Checking in With my New Year’s Resolutions!

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I set myself the New Year’s Resolution this year of learning new skills.

I set two very specific new skills, a food challenge where I was make 52 new recipes over the course of the year, and to learn modern calligraphy. And I’m very pleased to say I’m now half way through the year and I’m STILL DOING THEM!

I’m really very pleased with myself!

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The food challenge has been great. It’s hard sometimes to find a recipe or fit it into the week, but that’s the part that makes it a challenge, right?

I’ve already gone out of my comfort zone with methods, pushed myself to use ingredients I wouldn’t usually use, and try different combinations.

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It’s also allowed me to find meals and treats I know I’ll be making again! I’m away later on in the year, so instead of doing one recipe a week, when I can I’m trying to fit in a couple so that when it’s impossible for me to be in the kitchen, I know I’m not lagging behind.

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Not all of the recipes have been as successful as I’d hoped, but that’s all part of the process! I’m loving completing it, and next year I’ll have a whole handful of recipes I will have found and hopefully will feature in our staple list of loved meals.

Follow this link if you want to see all the recipes I’ve made so far!

The second challenge I set myself was to learn modern calligraphy. It’s something I’d wanted to learn for years, and then when I saw a friend learn last year via The Happy Ever Crafter, I knew I wanted to go for it, for real.

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The first month was practicing the shapes and strokes that would eventually make up individual letters (known as Drills), the second month was learning the lower case letters, third was upper case, and now we’ve just finished learning how to correctly connect them together to form words.

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It’s amazing how quickly you learn and gain confidence, but a lot of practice is needed to actually get good at it. The online community surrounding the course is incredible and we’re encouraged by each other, mentors and Becca who runs it, via instagram and a FB group.

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I was also given, as a very early birthday present, an iPad and Apple Pencil to use with the Procreate app, so I can learn iPad lettering too. Again it’s tricky and I’m going to be spending a lot more time practicing and watching tutorials on what you can do with the apps, but it’s been so much fun so far!

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I can see my progress improve week to week. It’s amazing looking back at what I wrote even only a month ago, in comparison to now. The improvement is steady and vast. I can only get better!

If you’d like to take a look at my progress, and track future improvement, you can follow me on my dedicated calligraphy instagram account.

I’m really pleased I’m sticking these resolutions out, and I’m enjoying them so much!

Are you still working on your New Year’s Resolution? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear what it is, and how you’re getting on?!

2018: A Year of Self-Improvement

Every new year we sit and think about resolutions. We look back over the year past, and wonder what will face us in the coming 12 months.

I’ve never been one for setting new year’s resolutions mainly because I either forget I’ve set them or I fail early on and get annoyed at myself.

So this year, I’ve decided to set myself two challenges, partly because I hope if I fail at one I’ll still achieve the other, and of these particular challenges one I know I am already partially skilled at and the other is something I’ve wanted to do for many many years.

The first challenge came to me during a period of new film watching. As a huge Nora Ephron fan it seemed bizarre that I’d never seen Julie and Julia. The film is based on a true story about a woman who lives in NY and decides to make her somewhat dull and frustrated life a little more exciting by cooking each and every recipe in her classic Julia Child cookery book – all 524 recipes. And every time she makes one, she blogs it. I had no idea this was a story about blogging either, so I was very pleased to see a mix of my love of Nora Ephron, food and blogging all in one film. (I very much enjoyed the film by the way!)

Anyhow, it made me want to start some kind of food challenge. So I decided that I would set myself the task of cooking at least one new recipe for every week in 2018. I know this could be a massive task, since I sometimes run out of time in a week, and if I’m on holiday or sick this will also be impossible. So I’m allowing myself the occasional skip-week. And I’m also including recipes like sauces or new variations of old favourites.

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And then the idea is that I will blog the recipes, and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have at least 52 new things under my belt, will have hopefully increased my skill set in cooking, and with luck will have tried new foods and found new favourites!

I have so many cookery books and Pinterest at my fingertips so hopefully the hardest part will be choosing what to make next!

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My second challenge is a skill I’ve wanted to learn for some years, and I think I even mentioned it in my New Year roundup last new year! I’ve taken the first steps in beginning to learn calligraphy. A dear friend went for it last year, when I was toying with the idea, and seeing her coming on leaps and bounds has really inspired me. She has warned me it’s not as easy as it looks and to preserver, and I intend to! I’m hoping by Christmas 2018 I’ll be writing beautiful envelopes on my Christmas cards! Here’s hoping!

Anyway, I’ve bought some pens and a new notepad (you need special paper don’t you know) and I intend on sharing pictures of my journey on instagram, and here, as I go (if I’m any good!) Fingers crossed!

So those are my two challenges for the year. I have one more up my sleeve, but that’s more of a thinker so maybe I’ll share that down the line.

I’d love to hear if you’ve set yourself any challenges or new year’s resolutions for this year? What do you want to achieve by January 2019?

What Striving to be More Tolerant has Taught Me

One of my new year’s resolutions last year was to fix something that had started bothering me about myself.

I’ve never been a particularly tolerant person, and I used to justify it as me just standing up for myself. But over the last few years I had started to feel petty, bitter and nasty. It was making me feel unhappy about myself, and I realised I was becoming a not very nice person.

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I would see friends, calm and collected, non-judgemental and supportive and wonder how I could be like that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a beast. I’m supportive but I could see a side of me I didn’t like. I would jump to assumptions about people, gossip and scoff at things I didn’t understand or were different from me. I wouldn’t listen and I wouldn’t learn.

So I made a conscious effort to change my behaviour. Instead of immediately jumping to an assumption about someone, I thought about things from their side. Before I scoffed at a trait or behaviour, I found out a little bit more about it.

It’s made me feel calmer and happier about myself. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a way to go, and I could never claim to be a saint. I have times where I snap back to old behaviours, when I’m tired or stressed or caught up in the moment. But those will change with time, I hope.

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I hate it when someone belittles me for something I’m passionate about, or tries to make a scene about something they don’t understand (even if they think they do) so why would I do the same? And when someone does behave like that towards me, I can now sit and reason it with myself, deal with the bad feelings it’s given me and move on. I don’t retaliate, or have that burning feeling that I have to defend myself for too long. And afterwards I can remind myself I’m a good person, and getting better every day.

It all boils down to the golden rule, do as you would be done by.

I’m pleased I took a step back and thought about what I didn’t like about myself and made a change. I hope I stay on this journey as long as it takes to become a better me!

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