A few weeks ago I had an email from the people at Popchips.
“We want you to have some fun,” the said. “Go out and do something new or unusual or exciting!”
“Sounds cool,” I said, “what do I need to do exactly?”
“Whatever you want!” said Popchips. “We just want you to try something new – actually, six things to be precise, one for each bag of Popchips in a multipack!”
Crisps, fun times – what’s not to love? I was in.
But then came the tricky bit. When someone gives you completely free rein, it can be hard to decide what you actually want to do. I started mulling it over, thinking about the things I enjoyed doing, the sort of things that perhaps I had never done but really wanted to. What is it that I love? What are my favourite things?
And then I hummed songs from The Sound of Music to myself for a little bit.
Of course! What I needed was a theme. No random adventures for me – I needed a plan for my spontaneous fun!
And this was it…
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favourite things
Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favourite things.
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favourite things
And so the fun activities began!
Monday began with a browse around the shops on my lunch break, and the purchase of a pair of warm woollen mittens. It wasn’t exactly a freezing cold day, so I had to wait until the evening to take them on my first adventure. Before tea, just as it was getting dark, my fiancé and I set out for a little walk. We started off just wandering around, looking at the leaves, and then found ourselves exploring an old keep that used to be part of an army barracks near our house.
I love it when you discover things right on your doorstep that hold secrets from the past. I love imagining how things might have been.
On Tuesday I was inspired by accidentally stepping on a rotten apple. There is an apple tree quite nearby our house and there were just a few apples left. I don’t like food waste, and I definitely don’t like to just see apples rotting on the floor, so I scooped them up and took them home.
I picked up a roll of ready to use puff pastry and I was good to go. I don’t really like the idea of recipes when I can help it – I’m not very good at being told what to do – so I just chopped up the apples, sprinkled on some raisins, sugar and ground cinnamon, and rolled up my pastry into a sausage.
I baked it until it looked nice and tasty, and there was activity number two – crisp apple strudel! (See what I did there? Crisp apple strudel? Crisps? I’ll get my coat.)
Three days in and I had yet to spot a goose of any kind, let alone one flying with the moon on its wings. To be honest, the goose line felt like it was going to be a pretty tricky on to achieve, so for now I decided to stick with something a little simpler – brown paper parcels tied up with string.
This was a nice one, as it combined two of my real life favourite things – shopping for treats and giving people gifts. I haven’t sent them yet, so I can’t tell you who they are for, suffice to say they’re for someone who wasn’t around for the week of Popchips fun, but who very important to me. It’s good every now and again to take a bit of time to think about your family and friends, and what you can do to bring a little bit of cheer into their lives. Everyone likes to know you’re thinking of them.
Thursday was a bumper day! Belle and I went out for a bit of quality mother daughter time looking for craft materials in The Range, in preparation for a crafty afternoon we had planned with friends on Saturday. We went later in the evening, when it was already dark, as there is something very lovely and Christmassy about shopping when it’s dark.
While we were browsing, we thought it would be fun to have our own little scavenger hunt, and see how many favourite things we could find in one store. The geese remained elusive, but we did find snowflakes, sleigh bells and whiskers on kittens. Plus, look what they had in the cafe!
Ah yes, Friday. Friday, after the scavenger hunt, I have to admit I was started to get a little worried about the theme. Where were the geese?? Nowhere to be seen, that’s where.
So, instead I decided to get back to basics. What’s more important than shopping and outings and kitten cushions? Taking care of yourself, that’s what. I’ve never really been the sort of woman who likes doing things like getting manicures or spa treatments, but what I do like doing is just spending time by myself, doing nothing in particular. I love reading books and magazines, I like watching terrible TV like Millionaire Matchmaker, and I do enjoy the odd browse on the internet at pretty pictures.
So what did I do? I created a Pinterest board of course!
Day six of my Popchips challenge rolled around pretty quick, but it was a day I was particularly looking forward to as we had plans to visit friends and do some craft activities. We’d bought everything we needed on Thursday evening at The Range, and Belle and her friends Ella and Josie all made galaxies in jars.
“I just need you to pop on this white dress with a blue satin sash,” I told Belle.
She looked at me like changing into a white dress with a blue satin sash was about the last thing in the world she wanted to do. It’s almost like, at 13, she doesn’t want to be part of my random blog activities.
“I’ll do it!” said Josie, who is at much more pliable age.
And so she did.
So, what did I learn from my Popchip week? Well, obviously I learnt that Popchips are delicious, plus they are popped not fried, so have half the fat and fewer calories, obviously I learnt that. I also learnt though, that the best things in life aren’t the things that cost a lot of money, or need a lot of effort, they are simple things, like making nice food, spending time relaxing and exploring, and generally hanging out with the people you love.
Those are my favourite things.
In association with Popchips.