Category Archives: Interviews/Articles about the HPL and me

A New Year Happiness Project

Note from Sasha: I have so so many posts in the pipeline, but I haven’t seemed to find any time to write them, for which I apologise profusely. If you wonder what on earth I’ve been doing, you can check out my other blog to find out, (beware, its not very happy…)

In the meantime and while I compose my own posts, I’d like to share the Happiness Project of a dear friend of mine, and past HPL contributor, who we shall call Betty Sue. She has recently suffered what I can summarise as some Really Shitty Stuff, and has impressed me by her optimism since. I believe that happiness is something that must be proactively worked at, that must be methodically planned and acted upon, most importantly in the face of great sadness and trauma; and her strength and clarity in not sinking into the depths of despair but instead choosing to be positive is truly inspirational. Here’s to you Betty Sue.


We are heading towards a new year. A rebirth, a new beginning. Thank God (or whatever/whoever it is you believe in).

This is my New Year Happiness Project.

I don’t live in London anymore and this has been the most unhappy, shittiest year I have ever experienced. So what’s the connection?

This year I have learnt that some people are mean. I know, I should have realised a long time ago (about thirty something years to be inexact). I myself have been really mean in the past, but I still didn’t get it. And it is as a consequence of this discovery that I found myself at a very low point.

But from that low point, something happened. I did some research, some soul-searching and asked myself some questions. How am I going to get happy this year, today, at some point? How can I stay happy? Despite this year being astronomically awful, literally an annus horribilis, it has also given me some major insights into my very less than perfect life.

The New Year is here, and I am starting over. Here how:

Step One: Learn stuff about yourself and human beings (even slowly). People are odd, we all have our quirks – read about them, explore them, embrace them. Like when I realised that my life is up to me. Obvious to the initiated, but you get the picture. I am a very slow learner.

Step Two: You can’t change other people (I know, I know, slow) but you really can’t. They are what they are and if that works for you, then good, but if not, don’t have them in your life. You cant fix them, wish they did a b and c. Just stop it. It won’t help either of you.

Step Three: Go get some exercise. Yes, do. Find something, anything, that involves moving and go and do it. This could be walking. Minimal effort is fine. I discovered I love yoga. I still have a gym phobia. A friend discovered her thing was roller derby. Be brave.

Step Four: Find your friends. If you don’t have any/many, make a plan to find some. If you do, go spend time with them. If you’ve lost contact, look them up. Friends are very, very important for our emotional well being. As we are to theirs.

Step Five: Don’t get obsessed about the future. I know how easy that is, “when I get (insert current obsession) I will be happy“. Rude to say it, but no you won’t. You won’t, because you have wasted the time you could have been happy worrying about not getting the thing you wanted. You might want to stop doing that.

Step Six: Be happy today. If you’re struggling, how about using the theory of ‘fake it til you make it’. Try it.

Step Seven: (possibly the most important one): Think about yourself. Do you like what you see? If you do, love yourself, if you don’t, love yourself more. You are in sole charge of one person, you. If you don’t love yourself then who the hell else will?

Step Eight: Stop being mean to yourself. There are enough mean people out there already. “I am not good enough at (insert current negative statement)” is not going to help you. You are quite likely good at lots of things. Look at those things, remind yourself of those things. Love those things.

Step Nine: Do nice things for other people. It will make you feel good, it will make them feel good. Win win.

Step Ten: Look after your body. Everything we put in them is a chemical. Choose your chemicals carefully.

Step Eleven: Accept who you are. I love romance and fairytales (so living in denial/fantasy land has worked very well for me). Deal with who you are, be honest with yourself, do it kindly.

Step Twelve: You are worth it (queue image of shampoo advert), we are all worth it (apart from those meanies, but that’s a whole blog post which doesn’t belong here). We can do good stuff everyday for other people and ourselves. We just need to remember that it is our choice.

We are not responsible for other people’s choices, as they are not for ours. Choose wisely, your happiness depends upon it.

Introducing the HPL’s new blog

You’ll be glad to know that I’m not going to bore you with too many tales of cracked nipples and pelvis pain over the next few months as I’ve decided to post all my thoughts on the joys and – frankly – bloody awful bits of pregnancy, birth and motherhood on a new blog. So, if you’re interested in seeing how I figure out what on earth I’m doing, please have a look at my new blog:

The Happy Baby Project

Imaginative title hmm? I’m tweeting about mummy stuff from @happybabyblog and I’ve also set up a Facebook page. Well, I have to do something to bide the time spent mulling over my growing tummy (and boobs, and thighs and bottom).

But here, I’m still going to dedicate my time to the worthy pursuit of great burgers, decent wine and being happy in London. Life, albeit slightly more curvy, carries on as usual!

The Happy Baby Project

I’ve been quiet over the last few weeks because life has changed somewhat, and it has something to do with the little wriggly person that’s been growing inside me. Yes, the HPL is having a baby!

And while I’m wildly happy about it now, there were times in first 12 weeks when I really struggled to remind myself of all I’ve learnt about being positive. Of course I appreciate how lucky I am, and what an exciting thing is about to happen to us, but my body’s reaction to the news wasn’t exactly pleasant. And it took this wonderful blog post by Caroline No to give me the strength to say IT’S BEEN BLOODY SHIT! I’ve been a bit rubbish at this pregnancy stuff! And finally – who cares!

My skin decided it didn’t like the preggie hormone or the preggie hormone didn’t like certain foods anymore and broke out in giant red itchy spots all over my chest, neck and face, which might or might not have been hives. I got teenage acne. I developed an agonising pain in my right buttock which turned out to be my pelvic girdle pinging out of place, making walking nigh on impossible. I found myself sobbing like a heartbroken teenager for hours on end, once hysterically laughing and sobbing at once, not knowing why. I felt nauseous and fat and bloated and frumpy, unable to squeeze into my old clothes but not big enough for maternity gear. I ate three burgers in a week. I missed wine and hangovers, still do. And don’t get me started on itchy boobs and cracked nipples and giant wire-less maternity bras which make cycling to work an interesting exercise in pot-hole avoidance and agonising bouncing droopy pendulous bosoms….

A cumulative force of utter exhaustion, the need to cry repeatedly and teenage acne-like skin meant I lived as a hermit for weeks – not even wanting to go for a walk and covering my face when I saw anyone including a man reading our meter: “Don’t Look at Meeeee!”.

There were sudden periods of anger, an unbearable urge to snap. The Poor Chef got the brunt of it, being the only person in my vicinity for much of the time. You put a wine glass in the dishwasher the wrong way – YOU IDIOT!!! You didn’t put the plant pot in the right place – YOU RUINED MY BIRTHDAY!!! And how could he understand the raging hormones that were filling my body with negativity and fury and sadness, when he was just really really happy?

But on the cusp of 12 weeks things got better. I got my energy back, which built up to something like hysteria when I realised I could finally socialise and actually see my friends again (lunches and walks along the Thames best – drunken dinners not to the most fun when you’re sipping on Schloer all night and wondering why everyone’s laughing at an unfunny joke). My skin cleared up and my hair went from greasy to full. I contacted friends, I felt positive, I started thinking about the future. And The Poor Chef came out of hiding.

And then this week we had the scan. I was a bag of nerves, wondering if it was there at all, or alive or deformed, or multiple. But then we saw him (for we call him “he” after the scan but we don’t know if he is a she yet of course). What a gorgeous wee wriggler. He was tiny, of course. But with a round little belly and a lovely face with big lips. And beautiful frogs legs and two feet, which he kicked in the air before turning his little bottom towards us. I can’t feel him yet but my tummy is getting more solid and I love the little reminder that he’s there, wriggling and waiting.

So now it’s different. I’ve told people which really helps. I’ve bought a few bigger clothes and am enjoying better skin and shaking off the indignity of the last few weeks. I’m loving my new body – the round curves, the bigger breasts, the hardening belly. I’m so proud of my body, so impressed at its strength and the way it seems to know exactly what to do. I can see why women who’ve given birth often want to do marathons  afterwards – and I feel the same – because I love my body in a way I never have before and I’m amazed at what it is capable of and I want to get fit, not just work out at the gym to lose weight, but get stronger and faster and show myself what my body can actually do. I feel womanly and dare I say a bit beautiful.

I am already aware of competitive mum syndrome and what lies ahead. There are the I’m-still-a-party-girl mums (I stayed up til 2am and wasn’t tired at all! Yes the baby is two weeks old lets book that girls’ holiday to Ibiza!). There are the body-beautiful mums (I’ve not put on ANY weight! In fact I’ve LOST weight! Who’s the first for botox?!). There are the capitalist mums (I’ve just bought the most fabulous baby papoose to match my bugaboo pram travel system in a neutral colour to match my tastefully decorated nursery!). And there are the this-is-totally-natural-to-me mums (vitamins? I didn’t bother with those. Epidurals? I’m just going to power breathe with my doula).

So what sort of mum will I be? Well who knows. But I’m not pining my party days any more. In fact I’m loving getting to bed at 10pm and being cosy under a woollen blanket on the sofa. My favourite recent purchase is a great pair of sheepskin slippers.  I’m looking forward to my body getting big and round because I have a feeling it’s exactly what it’s supposed to be doing and I really want to take care of it from now on. And I believe what my child really needs is our unconditional love, and a favourite cuddly toy which is soft and old and worn, and being read to all the time, and its grannies and granddads and aunty and uncle teaching it about life and the world and where it came from.

I know one thing for sure. This is the biggest adventure of our lives and its one that I’m finally ready for. And sometimes it will take all I’ve learned about happiness and positivity to keep me going when times are tough, but the joy this little thing will bring will teach me more about life and love than I ever imagined possible.

So wriggle away wee man, we love you very much, and we can’t wait to meet you in March!

A London girl’s guide to getting hitched

So, The Chef and I got hitched just over a month ago – hurrah – and, while I slowly sink back to earth, catch up on sleep, and enjoy being able to EAT and DRINK again, I thought I’d write down some stuff I learned along the way *:

1. The dress – there’s nothing like wedding dress shopping to drop a giant big turd on your “special day”. They tell you you need 6 months to order your dress, then say they haven’t got any free appointments for 2 months, and sometimes even say you have to pay £20 for the privilege. Some make you take off your shoes at the door, wear gloves and rush you to be in and out in an hour. Importantly, there is far too little champers handed out (big up to Mirror Mirror and Teokath for bucking this trend). Fact is, unless you get it made, buy it second hand or go vintage, you’ll pay an average of £2,000 for your dress and the alteration process is a nightmare that goes on for hours. The upside is that if you pick the right one, you’ll feel incredible on the day, and its a great lesson in what suits you so I found my wardrobe also improved. These are the dress shops that I think are worth going to:

  • Teokath in Wimbledon – where I got my lovely Lusan Mandongus dress. They have a great selection of dresses, are friendly, have a lovely dress fitter who will patentiently address all your concerns (pull it in! more! shit I can’t breathe!), and you can also buy jewellery there.
  • Jenny Packham in Pimlico – hard to get an appointment, but gorgeous beaded 1920s Great Gatsby style dresses. Best suited to tall skinny people though.
  • Mirror Mirror and Morgan Davies in Islington for great selection of dresses, although at Morgan Davies you have to pay £20 for appointments.
  • Alice Temperley in Notting Hill – amazingly different, electic dresses, perfect for the actresses and extroverts amongst you. Lovely room to try on stuff and great to try something different.
  • Suzanne Neville in Knightsbridge – lovely dresses and lovely staff although I was slightly put off by their posters of Danielle Lineker that adorn the walls.
  • While I’m at it, Bridal Rogue Gallery on Chiltern Street has an amazing selection of shoes and jewellery, and borrow the veil from a friend (sooo expensive).

2. Self-preservation, head fuckwittage and general wellbeing -while getting married was the happiest day of my life, and I am absolutely loving being a newlywed, I put my hands up and say not only it is bloody stressful, for me the pre-wedding preparations was a time when I needed to work at staying happy. I remember when I was single I got annoyed at my engaged friends moaning, thinking you should be happy – I’m having to go to Tiger Tiger this Saturday and you’re sticking me on the single table! And I too found that when I moaned about the pressure, I had people saying I should be happy and why was I sweating the small stuff, which I found pretty unhelpful.

But I now know (and sorry to my married freinds who I was unsympathetic to before!) that weddings bring to the fore issues of self-esteem, highlight family problems, make you miss people who can’t be there, shine the spotlight on friendships, showing who you can count on and who are always too busy.

And, more than that, the fact that you have now got what you’ve always wanted, have all this attention on you, is a little overwhelming and sometimes, there is a tiny little voice that says

why me? how could I be this lucky? I don’t deserve this happiness!

…and you have to organise lots, and think about things you don’t normally give a crap about like flowers and hairstyles and ribbons and napkins and garters.

And you suddenly feel bad about all your married friends who you were a bitch to when you were single and unhappy, acting with indifference to husbands and children, getting horrifically drunk at weddings and snogging the best man. It made me feel guilty that they were all so lovely to me and didn’t hold my previous bad behaviour and impatience against me (apart from one – who pointed out when I emailed accomodation details 4 months before that I RIPPED brides apart for doing this at previous weddings).

And you don’t sleep brilliantly and you are dieting, and you might get cold sores or excema, and start being a fucking bitch to your husband-to-be, and then you worry he might not marry you after all and then…. Argh!

After a recommendation from a friend,  who commented very kindly on how ragged I was looking, I became a walking pharmacy of things-that-help. This stuff calmed me down and zenned me out, so much so that I was surprisingly cool and calm on the big day:

  • A sleepy time dream pillow spray of lavender
  • Valerian herbal anti-anxiety tablets (I had one called Quiet Life that was amazing)
  • Herbal sleeping pills (I used Nytol)
  • Buy bottles of Bach Rescue remedy for work, in your handbag, in your car, at home. Use frequently, especially when he says “but there isn’t anything to do!“.
  • Vitamin B complex helps with stress and energy and cold sores.
  • I’m not ashamed to say that due to my erratic behaviour and feeling a bit overwhelmed I had a “maintenance” session with my amazing counsellor (email me for deets) – she made me realise what was upsetting me and why I was finding things difficult because I just didn’t t hink I deserved all this wonderful stuff happening to me. She made me realise I did deserve it – I’ve worked so hard on my faults, on my happiness, on this blog, on relationships and life and family. I’ve worked bloody hard and I do deserve it. I deserve The Chef – he’s my reward somehow. And I am lucky, I won’t forget that.

3. Grooming. I found it stressful thinking I had to be the thinnest I’d ever been, the most beautiful. And what if you wake up with spots? Or excema? Or a cold sore? My friend pointed out that a bride’s beauty comes from within, from the fact that she is so happy she’s glowing, and on the day itself I was in this smiley bubble all day, but we all need a little help so here’s where I went:

  • Linda Meredith in Knightsbridge does amazing facials and oxygen facials where they push oxygen into your skin. Made me glow for about a week. Not cheap (£100 for a facial and £100 for the oxygen thing) but I got a voucher from Keynoir at half the price.
  • Lorraine at Expressions gave me a set of amazingly natural-looking eyelash extensions (to avoid the Sam from TOWIE look, just ask for a lash on every 2nd or 3rd lash and volume rather than length) which looked amazing on the big day and meant I didn’t have to wear any make-up for the week before and for almost 3 weeks afterwards so perfect for honeymoon. She works from her rather hard-to-find flat in Hammersmith but its well worth going.
  • Michael Becman who works at Space NK in Edinburgh did my hair and make-up – we kept it very light and natural, and as I was getting married outside in a garden, we put flowers and pearls in my hair. Mikee’s not only a great make-up artist, he is hilarious and kept us all laughing on the big day.

4. The cake. Oh my look at that beauty above. We utterly lucked out with the cake. I found cake shopping quite disappointing, the fact that a simple, boring-looking, traditional three-tiered cake costs minimum £300 and often didn’t taste or look that great. And then through twitter we met Lisa Brunton-Stocks (@harbourhussy), who is mad about cakes, and actually, pretty mad full stop. She drove all the way from Aberdeen to Edinburgh to let us taste her cakes which were incredible, and for the first time I got excited about what a wedding cake could be. She was amazingly inspired and creative and spent ages getting it perfect – sending me pictures of edible pearls and meringue to match my dress, matching the decoration to the lace on my dress and my bouquet. It was a jaw dropping cake and amazingly delicious. And on the way to honeymoon, I read this blog her friend wrote about the work that went into it: If you can’t find your own Lisa, then I reckon M&S has some brilliant, unique cakes at good prices (check out this upside down white choc version).

5. The photographer. We used Paul Raeburn who took these amazing photos. We hated posed photos and interminable group shots that last for hours and he was perfect. Really artistic photos in a journalist style capturing amazing moments – The Chef kissing my forehead during the service, my sister crying and waving as she said goodbye before I walked down the aisle, my bridesmaid pouring her drink into my glass as I was “thirsty”. We wanted to spend the day enjoying ourselves and being with our friends so he was the perfect photographer.

6. The wedding. As neither of us is particularly religious, and we wanted to marry somewhere unusual and unique, and not particularly traditional, we had a Humanist ceremony undergiant redwood trees in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Being in Scotland, it rained a bit, but I loved the freedom of us all huddled together under these trees and we loved the Humanist ceremony where our celebrant talked about how we met, what we loved about each other, and about how much we loved our friends and family. We sang Happy Together by the Turtles, had a piper playing me down the aisle, and my friends read a poem they’d written. It was moving, emotional, funny and we loved it. We then ate haggis, neeps and tatties, ended with deep fried Mars Bar with an Irn-Bru chaser and ceilidhed the night away. Humanist ceremonies aren’t legal in England sadly but we’re hoping this will change as its a fantastic alternative to a registry office ceremony.

9. The extras that no-one really cares about but you bend over backwards to do anyway:

  • The Chef was right – favours are indeed largely ignored so don’t spend much money (we got married at Easter so we gave everyone little bags filled with Easter eggs).
  • One thing we did that everyone loved though was table names of our favourite restaurants and we told the story of the time we went there.
  • We didn’t have an order of service as the ceremony was so special we wanted people to be engaged and surprised all the way through, and stop people flicking through to see what was next and when they could get a drink. We did get amazing creative invitations through Nirvana CPH – we did the invite in the guise of a menu and they looked amazing.

* for another point of view, you might also want to read my thoughts on being single in London.

An update from the HPL

It’s been a few months since I’ve written the blog and quite a lot has happened in that time. It seems like a good time to update you so here goes, deep breaths!

On my birthday in Brockwell Park a couple of months ago, The Chef asked me to marry him, and I said yes. This was followed by excitement and champagne and a rush of wedding organisation as our chosen venue (the Botanics in my hometown of Edinburgh) only had one date left for 2012 which made us move quite fast. The reaction of our friends and families was completely brilliant – we felt very loved, and as if everyone thought we were a great couple and were really happy for us.

This was then followed, I now admit, by a period of what might only be described as mild panic. Not about the wedding – I’m remarkably chilled about all that, dare I say it I’ve found it quite fun so far; nor about The Chef who is completely (mostly) perfect in every single way and with whom I share a passionate love of words, The Killing, musicals, Deacon Blue and anything edible that makes you put on weight – but about the fact that I’m finally growing up (at 34, late starter), starting a family of my own, settling down. There’s also the panic of this is it, forever! What a gamble! How scary! But then I think this is balanced by the stability it brings, which is wonderful – you have someone to support you emotionally and financially, a real team, even by law. You can’t walk away easily, you have try to be nice and supportive at all times, it’s not just me on my own against the world. And for me, a bit of a loner at times, that is a scary but exciting thing.

I’m back to bliss again – looking forward wildly to the wedding and entering a phase which I can foresee is likely to become highly irritating to others. Of course, I think our wedding is going to be the best party known to man ever in the world, and I want everyone to be where I want them and when. I’m gutted when someone can’t make it or suggests they won’t stay long, or will be giving birth shortly before or after or in one case, during. I love talking about the wedding, the cake, the flowers, the food, and I’m only just managing to stop before it gets inutterably dull.

For those who are interested in such things, I have a gorgeous sparkly ring, a lovely dress, and our wedding theme is Braveheart meets Mrs DoubtFire with the wedding scene from Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves – it’s all haggis and tartan and thistles and man-skirts and whisky and The Proclaimers. As The Chef put it, it’s sort of like a wedding that an American couple would plan if their great-great-grandfather claimed to be from Dundee.

So that, dear friends, is my news. Is finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with the key to happiness? Not really no, the ups and downs remain, but it’s different now, I’m different, it’s not just me, it’s us. And that’s a very happy prospect.

My article in the Telegraph about the London riots & why we need to be positive

Like you, I’ve been shocked, saddened and baffled by the London riots which have demolished whole areas of London, including parts of Brixton where I live. My thoughts about it have swung wildly from anger to intellectualising to worry about the future, but the recent clean ups and stories of communities pulling together have reignited my positivity so much so that I feel proud to be a Londoner again.

Here’s a link to  my article, and I hope you all stay safe and well:

Told you it wouldn’t last long…

Thought you might like this article I wrote which was published in the Telegraph today about the London Olympics which starts exactly a year today. I hope you like it!

Interview with the HPL on Qype London

You might be interested in this little interview  I did for Qype London where I talk about what this blog’s all about, how original the name is, and other stuff about steel drums, pork belly, my favourite places in London, and how much I love Brockwell Park. Thanks to Sarah Drinkwater and the team at Qype London for thinking of me!

My interview for the Slow Guide to London – “Happy Birthday happiness”

Coinciding nicely with the HPL’s 1st birthday is this little interview I did for Hayley Cull (who I also interviewed here) and the Slow Guide to London (which I reviewed here – massive overlap with this blog).

You can read my interview here. In it, I talk about what makes me happy, what I do to cheer myself up, what I love about Brixton, and seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about going to the pub and drinking wine.

Happy 1st birthday to the HPL!

Thank you to my gorgeous friend Giavanna who baked – baked! – this cake herself and for the candle and accompanying red wine 🙂

Dear readers,

The HPL is very happy because we are 1 year old today. Yes, on 15 October 2009 I began this blog with a fairly crap post imaginately entitled “Hello London” and the rest is history.

So what has happened in this year and how has my life changed by following the HPL rules?

Well, its been a tough year. A very sad break-up (which, with his blessing, I will write about in due course), moving jobs and losing good friends to the land of marriage and babies and life outside London. I have written about the confusion I’ve felt as an unmarried 30-something in my post about The Free Decade and how rubbish it is to read articles about our dimishing fertility here.

But its also been a really positive year. I have started appreciating the beauty of London’s architecture and parks. I’ve started liking Londoners a lot more, and can hardly believe all the fun and interesting things to do and places to go right on my doorstep. I’m definitely making the most of life here now, getting more into films and music especially. I know myself better. My relationships with my friends have improved and I appreciate them more I think, I call people more rather than texting and I’m closer to my mum than I have ever been *waves*. I think I’m a bit kinder. And things have happened recently which have made me excited about what lies ahead for me in the future.

I decided early on to write with a certain persona – to only write upbeat, enthusiastic and positive articles which would try to inspire and encourage. Those that know me know that I’m actually a grumpy cynic at times, but forcing myself not to criticise and to concentrate on the positive has defintiely rubbed off on the way I see life. The process of writing has also given me confidence – as a shy extrovert it has allowed me to express myself and stop caring so much what people think. And I think I’m finally growing up – I enjoy my job and am finally happy for my life to slow down a little.

And I seriously have gained 5 pounds since I started – all that eating out and burgers and trying new restos had to go somewhere. I don’t really mind though (am channelling Joan in Mad Men).

An unexpected pleasure in all this is that I’m really enjoying being part of London’s blogging community *waves*. From the start, I had encouraging words from Luiz from The London Foodie, Krista from Londonelicious, Matt from How To Get A Grip and Jason Cobb from the Onionbagblog. And since, I have developed virtual friendships with other bloggers and readers like Stephanie Sadler from the Little London ObservationistSteve Slack, Alex Moore from Rosa’s and Hayley Cull from Slow London. And I have made real-life friendships too – Caroline from Caroline No, Uyen from Fernandez & Leluu and Ute from Hungry in London. I have really enjoyed meeting these funny, feisty and eloquent women for food and gossip and its great to find people with so much in common.

And my stats (I know bloggers love stats)? Well, in my first month I had 732 hits (mostly my mother) and last month I got just under 10,000 hits which I think is pretty good in my first year. I have 82 email subscribers *waves* but then I ALWAYS seem to go back to 79 so not sure who I’m annoying and why. They are mostly women which reflects what I write, but I’m hoping to have some manly guest posts from men in the next year. I have 343 fans on the Facebook page and796 people follow me on twitter. At times, the fact that ANYONE reads this blog, let alone people I’ve never even MET, scares me a little. And sometimes I feel pressure to post stuff when I don’t feel particularly upbeat. But for me the key is to write the blog as if its still only my mother who reads it, be true to myself and not try to impress anyone. And develop a slightly thicker skin when I lose a follower or a fan.

So, if you’re still reading, thank you very much for doing so and I hope at times this blog has inspired you to try something new, or think about happiness a bit, or appreciate London a little more. I’ve noticed that my friends have become a little influenced by the blog – they’ve been trying new places and reporting back – so I hope the love has spread your way a little bit too.

Thanks for sticking with me this year and I promise the terrible twos will be just as fun.

Sasha @ The Happiness Project London

PS. As a little birthday gift to you, I thought I’d reveal the “after” photo of the awesome cartwheel I did on that lovely beach. As you can see, appearances are deceptive. It was actually quite crap. Enjoy!