Welcome to 2019! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and saw in the New Year with your favourite people. Our Christmas was a little disjointed – I was desperate to go away, but actually although I loved our holiday, I really missed the build up to Christmas. I wanted to avoid it because I thought it would make me sad, but I’ve realised that I prefer to be at home in those precious, exciting days of planning, shopping and wrapping before the big day. I’ve said it before, but there’s something about going on holiday that always seems to find me spending a lot of time taking stock, reassessing my life and seeing what I want from my future more clearly. I guess it’s the luxury of having time to dream and plot and wish – all of my favourite things. I’m a big fan of approaching the new year with positivity – life brings us 12 new chapters, all with blank pages ready for us to fill with memories and new experiences. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about choosing a word for 2019, and I know instantly what mine’s going to be: simplicity. It’s what I’m craving, in all things.
2018 got off to a rotten start with the death of my Dad on New Year’s Day (he made sure we’d never forget to raise a glass to him). I barely remember anything about January, which passed in a blur of sadness and shock and funeral prep. Slowly, though, I started to want to make every second count, to strive for happiness and fulfillment, and try to emulate a lot of the things that I loved in him: his zest for life, his love of travel, and his unending, unflinching self confidence (I’m working on that one), so I can’t hate 2018. I’m kind of glad it’s over (they say a year of firsts after losing someone is the worst), but it had its positives too.
You won’t find me making any resolutions
This time last year, I wrote a positive life plan for 2018 (drafted before I knew about my Dad, but I published it anyway, because I liked the positivity and upbeat feel of it) and in it, Erica and I talked a bit about resolutions being such a negative thing, full of memories of failure and loaded with pressure. I loved Erica’s comment that ‘a new year should be about positivity, resetting ourselves, and despite past failures and obstacles, launching ourselves once more towards the life we dream of’, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing this year. Not so much ‘new year, new me’, more ‘new year, same me, or maybe even ‘new year, simpler me’.
Striving for a simplicity in 2019
For me, 2019 will be all about simplifying and streamlining, about living with less, taking the time to think about sustainability, and embracing and enjoying the simple things in life.
My capsule wardrobe
I want this new life philosophy to spill over into all aspects of my lifestyle, including my wardrobe. My capsule wardrobe is well under way now, and I want to embrace and develop a simple, signature style incorporating great quality items with no unnecessary embellishments that will really last: jeans that fit and flatter; the perfect cashmere jumper; underwear that’s stylish and comfy (no scratchy lace or tight elastic;, pyjamas that are soft and cosy…
I’m also going to set myself a bit of a non-spendy challenge, to see how long I can go just wearing my current items and not buying anything new.
Doing some good
I have a rare blood group and I always used to hate it, as the NHS would ring me all the time to ask me to go in and donate when stocks were low. It’s nice though, right? Something special that I have with which I can do some good. I’ll be volunteering this year, and giving blood as many times as I can.
The luxury of time
For me, the things that make me happy are often the smallest things: frosty dog walks; taking the time to make a perfect cup of tea with my favourite teapot; a wander around the market for fresh bread and an armful of flowers. I’m planning on going back to the old fashioned joy of writing notes in a lovely notebook (with my favourite fountain pen), and thinking of delicious soup simmering on the stove ready to welcome my family home. These are the things I find joy in, and they’re all simple pleasures.
Body positivity and self acceptance
How many times have I heard people say ‘right that’s it, I’m on a diet right after Christmas’, or ‘urgh, I’m so fat’. I’m making the conscious decision not to go down that route. I’ll be trying to be kind to myself, loving my curves, being thankful that I’ve got a strong, healthy body, and remembering that a number on the scale isn’t a reflection of my worth. I found happiness in running last year – the head clearing freedom of half an hour in the fresh air – not setting the world alight (I’m a really slow runner), but enjoying my body and feeling that buzz of achievement at the end of it. I’m hoping to get back to that.
A hygge kitchen
Food is such a huge part of my life, and the kitchen in the heart of our family. This year, I’ll be taking the time to create delicious, hearty, healthy meals, concentrating on great flavour while minimising waste, and committing to a couple of meat free meals a week. I’m going to try and do a lot more shopping from our wonderful farm shop, where the fruit and veg is wonderfully fresh, and embrace the whole process, not as a chore, but as a treat – remembering how lucky I am to have all this delicious produce practically on my doorstep.
I’m so lucky that I have a job that allows me to travel (the next time I moan about airport queues and delays I’m going to remind myself of this). This year, I’m going to embrace every minute spent exploring the world: I’ll say yes to as many opportunities as possible, enjoy meeting every new person and delight in discovering new places too.
Wishing you a wonderful, peaceful, simple New Year. As C S Lewis said, ‘There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind’. Have you thought about your word for 2019?