Hello there stranger! It’s been such a long time since my last post!
I didn’t mean to stop blogging. I love my little blog and I love the community I have built up with it over the last 4 years. I’m made some amazing friends and I love looking back at old posts that have captured some wonderful memories. Somehow, life got in the way however, and we drifted apart a little. A lot of the faces have changed since we last caught up, and I’m sad to have lost touch with some of the amazing bloggers I got to know, but with the New Year I am looking forward to a new challenge and meeting some new faces.
2016 was an amazing year for me. I got to travel to San Francisco, Orlando and Seattle. I became an auntie, I changed jobs to become a Business Development Manager. I have thrown myself into voluntary work, including completing my 5th blood donation and spending my Christmas with an isolated elderly person in addition to my weekly volunteering with the Royal Voluntary Service. I also ran three 10k races for Macmillan Cancer Support. Oh, and I discovered a love for geocaching (but more on that later…)
As you can see, all that excitement in 2016 got in the way of blogging! I threw myself into 2016 determined to experience as much as possible and I absolutely made the most of it! But by the end of the year I noticed that I was missing something that had previously been such a huge part of my life. Out of curiosity, I opened up the WordPress page and was stunned to see that, despite not writing a single post in 2016, my blog had had its best year to date, getting just shy of 32,000 views! Although this is small by most standards, I was stunned…clearly we were both better off for the break!
James and I have a New Year’s tradition. Every year, we spend New Year’s Eve at home, just the two of us and write a load of lists. This was something that we started on the eve of 2015, just after we had moved in together and we were beginning the working chapter of our lives in our own home. For 2015, we wrote 15 lists, each containing 15 things. These lists were varied in their contents and included ’15 movies to watch’ and ’15 books to read.’ We have kept up the tradition, and we look forward to spending every New Year tucked up at home, crossing things off our lists, counting up our totals and planning our lists for the year ahead. The goal is never to cross everything off. The goal is to make the most of every minute we have, and our lists are our inspiration of how to best fill those precious minutes that we have around our busy working lives.
The eve of 2017 was no exception. We dutifully planned out all of our lists and filled them with ideas to make 2017 the best and busiest year yet! And unsurprisingly, when I was considering these lists, blogging came to mind.
I’m not going to walk you through all 17 of our lists, but I wanted to share with you my ’17 things to achieve in 2017 list’ since it is the time for resolutions as we see in the new year. It also makes me accountable…if I’ve shared my list with you, then I have to work hard to cross off as much as I can!
- Cross 5 things off my bucket list – When I was in Florida last year, I came across this bucket list journal which I fell in love with. It allows you to capture 101 things you want to do in your lifetime, and has a page for you to fill in on your thoughts before completing the activity, and another page for your thoughts afterwards, with a space for a photo. I love journals, and I love living life to gain experiences, so this bucket list was perfect for me to capture everything I want to attempt in my lifetime, as well as a great way of recording my thoughts before and after. It is such a treasured item that will document my lifetime! I’ve not picked all of the 101 things I want to do yet, but with a list of 80 to choose from, I hope to get 5 crossed off the list in 2017.
- Write a letter/card every week – I love writing letters and I have some wonderful penpals who have been just as neglected as my blog has recently. In the chaos of changing jobs and adapting to a new schedule, I hardly wrote to them at all last year. This year, I want to sit down and write a letter, card or postcard once a week. It only takes a few minutes but I love jotting down my thoughts and dropping them into the post box – not to mention the excitement of finding a letter on your doorstep after a long day at work! Even if it is just a note to an old friend to say ‘hi!’ I am keen to write one letter a week, and my first one of 2017 is already in the post!
- Increase my total cache count to 250 – For those of you who don’t know about geocaching, you can find out more here. In 2016, I went geocaching for the first time and since then I have been hooked! It is a great way to get out and about, exploring the local area, getting some fresh air and stretching out those legs after a week sat at a desk! To date, I have found 63 geocaches since my first venture into it in May. Now that I am a more experienced geocacher, finding caches is becoming quicker and I can find more in a day. Because of this, I’ve decided to set myself the challenge of increasing my total count from 63 to 250 by the end of the year. Watch this space as I’m sure there will be plenty of posts on my geocaching adventures!
- Reach my target weight – In 2015, with the help of Slimming World, I really got my weight on track. I was eating healthy and became very active. This slipped in 2016 when the chaos of changing jobs knocked me off track (I’m a stress eater!) and the amount of travel my new job involves makes it difficult to plan meals and stick to the plan as I was doing. In 2017, I am going to rectify that by getting back on track with my workouts and eating to ensure I can achieve and maintain my target weight and a healthy lifestyle.
- Get 501 film count to 200 – Several years ago when I was working as a bookseller I picked up a copy of 501 Must See Movies. When I bought the book, I had seen 7 of them. I’m not really a movie person, but I’ve made a dedicated effort to watch the films in the book. In November, I watched film 100, and I have been thoroughly enjoying crossing the films off the list. While I haven’t enjoyed all of the films, I’m pleased to say I have seen them, so I aim to double my current total by the end of the year and have 200 films crossed off the list.
- Make all of my Christmas presents before 1st December – In both 2015 and 2016, I made every single one of my Christmas presents. It started off as a one off, to make a few gifts for people for Christmas, but now I can no longer go out and buy a present, as it doesn’t have the same meaning to it as a handmade gift. Despite planning my Christmas in January, it is always a rush in December to get everything finished! This year I want to remove some of the stress and get everything completed before December 1st.
- Write 1 blog post per month – And here is where we get to my blog. I thought a lot about what would be the best goal to set – the number of followers, the number of views over the year. In the end, I decided to set myself a very modest but achievable goal…writing one post a month. On the surface, this seems tiny. At one point I was writing a blog post a day but since that time my life has changed so drastically. My new job is hard. I love it; I love its challenging nature, but I come home most days exhausted. I travel a lot and I am usually away at least one night a week, or at the very least I’m getting home between 9 and 10pm after a day out of the office. It is an amazing experience, but after sitting in front of the computer most of the day, the last thing I want to do is turn it on again and write a blog. But I don’t want to leave it abandoned for another year either. As a compromise, I’m setting the goal of writing one post a month. One post that I can properly plan and look forward to; that I can enjoy writing and have some ‘me time’ compiling. My blogging is going to be my treat to be enjoyed, not a chore after a long day at work. Some months there may be more posts, but my only goal is to write one and to maintain it. If I can achieve that I will be happy.
- Make 1 item of clothing per month – I adore making my own clothes. Nothing makes me prouder than being able to reply “I made it” when someone asks me where I bought my outfit. I have a huge pile of fabrics ready to be turned into my new wardrobe, but in between making Christmas presents, I have left them to one side. This year I want to make for me, as well as everyone else, so I want to make at least one piece of handmade clothing a month to improve my skills, and to enjoy a little bit of selfish crafting that I rarely have!
- Increase my Parkrun total to 25 – After competing my three 10k races in 2016, I was looking for a way to keep up my running. No longer training, I didn’t have the incentive to go out for runs, but I loved the feeling and the benefits that it brought. That was when someone recommended I join Parkrun. Since then, I have taken park in 5 Parkruns, but I got our of the habit again as my life was taken over by Christmas presents! I love the atmosphere of Parkrun and I am keen to get involved again, so I have sent myself a goal of increasing my total number of Parkruns from 5 to 25. This should easily be achievable but gives me something to work towards to keep me motivated throughout the year.
- Buy a house – This one is by far the biggest goal on my list. James and I have been renting since 2014, and while our rental house is lovely, it just isn’t our home and we are ready for a place to call our own. We’ve been working really hard to save as much as we can for the last year so we can buy somewhere when our contract runs out in June. We might be scraping the last bits together in the final months, but we are working hard to make this goal a success!
- End the year with £5,000 in savings (after house purchase) – Financial security is a huge thing for me. I don’t own a credit card through choice, so rely heavily on an ’emergency fund’ if it is needed. I am painfully conscious that our house purchase, if a success, will leave us back at zero again, with the added responsibility of having to replace things when they are needed since we will no longer have a landlord to do it! Because of this, our aim for the second half of the year if we do by a house, will be recouping some of those savings for our ‘rainy day fund’ to put our minds at ease in case anything crops up!
- Complete 3 of the AA walks in West Yorkshire– in 2015 we had a trip to the Yorkshire Dales and absolutely loved it. When we returned, I picked up a copy of 50 Walks in West Yorkshire as a way of getting us to explore the local area and to get us out and about getting fit! Last year we did 5 of the walks in the book and found some amazing places in the area we otherwise wouldn’t have known about, but then we discovered geocaching, so we didn’t put the book to as much use. This year, we want to do a combination of caching and walking, so we aim to complete three walks in the book.
- Complete a minimum of 2 workouts per week – Much in the same vein as my weight loss goal, I want 2017 to be a year of improving my overall fitness. It has been difficult to maintain a fitness programme around my work travel, so my initial goal for this year is to complete a minimum of two workouts a week. This should be minimal enough for me to fit it in and stick to my target, but enough to make a big impact on my overall fitness. Once I start working out, I always fall in love with it, so I’m hoping that the weekly goal will keep me motivated all year round.
- Attend 1 sales course – In my new role as a Business Development Manager, I have a lot to learn. I’ve been in the role for 7 months now, but I am still picking things up daily. As sales isn’t something I have previous experience in, I bought and read a huge pile of sales books before I started the job. I want to continue to develop my skills in 2017, by attending a sales training course; I don’t mind if this is virtual or in person, but I am keen to improve myself further.
- Yoga/meditation at least twice a week – As well as developing myself in my work role, I am keen to develop myself spiritually. I’m on the go all the time in my new role, that I sometimes forget to switch off. Because of this, I want to incorporate yoga and or meditation into my weekly routine, as a reminder to take a step back from everything else and focus on myself for a little while.
- Have a photography session once a month – I have always been a keen photographer, which lead me to study photography at A-Level, but since entering University and then working life, I’ve stopped taking pictures. Once a month, I aim to have a day out with my camera, simply exploring and capturing what I find. My camera skills are rusty and I need to brush up on the technology and the editing software, but I want to revive my hobby so I am scheduling time for it in my calendar, much like blogging.
- Complete 5 ongoing craft projects – Like any other crafter, I have a mountain of unfinished projects (UFOs) hidden away in my craft room. I am determined that this year they will see the light of day and I will finish them and give them the attention they deserve. Finishing 5 of these projects will drastically reduce the UFOs I have lying around, and there is nothing more satisfying than finally finishing something you’ve had on the go for years!
So that is everything I have set out to achieve in 2017. Hopefully, this is the first of several blog posts you will see this year, as well as some updating and redecoration going on in the world of WordPress! Thanks for sticking around in the interim, I look forwards to engaging once again with the world of blogging and I look forward to making some more amazing virtual friends!
Best wishes for 2017! Don’t forget to tell me what you want to achieve this year in the comments!