January Joy 2018!


Snow Scene

Well, hello 2018!

January Joy came about because I love to celebrate the start of a New Year but also to try and improve what is a bit of a depressing month. Poor January gets a bad rap I think, but it can’t be denied that the weather, lack of festive fun and annual dose of guilt we pile upon ourselves after Christmas excesses doesn’t exactly make for a fabulous start to the year. Previously January Joy has taken the form of a series of prompts to bring some Joy to your January but (in keeping with one of my themes for the year,) I’m going to change it a little this year. We all have very busy lives and as my life has evolved I imagine many of your lives have too. I don’t have time for daily or even weekly prompts so I’m going to focus on a few themes that I’ll be working towards all year instead and I have several posts lined up for you this month that fit within those themes. I always like to start the year with a bit of reflection and goal setting! So what are they, I hear you ask?


Tortoise BuJo spread

Slow Down

So often nowadays I feel like days, weeks and months are rattling past at a frenetic pace. We are quite a social family, we like to go out and do things, keep the kids busy, travel, and whilst we don’t do as much of this as before we had kids, it still all too often feels like we are rushing from one thing to the next, stressed preparing and organising for these things, instead of enjoying them. More often than not such a packed schedule adds more stress due to double booking, forgetting things and one of my biggest stresses currently, not keeping up to date with everything at home. The washing, the tidying, the stuff for school and work and so on. I want to feel more in control of all of this but also to just slow down and savour my girls while they are little. Having children has taught me to be more present, in the moment, not just to watch but to participate and I want to have time to do that, not through a series of day trips or experiences, just in our own home together. I’m hoping that making a bit more time available will allow me to take some time for myself, and I can introduce some mindfulness and self care, so I feel better able to tackle the rest of life’s chaos. A key part of this is getting more organised and I’ll be sharing my BuJo experience so far as part of that.


Talking about re-using and recycling made me think of this post a wrote a while back about Recycling your old scented candles.

Reduce

This year we want to continue to make changes to contribute towards reducing our impact on the environment. Waste has become a real bugbear of mine and so reducing it in a variety of ways is something I constantly thinking about. I’m talking food waste, plastic waste and landfill in general so look out for some blog posts on changes we have made as a family that really help.

Complete

Probably the biggest project we will be managing this year is the extension, while it’s not a resolution or a goal per se, its going to occupy huge amounts of our time and effort, both mentally and physically. The building work has already started with clearing the site and its pretty depressing looking at the mess and destruction, which looks 1000x worse in grim freezing damp January! I can’t wait for it to be finished but beyond that I’m determined to have the whole house finished by the end of the year. (Well, maybe not the top floor but we can just ignore that, right?)


Bauble iPhone wallpaper download

Connect

Lastly, I want to reach out a bit more via the blog, to make new connections with other bloggers and give Florence Finds a little more love again! Hopefully that will mean bringing some inspiring content to you guys too.

So now it’s your turn. What are your goals or resolutions, themes or inspirations for 2018? Are any the same as mine? Are some the total opposite? Please do drop me a comment and share!

Happy New Year readers!

Rebecca

#JanuaryJoy: Make some resolutions

Happy New Year readers! I am (as usual) full of enthusiasm for a new year, fresh starts and all the exciting things that are bound to happen over the next 12 months. Not least of those is #JanuaryJoy, which after last year’s success seems to be an integral part of the New Year and of course the perfect way to navigate the dark lull after the festivities.

Today we’re kicking off traditionally with some resolutions. I know many of you don’t like to make resolutions, preferring to change over the year, but I like the fresh slate feeling of January and think the more positive changes we make the better, so why not start now?

As well as my own, I have invited my lovely gang of contributors to pitch in with theirs this year – you never know, it might get you thinking!


Image via

This year’s resolution for me is to streamline and simplify my life. To achieve more balance with my work, make the blog less of a burden and generally make more time for me. It would be cheesy to allocate this time to exercise, which is just one thing I haven’t made enough time for this year, but I also want to feed my creativity and look after myself emotionally as well as physically.


Image via

Victoria a.k.a. ‘Girl about Town
I have a quite a deep New Year resolution. Sorry! First, a bit of background: Back in 2012 I promised myself I’d say “No” more, so that I would take more time out for myself and stop doing things that make me sad or unhappy to suit other people. Much like all my resolutions, it was a non-starter. I still did lots of things out of guilt or a false sense of duty or to keep the peace and often ended upset, drained and unhappy. I was being selfless for people that gave me not a second thought, rather than looking after myself and my own heart and feelings. Then in 2013 it all changed. Something happened and I said my first “No” and the metaphorical excrement hit the fan. I weathered the storm (with the help of a few special people) and I’m just now coming out the other side of the emotional mess that I was in. Looking back I know I made the right choice and I’m happier, stronger and better off for it. So, for 2014 I’m going to stop being such a pushover and I’m going to do what I want to do. I did it once and I survived and so I can do it again. That’s my main resolution; say “No!” when I really don’t want to do something and to look after myself in the same way I look try to look after others.

My less emotional, and deep, resolution is to absolutely get my photos sorted. I make this resolution every year and get nowhere. Since having a digital camera I’ve done virtually nothing with them – maybe printed a few, made a few photo books and an Instagram collage (using Inkifi.com) but other than that I have about 600,000 pictures sitting on an external hard drive under my bed and a few thousand on Facebook. In 2014 I’m making albums, photo books and filling all the empty frames I have all over the house (other people do that too, right?)! Let’s check back in on Jan 1st 2015!


Image via

Penny, all round music Guru and author of Bad Penny Says
Last year on New Year’s Eve I was 20 weeks pregnant and was envisioning that by the dawning of 2014 I would be free from baby weight and pushing for a new personal record of fitness. Seems I had all these high falutin’ ideas about how much free time I would have to tricep dip and train for marathons on maternity leave. Not sure what I thought I was going to do with my baby whilst I was doing all this – get him to time my laps? Anyway, this year is going to be different. This year I have one sole fitness resolution – to do one unassisted pull-up. One! Some of you will be able to do this already. But to me, the act of hoiking my body upwards on the pull-up bar that’s been bolted over the spare room door since my now-husband moved in four years ago is my fitness bête noir. I know I ought to be able to do it, but somehow I just can’t. Instead I dangle there like a lump of meat, wondering if my arms will pop out of their sockets. I have always believed that the elusive unassisted pull-up is within my reach….I just need a bit of focus and commitment to get there. That’s why this is the perfect New Year’s resolution- both simple and yet difficult enough to make a difference. It will inspire me to work on the weakest area of my fitness (upper body strength) and on de-chunking other areas without making one of those horrid “I will lose X pounds” negative type statements. So there we go. 2014 is time to keep it simple, realistic, achievable when it comes to fitness. No marathons. Until at least 2015.


Image via

Gemma – Florence’s Editor
Hello! My new year’s resolutions were worked out the night before last with my husband over a pint at one of our favourite central London pubs which was a lovely way to do it!

  1. Take better care of my skin and general health. My skin is my biggest ‘thing’ – it’s an ongoing issue – prone to severe acne and painful blotches and I want it to be the best it can be so that includes eating healthily, investing in good products which I know work for me rather than faffing with cheap and cheerful bits, taking off makeup before bed (on a clean pillowcase!) and cleaning my makeup brushes regularly as well as speaking to my gp about it.
  2. I started my dream job 2 weeks before Christmas and I’m resolving to get the most out of it I possibly can by putting in my all. I know I’m really lucky to have a job I love and I’m mindful of something my dad used to say: ‘work smarter, not harder’. This year, when I’m in the office, I’ll be working smart – doing my best to learn from some of the best people in my field, and pushing myself to fit the most in and get the most out of my 9 to 5.
  3. We bought our first home in May this year and I’m resolving to look after it and keep improving it – including renovating the bathroom which is something we’re constantly moaning about!
  4. We also bought our first dining table (just in time for Christmas dinner!) and I hope that R and I will make time to sit down for dinner together at the table at least once a week with no tv, no phones and no distractions! I also want us to do alphabet dating as seen here on FF.
  5. More writing! My new job is different from my old role, which was heavily based on copy writing. Now that I’m not writing nine to five I hope I’ll fit in more creative writing at home!
  6. Finally, I want to be better at keeping in touch with family and friends in Australia – I’ve been a bit rubbish in 2013 because they’ve all been visiting – in 2014 I want to send more letters and parcels and emails.

Becky – Author of Florence’s Florals and First Time Mum
I try to avoid making resolutions as I have been known to take them too seriously and put too much pressure on myself (ahem!) however, this year my list is endless so here are a few…..

1. Get organised……this covers a multitude of resolutions really…..I’m talking house, wardrobe, paperwork, finances, photographs, and food shop.
2. Spend more time with my husband…..date night style.
3. Get time with family and friends better organised in our diary.
4. Get my bra size re-measured and treat myself to some new underwear. I’ll then burn my nursing bras!
5. Find time to run – even if it’s just once a week.
6. Find time to contribute more to FF.
7. Go to bed earlier (at least one night out of 3)
8. Spend less time ‘thinking’ and more time ‘doing’

Now it’s your turn readers… tell me your resolutions and I might just steal some!

Love,
Rebecca
x

Looking back…

Today is usually the day that I share my Instagram round up of the month, but on the last day of the year I feel more like looking back once more, before the calendar moves forward.

It might sound strange but at the beginning of 2012 I had an overwhelming sense of positivity for what was to come. I just knew 2012 was going to be good. Perhaps that was because 2011 had been an epic struggle at times, in my career, as a blogger, it was only my relationship that had held fast throughout. 2012 has more than lived up to expectations and I feel the same sense of excitement now to see what 2013 brings.

I promised myself that we would go away more and Pete and I had several breaks. In January we went to The Drawing Room in the Elan Valley and it was so good we’re going back this January, this time with Jess and Dan.

In February we went to Italy to Ski and March saw us in Shoreditch at The Hoxton.

In May we did a long-awaited road trip from San Francisco via Yosemite, Sequoia National Park and Death Valley to Las Vegas.

June saw us on the West Coast of Scotland in Arisaig for a family wedding, in July I went with my Mum and sister to Bath and the Thermae Spa, and in September Pete and I went to Cornwall to The Llawnroc before another wedding in Farnham and stayed at The Aviator.

November saw us back in America visiting Florida (and Disney) for some R&R, ending up in Miami via the Everglades. I really can say I fulfilled that ambition!

After qualifying in 2011, 2012 was the year I found my feet at work. Although I work as a locum, for the majority of the year I have been in the same practice and it’s given me a huge amount more confidence as I settle into the responsibility of being a fully fledged GP. Now I finally feel ready to settle down into a more permanent job if the right one comes along. I also almost burst with pride as Pete got a job he wanted and loves. Hopefully he’ll be there for a long time.

And of course, I turned 30;)

Florence Finds has gone from strength to strength. Almost 2,000 of you pop into Florence Finds on a daily basis, which frankly just blows my mind. Heading off to London Fashion Week and being nominated for 2 Cosmo Blog awards was pretty exciting, as well as my first magazine mention in Closer Magazine and later writing for Company Mag. And of course, with Michelle I launched Dream. Find. Do. and held our first 2 workshops.

Besides all of that though, the blog has given me great pleasure. I’ve planned decor projects, documented my cooking adventures, met new people, and had fun with my wardrobe, not to mention enjoyed reaching new readers. Thank you so much to all of you who come here and help to give Florence Finds the community that I treasure.

If you have time today, spend ten minutes thinking about what you have achieved this year and give yourself credit where it’s due, even if that’s for surviving a less than perfect year. Please share your highs and lows in the comments box – all comments welcome, no matter how epic!

See you on the other side readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Coming soon – #JanuaryJoy

Hello readers! Did you have a wonderful Christmas? I did :)

I promised I would be back when I had something to say and now I do. My thoughts are starting to turn towards January, the New Year, a fresh start. I’m thinking resolutions and just like last year, how I can make January more fun. I was so inspired by Anna from Skin and Blister‘s #ShareAdvent idea, that I thought I would extend last year’s January Joy into a ‘join in’ series for readers and bloggers.

I’m giving you all advance notice so you can, a. get excited about all the fun times there are to be had in January and b. get involved!

The numbers in the image above correspond to dates. As per usual here at FF, there will be no weekend tasks. I’ve also left them somewhat haphazard in arrangement – you don’t have to sign up to do everything and you don’t have to do them in order. Dip in and out as you like.

If you would like to follow along with January Joy feel free to spread the word on your own blog (and use the image above,) or tweet about it using the tag #JanuaryJoy. You can even post it on Instagram! If there’s something on the list that you’d like to contribute a guest post on – maybe you had a kick-ass savings plan last year, or have a super-tasty veggie recipe to contribute then please let me know. I’ll link to anybody who gets involved on the appropriate days.

If you’d like a blog button you can click this one and download a zip file of buttons at 300, 250 and 180 px width for your sidebar:

So let’s get excited about 2013!

Love,
Rebecca
xo