My Happiness Non Negotiables

When the lovely Azaria from Being Mrs Lynch tagged me in the blog post challenge to share my happiness non negotiables, it really made me stop and think. Just what exactly would I include? What is it that makes me tick? Being a mum is wonderful, but even with the best of intentions and without meaning to do so, you do lose a little bit of ‘you’. Everything is so focused around the needs of a certain little someone that you don’t have time for the things that made your list previously.

This Lighty List is therefore somewhat adjusted from what would’ve been on there previously, but it’s been a good exercise to stop and think about what really keeps me balanced in life, what my guilty pleasures are and how I can keep these non-negotiables happening.

Mrs Lighty’s happiness non negotiables therefore are:

5. My Not-so-Secret Garden

At the risk of sounding middle aged (who am I kidding? Mrs Lighty is certainly heading that way!), I really, really love my garden!! When we were searching for Casa del Lighty, we may have seen just a *few* houses before making our final decision…ok, so in truth we actually saw 42 houses in the space of 5 months. And we were guzumped on three of the houses we put an offer in on. But it all turned out for the good, as the current Lighty Residence is by far the best house we saw.

One of the reasons we were so picky? Many of the houses we viewed didn’t have a big enough garden for our liking. The estate agents kept telling us that it was really unusal for a young couple like Mr and Mrs Lighty to want a big garden, that small gardens are lower maintenance, and yes, that’s true, but we wanted a big garden for three reasons: 1) to throw parties (if you’ve read my baby shower post, you’ll understand Mrs Lighty’s love of a party), 2) because we were hoping to add a Little Lighty to our brood not long after moving in and 3) because I really, really love a garden!

Yes it’s true, Baby Lighty’s arrival last summer meant that the garden was slightly neglected in comparison to previous years (luckily “the wall”, as it is known, took on a life of its own, see below!) and it is hard work, but both Mr and Mrs Lighty enjoy gardening. I was frequently getting told off by friends for being heavily pregnant and out in the garden planting seedlings and veg. We previously lived in a starter home with only a tiny patch of overlooked, communal garden, which is why we now spend the majority of our summers outside in our very own little patch of land. So this year, I’m determined to get back to both enjoying some gardening and the garden itself.


I love this photo of Mr Lighty and a newborn Baby Lighty in front of “the wall” (Mr Lighty’s one and only attempt at bricklaying!). Luckily for us, a lot of our garden took care of itself last year, which was good as we didn’t have the time to garden!!

4. Reading (not just Writing)

Ok so I’m definitely starting to sound middle aged, but I do miss my reading. I’ve only managed two books since Baby Lighty’s arrival (both of them by Jane Green, as they had to be something that would keep me hooked, and I knew that her novels would!). Considering I used to devour a novel a week on average when I was commuting into London, this feels like a very poor show, and I can remember in one of my particularly low motherhood moments, when Baby Lighty was about 4 months old, wailing to Mr Lighty that I hadn’t read a book in months. This needs to change before that moment reoccurs!

3. The Women’s Institute

Erm, what was I saying about being middle aged?! I really, really love being a member of the Brentwood Belles Women’s Institute, and it’s actually something that I haven’t let slide too much since Baby Lighty’s arrival. That one Wednesday a month is my little escape from it all, and I’m so proud of what we do and what we achieve as a band of women. And that’s before even mentioning the lovely friends I’ve made there and the many giggles we’ve had!


With some of my lovely fellow Belle friends at our Christmas party!

2. Blogging, Blogging and more Blogging!!!!!!

This had to be included, obvs. I love it so much, and as I’m not crafting as much as I’d like nowadays (crafting was something else that I debated putting on this list! I didn’t realise how much of me I’d put to one side until I started this post!), blogging has become my creative outlet. Yes, I have periods of ‘blogging drought’ or ‘blogging block’, but then I have other times when the ideas are pouring out of my brain quicker than I can get them down on paper (or, in modern terms, WordPress app). I highly recommend a blogging journal for those moments like the one my friend Becky at Retro from Scratch gifted me at Christmas.

My current blogging goals are to grow my readership and reach and possibly go self hosted, or at least get a domain name of my own. My blog needs some more styling up, I feel, too – it’s bugging more and more that the site doesn’t have a cohesive style yet, nor a proper blog header – so that’s something else to work on. Mrs Lighty is very much a technophobe though, so we’ll see how we go with these!! Even though I’ve blogged for years over at An Answer on a Postcard, as well as copywriting and contributing to online magazines, I’ve become more and more obsessed with blogging since All Things Spliced began 8 and a bit months ago. I love pouring my thoughts out into my blog, and finding that other people often feel the way that I do. It’s certainly cheaper than therapy, that’s for sure!!

1. Me and Mine

The Mighty Lightys had to be at the top of the list of course. Both Mr and Mrs Lighty seem to be working harder and harder at the moment, so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to make more time for us as a family. I love our little days out and weekends away – whether a day out to the zoo, a National Trust property, a long weekend at a gorgeous country cottage or even just to our local bootsale for a mooch and a wander – and it does us all good, so we definitely need to make more time for this. After all, there will be no Lighty Family if we don’t make time for us!


A day out at the beach during the Lightys’ most recent weekend away to Sussex.

Thank you for the nomination for this post, Azaria, it’s really made me stop and think! I now nominate Dawn at Rhyming with Wine and Charlene at Note to Self:Employed Mum, looking forward to seeing what’s on your lists!


Please note, I was gifted my Retro from Scratch blogging notebook for Christmas, it was not a requirement that I mention it in a blog. I just happen to really, really love it!!

Proud to be linking up with:

A Mum Track Mind
My Petit Canard
Rhyming with Wine
This Mum's Life
3 Little Buttons

35 thoughts on “My Happiness Non Negotiables”

  1. I know we don’t always have the weather for it ‘up north’ but I do love being outdoors too and having the perfect, big garden makes it’s so wonderful don’t you think? I have now moved my office out to the bottom of the garden, great on days like today with the birds tweeting but not so great in snow and hail…

    Lovely read as always!x

    1. I saw your pics of your garden office! I’d love to have one of those one day, another reason to have a big garden…! Thank you for reading my post, looking forward to reading yours 🙂

  2. I love this idea for a post! I think it’s great to give some thought to what actually makes us happy. You have some lovely interests hun. I remember your post on the Brentwood Belles – in fact it was the first post of yours that I ever read.
    Thank you for the nomination lovely. I shall get thinking (and rhyming of course hehe) xx

    1. Was it really the first post of mine you read? You’ve got a good memory! 🙂 Yes I thought you might like a little rhyming twist to your post…don’t know what gave me that idea!! 😉 xxx

  3. What a lovely list. How cool to be a member of the WI too. I think it’s great to think about what your fundamentals are, almost like what are your personal values. I expect that I would feature at number 1on Mother’s list (wine, would probably be number 2 😉 ) #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. Well wine was a close contender Baby… 😉 When you’re all grown up you’ll understand. And you might just join a WI of your own, too! It’s basically the girl guides but for grown women, after all!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  4. Ah this is lovely and such a good thing to think about. Your garden sounds just perfect…now you need to set up a bookgroup with your WI friends that is held in your garden which you then blog about…that’s four off the list! #fortheloveofBlOG

    1. Haha!! There is actually already a book group within the WI, as well as a darts team, a lunch club, a West End theatre club, a sewing bee, a craft club and the Happy Hookers crochet club…!!! Thanks for reading my post 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

  5. wonderful list! I also love to read but blogging seems to have taken that luxury away a little – must try and balance things a little more! love the me and mine too – absolutely! not Brentwood near Shenfield by any chance?? #fortheloveofBLOG

  6. Hi! Glad #Fortheloveofblog brought me here today. I love reading people’s non-negotiables! Lovely picture of you and your family. IslandLiving365 has nominated me as well so I its nice to see what makes your list! I love blogging, too and have only been doing it since December. My sewing and craft has taken a back seat! I have loads of projects in mind.

    Thanks for sharing. #Fortheloveofblog

    1. That’s the trouble, there’s only so much time isn’t there? Ah cool that you’ve been nominated, I’ll look forward to reading your list 🙂 Thanks for reading mine! #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. Yep that’s true, I do tend to blog over read. Aw thanks for your kind comments on me and my family *blushes*! Thanks for reading my post 🙂 #bigpinklink

  7. Ah what a lovely post! I was also nominated but have yet to do mine – I need to have a think! You list is very “you”, and a lot of those would probably reach my list as well to be honest! I really miss having a garden, and it will probably be a non-negotiable of mine when we start house hunting (I never knew you saw soooo many houses – well done you!!) Well done on reading 2 whole books since Baby Lighty arrived – I’ve not managed any reading since I read 4 chapters of a book while I was in labour! And I have a big stack to read which is probably the only reason I’m looking forward to going back to work!! Commenting on this from #MarvMondays

    1. Yes I saw you were nominated Mrs Jones otherwise you would’ve obviously have been one of my nominees!! Er yep we saw a few houses…to be honest I can’t believe we lived in our starter home for 5 years without a proper garden!! I also have a stack of books to get through but as I’ve ditched my commute somewhat they’re not really happening…looking forward to reading your list! 🙂 #MarvMondays xxx

    1. Ooh do have a look, it’s definitely not the old women’s club it used to be! Ours is as diverse as having a darts club, a lunch club, a sewing bee, a West End theatre group (called the West End Belles, ha!!), a craft club and a book club on top of the regular meetings! Glad I inspired you, thanks for reading my post 🙂 #dreamteam

  8. We’re doing our garden up at the moment and it’s so much fun. I didn’t realise how much I missed being out planting seedings etc until I restarted. I recently had a bit of a ‘who am I?!’ crisis, and have vowed to rediscover myself, (sounds so hippy!), I even found that the books I loved reading pre-children can’t capture my attention so well anymore. I’m also re-starting long abandoned craft projects. Thanks for linking up! #bigpinklink

    1. I definitely need books with a bit more substance nowadays, the ‘sillier’ ones can’t keep my attention nowadays! Sounds like you’re well on track to fulfilling your happiness non-negotiables ? Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink xxx

  9. Great idea for a post lovely, I like these round robin type posts it’s a great way to find out a little more about a blogger. Your list is perfect I was nodding my head along to all of these as I read through them. I hope that you manage to find some time to get out in the garden, especially with all the lovely weather we’ve had. I managed to do an hour or so the other morning, whilst little one slept, and surprisingly got quite a lot done. Reading was also a big hobby of mine until little one came along, but I think that blogging has now stepped into its shoes. I never thought the WI was cool, I always thought it was for older ladies – sorry to anyone I offend with this comment, but thinking about it, it’s a fab way to meet new people and to do something really worthwhile in the community. Your blogging goals some fab, I hope you go self-hosted, if you do let me know how it goes as I really need to. I hope you achieve so much on your list, and thank you so much for joining us again at #fortheloveofBLOG, hope you come back to the party next week. Claire x

  10. I love reading about what makes other people tick and I think I can identify with all of these apart from the WI (although I must admit I have heard a lot about our local group and I’m intrigued). I miss reading so much, I vowed to read more this year and so far have only managed 2 books. Must try harder!!!

    I’m relatively new to blogging, but I am loving it so much. I feel like I’ve got a creative outlet that is all mine (I write for other people during the day, but it’s very prescriptive).

    My garden is a little bit neglected in the sense that I used to plant lots of pots (the cats dig up the bedding plants), but since the weather has got so very wet in the summer, I’ve virtually given up. I still love spending time outdoors though.

    What a happy post!


    1. Ah thank you! I also write for other people as a sideline, so I know that you mean about it being prescriptive! I hope I’ve inspired you just a tiny bit at least to think about your non negotiables 🙂 #bigpinklink

  11. Fab post and lovely to hear a bit more about you and your non negotiables. Its crazy how much of yourself you lose when you have children. Not intentionally, but just as a result of your focus being entirely on your baby/child as you say. After time you do start to find yourself again and life feels a little more balanced 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Emily

    1. Thank you, you’re right, you do start to get back into your old self. This morning I even managed a bath and two chapters of my new book whilst Baby Lighty was napping!! #MarvMondays

  12. Another fab list of non negotiables, I love reading these type of posts. It’s so interesting to see how many of them seem to overlap with other bloggers. I completely get the garden as being one on your list. It will be on my list too, expect that we still haven’t got our act together to make a move to a property with a bigger garden. Thanks so much for linking up to #DreamTeam xx

    1. Ah we had 5 years living in a starter home with only a tiny psych if communal garden, so it was definitely a high priority for us!! Thanks for hosting #dreamteam 🙂

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