New year, new me. Now is the time for making resolutions, but I won't be making the same old stop-drinking, eat-healthy, go-to-the-gym resolutions that so many make but so little keep. Yes, I'm planning on cutting down on gin and chocolate biscuits, but I'm not going to make any unrealistic promises to myself that I'm going teetotal and only eating kale. Cutting down works so much better than cold turkey. So, here are my actual resolutions for the year, all perfectly achievable and refreshingly fulfilling.
Visit a new place every month
Last year was a great year for travel; I spend time in some of my favourite places, including Berlin, Copenhagen, Brighton and our family cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. But, here's the thing, I always find myself returning to the same places over and over again. This is going to be a year of discovery and exploring pastures new. Instead of returning to places that I know that I love, I am going to make a conscious effort to visit at least one new place every single month, in the hope that I will discover many new places that I can learn to love.
Go on everyday adventures
Back in August, I wrote an article for In Clover magazine all about everyday adventures. The thought behind the article was that not many of us get the chance to completely escape our everyday lives and take off in a camper van touring the world, but that doesn't mean that we can't experience adventures in our day-to-day lives. I wrote about embracing our mornings, lunch breaks, evenings and weekends to get out into the wilderness (or your own back garden) and create your own adventures. The only thing is, I haven't really been having very many adventures of my own. So in 2016, I resolve to create my own everyday adventures; whether that is spending a weekend in a Dark Skies national park lying on a blanket watching shooting stars, driving out to a local lake on a summer evening for an hour of wild swimming, or simply sitting around a fire in the woods.
Go on a hike at least once a month
I love to walk, whether that's taking the dog for a stroll through the woods or hiking to the summit of a mountain. 2015 got off to a great start, with an ambitious plan to walk every single weekend, but daily life soon took over and I found myself walking less, instead of more. This year, I'm setting myself a more realistic target. I go for a short walk every single day with the puppy, even if it's just taking her around the block or to the shops. At least twice a week we will take her somewhere a little more exciting, but it's pretty hard to find the wilderness that we seek living in the suburbs, and her little legs can only carry her for around 20 minutes at a time. But once a month (at least!), I'm going to get out of Manchester and head to the Peaks, or the Dales, or somewhere further afield and hike for hours across beautiful terrain. This resolution has already got off to a great start, as I spent yesterday hiking in the mist around Edale!
Spend more time outdoors
Following on from my previous resolution, I want to spend more time in general outdoors. Not only will I walk more, but I want to spend more time breathing in fresh air and enjoying the feeling of the sun shining directly onto my skin. Working from home, I often find myself cooped up inside writing. I want to plan out my days so that I allocate time to be spent outdoors. We have a big garden that I don't utilise enough, and aim to make the most of come spring. Even if it's something as simple as eating my lunch outdoors or going for a short bike ride half way through the afternoon, I'm going to spend more time outside this year.
Makeover my home
I've definitely revitalised my love for interiors since starting work at Rose & Grey last year. I spend hours ogling photos of enviable interiors on Instagram and am building up a collection of inspirational books that have my brain ticking in overdrive. Our house isn't our forever home, but it still has a lot of potential and there is so much that we can do with it. A fresh lick of white paint and ripping up the carpets will make a great start, and I've already accumulated a growing collection of beautiful pieces of furniture and accessories. My first project of 2016 is to completely strip out our front room (currently unused) and create a cosy lounge/office. Having a dedicated place to work from at home will really boost my productivity, and I already have a vision in my head of how I want my little office space to look! I'm thinking small: a DIY rustic wooden desk with a series of shelves above located in a small alcove. Perhaps a lick of grey paint on the feature wall, framed prints on the walls, a cosy L-shaped sofa, mid-century inspired furniture and lots of plants.
Gain new freelance clients
2015 was a great year for my career. There were a few twists and turns, but by September I was the happiest that I have been for years. I currently work 18 hours a week for a lovely independent interiors brand doing content, outreach and social media, and spend the rest of my time freelance writing. I've gained some amazing clients over the past few months, and write interesting articles about subjects that I am passionate about for a range of websites, journals, blogs and magazines (see my freelance work here). The next year will be spent expanding my clients and writing for new publications alongside the regular work that I have gained this year. I have several exciting pieces to be published in a selection of my favourite magazines over the next couple of months, and I'm keen to add to my portfolio and produce more work for print.
So, there you have it. Six resolutions that are a little bit out of the ordinary, but nevertheless completely achievable and realistic for myself. I'll be tracking my progress on here and on my Instagram, so keep your eyes peeled and follow along!