Do you ever think about something you want to achieve, but never quite get around to doing it? Say you want to learn a new language, take a yoga course, or write a novel, but it just doesn’t happen, so it sits in the back of your brain, gathering dust and looking a bit less shiny as time goes by. Me too. That’s why I’ve decided to commit to 50 goals in 2017. I’m sharing my list and I want you to hold me accountable.
So it’s Blue Monday, which is the most depressing day of the year. That’s according to some PR agency a couple of years ago, which every retailer possible now jumps on as a reason to sell you more stuff on the third Monday in January.
Just to perk you up if you bought into all that crap, here’s a little quiz to help put things in perspective. Award yourself points based on how many of these statements you can tick.
You have a roof over your head (one point)
You have a bed/futon/hammock to sleep in (one point)
You have enough food to consume 2,000 calories a day (one point)
You can get clean water out of a tap (one point)
You can shower/bathe/keep yourself clean (one point)
You have clothes (one point)
You have central heating (one point)
Those were all physiological needs. Now, on to your safety needs.
You’re not terminally ill (two points)
You have access to the NHS (two points)
You’re not living in a war zone (two points)
You’re not in any immediate danger (two points)
You’re able to voice your opinions verbally, on social media, at work, without fear (two points)
Up next, psychological needs.
You have a friend (three points for every friend)
You have a family (three points for every family member)
You love someone: platonic or romantic love counts, can also be a pet (three points for each)
Next, the higher level, or Self-fulfillment needs. These questions ascertain your esteem needs.
You have a firm sense of your own moral code (four points)
You trust your own judgement (four points)
You don’t feel guilty when others question your judgement (four points)
You don’t spend time worrying over past experiences (four points)
You’re comfortable with being equal to, rather than superior or inferior to others (four points)
You appreciate your value to others (four points)
You are sensitive to the needs of others (four points)
Finally, the top of the triangle. Self-actualization needs.
You have a job (five points)
You’re able to express yourself creatively (five points)
You’ve made a difference to someone’s life (five points for each person)
You’ve made a positive change to society (five points for every achievement)
You’ve figured out what’s important to you (five points)
You’ve reflected on past experiences and learnt from them (five points)
You are independent and self-reliant (five points)
You can laugh at yourself (five points)
You can be happy when spending time alone (five points)
If you got 7 or above, you’re better off than so many other people, in this country, and in others around the world. Let’s not forget on Blue Monday that we live in one of the richest countries in the world, and we are some of the most privileged people on the planet.
Want to get a higher score in five minutes? Do something nice for someone else today. Give someone a call, write a letter or an email, donate money to a charity of your choice.
And if you didn’t score very highly, and you need someone to talk to, I’ll just put these here for you. They’re free, mostly 24 hours, and there are people who give up their time and are trained and are literally hanging on the phone waiting for your call. Don’t be scared, just call.
The Samaritans 116 123
Silverline 0800 4 70 80 90
Rethink 0845 456 0455 / 020 7840 3188
Pinterest is abuzz with them. Trendy craft shops are pushing them. My soon-to-be-sister-in-law made one. January 2017 is all about the vision board. But what are they, and should you make one?
Vision boards are based around the concept of the law of attraction, which is the belief that if you think, speak and surround yourself with positive affirmations about the things you want to have or achieve, the universe will bring them to you.
Now if that sounds a little too orinoco flow for you, hear me out. If you’re spending time thinking about, talking about, and surrounding yourself with the things you want to achieve, they’ll be more present in your mind, and you’ll be more focused on them. Ergo*, your likelihood of achieving those goals will be more likely than say, if you made a drunken resolution on New Year’s Eve, snogged a random, and promptly forgot all about it.
So then, how do you make a vision board?
1. Get a board
Could be a cork board, could be a bit of old cardboard box, could be a fresh A2 canvas you spent £9.99 on at The Works, it doesn’t matter.
3. ** Cover it with the things you want
Not very artsy? No one cares. The idea is to spend some time putting your focus into it. You can cut and paste, paint, draw, stitch, whatever. Just cover it in all the things you want, until you’re happy with it. Words count too.
4. Put it somewhere you can see it
Or, hide it in the cupboard because you put that you wanted to get engaged on it, and you’re hoping your boyfriend will never find it in case he freaks out. But find a way to look at it regularly so that your desires and goals are fresh in your thoughts. (Maybe hide in said cupboard with a torch, and gaze upon it when you have some alone time.
As tongue in cheek as this post is, I’m making one this weekend. Suck it haters.
– Nom x
*Love that I managed to squeeze an ergo in this post.
**Step 2 is to light a candle and play this in the background.
Autumn is here! Instead of feeling sad about the loss of summer, follow these ten tips and fully embrace the changing season.
- Go outside. Crisp autumn walks are the perfect time to up your Insta game. Find those last few flowers, shiny conkers, geese flying south, clear blue skies, even if you must, a shot of your shoes in the leaves. Just don’t inadvertently kick any hedgehogs hiding there.
- Spend a weekend packing your summer clothes in vacuum-sealed bags and store them away under your bed for the winter. It sounds like a lot of effort, but you’ll love having a decluttered wardrobe and you’ll be so excited to bring out your favourite pieces again next summer.
- Get involved with squash. I’m not talking about the sport. I’m talking pumpkins, butternuts, spaghetti (it’s gluten free!), acorn, munchkin, heck even courgette counts as a squash. The move to autumn means you can enjoy a bounty of exciting seasonal veg. Plus, they look trés pretty on the side whilst you’re waiting to cook them.
- Crack out the mulled wine. My favourite is ForestGlow (it has Spanish red wine and spiced VODKA) I don’t usually like mulled wine, it’s either too cloying, or just tastes like pot-pourri, but this my friends, this is a game changer. It’s technically a Glögg, but that’s just a fancy Swedish way of saying mulled wine. P.S. do you like the picture? I took it for my friend Freyja’s business.
- Grab a new book from your local library. Our local libraries need our support, and what’s more, you’ll be expanding your horizons for the princely sum of diddly-squat. Maybe some poetry to enjoy on a park bench as you walk?
- Up your hot chocolate game. I’m getting married next October, and although I’m sad not to have a sunny wedding complete with prosecco on a lawn, I’m chuffed to know I’m saving thousands of pounds AND I CAN HAVE A SPIKED HOT CHOCOLATE BAR! In the noble name of wedding research, I’m already experimenting. Pinterest is a goldmine for ideas, like this Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon and Orange liqueur from Call Me Cupcake.
- Start taking long, relaxing baths. I’ve started saving my coffee grounds and mixing them with sea salt to give myself an indulgent but economical body exfoliant. Seriously, the next day my skin is baby-soft.
- Up your skincare routine. The elements are about to get brutal with your lovely face. I’ve been using Bare Minerals makeup for a while now, and I love their oil cleanser. Applying it feels like a mini facial, then you just wash it off with water. Then I follow it up with an organic moisturiser. At the moment I’m working my way through a bottle of Fushi, that stuff lasts forever.
- The nights are closing in, you can totally treat yourself to some new candles to enjoy the dusk (and use during aforementioned luxury bathtimes). I highly recommend beefayre. They have the most stunning fragrances (spiced orange, winter berries, rhubarb and raspberry to name a few), they’re lovely natural beeswax not paraffin, come in delightfully illustrated glasses (which make great keepsakes) AND they donate 3% of profits to bee conservation and research. Heroic
- Now your calendar is suddenly a lot, well, emptier (where have all the barbecues gone?) consider adopting new hobby, or learning a new skill. I just went to an incense making class as part of Japan Centre’s Kyoto Fair, and I’m about to start screen printing my wedding decorations (bowler hat bunting here we come).
I’ve resisted writing this post since September, as each time I started writing, I felt wary. Meat is an extremely polarising topic, and I’ve found it hard to put my thoughts down for fear of saying something inauthentic, or worse, causing offence inadvertently to any vegan or vegetarian readers.
Just before Christmas Hatty hosted drinks in Finsbury Park, and I had the pleasure of meeting her friend Sammy, also a blogger. We got chatting about blogging and she complimented my writing style. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it was along the lines of finding it down to earth and approachable.
I just finished my last bag of Teapigs Sweet Ginger tea. And I am sad about that. Here’s my first caffeine free tea review.
It’s not very British, or very healthy, but the thing that is most likely to tempt me off the wheat free wagon is not pasta, or sandwiches, but cinnamon rolls. Having made and tried them as a child at a friend’s house (she had an American mother), they’ve always seemed exotic, exciting, and omg delicious. When the Cardiff Sports Nutrition team got in touch to ask if we’d like to try any of their flavoured nut butters and I saw this guy, I was like, head over heels with excitement.
Last Saturday, Nom and I had a fantastic day with the guys from Wonderush sampling some of the vast array of classes and activities they offer. In the space of a few hours we took our first steps of Salsa, stretched and bonded in ‘Social Yoga’, tried our hand at life drawing and belted out some tunes during Ukelele practice.