Hopes for a new year

There's something about New Year's resolutions which make me a little uncomfortable. I think it's because the phrase conjures up images of diet food and celebrity fitness DVDs. It's fantastic when people find motivation in the start of a new year, but I think the focus should be on changes which will genuinely make someone happier and healthier. That's why I've loved reading other blogger's lists of resolutions for 2015, as so many focus on reading, travelling, studying and all of the other wonderful things which people will really thank themselves for later.  

I also read a fantastic post from Kitty and Nathan which reminded me that New Year is 'a time to celebrate the goodness you have also done... don't forget that over the past year you have done wonderful things that you should take into this next year with you too'. I think this is a beautiful sentiment at a time of year when the focus is on everything not yet achieved. I have tried to keep that in mind while writing up my little list of hopes for 2015. 

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Go on more adventures.

I haven't seen nearly enough of Scotland or the rest of the UK and there's no real reason for it. I simply need to make the time to book a few long weekends off work, pack an overnight bag and go. If you have any recommendations of places I should visit, please comment and let me know!

Finish decorating the flat.

I'm proud of what we've achieved already - with no landlord around, we jumped straight into repainting and hanging pictures - but there are still a few tweaks and changes I'd like to make. It's only little things, like framing and hanging the rest of our pictures and finally ordering the last bits of furniture we need, but I think it will make a big difference. I'm excited about ticking everything off and having the flat feel 'finished'. The only big job I would really love to do is have a new kitchen fitted, but I think I'll only get as far as starting a piggy bank for that this year!

Give another guinea pig a new home.

We sadly lost one of our guinea pigs, Daisy, in November and now Cotton is living alone. As guinea pigs are sociable animals and prefer to live in pairs, I want to find her a new friend soon. I'd preferably like to re-home another girl from a rescue centre, so I'm keeping an eye out for a single female up for adoption.

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Take up a sport.

I used to love cycling and swimming, took a weekly self defence class and had started running before we moved, but I now do no other exercise than walking. It's silly that I've let myself fall out of the habit though, because when I think back I'm always happiest when I have an active hobby. I'm also a bit of a stresshead and I think I owe it to my mental health to find a hobby to keep me happy and healthy over the next 12 months!

Be braver.

Whether it's a tattoo, a new haircut or a different life direction, I need to not be so afraid of change and stop being so obsessed with what I should be doing.

Volunteer more.

While I have volunteered with various charities in the past, I'd love to start helping on a more regular basis, particularly with communications and events - although I'm happy to shake a bucket too when the need arises!

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Stay positive.

As Cady Heron famously said 'Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter'. I think this doesn't just apply to thinking mean thoughts about other people either: I need to remember that bitching and complaining (whether that's about myself or an aspect of my life) isn't going to make any difference - I need to shut up and actually work towards fixing what is making me unhappy.

Create.

I've definitely not been as creative this year and I really regret it. I want to start focusing again on creative projects - whether that's devoting more time to blogging, creative writing, baking, Octavius or trying something new.

Get a dog.

We can't seriously consider getting a dog until both of our work schedules are more settled, but, after hours of obsessively browsing different dog breeds online, a girl can dream!

2014 was the year...

2014 has been a funny old year. While I've managed to tick off several big items from my to-do list (some of which have been on there for years), there are other little things I've let slide more than I'd like. The positive of this niggling knot of regret is that I can use it as motivation to not make the same mistakes next year - after all, I'm a firm believer that it's really the little things that make a big difference over time. But it's not 2015 yet: for now, I thought I'd take a moment to look back on some of the things which did happen this year - good and bad... 


























Sam released his d├ębut novel, Shop Front.

I met Sam while we were both studying English, Journalism and Creative Writing at university. This March - after years of studying, submitting to literary magazines and writing competitions, performing at spoken word events and setting up his own literary magazine - his first novel, Shop Front, was published by Fledgling Press and launched in Scotland's largest book shop.

It was an absolute 'pinch yourself' experience from start to finish - and it isn't even my book!

You can buy Shop Front as a paperback or eBook from Fledgling Press, Waterstones or Amazon.





























I turned 25 in Dublin.

I spent the loveliest Easter weekend in sunny Dublin to celebrate my 25th birthday. The weekend whizzed by in a blur of sightseeing, drinking cocktails, eating ice cream in the park, going out for burgers, swooning over the beautiful Georgian architecture and generally falling in love with this wonderful city. 






























We bought our first home together.

I'm not going to lie: this was a horrible experience. I spent the summer stressed and agitated as the purchase dragged on for months - particular low points include when the bank 'lost' £10,000 of our deposit and the solicitor couldn't confirm what exactly was still required before they could conclude missives less than a week before we were due to move in. 

But, we're here now, and that's the important part. I love our little home - which is a good thing, because I think I've been scared off moving again for life.

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Scotland voted no in the independence referendum.

This isn't a personal experience, but the independence referendum definitely had an impact on my life this year. It felt like the country was suddenly buzzing with debate, passion and an engagement in politics unlike anything I'd witnessed before. While there were some negative aspects to the referendum (it was of course disappointing that some people used it as a platform for hatred and bigotry), I particularly loved that it engaged people who have never been interested in politics before, and people were hopeful that, unlike the feeling in general elections, their vote actually counted for something.





























I went to Walt Disney World for the first time.

After dreaming about this holiday since I was a little girl, I finally got to walk down Main Street USA in the beautiful Florida sunshine. We spent two wonderful weeks soaking up all things Disney (and nipping across to Universal Studios for the Harry Potter attractions, of course), and I'm already planning when we can book to go back. 

By the way, the photograph above was taken from the back of Cinderella Castle: inside the stained glass windows is 'Cinderella's Royal Table', a beautiful restaurant where you can eat dinner while Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine pop by every table for photographs and autographs (and very strange conversations - cue Ariel asking 'if it's an awfully long way to swim from Scotland?' and Sleeping Beauty asking Sam if 'Scotland has no dragons left because he has slain them all?'). I now can't watch a Disney film without wanting to squeal 'I've had dinner in there!' every time the castle animation appears at the beginning!

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Sam spent two weeks in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

The morning we landed back in Glasgow from Florida, Sam went to A&E with stomach pains. He thought he had pulled a muscle in his side and wanted to make sure he hadn't done any permanent damage: it turns out his appendix had burst and he had an infection in his stomach which was so bad the doctor estimated he would have collapsed within the next 24 hours. He spent the next two weeks in hospital undergoing various drips, blood transfusions and operations. 

I'm lucky enough to have very little experience of inside hospital wards, but after visiting Sam every day for a fortnight, I can say there's nothing that will make you as grateful for your own health, and the health of your family and friends, as the people you will meet there and hearing their stories.


2014, we've had our ups and downs, but I'll always remember you fondly, kid. 


If you've written a round-up post of your year, please let me know in the comments below!
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