I love Dawn French enormously. She recently released a new book/diary, wherein she shares her thoughts and feelings and lists and photos throughout the year, and you do the same. It’s an interactive sort of book, where there are plenty of spaces for you to add your own notes and doodles, over and above the actual space for diary entries.
I love Dawn French so much that I have done two things I wouldn’t normally do: bought a physical book, and then written in it.
It’s gorgeous and uplifting and encouraging, and I’m using it as a way of keeping track of inspiration and gratitude and general optimism.
Dawn’s been sharing photos of what other people are doing with their books, and whilst I don’t think I can be as creative as these in terms of art and doodling, I can already see that this book and I are going to be good friends this year.
Ordinarily, you wouldn’t find me in the reptile house of any theme park or zoo. I’m not that keen on zoos anymore, and dude, there are snakes in there. However, our visit to Drayton Manor was on one of the coldest days of the year, and snakes do at least have the right idea when it comes to sleeping somewhere warm.
I was snapping pictures here and there, still testing out the reaches of this iPhone 8 Plus camera – a huge improvement on my last. And somewhere along the way, I took this:
I never thought I’d be using portrait mode on a lizard, but damn if it wasn’t worth it.
I’ve been meaning to write about Les Mills for a while now and have a lot to say, but for now, I wanted to give a quick shout out to the new, free workout they’ve released featuring Nina Dobrev.
They built up to it for a few weeks, with a new challenge each week such as completing as many burpees or lunges as you can in a minute. I didn’t participate in these challenges and now I wish I had because I would have been a bit more prepared for the awesomeness of this workout.
I’m relatively new to Grit and rubbish at it, so it’s nice to see Nina looking as shattered as I do after each and every track.
Also, who came up with burpees? Because I’d like to have a word.
We’re a week into 2018, and if you made New Year’s Resolutions you will either be celebrating one week down, 51 more to go, or you will be disappointed that you’ve let them slide already. Either way, I thought it was a good time to share the tips that motivate me to stick to habits.
New habits are hard, they don’t always stick, I’m not perfect, and that’s why this reminder is as much for me as guidance for anyone else. These aren’t new or revolutionary, they’re just the key five things that will help you continue (or restart) the journey to getting your goals.
- Make it easy. If your goal is to do 20 minutes of indoor cycling a day, you don’t want to have to un-flat-pack your exercise bike every time you want to go for a stationary ride. Equally, you can’t leave the thing in the middle of the floor so that you trip over it in the middle of the night in search of a glass of water. There’s a happy balance, but it’s key that you keep your activities as set up as possible so that there are no (or few) barriers to just getting on with it each and every day.
- Do it regularly. It might not be a daily goal you have, although that’s the usual format. It’s important to have a regular schedule of whatever goal it is, though, so that you know when and where you have to do it. Of course plans change and you have to adapt, but it’s a good start to know that when you get home from work you do X, or every Sunday morning you’re going to achieve Y.
- Do it even if you don’t want to. This one really is the most important, despite the fact I’ve sandwiched it in the middle of the others. If you don’t feel like doing it, try and make yourself. If you REALLY don’t feel like doing it, then you have to make yourself. But the trick is to promise yourself you only have to do it for five or ten minutes. The important thing is to do it, so those five or ten minutes count. And you might find that once you’ve started, you just get on and do what you’d normally do anyway.
- Be accountable. This one annoys me because so many other guides, particularly with fitness goals, say ‘get a friend to do it with you!’ and that is just not practical for everyone. Firstly, your goal might be private or secret or a surprise, and secondly, you might not have a friend you want to share with. That’s cool, but you can still be accountable in other ways. Sharing on social media or blogging is one way, getting an app to track your habit (like Streaks) also works. At a very basic level, grab a scrap bit of paper and tick each day off as you do it.
- Reward yourself. You have to be careful with this one, because I think it’s important to want to do the goals or set up the habit for the right reason, not because you promised yourself an Xbox at the end. But there’s no harm in saying if I achieve this, I will treat myself to this. I think it’s better if the things aren’t related so one doesn’t derail the other (ie. if I lose this much weight, I’ll eat an entire sponge cake to myself) and smaller, more regular rewards can be better than waiting endlessly for one big one.
These are the tips that I’m trying to remember and stick to as I take on some new challenges. This time of year can be annoying for endless talk of improving yourself, but it can be a good time to reset, refresh and start something. Starting is the key to everything but these five tips will hopefully help with sticking with it.
I’ve never been a coffee drinker. I’ve enjoyed the smell, but never liked the taste. For a long time, I just never had coffee, but I must admit to occasionally being pressured to find something to drink in a coffee shop and opting for the sweetest, most caramel-enhanced, beverage the menu has to offer.
I have a feeling that’s all about to change, as the festive period brought with it a new Tassimo into our house. Two days in, two Costa coffee lattes later, and I’m converted. Who knew coffee could actually taste nice?
I’ve had drinks from a Tassimo before, but always chosen hot chocolate or tea (which is nice but ends up with frothy milk which is kinda odd). Now, I can’t believe I’ve been missing out this whole time. I know these machines come in for a lot of criticism, but having that fresh coffee smell in the house for the sake of putting a pod in the top and pressing a button is the kind of convenience I like.
So 2018 is off to a pretty good, and somewhat energised, start. Lattes now, but check back in with me later and I’ll likely have worked up to the espresso!
It’s this time of year that people start talking about making resolutions. I’m guilty of it too, and I always have those thoughts rolling around my head for New Year: eat less, move more, write more, do more, be better.
This year I was all ready to get specific again, and then I realised, it’s not about those measurable goals. Sure, I have plenty of things I want to achieve in 2018 but the overarching thing that I, and the world, needs is not a list of my boring plans.
Instead it’s about the simpler things.
Talk, but listen more.
Learn and grow and change your mind.
Be proud. Life is hard, but you’re making it.
Be awesome. The world needs awesome people.
Be fearless. You are loved, so take a chance.
Most of all, be you. Glorious, wonderful, flawed, beautiful, complicated you.
This annual tradition has had its ups and downs. Initially, Mr C enjoyed the process of selecting his top five songs and films of the year gone by. Then he started agonising over the choices and gradually began to hate this time of year. But I care not! It’s a tradition and we’re doing it for 2017 just like all the years gone by. This time, to appease him and because we really weren’t inspired by cinema so much, I’ve said just songs, not films.
So here they are: Mr C’s top five songs of 2017.
1- What About Us, P!nk
2- Green Light, Lorde
3- Right Now, HAIM
4- Plot Twist, Sigrid
5- Hard Times, Paramore
A quick word from the man himself on the state of music this year:
“A year dominated by female artists and exceptionally good albums. Every song on the list is backed by an equally good album. We lost the iTunes music festival which, in previous years, was the go to place. But we had Glastonbury and a lot of documentaries – Beats 1 put out a lot of strong content – that gave us context that we’ve been missing previously. Albums and songs got to mean more rather than just existing in a vacuum.”
Mr C would like me to mention that Kelsea Ballerina had the best album of the year, but none of the songs were strong enough in themselves to make the top five. She has, in fact, become a better Taylor Swift than Taylor Swift is these days.
Finally, the shortlist that he worked from to come up with this top five. I suspect it was the biggest shortlist to date, so goodness knows what will happen next year.
Previous years available here: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010