I’m joining the ‘reflecting on 2016’ blog post party a little late but here goes:
1. I took my cooking to another level when I embarked on the 69-er cookery book challenge
I set myself the goal that I cook one recipe from each of my 69 cookbooks in 69 days. Taking the plunge got me out of my comfort zone and I gained more confidence in various cuisines like Thai/Indian/Chinese which I normally ran away from because of the obscure ingredients.
2. I became more comfortable in my own skin
Taking some time out after leaving my job of ten years gave me the chance to nurture myself and my creativity and reconnect with my values. It was a wonderful opportunity.
3. I developed a more mature and confident sense of style
Giving myself some creative space and going to art galleries, on writing and photography courses and exploring the cultural scene in Manchester fed my imagination and allowed me be more discerning and daring in how I dress myself and my house.
4. I’ve started to become rather addicted to taking creative risks
I think it’s good for the soul. These risks have involved baring my soul on my blog and talking about quite private matters, public speaking for the first time and even starting a YouTube channel. I’m no Zoella but I’m proud of giving it a crack.
5. As a freelancer and now self employed social media coach, I can justify spending a lot of time on social media
It can be a slippery slope. There were days last year when I’d get up at 7am and sit at my laptop until midday pouring over Pinterest and Instagram and not achieving much. This year I have a new rule, be washed and dressed and made up by 9am and have a to do list. As a result I’m way more productive.
6. It’s easy to be lonely if you are self employed and a blogger
There’s a potential to spend a lot of time on your tod. However I’ve started to collaborate more and more with freelancer friends and it’s been a blast!
7. Holidays are amazing
I was very lucky in 2016, I went on various holidays including to Goa and on a cruise around Italy. I’m quite a worrier and over the years have developed a self destructive habit of needing to be ‘doing something’ at all the times. This year I’ve learnt that holidays are for relaxing not doing. Spending time doing nothing and enjoying your surroundings is brilliantly rejeuvenating and is great for getting the creative juices going.
8. Being 40 rocks even if it’s made me feel a bit old
Despite increasingly creaky knees and more laughter lines, I feel like I care less what people think of me and am surer of my own opinions and more entitled to just bloody enjoy myself.
9. I’ve started to let go of my obsessiveness around penny pinching
In my twenties I got into a lot of debt, in my thirties I got sensible and was really careful with my money. However as Jamie taught me, tightness is at times a hindrance and I end up buying cheap rubbish that doesn’t last. Or I’ll cycle in minus 4 degrees to save money and get a cold. So this year I’ve learnt to loosen my grip. I’ve also allowed myself to be indulged.
Jamie treated me to a fabulous dinner at 2 michelin star restaurant L’Enclume in the Lake District for my 40th (and the head chef photo bombed the picture)
10. Being visually expressive is important to me
I’ve always been drawn to quirky beautiful clothes and been interested in design and art. I discovered this year that by expressing myself through photography, colourful clothes and quirky house interiors, that I’m a better and happier version of myself.