Happiness

happiness blog post lila bailey

Yesterday I had a lot of response from something I posted on Instagram (if you missed it, click here). I had a couple of lovely ladies message me about the post, seeking inspiration from my situation. So, I thought I’d do a blog post. Just in case there are any others of you out there who might find value in my experiences.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of what – now – seems like a previous life. But I’ll outline a few facts. There aren’t any pretty pictures to go with this post (my apologies), but it’s true and real and I hope you can benefit from my words.

 

 

Happiness

 

What is happiness? Is it a state of mind? An emotion? A destination? A journey? Before my current situation, I believed happiness was an emotion. And an infrequent one at that. I don’t know whether I have always felt like that, or whether it was just over those particular couple of years. I can’t remember. But I do think that the presence of unhappiness provokes the question of happiness.

If you’ve never been unhappy, then you don’t seek happiness, because you are happy. If you are unhappy, you will be constantly trying to define and find happiness. And if you have been unhappy, and now aren’t, then you’ve probably got a pretty defined version of what you perceive happiness to be. Does that make sense?

Everyone will have a different opinion on this infamous ‘happiness’ we all seek, and that’s okay. Our experiences define our perception of the world, and that’s okay too. My experiences have certainly defined the way I see the world, and the way I perceive my version of happiness, and (despite what I felt at the time) I am grateful for all of those experiences. They have shaped me and, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m kinda fond of me.

 

 

Let’s get real for a second

 

I’m not going to bore you with details of my experiences, and how they shaped who I am. Those are things I hold close to me. But I am going to tell you about how I know what my version of happiness is.

In short, I’m pretty sure I was born an adult. So when I hit the adult world I was in my element. But it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. At the age of 19 I got myself what, at the time, I thought was a dream job. It was in the wedding industry, working with wedding dresses which was such a passion of mine. But the reality of the job, or more-so the establishment, was far from the dream. I’m not here to trash talk, so I’ll be concise. It was unimaginably dreadful. And I was completely miserable, to the point where I couldn’t get through an evening without crying. Not even crying about anything, just crying and I didn’t know why.

I had moments of happiness, which is why I began to see happiness as an emotion that you felt sometimes when things were better. I was kind of just coasting through my life at that time, almost numb. In January of last year I found what I genuinely can define as a dream job. We had just bought our flat, I was on a healthy salary and therefore a steady income. I worked 5 days a week, commuting around 3-4 hours a day, and did not enjoy my life one bit. My new position was a leap of faith. It was a part time position (to begin with), so financially times might be tough. But, do you know what? There is so much more to life than money. Happiness, for example.

I came home from my interview almost in tears. I couldn’t believe how lucky I felt. Inaudible squeals would be an accurate way to describe my conversation with Euan following the interview. Did I care that I’d be missing out on the money I’d become used to earning? Nope. I can’t describe the euphoria I felt that day, matched with the euphoria I felt when I handed my notice in. My notice period brought darker days, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel and I knew I could get through it.

Happiness is something I know I now have, I guess like some kind of Phoenix rising out of the ashes. It took the darkest parts of my life, both recently and years ago during my teenage struggles, for me to know what it feels like to be happy. I’m not talking about being happy like on the morning of your birthday, or when you get a PB on a 5K run. I’m talking about genuine all-consuming happiness. A separate feeling to the emotion of happy. And, something I didn’t believe in until now.

Will I be in this happiness bubble from now until forever? Probably not. Not like in Sims 2 when a sim fulfilling their lifetime want means happiness for the rest of their lives. I wish. But (real) life doesn’t work like that. What I can take away from my current situation is knowing what it feels like to experience happiness, knowing that it’s always the aim, and knowing that even in the darkest of places there is always hope to come out the other side, happier than ever.

 

 

Advice to you

If you are in a job which makes you miserable, or a relationship which is toxic or holds you back. Get. Out. Life is too short to remain miserable. There is so much out there. So many opportunities, so many places to see, so much to experience. If you are not the best version of yourself, then you need to make that change. Of course it’s terrifying, and is always going to be out of your comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Think of all the amazing people who have achieved unimaginable things. None of them would have been anything less than terrified. Imagine if they had given up because they didn’t think they could do it, or they were scared of taking that leap. The world would be a very different place indeed.

If I can do it, then you can do it too. Make 2018 your year!

 

For something a little lighter, have a look at my previous two blog posts!

 

 

 

Kitchen Project

kitchen project lila bailey blog

Next up, the kitchen! We knew before we even moved in that we wanted to re-do the kitchen. Anyone who’s been in a similar situation will know that kitchen refits are not cheap. So our plan was always ‘how can we make it better?’. The tiles were dark and horrible, and the worktop was a nice colour but – again  – dark. We wanted to brighten the place up!

kitchen project lila bailey blog post

We decided the easiest way was to replace the tiles. Not the cheapest option ever but certainly cheaper than a whole new kitchen! The colours had to either be quite neutral, or along the same lines of the living room. I thought about a combination of different shades of blues, greys, and whites, as a mosaic.

I searched online, and we went into show rooms, and found plenty of tiles we liked. But nothing was quite right. We went back and forth from a farmhouse-y style, to ultra modern, but something wasn’t fitting. It suddenly dawned on me that the problem wasn’t with the tiles, it was with the kitchen. We wanted tiles that were crisp, fresh, and stylish, but they didn’t match the colour of the units. And actually, the colour it all was now didn’t at all match what we had done in the living room. So, new units? Not quite! Euan’s dad had recently got into upscaling furniture, and gave Euan the idea of painting the cupboards & units. So, Annie Sloan paint in hand, he got to work.

It totally transformed the room, and was exactly what we needed. It was bright, fresh, and new, and worked well with the living room space. The only problem was now the tiles looked even worse than they did before. We spoke about doing the tiles, but the job just seemed huge. There was even talk of re-plastering the wall. Um, no thank you!

Inspired by the painting of the cupboards, I researched whether painting tiles is a ‘thing’. It is, so that’s what I did.

kitchen project lila bailey blog post

Euan did the cupboards, I did the tiles. Teamwork at it’s best! Between the two projects, the whole space was like new. Everything now looks so much better, and exactly how we wanted it to. I never thought I’d have a grey and white kitchen, but for this room in this flat it works perfectly.

 

The Finished Kitchen

kitchen project lila bailey blog

Take a look at the living room blog post, and don’t forget to find me on youtube.

Living Room Refurb

our own stamp lila bailey blog post

Anyone who is familiar with my instagram accounts will know that Euan & I bought and moved into our first home together back in 2016 (omg, how was it so long ago?!). Anyway, our flat was a total blank canvas (cream walls, cream carpet, etc) which was absolutely perfect. We could move in straight away, be perfectly happy, and then put our own stamp on it as we went along.

our own stamp lila bailey blog moving in dayMoving in day featuring my family doggo, Nutmeg!

 

It took us a whole year of waiting to finally get our flat, which meant we (I) had had plenty of time to buy lots of lovely things for our new home. The curtains were already there and, massively coincidentally, matched our (hand-me-down Laura Ashley) sofas perfectly! My much coveted Welsh dresser was my 21st birthday present from my parents, and the infamous painting of squiggles was a 21st birthday present from Euan (I am a very lucky young lady).

our own stamp lila bailey blog post welsh dresser

our own stamp lila bailey blog post

our own stamp lila bailey blog

It feels so weird looking back at these pictures as the room has changed so much! I never realised how much I loved home decor & interiors until I had my own home, but then again, why would I?!

First thing on the list was to clean the carpets and buy a rug. Naturally as the months went on we accumulated decor items and cushions (I never stop needing decor items and cushions, whatever Euan might think…).

our own stamp lila bailey blog post Above is a picture from Christmas 2016. We hadn’t done any decorating just yet, but I had planned what I wanted. A Union Jack rug was on the agenda for the living room, but this fluffy rug was a Christmas present for my office which got put into the lounge until further notice…

our own stamp lila bailey blog post statment wall our own stamp lila bailey blog post our own stamp lila bailey blog post our own stamp lila bailey blog post

I knew I wanted to stick to blue & white, so we went for a striped feature wall on the longest side. The wallpaper is the Ralph Lauren Mapleton Stripe Wallpaper, Porcelain (I will link it below) and we matched the blue on the other wall to the thin stripe to blend it all together well.

Below is a picture of the finished living room (Union Jack rug and all) from Christmas 2017. I haven’t managed to take a pic this side of Christmas (aka minus the Christmas decs), but you get the idea!

our own stamp lila bailey blog post

We also updated our kitchen… Stayed tuned for a post on that soon!

 

Links

Ralph Lauren Wallpaper

Stack of Boxes

Union Jack Rug

Turquoise Fluffy Rug

More from my home…

 

Batch Gin; Wedding Ginspiration (festive edition)

lila bailey gin blog batch gin

BATCH GIN; WEDDING GINSPIRATION (FESTIVE EDITION)

 

It’s time for gin! Last month, as it was December, we got our hands on the Christmas edition of Batch Gin and it was fabulous. It’s packed with festive flavour and definitely leaves you wanting more!

batch gin lila bailey gin blog

THE GIN

Batch gin is a premium gin made in Lancashire by Batch Brew Limited. It’s distilled using 12 botanicals including juniper, coriander and lemongrass, with the most unusual however, being frankincense and myrrh. A bold, unique gin with flavours to match.

How to drink it…

Perfect Serve – Batch G&T
• 50ml of Batch Premium Gin
• Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic
• Frozen raspberries
• Lime peel
• Ice

Fill a Copa glass with ice, swirl to cool the glass and drain excess water. Add gin, top up with tonic and garnish with crumbled frozen raspberries and lime peel.

 

TASTING NOTES

batch gin lila bailey gin blog

As we were trying a festive edition of batch gin, naturally we had to add some festive touches…

Not only did Euan try the gin straight, but I did too (round of applause, please). Unfortunately, I was slightly too busy complaining about my burning oesophagus to give any constructive feedback, but Euan had lots to say to make up for it. He loved the initial hit of juniper and cardamon and was adamant he could taste cinnamon in the aftertaste. He felt the gin had a ‘licorice-ness’ (the technical term) and enjoyed the blend of spices. You’ll also be pleased to hear that, although not listed on the bottle, the gin does contain cinnamon bark, so Euan’s senses didn’t fail him after all!

batch gin lila bailey gin blog

We then made the G&Ts (with fever tree, as recommended) and, as usual, did one with lemon and one with lime. There was a significant difference between the gin with lemon and the gin with lime. The lemon did not compliment the gin at all and somehow took a lot of the flavour away. However the lime really enhanced the flavours and made it a very enjoyable drink indeed!

We loved this gin. It is very unique, and packed with lots of different flavours. You experience an initial hit of the ‘classic’ gin taste, followed by the blend of spices which give it an edge. This has probably taken the number 1 spot on our favourite craft gin club gins so far… We even started setting the scene for a gorgeous intimate winter wedding with an open fire and a couple of bottles of batch (Christmas edition) gin being served. Euan (as always) came up with creative ways to garnish the gin, such as sprigs of holly with frozen cranberries.

 

THE BRANDING

lila bailey gin blog batch gin

The branding of this Christmas edition is super. I think the gold design is beautiful and instantly christmassy, plus the mention of Frankincense and Myrrh make this the most festive gin, like, ever! Drink a couple of bottles and pop a candle in the top and voilà, you have yourself some Christmas table centrepieces!

In case you missed it, below is the video of us trying the gin (enjoy!). And for more ginspiration checkout my post about Fifty Eight Gin.