“That is not a crisis. Typhoon Haiyan is a crisis”

Earlier this week  I found myself having a mild panic.  I had nothing to write about for my post today.  Usually I can eke something wafty out about my life, or about frolicking through the forest on a November morn, but my life has essentially consisted of lying on the sofa, trying to avoid climbing stairs, and honestly, I’ve written my bit about Being Pregnant.  Done.  None of you need to read posts consisting of me wailing about Forgetting Things, or Good God What Is Happening To my Bits, or  An Ode To Carbohydrates In The Third Trimester.

Politics?  So much makes me rage these days.  But I have to be really careful what I write about due to my job and related security clearance.  Watch out for an anonymous post by “Anne Q’Asparian” raging against UK politics in the near future.  THEY’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO TELL.

Feminism?  Gah.  The problem with following brilliant feminist journalists and politicians on Twitter is that I’ll find myself passionately attacking or defending something over a coffee (cough, herbal tea) with a friend, sound incredibly eloquent, and then I’ll have to stop, think, and wonder whether that was my own opinion, or something I read in The Times.  Invariably it’s the latter, and I don’t fancy this poor blog having to deal with a plagiarism claim.

My mum’s favourite phrase at the moment is “that is not a crisis.  Typhoon Haiyan is a crisis”,  ie: get a grip.  It is employed to deadly effect when Mr K worries about the builders denting the wooden floor, or when I worry about not having anything to post.  A friend then suggested I write a post about the little things,  the things I’m grateful for.  Because Haiyan is a big thing, bigger than any of us can really ever imagine.  Between 9 and 13 million people are now dead, homeless or displaced.  You can donate here.   And because in the face of something as devastating as Haiyan, sometimes all we can do is give what we can and say thank you for the small things we have.

The little things I’m grateful for include:

Almost every night this past week I’ve got onto the platform at Walthamstow Central rail station – not the most scenic part of London – and there has been an extraordinary sunset. Blue to orange to blazing red.  You look towards the City, above the barbed wire and the junkyard and you have to look away, and look again, because it’s too incongruous for your tired, overworked brain to take in.  But really, it’s exactly what your brain needs.  To be surprised by astonishing beauty after a day in front of a computer, in an office, on a swivel chair.

I have a friend at work who brings in my favourite fruit selection for me, to ensure Baby K is getting 5-a-day.  That someone would go out of their way to do that for someone they have never even met blows me away, every time.

Once a fortnight I have a bacon sandwich at the Regency Cafe (for those  who don’t know the Regency, it’s a London institution, it’s where Daniel Craig beat a tramp lifeless in Layer Cake whilst Duran Duran played in the background, but please don’t let that put you off.)  It’s a greasy spoon but with flawless food, incredible service, and a bacon sandwich that is out of this world.  The bread is thick, white, great quality, with a good crust and a bit of butter. The bacon is plentiful, warm, slightly salty.  The juices from the bacon melt into the bread.  You get a cup of tea with it.  After your first bite you pause and you think “I don’t want this ever to end“.  There’s nothing else you could possibly want on a cold morning before work.

People who stand up for me on the Tube.  I’ve never been one to expect people to stand up for me – I wear my Baby On Board badge a bit shyly, hovering in the peripheries of the carriage.  But some people go out of their way to make sure I’m comfortable, at their own expense.  People are good.

In my garden, we have a bird feeder.  The magpies and the pigeons are the bullies of the garden, flying into the feeder, bashing it, making it swing, and then eating whatever seeds fall out.  We’ve tried moving it, and we haven’t found the perfect spot to foil the big birds yet.  But sometimes, sometimes, a brave sparrow or blue tit or red robin will get on that feeder, and hang on for dear life.  And it’s quite extraordinary to see the magpies circling, annoyed because they can’t get to the goods, and one little robin, furiously pecking at the seeds, refusing to be intimidated, refusing to relinquish his prize.  Size doesn’t matter, he seems to say, with his scrawny legs wrapped round the feeder.  I cheer from the kitchen window, and Mr K looks at me like I’m on crack.

This weekend, I drove solo for the first time, and I cooked with yeast for the first time.  I’m aware that the former is somewhat less impressive, given that I’m 31 years old.  But the latter?  Yeast is something GROWN-UPS use in the kitchen.  I made cranberry-orange breakfast buns.  I got quite emotional when I bit into my first one.  Good, overwhelmed-by-taste emotional.

Gratuitous picture of said breakfast bun, from Smitten Kitchen      


What are the little things that you are grateful for, readers?

Categories: Life Experience, Written By Anna
42 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted November 20, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    You always manage to post exactly what I need to read Anna – thank you.

    Little things I am grateful for –

    The 5 minutes T will play with his toys alone for me to drink a cup of tea and read AOW

    Justin/Mr Tumble. God of children’s entertainment, soother/healer of poorly babies.

    Awesome Joules slipper boots dug out of the wardrobe at the sight of snow yesterday.

    The prospect of a quiet weekend ahead.

    Having new books on my Kindle to read.

  2. Fee
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Lovely post. And I’ve been looking for something to make for Christmas Day breakfast, those buns may be the winner.

    Now, little things I am grateful for…

    - The aforementioned buns!
    - My Mum who has popped in every day while T is at work for the last 4 months to make sure I’m ok
    - The postman who hides parcels for us so we never have to go to the post office to collect them
    - Christmas hot drinks arriving in coffee shops!
    - The AOW community who amaze me with a tidal wave of cheerleading whenever the situation arises

    Now, I’m off to find a bacon sandwich….

  3. Posted November 20, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I love this Anna…this is definitely a week where I need to remember the things that I am grateful for and not dwell on the negative things. A friend of mine used to make a list of 3 little things a day that had made her smile…I think I might just start that today :) I’ll let you know what my first three are later!! xx

  4. Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    All throughout this year i keep being struck over and over by how many completely wonderful friends I have been blessed with – many from here – who have rallied around me at times of joy, sorrow and head spinning stress. That’s what I am grateful for.

    I would also kill for a Regency breakfast right now – I’d have the eggs benedict and then sneakily steal some of James’s sausage and chips.

  5. Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Lovely post Anna, I’ve been trying to focus on what I’m grateful for and here is my wee list:

    My eyesight and relatively good health
    M and the sterling work he is doing building a new life for us in Edinburgh
    Good friends I’m going to miss
    Having a job I love
    Music, just for existing
    Getting a cup of tea made for me every morning
    Heattech clothes from Uniqlo

    And a bunch of other sentimental stuff (of course)

    • Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      Are you moving to Edinburgh? Aow welcome party? :)

  6. Morwenna
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Thank you for writing this! So important to be grateful for the little things…here are mine:

    Our new wardrobes!
    The delicious meals my husband makes every night after a long day at work.
    Not having to work over Christmas :) .
    Learning to sew.

    And my lovely friends and family of course.

    This had put me in a very good mood to start the day x

  7. Caroline
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Great post Anna, as always.

    Things I’m grateful for:
    -The fact that most weeks my husband goes to the supermarket by himself so I can sit of the sofa and watch glee or talk on the phone to my mum.
    - all the other little things my husband does so I can rest (be lazy) as much as possible. Including picking me up from the station every night despite it only being an 8 minute walk!
    -the pret Christmas sandwich
    -the times that one of my colleagues who lives near me drives home from the office in a work car. She ALWAYS asks if I want a lift. It doesn’t happen often but I love it.
    - and like Anna, all the people who spot my baby on board badge despite me being a little embarrassed and hiding in the aisle.

    • Posted November 21, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Oh lord I miss the Pret Christmas sandwich! Don’t miss a single other thing about working apart from proximity to pret ….

  8. Caroline
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Hmm most of mine involve things that mean I can sit down. I see a theme..!

  9. Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Oh Anna, I always love your posts. This has made my, very damp, Wednesday morning. Five things:
    - Nytol. For the first time in a month I didn’t have a night terror.
    - Friends awaiting, every last weekend in November, with a very alcoholic punch and a night of 90s music
    - Gorgeous wrapping paper around special presents for special people
    - Christmas cards waiting to be posted
    - Opportunities on my doorstep.


  10. Anonymous
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I’m anonymously grateful to the people who are helping me make it through my first trimester of pregnancy.

    There are no words for how grateful I am for a seat on the tube, if I can sit down, rest my head against the glass and close my eyes, there’s a chance I won’t be sick.

    Most days, despite the kindness of strangers giving me seats, I end up vomiting at a tube station. I’m carrying around small bin liners in which to throw up. Every day that this happens, at least one stranger comes and asks me if I’m okay, if they can do anything or get me anything, or call anyone. There’s nothing they can do, but the fact that they stop to check I’m alright makes the whole experience more bearable.

    The girl next to me at work who, when I’m so tired and sick I’m nearly weeping, notices and sends me emails to say “LOG OFF NOW AND BUGGER OFF HOME TO BED”. Even though I never do, how much she cares for my welfare is amazing.

    My boss allowing me to work from home some days to give me a break from commuting and telling me that work is less important than me and my tiny tiny baby right now.

    The way my husband makes me toast every morning, has given up coffee because I can’t bear the smell, is doing almost all the housework and still tells me I’m not being useless, I’m growing a person.

    The way someone from this blog is messaging me nearly daily to make me smile when I’m about to cry, to reassure me that this will all be worth it in the end, and to keep my excitement levels up when I’m overwhelmed.

    The way my friends don’t mind how often I cancel on them at the moment, because they’re so excited and happy for me.

    The way my Mum understands.

    The colours of Autumn.

    All in all, I’m very extremely lucky.

    • Fee
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Sending giant hugs & shouts of encouragement. One day at a time, this will all seem a distant memory in a few weeks. You can do it! Xxx

    • Caroline
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Oh bless you.
      Sending a massive hug. It’s really rubbish, especcially when you haven’t told many people yet.
      It will pass I promise and it will also be sooooo worth it.
      lots of love

    • Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      It will pass – even if it doesn’t feel like it now – hang on in there!x

    • Posted November 21, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      The first, secret bit really is a battle. 12 months from now you’ll be smack bang in the middle of the biggest, most incredible adventure. Hold on tight!

    • Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Keep going, you can do this. I promise, promise, that you will feel better x

  11. Becca
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Things I am grateful for:

    My husband. Each and every day.
    Parents, siblings and other amazing friends
    Healthcare professionals. You all rock. And know your Shit. We are so lucky to live in the UK
    Scones and the lady from M & S moorgate that went to fetch me warm scones from the oven

    Things I am not grateful for for
    People who have been keeping this magical bacon sandwich world from me. Where do I need to go?

  12. Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink


    There’s the Regency. It’s in Pimlico.

    And YES to healthcare professionals!

  13. Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I could do whinging professionally so sometimes I really need something to remind me of the little miracles in life. Thanks for that Mrs K.

    - my wonderful, wonderful friends. I often forget how wonderful they are and then something happens to remind me. Like a fabulous night last week with my 2 best friends who made me feel like life was worth living again
    - the fact that it’s less than 3wks until I get to go on my girly break to Ragdale Spa – 3 days of being pampered and wafting around in a fluffy dressing gown, what bliss
    - Christmas decorations. Those giant sparkly baubles hanging above Oxford Street get me every. damn. time
    - the new boy. For reminding me that there ARE good people out there and that sometimes a kiss is all you need.

    I now feel all smily and warm on a cold drizzly Wednesday. And this is why I love AOW.

    • Liz
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes to the Christmas decorations! Have you seen that they have turned Eros into a giant snow globe? – love it!

      • Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        I just saw that tonight for the first time!!! Amaze!

  14. Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Ah, this was just what I needed to read this morning! Feeling very sorry for myself after a cold and miserable cycle commute but this has cheered me up and stopped me wallowing :) So I am grateful for these little things this morning:
    The restorative powers of a Starbucks Vanilla Latte
    Being surrounded by books, every day
    My husband making my sandwiches so I can have a few more minutes in bed
    The power of a good lipstick to make me feel pulled together
    Knowing I’ll see my sister in only a few days time

    Feel so much better now :)

  15. Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this… and yes so much to be grateful for.

    -discovering that Rooibos tea is caffeine-free, and that they have chai-infused rooibos, so delicious!
    -a new fresh book waiting for me to start reading it.
    -sending and receiving parcels on the mail, particularly if they are filled of cookies and chocolate and candy.
    -looking forward to seeing friends during the weekend,
    -I have to agree with Becca: medical professionals who know their shit and perform miracles.
    -working on my driving license (finally). I have not driven since I was 19… as my Mexican driver license has never been recognized in Europe and I have to do the whole process from scratch

    • Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Chai infused Rooibos?! Might have to go shopping for this…

  16. Sarah
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I’ve missed AOW posts for a while now. Don’t know what happened but so glad I’ve read this one. Wonderful post Anna. I had to read your pregnancy one too. Such beautiful writing.

    Things I am grateful for:

    1. My husband and my son. They are my everything.
    2. My family and friends.
    3. The fact that I really, really love my job. I’m doing now what I’ve wanted to do since I was 5 years old.
    4. AOW. The whole amazing community but especially Aisling, Anna & Clare.
    5. Bacon sandwiches.
    6. Warm mince pies with a hot cup of tea.
    7. The sound of rain against the window when I’m warm & cosy indoors.

    I could go on. Thanks for making me appreciate the small things & for brightening up a grey Wednesday.

  17. Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    This is a perfect post for a cold rainy November morning. Thank you.

    - My husband. So grateful. Particularly for making breakfast every morning so that I have time to dry my hair/do makeup/ find non-laddered tights.
    - My parents.
    - Tea. And cheese. And warm bread. I appreciate now how well we do these things in this country.
    - This blog and the people involved in it.
    - The people selling their house to us.

  18. Posted November 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Things I am grateful for –

    - friends. You wonderful, mental bunch, my new work friends and old friends who are always there like a favourite, comfortable, lovely pair of slippers.
    - every extra second I get with She Who Will Not Sleep aka Stella. Being thankful for this extra time is by far the most effective way to beat the eye-drying tiredness.
    - white eyeliner and illuminating concealer (see above)
    - my husband’s insane work ethic. I moan regularly that he works too.damn.hard but really, he’s setting an amazing example for Stella and affording me the luxury of working part-time.
    - these first, beautiful winter days. My favourite season.
    - cake. Chocolate. Chipsticks. Bourbon biscuits. Profiteroles.
    - my life. As a whole. Because holy moly, am I lucky.

    • Posted November 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      I love the Phil work ethic one! And also I love that Stella is now officially, in my head, a Harry Potter character.

  19. Martha
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Great post and great timing as this is something that I have been struggling with recently as I have been clutching the toilet bowl with horrendous morning sickness. Here’s my list…

    – Birdseye potato waffles.
    – Open fires, cosy blankets and Harry Potter films.
    – My husband for making me breakfast in bed before my alarm goes off every morning. And all the millions of other things he does to make my life that little bit more manageable.
    – My friends for sending me pictures of their whole primary school class pretending to be flamingos amongst endless other amusing cards and messages to cheer me up.

    (not necessarily in order!)

    • Becca
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      F*** me….potato waffles.


      And alphabites. And all potato products.

      And cheese.

      And Thai crackers. And ginger biscuits

  20. Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Not commented very much recently but this was a lovely post Anna, especially reading it on a rushed desk lunch as a deadline has been brought forward by a week!

    My list…
    - My oldest friends. I’ve been feeling a bit lonely recently, with lots of friends moving away and just generally feeling a bit of an outsider. But I’m going home this weekend to see my school friends and celebrate their birthdays and it always feels like like I’ve never been away!
    - My grandparents, all still going strong and the same as ever.
    - Not commuting. Winter darkness is much better to cope with now I’m not going to Edinburgh every day.
    - The massive cake I made at the weekend and have been eating every day since (pumpkin, coconut and ginger if you’re wondering!)

    • mysparethoughts
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Things I am grateful for:

      – Today especially medical professionals who have given my sister’s pregnancy the all clear (there were some anomalies spotted at her 20 week scan)
      – My husband for looking after our baby girl, cleaning the house and making the dinner while I’m at work – even though when I was at home all I did was look after the baby and forgot the housework.
      – My baby girl for being hilarious in her own special way.
      – The nursery staff that look after her a day and a half a week, they’re always so happy to see her and take such good care of her.
      – My parents (even though they have just flown to the Caribbean and I’m jealous)
      – My boss for not really minding that I’m only at work in body and not mind 90% of the day.

      • mysparethoughts
        Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        sorry wasn’t supposed to be a reply

  21. Liz
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Today I am most grateful for:

    - Bourjois one second nail varnish, its so quick that yesterday I had black and gold glitter nails and today I have jade green. Its makes me smile while typing away at work.
    - My Mum, who is home dealing with my poorly baby whilst I am at work, and who has given up 2 days every week to help with childcare
    - My husband, who tidied up the house last night in anticipation of my Mum arriving whilst I was out socialising, and who despite us being completely ratty with each other this morning due to a non-sleeping poorly baby still said he loved me before he left the house.
    - Innocent Veggie Pots – they are my current go to lunch choice now in this cold weather.
    - Whatsapp groups, the best way to have stupid on going conversations with all my friends who are scattered all over the shop

    Thank you Anna, was lovely to sit back and think about good things! xx

  22. Amanda M
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    This is very pertinent to me as I tend to let the bad things really pull me down and the good stuff is harder to remember. I’ve started doing a 3 things to be grateful for each day email with a friend and sometimes I’m really scraping the barrel! But it’s a good discipline I think.

    I too want the recipe for those buns – like Fee, I reckon they could be a killer Christmas breakfast (cake masquerading as breakfast! Love that!).

    I have been avoiding writing my own ‘gratitude list’ which probably means I should do it. So…

    - My husband and my best friend
    - Books. Always books.
    - Wine
    - Our weekend bolthole

  23. Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Reading everyone’s Things has been great and has cheered me no end. I think the dreary weather can really suck the energy out of you, making it harder to appreciate the important things – which are often the small everyday things too. Definitely a good kick up the arse for me!

    So my little things are:

    - Having a warm, cosy house to come back to after a cold, dark drive back through the late afternoon traffic.
    - My bulk order of veggie marshmallows, which mean I can have a regular hot chocolate ‘pudding’ after dinner (I may need to bulk order again before Christmas as I seem to be getting through the packets that I bought for xmas baking too…)
    - Having an appetite for lots of fruit and veg again, after five long months of vitamin deprivation… also (possibly linked) getting a bit of my ‘pep’ back – not quite the second trimester glow they talk about, but certainly an improvement on July-October.
    - Our new mattress and bed – plus the cloud-soft duvet cover, which is giving my achy back a much needed rest and is also nice to look at (a bed, made of real wood – not chipboard – who knew?)
    - The fact that it’s nearly the end of November and I can sit down and plan our Christmas outings, activities and crafty things.
    - My husband-free house tonight – peace and quiet, all the stuff I want to watch on catch up, pottering time and guilt-free PJs from 5pm.

  24. Hannah
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful post and great comments to cheer up a grey day.

    I should always remember to be grateful for

    1. My health and that of my nearest and dearest
    2. My driving license which has cut my commute time in half
    3. Long chats with old friends
    4. Doing a job I enjoy

    Today I am extra grateful for a quiet day to catch my breath and an evening to spend with the boy doing something fun!

  25. Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh so lovely, perfectly setting me up for Thanksgiving next week!

    -My amazing husband, who despite being the busiest man in the world does all the shopping, cooking and cleaning so I can lie on the sofa
    -My mummy, who is on an aeroplane right this minute to spend the next month looking after us, taking unpaid leave to do so.
    -The lovely vet that cured my cat and the lovely GP who cured me when we got simultaneous (but unrelated) infections.
    -Marvellous AOW ladies who have ensured I have never been lonely since we moved out here. I am eternally grateful.

  26. Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I could go on and on at the moment. If you had told me this time last year I would be this happy I wouldn’t have believed you….

    -a family Christmas. I have never felt so close to my family and my in laws. It’s quite alien for me, and also disarmingly lovely. This baby has brought down everyone’s barriers.
    -that my best friend is settled and happy for the first time in a long long time.
    -to my husband for teaching me patience
    -to my son for teaching me determination
    -and finally I am grateful for my past mistakes for teaching me how little money I can actually live on…making 12 months of maternity leave possible!

    Thanks Anna.


    • Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      OH GOD and my dustbuster!! How did I ever live without one, they are AMAZING.

  27. Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    So wonderful to read these! I am grateful for:
    - my husband who is able to keep going when I can’t and that I nabbed him before anyone else realised how amazing he is.
    - my son who makes me laugh every day.
    - my village who help me raise my child (family, friends and my online community)
    - anti-bacterial wipes
    - having money to spend on nice things
    - good food and coffee

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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