Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

So…. What’s it all about, Alfie?

Hello there, and welcome! My name is Kate, and I’m the founder of Upbeat52, a lifestyle blog intended to focus on all things happy.

As a Mum to two young kids, I suspect I’m not alone when I say that life can feel pretty chaotic at times. As a serial expat/immigrant/woman living abroad (14 years and counting), I’ve found the challenges of motherhood to be even more acute on occasion. Whilst technology is definitely a great help, there is of course nothing like face-to-face interaction, and a sense of disconnect from those who I grew up with and who know me inside out can often trigger feelings of loneliness and isolation which, if I’m honest, can knock me for six sometimes.

Moreover, with baby- and toddler-led sleep deprivation now nearing its fifth anniversary as a permanent fixture in our household, and with the loss of a loved one in 2017 making for a pretty horrendous year for our family, I wanted to drag my sorry backside out from the grizzly depths of Grumpsville, namely by focusing on something bigger than me. By focusing on something happy and positively upbeat, 52 weeks a year.

As I’ve come to discover the hard way, it really does take a village. Building on the stellar support of friends and relatives near and far, this site is intended to recreate and bolster that village. By shining a spotlight on the people and moments in my life that spark joy and inspire that all-essential feel good factor, I hope to open up a conversation about the importance of community, kindness, solidarity and friendship.

Photo by Dominic Chung 道明 on Unsplash

Beyond my Mumming duties, I am also a daughter; a wife; a sister; a niece; a granddaughter (at least in spirit), a resident of my local community and a friend. Taking this happy hotchpotch of relationships into account, I want to call into question the idea that loneliness and emotional struggles are solely confined to the realm of motherhood. I strongly believe that by taking on an inclusive, inter-generational approach to the way we navigate the highs and lows of modern-day life, we can, together, sprinkle a much-needed dash of magic in the lives of others.

Equally, as an enthusiastic member of a Mexi-Brit familial band of four, one thing I’ve learned from our bicultural, bilingual and slightly bonkers family dynamic, is that diversity and openness are key: through community-building initiatives that work to enable everyone to have a place at the table, we can strive towards a happier, healthier society. As we all know too well, there ain’t no ‘I’ in ‘Team’, and by keeping an eye out for each other – no matter what shape, size, colour, creed or corduroys we come dressed in – we can, as a unified front, support, encourage and lift each other up.

If anything written here strikes a cord for you, and if spreading happiness in bundles tends to float your boat, I’d be over the moon to have you on board.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to connecting with you soon!

Behind Upbeat52: The Who and the Why

Oh, hi again! As mentioned above, my name is Kate. I’m a freelance writer, chocoholic and Charity Comms enthusiast. I currently live with my farmer-hugging partner in crime, Mr. R, in the central highlands of Mexico, and together we get into all sorts of familial mischief and mayhem with our two mini global citizens, Little R (born in Autumn 2013), and Baby A (our summer 2016 addition).

Between them, our two babes have lived in four different countries across two continents. Through their exposure to four vastly different cultures and some six-plus community languages (namely English, French, Spanish, Flemish, Arabic and Mayan, at the last count), my impression is that their take-home message from all these encounters can be neatly summed up as follows: people are good. Smiles and hugs are universal. Happiness is omnipresent.

Photo by Jessica Podraza on Unsplash

So, armed with the light-bulb moment that my wise & well-travelled three-year old might be onto something, and in a bid to challenge my increasingly negative mindset – which, for the reasons outlined above, was starting to niggle away at my own sense of contentment and general jolliness – I set forth and founded this site, Upbeat52.

With over ten years of combined communications and policy experience in the fields of research for development (that’s clever clogs science bods working to fight world hunger, to you and me), and international development (a.k.a policy wonks working pretty darn hard to battle against social injustice and poverty), I’ve come across my fair share of awe-inspiring and downright dazzling people taking a decent stab at trying to make the world a better place.

From the science lab to the negotiators’ table, or the farmer’s field to the campaigner’s campground, I’ve been extremely fortunate to witness, first-hand, the oodles of passion, drive and stubborn determination channelled by countless colleagues and friends towards pursuing a socially and environmentally healthier & happier planet.

Whilst these experiences are a world away from the Toddler Town chaos that is my now my daily reality, I’m still convinced that the bottom line is consistently universal: there are oodles and oodles of reasons to feel positive in the world – and by focusing on these bits, a.k.a ‘the good bits’, we have half a chance of keeping those pesky, negative thoughts at bay. Or at least that’s the theory I’m going with, though it’s a personal passion project which is of course still a work in progress.

Beyond my 9 to 5 gigs, I’m a linguist by training and a noseyparker by nature – traits which have allowed me to indulge in my absolute love for meeting kind-hearted, fascinating and inspiring people from all over the globe, and – if I’m really lucky – hearing their stories over tea and a biscuit together.

Upbeat52 is intended as a space to highlight such stories, in a bid to spread joy, prompt acts of kindness and promote positive social change. Now, if you’re all ready to settle in…. Shall I stick the kettle on?