Happy New Year, darlings! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful start to 2018. Me? I’m still trying to recover from 2017. A certain NYE party in 2017, more specifically.
After a couple of days to get rid of my hangover, take down our Chrismas decorations and get my home and life back in order, I’m finally back at my desk, ready to re-immerse myself into the world of blogging. I wish I could say I had loads of thrilling travel plans and plans for my blog in the new year, but if I learned one thing in 2017, it is that life is very unpredictable and plans laid with the best intentions can change in a matter of seconds. So at this stage, 2018 seems like a brand new notebook on the first day of school – pristine, untouched and full of exciting possibilities. Just begging for a pen to touch its empty, lined pages and scribble tales of adventures to be had and list ambitious goals to be achieved.
I’ll let you in on a little secret – I think New Year’s Resolutions are incrediby cringey, especially when it comes to unrealsitic weight loss related resolutions. I’m old enough and experienced enough to know that midway through January (or February, if you’re particularly strong-willed) we’ll all be back to eating carbs, drinking alcohol and hitting the snooze button on our alarm clocks seventeen times before we get out of bed. In fact, I don’t think I know a single person who has successfully and consistantly followed through on a New Year Resolution till the end of the year, do you?
I do, however, like the idea of starting the new year with positive intentions and a list of things I’d like to do that I genuinely enjoy and that better my life in little ways. I wouldn’t necessarily call them ‘goals’ or ‘resolve’ to do anything (especially anything weight related), more of a bucket list of things that I’d enjoy doing during the course of this year. If I get through them, great. If not, there’s always next year.
(1) Learn how to swim
My mum, grandmother and I took swimming lessons together when I was little, and as cute as the family bonding time was, now that I’ve grown up, I’ve realised that I didn’t actually learn very much. I splash around and make an embarassment of myself and I wasn’t taught any proper strokes or techniques. Not to mention the fact that I have a panic attack if my feet don’t touch the ground. I really missed being able to swim in the sea on our honeymoon in Capri and aim to take lessons over the next six months so that by the time summer hits, I’ll be able to jump off a boat or go snorkeling like I’ve always dreamed of doing. I’ve done the reaearch and found some classes near me, now if I could just muster up the courage to wear a swimsuit in public, that’d help greatly.
(2) Spend more on experiences than material things
I spent a ridiculous amount of money on clothing and makeup last year, and, I’m quite ashamed to admit that I’d buy things when I was on a ‘shopping high’ and then donate them to charity after wearing / trying them once. I’m not going to go stop myself from buying things this year, but I am going to save my money for the pieces that steal my heart, that I can’t stop thinking about and checking on for days. In fact, I haven’t bought myself anything I haven’t truly needed (like products I use everyday and have run out of etc.) in December, and I found it surprisingly easy to say no to myself. Instead, I’m going to try and save a little money this year for date nights, travel and little trips away, as those are the experiences I will treasure most in the long run.
(3) Get back to Latin dancing
I was a competitive dancer in school and have always really enjoyed it, but never actively persued it after, save for a salsa class I took when I was in college that I absolutely loved. I recently rediscovered my passion for it at a salsa night I went to on a whim with my girlfriends last year, and I’d love to venture back into it, just for fun.
(4) Treat my blog like a job
Creating loads of back-to-back content for my blog over Christmas made me realise a few things: (a) I’ve fallen in love with blogging and content creation all over again (b) I really should be doing this more regularly than just once a week (c) I cannot for the life of me work over the Christmas break again, and so I should probably get a proper editorial calender in place, start mapping out content and working on posts in advance. I also have developed the naughty little habit of neglecting my amazing new workspace and sitting on the sofa or in bed with my laptop, because they’re more comfortable. Instead, I’d like to be dressed and sat at my desk from 9am (unless I’m shooting, of course) and steadily work through content until 5.30, with the exception of an hour-long lunch break, when I will also try and squeeze in a dog walk. I’ve never been someone who has loved routine and I liked not knowing what my day was going to bring each day, but flexible hours and working freelance is making me lazier than I’d like to be, and I’m excited about the prospect of introducing some much-needed routine into my life.
(5) Learn how to ride a bicycle
How shameful is it that I’m twenty eight and can’t ride a bicycle without training wheels? I was never properly taught as a child and don’t have a natural sense of balance, but if I could learn how to drive, I can learn how to cycle, right? I’m not sure exactly how to get started – do I buy the bike before or after the lessons? Are there even lessons for adults you can take? What bike does one get as a beginner? Do I use training wheels or jump right on without? I’m hoping my friend’s five year old son will be able to shed some light on these questions for me after he finishes learning in a few months – or hey, maybe he’ll let me tag along when he goes out on his bike? A girl can dream.
(6) Walk the dogs more
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of the laziest people I know, especially in the winter. It is nearly impossible to get me to leave the comfort of my heated home for anything. And while Poppy and Millie are small dogs and our apartment is fairly large with an attached garden, so they get to run around a bit, nothing replaces a good, old-fashioned walk. I’d love to be able to take them out on short walks a few times a week – without putting the pressure on myself to take them every day because wild horses couldn’t drag me out when it is raining or snowing!
(7) Travel solo
Growing up an only child meant I’ve always been a very independant person. And while I love being in a relationship and cherish my time with James, I always believe that it is still important to remember that you are also in a relationship with one other very important person – yourself. And that you can’t truly be happy with somebody else if you haven’t learned to be happy in yourself and enjoy your own company first. Which is why I’ve decided to take a little time out for myself on my first ever solo holiday this year. I frequently take long-haul flights by myself, but have never really traveled alone, so I’m only dipping my toe in the water with a short 2-3 day trip, but I want for it to be planned start to finish by yours truly. I want to be able to rely solely on myself and my own devices for organisation, planning, money, company and fun.
(8) Venture into tripod photography
I genuienly love being able to create beautiful images with talented photographers I admire, but often find that they have very busy schedules and multiple big, exciting paid projects on at the same time and can’t always accomodate me. As a result, I can’t always get outfits shot for brand collaborations if I’m not able to find a photographer. And while I don’t think that a tripod is in any way a replacement for a good photographer, I’d love to be able to do the pictures myself when I’m in a bind. I already own a good camera I love and James has a tripod I can borrow. I just need to teach myself how to attach it all, what settings work best and then invest in a little remote.
(9) Be more mindful
I started a few unhealthy habits towards the latter half of 2017 that I’m not entirely thrilled about. The first is bringing my laptop to bed. James wakes up earlier than I do and falls asleep earlier than I do as a result. So, to avoid ‘wasting time’ lying awake waiting to fall asleep, I’d use the time to catch up on writing the text to my blog posts. I want to put a stop to this, though (unless, of course, I have an impossibly deadline I simply cannot miss. In which case, I’d probably just stay up at my desk or move into the guest room for the night till I got it done). The way I see it, I am so blessed to be married to this beautiful man that I adore, that I should use the time before we fall asleep to cuddle or just lie next to each other and enjoy the quiet few moments before sleep hits – just us alone, as husband and wife. Nothing is more important than this and there’snothing blog-related that can’t wait till the morning. Similarly, in the evenings when we sit down to watch TV together, my attention isn’t focused on the show we’re watching, but split between the show and texting friends, checking social media or playing a game on my phone. I plan on deleting this distracting game I only seem to play in the evenings, limiting social media time to during breakfast and lunch when I eat alone and switching off my phone to the world after 8pm. I want quality time to actually be quality time and to be able to enjoy the little things in life as they happen in the moment, rather than my mind being in three places at a time.
(10) Start reading again
I was raised to be an avid reader by my mum, but somewhere along the way, life happened and I fell out of the habit. Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoy the odd read now and then and when I get involved in a good book, I struggle to put it down. However, this only happens about once or twice a year now. James has found a series of books he’s been loving lately and watching him read before we switch off the lights every night has made me want to pick up a book of my own and fall in love with reading all over again. If you have any great book recommendations, I’d love to hear them.
(11) Get in the kitchen on the weekends
I’ve never been able to cook, however, I started venturing into the kitchen with the help of a friend when James was working away last year. Now that I’m more confident in my abilities to not burn the kitchen down, I’ve found that I actually quite enjoy it. James is still the Master Chef in our home, but I’d like to be able to get in the kitchen and cook or bake something simple and fun when I have time on my hands at the weekend, just so that I stay in practice.
(12) Do something to help my eventual goal / bigger picture
James and I always had a dream of one day owning a bar / restaurant / cafe of our own. I love the idea of having a family business that we can build and run together. I’d like to do something (no matter how small) to be able to move closer to this goal this year, whether’s its something that requires a good amount of time dedicated to it, like a waitressing job or an online course, or simply, figuring out the when, where and how so we can start working towards this goal and it not just be a ‘someday’ plan that we never get round to doing.
(13) Keep up with my friends back home more regularly
Like the rest of the world, my friends back home and I have gotten into an unhealthy habit of communicating solely via memes on Instagram and Facebook. Keeping in touch is hard, especially when there’s time differences and different working hours (people in India work until at least 9pm, while we finish around 5 in the UK) However, when a friend texted me out of the blue last year saying she needed someone to talk to because she was having marital troubles – it was a huge reality check for me. I felt so guilty that she felt so alone. And while it was nice that she felt like she could still reach out to me even though I’ve lived 4000 miles away for the past three years, I wish I had known sooner – I didn’t even get a chance to meet her the last time I was visiting home! I’ve checked on her every week since that day, and we’ve both felt so much better about it that I’ve decided to practice this with my other friends, too. Taking the time out to Skype or Facetime may not always be possible, but the least I can do is once a week, utilize the time I spend traveling on public transport to send them a quick Whatsapp message or voice note to tide us over until we finally do get round to that Skype call.
(14) Trick myself into eating more fruit and veg
In all honesty, I’d cross the road to avoid a salad if I could. I genuinely do not enjoy eating vegetables or fruit. Yes, some fruits taste good but there’s just so much effort involved in cutting and peeling and remembering (forcing yourself) to eat five servings a day of something you’re just not into and it just isn’t my thing. What I’d like to do, however, is start buying pre-cut and peeled fruit and veg, combining my five servings into a blender and drinking them as a smoothie every morning. That way, I stay full longer, my blood sugar levels stay constant throuth the day, I have loads more energy and I’m not stressing about forcing a salad down my throat and can go through the rest of the day making less healthy choices and sticking to my staple diet of meat, bread and potatoes. Oh yeah!
Photography Sabina Sher of Fashernably Late
Dress: SheIn | Scarf: Burberry | Tights and Hat: Primark | Boots: Matalan Bag: Mulberry |
I might do a monthly check-in to see how I’m getting on with my list and to help keep me on track, although I don’t plan to start all these activities at once. I may do swimming in the months leading up to summer, bike riding in the summer and latin dancing towards the latter half of the year. My solo travel trip probably won’t happen till summer either, and I’m flat broke all of January, so I doubt I’m going to be able to invest in swimming lessons or a blender this month. But I’m excited to get a head start on some of the other things on my list.
What have you got planned for this exciting new year, filled with the promise of excitement, adventure and magic? Share them with me in the comments below or via social media – I’m @MascaraEverSat on Twitter or @MascaraEverySaturday on Instagram. See you at the next post! xx
*This post is in collaboration with SheIn. However, all opinions are entirely my own and I would never endorse brands / products I don’t genuinely believe in / wouldn’t buy or wear personally.