It's the start of the new year, a time when everyone makes resolutions they're unlikely to keep, a time where gyms are over crowded, a time when diets are oh so popular and a time when Christmas decorations start to come down everywhere. The latter is the saddest part of the new year for me.
The house feels empty without the twinkling Christmas tree and the tinsel over bannisters, there's no more lights outside people's homes and gone is the gingerbread house (eaten, never binned!).
But this is also a time to reflect on the year that has passed and to look ahead to the New Year. I said to myself, I'm not going to make any unrealistic resolutions that I'm bound not to keep, and instead, I'm going to make a promise: to be happy, healthy and optimistic. And to say "Yes" more.
2014 was a good year, with lots of special moments for me. The top being a lovely rainy day in July when I graduated from University. It's something that always felt was a long time coming, but looking back, it seems it passed a lot quicker than I'd liked. The day that I handed in my final two super long dissertations was a massive weight off my back and it was an even bigger relief when I found out I would be graduating with a 2:1! (the second highest grade for a degree). Three years of hard work, late nights and a lot of Redbull had finally paid off.
My reward? Tagging along on a business trip with my sister, to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Like I was going to pass up the opportunity to visit the locations of Game of Thrones! It was hands down the prettiest place I think I've ever been to. Beautiful clear seas and buildings so ornate and huge that it made it hard to believe you weren't living in a GoT era. It was just plain lucky that I was there at the time the Iron Throne was in an exhibition. The cherry on top to a perfect holiday. This was then followed up, with a long awaited holiday with my favourite girls to Turkey. After years of saying we'd go away, we finally did it. It was well worth the wait and we're already planning our next holiday.
Looking back on my year, it makes me realise how furtunate I've been, how proud I've been of my accomplishments and it's important to remember this. To never settle for anything and to stay motivated for the year ahead.
Night out with the girls ● Quilt with handstitched map of USA, made by my sister ● The final two dissertations of univeristy ● My sister and I at our first TV RAW ● Just chillin on the Iron Throne in Old Town, Dubrovnik ● Gazing out onto Blackwater Bay (from Game of Thrones) in Dubrovnik, Croatia ● Girls holiday in Turkey ● Decorating sisters new house ● Gemma's hen do ● Graduation Day! ● Birthday BBQ ● Gemma's wedding, with one of my favourites ● More dog walking ● Winter Wonderland with the girls ● It's a Boy! My sister and her husband are expecting in Spring ● Coca Cola Truck comes to visit at Christmas.
2014 was also the year my creative ideas started buzzing. I became obsessed with pallet made DIY pieces, fawned over pretty fabrics to make pillows out of, scoured Pinterest for so many Christmas present ideas that I really didn't have time to make. But desperately wanted to try. So with a handful of fabric and buttons, many trips to Hobbycraft later and a garage full of pallets (much to my dad's dismay), I set to work!
Christmas present #1: handmade map pillow ● Christmas present #2: Heart & Star garland ● Birthday Present: handmade gift box from pallets ● Christmas Present #3: A pallet coffee table.
This is just the start of my DIY crafts. In 2015, the aim is to complete a (delayed) Christmas gift to my sister and her husband, make an outdoor bench made from scrap wood and pallets, make more pillows, and possibly experiment with different projects.
I'll be stock-piling pallets in the garage in preparation. Sorry, Dad.
Quotes to live by in 2015:
Everyone feels safest in their comfort zone. I know I do. Whether it's tucked away in my cosy warm house, or with close friends, or surrounded with family. It's hard to step outside your comfort zone.. but when you do amazing things can happen.
Working in America at Summer Camp in 2013 was the hardest thing I've ever done, and the biggest step outside my comfort zone so far. But it was so rewarding and an incredible experience that I wouldn't change for the world. I would do it again if I could!
Sometimes, the things that scare you the most can be the most rewarding.
I worry a lot. No, seriously, I do. I worry about things that have just happened, things that I said about a week ago or two months ago or even last year. I remember everything. I'm the elephant that never forgets. So it's hard to step away from that and not worry about everything.
I worry about things to come, some social situations, what people think and I worry about others.
So in 2015, I'm making a vow to be a warrior, and not a worrier. It'll be hard, I know that, to change the way you think and be braver in situations. Confidence is key.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope this year brings you everything you want and more. Do you have resolutions this year, if so, what are they? Or do you have goals and promises for 2015? Remember - 2015 is game time. Never settle, be a warrior and take the time to step outside your comfort zone once in a while.