Tag Archives: happiness

Blond, Beautiful, Bright, Brilliant Blogger

Gala Darline

Have you heard of Gala Darling?  Born in Wellington New Zealand and named Amy by her parents she has arrived in New York and reinvented herself.  She has changed her name officially to Gala Darling and is now the darling of the blogosphere.

I discovered this gem on TV recently – see the item here.  She is a young woman with style and presence.  She has around 500,000 hits per month on her blog.  That’s an amazing number of hits.

She advertises on her blog and it makes money.  She advertises such products as Coach handbags.  She claims to make in excess of $100,000 per month.

She says she is always writing and is now about to publish a book.  She has an agent and the publisher is the one that published ‘The Devil Wears Prada” and “The Girl With the Pearl Earring“.

So I say – good on you.  Well done Gala.  See what you think.

Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner

“Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner,
That I love London so.
Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner,
That I think of her wherever I go.
I get a funny feeling inside of me,
Just walking up and down.
Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner,
That I love London Town.” Hubert Gregg, English songwriter,  BBC broadcaster, author and stage actor. (1914-2004)

Lore has it that the song was written on one particularly grim day, after seeing the German Doodlebugs devastating London.  It was apparently composed on the back of a theatre program, and later became a very popular song –

Song sheet

The song was first sung by Bud Flanagan in 1944 at the Victoria Palace in London.  Although the Second World War was ended by the time Bud Flanagan sang the song (and made it his own) it quickly became a morale booster for Londoners in the stringent times following the war.

I am of course aware, that time and distance put a rosy glow on most things.  When I left London to start my meanderings following my Scotsman around the world, London was a great place to live.

According to Peter Ackroyd

“London goes beyond any boundary or convention. It contains every wish or word ever spoken, every action or gesture ever made, every harsh or noble statement ever expressed. It is illimitable. It is Infinite London.”  London: The Biography 2000.

Even after some 50 years away I still consider myself a Londoner.  I refer to London as home.  So why would that be?

I grew up in London.  Only 5 miles from the centre of London and almost within the sounds of Bow Bells.  The definition of a Cockney is to be born within the sound of Bow Bells but as we are told by Wikipedia: “A common thought is that in order to be a Cockney, one must have been born within earshot of the Bow Bells. However, the church of St Mary-le-Bow was destroyed in 1666 by the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren. After the bells were destroyed again in 1941 in The Blitz of World War II, and before they were replaced in 1961, there was a period when by this definition no ‘Bow-bell’ Cockneys could be born”.  So I am not a Cockney by any definition.

London in the 1940s and 1950s was a very different place to what it is now.  I have written on my memories of growing up in an earlier post.  See Memories are made of this.  Life was much slower then and I know that it was much more innocent.

Double decker bus at Finsbury Park

Photo via Flickr

Treats were going to the movies (known to us as the Pictures) as a family on a Friday night.  We had no car so we went by bus – I even remember the bus number 653.  I looked it up and it still runs to Stamford Hill and Finsbury Park where we used to go to the movies, only now the route number is changed to 253.

And at that time the movies ran continuously.  You could go in at any time and watch the movie from that point forward.  The phrase “this is where we came in” could be heard around the cinemaThis put a certain spin on the movies.  You always saw the end before the beginning unless you were extra clever and managed to get there before the film started.  Then you would see Gaumont Movietone Newsreels and then the movie.  And of course you would see the newsreel between the ending of the movie and it’s beginning.  How mixed up is that?

Because the cinema was darkened for the movie, an usherette showed you to your place.  As the idea was for her to find you two, three or in our case, five unoccupied seats, the other cinema goers had to accept the light from the torch shining on their faces.  These usherettes also sold choc ices and cigarettes all through the film.  One had to view the film through an absolute fog of cigarette smoke.  Remember in the 40s nobody knew (or at least hadn’t been told ) about the dangers of smoking.  Just about everybody smoked.

I started to smoke when I was about 18 .  All my friends did so and we thought we were so very sophisticated.  I had a Dunhill cigarette holder – how pretentious is that – and eventually a 14K gold Dunhill lighter.  I still have the lighter but where is the holder?  Oh and stop press.  An identical lighter being sold on eBay has a bid of $US560.  Why don’t I sell it together with the silver one I bought for my Scotsman?

The movies were very innocent as well.  There was very little violence and no sex.

I remember seeing:

  • Somewhere over the Rainbow and being terrified of the witch.
  • Fanny By Gaslight – I don’t remember much about that.  We tried to see it twice or three times but each time we had to leave the cinema because one or other of us was sick.
  • We saw Casablanca – how I loved and still love that movie. I really wanted to be like Ingrid Bergman when I grew up.  I guess I was about 4 or 5 when I saw that one.
  • The Red Shoes had all the pathos that appealed to Mother who was a young woman at the time – about 30 I would guess.  The theme was the old one – young ballerina had to choose between her dancing and the man she loved.   This was just a little over the heads of three girls aged between 7 and 11.
  • Meet me in St Louis was another one I remember.  I just loved Judy Garland (again) singing Clang Clang Clang Went the Trolley.
  • And I guess my mother had a particular fondness for Judy Garland movies.  Because we also saw the Easter Parade.

Goodness how long ago it all was.  But what very happy memories.  And now I ask myself how did I get here?  Nostalgia overtaking me again I guess.

At the end of the movies, we used to get another bus home and walk, more often than not skipped with Father holding hands with my eldest sister and me, down this dark tree-lined street home, to hot chocolate and bed.  What great evenings and fantastic memories.

The street on which we lived was lined with these fantastic horse chestnut trees.  Unfortunately, many of these trees around Britain have succumbed to the disease.  Read this – Hope for British Horse Chestnut Trees.  How sad if future generations of children will not be able to play ‘conkers’ with the nuts as we did.

Horse chestnuts

But the story of playing conkers must wait for another day.

Well, that’s the end of the ramble for today.  See you all tomorrow.

I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.  They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far! ”
John Muir, Scottish-American naturalist and preservationist, 1838 – 1914







One Award, One Wedding, Great Celebrations

Versatile blogger

Because of the other world-wide event (clue Will and Kate)  happening on the same day I got my award, I put off the thank you rather than find myself speaking in an empty auditorium.  Seriously though, I am touched that Chris nominated me as one of her 15.  Thank you Chris. Follow  this fascinating and thought-provoking woman at – http://bridgesburning.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/versatile-blogger-award-thanks-kieran/.

Chris was one of the first people to post a comment when I started blogging.  Was that only two months ago?  I feel as if I really know her so well.

Now I am called upon to tell you 7 things about myself.

What would interest you about me?

  1. I am the widow of a very special human being who was my love, my supporter and my mentor for 41 years.  How I miss that man!
  2. I have two great children, who with their spouses and their children give me love and support when most needed.
  3. I am ‘Granma’ to four good-looking, talented grandsons who are growing into fine young men – and no, I am not biased in any way.
  4. I have two sisters, one in London and one in Los Angeles.  Could we have moved further apart?  But emails are great for keeping in touch.
  5. I am English but choose to live in Wellington tagged ‘Coolest little Capital in the World’ by Lonely Planet.
  6. I love to write.  Always have notebook with me.  I unashamedly watch and listen to other people when I am around and about each day.
  7. I have been a Realtor, small business adviser, property developer, commercial property manager and am a certified Life Coach.  All these things have brought me to where I am today.

And if you are not too bored with that list, please read on.

I am also called upon to pass the award on to  15 other bloggers.  And after much soul-searching and thought, the nominees are

Cat with pencil

Photo – Roman Dekan

Happiness Is…


“Happiness cannot be owned, earned, worn or consumed.
Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute
with love, grace, and gratitude.”  

So says one of my favourite authors – Denis Waitley, (born 1933),  American motivational speaker and writer.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep this definition of happiness with us at all times?  It seems that in this 21st Century we are all striving for something; something that we think will bring us happiness.  Is it a new job, more money, a new or old love or do we want to remove something such as excess weight.  But do we ever stop to ask ‘what is happiness?’



“Being happy is something you have to learn.
I often surprise myself by saying “Wow, this is it. I guess I’m happy.
I’ve got a home I love. A career that I love.
I’m even feeling more and more at peace with myself.
If there’s something else to happiness, let me know. I’m ambitious for that, too. ”
Harrison Ford, (born July 13, 1942) American film actor and producer.

I have noticed in my life that happiness is different things to different people

  • The love of a mother for her new-born infant
  • Coming in out of the cold and/or rain
  • Being welcomed home with a roaring fire and a hot meal waiting
  • Seeing family members whom you haven’t seen for a while
  • Catching up with old friends
  • Catching the look in a small child’s eye at the first glimpse of snow and all the other ‘firsts’ with children
  • Children just being children
  • The smile on my grandsons’ faces when they see me

The list is endless and we all know what makes us happy.

And the road to ‘happiness’ is something we travel along each day.  Each little thing that makes us happy on our journey contributes to our overall happiness.  Happiness is not one thing it is made up of a series of often unrelated happenings that contribute to our happiness.

If the sages are to be believed happiness is a mental state of well-being characterised by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion.

In my life coaching practice, I come across people who are convinced that they would be happy if only..  And I tell them that the authors of their happiness is themselves.  We all need to look inside ourselves and most of all we do need to remember all the things for which we are grateful.  Reading my Gratitude List makes me happy.

And one last quote from Groucho Marx, 1890 – 1977. American comedian and film star famed as a master of wit.

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself:
I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.
I can choose which it shall be.
Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.
I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

Apologies for all the quotes today.  They all seemed so appropriate.


Nurture vs Nature

The route through childhood is shaped by many forces, and it differs for each of us. Our biological inheritance, the temperament with which we are born, the care we receive, our family relationships, the place where we grow up, the schools we attend, the culture in which we participate, and the historical period in which we live—all these affect the paths we take through childhood and condition the remainder of our lives.
Robert H. Wozniak  U.S. professor on human development.

So much has been written about this subject and now I want to add my two pennies worth – or tuppence worth as we said when I was growing up.

My two sisters and I lived with our parents in a modest house in the East End of London, with little money to spare but with an abundance of love and caring.  There were no luxuries available as we had recently fought a long hard war with Germany.  Absolutely everything was rationed.

We gawked at the Movietone newsreels of the things available in America but we had what many didn’t have, a safe and secure, loving home.

So where’s this going.  We were all brought up together but very soon I left home to marry my dashing young Scotsman, followed by my elder sister who went to America ‘for a couple of years’ but in fact some 50 plus years later she still lives there, and then the baby of the family married and moved out.

We made our separate lives.  We moved away from each other but still kept in contact.  In those days that meant snail mail and the very occasional, highly priced, telephone conversation.  Oh what a joy when eventually we all had internet connections and could communicate via email as often as we pleased.

But many things from our childhood and upbringing have stayed with us.  See my post on Sisters.  I particularly remarked on this when on a visit to Los Angeles to visit with my elder sister I noticed she was using Imperial Leather Soap.    This was the soap from our childhood and the soap that I still used living so far away in New Zealand.  Then on to London and guess what?  My younger sister was using Imperial Leather Soap.  Added to this was the fact that at that time we were all using ‘Je Reviens” perfume by Worth.  A coincidence or was it tied into the way in which we brought up?

So with our parents example we have each raised our children and they in turn are raising theirs.  My mother died at about the time the internet was becoming available to all.  So I had to rely on telephone calls (reduced rates by then) and snail mail to contact my parents.  I took the opportunity of writing to them thanking them for the childhood they had given us and acknowledging just what they had done for us.  I wished I had been clever enough to keep a copy of that letter.  I know that both parents appreciated the thoughts that went into writing that.  And for me, there was the pleasure of having told them how I felt before they died.  What good telling the assembled mourners at the funeral?

And the point of this blog?  Just sharing random thoughts with you.

“Happiness is looking back on a great childhood with supportive parents and two fantastic sisters.”
Judith Baxter, Blogger 1938 –

And for no good,discernible reason I would like to share this quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes:

“Old age is fifteen years older than I am.”