The Good, The Bad & The New Year Resolutions

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetThis past year has gone quicker than I can shake a stick at. Not being too much the sentimental type I wasn’t that thrilled at the prospect of doing a regular highlights post. But I guess that’s kind of what I’m doing in a roundabout way, so here’s the bits I’ve liked, not liked and want to improve on…


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Books I’ve Read

There’s few things I’ll give up precious sleep for but a good book is one of them. These days I quite firmly get my kicks from good YA. That can be anything from fantasy, like Philip Pullman and Twilight to dystopian fantasy to more on the sci-fi spectrum. And if it combines aspects of these, all the better. Adult reads with some of the fantasy/dystopian elements I like are The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood, but you probably know about those! For more dystopian YA, The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey was an all-time favourite this year, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I’ve also been reading The Fifth Wave boks by Rick Yancey , soon to be a film with Chloe Moritz. More in the fantasy realm, I’ve just finished The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo and The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. And for something non-fiction, I’ve just started Gloria Steinem’s My Life On The Road.
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View from the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Travel Bug

I’ve been thrilled this year that the blog has taken a bit more of a travel slant. I love seeing new places and with camera in hand (how I regret my many years of travel and not really taking pictoors!) I am truly in a happy place. And I love the thrill of the new. Bit ridiculous to think at any age you’ve seen and done it all, but this year has reminded me there’s so much more. And giddy like a child, I got to experience for the first time New York, the hills of Provence, a beautiful Yorkshire retreat, a remote Creten cove and mainland Greece and Mount Olympus. Don’t get me wrong, the trips are amazing but exhausting and always impact on home life (which is why I turned down a couple this Autumn) so for a blogger with family it’s about making the most of a short few days but not jam-packing in. But oh, I look forward to next year and organising trips which include the family!
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Clever little camera – and my Sail Handmade x Olympus collab strap

Photography Stuff

This past year has been fantastic photography wise. I really feel I’ve come on heaps and have never been happier with the photos I’m producing. It’s been incredible to be involved in the Olympus Pen campaign as a UK ambassador;  there’s been a global shortage of the E-PL7 and it seems to have become the blogger camera of choice! And I’ve been getting outstanding continuous daily traffic for my 15 Tips & Tricks For the E-PL7 post – so a big thankyou to all of you for sharing and recommending! And it’s been great fun seeing my Sail Handmade x Olympus collaboration straps on your cameras – glad you like them, and they now come in two lengths! I’ve also  just got into You Tube (second time lucky!) and my first two videos have been all about Instagram…
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My Christmas present to self

Best Buys & Style Revelations

It’s a constant battle, finding the clothes that suit you best I find. And finding your style. Doing the blog has focussed me more and I found this year that straight and kick flare jeans are a denim shape I feel really good in. And that I am obsessed with grey and white jumpers. And saddle handbags. I’m still searching for my perfect ankle boot, but faux shearling coats seem to have become a thing for me (I just got a second, practically identical one to one I already have! Weird, much?).
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Our new bed!

Moving House

This was the big thing that happened this year, wiping out our whole summer and autumn. I prepped for weeks in advance doing a house and wardrobe clear which was well worth it, if psychologically daunting. The book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, gave helpful impetus. The new house is now just how I want it. More ordered, less cluttered but very homey. I did replace quite a bit of furniture with some great forever pieces (read: not cheap) but I worked hard, saved the money and it feels good when I look at those pieces now. Quite a lot of Pinterest planning that paid off there… So now Gus has his own room, we have a bed big enough to fit all of us when needed, more space in the garden (where my husband is building a studio) and we have a kitchen table that can comfortably seat eight. We have uncramped Sunday lunches and dinners with friends and it’s blissful. For someone so small, I do like space!


Taken out our bathroom window…

Um, Moving House

They say it’s one of the most stressful things and I can testify to that. Although lessons learnt in retrospect – do bother to do a weekly call with your estate agent/solicitor etc – could have alleviated some of the logistics. Unfortunately, we had a very unhelpful solicitor and a few quite serious hiccups in our chain at key moments. My lowest point was sobbing down FaceTime to my mum on the move day, having just cleaned the entire house, all our belongings in the lorry, not knowing if we would get the key to the new house that day. We did btw, 4 hours later at 5 minutes to 5. And I had a 9am LFW start the next day. Boxes in, skeleton kitchen up and running, mattress to sleep on and full on fashion week to contend with. No fun for anybody.

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Getting Stressed, Obsessed & Run Down

Nobody’s perfect, but the house move, being busy with blog work and the day-to-day of mothering definitely brought out the worst in me these last few months. Snappiness, over-obsessing about silly things, not eating properly, taking sugar and caffeine short-cuts resulting in massive energy and mood dips. It always impacts the people around you however hard you try to keep it together. Work just seemed to be swirling up in a vortex of business and deadlines increasing more and more the closer Christmas came. Because I had been pushing too hard and not looking after myself or pacing properly, I ended up one night with such a massive migraine I missed two evening events, letting down both friends and family. It was the horrid culmination of the past few months and I felt bad. So this year, I need to move at a slower, steadier pace, accept it can’t all be done at once and just feel the love.

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Latte Love/Hate

So, coffee. I’ve actually been caffeine free since my early twenties. Working in coffee shop during uni, I decided to give it up and discovered I slept so much better. It made me realise what a strong stimulant it is. This August with the house move imminent and life feeling busy, I decided to have a latte, just to see what would happen. The boost was delicious and I decided to jump on board. A few weeks in, I did notice quite severe mid-afternoon dips (I gave myself free license to counter with chocolate biscuits) and that I was definitely feeling more anxious about things. But then, the house move. It took another month of 3-4 coffees a week to realise the caffeine was not helping. It is an incredible pick-in-up in the moment (fantastic if you need to power through something) but unless it’s a morning coffee countered by a substantial lunch (how my mum does it) I just end up feeling jittery and wired. So now, I’m back to my old non-caffeine, much calmer habits and save the latter (and the Insta pics!) for a special treat.


Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetStart Writing Again

One of my long term goals it to get a novel(s) published. It’s been a bit of a tough journey so far. In that I have a lovely literary agent, and I completed a manuscript (YA of course) which went on submission a year and a half ago. I got six rejections in a row and took it really badly. Which I hadn’t been prepared for, as I’ve always been quite unprecious about my journalism work – you get used to editor’s chopping and changing your words and style. But the manuscript rejections made me want to climb into a tiny ball. Partly because I knew I hadn’t done enough work on it. So I withdraw the manuscript with the intention of re-writing and making changes. And… I never did. It was just as things were starting to get really busy with the blog, and that being my source of income had to take priority. And so I decided to put the book, the writing on the backburner for the time being with months zooming by not giving it a second thought. So this year, somehow, somehow, I want to make the time to start writing again. Whether I go back to that original story or start something new…

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Back To The Piano

The piano in our last house went out of tune so quickly, it was hard to play. And I got out of the habit, despite having a tonne of great song books which I used to bash away at and holler along at, as well as write little pop ditties. I can read music just fine, but I’m not an ‘ear’ player like my husband, who can play any song you ask him (on practically any instrument, but that’s another story!). But it’s so much fun, super feelgood and something I don’t want to give up. We have a new piano arriving today. It’s going to live in the kitchen where we’ll actually play it and I. CANNOT. WAIT!

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My morning run by the canal…

Exercise Comes First

I used to be a bit of a yoga & Pilates bunny pre- and during pregnancy, which I think had stood me in good stead these last three years when I’ve lost all semblance of a routine. So I’m kickstarting this year with something new to shake things up. A easy 20-minute jog by the canal. Three days in last week I was aching, but already looking and feeling healthier. So I’m going to combine that with a few 20-minute home yoga sessions and keep it going from there!

Happy new year! And all photos by me.