Happiness Bombing with 99 Random Messages


What can you do when on holiday in North Devon, it’s cold and your husband is spending time kissing the sand on the beach and not you (aka Power Kiting). I had a little idea which I named ‘happiness bombing’. Based on glamour bombing which involves leaving mystical messages to make people believe in fairies I adapted it slightly by creating inspirational messages in the hope it might make someone smile. Within a day or so of collecting and writing messages on pebbles, creating handcrafted letters and making tags to go onto bubble wands I realised I had 99 random messages to mysteriously plant along the North Devon coastline for walkers and families to find.

Random Message image 2

The first day arrived and I crammed my bag full of messages, heaved it onto my shoulder and felt like a strange variant of the Easter Bunny.  My stomach was sick with nerves and knew I had to find courage to leave these random acts of kindness style messages somewhere for strangers to find.  Taking note of my own pebble message ‘it only takes 20 seconds of intense courage’ I ignored the incessant calls from Mrs Negative telling me ‘You can’t do it’ and I womanned up and set off after taking a deep breath.

Courage image

Once on the pebble beach I found myself loitering suspiciously waiting for people to pass so I wouldn’t be spotted. As I stumbled over the rocks towards the main beach I realised I was just procrastinating to I casually stopped, dropped and rolled away a bit like a ninja but wtih far less finesse leaving a message pebble behind. I felt rather stupid doing this but willed myself to keep going in the name of making at least one person happy for a few seconds.

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I didn’t stop to see messages being discovered as that was not my intention. Later that day I took myself off for a walk and fate must have decided to play a hand as I couldn’t help but notice a group of girls excitedly scouring the beach.  In one girls hand was a cream envelope and another had a pebble, together they ran excitedly to their Mum to show her their treasures. Gathering around a bench the girls tentatively opened the letter their heads bowed as they read the handwritten message. An hour later I could still see them on a ridge further down looking for more and it made me smile that at least I had given them the gift of looking for magic. The magic of possibility is often underrated as we get older.

Dreams

The next day I was sat out on my balcony with a coffee watching the waves still feeling rather silly after dropping off another round of messages when destiny stepped in again. I could hear a man and a woman talking below on the pavement.

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“Where was it?” She asked.

“Over there” he said pointing to the steps leading down to the beach.

Curiosity made me peer over the balcony a little but not enough to be seen and they  both seemed to be searching the area.

“I think you have someone watching over you,” She remarked as she walked further down the path.

I couldn’t hear what the man said in reply as they had moved away but watched as they both stood silently deep in thought further down the promenade.

The next day I spotted one of my cards had been taken from its little plastic wallet (UK weather proofed!) and thrown it into a rockpool. I felt sad about this but I guess you can’t make everyone happy. Later I noticed it was gone, someone must have fished it out of the rockpool and taken it home or there are paper eating crabs in Devon? I realised that perhaps the message wasn’t for the first person who found it because it was meant for someone willing to get their feet wet in order to retrieve it who obviously needed it more.

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Towards the end of my happiness bombing project destiny stuck out her sparkly sequinned foot and I tripped over it landing with a splat. As I opened my eyes right in front of me was a washed up pebble which I had planted further down the beach a few days ago and I laughed at the irony of being happiness bombed myself what were the chances of that?RandomMessages

One thing for sure magic was definitely at work in wintery North Devon this week I just gave it a little helping hand. Why not send out your own #randommessages and see for yourself what magic can happen.

RandomMessages3This is part of my own personal project at overcoming my personal villians which I call Mr Perfectionism, Mrs Negativity and Miss Procrastination whom have got so strong they’ve kept me from blogging and life itself. Together they work as a team to make me feel I am not good enough to blog but after many months I’ve decided I’ve had enough of listening to their whining so I’ve set myself a challenge to overcome them and each month I tackle something different that is missing from my life. Last month I worked on having more childhood fun with a 007 cupcake challenge for my family. This months challenge was to try to make others happy.

These villians worked hard together to stop me from completing this task before I even got to Devon but helping me beat them is my new superhero Destiny (the one with the sparkly shoes). Before you all cart me off to the psychiatrist I simply found that giving these traits names and charachters helps me to identify when they are at work! If you find these villians stopping you from truly living or having fun let me know and perhaps I’ll share my battle against them so far warts and all…
Lifes villians

Apologies there are no cake goodies for you today but I do have my mind set on something experiemental 🙂 You can however get a quick sugar rush and ideas about what to do with your left over Easter chocolate here with naughty hot chocolate fudge sauce and boy is it good!

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p.s if you see this post it means I just beat Miss Procrastination (again)

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The year that inspired me to bake


It is weird to be sat here a year on in the same place and yet life has changed so much. Although the days move on some things don’t change. There is still the whir of the washing machine rumbling and as always my computer screen lights up the corner of my kitchen with its familiar Friday night glow and shortly I will ring my Mum as I always do. I could tell you that I began baking because of child memories or a treasured Grandparents passion for baking but that is not my story. My story began a year ago this evening. A seemingly normal Friday evening where fate thrust me into a situation that although not the most pleasant ended with at least one silver cloud.

Without that evening I would not have truly met my best friend, nor would I get to share evenings with her, cake and coffee which is the ultimate pick me up trio. I began truly baking to welcome her back home. When I looked back I realised I began my blog on her Birthday as I spent the whole week making different cakes pops to cheer her up.

Image of Cake Boules on Sticks

Cake boules on sticks

Weeks went past and I would pop round with cake and tell her all about my ideas and she would listen and encourage me in a way nobody else has. She overcome her fear of technology and after weeks of trying she managed to suscribe to my blog all by herself to make sure I at least had one reader and the day she managed to rate and comment on my post she was so excited I felt quite priviledged.

Over the last six months I have fallen in love with baking and our meetings just don’t seem right unless there is cake and coffee involved. She oohs and ahhs at my cakes, gives me a bite by bite analysis of my bake and eats them all with great delight. One day I fed her mince pies which I knew she loathed so I wrapped them in marzipan to lure her into a false sense of security but always game she ate it anway. Most importantly she laughs with me instead of at me when I have cake disasters. I can remember holding a sad cake above my head outside her house without it falling off the baking paper while we both squealed with laughter.

IMage of The flatest cake ever

The flatest cake ever

She has watched and listened patiently to my random stories and when I first ventured onto twitter hesitantly with my why I will bake mince pies campaign she rolled up her sleeves and got stuck right in. She baked with me with knowing it was something that truly meant a lot to me. My first attempt at meringue snowmen ended rather disasterously with willies and she was the first to laugh rather loudly I have to say.

What happens when piping goes wrong!

Without that day a year ago I would never have truly known the big heart and strength my friend has that inspires me each day to keep on going. I write this post as I know you can hear me saying the words to you as you read and I am too chicken to say it out loud. We both know this would involve heavy breathing, flapping of arms and spelling of words out loud. From me this is a sincere thank you as I don’t think you will ever realise how much you changed my life and yes in a good way before you try to tell me jokingly otherwise!

Ps you will be proud of me as I did not spend hours rewriting this it comes from the heart mistakes and all.

x

Cruella De Baker


I would like to start by wishing all my readers out there a Happy New Year even though bizzarley my hidden half of an Easter egg just launched itself at me from the top shelf of my baking cupboard which is it’s way of saying ‘for gods sake will you eat me before it’s Easter again’. This year I need to stop being a squirrel and hiding life (and chocolate) away in cupboards and boxes and actually begin to live it (maybe eat it) and that my dear readers scares the hell out of me.

A truly amazing article by the blog English Mum really struck a poignant cord with me. Her aim is to ensure that her 2012 is full of snapshots of family life together instead of wasting time and money on stuff that you will not remember even though you try. Try it out; what did you get for your Birthday last year? You can’t remember? Don’t feel bad neither can I. Now get out your photo’s from last years holiday can you tell me a memory from it? You can! Excellent then you need to read English Mum as she quite rightly shares with us that family experiences and snapshots will stay with us forever. The stuff we buy such as presents and all those little things we stress over will fade away. I am sure we all know this but it never hurts to have a good reminder and written kick up the ass as if anything 2011 has taught me is you never know what will happen.

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2011 for me can only be best described as odd and certainly not one I would wish to repeat again. I don’t cope well with stressful situations as this results into a hasty retreat into my own little world where it is nice and safe. I started baking as I did not know how else to make a bad situation better and in true British fashion it was a choice of either tea or cake . I am crap at making tea and cake seemed to work in the short term. Essentially it kept me busy and busy is my coping method as then I do not need to deal with anything. At the beginning it was what I needed and I enjoyed baking as it truly made me happy buzzing around the kitchen. Somehow though I turned that little hobby into mass baking hsyteria and that turned me into…

In short I am the baking version of Cruella de Ville but instead of punishing puppies I punish my poor family who admittedly squeal like puppies when I growl at them and other times they bite back. Family, friends and life in general have been placed under a thick blanket of plain flour for the last 4- 5 months. Anyone who dares enter the kitchen on a weekend has been given choice words. I am embaressed to admit that I have turned a stress releasing hobby into a military exercise. Accompanying me on my missions are Sergeant Major Inner Perfectionist and she screams at me from the kitchen sidelines ‘drop and give me 20 more cupcakes you worthless baker’.

nEW yEAR pLEDGES (TAKE OFF CAPS LOCK)

1. My blog is only meant to be a record and I don’t have to do it every waking second of the day as there is a life out there Jacqueline just not as you know it at the moment. So I will not be checking the statistics for my blog for one whole month. I am not supposed to care if people read it or not (inner voice alert: ‘oh yes you do’ followed by a chorus ‘oh no you don’t – feel free to join in the pantomime shenanigans if you wish). I want to just write and not worry about numbers.

2. I want to make memories and take more snapshots as my son is teenage and I truly want to make the most of it. So I will bake for fun and these outings but not to the extent that items get whipped out from my husband’s or son’s nose to be photographed just before they bite into them (my finger is still healing from the last time).

3. I will write as myself as up until now I have been afraid to fully be my real self online. You have been warned that in real life I wander off on random tangents all the time. Strangely I find most females can cope with this but my husband sadly not.

4. Complete a to do list page on my blog (thanks to CafeLula for this idea) with all my baking dreams. I adore lists (it’s a Virgo thing) and nothing makes the teacher control freak in me feel better than crossing through a completed task especially now as you can see I have found out how to cross stuff out (cue: crazed cackled laughter). This will reduce wasted time and energy as I endlessly amble up and down the corrdiors of pinterest, stumbleupon and foodgaker with wantant lust getting myself in a ‘what shall I bake’ and ‘I’ll never be as good as that’ tiz waz.

5. Stop beating myself up when baking fails. My path to baking wisdom is meant to be full of macaron sinkholes, oversized snowmen meringue willies and flat as you like cake . I need to deal with it, move on and laugh at it for god’s sake. I suppose laughing won’t cause me to pass wind loudly in public (god forbid) but if I laugh really hard I will be more concerned with my pelvic floor muscles and a quick sit down may be needed.

Have a good 2012, see what you want from it and go for it. Most of all keep safe, record your memories and do drop me a comment if you would like to as with all bloggers we appreciate all of them (except spammers) as it lets us know that there is someone else out there…