January 1st always brings a great deal of pressure with it. On the day we’re supposed to be focussing on clean slates, new beginnings and resolutions we’re also either battling huge hangovers or cranky children. I’m the latter, as I let my two stay up as late as they wanted on NYE; Elfie crashed at 9.45 but Hux powered on through til midnight and of course neither deviated from their usual 6.30am wakeup time.
There’s also been the fact that, on the day I’m supposed to begin dry January, I booked in a Prosecco brunch. Whoops.
And so I am using this as an excuse to stop, enjoy a lazy day with the kids (including that Prosecco brunch), take a nap together and make sure we’re all ready to plough into January the, erm, 2nd.
I’ve spent the last few weeks musing on the last year and looking forward to the next one. I love a new start but I believe we get many more than one a year: I’m a big fan of starting fresh each and every Monday, if needed. But I do like the big picture-vibes of looking back to the last 12 months and I feel very lucky that I’ve recorded my last six years of resolutions right here on this blog.
Here’s what I’m going to be doing in 2016:
Health is a huge one for me. I’m doing dry January (well, until February 2nd…) and I really hope this will kick-start a year of drinking less booze. I love my wine and I think I sometimes use it as a bit of a crutch when I’m bored and lonely at home in the evenings – hours of sitting and staring at the walls will do that to you – and this is something I’m desperate to give up.
I’ve always been health-conscious but 2015 has been a year of proving how important my family’s health is to me and what a priority it should be. I haven’t taken as good care of it as I should have in the last part of this year and it’s shown: I’m more tired, less motivated and podgier around the middle. If it has this effect on me then it’ll have this effect on the children, too, and it’s my job to look after us all. This year we’re aiming for:
– less refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta)
– green juices for all of us, every day
– natural sugars only (evil laugh)
– gym 2 x a week and yoga 2 x a week (me), at least 1 outside walk and swimming twice a week for the kids
– cutting down hugely on booze (sob)
Food and exercise will basically be a huge focus for us all and I expect to report back with buns to make a Victoria’s Secret Angel cry.
And this emphasis on health leads me to…
HAPPINESS AND MENTAL HEALTH
I’ve had a pretty good 2015 in terms of mental health and happiness but there have been times I’ve let other people’s behaviour affect how I feel, compared myself to others, not felt good enough… that has to stop. It’s so easy to get lost in the day-to-day in life, the drudgery of the daily routines that we forget to think outside the box and realise what an amazing job we’re doing. I’m sure that improving my family’s general health will lead to an increase in happiness – less tiredness, more energy, further self-belief – because this really does begin from the inside-out. I’m also going to remember what makes me happy: long baths and at-home facials, reading books by candlelight (yeah, really), connecting with my girlfriends, hard exercise. I’m going to do way more of these things.
I’m also going to stop putting such a focus on finding a relationship. I have spent my entire adult life either in a serious relationship or pining for one and I need to remember that relationships do not automatically equal happiness. Time to delete Tinder and enjoy spending time with people in the real-life world.
I’m so happy that I get to do more of this now. I have resolved to write at least 2,000 words each and every day, whether that’s blog posts, my book (!!!), magazine articles, journal entries or nonsense notes on my phone. I’ve really enjoyed writing a little more creative recently and will continue to practice this; I also want to read a lot more instead of bumming around on Social Media, which frankly doesn’t do much good for anyone.
Yeah, I’m finally finishing that fucking book (sorry for the swears. That’s how important the fucking book has always been). In 2015 I’m going to be looking for representation again and writing the hilarious single parenting divorce tome you never knew you were missing.
I made a really good start on this in 2015 and have learned loads about decluttering, tidying and basically feeling like I’m doing better things for the way we live on our planet. There’s much more to come on this including a brilliant project I’ve been working on with IKEA: minimal living seems to come full circle and makes me a happier and more peaceful person.
Never have I felt so content in my heart with my lot in life. I’m going to keep loving the bones of those two little people I call my children because they really make it all worthwhile.
And let’s have an overview of 2015, shall we?
There were plenty of beautiful hotels: Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green. Grande Center Point Hotel Terminal 21, Bangkok. The Pig on the Beach, Studland. The Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn NYC. There was also a fair bit of Upper Class Travel (my favourite).
It’s been an interesting year in terms of parenting. I’ve leaned into the role more in the second half, because in the first half the kids still weren’t sodding sleeping (if there’s one thing I want out of 2016 it’s a touch more sleep). I thought about what Post-Natal Depression felt like three years on, reflected on the negative portrayal of single parents in the media and counted my motherhood blessings when the kids were away for nearly a week.
Travelling to Thailand was one of the most soul-forming beautiful experiences this year; I fell completely and utterly in love with the food and finally got to meet Laura, one of the good ones in life. That week was one of the most intense I’ve ever experienced and I’ll never forget it.
My divorce was finalised and I wrote a lot about the lessons I have learned from it. I mused on how far I’ve come when I travelled to New York for the first time since separating (and then travelled back again!).
I was made redundant, then got a high-flying new job that I realised I didn’t want because it was totally incompatible with the most important thing: my family. So I left. I burned myself out a bit and suffered with Imposter Syndrome. I GOT A COLUMN AT THE TELEGRAPH. Did I not mention?