Give An Adventure

Learning Happiness Give An Adventure Wistow Maze Maize Family Fun Day Out Surprise

Everyone knows the old saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Now, I’m a big fan of both but I certainly think that a great deal of personal happiness can be found in making someone else happy.

A week ago I saw an advert in a magazine for a fairly local activity and it struck me that my parents and boyfriend would probably enjoy it as much as I would. I asked them all to check their diaries and make sure they were free this weekend for a spot of adventuring and they each confirmed that they were. However, the precise nature of the adventure was kept a complete secret. I simply advised them to choose footwear suitable for walking and to prepare for all weather-eventualities; we live in England so it could easily have been a disaster.

I kept my secret all week and it was still a mystery to my three passengers when we began our journey. I elected to be designated driver, feeling it may be safest that way, and I had organised a bag of supplies for each person so that sustenance and aid were available during our travels. The contents included two lollipops, a breakfast bar, and a couple of tubes of bubbles (a cryptic note explained that they were for use as flares if anyone got lost).

It was very exciting to keep a secret but a little nerve-wracking too – what if people didn’t like the idea as much as I’d hoped? Fortunately, as we drew close and the destination was finally sign-posted, my passengers caught on and were delighted. I drove into the car park of Wistow Maze and we all piled out into the sunshine.

Learning Happiness Give An Adventure Wistow Maze Maize Family Fun Day Out Surprise
My commemorative postcard from the trip!

Wistow Maze is a maize field, cut through with around 3 miles of winding paths and dead ends. Every year is a different configuration but this year, in honour of Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, it’s been drawn as the BFG! The maps they give you at the beginning show the aerial view of the giant and Sophie but it’s impossible to identify the shape once you’re in there; it’s just sunflowers and corn as far as the eye can see.

We split into two teams to complete the challenge (they have themed questions on boards hidden throughout the maze) and separated at the first fork. Then it was a fun two hours of getting thoroughly lost. We bumped into each other a few times and tried to sneak a peek at one another’s answers but to no avail. All in all, the surprise was a success, the sunshine held out and my team completed the quiz fastest and we are therefore supreme winners!

Planning a special day out made me feel really satisfied and I know that my family and partner loved the surprise and the extra little treats I mixed into it. Afterwards, we wandered around the rural centre and then I took them on a trip to the cinema to see, you guessed it, The BFG!

If you want to add a little happiness to your weekend and know someone who deserves a treat, see if you can plan a surprise for them. It doesn’t have to be a grand adventure, it could be as simple as breakfast in bed or an unexpected gift. And if you can’t decide whether or not they do deserve a treat, take them to a maze – if they’re annoying you part way round, pinch their map and leg it!

I hope everyone has had a happy Saturday!

What I have learned about Vitamin D

What I have learned about Vitamin D

The first and perhaps most crucial thing I have learned is that it is called Vitamin D for a reason. Do not naively abbreviate it to both initials and expect to get away with it; if you tell people you are going outside to soak up some VD they will look at you with a mixture of disgust and alarm. This is an easy way to lose friends.

The second thing I have learned is that I wildly underestimated how much of an impact it can have on my health and happiness. The suggestion that fresh air and sunshine could improve my mood and increase my energy levels seemed improbable, and I was doubly dubious about taking this advice from a woman who claimed throughout my childhood that the ice-cream truck only played music when it had run out of ice-cream (thanks, Mum!). This all seemed too much like a clever ploy to get me out of the house for a few hours to be taken seriously.

As an adult (or someone resembling such) I have discovered that my scepticism was unfounded and, thanks to a quick search on Google, I now know much more about how it helps keep the body healthy and strong. For someone with pale skin like mine it is especially easy to get Vitamin D from sunlight; around 15 minutes in the sun is all I need on a daily basis. People with darker skin need more time in the sun to produce the same amount of Vitamin D and they are therefore at a greater risk of a deficiency. If you are deficient it will make it harder for your body to absorb calcium which could result in weak bones and teeth.

An estimated 40-75% of people may be deficient in Vitamin D and yet it takes so little time to get it into your body. If you have to stand outside checking emails on your phone for 20 minutes then do it! You’re getting your own work done and you’re still letting the sun do its job!

In the past I would spend whole days inside and the sun would rise and set, entirely unnoticed, on the wrong side of my window. (It’s worth knowing that, though you can burn through a window, you can’t actually benefit from the Vitamin D producing UVB rays, which can’t pass through glass.) Now I make an effort to spend time outside and it’s definitely improving my days and making a difference to my happiness. On my lunch break I used to move from the office to the canteen and back again but now I take my food out and walk for five minutes up the road to the park. I sit on a wall with a sandwich and a good book (or, more often, my phone) and watch the world and its dog-walkers go by.

Of course, we aren’t all lucky enough to work near a park but a few minutes in the middle of the day to soak up the best of the sun’s rays is all it takes. This can be done anywhere, even if that means a couple of laps around the staff car park. It may not be scenic but if it helps keep you healthy it’s got to be worth it! Even on an overcast day in the park I can still benefit from the sun’s almighty vitamin powers and I get a break and some fresh air so that I’m more lively and productive in the afternoons. Everybody wins!