#Project2016 | One Year On

Wednesday 21 December 2016

One of the things that really makes me feel old is complaining about how quickly the year's gone, yet here I am.

It's an uncomfortable truth that time seems to speed up dramatically as you get older. There are never enough hours in the day, days in the week, or months in the year. Such is life.

2016 was a pretty major year for me. I was getting to grips with being a first-time mama, renovating a run-down Victorian house into my dream home and I also ended up switching jobs. Life has been pretty full on.

In all of that, especially over the past few months, I feel like I've sort of lost sight of the goals I set myself as part of my #Project2016.

But that's okay. The project was never about creating a stick to beat myself with. It never had strict timescales and do-or-die rules. In fact, I've talked before about why New Year's Resolutions never work, and also learnt about how to set goals that stick.

What I can see is that I've definitely made solid progress on quite a few of my goals. I'm rolling them forward into 2017 and adding a couple of new ones to the list. A quick review of how they went:


Educate myself about clean eating 

This one was great. I've been reading up about a better diet and trying out some great recipes. Key resources for me were Pinterest – home of many a clean slow-cooker recipe that's saved the day during the week – and Joe Wicks' 'Lean in 15', which has been really useful.

However, towards the end of the year, like most people, with all the festivities, I've well and truly fallen off the wagon. I wouldn't have it any other way! I mean to pick this up again when the dust has settled on 2016.

Work on a consistent fitness routine 

This was going really well until a few months ago. I was back at the gym, taking runs and going to BuggyFit sessions with Theo.

But since starting back at work full-time, I've completely failed at this. I was cycling to work but since switching jobs I'm further away and driving again. In 2017, I really need to crack this one. I used to be one of those people who laughed when other said they 'didn't have time' to exercise -  now I am one them. I just can't work out where to fit exercise into my normal day.

I'm up at 6am anyway – and getting up any earlier just isn't going to happen- then I'm at work, and after work I want to spend every minute I can with my son. I should do something when he's in bed, but a) I'm extremely tired and b) it’s the only bit of time I get to myself. So I haven't been prioritising working out. But I want to feel healthy again, so I need to work out what to compromise on. This is my priority for the new year!

Lose the baby weight and feel good about myself again 

Kind of halfway there! I put on around 3st when I was pregnant, and I think I've lost about half of that (I'm not sure because I don't believe in scales!) I can get back into the majority of my pre-pregnancy clothes, but I think in a way that's made me lazy about losing the rest. I sort of feel like myself again....

Respect my body by fuelling it the right way 

This does need more work. I've been preparing healthy family meals but I do need to watch my snacking and what I eat at lunchtime a little more.

Look after my health and wellbeing 

If there's one thing that having a baby did, it made me respect the capabilities of my own body. For the first time, I felt how powerful it could be – but also how fragile. It really made me consider how precious health is – without that, you don't have much. So I want to make looking after my own health more of an ongoing priority.


Create new morning and evening routines that work with the baby 

Check! Establishing good, consistent routines has been absolutely key for us. It makes Theo happy, and that makes me happy! It took a little bit of experimentation and tenacity to find what works for us, but we're there now and I stick to it all quite rigidly.

Cleanse and manage my digital world 

Again, this is more of an ongoing process. I think digital admin can become a massive, ongoing headache, both at work and during your personal time. It creates unnecessary stress and it gets to the point where you feel like it's controlling you and your time, even though these tools are supposed to make life easier. I've put the basics in place through finding the right tools, but its up to me now to continue managing them.

Start a bullet journal 

Sort of! After a lot of looking into it and going back and forth, I eventually decided that a paper journal wasn't for me. I don't need to carry around more stuff – I want to streamline, after all.

I decided that my organisation systems would all have to be online. So now, I use 'OneNote' to organise myself. It's basically a digital tabbed notebook, with coloured sections that you can then create multiple lists in.

So I have a section for work, one for home, one for budgeting, one for blog stuff...within each of those, I have lists for things I need to do or remember. It's working really well for me. You can also add pictures, clip things from the web, search through your notes digitally and access and update from any device.

I have it on my iPhone, iPad and work desktop computer, so if I think of something that needs to be added, I can do it wherever I am.

Develop a capsule wardrobe 

While I did a lot of reading about this, I didn't actually implement it. I spent a lot of time actually deciding if a capsule wardrobe is for me. I love the idea of the edit, or having less headaches about what to wear in the morning.

But at the same time, I'm also a person who really loves choice, and to be able to dress for what I feel like on the day. Then it hit me – I could adopt a capsule wardrobe for my work clothes (which is really where I want to have more of a uniform approach). This lends itself to my set-up as well -  I have a smaller built-in wardrobe in my bedroom, and we're planning a dressing room up on the third floor.

So having a capsule work wardrobe that lives in my bedroom and makes getting ready on a weekday morning quick and easy is ideal. I've done a capsule wardrobe list and audit, and I'll be adding pieces and streamlining in the new year.

De-clutter my life 

Another ongoing one, but where I have had an opportunity to declutter I have! Its more of a mindset than a task, and I really feel as if I've let go of the need to keep stuff for its own sake.

Address and break my negative financial habits 

2016 saw some really positive steps here, but I need to be vigilant, as bad choices are easy to make. My main goals for my finances next year are to avoid impulse purchases. These rarely work out well.
I've found that keeping a Wish List has really helped me here. If something can survive a month on that list, I know I really want it. Lots of bad potential purchases have been weeded out this way.- this is something I'll continue to concentrate on in 2017.

Attack clutter hotspots in the house on the regular 

One of those goals with a little investment and a big outcome. I've made it my mission last year to tackle black spots in my home where I know I tend to keep junk, and be ruthless about clearing them down.

I've blitzed various cupboard and corners with a little and often approach. In fact, I've taken this approach to cleaning in particular.

I do 15 minutes each day, usually while Theo is eating and safely occupied. It could be clutter-busting one day, vacuuming another or cleaning the bathrooms. It gets stuff done and it means I don't have a pile of jobs waiting for me on my days off. Big win!


Plan our first family holiday 

With the experience category, I knew I'd tick most of them off as they were 'fun stuff' but also important. This one went well – we went to Treviganano near Rome and had an amazing family break – so much that we're going back to Italy (Lake Garda this time) in May!

Take regular days out with the baby 

It's important to me to make the most of my time off with Theo. Working full time, I do feel like I miss out a bit. But one of the upsides of us both working is enough money to take him out on day trips and visits.

We've been out for a few nice lunches and a family rave party the other week, but some places have been more impractical while he was so little. Next year, I want to take him to the zoo and the sea life centre and just continue having a good time together.

Make time for myself and friends occasionally 

It sounds simple, but this is actually quite hard to do! Once you have kids, everything revolves around them – as it should. But this can make it really hard to accommodate time with friends, especially if they don't have kids because it's sort of hard to understand how much they take over your life until you've been there!

But I think I managed my best on this one, fitting in coffees and catch-ups where possible. As Theo gets more and more independent, its easier to make time for friends. I want to continue to make it a priority next year, including perhaps a couple of nights away. I mean to have a spa break with my two oldest school friends and also a day away visiting my best friend in Cambridge.

Tackle my home improvement projects – garden makeover phase one, refit of the family bathroom, create dressing room 

This went really well, although we didn't manage to tick off the dressing room, which is still just piles of clothes on the floor at the moment. The difficulty with that one is that the room is an attic room and an awkward shape, so knowing how best to use the space is hard. I'm thinking we might be best getting a professional company to come in and have a look, because a quality finish is important.

Equally, we're talking about replacing our ageing roof and possibly installing some extra windows on the third floor, so it may be a good idea to wait until that's done first.

The garden went well though – from what was a wild meadow to all intents and purposes, we now have a family garden with a patio area and pizza oven, a proper enclosure for the chickens, and raised vegetable, flower and herb beds. We've also painted the garage and re-surfaced the area directly outside the kitchen doors so its granite chippings.

Next year, I'd like to properly establish the herbs and veg, add in some more shrubs, close off the waterfront area, add in a swing for Theo and get a bistro set for the area outside the back door.

The bathroom makeover went well and we now have a lovely new bathroom with a freestanding bath and a separate shower enclosure. I'm so glad, because our family bathroom before was really horrid.

For 2017, apart from the dressing room, it's lot of little finishing touches  - replacing all the light fittings and plug sockets, getting new light fixtures in the hall and some of the bedrooms, upgrading the sink unit in the ensuite, replacing the dining chairs and adding a large wine rack in the dining room, creating a new porch area by adding an external front door, buying a second sofa and wooden shutters for the living room, and getting a new bed for the master suite. I need to make sure we keep on track with it all!

Respect my Beauty MOT 

This has only been a partial success. After having my son, I went through a strange, post-pregnancy period where I really struggled with my sense of self. It's like you lose yourself a little bit, getting so wrapped up in this wonderful new addition to your life. But as part of reclaiming 'me', I wanted to make sure I set aside a little time for self-care.

Each week, on a Sunday, I've been taking a nice long bath, with face-masks, conditioning treatments etc. And it's been lovely. I had been taking the time to get my nails done as well, but that's fallen by the wayside over the last few months with my job change.

Its a little thing, but it makes me feel more pulled together. I also haven't had a haircut since I was pregnant! So it's one to keep a focus on for 2017.

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