground and go on the swings, build a sandcastle on the beach… enjoy yourself. Who cares what it looks like.

8) Sex.
This tends to be something that falls by the wayside when you have kids. You’re tired all the time, they keep interrupting those loving moments with your partner and you can’t catch a break… so when you do manage it, it can be incredibly relaxing!

9) Stretch out those muscles.
I’m not talking about a full blown yoga session or a session down the gym (although those will work too), I’m talking about standing up from your chair and stretching. Just soft gentle stretches to the ceiling and floor, maybe some leg lunges to lengthen the calf muscles and ease the upper leg a little.
For some strange reason stretching the body out also relaxes it!

10) Get a decent amount of sleep.
I’m not just talking at night, although that helps. If you’ve been doing a lot of intense mental or physical work, or you’ve not had a good night’s sleep then having a nap can be incredibly refreshing.

Bonus Item:

You may notice that if you do #1,#2 & #5 all together,  you’ll probably end up doing #10 naturally. Do not fight this – if your body needs it, then it’s best to listen to it!

100 Days to be Happy: Breathing

Breathe in... Breathe out... Repeat.

Breathe in… Breathe out… Repeat.

Yes, I know it’s an odd thing to be happy about, but it’s very much on my mind today.

It’s raining, which always puts me in a sour mood, the baby keeps screeching no matter what I do and I’m so tired that all I want to do is crash out for a couple of hours… but I can’t because every time I try, something wakes me.

So I remind myself to breathe.


Hold it… one…two…three…four…five…



Hold it… one…two…three…four…five…



Hold it… one…two…three…four…five…


And reminding myself that I can breathe calms me down and makes me a little happier.

…I’d be happier still if the sun came out, but any port in a storm…

I’ve done this exercise five times today – it’s been one of those kinds of days!


I’m so sleepy…

… so damn sleepy,
I’m so sleepy and yawny and tired!
I’m in need of tea,
And lots of biscuits…
And a nap would be really quite nice…

*above is sung to the tune of “I’m so pretty”*
TOH puts tea and biscuits in front of me.

Ah. That’s better.

I’ve decided that my current set of up and down moods is entirely PW’s fault.
I will get this foot to my mouth

You know hormones and all that jazz, combined with lack of sleep and a drop of financial worry makes for an irritable mummy.

My mum keeps telling me to give myself six months and I’ll be feeling better… I suppose I can allow myself to be tired.

Anyway, this weekend Maria Kuroshchepova and I published another book. You remember Maria? She’s Mama Masha and the inspiration for the Lych Mistress in “The Tower and The Eye“.

As I was saying, we published another “Land Far Away” book at the weekend:



While all respectable fligaphluphs make a point to stay away from the enticing lair of the terrible and powerful Snafflewich,

Ahkoo is determined to do the opposite and pay her a visit.

An adventurous and irrepressibly curious Fligaphluph, Ahkoo’s parents have trouble getting him to go to bed at sunrise when all the other Fligaphluphs do. So his Granddad tells him about the Snafflewich, hoping to make him stay in bed when the sun is in the sky.

Unfortunately, this has the opposite effect and off goes Ahkoo to discover what the Snafflewich really is like…

This one was written when my son was about seven. He too was irrepressibly curious and adventurous at the time, so that particular year was heart stopping – we hurtled from one incident to another and  culminated in him impaling himself on a curtain hook  (don’t ask, I don’t know how he did it) and then trying to get himself run over on the way to school a few days later.

Ahkoo wasn’t finished until late last year however – I’d had a problem with getting the ending I wanted to the story to rhyme properly.  Then both Maria and I had a lot of other things taking our attention from publishing, so he’s been waiting patiently to hit the printed page.

But now he’s here and is eagerly waiting for someone to read about him!

Lulu – http://www.lulu.com/shop/maria-k-and-kra-morgana/ahkoo-and-the-snafflewich/paperback/product-21612591.html;jsessionid=0017495669C984F0B1DA3798820B4BC5

Now I am going to go have a shower and see if I can wash some of the fluff build up out of my brain…