The happiness edit
We've been here before, haven't we? It's just colder and trickier to stay perky and motivated this time. Here are some ideas to put a smile on your face...
Some of us are suffering from ennui and struggling to get motivated, others are grieving, or dealing with furlough, job loss and financial worries, all while coping with the emotional fallout from all that's been happening across the globe for the past several months.
We're back at home this month, with restrictions on where we can go, who we can see, what we can do... but our mental (and physical) health is the priority. We've put together some ideas - quirky, relaxing, creative - for how to have fun this month, whether you're solo, with friends or with the family.
We hope some of these put a smile on your face like they did on ours...
Photo: The Happy Blossoms
Treat yourself to a baked bouquet
Of course, we can all attest to the power of a gorgeous bouquet of blooms. If only they would last for months, not mere days!
Well, we'd love to introduce you to the most glorious artisan florist, based in Dorset but delivering across the UK: The Happy Blossoms. These dried floral bouquets come in the most vibrant and energising colour combinations (as well as stylish neutrals for those who prefer cream, beige or soft pink).
We received these last month from a gorgeous, dear friend, and burst into the biggest grin - these electrify any room. And the best part is, they'll still be going strong come spring. And the next one after that.
The Happy Blossoms bouquets - buy here
Enjoy a DIY pottery session
Lockdown part one saw many of us crafting to occupy the kids, to entertain our idle hands, to upskill or to unwind, and we quickly learned that crafting can be both meditative and beautiful, resulting in items we're proud to showcase and give as gifts.
Sculpd Pottery Kits are the latest craft kit on the block - and they're fab, giving you everything you need to sculpt, carve, shape and paint plant pots, candle holders, or baubles.
Manipulating clay is a wonderful sensation, and these are perfect whether you're looking for a fun solo project, need a rainy day idea for the family that will strengthen your little one's hand muscles (playing with clay can improve pencil grasp) or want to attempt to recreate that scene in Ghost for a special evening with your special someone.
Sculpd pottery kits - buy here
Photo: Zadie Smith, Intimations
Get stuck in a book - or try out bibliotherapy
Books have been the real lockdown winners, with publishers like Bloomsbury and Penguin declaring profits have spiked as people discover (or rediscover) a love of reading, sinking their teeth into everything from Tolstoy's War & Piece to the more-manageable-in-an-afternoon, Intimations by Zadie Smith.
If you're unsure where to start with books, or feel you're in need of a book prescription of sorts, then why not check into The School of Life's Bibliotherapy clinic? Sessions take place remotely, and you'll have a chat and get recommendations for books you might never have come across. It might just reignite your passion for literature.
As for us, we're getting terribly excited for the Gossip Girl reboot on TV. Just in time as author Cecily von Ziegesar has moved onto the married couples of Brooklyn for her latest book, Cobble Hill, which we'll be reading while sipping a pumpkin spice latte. Cliched autumn perfection.
Cobble Hill by Cecily von Ziegesar at Waterstones - buy here
Photo: Jannis Lucas
Enjoy some window shopping
The ability to walk around the city unencumbered, as many times a day as we'd like, has been one of the little pleasures lockdown part two has afforded. While a stroll around the park is always recommended - greenery, wildlife, no cars! - it's also just as satisfying to see the glorious window displays in our favourite shops and enjoy less-crowded city streets.
From Fortnums to Selfridges, Christmas windows are already in full swing, so it's one way to get into the festive spirit. Plus, you can start thinking about which items you'd like to buy in December to support all of those small businesses that have been through so much.
DIY baking and treats kits
Lockdown baking is a very real - and very satisfying - phenomenon and some savvy treats suppliers have come up with cute kits that take the hassle, but not the fun, out of lockdown snacking.
- Pan-N-Ice gives you a chance to experiment with ice cream rolling in your own home (this is sure to entice the kids off their screens this weekend). Or buy an ice cream roll starter pack from the brand at Cuckooland.
- Calling all doughnut lovers: Doughnut Time's DIY Kits are a must for an afternoon of icing, decorating and tasting.
- Need a delicious free-from baking kit? Try Vida Bakery - the roll-out cookie dough packs are delicious.
Photo: Blondies Kitchen
- Blondies Kitchen Stuff It and Ready To Bake Cookie Dough Rolls make our mouths water. Don't miss the concession in Selfridges when stores reopen next month.
Photo: Kaufmann Mercantile/Unsplash
Biophilia - the suggestion that humans are programmed to seek out relationships with nature - has been incorporated into office and home design to optimise our relationship with the spaces we live and work in. Being surrounded by plants can help with everything from psychological wellbeing to physical health, and some gorgeous greenery won't hurt your social media feeds, either.
We invested in a few plants in lockdown 1.0 and nurturing them and watering them has become a calming weekly ritual. Now, to add some more to the collection - try Bloombox Club, which also offers a plant subscription box, or Bloom & Wild.
Bloombox Club plants - buy here
Bloom & Wild - buy here
Photo: Anastasia Ulyanova/Unsplash
The wonder of pets
Didn't manage to get a puppy the last lockdown? No, problem - we feel fairly certain you know someone who has. Now is the moment to volunteer to take those pups for a walk, or just say hi to any furry friends who come running your way on your daily strolls. Science tells us that pets are instant mood boosters - and we don't need to read the research to know it's 100% true.
Photo: BagButler/Chanel Pyramid Bag
Sure, we don't really have anywhere to go, and we've spent the past several months wearing workout leggings on rotation, so as a little experiment, we decided to dig out our loveliest frocks this month - for no reason at all. It's amazing how differently you feel when you pop on a pair of heels or throw on a statement coat: it gives you purpose and adds a sense of fun and optimism to otherwise banal everyday tasks. Plus, we've found it's an instant mood-booster.
As people seek out sustainable alternatives and look for ways to try before buying, fashion rental continues to be a key player. Rent out a Chanel statement necklace from BagButler or a fluffy StandStudio coat from Hurr Collective and let your outfit help you celebrate whatever it is you're doing that day, even if it's sitting in front of a laptop working on a report.
Photo: Allison Christine/Unsplash
Embrace hygge, lagom, coorie and all those lovely lifestyle philosophies
Let's put on our comfiest PJs, enjoy long, decadent baths and cosy up in oversized jumpers while sipping our favourite hot drinks. That, in a nutshell, is the mood of this month.
The White Company is your one-stop shop for creating this sumptuous mood: you'll need slipper socks, a selection of scented candles, blankets and a hot water bottle.
You'll also need some uplifting TV: we'll be bingeing Netflix this month. The combination of early, cheesy Christmas films and every season of Dawson's Creek is too irresistible to miss.
Photo: Keighla Exum/Unsplash
The American election had us all gripped last week, but that's not the only thing we should be embracing from the US this month. Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday of November and there is a lot to take from a holiday with an emphasis on gratitude, family, friendships and feasting, not stuff. So bake a pumpkin pie, turn on some American football and give your friends and family members a call.