Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 Goals: Onto 2013

2012 has a decidely British feel to it. I'm pretty keen to make 2013 have a more global feel to them, it's time for some farther flung adventures.

Some goals are the same or very very similar to 2012. I found having a goal in front of me all the time made it easier to do things I knew I wanted to do. It made me more likely to say yes to a night out, more likely to try new things, more likely to take on that project at work, more likely to go on that training run.

Some of natural continuations of 2012 goals, I'm going to try and edit my nanowrimo novel a bit. And some of my goals are completely new. Others are upgraded versions. In 2012 I wanted to try a new thing every week, whether that was as small as a new sandwich or as big as visiting the Olympic Park. In 2013 I'm raising the stakes, and going for a new thing every day.

I made the decision not to share any of my goals for 2012 on the blog last year, I don't really like or want that kind of accountability. So I'm not going to be sharing a full list of all my exact goals. But I'm probably going to be better at talking about them as I achieve some of them!

I'd love to hear about everyone's goals for the new year, it's one of the things I love about blogs in January. Here's to an amazing 2013!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

2012 Goals: What I achieved Part 2

Just a few more goals I'm really pleased I managed to achieve last year.

See friends more
I was completely convinced at the end of 2011 that I barely ever saw my friends, and that meant work friends, friends from home, university friends. So I set myself a goal of doing something with them at least once a fortnight. I'm not saying I didn't make more effort to see them but most of the time this goal was achieved without me really trying. In fact, it worked out I saw a friend in some way on average every 7.3 days. Maybe sometimes just paying more attention to something shows you were totally wrong.

Get promoted
This seemed like a crazy dream at the beginning of the year. I thought if I could get myself close then I would be pleased. But then , just a few weeks before Christmas it all worked out for me. I've been in my new job a couple of weeks now, it's very different and there's a lot to learn but I'm loving it. Dream big people!

Blog twice a week
Blogging in 2011 was sporadic. Some months I would blog 15 times and another I wouldn't blog at all. This year I wanted to get into a routine and blog regularly. On average (I'm a bit of a maths geek) I managed 2.8 times a week, and my views are about 5 x higher than this time last year.

I started the year with 27 goals. One was dropped within 6 weeks, although I gave it my all and decided it just wasn't for me. Another was dropped after about 6 months after the little goal I set in January was still on the list in July. So I was left with 25. And I achieved 23 of them. Little old me, who had struggled previously to achieve 1 goal off a list of 10!

Friday, 28 December 2012

2012 Goals: What I Achieved Part 1

I'm not going to bore you all with all my goals. Some of them aren't particularly interesting and some of them I want to keep personal to me. But I do want to share some of the things I've achieved this year

Run a marathon in a personal best
Not just any marathon but the London Marathon in Olympic year. It was just as hard as the previous two but I loved (almost) every minute of it, and smashed 25 minutes off my PB. Two of my best friends are now running marathons next year and I'm acting as advisor and chief spectator in 2013. 2014 might be a different matter though...

Keep a daily diary
This seems like an easy enough goal but I hadn't managed to keep a diary for a whole year for a while. I quickly found writing in it every day was almost impossible so I tried updating it weekly instead. I'm now the proud owner of a completed diary that was so nice (and a little cringey) to look back on.

Read 12 classic books
I didn't quite manage this one, although I made a very good stab at it. I did however rekindle my love of reading. They might not all be classics (and some of them definitely aren't!) but I have over 30 read books on my kindle right now which means I have been reading a whole pile more than usual. 

Write a novel
Nanowrimo was a brilliant, exhausting, inspiring experience. And while it might be 'only' 50,000 words and very rough around the edges it is technically a novel. This was one goal I knew I wouldn't really be starting until November but I kept it ticking over with some novel planning, and I think just keeping it in my mind all year really helped. 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

2012 Goals: The Goal Setting

I've taken a little bit of a break from blogging to enjoy Christmas with my family and now I'm breaking the usual schedule to share some of my goals from 2012. After all, it is that time of year when everyone is looking back on the year that's just gone and looking forward to the next one.

But first, a little bit on my goal setting process. It was inspired by both Caiti and Nicole, with a few adaptations. Basically, you pick nine 'buckets', areas of your life you want to set goals in like friends, blogging, work. Within those buckets you then choose 3 goals for the year. Those of you who are quick with the maths would know that's 27 goals. Or as I originally thought, a lot of goals! Then every month, you set a small goal that would get you a step further towards each of the 27 big goals.

It doesn't matter if you don't complete every goal each month, in fact I'm pretty sure it's impossible to do that every month. If you are, your goals are probably way too easy. But on the other hand, if you are barely completing any at all despite a lot of effort, maybe they are all too hard. And if there is one little goal that you are constantly pushing from one month to the next then maybe it just isn't the right time to attempt that big goal.

I'm very good at lists, and setting goals, and having big intentions. And most of these go out of the window when real life takes over. This process was a complete revelation to me, I found it so much easier to have goals to achieve each month that didn't seem nearly as daunting as the big goals I had set myself. And I can promise you, with a bit of effort, it really works!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Gingerbread House: Part 2

We finally managed to get our gingerbread house decorated. In some parts I'm pretty sure there is more icing than gingerbread, and the little gingerbread man had some minor surgery on his leg.

But I think it's a pretty good first attempt, and there's nothing a dusting of icing sugar can't disguise.

I'm off to enjoy Christmas with the family today, Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Dress of the Week: Get Cutie

Get Cutie is a Brighton based company, which sells the most amazing dresses along with skirts, tops, accessories and some homeware pieces. Everything is made locally and depending on availability, there is a strong chance your order is made especially for you.

I've chosen their new Boat Neck dress to show off for this week's dress of the week, in their beautiful bird print. You choose every dress by style, and then the fabric you want it in. Their fabrics change every so often, and are often exclusive to them.

It's £94.50, available from here. But please don't stop there, have a look around the whole site and don't blame me if you want to buy everything you see!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Gingerbread House Part 1

So there isn't very much more Christmassy than gingerbread houses. I had never made one, and neither had the mister despite as both being big fans of both baking/cooking and Christmas. I've split the hilarity of our first attempt into two parts so let's see the beginning of this comedy.

 Measuring out the ingredients was easy enough. Unsurprisingly butter, muscavado sugar and golden syrup taste divine melted together...
 Turning it into a dough wasn't too tricky either.
Even rolling it out wasn't a problem. Cutting the pieces was a bigger problem. We had a rough idea of the pieces we needed and the size they should be. Something like a template would have been a very good idea but that would have made life too easy. 

 Once it was cooked, and cooled it was pieced together into something that does resemble a house. As you can see there is a lot of icing holding it all together but I'm pretty proud of our effort.

Check back later this week to see our first attempt decorated in true gingerbread house style.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Things I Like Tuesday

  • It's Christmas in a week, just one week!
  • Lots of parties, and dinners, and general festive craziness
  • Attempting our first gingerbread house with the mister
  • Finally starting my new job, complete with new people, new desk and lovely new stationary from my old team
  • Watching Sports Personality of the Year in my Christmas pyjamas - the ultimate 'It's Christmas' sign for me

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Day I Was Awake for 24 Hours

Friday was a slightly bizarre day. It kicked off at 5am, heading into work early. It was my last day in my (now old) job, which although I had known it was coming for a while suddenly seemed very real. I wasn't ready to leave my desk or my team or probably my comfort zone. By the time I had people gathered around my desk for leaving cards and a Colin the Caterpillar cake, I was feeling a bit too emotional.

Straight on a train after work, I was heading for the mister's Christmas party for work. The evening was incredible: great food, acrobats, dancing, mojitos, dodgems, casino tables. All the details had been thought of, right down to the bacon rolls handed out at hometime.

 By the time we made it back to London, it was very definitely the early hours of the morning. We had to wait for the station to actually open, our first train got cancelled, and by the time we made it to a bed I had officially been awake 24 hours.

It's not something I would recommend but the entire day (literally) was incredible. Now I'm ready to start my new job and get out of that pesky comfort zone. Wish me luck!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Dress of the Week: Topshop Grey Tee Dress

This week's dress is a complete change from recent weeks. In fact it might be the most plain dress I have ever featured. But my mind is running riot with the possibilities; coloured tights, layered necklaces, grey biker boots and leather jackets, velvet blazers and glittery pumps. You get the idea!

It's just £26 from Topshop. That's a lot of pennies left over for all those accessories.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Things I Like Tuesday

  • Christmas celebrations starting to kick off
  • The latest blogger issue of Company magazine
  • Pacman high tops
  • Sequins, sequins, sequins
  • Taking on new challenges at work
  • Not making a total mess of said challenges

Friday, 7 December 2012

Dress of the Week: Miss Selfridge Gem Dress

I have gone completely sequins crazy this Christmas. Both (yes, both, I was in need of two) Christmas party dresses are covered in them and I can't wait to wear them.

I have just spotted this little beauty and I'm a little bit in love with it. There are lots of random coloured gems mixed in with the silver which I'm a big fan of. Wonder if I can stretch to three dresses this year? It's £49 from Miss Selfridge.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Bread, Bread, Bread

Recently the mister has been branching out with his cooking and has been baking bread. A lot. So much so we are now almost self sufficient, and barely ever have to buy packaged loafs.

Now I'm not going to say the first attempts weren't good, they were definitely edible. But they seem to be improving loaf by loaf and it's a real treat to have homemade bread for lunch all the time.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Nanowrimo Review

So November is well and truly over now, and that means Nanowrimo is done and dusted too. And I am very happy to say I did it. 50,000 words were officially typed and I even got to the end of my story. I haven't been brave enough to read it back yet, I might have to leave that a few weeks/months/years/centuries.

But during the month I scribbled down a few comments and thought I would share them. I wouldn't take any of this as actual novel writing advice but you never know!

  • Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor are terrible programmes to have on in the background. As is Saturday Kitchen and anything Children In Need related
  • Surprisingly the mister playing Xbox was easy enough to ignore (years of practice!)
  • Keeping track of the day of the week/month of the year in your story is easier said than done
  • I have used the word genuinely way too many times. And suddenly. And desperately. 
  • Not writing for two days at a time makes it tricky to remember where you are in the story
  • Old school Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, Pendulum and Blink 182 were surprisingly good writing accompaniments
  • As much as you hate whatever you've written, don't ever delete a single word (until afterwards when you can delete them all if you want to!)
  • 32-40k were the hardest words I had to write
  • I actually hated doing anything mean to my characters!
  • A few scenes had been milling about my head for months and they came out so well in the story

If you have ever had a secret hankering to write a novel then I highly recommend Nanowrimo. I was probably never going to find the time to do it any other way, and I do love a good challenge!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Things I Like Tuesday

  • Spending plenty of time with my favourite people
  • Lazy days off work
  • Getting to inbox zero (temporarily at least)
  • Getting into the Christmas spirit
  • Enjoying my very comfy new bed
  • Managing to do 95% of my Christmas shopping in one (slightly hectic) day

Monday, 3 December 2012

Winter Weekend

December is here (already, where did this year go?) and the weather has got noticeably chillier recently. So my weekend was mainly spent:

 Starting to organise my craft area, I have a desk and shelves and something that will eventually be a noticeboard which is a huge improvement
 Putting together our new bed. It feels very grown up to have matching furniture...
 Eating yummy food like this Thai Beef, I'm very lucky the mister is a great cook
 Putting up my Christmas tree. There are no other decorations yet but it's a start (I go Christmas crazy!)
 Relaxing with magazines, trashy novels and dark chocolate. Potentially the dream combination.
 Finding the second perfect Christmas party dress, which may or may not also be covered in sequins...
And buying yet another super cheesy Christmas jumper, this one might be the best one yet!
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