I’ve just spent a gorgeous week on board P & O Cruises’ beautiful ship, Britannia with my friend Erica. We spent the week discovering all the dining options on board, as well as exploring bits of France and Spain and doing some baking with Eric Lanlard too – I know! Anyhoo, more of that later – for now, I wanted to tell you about a fantastic conversation we had one night in The Glass House over a couple of drinkies. We started off just chatting about life, the future, family, etc as you do, and a bit of a plan started to form. We split our thoughts into topics and added the rule that everything had to be positive – no beating ourselves up – and this positive life plan was born. I’m excited to share it with you!
So first things first, if you work through our topics (it’s fun and actually really inspiring), stick to the rules: it HAS to be positive and uplifting, and there must be no deadlines and no pressure – this is a really lovely way of looking at different areas of your life, reviewing your thoughts and feelings, maybe thinking about what you want to change or achieve. So grab a notebook (and/or a friend) and just think about what each topic means to you – remember, keep it positive! Here’s how I got on:
One of the weird things that happen when you go on holiday for a week and eat rich food every day is that you start to crave home cooked food again! For me, this topic was all about planning on getting home and delighting in the sunny weather they were all having (while we were in rainy Galicia!) with a healthier diet of fresh salads, salsas, grilled meat and fish, and delicious fruit. But what does it mean to you? If you’re feeling low, is it about helping yourself feel happier, or maybe it’s about managing an illness or injury?
On the cruise, Erica and I completed quite a tough four mile hike through the Atlantic Forest in Galicia, and also cycled round Guernsey. We finished with aching legs and the odd bruise, but what a sense of accomplishment! I’ve actually forgotten what it feels like to ache after exercise, and I loved the feeling. For me, it was a wake up call to get more active and maybe do a bit of research into finding an activity that I enjoy, so I can start to fit regular exercise into my life (and stop moaning about my thighs).
Mr E and I clash really badly over money, sometimes to the point where we just don’t talk about it at all. I vowed to develop a more positive attitude, start a no-pressure conversation and maybe even try and do a bit more budgeting and planning – all without us wanting to kill each other at the end of it, if that’s possible!
4 Beauty/personal style
Before we went away, both of us did that most awful of tasks: bikini shopping. What is it with changing room mirrors/lighting in shops – are they arranged on purpose to make you feel dreadful?! Walking out on day one of your holiday in a bikini, feeling a bit self conscious and flabby is not good, so we vowed to rock it out, head held high! For me, half the battle is finding a bikini I feel great in, so I’ll be allocating a day to finding one I feel confident in before my next trip. I also fancy trying a few new beauty treatments to address areas I’m starting to feel a bit self conscious about too.
We’re all guilty of taking each other for granted, and I know Mr E does a great job of holding the fort at English Towers while I’m away. As the boys get older and need us less, it leaves us in a bit of a weird life-stage and I’m hopeful that we can move forward and manage it together – bring on date night!
My friends are pretty far away and I’m guilty of just keeping in touch with them without every really being open to new friendships. I’d love to meet a few new people locally – maybe finding a new exercise class will help with that?
7 Work/your personal brand
I know, this is a weird title, but because we both make a living out of writing and blogging, the ‘personal brand’ thing is quite important. For you, it might be reviewing your happy/fulfilled you are at work, what you’d like to change, or even a bit of career planning for the future. For me, it’s all about continuing to develop English Mum into the best it can be, and I’m loving the challenge.
8 Quality time
Sometimes you just have to put down your phone, step away from the computer and plan some quality time with your loved ones (or indeed yourself). I love the Wednesday market in our local town (there’s nothing nicer than fresh bread and a bunch of flowers) but seem to miss it every week, so that’s going to change, plus I’m planning those beauty treatments, but I’d also like to factor in some time with the family (we’re all so busy) – maybe the odd cinema trip or dinner out – just so that we can all stay connected.
This is my FAVOURITE topic. Grab your pen and just write: what do you dream about? What are your hopes and goals? It doesn’t matter if it’s retiring to a little cottage in Brittany with chickens in the garden (yup, that’s mine), or just wanting to achieve a bit more time to sit and read a book in peace – write it all down! Be careful here – no deadlines, remember! It can be a simple as vowing to put a bit of money aside every month so you’re not financially strapped at Christmas, or wanting to find the perfect pair of black trousers (that’s also mine, weirdly).
We’re all so hard on ourselves, don’t you think? We screw up our noses at every photo, filter out every imperfection and moan about everything from our thighs to our bank balances. My vow is to try and love myself a bit more – I’m healthy and happy, doing a job I love with a family I adore. What more could I possibly want (apart from those black trousers, obviously)?!
Do let me know if you give this fun little exercise a go – I guarantee it’s life affirming and inspiring x
By the way, my yummy denim dress in this picture is from hush.