fullsizerender-14

Looking back at my New Year’s resolutions, one big one was to focus a little more on self-care and make sure I have more me time. I’m pretty sure it’s a resolution we could all make. With long London hours, commuting, occasional evening work, friends, family and constant plans, it’s sometimes so hard to find the time to actually spend on you and it can get bloody exhausting. I’m a typical perfectionist, I only do things that are going to be of benefit for me. I can’t remember the last time I sat down and did something mindless (actually that’s a lie, I made it a priority for the Christmas break). But apart from that, I get home from work late and spend the evening exercising to get fitter, blogging to be creative, making to do lists to achieve more etc. It’s a little bit ridiculous. My family say my catchphrase is ‘I have so much to do!’ Enough! 2017 is the year I spend a bit more time on me, doing things because they make me happy rather than things that get me further. And here’s how I’m going to do it…

  1. Schedule it in: I’m going to put aside at least one night a week for me time this year, and it’s going in the diary so it’s like an appointment – immovable.
  2. Eat healthily: I would eat better if I gave myself more time to prepare food. But I always have something better to do or something better to spend the money on. Not this year, breakfast and lunch are going to be prepared and thought about in advance and I’m going to spend more on healthy snacks too.
  3. If you miss pilates, do it at home: I’m so guilty of double booking my pilates class with work or something similar and not doing anything about it. I love pilates, it’s good for my mind and body so from now on if I miss it (and I only should if I really have to), I’m going to do a pilates class to a Youtube video at home instead.
  4. Sleep: I’m getting better at this (touch wood), I always hesitate to set sleep goals as a recovering insomniac. Any sleep at all is an achievement for me. But I want a bit more of a sleep routine from now on, less lurching from under sleeping to oversleeping.
  5. Drink water: I HAVE to nail this this year. I’m drinking two litres of water a day. End of.
  6. Read a fiction book always: I want to always, always have a fiction book on my kindle ready for me to read. I find reading so relaxing and it’s perfect for those days where I don’t want to be productive on my commute, and why shouldn’t I?
  7. Expand my chill-out playlist: I’ve begun a chill-out playlist on my Spotify but currently it’s three tracks long. I already find it useful, particularly if I’m walking to work and feeling a little nervous about the day ahead. I need to commit and expand it a little now.
  8. Say no and don’t feel guilty: Tying into point one, this year I’m going to say no to things I don’t want to do, and more importantly, not feel guilty about doing that!
  9. Let go of things that don’t matter: Another important one for me, I worry about such rubbish, things that everyone else forgot about three seconds after they happened. It’s so tough but I’m going to keep working to let those things go.
  10. Write down three positive things every day: I’ve been doing this since mid-January 2016 and I want to continue. Not only is it going to be fascinating to see what I’ve been doing that day through the years, but it’s good to end the day remembering that no matter how bad it’s been there have been things to smile about.
  11. Go for one country walk a month: I love a good country walk, it refreshes your mind and body. I live in the flipping countryside so I think I should be able to manage this once a month!
  12. Don’t feel guilty if you spend all day at home in your pjs: On the other end of the spectrum, some days you just need to not leave the house but I always feel terrible if I do this. Not anymore.
  13. Aim to walk 10,000 steps a day: Now I’ve discovered the Health app on my iPhone I can keep track of this. With my walk to and from work I usually do about 7,000 anyway, I just need to squeeze in a break from my desk at lunch and I should make the target.
  14. Have a pamper night once a month at least: I love a pamper night but I always feel you really have to commit to them and feel guilty taking a whole evening off to do it. Once a month is a reasonable aim and I’m sure my body will thank me for it.
  15. Switch off and stop scrolling: Ugh, the internet. I need less of you and mindless scrolling in my life. I find it so hard to switch off my phone but spending some time away from it always, always makes me feel better. This year I’m going to do it more.
  16. Be mindless: Finally I’m going to do more things that benefit me in no way at all e.g. reading trashy novels, playing Theme Hospital, watching endless Netflix. And I’m not going to feel guilty about it, so there!

img_7435

I’m writing this sat snuggled up next to the fire, fresh from a winter walk on the beach (see photo evidence above – me and my little sister). I’m just thinking about how I’m going to get my post-Christmas body into action tomorrow so it can look half decent in the slightly risqué gold bodycon dress I’m wearing on NY Eve – eek! I’ve had the best week of downtime over Christmas, I’m really sad it’s at an end but whilst usually I’d be crying into my cornflakes about it, I’m actually feeling kind of positive and ready to hit January and 2017 hard! 

I always make the longest list of new year’s resolutions and every year I barely make it to February still remembering what they are, let alone putting them into action. But I weirdly enjoy making them anyway, it makes me feel all positive. This year, to try and have a higher success rate I’m making my resolutions a little more general, things to work towards throughout the year that I can’t really fail at. So instead of ‘lose 3lbs’, I would say ‘try to eat healthily’, that way you can keep going with it way past January 30th. Here are mine, let me know if you have any and we can inspire each other throughout the year. That’s the other thing – I’m going to check in every month to see how I’m doing. Wish me luck! And sorry for the essay coming your way…

My 2017 resolutions: 

Exercise – I started a weekly Pilates class in 2016 and loved it. This year I need to do more but the key is making it something I enjoy. So I want to continue with Pilates and also do classes in things I’ve been meaning to restart forever – yoga and dancing. I’d also like to keep trying to walk 10,000 steps a day now I’ve discovered the Health app on my iPhone. 

Mindfulness – I’ve wanted and been advised to do a mindfulness course a million times – I worry too much and this is supposed to be the perfect antidote. Now I’ve been sent a mindfulness course I can do at home so I can stop using money and time as excuses. Whilst I’m doing that I also want to introduce meditation into my every day, hopefully on my commute like I used to. 

Self care – I always leave self-care off my list but it’s so important for me. This year I’m going to schedule in more time for me so I actually keep to it every week without fail. I’m going to write a blog post soon on things to include in my self-care time – things like baths, reading fiction and watching endless Netflix without feeling guilty! 

Getting my business going – Me and the boyfriend have had a business idea for ages now and we just need to get going with it. We’ve done all the research and we’re ready to hit the ‘Start’ button and hopefully make the dream a reality, I’m sure I’ll bore you all senseless with blog posts on this throughout the year. I just can’t wait, I’m so excited about it and have so many ideas. 

Novel – Another one that’s been on my to do list forever. This year is going to be the one that I start writing my novel, no pressure to write a certain amount of words a day or a month but I’ve got an idea and now I just need to get going with it. I love writing fiction so much and this is another perfect one for my commute.

Water – It’s on my New Year’s resolutions list every year but I need to start drinking 2 litres a day. I suffer from headaches and life would just be better if I did a bit more sipping, come on Kerrina! 

Blog – This year I don’t want to go on a blog hiatus, I want to keep writing every week. I can’t promise it will always be regular but I just don’t want to give up with it. I’ll attempt to blog 2-3 times a week and I really want to find the courage to start up my Instagram again. I enjoy it and I think I could do well with it, if I was just a little braver. Hopefully I’ll also get a few more readers, improve my blog photos and work with a few more brands.

Travel – Read this post for more, I have so many big travel plans this year. Japan, Budapest with friends, travelling alone, come at me! 

Volunteering/Charity – I would love to do more for charity this year and perhaps volunteer too. It’s a cliche but it feels so good giving back and I feel the world needs a bit more love in 2017. 

Food – This year I want to do the opposite of most others and actually eat a bit more! Only of the good things though – I want to make sure I eat three good meals a day and healthy snacks too. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do this but hopefully I’ll work it out. 

fullsizerender-10

I really can’t believe we’ve nearly made it to the end of 2016. It feels like time is flying by and when I wake up it might just be 2060, rather than 2017. It’s been a year of ups and mostly downs for the world and personally it’s been a very mixed year too. I guess most years are though. Going back through my iPhone photos (I’ve now got a ridiculous 10,559!), I quickly realised it’s been a year characterised by my new job and a lot of holidays. So without further adieu, here’s my favourite things from 2016. 

  • Christmas

I couldn’t not include the festive fun in my round up, every year it’s a highlight for me. Lots of family time, board games, eating and walks on the beach. I feel so sad I’m not getting anymore for a whole year.

fullsizerender-11

ellen

  • Meeting famous people at some amazing events 

Through my job I’ve been to some incredible events this year – the BAFTAs, the Pride of Britain Awards, film premieres for Fantastic Beasts, Girl on the Train, Finding Dory and Bridget Jones’s Baby, amongst many more, and I’ve met some amazing people too. My highlight? 100% chatting to Leonardo DiCaprio after he picked up his BAFTA. It’s not all glam though, I’ve got rather cold on a few too many red carpets. But the best bit has been being able to occasionally bring along my favourite people and to give them amazing experiences. 

croatia

  • Holidays

This year I’ve been insanely lucky and travelled to Geneva, Copenhagen, Sorrento, Cornwall, Croatia and Baden Baden. I’ve discovered some incredible European cities, fallen in love in particular with some of the colder parts of Northern Europe and had the most amazing two weeks travelling around Croatia. And I’ve gone with lots of the best people in my life too. 

woolpaxk

  • Going behind the scenes at Emmerdale and Corrie

Proudest pic of 2016 above! I’ve been a soap lover as long as I can remember, from 7pm our lounge TV is on lockdown as my mum settles down to the trio of Emmerdale, Corrie and EastEnders. And one of the perks of my job has definitely been going behind the scenes at the former two. I even got to pull a pint in the Woolpack! 

  • Changed my blog up

Can you believe I completed my 100 challenges a whole year ago, it feels like so much longer. It’s been a very up and down year here, and I did go AWOL for a while in the third quarter of the year. But I’m proud that I’ve made it through and developed this blog into something completely new. I’ve worked with a few lovely brands too and I’ve done 11 whole posts in December. Hopefully I’ll keep building on this and 2017 will be a big one for this little space on the internet. 

sunset

  • Been more adventurous and carefree

A random one but I think I’ve been much more adventurous in 2016, I’ve let things weigh me down less and tried to keep embodying that childlike spirit. I’ve scaled rocks to watch amazing sunsets in Croatia (evidence above!), I’ve played chase the waves on Devon beaches, and I’ve climbed two mountains in the fog. Sometimes it’s fun to forget your responsibilities and just go for it. 

  • Walked 10 miles with work 

I almost forgot about this one but back in July I walked 10 miles through the streets of London in the dark for Breast Cancer Care. Without any training, it got tough at the end but it was a laugh with my work colleagues. This year I definitely want to do more for charity. 

Wimbledon 1

  • Wimbledon and the Proms 

These are two places I’ve wanted to go forever and they didn’t disappoint. Wimbledon was such a fun day and we got practically the only good weather of the fortnight. And we saw Jamie Cullum at the Proms, our view might have been a little restricted but we still sang at the top of our voices! 

fullsizerender-9

Christmas is over (sad face) but you’ve still got that nice long stretch off before you have to face the office again. How do you make the most of that time off? I think this little slice of the year is one of the only times we can truly relax and give ourselves the much needed break before the new year hits with all its demands. But sometimes we end up feeling guilty for not filling the time properly and just moping around in our pyjamas. So I’ve made a little list of ways to fill your time but still chill out and feel refreshed too…

  1. Play board games: I don’t know about you but we only ever seem to play board games around Christmas. And there’s so many good ones out there – Cluedo, that old classic Monopoly, Outburst, Taboo, and millions more. Plan a games night and get everyone involved. 
  2. Write some New Years resolutions: There’s no point tackling all that tricky stuff yet but why not make a little list of aims for next year? All positive, no negatives, and just don’t make them too unrealistic. 
  3. Start a new box set: There’s no better feeling than getting sucked into a brand new story, so dig out that box set you’ve been trying to find the time to start and get sofa surfing.
  4. Have a clear out: If you want to be a bit more productive, you’re going to need to find space for all those shiny new things you got this Christmas so make it out with the old and in with the sparkly new. It’s nice to start the new year all decluttered too, and you can take all your old things to the charity shop. 
  5. Go for a country walk: I love the crisp air at this time of year and this is the perfect way to gently work off all that food you’ve eaten the last few days. I’m heading to Devon for a few days so I’ll be walking on the beach wrapped up in a million layers and I can’t wait. 
  6. Finally get started on that long term to do list aim: Is there something that’s been sitting in those notes on your iphone for the whole year and you’ve never got round to? For me it’s to start writing my novel, I’ve had the idea for months and just never got round to it. This is the perfect time to start, ready to continue into 2017.
  7. Read, read, read: I don’t know about you but I only ever read on my commute. I forget how nice it is to get snuggled up under a blanket in the lounge with just a cup of tea and a book for company.
  8. Have a pamper day/night: Get New Year’s Eve ready with some pamper time, I’ve got a post here which I always refer back to when planning my de-stress time. Just work through this list and ta da! You’ll feel all brand new.
  9. Make fun (but cheap!) plans for January: Get that brand spanking new 2017 diary out and start texting friends and filling in pages. January can be dark and drab so make sure you’ve got lots to look forward to.
  10. Take all your family/friends to do an escape room: I’m obsessed after trying my first one in York last month. They’re all over the UK and they’re the perfect team building exercise and just so much fun!

Have you got any more ideas? I’d love to hear how you make the most of this time.

father-xmas

Who else could top this Christmas Day post then Santa Claus himself? And for good measure I thought I’d throw in a few! 2016 has been a difficult year for many, and particularly for the world. But I want to keep this Christmas post upbeat and as I always say there is SO much good news that unfortunately goes unnoticed. So to interrupt your Christmas dinner and marathon film watching, here are my favourite positive news stories from all my happy news posts this year. There may have been some questionable decisions but there are plenty of amazing, generous, kind people out there, so without further adieu (I love that phrase!), let’s give them a lot more airtime…

An Egyptian billionaire approached two Greek island owners to ask to buy their islands so he can house refugees. This is an incredible story. There’s been so many amazing acts of generosity but rarely do they get much coverage – I remember reading about a Greek grandma taking refugees into her home and acting as if they’re her children too. But this man, Naguib Sawiris, thinks it’s feasible that he could house thousands in need temporarily, if he can just buy an island!

A social experiment in Cardiff tested how many people would return dropped wallets, and every single person gave the wallets they found back. Maybe people are more honest than we think?

This is so cute, a Starbucks barista learnt sign language to communicate with a regular deaf customer. Ibby Piracha was amazed when he arrived to get his normal coffee and she was able to greet him. Before this he always had to write out his order on his phone. How lovely!

A travel agent surprised all her employees by rewarding them with a three day holiday to Barbados. Imagine this, you think you’re celebrating your company’s tenth anniversary with a day out to Flamingo Land in Yorkshire, and you end up on a trip with your 32 workmates to the Caribbean. The manager Helen Bilton is clearly a legend.

This story has all the feels, a regularly rejected one-eyed puppy finds a new home with a partially-sighted man. Little Australian shepherd Shiner Solo was repeatedly rejected by prospective owners because he was born without a left eye. After a gardening accident, Jordan Trent lost the sight in his left eye aged 15. So when Jordan went to adopt a puppy, he found his perfect partner in Shiner Solo.

This hasn’t appeared in any of my happy news posts this year but I just had to include it because I think it’s the most inspiring of 2016. Little Syrian 7-year-old Bana al-Abed has escaped Aleppo for Turkey after tweeting and raising awareness of the terrifying conditions there. What an amazing and brave little girl, I am so pleased this story had a happy ending.

And finally… The story that inspired all my Happy News posts in the first place. A penguin swims 5,000 miles every year to visit the man who saved his life. 71-year-old retired bricklayer and part-time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza saved the penguin’s life years ago when he found him covered in oil.