How to make 2017 the best year of your life!

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As you know, I am big into lists and planning and I’ve already shared my goals for 2017 – simple and realistic, you can read them here.

Today I wanted to go a step forward and show you the ten questions that I use to guide my thought process. These questions look back over the past year and then look ahead at the coming year and I really believe that sitting down and going through these methodically can help you set goals and focus yourself on what you want to achieve, whether this be something professionally or in your personal life.

I recommend writing these out – you could do a mind map or, if you are a BuJo fan even answer these in your bullet journal so you can look back and remind yourself throughout the year what it is you have set your sights on.

1. What did I accomplish in 2016?

2. What were my biggest disappointments during 2016?

3. What did I learn?

4. How do I limit myself, and how can I stop doing this?

5. What are my personal values?

6. What roles do I play in life?

7. Which role is my major focus for the next year?

8. What are my goals for each role?

9. What are my top ten goals for the next year?

10. How can I make sure I achieve my top ten goals?

You can then use these responses and build your answers into a personal plan for 2016 – hopefully making it the best year of your life! Or at the very least, go some way to working towards this eventual goal!

The marketer in me wants to remind you to make these goals SMART. That is they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely – your goals should motivate you and to be do this they really do need to be attainable. No point setting a goal to grow wings when that ain’t ever going to happen, but setting a goal to write 1,000 words per day? Totally doable if you set your mind to it.

Once you have set your goals – consider them carefully and then commit! Plan the steps that you need to take to achieve these goals and cross them off as you work through each individual one.

Express goals positively and always write them down – I once read that statistically you are far more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down and that sounds like a good enough reason to put pen to paper.

Good luck in all your endeavours for 2017 – if you do set goals, let me know what they are and if you have any more questions about how to reflect on 2016 or how to set goals for 2017, I’m always happy to talk. Just leave me a comment or drop me an email!

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Still here….anyone else out there?

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Is there anybody still out there?

To my absolute horror, I realised this week that it was nearly two months since I blogged – that is totally unheard of for me, I’ve been blogging on and off for years, and normally several times I week, however I’ve just totally lost my mojo recently. Of course, we can all agree that the middle of a heatwave is not exactly the ideal time to try and refind it but I  do need to get myself back into gear.

I have SO much to blog about so content is not the problem, it’s just been a basic lack of time and a distinct lack of energy at the end of a long working day – which is normally followed by an abundance of children’s activities, housework, personal admin etc. I used to have so much more spare time.  I miss my spare time. I miss watching TV!

That’s not to say I am not having any fun at the moment – we’ve been doing lots of fun stuff – it’s just that doesn’t leave a lot of time to sit in front of the computer, which I guess is the way it should be.  Life is for living.

“Work hard, play hard” pretty much sums up my life right now.

Truth is, recently I have also felt a little anxious about all sorts of stuff and my thoughts have been consumed by the bigger things like Brexit, terrorist attacks, the economy, the state of politics – all hugely important stuff but not stuff I want to start blogging about! It’s kind of felt like there were more important things out there to be worried about, which of course, there is.  Though I’ll be completely honest, and in recent days my attentions have switched to Pokemon GO and the #taylorswiftisover hashtag. (I never said I didn’t enjoy procrastination!).

I do need to regain my ‘release’ though, which is what blogging was/is for me.

If you’re still out there, reading, please do leave me a comment below, leave me a link to your latest blog post so I can go have a read, let me know what’s been going on with you so I can catch up. I’m so totally out of the loop!

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My accidental blogging hiatus…

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Is there anybody still out there?

You may, or may not have, noticed that I have been on somewhat of a hiatus recently. It wasn’t planned, I was just busy and lost my mojo. In fact, I have been losing my blogging mojo for quite some time now and during May, just got to the point where I would rather play pointless games on my iPad then fire up WordPress and write a blog post.  So I have decided a few changes need to be made.

I am no longer going to be running Meal Planning Monday. This was the hardest decision to make as I’ve been doing it for so long but it’s really become a bit of a chore to squeeze in over the past 6 months when I’ve been busy with other things. I used to have more time during the week but I now work 5 days a week and the pressure of keeping to a blogging schedule is just more than I want to take on so something has to give and I feel I’ve been letting people down. So, does anyone want to take over Meal Planning Monday?

Blogging is going to go back to being more about ME and what I want to post, without too many other commitments. I might still do reviews and sponsored posts from time to time but only when it is something I will get personal value out of or it’s worth my while.

I’m taking blogging back to the start. You know, word vomit about what’s going on around me or in my head. Pictures of nice things I see, covet, dream of. Recipes I’ve made and other cool stuff.

I’m not going to worry about being a crap blogger. I am shit at photography, I doubt my food photos inspire anyone to cook but it’s real life, real food. I cook it, I eat it. I am not going to be fannying around with photography equipment to get the best shot of a cottage pie. You’ll get a quick snap on my iPhone before it goes cold and that’s about it. I’m not a professional photographer, cook or food stylist. I am me, busy working mum of two trying to feed her family.

I’ll blog when the feeling takes hold and not because I have to. That might be once a day, once a week or sometimes once a month but I have to stop letting it consume and control me. It doesn’t pay my bills or take care of my children. I need to focus my energies on the important stuff and see blogging for what it is – a hobby.

I’ve joined too many commenting rings and the like, and not got around to completing them which lets others down. This was driven by the desire to have more comments, likes, shares as I was feeling that validated me more, but while I have found several other blogs I read often and I enjoy reading the comments, it’s fake isn’t it? Which means it’s quite meaningless.

As well as letting people down, I too have been let down by PR companies and brands, most recently when I had been approached directly to attend Camp Bestival again but this was pulled – annoyingly I had spent my free time writing posts promoting the event on here and social media, and of course had told my children and got them excited about it (my own fault, lesson learned) but I am not going to get into that situation again.

So there you have it – hopefully living by these ‘rules’ will help me find my way back to blogging, because I really do want to, and I do miss it. I’m going to kick start myself with thinking about a 40 before 40 list (cliche I know, but I have a lot I want to achieve and need some motivation – three years to go!) and maybe a small blog redesign as that always gets my blogging juices going again.

I just hope there is still someone out there reading!

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Holiday Moan 2016

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Firstly before I start with the whinging – just where on earth did TV holiday programmes disappear to?

As a child, we never travelled abroad so the closest thing I got to it was watching Holiday and Wish You Were Here sat in front of the TV in our brown lounge.   Somehow, it feels like people travel now more than they ever did so I find it really quite odd that there is seemingly no place for these shows in our modern TV schedules. I really do miss them! So much I feel like starting a campaign to bring them back…

I did hear a rumour last year that one of them was being revived, not sure if that is true or not but no doubt if it does make it back onto our screens it will be a complete Z-list celebfest or have some super tacky reality angle that will make me want to throw the remote at the screen.

Sure there are programmes on the telly about travel to far flung destinations but I really don’t want to see a documentary about trekking in Peru or gorilla watching in Borneo. I want to see the best of closer-to-home destinations that are achievable for the majority. Like the Balearics that have a lot to offer, or programmes that show there’s more to Spain than the Costa Del Sol and that perhaps feature hotels that, with a little saving, we could all afford to stay at. That’s what those programmes were about.

Rant over.

Really I started this post to rant about the cost of holidays once again. I did it last year and I am doing it again, so humour me.

Booking a holiday must be one of the largest amounts of money that anybody spends out of their annual family budget but the prices have just gone crazy – I mean, I spend more time pondering over holiday choices and trying to justify costs than I would ever do about a car that I would use every day!

We initially decided not to have a holiday abroad this year – for numerous reasons – we’ve done quite ‘busy’ holidays the past few years, the rising costs, the uncertainty in the world at the moment and so on but now I am madly craving a week in the sun, with a pool and my Kindle and the children haven’t had a week in the sun doing nothing for years. The problem is, I don’t want to pay £4k for the privilege – am I out of touch or is that extortionate in comparison to living costs and wages – and that’s me being mighty conservative.

Okay, so to be honest, I am not looking at the bottom-end of the market but I am not looking at uber luxury either. I’ve stayed bottom-end in Tenerife before and believe me, it’s no picnic, so 4* is the lowest I am willing to go. It’s not even that I am finding that the accommodation is that badly priced. I can find some decent holidays, half-board or all-inclusive for under £2k but when you add in the cost of the flights, and then the luggage, oh and the seat reservations…well the flights for two adults and two children to practically anywhere in Europe in August were coming back at £1,500. That feels ridiculous to me? Two years ago, I got flights for all four of us for £600 to Italy. All the add-on costs that used to be included in your fare really make the bill mount up.

Some of the hotels were coming back at an eye-watering £6k (without flights) bed and breakfast. Who pays that?! Clearly someone does but it’s not me! My husband and I both have good jobs and yes, we could probably afford it and I know this is a First World Problem, but for me my grievance it’s not so much about the cost but the value. Where is the VALUE in these holidays?

So, here I am, back full circle getting the hump with the holiday industry, the airlines and not booking anywhere. I really wish I didn’t even look to start with because all that happens is  I end up feeling frustrated and grumpy!

Would love to hear your thoughts – what are your plans this year? Do you think that prices have gone astronomical? Am I being unreasonably tetchy about this?

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73 Questions with Mrs M

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I’m sure unless you’ve been living under a blogging rock you will have seen this meme type thing doing the rounds. I don’t normally get involved in these, and I haven’t been tagged at all, but I do enjoy the “73 Questions” feature that Vogue do on YouTube so I thought I’d join in.  If you haven’t seen these snappy interviews, then look them up. My personal favourite is the one with Sarah Jessica Parker, mainly because I love her.

73 Questions with Mrs M

1. Were you named after anyone? No.
2. When was the last time you cried? Watching Surprise Surprise at Christmas.
3. Do you like your handwriting? It’s okay when I take time to write carefully.
4. What is your favourite lunch? A BLT with mayo.
5. Instagram or Twitter? Twitter.
6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? Fo’sho!
7. Do you bake? Yes, often.
8. Do you like flying? No. I love to travel but I hate flying.
9. Would you bungee jump? Not in a month of Sundays.
10. What is your favourite cereal? Coco Pops.
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Never!
12. Do you think you’re strong? Physically? No.
13. What is your favourite ice cream? Rum and raisin.
14. What is the first thing you notice about someone? Shoes.
15. Red or pink? Red
16. What is the least favourite thing about yourself? My tummy.
17. Who do you miss the most? My nan, she died when i was 12 and i don’t feel i ever really got to know her.
18. What was the last book you read because everyone was reading it? Gone Girl.
19. What film made you cry the most? The Notebook.
20. What was the last thing you ate? Cheese on toast.
21. What are you listening to right now? The children watching tv.
22. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Red.
23. Favourite smell? Would it be weird if I said a Sharpie?
24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My husband.
25. Mountain hideaway or beach house? I’m a beach girl!
26. Favourite sport to watch? F1 motor-racing or ice hockey.
27. Hair colour? Browny-red.
28. Eye colour? Brown.
29. Puppies or kittens? Puppies.
30. Favourite food? Cheese – all of it.
31. Scary film or happy endings? Happy endings.
32. Last film you watched? Mamma Mia.
33. What book are you reading now? Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
34. Summer or winter? Summer.
35. Hugs or kisses? Kisses.
36. Favourite dessert? Creme brulee
37. Favourite room in your house? My kitchen.
38. How long have you been on Facebook? About ten years.
39. What is your favourite country to visit? Italy.
40. What was the last country you visited? Belgium.
42. Favourite sound? That glug when you open a new bottle of wine…
43. Rolling Stones or the Beatles? Beatles.
44. What is the farthest you have been from home? Barbados.
45. Do you have a special talent? Not that I am aware of.
46. Where were you born? Warwickshire, England.
47. Where are you living now? On the outskirts of Birmingham.
48. Favourite hitchcock movie? Never seen one.
49. What book have you read again and again? Wuthering Heights.
50. Favourite tv series that’s on now? Call the Midwife.
51. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Both.
52. What’s your favourite drink? Red wine or diet coke.
53. Who is your girl crush? Jennifer Lawrence.
54. What was the first film you saw at the cinema? Joy.
55. Heels or flats? Heels.
56. Favourite bed time story? Anything by Roald Dahl.
57. Bath or shower? Shower.
58. Whats the hardest thing about being a mum? All the tidying up!
59. Favourite band? The Killers.
60. Favourite solo artist? Taylor Swift.
61. To be or not to be? To be.
62. What would be the title of your autobiography? And then there was cheese.
63. Best gift you’ve ever received? The gift of time.
64. Best gift you’ve ever given? Pass.
65. Favourite fruit? Apricot
66. What was your first pet? A goldfish.
67. Favourite board game? Game of Life – the 1980s version.
68. How do you have your coffee? I hate coffee!
69. Best invention? iPad
70. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds.
71. Blow dry or air dry? Air dry.
72. Cheap or expensive shampoo? Cheap – my favourite is the £1 coconut one from Bodycare!
73. How difficult was it to answer these questions? Not too difficult.

And now you know a little more about me – even if it is totally useless, pointless stuff!

I’m not going to tag anyone so if you want to give the 73 questions a go yourself, go for it and make sure you let me know so I can check them out!  If you’ve already done this, leave a comment below so I can read yours.

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