Winter solstice

25 days of kindness – December 21st

December 21st is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, or in other words, winter solstice. With only 7 hours and 25 minutes of scheduled daylight here as it is, it hardly felt like the day broke at all with such low lying fog. Not to worry! Any excuse to fill my room with the flickers and fragrance of scented candles is much appreciated.

I thought I would match the shortness of the day with a brief blog post. After my failed attempt on Saturday, I successfully managed to deliver some magazines to the doctor’s surgery for anxious patients like myself to flick through in the waiting room.

So there you have it, short and sweet! I read that, like with most festivals, it is traditional at winter solstice to feast. And that is exactly what I plan to do. A cosy night in with good friends, cheesy Christmas films and even cheesier pizza!


Mary x

Three times a charm

25 days of kindness – December 20th

Three is usually a crowd, but not today.

The rough plan: a day out in my hometown to meet and old friend for a catch up and to sort out some last minute bits and bobs for Christmas.

Added bonus: the opportunity to carry out three acts of kindness that I wouldn’t normally do.

Numero uno (e due)

In light of my recent bedroom overhaul, I have a lot of books in need of a good home. My academic foreign language books are more likely to find an appreciative owner if I sell them online, but for general chick-lit novels and detective stories, Oxfam books is ideal.

However, I guessed the store’s opening time incorrectly (this seems to happen to me a little too often…), so with half an hour to kill in the damp British weather, I wandered into the nearest shopping mall. Almost immediately upon arriving I was collared by a representative for Amnesty International. Now, usually in this situation I would rattle off the unoriginal yet effective “Sorry, I’m in a bit of a rush!”, but I knew full well that this was an outright lie. So I stayed. And I listened. And I signed up. Am I in the financial position to subscribe to every charity who stops me in the street? Absolutely not, but one every now and again doesn’t hurt.



Harris Museum at Christmas

Last but not least

My wallet and load feeling somewhat lighter, I turned a corner and saw none other than a Big Issue vendor. If you read my blog yesterday, you would know that I bought the magazine when I was in Leeds, so before I had thought twice I found myself saying “Sorry mate, I’ve already got that one!” and walked away. Cursing myself for sounding so rude, I turned around and asked if I could get him a hot drink instead. “Ooh, a tea would be grand, thanks!” The man has good taste, I thought.



Mary x

P.S. I am thrilled to have been nominated for a Liebster Award, so watch this space for my Liebster post and nominations!

Books are my bag

25 days of kindness – December 16th

It seems that yesterday’s self-kindness paid off since I managed a solid 9 HOURS of sleep. Well, I say solid… apparently I have started ‘sleep-checking’ my phone whenever it vibrates… definitely time for a big switch-off!

Plan A

My body and mind well rested, I was determined to hit it big style with my extra act of kindness. I gathered a bunch of magazines and a virtually blank puzzle book (minus the codebreakers – they are my favourites!) and brought them to my local doctor’s surgery. An anxious patient myself, I totally empathise with those in need of distraction whilst they sit nervously anticipating a potentially upsetting or embarrassing appointment, so I had intended to leave the magazines on the table in the waiting area. Intended being the operative word; it was closed. I thought that the doctor’s offered appointments on Saturday mornings, but evidently not this Saturday. Not to worry! By now I am well accustomed to good deed failed attempts, so I had a back-up plan.

IMG_E8541 (2)

Plan B

Careful not to slip on the ice, I made my way up the hill and around the corner to the library. As inconspicuously as possible, I began perusing the shelves until I spotted a novel I had recently read and loved: Aleph by Paulo Coelho. Pretending to read the inside cover, I surreptitiously slipped a pre-written note inside wishing its next reader a lovely day, slotted the book back in its place and strolled out of the library as nonchalantly as I could, making a mental note to go there more often.

In other news, a positive consequence of the daily pressure of this challenge is that I have become very proactive and much more efficient in general. Whenever I have a job to do, I try to plan ahead so that it coincides with my act of kindness or vice versa, and I get it done that same day. I just hope that this will continue once blogmas is over!


Mary x

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

If you can’t feel festive and fabulous at your office Christmas party, then when can you?

Rocking a whole lot of glitter, tinsel and an elasticated waistband, I was ready for an evening of eating and dancing with the La Tete Et Tout girls.

But not before one of my favourite Christmas activities: Secret Santa. With a £10 budget, we all brought a present for an unknown recipient and swapped them around the table. I absolutely adore buying and wrapping gifts, so for me this was a present in itself. Having contributed a beautifully scented and locally sourced soy candle from Pale Barn, I was secretly hoping to receive my own gift. I did not, so, Pale Barn, feel free to send me all of your stock! All was not lost, though, since I am now the proud owner of a trio of floral body butters and two miniature bottles of flavoured gin!

I was having such a great night that I almost forgot about my act of kindness. Rummaging through my over-filled clutch, I found my pen and post-it notes and ran to the ladies’ loos to stick this on the mirror. All too often we are made to feel insignificant or worthless, so I just hoped this might remind some one that this is far from the case.


My own regret is having written ‘you LOOK beautiful’ and not ‘you ARE beautiful’, because as we all know, beauty is everything but superficial.


Mary x


Letter box lottery

25 days of kindness – December 5th

So far in my challenge, my acts of kindness have been aimed at specific people or causes. With that in mind, today I decided to be a little more ‘love actually’ on the cliché scale and do something completely anonymously for a total stranger.

Whilst I was in the local supermarket stocking up on emergency chocolate, I picked up a scratchcard with a top prize of £100 000. Just to clarify, I do not encourage gambling – you should only play if you can afford to lose – but I’ll occasionally slot a scratchcard inside a friend’s birthday card as an I’m-too-poor-to-buy-you-a-real-present-but-I’d-buy-you-a-big-one-if-I-could kind of gesture.

Pen and post-it note at the ready, I scribbled a short message, stuck it to the card, and posted them through the first letter box I passed.


Bizarrely, I felt myself speeding up as I walked away, as if I’d done something wrong. I know I’d be absolutely mortified if I was caught in the act, but why? Surely I should be proud to own up to my action? Then I started to panic. What if the recipient thought they were being considered a charity case and took offence? Or worse, what if they are a recovering gambling addict?!

I suppose that, even with the best will in the world, you can’t always please everyone… but it doesn’t hurt to try. At best, they could win a hefty Christmas bonus, but if nothing else, I hope it makes them smile.


Mary x