magazine Summer Edition 2010
Summer Edition 2010
HOME Pack The Picnic p17 Summer Recipe p18
What’s Hot p4
FASHION Beach Fashion Shoot p5 Be a Jumblista p8
WHAT’S ON Guide p21 Party People p22
TRAVEL Rhodes p23
Bag & Baggage p9
Editor’s Note Every time they unshackle you from your dark dwelling (otherwise known as the office), you head straight for Travel Zoo for a bargain get away. And I’m no exception to the rule. But I have a confession. And it’s a shocker. I hate holidays. The moment the H word is uttered in our household I’m forced into the role of packing geisha. Then there’s the airport. I don’t like queuing but I particularly hate it when the person ahead of me swells into an entire family in a matter of minutes. But most of all, I detest the disorder of budget flights - especially when you pay nearly a grand to go to Cyprus and get treated like cattle. And then, you have to brace yourself for the battle. You know, the one where he wants to sit on a beach, drink beer and do nothing, while you have a list of historical sites you want to see but can’t drive the hire car. Finally, you come home burnt, broke and covered in mosquito bites - and yet, if anyone asks, you enjoyed it. Call it one of life’s little mysteries.
INSIDE & OUT Summer Prepping p12 Beauty Q&As p14 Jessica Alba p15 Tarotscopes p16
WORK Bijou Businesses p27
BACK FEATURE Happy, Shiny People p28
pack it today p9
Model wears dress by Hobbs
flower power dress from great plains
Be a festival fashionista and support Oxfam by customising your own t-shirt. The charity will be asking the crowds to buy a tee and get creative to back its Fair Deal climate change campaign. Cool, kind and available from Oxfam’s festival shops.
CURATOR OF COOL
Shirlain Photo by t e Forres
Cut flowers are great but they’re nothing compared to a gorgeous garden brimming with beautiful blooms. Whether yours is the size of a windowsill or a backyard - get inspiration at this year’s RHS Flower Show Tatton Park July 21-25. Expect award winning designs from all over Europe, expert tips and plenty of plants and bulbs to buy.
COMPILED BY PENNY FRAY
3. summer stars Discover how your birth month influences your personality, passions and potential in a stylish new e-book. The House of Good Fortune gets together with the Liverpool Echo and Daily Post to provide you with a free, downloadable guide. The chic new publication will include high fashion photos and tarot predictions for the months ahead. Out later this month on the newspapers’ websites. Don’t miss it!
So many things to celebrate. You survived the boredom of the World Cup for starters. And Manchester’s House of Fraser has a fabulous new champagne bar. So raise a glass (or two) because we’re officially instituting fizzy Saturdays. While everything’s very grand at Tom’s, including the piano, the service needs to speed up as it seriously cuts into shopping time. Talking of hip hangouts - may I recommend the shed? Not the potting variety but rather a cult restaurant with a quirky past. Albert’s Shed in Castlefield Manchester, is situated in an urban heritage park and used to belong to the owner’s uncle. The old man only agreed to move out of the derelict building if the place, once renovated, was named after him. Well, that’s one way to go down in history. Now if anyone wants to convert my garage...
FASHION the bold and the brave
Credits Front page: Aari dress, £60, Monsoon Previous page: Bea dress, £95, Monsoon Above: Monaco dress, £80, Monsoon Left: Aniso tunic, £60, Monsoon Below: Aloha Bangles, £12, Accessorize
Forget fusty church halls and moth munched knits, the jumble sale is back and better than ever. Louise Parker gets rummaging with the fashion forward. Whether trekking to Topshop for designer bargains or scouring eBay until dawn, you’ll do whatever it takes for a piece of brilliance that won’t blow your budget. But the latest shopping craze for ‘recessionistas’ is a bit of a shocker. It involves vicars and sharp elbows. I am, of course, talking of the humble jumble sale. Vintage rummaging has just gone stellar thanks to celebrity endorsements and almost mythical tales of fabulous fashion finds. Not only do ‘jumbles’ offer you one off pieces and serious ‘chic cred’ but the spending is virtually guilt free as you pick up most items for less than a fiver. “I can’t tell you how many bargains I’ve found at church jumbles,” says Louise Roberts. “But my best buys include a new LK Bennett wrap dress for £5, a Cath Kidston baby quilt for £3 and an Alex Monroe style necklace for £2.” Despite earning a healthy five figured salary and living in an affluent part of Manchester, the 31-year-old yummy mummy and entrepreneur claims that the stigma of second hand shopping has disappeared and instead embraces the new consumer mood of being green, giving and gorgeous. Alex Farinha, a 28 year old nurse from Cheshire, agrees. “I have my own unique style,” she says. “And although there are some excellent, fashionable buys on the high street, a jumble sale offers you one-off items. A couple of months ago, I found a gorgeous floral playsuit for £10 which I thought would look great on holiday.” So, put down that credit card, leave the hustle and bustle of the
ge cl utc
h bou gh
t for £2.50
high street and venture into the realms of ‘70s style shopping. Here are some tips for those of you who need help deciphering the jewels from the junk: • Go to upmarket areas for better brands and bric-a-brac. • Go with a plan. Know what next season’s trends will be and styles that currently suit. • Arrive extra early. • Don’t buy torn or stained items unless you really intend to mend or dry-clean them. PLACES TO GO... Liverpool: Retro Sundays at Leaf, 27 Parliament Street. L8 5RN. July 25th from 11am to 5pm. Free entry. Cheshire: Northwich Memorial Hall Town Centre, Chester Way, Northwich, Cheshire. CW9 5QJ. August 8, starts 9.30am. Manchester: Carboot Sale, Barton Road, Neary way, Trafford, Manchester M41 7FN. Opens every Sunday at 7am until October.
RETAIL prepare to pack with panache luggage from Kettlewell
Jimmy Choo sunglasses, £300, Cruise Chester Studded weekend bag, £12, Matalan
Gladiator sandal, £25, Miss Selfridge
Nude tie-dye scarf, £25, House of Fraser
IT’S IN THE BAG Whether you’re heading for sun drenched shores or a British beach, we’ve packed your glam get away gear.
Day to evening chiffon dress, £35, Dorothy Perkins
Sheer cardigan, £45, Mint Velvet
Triangle bikini, from £40 at Freemans
INSIDE & OUT
be a beach babe swimming suit and accessories from m&s
Laugh in the face of beach season tyranny with our summer slimming secrets.
Reebok weighted skipping rope, £17.95, John Lewis
3. AVOID THE GYM. If you loathe lycra, think in terms of activities rather than formal workouts. Shopping is far more appealing than hitting the gym.
4. BEAT THE BLOAT. Drinking at least We hate to break this to eight glasses of you but slurping water a day will strawberry daiquiris on detox you, keep the beach doesn’t count hunger at bay and as a fitness plan. It’s keep your skin time to ingest these healthy and hydrated. simple tips to keep you on fab form this summer.
Try thi s tummy control swimsui
5. SLEEP YOURSELF THIN. Research has shown 1. EAT BREAKFAST. that sleeping less Skipping the most than six hours a important meal of the night could reduce day won’t help you your body’s ability save calories. On the to burn off sugar, contrary, it’ll kick storing it as fat start your metabolism instead. and stop you pigging out on sugary snacks later. 6. CHEAT. Investing in
t, £25, BHS
2. DITCH THE DRESSING. Munching on lettuce leaves means nothing unless you swap calorie laden dressings and oils for a little lemon juice.
good swimwear or lingerie can knock pounds off you. Go for shapes that flatten and lift in all the right places.
morning workouts give a better metabolic boost
Keep orange peel thighs at bay with Transformulas’ FirmSlim (£24.95)
sports wear from Freemans
SUMMER LOVIN’ Learn the art of laid back beauty with Angela Brooks. Clear skies, long days and strawberries in picking distance summer’s finally here. Survive the skin revealing season by ditching pale skin for a healthy glow. Of course if you want to avoid looking old before your time, forget the sun worshipping and smooth in fake tanning lotion instead. It can take forever to find a fake-tan that suits you, but once found, treat it like gold and never let it go. In my view, St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse remains perfect for a sunkissed look. It doesn’t have any of that brassy overtone that so many people fear. It’s perfect for special occasions as well as daily use because the colour develops from a yummy, honey brown into a rich, caramel colour over night. It lasts around four days and can be bought from most Boots stores for just £20 for a 120ml bottle. When it comes to make-up, give your face a break. Instead of a heavy foundation opt for minimal mineral coverage because it won’t block pores or melt away. Then, add a little colour. Rimmel London’s Natural Bronzer with SPF 8 is perfect for highlighting key areas such as cheeks and collar bones. I love it because
My beach bag essentials for a sweat free, sun kissed summer >>
Joy! The sun’s finally out :-)
it adds a subtle shimmer as well as an instant glow for those on the go. As for the eyes, forgo the sultry, smoky effect and get fresh with a solid shade across the entire lid. Those in the know suggest eye-popping turquoise or bright green but I prefer a bold colour on cocktail loving lips instead. My summer musthave, by the way, is a fruity Sex on the Beach - one part peach schnapps, one part vodka with a splash of cranberry and orange juice. For a non-alcoholic version, swap the liquor for lemonade. Finally, stick on some hot tunes and sizzling BBQ sausages and enjoy the warm weather with friends. Happy days.
With Rosi Chapman, owner of Transformulas beauty without surgery
My sister is getting married in early September. It’s a small affair and I’ve already bought a fantastic designer silk dress from Selfridges. The only problem is that I’ve gained a lot of weight this summer due to too many holiday treats and BBQs. The frock is too tight and I feel really flabby and frumpy - I’m even starting to dread my sister’s big day. I’m a hopeless dieter as I tend to eat more not less when calorie counting. Can you recommend any beauty treatments that could help me lose the pounds and increase my body confidence in less than two months? Lucy (Cheshire).
Daily exercise, plenty of water and a well balanced diet is absolutely crucial in keeping your body, mind and spirit in better shape. But looking after yourself with the latest slimming and cellulite treatments is a simpler way to make you feel and look great. An effective way to pamper away the pounds is colonic irrigation. It really cleanses and detoxes your system from the inside out. The salon version isn’t for the faint hearted. That’s why I created an oral version with the Transdox Colonic Purifying Capsules (£16.99 from www.transformulas.com). Not only do they help you feel lighter and less bloated but they’ll also reeducate the colon to work better. They’re the first step to a healthy regime.
After two weeks, move on to our Waistline capsules which supports the body’s metabolism the natural way. Not only will a month long course (£24.95 from www.transformulas.com) help you lose weight but it’ll energise you too. Of course, they won’t work if you indulge in lots of naughty treats, so make sure you drink plenty of water and eat three well balanced meals a day. I swear by the effectiveness of using smaller plates when dishing up. And if you hate going to the gym, find a fun alternative like walking the dog, dance classes or gardening for 30 minutes a day. Finally, show off smooth, cellulite free legs with Transformulas’ FirmSlim mousse (£24.95). It tackles all those unsightly lumps and bumps whilst slimming and contouring the body. TV presenter Lorraine Kelly is a fan and results can be seen within two weeks. A couple of days before the wedding, let the professionals take over with a full body massage, wrap and false tan. By the time your sister walks down the aisle, I guarantee you’ll feel and look lovely. Enjoy!
If you have any questions for our expert, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
MIND, BODY & SPIRIT Actress Jessica Alba talks motherhood, make-up and multi-tasking
What’s your daily routine? I start with Yon-ka’s creamy cleanser, Lait Nettoyant, then moisturise with Dr Hauschka Toned Day cream which I really like because it’s organic. I try to use as much organic products as possible
What are you make-up staples? I like the Revlon blushers and their eyelash curlers are always in my make-up bag. Also the Colorstay and Beyond Natural foundations are great because they don’t really move and you could use them instead of a concealer because their not too heavy - so great twoin-one products. What would you say your style is? I always used to wear more classic styles, but I’m into more funky stuff these days. I guess you dress according to your personality and what feels good.
of Revlo n
Who are your beauty/style icons? Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren. I try to emulate their classic sensibility.
How do you juggle being a mother with always looking so amazing? I’ve learnt to multi-task, so now I can throw my face together in five minutes with my daughter in one arm. I like using products that I can apply with just a finger. I always have the Revlon eye lash curlers in my make-up bag too. What is your signature fragrance? For daytime, Hermés Un Jardin. I like that it’s light, crisp, clean and not overwhelming. For evenings, I wear Nariciso Rodriquez Essence. It’s a sensual scent and my husband loves it and the bottle is beautiful too.
Your forecast for July to August from The House of Good Fortune ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 20)
these last few months.
This is the ideal time
You’re now tired. Thank
to stop competing and
heavens the wheel of
start co-operating, says
fortune is finally
the reversed ace of wands. giving you the break you Financial success relies
need. Use this quiet
on team work and
tolerance. VIRGO (Aug 24-Sep 23) TAURUS (Apr 21-May 21)
Stop analysing a new
Don’t let a petulant water relationship with a sign rattle your cage this water sign negatively,
step? You need to be more
summer, says the reversed
says the reversed
page of cups. You may say
priestess card. Just let
something you regret,
your feelings flow and all
CAPRICORN (Dec 22-Jan
especially in late August, will be well again.
20) Stop trying to
please everyone at home, says the empress card. They’ll only become more unmanageable and sulky,
GEMINI (May 22-Jun 21) Your preconceived ideas
LIBRA (Sep 24-Oct 23) A period of uncertainty and hard work will soon
have been proved wrong and pass, leaving you feeling criticised by peers. The
a little more happy at
fool card now advises you
home, says the justice
to be more flexible with
card. You simply hate
important work strategies. being unbalanced.
increasing your sense of guilt. AQUARIUS (Jan 21-Feb 19) Be positive and don’t be afraid of chasing after
CANCER (Jun 22-Jul 23) When the going gets tough, you tend to use your hard shell to
SCORPIO (Oct 24-Nov 22)
It’s time for people to love, says the knight of pay their own way and stop wands. Reckless confidence relying on your will take you far late
survive, says the strength generosity , says the two card. But being too
expenses this month.
PISCES (Feb 20-Mar 20) Think big and your ingenuity will do the
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 23-Dec LEO (Jul 24-Aug 23)
of pentacles. You need to
impenetrable can also make cut back on needless you vulnerable to cruelty
what you really want -
rest, says the sun card.
You’ve coped well with all the curve balls that
You’ll attract plenty You’re on a creative high of influential people in at the moment. But it August, says the emperor won’t last forever.
have been thrown at you
card. But what’s the next
picnic in the park Daisy Mae collection from Berry Red
Left: Stacking sandwich boxes, £8, Berry Red Below: Melamine spoons, £5.99, Contemporary Home
Garden gnome flare, £6.50, Berry Red
BASKET CASE Food and drink tastes better al fresco, so load up the hamper, pack the plastic plates and take off to a pretty park. Summer feasting doesn’t get better than than this...
Patchwork quilt, £120, Berry Red
Portable barbecue bucket, £15.99, Gifted Penguin
Grilled Courgette, Tomato & Bean Salad
INGREDIENTS Serves 4 Salad 200g dried cannellini or haricot beans, soaked in cold water overnight and then drained 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 courgettes, cut into ribbons 5mm thick A small punnet of cherry tomatoes, cut in half Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dressing A bunch of basil Â˝ garlic clove, crushed 100ml olive oil A pinch of salt Â
Put the drained beans in a large pan, cover with fresh water and bring to the boil.
until tender and lightly charred.
For the dressing, put all the ingredients in Reduce the heat and a food processor or simmer for an hour or blender and whiz until so until tender. Drain, smooth. season to taste and Gently mix the beans, dress with 2 tomatoes and courgettes tablespoons of the together in a large olive oil. bowl and add enough Toss the courgettes basil dressing to coat. with the remaining Taste and adjust the olive oil and grill on seasoning. a ridged griddle pan (or under a hot grill) By Jane Baxter from the Riverford Kitchen
festival fever models wear outfits from Miss Selfridges
PREPARE TO PARTY Get ready for the mud, music and mayhem with our favourite four festivals
Those of a certain age will love the transfer of this 80s television series to the big screen. Expect lots of action and A-list stars, including Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Jessica Biel. Nostalgic heaven - even if the original cast aren’t included.
THE A-TEAM July 29, cinemas nationwide
1. Creamfields (Aug 28 - 29 in Halton, Cheshire) The local’s choice. This international dance event is going from strength to strength and was voted the best festival in 2009 by Music Week. Expect big name DJs like Paul Van Dyk, Sasha and Armin Van Burrin. 2. Secret Garden Party (July 22-25 in Huntingdon Cambridgeshire) Okay, so we just like the name. It conjures up mystery and magic. But fans say it also oozes creativity and craziness. This year’s acts include Gorillaz Sound System, Mercury Rev and Marina & The Diamonds. 3. Big Chill (Aug 5-8 Deer Park, Herefordshire) Yummy mummies who are reluctant to hang up their Hunters and headscarves head for this family friendly venue. Children’s activities go hand in hand with
headliners such as Kelis and Massive Attack. 4. V Festival (Aug 21-22 in Hylands Park Chelmsford / Weston Park Staffordshire) Celebrating its 15th birthday, expect the creme de la creme of performers from pop acts like Cheryl Cole and Mika to the super cool Arcade Fire and Kings of Leon. There’s something here for everyone.
THE RED QUEEN BY PHILIPPA GREGORY £18.99
50 YEARS OF CORONATION STREET LIVE August 12-21, The Lowry
MANCHESTER JAZZ FESTIVAL July 23-31 venues vary
The second book in a stunning trilogy brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort in The War of the Roses.
Celebrate the anniversary of Britain’s longest running and most-watched soap opera in selective style.
Expect firsts like the world premiere of a suite for jazz orchestra led by trumpeter, Neil Yates.
on this What’s er Summ EVENT BEATLES DAY July 10, Liverpool venues vary Show your love for the Fab Four whilst raising money for the The Imagine Appeal with comedy, concerts and family fun.
CARRIE & CO DRAW COOL CROWDS
24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE Sex and the City 2 headed to the big screen and with it, every cocktail guzzling, Louboutinloving woman in Liverpool. To celebrate the return of Carrie and Co, Boodles threw a SATC themed party complete with yellow cabs, cosmopolitans and fabulous frocks from Cricket. Celebrity guests, including Alex Gerrard and Sheree Murphy, enjoyed a private screening in The Box at FACT before heading off to the ‘blingtastic’
event for some NYC style nibbles and entertainment. The fashion forward were equally eager to flaunt their latest collections at the Chester Races. With wonderful weather, celebrity guests and the promise of a fun filled evening, a crowd of more than 12,000 people enjoyed the racing at the historic Roodee. Hollyoaks’ stars Jessica Fox and Stephen Upall hosted the best dressed competition.
Top: Footballers’ wives Sheree Murphy and Alex Gerrard Middle:Emma Rigby and Laura Ainsworth Bottom:Boodles’Paul Holmes and Selina North
Top: Brough Waugh / Karren Hassan / Stephen Uppal and Glen Wallace enjoy a night at Chester Races. Right: The cast of Hollyoaks dressed to impress.
LE GREEK, C’EST CHIC Despite decades of mass tourism, Rhodes rediscovers its sophistication, says PennyFray Rhodes is an archeologist’s dream location. From the remnants of the Athenian Temple in Lindos to the ancient ruins of Kameiros this Greek island takes you on the ultimate historical adventure. But it’s not all about lumps of old rock. Rhodes also offers beautiful beaches, charming churches and some of the best food you’ll ever taste. I hate to sound like a travel brochure here but this Dodecanese gem really is a touristic delight. ‘Filthy’ Faliraki has finally cleaned up its act and there’s less evidence of boozy Brits abroad than in previous years. In fact, there’s a sophistication here not found in most other Aegean tourist traps. Where To Go. Nearly everyone you come across will ask you this question - do you like Lindos or the Old Town best? Well, while I drew breath at the spectacular views of St Paul’s Bay from Lindos’ Acropolis, I preferred the historical charm of the Old Town.
A huge citadel facing three harbors, it tells the story of pilgrimage, war and ancient secrets. The town walls date mostly from the 13th century while The pool area the Knights of the Street Sheraton remains one Rhodes of the Resort amazing gems in the world’s most Old Town selling complete reasonably priced medieval parades. jewellery, ceramics and Nearby, you’ll find the icons. palace, which used to Food & Drink. I defy be a base for the Order you not to pile on the of the Knights before pounds whilst visiting being renovated by the Rhodes. The place is a Italians in the 1930s. Mecca for the greedy What To Do. thanks to their custom If history was never of serving several your subject, then dishes in one sitting. you’ll be relieved to Just as you’ve polished hear that the island off a huge bowl of also offers an Greek salad, various impressive range of dips and divine water sports. We took dolmades, a feast of an Aphrodite boat trip freshly caught fish and from Faliraki to some meat follows. The amazing bays where the critic’s choice is the clear, warm waters were award winning Mavrikos ideal for swimming and restaurant in Lindos snorkeling. Windsurfing but my favourite meze is also popular in was found at Nireas in places like Prassonisi, the Old Town. But a personally though, I’d pretty impressive rather shop. Although display of country many of the resorts cooking could also be offer the usual tourist found at the Bavis tat, you’ll find some Brothers Taverna in
Embona town - the perfect ‘scoffing stop’ before tasting the vintages of the nearby Emery winery. For a more upmarket experience, it’s worth visiting some of the island’s 5 star hotels. Sheraton’s Asian Imperial offered an amazing mix of fusion flavours and designer decor, while the Poseidon Restaurant at the Atrium Palace presented some of the best lobster I’ve ever tasted. Where To Stay. It may not offer much curb appeal but the interiors of the Sheraton Rhodes Resort is seriously impressive. Expect chic, minimalist decor dotted with flashes of colour and designer accessories. The rooms
are spacious and most offer a sea view. But most importantly, this place exceeds its five star reputation. The pools are pristine, the food - fabulous and all the staff are friendly but not in an intrusive way. There’s even free internet access near the lobby area. Prices start from £131 per room, per night including breakfast. To book call 0800 325 35353 or visit www.sheraton.com/ rhodes Getting There. easyJet has just begun twiceweekly flights to Rhodes from Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Prices start from only £24.99 one way, including taxes. For more information or to book visit www.easyJet.com
The Asian Imperial Restaurant
Top: Stay suitcase light with this AA Essential Guide to Rhodes, £5.99, Amazon. Middle: Be a Balenciaga babe with these oversized shades, £175, Cruise. Bottom: Keep biting insects at bay with this multi purpose repellent from Boots.
WORK bijou is beautiful retro recipe file from the Contemporary Home
SMALL IS THE NEW BIG
Micro enterprises that revolve around people’s values and passions prove profitable. It all started with the women who gave up their high flying careers to start up businesses that worked around their families. Cupcake queens, yummy yogis and chick flick authors all looked good on the mumpreneur’s CV. Then the financial crisis hit and everyone was at it - launching innovative microbusinesses that were more about making a living than a killing. These aren’t vanity projects but a viable way out of recession. A recent report suggests that micro-businesses are more likely to succeed during tough economic times than their larger counterparts. The study, released by online accountancy service FreeAgent Central, suggests that working in and with very small businesses is a sensible and profitable thing to do during a downturn. The detailed findings show that 36% of small businesses have been very optimistic about the future with better anticipated earnings compared to their larger counterparts. So is small becoming the new big? Peter Stoney, honorary senior fellow in economics at Liverpool’s Management School, seems to think so. “Big businesses have their place but the value of the SME will increase,” he says,
citing the internet, social networking, better business schools and a tight labour market as reasons for the initial boom. Elaine Owen, chair of the North West Women’s Enterprise Forum, agrees. “In the last three years micro businesses have certainly become more prevalent. The down turn has given women an amazing opportunity to turn their dreams into a reality. Many don’t have much capital - just a gem of an idea and the passion to make it work. And why not? With so little interest on savings, some are saying - do I give my money to the bankers or do I invest in myself?” The House of Good Fortune was born out of a similar question, with spare funds being invested in a stylish psychic service rather than frittered away on frivolity. Similar stories are plentiful. If someone’s not baking cupcakes for their local coffee shop, they’re writing a novel or selling their crafts on Etsy. More than 178,000 Brits are now making a primary or secondary income on eBay. And people are buying as well as selling. Why? Well, they want something personal and authentic over mass produced products. The need for creativity and making some spare cash is finally back in business.
this edition’s office must haves: Liberty for target notebook - £12 Patent leather laptop bag, £69, M&S Tu blossom tree, £6 (on sale), Sainsbury
happy hour model wears dress from apricot
DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY
Our shelves are groaning with books on how to find joy but are we chasing an impossible dream? Penny Fray investigates. Times are tough. David Cameron has warned us that our whole way of life is about to change. We can no longer justify designer treats. And everyone who is anyone claims to be down. The constant challenges of earning a living, maintaining a relationship and generally having it all are becoming battlegrounds of existential angst. The cure? Learning to be happy. According to the experts, it doesn’t require pills or expensive therapy, just a new way of thinking. “People are keen to learn about happiness and excited to hear that it’s an achievable goal and not some vague state that’s largely out of their control,” explains psychologist Dr Timothy Sharp. “Happiness can become a habit like meditation or a daily walk. Just by setting aside as little as ten minutes a day for happiness tasks, you’ll notice the difference.” Author of The Reluctant Buddhist William Woollard, who recently drew an impressive Liverpool crowd for his
lecture on the science of happiness, agrees, claiming that finding joy is not a matter of chance or accident, but essentially, a matter of choice. “We can’t change the nature of our life but we can change our attitude to that life.” Take the first step on to that journey of joy by cutting out the comparisons, clarifying your values and living in the now. “When we worry, we obsess about the future,” adds Sharp. “When we experience regret, we fixate too much on the past. Letting our minds wander in either direction to the point of pain, prevents us from getting the most of our present.” Other simple happiness habits include making a list of things to be grateful for, practicing random acts of kindness and challenging negative thoughts when they arise but most of all listening to the needs of our authentic selves. Success, money, love and even your health should be the products of a happy life not the cause.
10 WAYS TO JOY 1. Practice daily gratitude exercises like listing ways you are lucky. 2. Be more active and eat healthily. Go on release those feel good endorphins. 3. Spend time with positive people who give you a buzz. 4. Be a do-gooder. Forgive and be more giving. Jealousy and selfishness hurts noone except yourself. 5. Repel antagonistic views. 6. Simplify your life. Do you really need several designer handbags and daily trips to the salon to justify your existence? 7. Stop the sky from falling by being rational. What’s the worst that could happen? 8. Direct your own life story. It could be a blockbuster! 9. Be curious about the world. Embrace nature, learn about new cultures and never stop learning. 10. Visualise a happier you. Close your eyes and let your imagination spark a better mindset.