NYE & Resolutions with Talking Tables*
The start of a new year brings a whole lot of reflection and often a feeling like we didn't achieve enough in the last year. It also brings the desire to do better, to make a change and to set some goals and that's a ok with me.
Twitter of late has been full of people mocking those who sign up for a gym membership in the new year, those who plan to lose weight, those who want to set a resolution and that's fine too if you don't want to. You CAN make a change or set a goal at any time of the year but let's not take the piss out of those who live in hope of 2018.
I myself have never felt so motivated and positive about making some changes as we head into what this year has in store for us so here's what I got up to the NYE, and what I plan for the next 12 months.
New Years Eve this year was great. We celebrated it the same way we always do, at my parents house playing board games, drinking and eating lots of chocolates. The past few years NYE has changed a little from the 4 of us seen as we don't live at home anymore and instead of staying there, I drive us all back to our house (I don't drink alcohol don't lecture me). One year my brother left immediately at midnight to pick his then girlfriend up, one year I stayed there on my own, and the past few years Joss hasn't been able to come at all as he was working.
This year for the first year ever we were all around and it was a right lol - and thanks to Talking Tables it was pretty cute too. We normally play all the old favourites like Cluedo and Monopoly and Scrabble but this year my brother and I had collected a ridiculous amount of card games, word games and quizzes so we christened it the more intellectual games night and played them instead. We worked our way through Articulate, Who's In The Bag, two pub quizzes, some trivia and I absolutely smashed everyone at Cards Against Humanity. My parents and Joss have never played it before and my brother and I deliberately held our worst cards back for each other to read out and I cried my way through it and ended the evening with a banging headache.
We saw midnight in with the traditional clink of the glasses, watched the fireworks in London on the telly and nearly smashed all the glass in the house by opening the back door to let the old year out and the new door to let 2018 in. In a storm. We all wore our TT party hats, we pulled party poppers, we drank from the glitziest cups you've ever seen and we started the new year with a bang and went home at 3am.
I spoke on Monday about how 2017 was a relatively (read very) stressful year for me and ending it with such a fun night really motivated me for what's to come. It made me more determined that this is the kind of fun I want to fill my life with so like all good millennials - I wrote a list of things I want to achieve in my bullet journal.
I set myself a bunch of goals for 2017 but I didn't reflect on them, try and achieve them or make any headway with them at all for the next 365 days. It was the usual 'learn welsh', 'be fitter', 'create a defined brand'....it was all well intended but I've come to realise it was too vague. How could I possibly create a defined brand when I and my blog change so much? How could I quantify that? How could I possibly get fitter without an actual goal to work toward?
I also set myself a bucket list of sorts which you can re read in this post but I thought I'd reflect on them here (so you can see how hard I failed lololololol).
1. Hit 500K Pageviews.
So in one blog post I wrote I wanted to hit 1 million pageviews and in another I wrote 500K but I also wrote 500K in my bullet journal so I guess that's what we'll go with.... And I hit it! I finished the year comfortably with 578K pageviews even though I felt like I hadn't grown my blog much all year.
2. Go to Venice.
Technically no I didn't make it there in 2017 buttttt me, my mum, her bestie and her daughter have booked 3 nights there in March in 2018 so I guess I half met it? Buzzing to get going.
3. See the rugby live.
Not once not twice but thrice! Joss' grandmother won tickets to Wales v England in the 6 nations in February, we went to Judgement Day in the Principality on Easter weekend and then I booked tickets for my whole family to watch Wales Georgia in the Autumn Internationals in November.
4. Secure more brand collabs.
I think when I wrote this I planned a bigger variety of brand collabs on the old blog with more brands which I didn't do. I think the only new brand I worked with this year was Jamie's Italian when I got to take my Mum for breakfast back in June but I did get to work with brands I've already collaborated with. I took my brother, his fiancée and Joss to Escape Reality Cardiff for another escape rooms in September which was a right lol and I've created (what I hope will be) a lasting relationship with Talking Tables. I've worked on several posts with them this year - including this one - and they also helped us deck out our AirB&B for Mel's surprise birthday in September.
5. Get signed and published.
I mean I had to dream didn't I? Needless to say I didn't achieve this one.
6. Start paying my car back.
Bit of a grey area with this one too. I outlined in my resolutions post at the beginning of the year that I paid a huge chunk toward my car and blew all my student savings on it when I graduated but that I had to loan the last portion which is a cheeky few grand. I wanted to start paying back that in instalments which I didn't save enough money for in 2017 buttt I did pay all my own petrol, maintenance, MOT and servicing and paid the AA when it broke down on the motorway back in May. I also paid for new headlights when mine went on Christmas Eve so whilst I haven't paid back what I owe on it, knowing I'm supporting myself driving it makes me feel like I'm less of a failure.
7. Sort a Christmas blog challenge.
Completed it mate. I knew I wanted to create a christmassy blog series this year and I knew from January 2017 that I wanted it to be geared around the 12 days of Christmas - I just didn't know how I wanted to do it. Finally on a weekend away in November I got my butt into gear and made a decision and I was really happy with how the series played out. My fav post was the recipes FYI.
8. Renovate the house.
We moved our stuff into our house this time last year and it wasn't until April 1st that we finally finished renovating it, decorating it and getting it exactly how we wanted but now I feel like we've been here forever. I am still really proud of the home we've made, the work we did, the budget we stuck to and how cute it all looks with all our Christmas stuff in it (although admittedly those are coming down this evening).
9. Teach my niece things.
This is hard to quantify because I know I achieved it but also don't know how to describe what she specifically learnt off me. She's 2 and a half now and is a world away from the eighteen month old she was this time last year and she knows so much. She can say so much more, do so much more, she doesn't have a nappy anymore and recognises when she's tired (though doesn't want to nap obvs). She eats on a big chair at the table next to me, she knows her name, both middle names and her surname. She knows all of our real names, what she calls us, what we call each other and our nicknames. She knows all the words to Frosty, Rudolph, 12 days of Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas and jingle bells. She's learnt a thousand and one things in the last year and I am proud to have been a part of it.
10. Learn to cook better.
I definitely am getting there. Having my own big kitchen for the first time and Joss not working 12 hour days in unsociable hours and being at home more means I have actually dare I say it, enjoyed cooking? We share the cooking in our house depending on what we're eating and who's out latest or been home longest and sure whilst we still have our pasta and cheese or something from the freezer days, we're also eating a lot more meals from scratch too. I've perfected my pre existing ability to make mac and cheese, toad in the hole and biscuits and have now added a bunch of meals, plus cakes to my skill set. Joss has also mastered pumpkin pie which we ate A LOT whilst he was getting it right in autumn.
11. Make healthier choices.
Nah. I might be making more meals from scratch and they're all hearty and none are disgustingly bad for you but they certainly aren't salads. I started running again with vigour in May/June but I went on Jury service which killed my routine and haven't picked it up since and have done very little in the way of making myself healthier. 2018 might be the year to tackle that one.....
12. Hit my social media goals.
It took me a long old while to find my social media goals because once I'd set them in my bullet journal, I didn't really look at them much after that. Apart from 500K pageviews I didn't hit any of them, with the Instagram algorithm being a twat, not taking an interest in Pinterest (ironic no?) and starting to block spam accounts on my Twitter, I didn't put a lot of effort into it. Instead of achieving a particular number it became much more important to me to simply track them and just keep growing, organically and as slow or as fast as it came and I'm not even setting myself targets at all for this year.
13. Create something meaningful.
This was the stupidest goal I set because how in gods name do you quantify that? I don't think I created anything meaningful but then again I don't know what I was aiming for in the first place so it's hard to judge.
14. Save money.
I tried I really did. Working freelance means I never know when my next paycheck is coming in or where it's coming from and 2017 saw me waiting for payments or chasing invoices for months more than I would have liked. I did save money, I saved for weekends away, I saved for my car, I saved for Christmas presents but by the end of the year it had pretty much all depleted because that's exactly the problem - I was saving for things so when those things came around the money was gone. I don't have disposable income I can just beaver away in a savings account and with still such a new business I think it'll be a while until I can again.
15. Organise #BloggerPitP2
Ah we had such high hopes for this one in 2017. After the success of Bloggers Picnic in the Park in the summer of 2016 (where I met my blog squad) we seriously wanted to make it an annual thing and do it again last summer. Sadly Sarah was our head honcho and she selfishly moved out of London and became the happiest person ever back in Bristol (I know, bitch) and without her flat to store everything it just became impossible to coordinate. Maybe in 2018 if our guests would commit to coming further West - alas London is such a great central ish location) we could do it again.
16. Go away with my blog squad.
YESSSS. This is the one thing I was so determined to do in 2017 and the one thing I really also thought might never happen. We talked about it and talked about it and talked about it and then eventually we said LETS JUST BOOK SOMETHING and we did and then we just went and it was the best weekend ever. So good in fact we're definitely doing it again once, if not multiple times, in 2018 too. You can reminisce with me here.
17. Make money.
Again, bit of a difficult one to quantify when you run your own business and making money doesn't always also mean paying yourself a wage. But I actually did achieve this one this year, not enough to top up my savings and not enough to get rich but enough to keep my business afloat and actually end up with considerably more left in the bank when the tax year was done and all stock was bought. Here's hoping for further growth in 2018!
For 2018 I have tried to set myself much more manageable goals, not ones that I definitely will do but ones that have a tangible goal for me. I found myself last year not putting numbers on my life goals eg. be fitter and it meant that I had nothing to work toward and it just didn't work for me. So this year I have set myself 10 new years resolutions that I will have to work at, some harder than others, but things that feel achievable and lord knows I am motivated to get started on them all.
- Be able to run a 10K by the end of the year.
- Complete the Welsh Doulingo app.
- Hit 1K Etsy sales.
- Save £500.00
- Learn to use my camera on manual.
- Read 12 books.
- Cook 1 new meal a fortnight.
- Lose 2 stone.
- Hit 2K Instagram followers.
- Condense my wardrobe.
As you can see, they're all based on numbers or something achievable that I can work toward, the only vague one being condensing my wardrobe but only I will be able to tell when it's got to a stage I'm happy with. I used to think things like 'lose 2 stone' were counter productive because I'd feel sad if I didn't achieve it but 2 stone in a year is very very doable if I make the right choices. My goals this year are focused on bettering me both physically like my weight, diet and exercise regime and also mentally like doing things to make me proud of myself, or to better my experiences like reading and photography. The Instagram and Etsy are just business goals because gal gotta have some motivation to work.
Again, like last year I've also written a bullet journal list of things I'd like to do this year, a bucket list of sorts to flick back to and remind me to book that weekend away or make time for this and that.
1. Hit 1 million pageviews.
I'm just shy of 580K now so I think this is achievable (and a hell of a milestone) by the end of the year.
2. Go to see two rugby matches.
This might seem a step back having seen 3 in 2017 but we could never have afforded to go and see Wales v England if Joss' grandmother hadn't won the tickets. We loooove going to the rugby but we're rapidly being priced out of going so if we can afford to do Judgement Day and one other this year I'd be thrilled.
3. Go away with the blogging gals.
I mean this is a bit of a cheat because we definitely are doing this because we're all going to Effi's wedding in a few months time but if we could go again I'd be really really happy with my lot.
4. Have a cleanout every season.
I am itching to get started on the great January clear out after Christmas. The house is full and we've been given so much there simply isn't room for it and I am keen to get started on clearing it out a bit. I want to empty the wardrobes, get rid of things we don't need and have a big old cleanse for the new year. Extending that to once a season means anything we didn't use that time last year is gone and makes room for whatever we want.
5. Stay with Joss' grandmothers.
This is something we've been saying we'll do for years. They only live in Birmingham and West Wales, it might only be for a night or two but we never seem to get round to doing it. This year we're determined to act on our promises and actually get our butts there.
6. Go on holiday on our own.
We haven't been on holiday on our own since 2013 or 2014 I think because we plain couldn't afford it when we came out of uni. We've always tagged along on family holidays and we've had plenty of weekends away together but I think we're both ready to just get a proper long week or a fortnight on our own on the type of holiday we want. It won't be fancy, Joss is dead keen on a Scottish road trip if our budget can stretch this year but whatever it be, it'll be a nice break.
7. Host games nights.
After the success of New Years Eve and with our ever growing collection of board games it's in my plan to host some games nights at our house. With my brother and his family, with my parents, with Joss', with friends, it doesn't matter so long as we have a laff with some good people and good snacks.
8. Go to Wrexham again.
Wrexham is the town I went to uni in and for a little while I was making it back up there three times a year to visit my best friends who still live there. In 2017 I ended up going to my bestie in Manchester twice and as she's the one who road trips with me and shares a hotel, we ended up only going to Wrexham once. In 2018 I'd really like to go back, it's a town I love (in it's own special way) and I want to see all my friends and stroll the highstreet and spend lots of money in Primark and go to the chippy that used to be the one on the end of my road.
9. Save £500.00
Idk why I wrote this in my bucket list and in my goals but there we go, reinforcement?
10. Start exercising regularly.
This is the biggie. I want to lose 2 stone this year which should be achievable as I've set myself a long time to do it but because I like food I want to combat it with exercise. I love running I do so I plan to start that up again soon when Storm Eleanor isn't being a dick and I have also set myself up on the 30 days ab challenge....except I plan to do it every 30 days. I have also decided to try yoga, something I never thought I was into but after long convos with friends, and with the realisation I need to do something that 1. Builds up strength and 2. Clears my damn head I have started working along to youtube vids and 3 days in I am actually loving it. Long may it continue.
11. Sort out the floors in the house.
The one thing that comes with decorating a whole new house is paint errwhere and even though we had dustsheets down a lot of paint ended up on the floors. All the floors downstairs are original wood and I think it's time we got down on our hands and knees and sand the paint out of them and bring them back to their former glory.
12. Do something with the garden.
We don't have a proper garden of sorts but the bit of the land our kitchen windows look out on is a patio area with my washing line and then a raised area with a shed on that Joss' parents use. It's actually pretty sizeable and has lots of shrubs and stuff but it ain't all that pretty so I want to do something with it, maybe lots of brightly coloured pots for spring and summer to make it nice to look out on.
13. Niche my blog.
This one is a bit vague because I don't actually want to niche my blog which makes the title of this segment a little counter productive. I love that my niche is me and my life but I also want to draw more of a focus on it this year so I know where I'm going with it and where I want it to be or how to sell it. Maybe bullet journals will remain my success and I'll develop that further or maybe I'll find something else, who knows.
14. Get paid monthly for my blog.
Bit of a cheat one because I make a monthly amount from my advertisers anyway. I want to build my brand work again this year and my income from it. There's no shame in a desire to make a bit of cash and with already running a freelance business, some extra cash from a side hustle can't be a bad thing. I worked with a lot of brands in 2016 and then did nothing to put myself out there for 2017 so I am determined to make more of the opportunities in the new year.
15. Clear the telly schedule.
We have over 100 programmes recorded on our TV at all times, no matter what we watch we always replace it with something else and we're forever playing catchup. I have shows from September on my box at the moment and I am determined that this year we will clear it. Joss is going away next week for 6 days and I am making it my mission to clear all my programmes of it so all that's left is what we watch together.
16. Pick my niece up from nursery.
A small goal and a small triumph but one that would mean loads to me. In September my niece will be in nursery most, if not all, mornings a week and my 3 and half years (by then) of childcare will be over. I don't want to think about it too much because my heart might break but if I could collect her from nursery, wait at the gates and see her lil face coming out of the classroom I'd bloody love that.
17. Create a proper morning and bedtime routine.
I had a bit of a meltdown in November for not sleeping well and being too busy and having a more restful December really did the world of good for me. I am desperate to get into good habits for sleeping and for waking up in 2018 and am making it my mission to set myself on track by the end of the year.
18. Be bloody happy!
Had to be 18 for 2018 didn't it? There's not a lot to be said on this one, the aim is pretty clear but if you need reminding, have a read of Monday's blog post for explanation.
So there we have it, my goals and aims for 2018, all of which I am tracking in my bullet journal to keep me focused and motivated and all of which no doubt I will review when this time rolls around again in 2019.
*My NYE accessories were sent to me for free in exchange for review as part of a big winter campaign with Talking Tables but all photos, words and opinions are as always my own. Products linked below for all your party needs!