What Makes Women Happy?

By Alison October 10, 2006 33 Comments 8 Min Read

Happy

Fay Weldon has got a new book in the pipeline- an exploration of what makes women happy.

"With her inimitable wit and insight, Fay Weldon offers her wisdom on
the subject of female happiness and how to achieve it. What makes women
happy? Nothing, for more than ten minutes at a time, so stop worrying.
In this new book, Fay Weldon offers wisdom gleaned from a remarkable
life, a brilliantly successful career and a fair share of trouble. She
explores what makes women happy; how our lives, jobs, families, bodies,
desires, morals and responsibilities affect that happiness, and what we
can do to lead more rounded and desirable lives. As she delivers the
verdicts, she also delivers short stories, or perhaps parables, to
prove her points. To be good, she concludes, is to be happy, to be
happy is to be good. The Victorians had it right. A blend of
philosophy, storytelling and self-help, this inspirational work shows
Weldon at the peak of her creative powers, as brisk, stylish and
entertaining as ever."

Would it be terribly pedantic to question exactly what kind of happiness she is talking about: the slightly demented, near hysterical happiness of a dream coming true? Momentary bliss? Or something more deep rooted- barely acknowledged contentment? A sense of peace? Security? A sugar induced coma?

Happiness you see comes in many guises: not all of them guaranteed to have you smiling like a simpleton in the irrational fashion you take up in the first throes of love…

I’ve been dithering about this all day. Fay Weldon manages to establish a list of only six universal triggers for female happiness: top of the list of which is chocolate. Which plainly goes without saying. But only six? Did she never hear the phrase, "happiness is made of a thousand little things, which often pass unnoticed?" Did the woman never eat fish and chips straight out the paper? Shave her legs to scrumptious, strokeable smoothness? Feel overcome with joy at the sight of a tidy living room?

Try as I might to be permanently miserable readers, it is an impossible task. I am happiness on a butty, even in the face of desertion and next to no chance of the pleasure of a weekend  lie in in the foreseeable future. I am a glass 90% full person. A beaming idiot in black trousers and false eyelashes…

And so my darlings because I didn’t think you would be able to endure one thousand  pieces of my personal happiness, I hereby present to you the top one hundred things that keep this  Mama happy. Just writing it made me smile.

What Makes Me Happy.

  1. Finley’s hair. Because it is silly.
  2. Violet and Basil washing up liquid from Tesco.
  3. Finding treasure in a car boot sale full of junk.
  4. 7.30pm, because my beloved babba is finally asleep and I practically dance with joy.
  5. Paying bills. Because I am  so bad at it, part of me thinks I deserve a medal when I finally make it to the post office.
  6. Back tickles offered without bribes.
  7. An afternoon in the library. My favorite place in the world.
  8. Chinese noodles.
  9. Mind wandering right before you fall asleep.
  10. New shoes. New bags. New knickers.
  11. Great big enormous boxes of washing powder.
  12. Proof, in whatever form, that someone is thinking about you.
  13. Hotel rooms. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Sorry Mum.
  14. Long drives all by myself. Getting kind of lost.
  15. Coffee at Kath’s house. Even if it does make me feel shaky for the rest of the day.
  16. Men. I know. But I love them.
  17. Case’s in point: Robbie Williams. Jose Mourinho (sent by God). James Stewart. Say no more.
  18. The Rugrats cartoons.
  19. Wailing along with Crystal Gayle. Or Kenny Rogers. Or Meatloaf.
  20. Brushing my teeth.
  21. White bread:  even though it practically kills me. Yep, I’m stupid.
  22. Christmas present opening at Mum’s.
  23. Moaning. I am embarrassingly good at it!
  24. Dreams. Never, ever, never had a bad one. Once had a riotously fabulous one.
  25. Johnsons baby powder.
  26. Beans on toast the way Mark used to make it.
  27. Buying myself flowers.
  28. Magazines. Mary, Martha, Vogue, Oh how I love thee…
  29. Handwritten letters. Postman Steven plodding up my path with said such letters.
  30. Handwashing vintage linen.
  31. Unexpected texts from someone I’ve been waiting to hear from.
  32. Waxing my pine table.
  33. "Its  A  Wonderful Life" .
  34. Deciphering the messages on the  back of old postcards.
  35. Finley’s morning greeting. (Good morning Mummy, did you have a lovely sleep?).
  36. Doris Day films on cosy, grey afternoon’s.
  37. My bed. I kind of take a moment to  feel happy that I’ve made it back to bed in  one piece. Every night.
  38. Poetry.  Even when  I’m chocking back unbidden tears.
  39. Secondhand bookshops. Delicatessens. Tatty tatty junk shops.
  40. Fendi perfume.
  41. The possibility of being in the first throes of love all over again. Please.
  42. Gin. For silly happy nights. Never with milk.
  43. Scrumptious piles of newly ironed tea-towels.
  44. Sex and the City  re-runs. Friends re-runs.
  45. Prestat Violet  Cream’s.
  46. Selfridges food hall. Harrod’s food hall.
  47. Carry On films. I never said I had taste did I?
  48. Cake stalls at church fairs.
  49. Red wine and very, very strong cheese.
  50. Dancing with Finn.
  51. Music channels. All day every day.
  52. Shopping all by myself. Like I’ve escaped from the asylum.
  53. The miracle that is foundation and Touche Eclat.
  54. Newly  waxed eyebrows.
  55. "Rainy Night In Soho" by The Pogues. (You’re the measure of my dreams..)
  56. An old Rupert  Holmes  album called  "Partners  In Crime"
  57. Prawn salad. I swear I’m gonna look like a prawn soon.
  58. New babba’s. The smell of them.
  59. Afternoon naps. In bed.
  60. An armchair, a brand new book and a hot chocolate.
  61. Things too rude to mention.
  62. Lavender scented Eygyptian cotton pillowcases.
  63. Going to the theatre. Or even the pictures.
  64. The house when its dinner party immaculate. Twinkly and clean.
  65. Summer days in the back yard.
  66. Mum’s roast dinner. Or scouse. With brown sauce.
  67. Fabric shops.
  68. Candlelight.
  69. Shake and Vac. I shouldn’t but I do.
  70. My friend Judy Dargen. Cos I love her.
  71. Living in this road.
  72. My Helen. My Gabriel. How much my Finn adores them both.
  73. Christmas Eve. Because it’s the cosiest day of the year.
  74. January because it bleaches all your misdemeanours and offers you the opportunity to re-invent yourself.
  75. Stationery. Writing paper. Pens. Paper-clips. Etc, etc.
  76. Tomorrow. Bound to be even better than today.
  77. Pedicures.
  78. Simple Abundance.
  79. Finley. Finley. Finley. I think I must have dreamt him up.
  80. National Trust Manor House’s. National Trust Gardens.
  81. Dad’s cup’s of tea. Hotter than anyones elses.
  82. Getting on like a house on fire with someone new. Curiously wonderful. Curiously scary.
  83. The internet. It is an obsession I will have treated one day very soon.
  84. BrocanteHome. It’s mine and I love it.
  85. Hydrangeas, sunflowers, yummy, yummy hyacinths, and conkers.
  86. Foot rub’s. Though with pig’s trotters like mine they don’t happen very often.
  87. The Sunday Observer Food Magazine.
  88. Meals  out with people who make me giggle.
  89. The scrumptious afternoon that is Starbucks and Borders.
  90. The heart shaped baskets on top of my wardrobe.
  91. Crying till my mum makes me laugh.
  92. Kissing. Like a teenager.
  93. My ceasarean scar. Convinced myself I would probably die and plainly didn’t.
  94. The silly year round wreath on my front door.
  95. Having my milk and Sunday papers delivered.
  96. Pink. The colour. Though she who sings makes me laugh too.
  97. My dishwasher.
  98. Being a Mommy.
  99. Growing teeny tomatoes. Thank you Clare.
  100. Hope. Possibility and dreams of New England. Someday.

Goodness I could go on and on…

Go write yourself a happiness list. I suspect it is good for the soul. Thank you Fay Weldon.

33 Comments

  1. LAURA says:

    Alison May
    Your brocante home web wonder is one of my thousand pieces of daily happiness!
    Thank You!

  2. mum says:

    alison, that list is really lovely and its true you are the happiest person I know. God bless xx

  3. mum says:

    alison, that list is really lovely and its true you are the happiest person I know. God bless xx

  4. Savannah says:

    What a delightful list. Two nights ago I woke up at 3 a.m. asleep in the den —Gerred and two of his life-long buddies were tiptoeing in the kitchen (They're 25 year old men, so think elephants tiptoeing!!!) and they were warming up chili and giggling like little boys. It was the happiest I've been in days!
    Last night I went to a sorority meeting at the home of a woman born one day earlier that I was. She has incurable caner but it is at the moment in control, and she feels well. She was so open, honest, excited about this season of her life… flowers blazing on her deck with little thoughts of the freeze coming tomorrow night… She was the same, blazing with color and beauty… and I was strangely happier than usual, thinking about how much she is enjoying her days… trying to learn what one day's seniority and a terminal illness has taught her.000
    Take care, all. I love the new sections of Brocante, Alison. You never slumber not sleep without awakening with new ideas of fun and delight. What a treat you are!

  5. Annabelle says:

    I loved your post and I had to laugh when you wrote about Finley’s remark…..Familiar sounds of yesteryear for me. Enjoy it; it didn’t last long with my son but my daughter; well she’s a lovie dovie even at thirteen and probably will always be this way.
    The happiness list was amusing and I can relate to quite a few numbers on your list; now I clearly see why I like your blog. Alison, you’ve done a fabulous job with your site, keep up the good work.
    Annabelle

  6. Annabelle says:

    I loved your post and I had to laugh when you wrote about Finley’s remark…..Familiar sounds of yesteryear for me. Enjoy it; it didn’t last long with my son but my daughter; well she’s a lovie dovie even at thirteen and probably will always be this way.
    The happiness list was amusing and I can relate to quite a few numbers on your list; now I clearly see why I like your blog. Alison, you’ve done a fabulous job with your site, keep up the good work.
    Annabelle

  7. Gena King says:

    Lovely post Alison you are amazing, and that washing up liquid? am off to Tescos!

  8. Gena King says:

    Lovely post Alison you are amazing, and that washing up liquid? am off to Tescos!

  9. As a portuguese, I must thank you for your preference on José Mourinho.
    About my happiness list, I made one some 4 years ago. I must do another now, because so many things changed, for instance, one item was to see my grandmother feeling well and laughing. Now she is not with us anymore.
    Well, I have other good things and I must write them.

  10. fiona says:

    What a lovely list. I can relate to so many of them. But I have one extra which is reading Brocante Home every morning when I get to work. I love it!

  11. fiona says:

    What a lovely list. I can relate to so many of them. But I have one extra which is reading Brocante Home every morning when I get to work. I love it!

  12. hester says:

    Oooh, I LOVE your list and am off to make my own list – reading Brocante Home is definitely going to make the list! My grandma whenever someone was sad or moaning used to say, "Count your blessings", and I guess this is a version of that!

  13. Terri Pollhein says:

    I like Finn's hair too! What a cutie.
    Do you ever wonder how many other people were inspired to make lists after reading your blog? I know I did.
    Rather heady to think how you can influence so many ladies with your writing.
    God bless,
    Terri

  14. Terri Pollhein says:

    I like Finn's hair too! What a cutie.
    Do you ever wonder how many other people were inspired to make lists after reading your blog? I know I did.
    Rather heady to think how you can influence so many ladies with your writing.
    God bless,
    Terri

  15. Crystal T says:

    Your site is a treat! I adore it. Please never stop writing your lovley words. I am off to write my own list. 🙂

  16. Lynda says:

    23. Moaning.
    Did you mean complaining or throes of passion?

  17. Lynda says:

    23. Moaning.
    Did you mean complaining or throes of passion?

  18. Claudette says:

    Very similar-bodering on plagarism:
    1. Male adoration-there is no other buzz.
    2.On an Autumnal Sunday, a glass of rich Claret in my hand, spaniel on my lap, watching Waterloo Bridge, Random Harvest and Little Shop Around The Corner in succession…whilst my darling prepares roast beef and yorkshire puds.
    3. Laurent-Perrier Rose! The bottle, the smell, the taste!
    4. The sea, especially horse riding along the beach.
    5. Scotland, a mystical and magical country
    6. Christian Bale-he must be Bond one day!
    7. BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Never fails to amuse Tony that I clap at the end.
    8. Moulin Rouge-the film. Ewan, Nicole, perfect.
    9. the legend that is my father.
    10. GYPSYJEWELLSTRINKETS on ebay.
    11. Butler and Wilson on South Molton Street
    12. The wry smile that my memories bring to my face
    12a. Revelling in my life as a bon vivant, counsellor and confidante.
    Oh the list could go infinitum….

  19. Claudette says:

    Very similar-bodering on plagarism:
    1. Male adoration-there is no other buzz.
    2.On an Autumnal Sunday, a glass of rich Claret in my hand, spaniel on my lap, watching Waterloo Bridge, Random Harvest and Little Shop Around The Corner in succession…whilst my darling prepares roast beef and yorkshire puds.
    3. Laurent-Perrier Rose! The bottle, the smell, the taste!
    4. The sea, especially horse riding along the beach.
    5. Scotland, a mystical and magical country
    6. Christian Bale-he must be Bond one day!
    7. BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Never fails to amuse Tony that I clap at the end.
    8. Moulin Rouge-the film. Ewan, Nicole, perfect.
    9. the legend that is my father.
    10. GYPSYJEWELLSTRINKETS on ebay.
    11. Butler and Wilson on South Molton Street
    12. The wry smile that my memories bring to my face
    12a. Revelling in my life as a bon vivant, counsellor and confidante.
    Oh the list could go infinitum….

  20. Lisa says:

    I did it, too. Thanks for the inspiration! You turned my day around, girl.

  21. Lisa says:

    I did it, too. Thanks for the inspiration! You turned my day around, girl.

  22. What a wonderful little list. I think I will pretend it's mine for awhile until I have time to sit down and compose my own.:) Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. What a wonderful little list. I think I will pretend it's mine for awhile until I have time to sit down and compose my own.:) Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. Gena King says:

    Alison!
    I am distraught! have been to Tesco, not a bottle of violet and basil washing up liquid to be found!do you think they have stopped making it?

  25. Gena King says:

    Alison!
    I am distraught! have been to Tesco, not a bottle of violet and basil washing up liquid to be found!do you think they have stopped making it?

  26. Karla Neese says:

    I love these lists. Yesterday I was inspired to post my dream list – things to do before I die. Today I'm going to start my happiness list. What a dreamy way to spend a rainy day!

  27. Karla Neese says:

    I love these lists. Yesterday I was inspired to post my dream list – things to do before I die. Today I'm going to start my happiness list. What a dreamy way to spend a rainy day!

  28. dianeinjapan says:

    Alison, once again you are the List-ress! Loved your list, then went and posted my own at my blog. Thanks for your continuing inspiration!

  29. dianeinjapan says:

    Alison, once again you are the List-ress! Loved your list, then went and posted my own at my blog. Thanks for your continuing inspiration!

  30. Shane MacGowan says:

    Thank you for the compliment about 'A Rainy Night in Soho'.
    I urge all you ladies to read the lyrics to my other favourite song, 'Misty Morning Albert Bridge' and dream of what could be.
    Love
    Shane

  31. Shane MacGowan says:

    Thank you for the compliment about 'A Rainy Night in Soho'.
    I urge all you ladies to read the lyrics to my other favourite song, 'Misty Morning Albert Bridge' and dream of what could be.
    Love
    Shane

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