2017 in review

Are you even really a blogger if you don’t write a year in review post? Well, here’s mine. A list of things I’m happy happened in 2017 and some I’m even a little bit proud of.

  • I got to see some of the world this year. 2017 has definitely been a year of travel as I’ve managed to go to Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, Amsterdam and India (for the second time, but this time we went to the Himalayas). In total I’ve been on 15 flights, no mean feat for the girl who is afraid of flying. I also did four of those flights solo. Look at me and how brave I am. Actually I wrote about how brave I am here, go read that too.
  • I gave up sugar for an entire month. Okay, I didn’t do the last day of the month as I’d gone home and found the Easter egg my mum had bought me. Yes, I had chocolate for breakfast that day. What did I learn from it? SUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING. I should have really blogged about it, maybe I’ll do it again next year solely so I can write about it. It taught me to be a little more mindful of how much sugar I am consuming. I don’t really have a sweet tooth (hard to believe after the chocolate for breakfast revelation, I know) but I was still routinely eating more sugar than I thought. It also helped me to kick the Coca Cola habit I had (and is now creeping back in. Maybe another no sugar month is necessary).
  • I got promoted at work. I was feeling ready for a new challenge and had been consistently working my backside off for a long time so it was nice to be recognised for my efforts with a new job title and a sweet little pay rise.
  • I ran another half marathon. I did my first in 2015 and then promptly stopped running. I had found the training to be all-consuming and was so happy that I didn’t HAVE TO run anymore. So I didn’t. I didn’t for nearly two years. Well, that’s not true, I did, but not consistently. This meant that my weight went up along with a dress size. As someone who has always believed herself to be naturally slim I struggled to learn that I’m not. The only way I knew how to shift the weight (cause dieting isn’t in my vocabulary) was to start running again. Signing up to run the Cardiff Half Marathon meant I had no choice but to get out and run again. Now that it’s over I’m determined to not let it slide again so I’ve signed up to do the Edinburgh Half with my mum and sister-in-law next year. While I’m not running so much over the winter (hello dark nights and slippery pavements) I’ve enlisted the help of a personal trainer to do some weight training; this will ensure that I maintain my waistline, stay strong for when the running starts again in Spring and assist with injury prevention. I annoyingly injured my ankle during the Cardiff Half meaning I walked/hobbled the last 5km. I don’t want this to happen again in Edinburgh.
  • Restarted work on my novel. This is something I started in 2016, but let slide for most of 2017 (despite meeting up with my friend Adam on a weekly basis for the sole purpose of writing). I’ve always wanted to write a novel and the idea for it has been floating around my head for about 10 years. It’s about time I put pen to paper and just write the thing. Last year I took a novel writing course and while it was incredibly helpful in terms of where to start, the structure of a novel and character building, I found that the tutor wanted me to make my book more mainstream. Arguably, she’s the published author and probably knows better than I do, but she writes chick-lit, and there is nothing wrong with chick-lit, but I don’t read it so certainly won’t write it. My novel idea is far darker and definitely more contemporary fiction. I spent a lot of time trying to re-mould my idea to conform to what she thought I should write and subsequently lost sight of what it was that I wanted to write. I’d love my novel to eventually be published and maybe it won’t be as it’s not a typical ‘first time novel’ according to this particular tutor. But, without sounding lame, I have to write what’s true to me. Permission to go throw up now, if necessary. So I’m putting the work back into my original idea and hope to actually finish writing it at some point in the near future. Let’s go for by the end of 2018 so I have something to aim for, shall we?
  • I’ve joined a writing group. It’s on every Sunday and it’s very casual drop-in and write for as long as you like between the hours of 10 and 5. I’m sat right now with a group of near strangers typing this. It’s good because it means all I can do here is write (and scroll social media on my phone…) and if I need the loo there are people to watch my stuff. It’s technically my first time attending. I tried last week and while I was in the same room I didn’t quite manage to introduce myself and sit with everyone else. This week, having sought them out and with the help of a friend (thanks Fliss!) I’ve now joined the group. Here’s to much more writing (hey blog and novel) and hopefully widening my social circle.

So what about next year?

Right, let’s make some concrete plans for 2018.

  • Write more. I think I say this every year, but every year I start off well and drop off only to randomly pick it up again some months later. If nothing else, I’d like to be consistent. So here’s hoping for more blogging and novel writing in 2018. Let’s make that measurable, shall we? I want to increase my social media engagement in order to drive more traffic to my blog in 2018. I’ve set a target for monthly views on my blog, but I’m not sharing that info! It’s not much, but it’s double what I currently achieve in the months I’m actively writing. And the novel? Well, let’s just aim to finish it, shall we.
  • I definitely need a fitness goal in here, so that’ll be the half marathon in Edinburgh. I want to run it, injury free, and shave 15mins off my Cardiff time. Alongside that, I would like to be able to do an unassisted pull up and also a push up on my toes not my knees. I don’t care how stupid that sounds, I want to be strong and that’s my means of measurement. Finally, tied in to this, I want to get back down to a comfortable size 10. I know I’m not huge at a size 12, but it’s not where I’m happy. My size 10 jeans do go on right now, but it hurts and I can’t really sit down.
  • Do more. Okay, I know that’s vague, I’ll explain. While I do a lot of things, I want to do more learning and meet more people. This ties in quite a bit with the fact that I’m single and hate dating sites. I’ve decided now that I’m not doing the dating app/online dating thing anymore. Instead, I’m aiming to increase my social circle and hopefully meet someone in a more organic way. Can meeting someone in real life actually happen in this day and age? Well, let’s find out. So, no dating apps in 2018. There, I said it, I have to stick to it now. Alongside this, I like learning new things; I’m currently doing a free OU course on sports, food and nutrition. It’s very basic, but I like it and it’s a good basis if I want to take it further. I’ve signed up for two more with OU; The Holocaust and Writing Fiction. I’ve wide and varied interests 😊

I think I’m going to leave that there for now. I have plans to go to Australia, but I think that’ll be in 2019, not 2018. I have my friend’s hen week next year so that’s my travel plans sorted, maybe I’ll try and sneak another city break in there too (I’d kill to go back to New York). As for proper grown up plans like saving money, buying houses, career ambitions, well, I don’t know what I want to do with those yet either, so maybe I’ll think about those in 2019 too. For now, I want to focus on the things that make me happy.

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