Tag Archives: new year

Review of 2016

I’m a little late with my review of the year this year, mostly because I was away from home over the festive period but also because I wanted to write up some really considered ‘resolutions’ for 2017.

I was pretty busy in 2016, although almost the entire first half of the year had a definite rowing focus.

– I went on rowing training camp to Gent, Belgium again, and was deemed ‘most improved’ at the end of it
– I was happy to be chosen to compete for my rowing club at the Henley Women’s Regatta and we made it through the time trials and two competitive rounds before going out in the semi-finals to the eventual winners
– I was asked to do the decorations for the rowing club annual dinner and managed to do some pretty nifty things on a very low budget
– My efforts earned me the Lady Rower of the Year trophy at my rowing club – all the blood, sweat, tears, DOMS, blisters, fatigue, hunger and doubts were worth it in the end!
– I volunteered at the Oxford Half Marathon for the third year, this time handing out medals at the finish, and also assisting with the local schools’ event
– I got my first ever work promotion
– I met my boyfriend!
– I went on a romantic vacance to Paris with said boyfriend – we visited the Louvre, Pompidou centre, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Montmartre and Versailles amongst other places
– I became a volunteer writer for the International Paralympic Committee
– I was a social media volunteer at the IPC Swimming European Open Championships in Funchal, Madeira
– I joined a Biobank and found out some interesting facts and stats about my body! (Thankfully all good ones)
– I finally managed to visit the Thermae Bath Spa – lovely on a cold, slightly snowy winter’s night
– I did another Creative Sprint in October 2016, and even got one of my creations featured on Instagram!
– Way back in January 2016 I won the Charity Award at my work’s New Year party for my efforts organising cake sales for fundraising
– I moved house (again)

So, to my ‘resolutions’ – though they’re not set in stone. After the continuing success of my resolution a few years ago to ‘be more positive’, these days I am all about making long-term, lasting lifestyle adjustments.

I’ll continue to improve the eco-friendliness of my life – I’m already seeing good results from this, it’s making me use my imagination more, be healthier, and be more mindful of how I go about doing things.

I was guilty last year of buying lots of things via mail order, mostly because, what with all that rowing, I very rarely had the time or energy to go to the shops. The trouble was I spent a lot of time and money sending things back, and the packaging that items are sent out in is often both copious and non-recyclable. Plus I was missing out on trying things on and experimenting. Last year my standout purchase was an amazingly flattering pair of dungarees (of all things) which I would never have bought via the website, but thought ‘why not’ in the shop! This is part of a ‘try new things’ kick which I have been on for a couple of years. The only time I am planning to make an exception to my mail order rule is when either the brand does not have a physical shop or offline stockists, or if I am able to support an independent Etsy seller by buying something from them.

I’m still working on finding some happy mediums with all of the things I do. I can be very much an all or nothing kind of person and I need to learn to exist in the middle ground a bit more.

What with all the being eco-friendly and kicking my mail-order habit, I’m hoping to be able to save some money this year. My stepdad pointed out the other day (if evidence of the above all-or-nothingness was needed) that I like to have Big Experiences. So instead of, for example, just going to the Winter Wonderland event in Hyde Park in London, I readily sold many of my worldly belongings to be able to afford to go to Norway to see real snow, real alpine forests, real Northern Lights. Similarly, he said, I don’t want to go to a mere zoo, I want to go to New Zealand to save an endangered parrot! All these wonderful experiences cost money so I’m going to make it my mission to save up enough to do another one soon.



New Year’s Resolutions 2013

Last year’s New Year’s Resolutions were a bit ‘floaty’ in nature, so this year I’ve decided to make them a bit more tangible. It seems to be a little tradition of mine now to have five, so I’ve gone for the same number again. Any less and it’s too easy, and any more and it feels like a chore rather than self-improvement. This year my younger brother has taken a leaf out of my book and gone for eleven, which is pretty impressive:

My brother's New Year's resolutions for 2013

My brother’s New Year’s resolutions for 2013

This year, my resolutions are:

1) Make marshmallows, macarons and madeleines. I’ve got out of the habit of baking, mostly because I can’t find anyone willing to eat the results of my endeavours in the kitchen! Not because they’re bad, of course, just because everyone’s a bit health-conscious these days, and I tend to make things in large quantities (cf my epic pink rainbow cake). This year I thought I’d attempt three slightly more advanced treats. I’ll be attempting to make vegetarian marshmallows, courtesy of this UK stockist of ready-mixed ingredients, and this instructional video; macarons, inspired by this amazing baking lady whose blog I recently discovered (she makes a lot of macarons); and madeleines, because they make sponge cake look pretty and sophisticated, and I’ve only ever eaten shop-bought versions.

2) Make fewer excuses. I’ve been working hard on this one already, but I’ve decided to make it an official NYR this year to really help me sort it out. I’m a great one for making excuses: ‘Oh, I can’t take amazing photos because I don’t have the right camera’, ‘I don’t have the time’, ‘I don’t have the funds’, ‘I don’t do such-and-such’… you get the idea! This NYR is all about arguing back with the little excuse-making voice in my head that tells me that I can’t do things. I can!

3) Work on becoming very healthy and fit. I had a similar NYR a couple of years ago which was all about exercise. This time, I’ve got stuff going on which means I need to be super-fit *and* working hard to have a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet. I’ve been a bit lax over the last few months with both diet and exercise so I’m using the New Year as a springboard to launch me back into being virtuous and enthusiastic again.

4) Make my own clothes (or modify more). The nature of fashion is such that every few seasons, there will only be clothes in particular styles and shapes in the shops, and woe betide you if you’re not the right shape for them! I’ve really struggled to buy any new clothes this year, for the simple reason that I don’t suit skinny jeans, peplums, drop-hem chiffon skirts or shirts, or playsuits, which is all that I seemed to find. I got so frustrated towards the end of the year that I have vowed to make my own clothes this year, in styles that suit me and fit me. I also used to buy clothes in sales and charity shops, and modify them to suit me, and I need to get back into doing this sort of recon – this board on Craftster is particularly inspiring for reconstructed clothing.

5) Do a photography project. I’m signed up to Photojojo’s mailing list and they send a newsletter out the other day that encouraged people to start a new photography project for the New Year. This got me thinking that I should refamiliarise myself with my camera and get out and take some photos! I think a photo-a-day project might be asking too much, with everything else that I’ve got going on this year, but a photo-a-week project is eminently doable. Shall I follow some kind of theme for my photos, or just see where the muse takes me?

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?


PS I’m also doing something that’s been doing the rounds on Facebook and Pinterest. Usually I think this kind of thing is a bit naff but this particular task struck a chord with me. The idea is to take an empty jar and fill it up with notes about good things that have happened during the year. I always get reflective at New Year, and often have trouble remembering all the things I’ve done or achieved, so this will hopefully be a good memory-jogger! I’ve made little kits for myself, my brother and my friend consisting of a jar, assorted scrap paper (it looks better in the jar when there are lots of colours) and a clip to hold the paper together. Here’s hoping I’ll have lots of notes in the jar by the end of the year!

Jar of good things

2012 New Year’s Resolutions

This year’s New Year’s Resolutions are a bit broader and far-reaching than last year’s, and I’ve bumped it up to five this year. I like a challenge!

1) Learn to knit and make at least one tiny bobble hat for innocent’s Big Knit campaign. I’ve been meaning to knit one of these bobble hats for years now, and with time passing increasingly quickly (or so it seems), no sooner have I said ‘I’ll definitely learn in time for next year’s Big Knit’ than said Big Knit rolls round again and I’ve still not learnt to knit. Making it an official NYR means I have to do it this year!

2) Get organised where it matters. If I’ve got a project or something important that needs to be done, I’m now not allowed to put it off until the last minute. Generally doing something last minute and on a low budget can help me produce some of my best work, but sometimes things need to be done early or with plenty of time to spare and room to manoeuvre.

3) Try to avoid spoilers, whether this be to do with people, places, plans or presents. This could contradict (2) but getting organised doesn’t mean I have to spoil things for myself by knowing too much about them. It’s very tempting to do my fountain-of-all-knowledge thing when going somewhere or doing something but I think I’d like to have some little surprises this year.

4) Become more cultured. Whilst it’s tempting to blame my lack of ‘culture’ on growing up in a cultural backwater, it’s really no excuse. I feel like I should know what people are talking about when they discuss Nietzsche or quote Vonnegut, I should have seen a ballet/opera/classical concert/theatrical production by now, and I should have read more ‘classic’ books. Does anyone have suggestions for what I can do to become more cultured this year?

5) Be more positive! I’ve a tendency to use defensive pessimism far too often (though apparently it can be a good thing ). I see the negative in most situations. I’d like to try to limit the number of negative things that I say this year, and only say positive things.

Like I said, I like a challenge!

What New Year’s resolutions have you made, if any?