Tuesday, 31 December 2013

So, What's In Store For Two-Oh-One-Four?

It's New Year's Eve and I'm sat, as my previous post hinted I might be, by the radiator with my dog by my side, indulging in a few minutes of peace.

I'm not one for resolutions. They don't work for me and they don't float my boat. But, if I am the archetypal donkey, goals set are my absolute favourite type of carrot. They keep me trotting in the right direction and their tempting allure guarantees my own kind of perpetual movement.

So, in a personal post, here's what's in store for my two-oh-one-four...

Walking - I achieved my goal of this year to walk 1,000 miles and next year, I'm aiming for 1,250. I also plan on hot-stepping my way around the Isle of Wight Challenge

Writing - Book number three is starting to tumble from my fingertips and even if it doesn't see the light of day, it will be researched and written by this time next year.

Cooking - I will be expanding my repertoire of recipes and will cook four new dishes every month. They may or may not be universally acclaimed but I'll keep going....

Snapping - After the amazing experience of Emily Quinton's MakeLight Workshop, my love of photography continues. I want to document the year, improve my skills and use my DSLR more regularly.

Eating - I love food and as Mr Apple presented me a copy of the Michelin Guide for Christmas, I now have a list of 12 places to visit this year and visit them I shall.

Reading - I should now perhaps admit my lazy streak and own up to the fact that I can re-read my favourite books over and over. Rather like comfort eating for the brain, I turn to these trusty titles too much. So, in 2014, I will read at least 12 new books.

and, finally, possibly the most important goal of all...

Living - More time with those I love, more breaks and experiences, more fun and maybe a little more time for me.

So, that's what's in store so come on two-oh-one-four, I'm ready and waiting...

Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Comes But Once A Year?

Well, it's that time of year again - today I flick on the out-of-office and head down the slope towards Christmas Day.

I love Christmas and for that, I blame my Mum who made it magical every year when I was a little girl. Now, I love Christmas because it still sprinkles magic, albeit of a different kind, over my life on an annual basis.

No, I don't lay awake on Christmas Eve with my eyes squeezed tight shut in case by being awake, I stop Santa from delivering to me. And no, I don't wiggle down my bed in the morning to prod at my stocking with my foot to check it rustles and crackles with the goodies inside.

Instead, the pleasures Christmas now brings are of the grown up variety - guilt-free time with family and friends, time to indulge my passions of reading and cooking and time itself. Time to slow down, to even grind to a halt for a day or two if I choose and time to breathe, relax, recharge and slip away from the noise and craziness for even just a few moments every day and sit, as I am now, against the radiator in my bedroom with my dog at my side, and just be still.

You see, Christmas Day is, in many ways, like a wedding - we plan frantically, we rush around, we arrange pre-event parties and get togethers and we spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for just one day. Then, just like a wedding, the day itself flashes by in the blink of an eye, a whirl of wrapping paper, presents, glitter and food.

And, just like a wedding, sometimes you can feel a bit down, a bit flat and a bit blue after Christmas. But my friends, the real secret to Christmas, as with weddings, is to not look backwards. Don't try to cling on to what has past and what can never be again. Don't yearn for the 'one day' and everything that came with it, as fabulous as those things might have been.

Oh no, look forwards and look ahead - there will be surprises around every corner, more moments of happiness, joy and extraordinary emotion than you can imagine because these aren't limited to one day a year or even once in a lifetime.

They are out there, every day, like year-round Christmas presents, just waiting to be unwrapped.