27 December 2016

GOODBYE 2016

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Well 2016, you've been a tricky little sod haven't you? 

I can't write a post like this without acknowledging all the 'greats' that we have lost this year. It seems like a year where many of the worlds most talented individuals have been called on from our little planet to a more peaceful existence. Unfortunately I have known more than one friend this year who has also lost someone very close to them, and my heart and love goes out to them too (as always).

Not only has 2016 brought with it a lot of sadness (and political madness), but it has also brought along some positive changes to my life and, for that, I am eternally grateful. It doesn't pay to only think of the sad times, so I want to round off the year with some thoughts about what this year has been about for me, and set my mind towards, what I hope will be, an amazing 2017.

One of the things I see many people doing, at the start of a new year, is giving themselves a word or a phrase, as a point of focus and motivation for the days that follow. I have never done this before (although I am considering it for the coming year) but, upon reflection, I would say that my word for 2016 has been transformation. This year has been the year of allowing myself to transform into the person I have always wanted to be or perhaps the person I have always been inside but been afraid to show. I have shifted spiritually, mentally and physically in the last twelve months and whilst a lot of things have been because of a direct intention, some changes have come about naturally or as a result of one of the other components changing. 

The biggest transformation for me has to be the physical one. The decision I made, in April, to sign up to work with Olly Foster (his 12 week ART programme) was one of the best choices I made this year. Not only have I seen many physical changes and learnt so much about nutrition and weight loss, but my mental health has improved more than I can say. I cannot thank Olly, his team and the community of other people doing his training enough for the constant support and encouragement. Because of this programme I have more knowledge to go forward into 2017 and set realistic goals for myself. I have gained a totally new mindset toward food and training now which will stay with me forever.

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Without this physical transformation I know that other areas of my life would not have seen such positive results this year. I have had to learn to become more resilient, which is something I am still working on. Along with my new found inspiration to eat healthy and train more frequently, came much more negativity from people around me than I could have anticipated. I found myself having to become more self-focused and let comments slide off me, or else I was never going to achieve my goals. I have also become a lot more able to tune in to my intuition this year and really pay attention to what feels like the right path to follow or the right decision to make for me. I have read a whole load of books, listened to many, many podcasts and watched countless videos on-line about tuning in and aligning to your 'truth' and, you know what, it feels bloody amazing to be learning more about that stuff. It feels like I am discovering who I really am and I don't care what people think about that part of me anymore. I am 'woo-woo' and proud damn it!

Alongside the shift in following my intuition came the need to become a little more brave in my actions and reactions. This is a work in progress but I am slowly getting better at worrying less. So much has happened to people around me this year that you simply have to learn to be a bit more relaxed about the way things could turn out because, ultimately, worrying will not change anything. Joe and I are smack bang in the middle of finally making some huge life decisions and that is because we have seen some crappy things this year and so it feels right to move forward now. Standing still won't make changes happen and that is probably the most recurring message to come out of the year we are just about to leave behind.

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Because I made a choice to commit to a few other things this year I have had to accept that my business goal, of launching Leaf Lane Studio in the autumn of this year, had to be pushed back but, do you know something, I am so pleased, because I feel so much more capable now. I am going to take on 2017 with determination and passion, but I will tell you my goals for the new year ahead in a separate post very soon.

If you are still with me and made it to the end of this extremely long post then I truly salute you! If you have the energy to comment and tell me what this year has been about for you then I would love to know!

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22 December 2016

TAKING STOCK | DECEMBER 2016

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The end of 2016 is approaching so fast and, this time of year usually signals completely surrender to food and sleep and relaxation but, right now, I am super busy and my mind is all of a blur with things that will be happening in the New Year to come. For now though, lets round up December and all its goodness!

Making :: lots and lots of watercolour Christmas cards for people at work. This year I desperately wanted to work on my painting and, what better way to do it then paint forty individual cards huh?!
Cooking :: Christmas treats for work buddies.
Drinking :: one, very yummy, peach Bellini, at our lovely anniversary dinner. Needless to say, it went straight to my no-drinkers head (but was thoroughly enjoyed anyway!).
Reading :: hardly anything worth mentioning. I have some books to finish and some wonderful books to start in the New Year but I have been so busy painting that I haven't had any time to read.
Wanting :: almost everything on the Gym Shark website! I adore this long-line crop top and this vest top but am lusting after a whole load of their hoodies and joggers too.
Looking :: red nosed for the most part of this month, thanks to my lingering cold.
Playing :: Heart-Extra Christmas on the radio! I am still not tired of the festive songs :-)
Deciding :: to have a go at Vlogmas, before swiftly realising I have the most boring month ever ahead (but I'm doing it anyway!).
Wishing :: the world was a little more peaceful, such craziness is happening right now and it is just so sad.
Enjoying :: last minute road trips and big life-changing plans.

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Watching :: many festive films, lots of Vlogmas videos and Breaking Bad (again!).
Waiting :: (patiently) for Christmas dinner... aren't we all?!
Liking :: having the pretty fairy lights on early in the morning, before the day starts up.
Wondering :: what 2017 will bring.
Loving :: my work pals new puppy, Huxley. He is super cute.
Hoping :: to open an Etsy shop really soon.
Marvelling :: over the pretty winter mornings.
Needing :: more art supplies. 
Smelling :: mulled wine at the Salisbury Christmas Market, I haven't has any so far this festive season.
Wearing :: my lovely, new, H & M chelsea boots that Joe got me for Christmas. They are so comfortable and perfect to wear with skinny jeans, plus they have a fleece lining, which makes them super-warm.
Following :: my intuition so much more (and actually feeling better for it). It is so freeing to really listen to yourself when you are struggling to make decisions or trying to understand why you feel a certain way. I have been consciously trying to delve a bit deeper into my head when faced with a tricky situation and then follow what I feel is right, rather than being led by someone elses thoughts and it feels great!
Noticing :: way more lines around my eyes then I am comfortable with.
Knowing :: that I am feeling more brave then I was a year ago.
Thinking :: about what to do this New Years Eve and wondering whether lounging about in a onesie is acceptable!

Have a wonderful Christmas guys, whatever you are doing!

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11 December 2016

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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Another week down (which means Christmas is coming along fast!). This weeks grateful list is a very festive one, as you would probably expect! I hope you guys have all had an amazing week, come and have a chat in the comments and let me know what you have been up to this week! If you are in to all things festive, and you haven't checked out the super guest post titled 'Winter', by Lucy Fisk from the blog Tired from Whitstable, then you really should. Thanks again for writing for my little blog Lucy, you are awesome!

On to this weeks gratitude list:

:: On Monday this week Joe and I went out for an amazing dinner at Bills in Salisbury. I had a very tasty Peach Bellini, a burger and sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and ice cream. It was such a lovely treat and we were super grateful to get a free box of truffles on our way out too. After the meal we took a stroll into the Guildhall Square, where they have the Christmas Market. It was closed at that time of night, but all the twinkly lights were so pretty. It was such a great evening.

:: This week I was very fortunate to receive some gorgeous Narcissus through the post from my fab hubby. The smell of Narcissus in the winter fills me with joy! I love them so much.

:: In a successful attempt to make me feel super-festive my lovely work colleague, who for confidentiality reasons I will call 'total nut job', decorated my office to look like Santa's grotto. There are paper chains, trees, a rather drunk looking robin, tinsel and even baubles filled with yummy treats! It was such a wonderful surprise and it means you can't enter the office without feeling super happy.

:: Yesterday Joe made mince pies, from scratch (yep, pastry and everything!), and they were bloody amazing (worth breaking the macro-counting to experience!).

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:: Small Christmas trees! Last week Joe and I got a mini tree in Tesco's but my mum topped our tree by giving me an even cuter one, sat in sweet little Christmas bag. Thanks mum!

:: Twinkly lights throughout the house. I don't know about you guys, but I love getting up early in the morning, switching on all the Christmas lights and sitting with a cup of tea and enjoying the silence. It is such a magical moment to experience. Recently I have been getting up and sitting downstairs to paint my Christmas cards and have been loving every minute of it. I am such a geek for the festive season, it makes me all warm and fuzzy!

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:: Early morning walks in Salisbury. We had to get to town early yesterday to drop Joe's car off for a service, so we had a little wander about to kill some time and everywhere just looked so gorgeous. There is something about this time of year which brings out the romance in the scenery everywhere.

:: Last on my list this week has to be Heart Christmas radio (or whatever it is called!). Being in the kitchen with the fairy lights on and a few Christmas tunes is so much fun.

Have a fab week everyone. Don't forget that I am doing Vlogmas (in my own special way!). Click here to find Part One. If you have already seen it, then check out the next installment! I would love it if you would Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and hit the 'Like' button too, if you enjoyed a video, as it really helps to grow the channel and create more visibility. Thanks guys xx

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9 December 2016

VLOGMAS | PART ONE

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Just when you thought you had been utterly abandoned, I'm back! 

I have had a fair amount of 'stuff' going on but, mostly, I haven't been around these parts as I have been a bit poorly again. Just a cold/weird chesty thing, but I am on the mend and I am back with a post on this very random day (I don't post on Fridays these days but I decided to throw caution to the wind on this one occasion!).

As you will be able to tell from the title I am here to talk all things 'Vlogmas'. I have never done Vlogmas before, mostly because my life is not interesting enough to vlog content that is actually upload-able every-single-day! It would literally be my cat eating, then sleeping, then me yawning, for 25 days in a row. But, what I thought I would attempt is a slightly less pressured version of Vlogmas, i.e. I film everyday and then when I have enough footage I upload something! Hurrah, I am a genius!

Whilst we are talking festive things I thought I would mention a few YouTubers, who are doing vlogmas, that I am really enjoying and who are doing it a million times better than me! In my number one 'top spot' i.e. I check my subscription feed like a mad woman to see if she has posted her video yet, is illustrator Holly Exley. I go through stages with what videos feature high in my priorities and there are just some people I will not miss and Holly is one. She is just so lovely and so normal, not to mention how gorgeous her two doggies are. I like watching Holly for lots of reasons but specifically because I enjoy getting a real insight into being an illustrator and running an Etsy shop. Maddy Vian's channel is a relatively new one for me, but I am really enjoying her videos at the moment. Maddy is another illustrator and, coincidentally, a fan of Holly Exley! In terms of beauty vloggers I am watching Alix from 'I Covett Thee' and Suzie from 'Hello October'. These girls make me laugh and I just enjoy watching what they get up to. Alix's house is gorgeously decorated and I kind of like that nosy aspect of being able to watch someones everyday existence!

Anyway, without further a do, here is my very first Vlogmas... part two will be coming up over the weekend! If you enjoy my videos please head on over to my YouTube Channel to subscribe and hit the 'like' button (this really helps the channel to grow!).

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