The best New Year’s resolution we can make.

I’ve given up on my usual New Year’s Resolutions, you know the ones: lose two stone, save money, be on time more, be tidier (it’s just not going to happen). And instead, I’ve started to focus on making my New Year, New! Doing new things, learning new stuff, seeing new places, meeting new people.

All the way back in 2013, I reflected on all the new things I’d done! I loved seeing them all written down in one place, a portfolio of every little experience that had changed me, grown me and sometimes thrown me that year. So, naturally, I pledged to have a year of newness in 2014 too. And here’s how it went:

January
I went to New York for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’d always wanted to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree, to ice skate in Central Park and to watch the ball drop at midnight in Times Square, like they do in the movies.
So I did.Central Park Ice Skating

February
I joined a band. I said yes to becoming the lead female singer. And I loved it! I loved it so much. See, I’d always wanted to be in a band. So I joined one.

March
I booked a one way ticket! I wanted to leave on a jet plane and not know when I’d be back again. So I did.

April
I went glamping! I wanted to sleep under the stars in a warm, comfy, glamorous kinda way. So I did.

Glamping

May
I became a Manager. I know, right?! Little ol’ me in charge of people and projects and with responsibilities n’stuff! I always wanted to be a boss, so I worked my butt off and became one.

June
I sang in the street. Not just in a belting out a little tune at the end of my drive kinda way (cos that’s totally normal), but in a on a stage, at my village street fair, in front of friends and family and fellow villagers kinda way. I’d always wanted to be the talk of the town, and so I was (for 3 minutes approx).

Groby Street Fair 1

July
I had £10,000 in the bank. This has NEVER, EVER, happened before. And, unlikely to ever happen again. But I wanted to save my socks off for travelling and so, with the help of my soul-destroying, wardrobe minimising, utter snooze fest of a budget planner, I did. (Sidenote: on the off chance any potential online fraudster might be checking in, I can assure you, it didn’t last long).

August
I got interviewed on camera. My University wanted to know about my job as a PR Manager and Copywriter and how my Creative Writing course had helped, so they came into my work and filmed me chatting and working and even a bit of walking, and I felt all dead special! (P.S. you can watch the interview here.)

Filming

September
I said goodbye to my friends and family without knowing when I would see them again. I got on a plane and got off on the other side of the world. I marvelled at the beauty of New Zealand, I was astounded by the smiles and friendliness of the people in poverty in Fiji, oh, and I went white water rafting and, as I like to tell it, totes nearly drowned.

October
I fell from a height of 43m strapped to a harness and a wire, for fun! It was the Taupo bungee swing in New Zealand, and once I’d stopped fearing for my life, it was amazing!!

Taupo Bungee SwingTaupo Bungee Swing 2

November
I landed in a foreign country and didn’t have a plan. With my boyfriend and two friends by my side, and not much money left in the bank, we hopped in a campervan and muddled our way up the East Coast of Australia, then muddled our way back down again. We spent a night in a car, three weeks in a camper and a month in a cabin, and finally, we found a permanent place to stay for the year. And, I must say, it was SO worth the blood, sweat and excess rice consumption!

December
I experienced a hot Christmas! Pimms, paddling pools, sun cream, bikinis – the lot! We were so generously invited to the home of a fabulously fun and friendly family who treated us like their own. And we ate an enormous Christmas dinner, outside!

Aussie Christmas 1

pimms

paddling pools

Another year and another load of lovely new stuff to reflect on. Just writing it down and looking back on it makes me feel like I’m already better for it, a little bit wiser, a little bit happier and a little bit braver, even though at some points I was really freakin’ scared. And I’m proud of that.

In fact, I think it might be the best New Years resolution we can ever make, to give ourselves constant reasons to be proud, and more importantly, taking that time out to be proud, to reflect, to celebrate.

Even just with little things.

That recipe you’ve been meaning to try? Do it. The yoga class you keep planning to join? Go for it. That job that looks perfect but you’re sure you don’t have the right skills for? Give it a try. The old friend you’ve been wanting to get in touch with? Why not! That person you know you love? Tell them.

Push yourself this year. Say yes. Make you proud.

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I linked to this post over on the lovely blog below, go see what they’re up to!

Blogger Goals 2015
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Note to self: have a little faith in your decisions. Because, WHAT IF?!

I’ve been busy getting lost..but now I’m back!

And have I got some stories to tell you?!

It’s been a crazy, gorgeous, wild few months full of adventure and LOADSA COOL NEW STUFF! There’s so much to say, and, luckily, I’ve left months worth of absent blog space to fill you in on. So, I’ll start from the top.

Remember when I said I was going to give up my job and jump on a plane to the other side of the world and see what happens?

Well, I did it! I mean, I’m doing it! Right now! Hello, here I am, doing the big huge thing I said I would.

Bon Voyage

And as much as I wish wish wish I’d have blogged about all the cool stuff I was up to along the way when I first set off, to be totally, brutally, honest: I was too shit scared that it all just wouldn’t work out. So I kept quiet. Just. In. Case.

I created an imaginary story in my head A LOT about how terribly wrong it might go. A story where my boyfriend had to drag me to the airport while I screeched ‘don’t let them take me’ over and over again. A story where I’d have an imaginary breakdown on the plane because it turned out that I did want a desk job and a routine and security after all. A big fat made up story where I imaginary wailed that I’d be stuck with a boy for too long (and he with me, finding out how actually awful and unbearable I really am) and we’d have an imaginary break up and he’d send me straight home, which in fact was fine because I was imaginary guaranteed to hate every second of the trip anyway.

My cheeks physically flushed when I imagined that after all the ‘guess what I’m doing’ facebrags, Twitter announcements and smug conversations, that I’d have to report back that: hey guys, I’m home, I lasted three days.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, as always. Because I now know that even if my year long plan I’d smugly told the world about time and time again did go tits up and fail, there’d always be something to learn from it, something to laugh about, a great story to tell.

But, guess what: it didn’t fail! That’s right, I’m still here, on the other side of the world, and I’m only bloody loving life!

In fact, I’ve been so busy loving life that I’ve not given myself any time to reflect on it or to think about what I’ve learnt, or to tell you about it.

So, now I’m all kinda settled in my new little life by the beach with my boyfriend and my friends and a new job and a new apartment and not a sign of failure in sight, it’s time I started telling you about all THE STUFF!

About the people and the feelings and the friends and the changes and the newness and the world and and and..

But, in the meantime, a little reminder to myself, and to anyone else who needs it: have a little faith in your decisions.

Because the only way to know is to give it a go. And what if, WHAT IF, it turns out to be the best decision you ever made?

What if I fall?

Trying to put the world to rights. But first, let me take a selfie..

Selfie

The selfie. It feels like a relatively new craze but I know it’s been around for years. In fact, I remember many an evening after school spent doing my hair just right, perfecting my unnecessary ton of make-up and holding my digital camera at arms length in order to capture the perfect profile picture for my myspace page, eager to present myself as sultry and sexy but fun and intelligent too. Well, you know, as much as a 15 year old can be all of those things in one snap, or at all.

So as a teenager I remember it being the ultimate way to win over your latest MSN crush, but here we are, years later, and the selfie appears to have taken over the world, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I mean, it’s fantastic that so many people are showing themselves to the world so proudly, embracing their beauty and bloody well showing it off – faces, hair, bodies, clothes, every shot a mini celebration of self. (Go us!)

But sometimes, I’m not quite sure that is how it goes, actually.

Because that all sort of contradicts itself when you question who the pictures are for? When the mini celebration is sometimes not really for ourselves but in fact just a way to see how many people will turn up to the party, or more precisely, how many ‘likes’ will be received.

Let’s face it, it’s not just our phones that vibrate when someone double taps our latest Instagram snap or gives our new Facebook profey a thumbs up, but a little buzz inside of us too.

What I’m wondering is whether rather than taking a step forward by celebrating ourselves through the selfie, we’ve actually taken 3 steps back by relying on others, sometimes strangers, to approve the way we present ourselves to the world?

It looks as though 15 year old me was seeking some kind of approval, that’s for sure.

My Myspace password STILL works!

My Myspace password STILL works!

Poor kid.

Now by no means am I against the selfie, nor am I encouraging it, but what I am suggesting is that we make the time, every time, to give that beautiful image looking back at us in the mirror our biggest thumbs up, before we give anyone else the privelige.

 

 

 

On saying ‘yes’ to…oh just a LIFE CHANGE!

Remember how I started to say ‘yes’ to life? Well, I may have gotten a little carried away and decided to say yes to quitting my job and travelling the world!

Oops.

Deciding to pack up my desk and spend life on a beach for a year might seem like the easiest decision in the world to make, but ducking out on a great and more importantly safe career, well that’s just crazy isn’t it?

I mean, to go from living at home with my family, a ten minute drive from work and my best friends, twice weekly date nights with the boy and a familiar face at every corner of my little world, to the other side of the big wide world, where everything will be different, is madness right?

At first I definitely thought so.

But you see, now that this is ACTUALLY HAPPENING, I’m beginning to wonder if it would be even crazier for me to stay exactly where I am.

Whilst I do love a routine – work, gym, friends, shopping, date night, drinks, staying in with a good book, repeat – I also love to be spontaneous, to meet new people, to be curious about the world, to do as little as possible for hours on end, to try new things and to be completely inspired, but my lovely little routine just has this habit of getting in the way.

So I’ve just gone and said ‘yes, go on then!’, and now me and the boyf will be heading for hot springs in New Zealand and island hopping in Fiji, for a cruise along the Australian coast without a single routine in sight. Sure, we’ll be in a tiny hot campervan for a while, just the two of us, every day, on a budget, where there’s snakes and spiders and scariest of all a suitcase for a wardrobe (OK, can I change my mind now?) But the thought of doing something I never thought I would or could? Well to put it lightly, I’m so excited I could bloody pop!

I know it’s not for everyone, HELL it might not be for me, but I’ll never know unless I give it a try. That’s why in 60 days from now (nope, not counting) I’ll be jumping on a plane for a big adventure down under, and hey, maybe even out of one too! (Sorry Mum.)

And, apart from the time I turned up to a hotel and I’d actually booked it for the previous night, oh and the one where I left my suitcase on a train and had to buy face wipes, pants and a toothbrush from the station, oh and that time in Paris where the tube doors shut on me before I could leap on to my friends and I had to wait for them to come back and get me, yeah, apart from those things, I’m all set for travel!

10 bikinis - that's enough, right?

10 bikinis – that’s enough, right?

Any words of support would be greatly appreciated – I’m sure you’ll agree I’m going to need them!

100 Happy Days – and a little non-filtered reality too.

I haven’t posted for a very long time. My main excuse for my lack of presence is that I was struck down with a terrible illness – a kidney infection – and though I have a slight tendency to exaggerate, I’m not lying when I say this was the worst kind of poorly I’ve ever been.

Amongst not being able to move for days due to the pain and throwing up anything I even looked at, it sent me a little crazy too (yes, crazier than usual). I found myself in a panic about what to do with Anna’s house extension (I don’t know an Anna, nor would I be of any assistance with her building plans) and I was also growing increasingly worried about what Breaking Bad‘s Jessie and Walt might do without me while I was ill – admittedly this could be down to a recent Netflix addiction, but nevertheless it was a strange and miserable few weeks.

I haven’t been completely off the radar though, on Instagram I’ve started the 100 happy days challenge. I’m loving taking the time each day to consciously note something that has made me happy that day. It’s all about appreciating the little things in life, small moments of the day that you are grateful for or that make you smile, which, after a few weeks in bed staring at four walls and feeling bloody miserable, has been a very easy challenge!

Here are some of the highlights from my happy days so far:

A Summer's Evening in the garden, because life is just better when the sun's out!

A summer’s evening in the garden, because life is just better when the sun’s out!

 

Tuesday Cocktails because, well we made it through Tuesday didn't we?!

Tuesday Cocktails because, well we made it through Tuesday didn’t we?!

A champagne breakfast on a day other than Christmas makes me all kinds of happy!

A champagne breakfast on a day other than Christmas makes me all kinds of happy!

Being able to get out and run again, it does make me happy..honest!

Being able to get out and run again – a sad, whiny, painful kind of a happy!

work & mondaysWhen Mondays aren’t so bad because you work with a bunch of crazy lovely people!

But, like the reality of my horrible illness that wasn’t very happy or shiny, life doesn’t always have a filter, and of course there are sad days too. Here are a few of my general daily rage provokers…

Finding out post-meal that this bowl of green leaves, shredded carrot, boiled rice and teryaki chicken is over 900 calories. Please lord how?!

Finding out post-meal that this bowl of green leaves, shredded carrot, boiled rice and teryaki chicken is over 900 calories. Please lord how?!

Trying to run again after lots of weeks off and shedding ACTUAL TEARS. To my boyfriend. Before, during and after.

Trying to run again after lots of weeks off and proceeding to shed ACTUAL TEARS. In front of my boyfriend. Before, during and after.

Just Mondays. Especially ones that start at 5am and end 16 hours later.

Just Mondays. Especially ones that start at 5am and end 16 hours later.

When it rains in July. Who is allowing this to happen and when will they be fired?

When it rains in July. Who is allowing this to happen and when will they be fired?

 

 

 

 

 

 

And when some days we just have a blank day that was neither here nor there. No posts. No words. No nothing. That’s reality and it happens. But, at least we know on those days that tomorrow can only be more colourful.

What are your happiest and saddest moments of today?

Glamping : a less damp sort of a camp!

I don’t do camping, I can tell you that for nothing. The thought of waking up in a morning with damp tent canvas stuck to my cheek whilst trapped in a sweltering sleeping bag is not my idea of a good time.

But, as the man in my life sometimes fancies himself as one of those ‘at one with nature’ sorts, I thought I’d better compromise for the sake of his birthday. So, we headed off to a site in sunny Sussex for a spot of “glamping”.

glamping bound

Of course we spent the first hour or so taking pictures of our destination and posting them for the world to see, but once phone and ipad batteries were dead, it was a bit like stepping back in time, which I assume is the whole point.

We (not so much me) cooked every meal on the barbecue, we had conversation after conversation without interruptions of the latest football score or of who said what about who, and the only sense of time was when the birds started singing in the morning and when the sun went down at night. Life just slowed to a wandering pace for a couple of days, which made a refreshing change.

Granted, I still had to trudge across a field in the middle of the night if I wanted a wee, but the double bed, toasty electric blanket and unlimited cups of tea kind of made up for that.

I mean, obviously nothing beats your own bed, or eating a hot dog without finding grass in your teeth, but this great outdoors thing – I totally get it. Well, if it’s just for two nights and there’s a hot bath guaranteed at the end of it, that is.

Let's go Glamping!

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BBQ

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lanterns

Cheerful Tuesday

So you know how Tuesday is the worst, well I thought I’d make it a bit better by gathering some of my favourite things of the week.

Today will be cheerful and not oh so depressingly Tuesday-ish.

1. My two favourite things on a tee! This calls for a celebration.

Champagne & Strawberries

2. Jelly shoes are back! Which is a double bonus for me as, not only are they full of 90’s nostalgia, but I have feet comparable to that of a gremlin and these are a cute alternative to all toe exposing flip flops.

Topshop jellies

3. Delicious cupcakes I bought from a Johnnie Cupcakes stall in Derby for a friends’ baby shower! Obviously I had to try one first before I gave them to her, you know, just to be sure!

Cupcakes

4. A gift from my lovely friends – so I have an ‘owl of wisdom’ with me everywhere I go – n’awww those guys!

Owl of Wisdom

5. Just this.

laugh

 Happy Tuesday!