2017 Resolutions: How did I do?

20171210_Snowy_London_00152017 was a big year for me with lots of changes and lots of celebration!

It went by in a blur and it’s nice to spend some quieter time now to let it all soak in. The wintery weather makes it easier to stay inside and tend to some of that life admin too.

Unless it’s a snow day!

20171210_Snowy_London_0073We woke up to one of the best snow days I’ve experienced in London in my nearly 6 years here (wow!). We woke up on a Sunday morning mid-December to a blanket of snow just settling on the ground and it continued all morning. 20171210_Snowy_London_0090Ben and I couldn’t wait to rug up and get out there, Ben eager to capture the snowflakes with the camera, me just happy to pose and catch flakes on my tongue.

I feel like it was October this year before I really woke up to the fact that 2017 was nearly over. It has been a busy year. I did manage to complete some of my 2017 resolutions though. Here is how I did:

  • Read!

I set a goal to read 25 books this year to get me back into a reading routine after dropping the ball in 2016 when my commute changed. This turned out to be an exactly perfect pace for me and I read just over 25 books throughout the year in the end.

I really enjoyed using GoodReads too. It made me read more widely by picking up recommendations along the way and gave me a place to store all those want to read lists that would end up all over my life scrawled on paper, in books and in my phone. Love it.

I have increased my 2018 goal to 30 only because I want to watch TV and I know a goal like this will easily take me away from the box sets and into a book. Also with 72 books currently on my Want to Read shelf I’m not going to be short of inspiration.

Done it! You can read my write up here. Such a good challenge! My motivation to get out an exercise has been limited since this and I need to think about what my next exersize challenge will be to get me going for 2018.

  • Use what we have + only buy essentials
  • Save to buy a house

Kind of.. but there is always room to do more. I think we will be making actual monetary savings goals this year to help us step up the savings. We have a lot to pay for coming up including visas and hopefully citizenship for myself in the UK and maybe a wedding.

  • Learn to code in Visual Basic

I didn’t do this in the end. I started talking to my boss about getting on a course when I got back from my holiday in January, however I ended up being pulled into a Transformation project that eventually lead to a new job in 2017! Woohoo! I’m still interested in learning code, however will see where this new job will lead me in 2018 before taking it on.

  • Refresh my blog

This blog definitely took a back seat this year and I have struggled to feel purposeful about it. But I’m coming to the conclusion that I don’t care and mainly just want it as a record for myself. So I will keep popping in with little life updates and travel photos and see how I go in 2018.

So, two and a half out of five for 2017 goals. How did you do?

I love this time of year for a bit of re-evaluation and goal setting so will check back in with some goals for 2018 soon. Lots to get stuck into this year I’m sure.

Happy New Year!20171210_Snowy_London_0116

Thanks to Ben for the snow photos.  You can follow him on Instagram @benjamin_e_parry or me @andieinspired

 

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2017 Resolutions

20170110_175912.jpgThere is nothing like the start of a new year to make you re-evaluate your situation and inevitably, set some lofty goals. Ben and I have been having some big adult discussions lately about what we’re aiming for in life. It’s exciting. 2017 is also the year that we both turn 30 and we will have our 10 year anniversary so there will be lots to celebrate over the summer.

My resolutions are pretty simple this year and I’m thinking they will stick. I’m optimistic mostly because I’m so excited about them. So here goes…20170204_resolutions_blog_0065My 2017 Resolutions

  • Read!

With the change to my commute this year my reading has slowed down dramatically. I miss churning through the books on my long commute, it was the perfect, distraction free reading time. Now that my commute involves more exercise (and sometimes photography) I need to carve out some reading time while at home. So that’s what this goal is about. I have set up a Goodreads account to track my reading this year and set a goal of 25 books.

I have possibly bitten off more than I can chew here but I signed up to run this 10-12 mile obstacle assault course with Ben. The website says “You can expect undulating hills, thick mud and a range of mind-bending challenges to test your mental grit.” Yikes! We started (sort of) training in New Zealand and now that we’re back in London we have committed to this in earnest. There is a lot of ab crunches and pull ups (when I can do them) in my future.

  • Use what we have + only buy essentials
  • Save to buy a house

These two resolutions go together. This year is the year of saving for Ben and I, we really want to put in a big effort to save on the little things, like takeaways, buying coffees, and make the most of the stuff we have. We’re not going completely frugal but just trying to get smarter, I would much rather my money went on holidays and our futures than Uber rides.

  • Learn to code in Visual Basic

This will be a huge step for my Excel skills and will help me streamline the work I do so much. I wish I had thought of it sooner. I have a few projects at work that I’m going to attempt this year.

  • Refresh my blog

It’s nearly two and a half years since I started this blog on my 27th birthday and it still looks pretty much exactly the same. I think it’s about time to refresh, I love writing this little online diary so I want it to keep growing with me. 20170204_resolutions_blog_0055What are your resolutions for this year? Did you make any? Oh and does anyone want to train for Tough Mudder with me? I’m going to need so much support to get through that. .

Resolutions 2016 + Some Stolen Ones

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In some ways I feel like I am in a completely different place than I was when I wrote resolutions last year, in others ways it feels exactly the same.

My resolutions last year were simple and I feel pretty good about all of them.

2015 Resolutions

  • Continue working through my 27 List and on this blog.

You can see the archive here. I have completed over half and I am still intending to do more this year and probably in coming years.

  • Save to buy a house sometime in the future.

We made significant headway with our savings this year and it feels good. We live pretty frugally and have relatively low rental overheads (for London) so we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and remembering to save first and then forget about it.

  • Print photos and display them somehow.

I mentioned my personalised calendar gifts for my family – these were pretty popular and I’m really glad I made them. My next step is to create a photo book and populate an album that we have had empty on our bookshelf for years. Going slowly with this one but always have it in mind.

So what am I aiming for this year?

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2016 Resolutions

  • No More Snoozing! I want to wake up and get up in 2016.

Because really, what do I gain by staying in bed an extra 10 (or 30) minutes?

  • Complete 10 full press-ups.

I can currently do none so this will be a big deal for me. I have started by doing them leaning against the stairs – top tip from a colleague of mine.

  • Make cards and use a bit more of the paper scraps that I am always collecting (hoarding).

This is my recycled wrapping paper and parcel bag collection, and my magazines in case I need to find pictures and all my craft supplies.. arg! I need to stop.

  • Say Yes! more and be an available and willing friend in 2016.

I want to do more and hang out more and say yes when someone makes the effort to invite me somewhere.

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2016 Stolen Resolutions

Some of my mates have some pretty cool resolutions, too. Like when I heard them I was like “oooh I wanna do that too! I’ll totally join you on that!” and so I have forced my way into their 2016.. Sneaky!

T is my number one muso soulmate in London and she is planning on going to more gigs this year – always keen for that.

My colleague J wants to eat out less but when she does, she wants quality. So I’m hoping that will mean trying out some new restaurants in my future.

My boyf wants to draw more and I’m eager to support.Nude modelling? Jks.

E has started a blog on brunches in London. She’s aiming to do 33 this year and I’m aiming to share as much avocado on toast with her as I can. Yum!

Anyone else got any resolutions they want me to help them with? I’m always willing to support.

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Oh I nearly forgot, I did kinda set myself a photography challenge too….

 

27 List: June Update with Croatia pics

20150711_Sail_Croatia_Day4_0439 I have just spent an awesome week sailing with friends in Croatia which is why this June update is coming late. It was a fantastic week of sunning, swimming, reading and most of all relaxing. Here’s a few pics.. Take me back…..

20150711_Sail_Croatia_Day4_057220150711_Sail_Croatia_Day4_093020150711_Sail_Croatia_Day1_0188And here is where I’m at with the list at the moment. There are lots of write ups in the pipe-line.. July will be a post heavy month.

1. Make a 3 tiered cake a la Sweetapolita Complete! Check out my practice run and the final baby shower cake.

2. Watch the entire series of Sex and the City  – Maybe I’ll be more productive with my evenings now that I have finished this. You can read my review here, spoiler – I loved it!

3. Write at least 27 more blog entries – Since writing the list, I have completed 26 posts just about to tick this off.

4. See The Book of Mormon theatre show – Saw it just before the Croatia trip and have been quoting it ever since, review to come.

5. Create a star constellation scarfI’m halfway done on this, it has been harder to motivate myself to find the time to do this than I expected it would be.

6. Host friends for a grown up dinner party

7. Make French macaronsDone!They were delicious. Here are my macarons and my Paris research.

8. Plan a travel trip to Morocco – It’s going to be Egypt and Jordan now!! See my travel planning business case here.

9. Make lolly infused vodka See my colourful attempt here.

10. Knit a peggy square blanket, maybe like thisBlanket = Stalled indefinitely.

11. Try out dance classes – Life got in the way and I stopped going to classes, I keep telling myself I’ll go back to it, but it has been a couple of months now…

12. Run a 10K cancer research raceThis was a real sister challenge and you can see how we did here.

13. Make salted caramel as gifts

14. Develop a uniform work wardrobe of at least 8 outfits – This is my starting point, my first 5 outfits.

15. Go to see an inspirational speaker (like a Ted Talk) –  I was inspired by many speakers at the Women of the World Festival.  An unexpected talk about The Myth of Talent really resonated with me too.

16. Take a DSLR camera course – I have bought the ABM DSLR Basics course and have been reading through the lessons slowly. I used the travel techniques on my most recent holiday, photos to come.

17. Read these books –  The Robber BrideFinished 13/03/2015, see my first attempt at a book review here. The Colour Purple – Finished 20/03/2015, see my purple post here. The Kite Runner – I’m nearly finished and I’m so happy to report it was worth the wait! review to come soon.

18. Make gimmick tea bag craft idea for friends

19. Hike along the White Cliffs of Dover

20. Move into a 1 bed flat with Ben – We’re staying in Tottenham! Here is why.

21. Stay at/visit a National Trust site

22. See a netball match, hopefully to support New Zealand. – It doesn’t look like NZ is touring England this year, booo! But England will be playing a few World Cup warm up matches in the next few months.

23. Have a cocktail at the Ritz – I have been doing some research on the Rivoli Bar at the Ritz, and the more I read, the more I’m not so keen on going anymore. It just sounds too stuffy and uptight for me to enjoy.

Instead I have been researching awesome London cocktails bars for somewhere else I would rather spend my money in. These are the candidates so far: Nola, a New Orleans style cocktail bar in Shoreditch; Mr Foggs, a Mayfair bar decorated in Victorian Explorer trinkets and trifles and Original Sin, this place looks incredible and is within stumbling distance from home. If you have any more recommendations please let me know.

24. Climb Snowdon Mountain, Wales

25. Do some study through work. Hopefully a Prince2 Project Management qualification. – I completed a 1 week intensive course mid-May, and passed!

26. Print a photo book – This will be a photo book of Croatia. I have some ideas of what I want it to be already. Croatia was soooo photo genic. We have come back with more than 2,500 after a week. Of course not all of these will be winners.

27. Eat at a Michelin starred restaurant – Booked! Ben and I are going to have lunch at Galvin at Windows for our anniversary. I think it’s the worst name for a restaurant I have heard, but the food looks delicious.

April Update: Spring Time

Cherry blossom- Regents Park London I hope you’re all enjoying the changing seasons. It’s spring time in London and I couldn’t be happier that the weather is warming up.

This past month has been busy since Ben has been back in London, hence why my April update is coming to you mid-May. It has been a great month though – did I mention that my boyfriend is back? Yay! We have also attended weddings and birthdays; met two new baby boys, both oh so gorgeous; spent a long weekend camping and partying; tripped out to Wales; caught up with Game of Thrones and kept up with our full-time jobs. When you put it like that it sounds crazy, but we have had so much fun.

This month I’m focusing on knitting, my project management study for work and saving some money for all the adventures we have planned for the summer.

Here is how I’m getting on with the list:

1. Make a 3 tiered cake a la Sweetapolita Complete! Check out my practice run and the final baby shower cake.

2. Watch the entire series of Sex and the City  – Maybe I’ll be more productive with my evenings now that I have finished this. You can read my review here, spoiler – I loved it!

3. Write at least 27 more blog entries – Since writing the list, I have completed 17 posts so far… many more to come.

4. See The Book of Mormon theatre show – This is booked! I’m so excited to see this in July… AND I will get to share the experience with two very good friends who are visiting over summer. Can’t wait!

5. Create a star constellation scarf

6. Host friends for a grown up dinner party

7. Make French macaronsDone!They were delicious. Here are my macarons and my Paris research.

8. Plan a travel trip to Morocco

9. Make lolly infused vodka See my colourful attempt here.

10. Knit a peggy square blanket, maybe like thisThis is the beginnings of my blanket, although I am thinking of this square as a practice run. I have two quite big holes in it where I got into messes and didn’t know how to get out of them other than ignoring them. I also started off with 4mm needles but wondered if my knitting was coming out too compact, so I am now experimenting with 6.5mm needles, they give a kind of ribbing effect.

_MG_006211. Try out dance classes – Life got in the way and I stopped going to classes, I keep telling myself I’ll go back to it, but it has been a couple of months now…

12. Run a 10K cancer research race

13. Make salted caramel as gifts

14. Develop a uniform work wardrobe of at least 8 outfits

15. Go to see an inspirational speaker (like a Ted Talk) –  I was inspired by many speakers at the Women of the World Festival.  An unexpected talk about The Myth of Talent really resonated with me too.

16. Take a DSLR camera course – I have bought the ABM DSLR Basics course and have been reading through the lessons slowly. I am waiting for some more sunlight to truly start practicing.

17. Read these books –  The Robber BrideFinished 13/03/2015, see my first attempt at a book review here. The Colour Purple – Finished 20/03/2015, see my purple post here. The Kite Runner – I have this ordered at my local library. I can’t wait to get started on it.

18. Make gimmick tea bag craft idea for friends

19. Hike along the White Cliffs of Dover

20. Move into a 1 bed flat with Ben

21. Stay at/visit a National Trust site

22. See a netball match, hopefully to support New Zealand. – It doesn’t look like NZ is touring England this year, booo! But England will be playing a few World Cup warm up matches in the next few months.

23. Have a cocktail at the Ritz

24. Climb Snowdon Mountain, Wales

25. Do some study through work. Hopefully a Prince2 Project Management qualification. – I am booked in to attend a 1 week intensive course mid-May, wish me luck. I think I’m going to need it.

26. Print a photo book

27. Eat at a Michelin starred restaurant – It’s not booked yet but all things going well, Ben and I are going to have lunch at Galvin at Windows for our anniversary. I think it’s the worst name for a restaurant I have heard, but the food looks delicious.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin

27 List: March Update

Hey all, hope you are having a lovely Easter break. I have been eating my weight in Hot Cross buns! Yum! I’ve also been doing some planning for my brief trip to Bristol tomorrow.

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Oh, and that’s my knitting practice in the background there.

So, here is what I have been up to this month:

1. Make a 3 tiered cake a la Sweetapolita Complete! Check out my practice run and the final baby shower cake.

2. Watch the entire series of Sex and the City  – Maybe I’ll be more productive with my evenings now that I have finished this. You can read my review here, spoiler – I loved it!

3. Write at least 27 more blog entries

4. See The Book of Mormon theatre show

5. Create a star constellation scarf

6. Host friends for a grown up dinner party

7. Make French macarons – Check out my research.

8. Plan a travel trip to Morocco

9. Make lolly infused vodka See my colourful attempt here.

10. Knit a peggy square blanket, maybe like thisColours chosen and wool has arrived. I’m really happy with the bright colours, summery colours and, I’m excited to start knitting. 

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11. Try out dance classes – Life got in the way and I stopped going to classes, I keep telling myself I’ll go back to it, but it has been a couple of months now…

12. Run a 10K cancer research race

13. Make salted caramel as gifts

14. Develop a uniform work wardrobe of at least 8 outfits

15. Go to see an inspirational speaker (like a Ted Talk) –  I was inspired by many speakers at the Women of the World Festival

16. Take a DSLR camera course – I have bought the ABM DSLR Basics course and have been reading through the lessons slowly. I am waiting for some more sunlight to truly start practicing.

17. Read these books –  The Robber Bride – Finished 13/03/2015, see my first attempt at a book review here. The Colour Purple – Finished 20/03/2015, my thoughts on this are coming. The Kite Runner

18. Make gimmick tea bag craft idea for friends

19. Hike along the White Cliffs of Dover

20. Move into a 1 bed flat with Ben

21. Stay at/visit a National Trust site

22. See a netball match, hopefully to support New Zealand. – It doesn’t look like NZ is touring England this year, booo! But England will be playing a few World Cup warm up matches in the next few months.

23. Have a cocktail at the Ritz

24. Climb Snowdon Mountain, Wales

25. Do some study through work. Hopefully a Prince2 Project Management qualification.

26. Print a photo book

27. Eat at a Michelin starred restaurant

27 List: February Update from Paris

I didn’t manage to tick much off the 27 List in February, other than making this colourful lolly vodka, but I did fit in some travel, and some research. Macaron tasting research.

One of my tasks is to make French macarons, I have thought about attempting these for a while, but as they are notoriously difficult to get right; take quite a lot of time and have a somewhat pricey ingredient list; I have been a little intimidated.

So, on a recent trip to Paris with my sister, I knew I would have to fit in some “blog research”. Baking research is probably the best kind of research. Anyone out there want to be a chocolate taster? Food critic? Nutella recipe developer? Hello…. Dream job!

If I am going to put a lot of time and money into getting these right, I need to know what perfection tastes like.

_MG_0385We started off with some giant macarons from Paul’s bakery. We have this chain in London too, but I’m not sure I have ever been. Anyway we were hungry so opted for super size. _MG_0374You have to close your eyes when eating a giant luxurious biscuit.

We had chocolate and pistachio flavours, both were nice but they lost the delicacy that makes a macaroon so indulgent and felt a bit heavy. We snacked on these after a wander around the lovely Picasso Museum.

Next stop; the Pompidou Centre where we ordered macaroos and juice at the gallery cafe. They were standard quality and over priced, but they were still demolished before I remembered to snap a pic.

Oh, and then we had some crepes by Notre Dame.

_MG_0650_MG_0658Mine is Nutella and banana……. heaven.

_MG_0559And then I found the ultimate macaron. Rose flavour, it was delicate, sweet, creamy and tasted like the best kind of turkish delight I have ever had. Oh, and would you look at the colour, beautiful. I found the perfect macaron.

But that didn’t stop me buying a box to take back on the Eurostar…. Just in case.