Lianne Williams

Opinion

Chocolate Art & A Happy Easter

Celebration, Opinion, FamilyLianne WilliamsComment
IMG_0588.JPG

News Flash: I am a HUGE foodie

So I’ll take any excuse to indulge my tastebuds and this Easter was no exception.

I was treated to an amazing Easter egg by Mr. W and I really can’t stress how incredible it was.

Not only was it a massive, hand crafted, hand painted artisan chocolate egg covered in splashes of metallic paint, with a box of caramel ganache chocolates by my favourite chocolatier Paul A. Young, only 30 of them were made IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

It was a limited edition piece of art, chocolate art. I couldn’t believe it. I felt SO special. 

Breaking it nearly broke my heart... For about a second... because I was gonna eat this bad boy.

The chocolate itself was dark and rich but naturally sweet, so it was almost fruity or honey like. I can’t quite describe it and it certainly grabbed my attention. I’ve not had anything quite like it. Clean and smooth, as expected for a high quality chocolate, I actually felt like I was eating something healthy!

Considering the £75 price tag (don’t, just don’t. I DID wonder why Mr W looked sheepish) it bloody well should taste nice... and probably make my hair extra shiny and let me live another ten years longer in the process but y’kno... chocolate like this doesn’t fall from the sky and it’s an experience I won’t soon forget.  A special memory was created. I felt like I was eating chocolate made for a princess. And I will happily spend money supporting unique culinary talents like Paul, and his colleagues, who make the world just a little bit sweeter with their very special chocolates.

Plus I fucking hate Cadbury’s so... win win

Easter itself was fairly low key. We were treated to a delicious Thai lunch created by my sister-in-law that included Tom Yum Kah, Prawn rice rolls with a Tamarind and peanut dipping sauce, ‘Son-in-law’ Kai loug khueh eggs and pork dim sum. 

IMG_0553.JPG

Piyanut gave me her recipe for the tamarind sauce so I'm going to have to give the rolls a go. I’ve been making her Tom Yum Gai for years- a recipe that rivalled Nahm’s in London (a Michelin star Thai restaurant which is now sadly closed) so I trust her implicitly. Thai food is just The Best.

We finished with a classic Easter egg hunt for the kids around the house trying to avoid the typically miserable weather and make the most of the long weekend.

Today we’ve tidied the garden, put on the fire and having roast chicken for lunch.  Weekends like this are true bliss. You can feel the energy bubbling beneath the surface outside, ready to spring into life over the next few weeks. I’ll be planting potatoes very soon. I’ve got some purple ones I’m very excited about. Yes. I’m thinking about food again. But don’t you feel that food really defines events like Halloween, Christmas and Easter?

As a non-Christian, and someone who acknowledges the seasons and equinox instead, Easter represents to me very simply the beginning of the end of winter and the freedom to be a little more generous with food and energy. We can celebrate and come out of hibernation, start preparing for the influx of new life that happens in spring and start making plans for the summer. Chocolate eggs make perfect sense to me (sweet new life, obviously) so I don’t support this idea going around at the moment that Easter is losing it’s meaning. If anything it’s become more MORE meaningful to me. I like the new traditions coming through. I LIKE how personal Easter has become for me. If anything I wonder if Easter is just returning to what it should be about- something that connects with the heart.

Wishing you all a very happy Easter break

The Happiness Project 2018: 30 Secrets of Adulthood

OpinionLianne WilliamsComment
secrets of adulthood 3.jpg

I've wanted to write a post like this for a while but I was unable to find the right context to share it in. How could I randomly share snippets of my worldly old lady wisdom without appearing to assume like I actually have a clue about adulthood? I didn't want to appear self indulgent! But according to Gretchen Rubin, that's exactly what's required if you want to be Happier.

You may have seen that I've recently announced my intention to spend 2018 doing another Happiness Project and with that comes creating your own 12 Commandments but also a more tongue in cheek 'Secrets of Adulthood' list. A list of all those little pearls of wisdom and rules you collect over the years that nobody really every talks about.

I didn't have to be asked twice!

I've gone for a list of 30, as I'm in my 30's, and writing these has been a fun way to examine my own values, boundaries and perception of the world. I absolutely recommend writing your own secrets of adulthood, even if it's just for a laugh, because everyone will have their own and I think it says so much about a person and what they want to pass on.

I reckon creating a new list every decade or so would be interesting hindsight don't you think? I can't imagine how different my list would be as a 20 year old!

My 30 Secrets of Adulthood

  1. You are your own best teacher and you should continue to learn and teach yourself for the rest of your life. Don't just leave school or University and stop. You have the capacity to achieve ANYTHING. Your brain is your greatest tool. Let your curiosity guide you.
  2. Don't waste time arguing with strangers on the internet. Ever. Just walk away and find something far more valuable to do with your time. This blog, social media, Instagram, it's all one power cut away from disappearing. It's not real life. Look up.
  3. Never wait for anyone. Say goodbye with love, and move on. Anyone worth waiting for wouldn't expect you to wait for them anyway. 
  4. People change. You can change. Oh. And you AREN'T predestined to end up just like your mum/dad/siblings/nan if you don't want to be. Your life is entirely in your control and history doesn't have to repeat itself.
  5. Nobody is ever seriously ready to have children. You can NOT prepare for the level of crazy they bring to your life. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.
  6. The wealthiest person in a room will probably be wearing jeans, trainers and look like a right scruff because a) they get their hands dirty and b) have nothing to prove to anyone. My father-in-law gave me that advice and it's weirdly accurate. Someone draped in diamonds suggests they're good at spending but not very good as business. Just saying.
  7. Empty barrels make the most noise. Exhibit A: Political commentators.
  8. Have kitchen discos. I will lie and say it's good exercise but actually it's just because nobody ever grows up and we still want to make up dance routines to ABBA occasionally.
  9. Food, and Sex, are two of life's greatest pleasure. Enjoy them but don't wield them as weapons. Against yourself, or others. 
  10. There's no rush. Go 5% slower then everyone else. Look for the detail. That's when you find the magic. That's when you spot the deer picking its way through the trees. That's when you find a £20 note on the floor. That's when you relax and appreciate what's around you.  
  11. Despite what you've been told 'travelling' probably isn't going to enlighten you or make you a better adult. Experience does. So don't feel bad if you can't afford to travel or you just don't want to. You can learn just as much about the world and yourself from home.
  12. Michelin star restaurants are worth saving for. They're never going to serve you crap food and you'll know exactly how something is supposed to taste- you may find you even actually like something you normally hate when it's prepared properly. Plus everyone should eat in a top restaurant at least once in their lives.
  13. Always. Share. Share. Share. SHARE. Use as much of your power, influence and love to raise up others less privileged then you.
  14. Hormones, genetics and metabolism have a lot to answer for. Have fun with your biology. Don't punish yourself for not being something or someone else. There's room for you on Earth exactly as you are whether that's with bright pink hair, cystic acne or a six pack. 
  15. You can say goodbye to anyone at any point. That includes family, long term friends, your boss... no one is entitled to be a part of your life. 'But they need me' is a shit excuse to put yourself through toxic, one-sided, parasitic or empty relationships. Plus you're enabling them. Step back and let them take responsibility for their own bad behaviour. They might become better people if you do.
  16. Respect the emergency services. Get out of their way. Let them do their job. Don't exploit them. Learn from them. 
  17. Just because you can't afford your work doesn't mean someone else can't. Don't sell yourself cheap. EVER. Despite what your mum says. Despite the 'economic climate'. One of my first clients had dropped £10,000 on an artwork that year alone! He questioned why I was so 'cheap' with suspicion... he wanted to invest in me, NOT get a bargain.
  18. Drinking more water and cutting out sugar probably won't change your life. Sorry.
  19. Pick role models who have more experience then you or have already done it. They may not be as exciting or glamorous as some kid on YouTube but they're more likely to know what they're talking about and will want to actually help, rather then are trying to sell you something
  20. Being able to pay your tax and bills is an HONOUR. It means someone trusts your ability to generate an income, meet a financial commitment and contribute to society. It's all about perspective.
  21. There's no such thing as talent. Some people just find things easier to pick up then you do. Lack of talent should not be an excuse for you to not attempt something new. Go learn it slowly, step by step, like everyone else.
  22. You are not broken and you do not need fixing. (This really helped me once)
  23. Speaking from experience, if you're lonely, get busy. Roll up your sleeves and give yourself 1-2 weeks to dedicate to a new project. I can almost guarantee that the moment you zone out and start enjoying the activity someone will stick their nose in and ask what you're up to. If not, you will have forgotten about your loneliness anyway and will have achieved something for yourself. Repeat.
  24. Your purpose, or the greatest gift you give the world, could be something as simple has healing yourself. Breaking a cycle. Inspiring someone. You don't need to go to the moon or find a cure for cancer to be valuable human being. We need happier people in the world. That is enough.
  25. Invest in good shoes. Not designer shoes. GOOD QUALITY SHOES. Do not underestimate the damage bad shoes can do to your feet.
  26. People notice it when you make an effort or not. If you can't be bothered- ask yourself why. There's a world of difference between being comfortable and being indifferent. Plus making an effort and going the extra mile is a super quick way to feeling good. 
  27. You'll be amazed at how many problems other adults make for themselves and then blame others for. And you'll be no different. Growing up involves taking responsibility for the problems we get dealt and figuring a way to overcome it. Hopefully with some grace. Often kicking and screaming (but that's okay). Just don't get stuck waiting for someone else to rescue you. Only YOU can save yourself.
  28. Read. And judge books by their cover. Life is too short for ugly book covers. (Force publishers to hire more illustrators.)
  29. Never, ever, EVER be afraid of bankruptcy, divorce, illness, recessions or redundancy. Exploit them. The worse thing you can do is close your eyes and hope they never happen. They DO. But bankruptcy could be good business sense. Divorce can heal you. Illness can lead you to love. A recession could get you on the property ladder. Redundancy might give you the chance to pursue your dream job. I've seen all these things happen.
  30. Get rid of anything in your life that doesn't spark joy.

Above all live every day like it matters. Even if you know it's your last. Even if you're afraid time is running out. Even if you're oblivious. It's still your time. It's still your day. It's still a life worth living like it will go on forever.

The Happiness Project 2018: My 12 Commandments

OpinionLianne WilliamsComment
My 12 commandments for The Happiness Project 1.jpg

Recently you may have seen that I'll be dedicating 2018 to another Happiness Project, inspired by Gretchen Rubin's book of the same name.

The premise is simple- for one whole year, each month has a theme dedicated to encouraging happiness in my life and under each theme are small regular tasks or goals that need to be completed daily or within that month, to hopefully bring me more Happiness. And more Happiness is never a bad thing. 

It's incredibly simple, but incredibly rewarding, both personally and creatively.

This will be my 3rd year doing a Happiness Project but this will be the first time I share some of the details of what actually goes on behind the scenes. I want to document it for my own reference mainly but if it inspires anyone else, even better.

Today I want to share with you My 12 Commandments... the self prescribed rules of the road that you choose to help motivate and structure yourself over the forth coming year. Rubin has her own Commandments. These are mine. You can pick your own. They are a selection of my favourite ideas and current motivational tools that I think will help me over the next year so need to be personal and potent.

My 12 commandments for The Happiness Project.jpg

Be Lianne

This is a standard commandment for anyone doing The Happiness Project based on Rubin's first commandment 'Be Gretchen'. It speaks for itself. This is my journey and can only be defined and taken by me. All I need to do is Be Myself.

Do the Minimum

Even on a difficult day, or if I'm sick or tired, as long as I do the very minimum I'm still making progress. That is good enough. 

Action over Thinking

Think about it all you want, plan all you like, but action is all that matters. If you want to make a difference you don't need to think, you don't need to plan, but you do need to act.

Fail but Don't Quit

I'm expecting to fail a lot at the things I attempt. I'm taking that as a sign I'm trying and pushing outside my comfort zone, and that's a good thing. The only thing I must not do is quit. Quitting is terminal.

Share what You've learnt

Record my experiences and share it all freely. Only because it's a wonderful way to connect with others on their own pursuit of happiness.

Reach Out

Whether that's for help or to just say hello, simply connect more with other human beings. Say hello. Make eye contact. Be polite and kind. Be curious about others. I don't need to do this alone.

Feel Gratitude

Don't just write it down. Spend time feeling the gratitude. Savour it. Feeling gratitude is more important and powerful then recording it.

Define your own rules

If something works for me, claim it. If it doesn't, discard it or change it. Do not waste any time working to other peoples rules or limitations. There's no point. Know yourself well enough to define your own rules.

Don't fix others

Lead by example. Do it first. Walk the walk. That's the only way you can really help others.

Use what you buy

If you buy something, use it within a week. Even if it's only once and then you sell it on. Just don't gather 'stuff'. Wear it. Try it. Play with it. Use it. Otherwise don't buy it.

Shortcuts shouldn't short change

Cutting corners is fine. But if they ruin the journey, what's the point? Sometimes the pleasure is in doing things properly. 

Eat Your Frogs

Always, always, always do the most unpleasant task first. Get it over and done with. Be brave.


If you're making your own Commandments here are my tips on picking some:

  • Read Gretchen Rubin's commandments and take inspiration from them and her tips.
  • Keep a continuous log of inspiring quotes or bits of advice that grab your attention. I use a Pinterest board to collect mine.
  • Sit with your commandments for a while. If something doesn't feel right, scrap it, rework it or try something else. There's no room for empty commandments. You have to believe in them.
  • Look at other peoples lists of commandments. Does anything feel useful? Inspiring? I like Austin Kleon's ideas... you might prefer religious guidance.
  • What kind of things do you want to achieve? What principles do you hold onto tightly? Who is the person you want to become after all this? What can you take from that and use?
  • What do you want to avoid? What support do you need? What are your fears and concerns?What can you say to reassure yourself or offer guidance at the darkest moment?
  • Write your commandments out and then simplify them to their core message. Only you need to know what they mean.
  • Take inspiration from films, music, your heroes, your family, friends. Who are the happiest people you know? What wisdom can they share?