Oh No…What Does Happiness Mean To You?

On an almost regular basis, my inbox gets a lovely little surprise in the form of ‘The Dolly Mail’; the unashamedly brilliant Dolly Alderton’s newsletter, which covers everything from fashion, food, frolics and friendship. 

This week, ‘The Dolly Mail’ covered happiness. In all of its glory.

Dolly wrote what was essentially a love letter to all of the tiny little things that make her happy. Amongst a list of food (girl after my own heart), memories and personal delights, she encouraged readers to write their own list. 

Whilst it may sound a little self-helpy, it’s the perfect excuse to think about all of the things we’re grateful for, however minuscule they are. And that’s a lovely feeling in itself, which we should pass on. So I dare you to write your own. 

Firstly: The Dolly Mail in my inbox. 

People complimenting my writing. Realising how much somebody means to you. How London, to me, feels like wearing the same pair of jeans for two days: comfortable, like coming home, but a little bit dirty. Warsan Shire’s writing.

Eating warm donuts whilst walking along a cold and windy seaside promenade in the winter months. Picking fresh tomatoes from my Mum’s vegetable patch with my two year old niece in Summer. Watching the leaves fall from the trees and change colour as Autumn hits us. How clear the air feels in Spring. 

Putting my washing outside to dry on the washing line. The smell of fresh washing. The smell of home. The way my Mum grows millions of tomato plants every single year, only to turn the tomatoes into inedible chutney which remains in the cupboard, untouched. 

The smell of a new book. The smell of an old book. Reading annotations belonging to the previous owner in books. Bookshops that sell hot coffee and cake. Recommending a book to a friend and hearing how much they enjoyed it. Reading my friend’s books and my mind going into overdrive realising that the words on the page came from their genius brain.

Taxis that play Magic FM. Uber drivers at 3am who let us carry the party on. My bus turning up on time. The left hand seats on the front row of a double decker bus when it’s dark outside. Curling up on the sofa to watch a film on a Saturday night. Drinking rum and dancing with men with dreadlocks in my favourite bar in Brixton as often as I can. 

When I online shop and everything fits. Getting mail. My best friend putting our faces on a t-shirt and sending it to me when I was sad. Fresh sunflowers. Getting a good nights sleep on a Sunday. Fresh bedding, fresh pyjamas and clean hair. Freshly shaved legs. Freshly dyed hair. Good hair days. The perfect nude lipstick. An immaculate eyeliner flick.

Peanut butter M&Ms. Monmouth Coffee Company. Borough Market. Baked Camembert. Cinnabon. Hangover feasts. Cold pizza. Pigs in blankets. The perfect poached eggs. Warm crumpets dripping with butter. Deep fried Oreos from Camden market. Homemade coleslaw. Freshly baked bread. Apple crumble and custard. Jam roly poly, eaten on a Sunday afternoon. 

Sunday afternoon naps. Thursday’s. Remembering to take a bag with you when you go shopping. Trains running on time. 

Hearing Alanis Morrissete play on the radio. London – from Croydon to Holloway, Shoreditch to Ealing, every single part of this city. Sharing tubs of Ben & Jerry’s with friends. Friends who open the door to you in their pants. Comfortable silences. Not having to explain yourself. Friends who say “I love you but I’m going to tell you the truth”. Punk music.

Poetry. Words that make you feel something. Being told “I love you” at unexpected moments. Waking up to voice notes from friends who live on the other side of the world. Whatsapp. Southbank when the fairy lights are in the trees and the air smells magical.

Late night conversations about life, aliens, conspiracy theories, love and passion. Talking about sex. Finally having sex with somebody you’ve fancied for a while. The look on your friends’ faces when you tell them you’re not going to have sex for a while. Sex in general (when it’s done properly).

Watching somebody’s face light up when they talk about something/body they love. Hearing the stories behind people’s tattoos. Old photographs. Meeting people who you instantly click with. Lovely drunk people when you’re sober. FINALLY booking a holiday after months of saving. Watching daytime television when you’re poorly. “To die by your side would be a heavenly way to die”. The Smiths. Brighton.

Themed parties. Singing ‘Always’ by Bon Jovi into a broom handle. ANY Bon Jovi song. The King Blues. Typography posts on Instagram. Words of affirmation. Love languages. Random acts of kindness.

The fact I met two of my most favourite people via Twitter. John Lennon. Almost Famous. Realising you have more in common with somebody than you originally thought. Winter nights. Summer mornings. Alexandra Park. Faithless. Amy Winehouse. Old, but good, memories. Watching my friends succeed. 

Hearing my niece say my name. My Mum & Dad visiting me in London despite hating the traffic. Listening to how people fell in love. Climbing into bed after a busy day and realising how tired you are – in a good way. 

The smell of rain on concrete. The smell of sunshine on skin. ‘Maggie May’. The first series of ‘Skins’. Pret coffee. Showering after four days of baby wipe washing at a festival. Matching painted toe and finger nails. Ankle bracelets. Meeting somebody you consider a soulmate. Looking back on situations and realising you acted in the right way.

Therapy when your head feels foggy. Success stories from AA/NA meetings. Old men propping up bar stools. Scrabble tournaments. Dressing up to go to the theatre. Dingy pubs. Hampstead Heath. Freckles. 

You can sign up to the delightful Dolly Mail here: http://tinyletter.com/thedollymail- trust me, you’ll be adding it to your list of happiness in no time.


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