As we are all fully aware by now, the start of 2021 has not been a strong one! As we approach the end of January, it is safe to say we are all feeling the effects of this second lockdown and the juggle of home, life, schooling children and work is a monumental thing. We have experienced intense levels of feeling out of control, unable to keep on top of the changing landscape due to the Pandemic. For the vast majority of us, this way of life is not something we have experienced before.
I have found it is so hard at times to keep both a level head and things in perspective as the news continues to flow in with more and more terrible Covid-19 stories.
However, all this time to think, whilst staying safely in the comfort of home, surrounded by those closest to us, I have also found what has kept me going is finding some joy and moments of gratitude in the smallest of places, and here's the most important bit...daily. Finding just one or two small comforts everyday has made the biggest difference when it comes to thinking positively, realising what we have in abundance, right in front of us, and being grateful for these small things. You won't be surprised to hear that for me that is often a steaming cup of tea. It is a hug in a mug, it is so comforting and the process of making my favourite brew makes me walk away from whatever I am doing and helps me reset.
Reflecting on this time last year, we had no idea what we were about to face, life was normal, we lived at 1,000MPH and didn't always take the time to stop, look around and realise where hidden daily greatness could be found. Here at Jo D, we have always tried to encourage you to 'Slow Down and Sip' trying to create moments of quiet, calm and restoration, in an otherwise frantic day. We always bang on about the importance of taking a moment to make your favrouite warm drink, waiting for the kettle or coffee machine and frankly spending some time staring out of the window, having a good old fashioned day-dream!
This month I have tried to listen to my own advise and I have found that looking at things from the 'small-joy' perspective has helped me find a profound sense of gratitude, amongst the fraught and stressful moments. This process helps to ground me and give me a sense of purpose. It is something productive I can be doing, when everything else is so upside-down. I really am talking small here, a big hug from one of my little ones, cooking a meal from scratch, baking something and not burning it, a walk in the fresh air with the dogs, and yes, the perfect cuppa!
These might not be your 'cup of tea', but below are the small things I have found huge comfort, joy and gratitude in this month. Perhaps these might encourage you to think about what makes you smile, without costing you much or having to leave the comfort of home!
Remember to keep in touch, love Jo xx
Writing things down - my new journal I got for Christmas has been a piece of joy. It has all sorts of areas that encourage you to think about what actually matters to you, who you are when you strip everyday life away. I am old school and find writing things down such a helpful and de-stressing process where thoughts leave my head and can be put down on paper and processed more easily.
The Deliciously Ella Podcast - all of these are brilliant and so informative but their first episode of this year is a particular favourite and very empowering when it comes to thinking of 5 small steps that could help to make a massive difference to us and our wellbeing. You don't have to be Vegan to enjoy this by the way, I'm not and I love it!
Cotswold Candle Company - these candles are incredible, they smell so good but their wooden wicks have a snap and crackle to them that is so comforting and warming, it is like being by the fire perminantly! It is a real treat having a candle on the go during these dark winter days. Gorgeous Polly, who runs Cotswold Candles, pours all her own candles by hand from home and her scents are inspired.
Addison Ross photo frames - ok so we haven't exactly created lots of amazing moments from holidays and exploring over the last 12 months but a new photo frame with a family pic taken one summer's afternoon on a dog walk brings a smile to my face everyday. It is on my desk and keeps spirits high at all times!
Netflix Kiss The Ground - a story of hope for the future of our planet and an absolute 'must-see'! I don't want to spoil this, just make sure you watch it!
Other Stories cardigan - I have been living in this and love the cosy days wearing this, sipping some delicious coffee, fire roaring and more Netflix watching after a long day! It isn't the cheapest but I have worn it almost everyday so far and it will be perfect for chilly summer evenings too so a win-win!
Reading has been a comfort, when I get the energy or a chance, but reading to the children is non-negotiable and we absolutely love the stories from The Little Paws Hotel These books are aimed at 3-8 year olds (the perfect age for my two) and are written by Clare who has made them relatable and well researched. Each story helps children to explore their thoughts and feelings, offering them useful ways to think about their emotions and get conversations started.
And last but by no means least....EATING! Cooking a Saturday night cuzza from scratch used to be such a daunting prospect, I never really gave it a bash, BUT, when you have the best Indian cook book in your midst it is made so easy...look no further than Meera Sodha. You will need a few store cupboard essentials but when I say her recipes are easy and DELICIOUS I am really not exaggerating (especially her coriander chicken curry...so good!) Her book Made in India was given to me by a friend and we have enjoyed so many recipes from it, each one different and so tasty! Saturday nights are now a joy when you have Meera to turn to for so much inspiration!