Hello, you lovely bunch, and welcome to your Weekly Words for this bank holiday weekend. For those of you in the U.K., I hope you’re as excited as I am about the prospect of a long weekend! And I’ve had a very exciting start to it – A HAIRCUT! What a lovely feeling to have some pampering and ‘normality’ return. I do hope all of you have been able to do some exciting things with our new freedoms too – whether it’s seeing a friend you hadn’t met up with for a while, or simply enjoying a cuppa and conversation at a local café.

My past days, however, have not all been so bright. The combination of a bout of unwellness, some very sad news from a dear friend, and the tragic and disturbing scenes from India meant my world – and the world – was starting to feel ‘dark’. As I sat on my sofa, Archie Archibald and hot water bottle held tight, as if by magic, a wholly unexpected delivery arrived on my doorstep. The timing could not have been better.

The package – THE BOOK OF HOPE’. Authored by our dear friend Jonny Benjamin MBE, founder of Beyond, the wonderful charity supporting young people’s mental health – and gifted by the man himself and his wondrous side-kick, CEO Louisa Rose. This unexpected gift brought a tear to my eye. The beautiful message from them both another. And then there’s the book itself.

Filled with contributions from 101 amazing people including beloved and special friends of the Happyensshub like Rachel Kelly and Dr Radha Modgil, the pages brim with wisdom, inspiration, learnings, journeys, support, authenticity and HOPE. As Jonny so wisely says,

“There is always hope. Even when we cannot seem to find it within ourselves, it is still very much there. And just as the sunshine follows the rain, even if you have temporarily lost hope, it will eventually return again.”

So, friends and loved ones, no surprises on the next gift to be arriving from me (unexpected or otherwise!). And I invite you dear Hubbers to take a look at Jonny’s book – we have talked about hope much here at the Happynesshub, and like Jonny I truly believe it is always there. Sometimes we just need a helping hand to offer us that glimmer of light amongst the darkness. Thank you Jonny and Louisa for gifting this to me.

And to continue the themes of kindness, hope and books another dear friend, Joanna, shared an interesting article with me this week. Using the hashtag #buyastrangerabook, Simon Key has managed over the last 3 years to help thousands of books find new owners, facilitated by the generous donations of those who have given. In Simon’s words, what he’s ‘really doing is facilitating kindness.’ He’s the manager of Big Green Bookshop in Hastings, and the most-gifted book has been Matt Haig’s ‘The Midnight Library’ – a book about hope, mental health and positivity, much like Jonny’s. It’s lovely to see how the public are embracing works such as Jonny’s and Matt’s, and Simon’s campaign is a real reminder of the kindness of people out there.

I’ve put the picture of the article here, so do have a read. And why not carry out your own act of kindness this week? It doesn’t have to be financial or literary – anything at all that puts a smile on someone’s face or gives them hope.