Sponsored post in association with American Express®
Ask anyone to list the three things they want most in life and you can basically guarantee that “happiness” will feature on there. It’s somewhat ironic that despite universally valuing happiness so highly, we as humans also have a unique and inexplicable ability to make ourselves just the opposite. Over the years I’ve repeatedly and stubbornly refused to do things that are good for me but slowly that is starting to change and I’m a whole lot happier for it. Obviously there are pretty fundamental things that determine our happiness; health, family, having a roof over your head and food to eat etc. Equally obvious should be the fact that I’m not about to offer any great wisdom on the above and you’d be foolish to listen to me if I tried… After all, I accidentally threw away my own passport just last week. But don’t be totally put off by that admittance of incompetence, I do have some thoughts for you and reckon they might actually be worth listening to…
What I’ve found genuinely helps keep me happy and balanced is doing small, simple, inexpensive things for myself as often as I can. It may sound obvious and maybe even ridiculous but trust me, taking the time to do things you love, treat yourself and refuse to feel guilty about it, makes the biggest difference to your overall mood and wellbeing. Of course, these kinds of everyday rewards will look different to everyone but I want to share a few of mine with you…
I could not tell you how many times I’ve walked around Holland Park. Aside from the odd ill-fated but mercifully brief attempt at moving into flat shares while at University, I’ve lived in the same place for the best part of a decade now (I feel OLD!) and it is absolutely my home. It is also, you’ve guessed it, conveniently close to the beautiful Holland Park and over the years that has become my go to spot for running, picnicking, crying after breakups, enjoying a drink in the sunshine, doing photoshoots and of course, strolling. As someone prone to anxiety and incapable of sitting still for any length of time, being active and getting outside has always been essential to my being happy and (relatively) non-annoying to those around me. Before work, responsibility and the general pressures of life really kicked in, I used to spend hours wandering around Holland Park, forcing strangers to let me pet their dogs and escaping into my own blissful bubble. I’ve recently started making the time to do that again and wish I’d done so sooner.
I have always, always loved coffee and crime novels. Who in their right mind doesn’t? But in fact, both carry a real significance to me that goes back to my boarding school days. Every Saturday when lessons were over for the week, the first thing I would do was get a proper coffee. I would sit at the station enjoying my extra hot, skinny, no foam latte while reading a crime novel and internally celebrating the fact that it was the weekend. Even now, some years after leaving school, my coffee and crime novel routine still gives me the same sense of freedom and elation.
During my years as a blogger I have been lucky enough to attend some truly fabulous fashion parties. I absolutely adore getting glammed up in a gorgeous gown to spend an evening mincing, mingling and meeting interesting people in the surroundings of a stupidly spectacular venue. But no black-tie dinner or cocktail party in a castle compares to spending an evening with my nearest and dearest at my beloved local. Chatting, laughing, being silly and real with your true friends brings a real level of happiness.
As you may have spotted, this post is part of a collaboration I’m doing with American Express and it is all about sharing some of the everyday treats that make my life that bit better. Inconsequential and maybe even straight up silly though it may sound, doing those small things for ourselves does have a massively positive impact; one which is more recognised and encouraged than ever. I mean, according to research from American Express**, even the majority of Brits now allow ourselves a treat on average 3 times a week, with one in six doing so at least once a day… And this is the nation who still instinctively refer to horrible experiences as “character building” and invented the concept of the “stiff upper lip”!
This project and the subject of this post couldn’t have come at a better time as I have genuinely spent the past few months doing small things that make me happy and having to write about that has reignited my enjoyment of writing itself… So, get ready for a whole lot of very long posts mes amies!
On that note, I’m off to take a coffee and crime novel break… possibly followed by a stroll in Holland Park. I’d love to hear what everyday things make you happy. To spread the fun even further, if you share your favourite treats on Instagram with the hashtag #EverydayPerks, you could be in with a chance to win two Cineworld Unlimited passes. Valid for twelve months, you and a film-loving partner can indulge your love of the big screen for a whole year – what a treat. For more information and to enter, visit bit.ly/EverydayPerks by 5pm on 3rd November 2017. Terms and conditions apply.
Love Ella x
Images by Holly McGlynn
Everyday Perks With American Express®
From settling down to read a great crime novel to spending an evening with friends and family, American Express makes every day more rewarding by giving you feel-good perks for your purchases*.
Its range of Cards is packed with ways to get more from your everyday spending; from Membership Rewards® points that can be used to treat yourself to virtually anything (and that never expire) to discounts at top restaurants and hotels, money back on everyday purchases, or collecting frequent flyer miles to help you get on your next getaway sooner. To find out more about how American Express can help you get more out of every day, visit amex.co.uk/whyamex
*Selected Cards only. Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability.
** Research conducted by Opinium for American Express from a representative sample of 2,000 adults (22nd – 26th September 2017).
Promoter: American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority