The end is just the beginning

25 days of kindness – December 25th

Happy Holidays everyone! My 25 days of kindness blogging challenge has finally come to a close and I must admit, I’m glad to see the back of it.

Not because I found trying to be kind difficult. On the contrary, bursting the bubble of self-absorption and consciously thinking of others was liberating and refreshing. I realised how easy it is to be kind and that a small, seemingly insignificant act could be a vital step towards restoring somebody’s faith in humanity.

No, the difficulty of this challenge lay in cooking up a host of original good deeds which would benefit a variety of people whilst fitting in with my pre-existing plans for the day. Often I would find myself driving out to the nearest town purely to carry out my act of kindness, but by doing so I was unnecessarily burning fuel which is hardly kind to the environment.

What this challenge has done, therefore, is teach me to constantly be on the look out for opportunities to show kindness rather than worry about creating the opportunities. That said, it is definitely worth going out of your way to do a good and selfless deed, provided that the effects are overwhelming positive without repercussions for other people or our planet.

Anonymous season's greetings

So, to complete the challenge, I resorted back to my ever diminishing post-it notes. On Christmas morning, I wrote “Merry Christmas! x” on several of the little snowmen and posted them through random letter boxes in the village.

Though this is the final act in my blog, it is just the beginning of my journey to becoming a better person.

Love,

Mary x

Right on track

25 days of kindness – December 23rd

Only two more sleeps ’til Christmas! My Inner Child (and outer musical theatre fanatic) had booked a ticket to The Christmasaurus at the Hammersmith Apollo, so I got up bright and early, drove to the station and hopped on a train to London. As I was waiting on the platform to board the train, I noticed the lady in front of me had a rather heavy looking suitcase in tow. Though she was probably only in her late sixties and the suitcase was relatively small, I know how awkward it can be clambering up onto the carriage at the best of times, so I offered her a hand. Clearly weighing up the different options in her head, she eventually decided it wouldn’t be the worst idea and accepted. Good deed done, I thought to myself, and a classic one at that. Now to relax and enjoy the day!

Not quite. On reflection, I realised that helping somebody with their luggage is something I would always do if the opportunity arose, hardly an additional act of kindness, so I threw something else in for good measure.

Since starting this blog, I have developed a habit of bringing my snowman post-it notes wherever I go. Noticing the flip-back part of the table by the seat next to me, I scribbled a quick “Have a lovely day! x” on one of my good old snowy samaritans and stuck it underneath. That way, the next person to lift it up would see the nice message and hopefully crack a smile.

Satisfied, I took out my Inspector Montalbano book and managed only a few pages before snoozing the rest of the way to Euston.

Love,

Mary x

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!

Love,

Mary x

Acknowledgements

25 days of kindness – December 18th

Yet another fail

Another day, another week and… another act of kindness. But what? Having exhausted my own bank of ideas that I could feasibly do today, I returned to google for inspiration. The same old sort out things popped up, so I just picked one of them and rolled with it.

I took out my phone and started crafting a friendly and polite message which went as follows:

Hi there, just to say I hope you had a good day and I wish you a happy Christmas time and all the best for the New Year. (You don’t know me and I don’t know you, just a complete stranger hoping to put a smile on somebody’s face today). 🙂

I then sent the same message to 30 completely random numbers and waited.

Nothing. The most likely outcome is that I sent the messages to unassigned numbers. Another possibility is that the recipients considered my message as annoying spam. Either way, even though the intention was kind, the whole exercise was pointless, so I went back to the drawing board.

Eventually I came across a suggestion so simple yet perfect: acknowledge somebody else’s kindness. So I would like to take this opportunity to publicly express my gratitude to a few people now, whether they see this or not.

  • To my lovely parents for helping me out with more things than I could list here, for generally putting up with me and for just knowing when I’d love a cup of tea.
  • My dear friend (who I am sure would prefer to remain anonymous) for helping me prepare for an interview in French. (If you speak French and are interested in make-up, check out her blog here).
  • To my college “husband” Ben for his constant enthusiasm and infectious zest for life.
  • To Mr Paley for making me get some fresh air today despite usually being as indecisive as a sloth.
  • And last but certainly not least to someone else who shall not be named. You know who you are, and I am eternally grateful for everything you did.

Love,

Mary x

There’s no day like a snow day

25 days of kindness – December 9th

That’s right, it snowed! Naturally, I felt I had to name today an official snow day, i.e. an excuse to not doing anything even remotely productive. While the snowflakes were falling thick and fast, it wasn’t for long enough to reach optimum sledging/snowman building depth, so I wrapped up in my slightly-too-small reindeer hoody (with antlers, of course) and enjoyed the wintry scene from indoors. My Dad, however, seemed to have other ideas… who decides to mow the lawn on the one day of snow this year?!

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Reluctant to venture outside, I knew the perfect small but sweet act of kindness for today. In recent years I have definitely been slacking with my Christmas cards. Either I’ll write them but forget to send them, give them out in person so late that it’s virtually time to take down the cards and put away the decorations for another year, or I’ll just forget to write any at all.

I know some people like to complain that sending Christmas cards is bad for the environment, or that we should give the money that would be spent on them to charity instead. Since I already have a stash of cards, it’s not much worse for the environment now if I send them. And as my Mum would say, we should give the money to charity as well without depriving somebody of a card. And she’s right; there’s something special about receiving a handwritten note in the post, especially when the sender takes the time to write a thoughtful message rather than just signing their name underneath the pre-printed ‘Seasons Greetings’.

So, Christmas cards written, I think it’s time to call it a night. And who knows, I might even get round to posting them this year.

Love,

Mary x

Confessions of a Shopaholic

25 days of kindness – December 8th

Thank goodness it’s Friday! And I’m now one week into my Christmas kindness blogging challenge, woohoo! To be truthful, I’m currently spending most of my time sending job applications so the days seem to have lost their definition, but there’s no harm in sharing the sense of weekend euphoria with the rest of the world.

Since graduation, sorting out my room has been a work in progress. Between moving away for university then living abroad for a year, I appear to have accumulated three times the amount of general clutter than any human could possibly need. However, the issue with spring (or more accurately, winter) cleaning is that things tend to get messy before they get tidy again… and that’s the point I usually reach before something more important comes along and I have to call it a day. So, my bedroom having looked like a ransacked clothing store for quite long enough, I decided to finally give some things away.

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After a hairy drive along some treacherously icy country lanes, I trundled through Clitheroe with my sack of goods in a Santa-esque fashion and donated them to the RSPCA charity shop. An animal lover and proud owner of two spaniels, I’d like to say that I carefully selected this organisation for the brilliant work it does fighting against cruelty to animals. (In reality, the bag was flipping heavy and this was the first charity shop I passed, but that’s beside the point).

Feeling physically and emotionally lighter, what better way to celebrate than… with a spot of shopping to fill up my room again! I dropped by my old work place and treated myself to these FABULOUS trousers. Thanks La Tete!

queen of hearts trousers

I’ve told myself I can only wear them once I’m no longer funemployed, but who am I kidding, it would be criminal to leave these beauties in the drawer.

Bon week-end !

Love,

Mary x

 

Bloody Mary

25 days of kindness – December 7th

I’ve never particularly got along with blood. That isn’t to say I’m not thrilled that my pint-sized body seems to be filled with the stuff and it’s whizzing oxygen around and doing whatever else good blood likes to do. I just don’t feel the need to a) talk at length about it or b) see it.

I’ve had a few tests done in the past in which my blood was stolen from me, but the thought of actually willingly donating it makes me feel physically sick. Sitting there, hooked to a machine, watching the essence of my own body being pumped into a bag… no thank you.

So naturally, I felt I had to register as a donor. After all, if giving someone part of your body and soul isn’t kindness, then what is? Well, I am over the moon to announce that giving blood was not my act of kindness for the day, and nor will it be any time soon. It appears that my love for exploring far off places means I am currently ineligible as a donor. Oh, how my heart bleeds.

big love gala_save the date_RED TYPE ONLY

However, I am not completely off the hook. My new sister-in-law shared a link with me today, suggesting I register with DKMS. It’s a non-profit organisation dedicated to matching blood cancer patients with blood stem cell donors so that they can have a potentially life-saving transplant. Accepting that this really is a cause worth supporting, I signed up and am now awaiting my free cheek swab kit. The odds are that I’ll never be needed, but if so, I’ll just have to face my fear and focus on the big cup of tea and chocolate biscuit which surely must follow.

Love,

Mary x

P.S. If you were wondering what the feature image is, it was the beautiful parcel sent to me today by my dear friend and fellow blogger, Benjamin Barnabas. Be sure to check out his page!