Gosh, it feels like an awfully long time since I wrote a post here! This is partly because my normal writing slot of a Saturday afternoon (usually in PJs with a giant cup of tea, very classy), has been taken over by another project. Well, 30,000ish little projects actually – I am now the co-owner of a beehive and its many thousands of tiny little residents!

Now, I am not a parent, and I am sure many actual parents would think I am being slightly ludicrous making the comparison, but I finally think I understand a tiny bit of what being a (overly protective, somewhat ridiculous) parent is like! The worrying when I’m not there (OMG, it’s raining, what if they get too wet and die? Or there’s a mudslide and the hive gets buried?! N.B. To give you some perspective, they’re in a garden in North London, mudslides are somewhat unlikely), the over-scrutinising of every potential problem (OMG, what’s that black spot near the honey stores? Is it a fungus that’s going to KILL THEM ALL?), and trying to make good decisions with no real understanding of what a good decision is because all the books say different things.

Frankly I’m a mess. Thank goodness for my wonderfully calm bee co-owners and the North London Beekeepers Association’s patience with our many questions.

But this isn’t a post about beekeeping, mainly because we’ve finally set them up for winter now and so not an awful lot will be happening over the winter (I hope). Instead, this is a post about what I’ve been listening to on my way to and from beekeeping, a rather lovely podcast that goes by the name of Happier.

Happier is presented by Gretchen Rubin who is a writer and researcher into happiness and good habits. She is accompanied by her sister Elizabeth, who I think has the most awesome voice ever. Together they discuss tips and techniques for understanding why you make the decisions you do, how to make better ones if you want to and other such nice things. It’s not focused on eco-things or sustainability, but for anyone trying to simplify or declutter their life (either mentally or physically!), it has some great ideas. A few of my favourite tips from the podcasts so far have been:

1 To set a bedtime alarm (Episode 2)

Amazing. And so simple! Who doesn’t want more sleep? And who actually ever gets enough sleep?

I am terrible at going to bed and as N can testify, and even worse when I have to get up, especially when I’ve not had enough sleep. Even though there are still more than enough mornings where I’m like a bear with a sore head, this has definitely helped – when the alarm goes off it’s just a little reminder that this should probably be the last TV programme I watch tonight, that perhaps not having that last cup of tea or coffee is a better idea, and that it’s time to start wrapping up the day. It has also taught me how much I procrastinate – how can it possibly take an hour between an alarm going off and actually getting into bed? But somehow it does. Perhaps another tip needed there…

2 “Choose the bigger life” (Episode 27)

This one totally took me by surprise as to how effective it would be. Boiled down to its essence, whenever you’re faced with making a decision, ask yourself how the choice you make now is going to fit in with your bigger life plan. I have used this for everything from not mindlessly snacking on biscuits (“do I really want a biscuit, or do I want to actually lose those 2 kilos I promised myself?”) to dragging myself out the house in the falling temperatures to go swim in the Highgate Ladies Pond (“if I don’t keep it up now, it’ll be even harder to get in when it’s a few degrees colder, and think how miserable I’ll be if I don’t have the pond to go to cuz I’ve left it too long to stay acclimatised over winter!”). It’s even finally got me round to getting back on here and writing something rather than mucking about on Twitter 🙂

3 Take photos of everyday life (Episode 24)

Really exactly as it sounds. Here’s a few of autumn and of my favourite place, the Ladies Pond.

The patch of garden I’ve started looking after at work
Colourful houses on a rainy morning in Kentish Town
Walking through the woods with a friend
The colours of autumn leaves
Highgate Ladies Pond. 11 degrees of muddy happiness.
Our new beehive on a sunny September day.

4 Say no to free stuff! (Episode 14)

As someone that is trying to live with less stuff, this should be so easy! But it’s still hard to say no. This is when it’s a good time to remember that you’re also trying to ‘Live the bigger life’ and remember that less stuff is the aim! If you wouldn’t buy it, don’t accept a free one. It took me five years to give away a bread maker that I never even used once…

So if you’re looking for something new to listen to, and could do with a little push to get you thinking about ways to simplify and be happier, why not give it a go? It’s available via iTunes (or go direct to http://gretchenrubin.com/podcast/).

Do you have any tips for making your life happier and simpler? Please let me know if you do!

So if you’re looking for something new to listen to, and could do with a little push to get you thinking about ways to simplify and be happier, why not give it a go? It’s available via iTunes (or go direct to http://gretchenrubin.com/podcast/).

Do you have any tips for making your life happier and simpler? Please let me know if you do!

4 thoughts on “The sound of Happier

  1. So excited to read about your beehive! I’ve wanted to keep bees since forever but we have nowhere to keep them… however we are moving at the end of the year and our neighbours / friends have just got one! So I intend to do a course in January. Looking forward to eating all the honey I can ; )

    When will yours be ready for its first harvest?

    PS the tip – say no to free stuff is such a good one! Took me many years to release this, but actually, saving other people’s stuff from landfill only to have it clog up your house and make you feel guilty is NOT a solution!


    1. Thank you for the lovely comment! I am very excited about the beehive – I don’t have space for one either (partner said no to one on the tiny balcony!), but I buddied up with two people at beekeeping classes and we are keeping it in one of their back gardens – the power of the co-op! I will definitely be posting more on that next year when we will hopefully have our first honey 🙂

      And that’s awesome that you’re going to go to beekeeping classes too! They were so helpful to me – there’s no way I could have started without them.

      Hope you’re keeping well and looking forward to summer in the southern hemisphere 🙂


  2. I can relate so much to the tip about bedtime. It takes me forever to get ready for bed too, and I’ve never quite figured out why. I’m not sure if it’s normal (my husband can get ready for bed in about 10 minutes) but it’s certainly very me. So I set a bedtime alarm about an hour before I ought to be in bed – but because bedtime still seems so far away at that point I usually just ignore it! Perhaps I should revisit my process…

    And good luck with the bee-keeping, that must be very exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m also still searching for the perfect time for the pre-bed alarm, the experiments continue! But it has stopped the caffeine after it goes off at least 🙂

      I am very excited and somewhat scared about the bee adventure we’re embarking on.

      Thanks for the lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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