New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all have had a great start to 2018 so far. While real life is slowly taking over again, I have another few days off work and I thought I would use this time to look back at my wish list from last year and think about the things I want to achieve in the next 12 months.

In 2017 instead of setting resolutions or goals for myself, I decided to have a wish list of things I’d like to do. I’ve set goals in the past and usually find that I rarely achieve them. This may be because some are a bit too ambitious or are based on outside factors. At any rate, I found the wish list a much simpler set of ideas to aim towards and looking back over it, I think I managed to do almost everything on the list.

The first point was to rediscover my love of books and reading, and I certainly did that. I read a lot more in 2017 compared to 2016 and there were so many books that rekindled my love of literature.

My second point on the wish list was to take more photos and I think I achieved this. The camera went on pretty much every outing I had last year and I have lots of albums on my laptop filled with my adventures.

Next on the list was doing the things I wanted to do. In the past I have always held back from certain things due to fear and anxiety. Last year I decided that life was too short and I did tick off a lot of the things I wanted to do such as going to YALC and Friends Fest and finally having a holiday abroad.

One area in which I have been less successful is worrying less about getting older. Having turned 30 in 2017, I do feel conscious of getting older. Social media has a lot to answer for as well. It can be difficult when you see people achieving life goals when you don’t feel like you’ve done anything of note. This is definitely something I need to work on in 2018.

The wish to travel was one point I did succeed with, although I didn’t go to too many places. As well as the holiday to Copenhagen, there were a couple of visits to London, a day out to St Andrews and Anstruther and a day in Kelso. Hopefully in 2018 I can add to my list of new places to visit.

Last on the wish list was to cherish the people I love. I hope I have done this. Certainly I try to spend as much time with my dad as I can, especially now he is old and in poor health. It can be easy to take our family for granted and I do sometimes feel that I am guilty of this.

2017 was a strange year, one that certainly changed me as a person. In 2018, I want to build on the things I did achieve last year and work on the areas where I wasn’t so successful. My wish list is as follows:

  • I want to travel more, be that within the UK or abroad
  • I want to continue to read more frequently
  • I want to learn to care less what other people think of me
  • I want to make more use of my free time
  • I want to exercise more, even if it is just going for a walk or a swim
  • I want to spend more time with my loved ones

There are other, ‘bigger’ things I could add to my wish list, such as getting our own place or advancing in my career, but I feel these are goals that are out with my control and likely to put too much pressure on me. If there’s one thing I learned in 2017 it is that you have to enjoy life and not worry too much about the big things. As my mum always used to say, what’s for you will not go by you.

Have you set goals for 2018 yet? If you have, I wish you all the best in achieving them. Here’s to making 2018 a memorable year!

Advertisements

2017: A Year in Pictures

Well it’s less than 2 hours until midnight and here I am living it up, looking through all the photos I took over the past 12 months. There’s something about New Year that always brings out the sentimental side of me and so I thought, for my final blog post of 2017, I would post my favourite picture from each month of the year to show myself that while a lot of rubbish things happened in 2017, it wasn’t all bad.

January

In January we celebrated three years as a couple with a mini break to Glasgow. For once the Scottish weather was on our side and although it was cold it was sunny and the city looked lovely. Continue reading “2017: A Year in Pictures”

2017: A Year in Review

Christmas is over and New Year is right around the corner. Am I alone in feeling like 2017 has whizzed by? It honestly seems like Christmas 2016 was only a few weeks ago.

To be honest, I always find the period between Christmas and New Year to be a bit odd. Maybe it’s because half the shops are still closed and many people are off work, but it feels like real life is on pause. Don’t get me wrong – I am so happy to be on holiday for two weeks. Not having to get up at stupid o’clock and being able to sit and watch Netflix and read all day is bliss. I do find, however, that I tend to get a bit down after Christmas. Maybe that’s why we all tend to get reflective at this time of the year.

2017 was not a good year, however, much as I’d like to, I can’t say it was the worst year of my life. It was a very topsy-turvy year, one that brought lots of significant events that have changed my life in big and small ways. There has been a lot of sadness, grief and frustration. On the other hand, 2017 was the year I ticked off one major thing from my bucket list – going abroad for the first time. Continue reading “2017: A Year in Review”

2017: A Year in Books

It’s that time of the year again when it’s traditional to look back and summarise the past 12 months. 2017 has been a strange year. There have been some truly low points and a couple of milestones, but mostly it has been a bit meh. One thing that has been good about 2017, however, is the wealth of great books I have read.

After a bit of a reading slump in 2016, I am happy to report that this year I read a lot more and, for the most part, I have enjoyed almost every single book I picked up. Reading has gotten me through the past 12 months, so below I have listed my favourite reads of the past 12 months.

Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon

2017 has been a brilliant year for contemporary YA and I have certainly read a lot within this genre this year. One of the first books I read this year was Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and I simply fell in love with it. The characters are extremely likeable and the love story between Olly and Maddy is both cute and touching. A must-read for anyone looking for a sweet romance to devour.

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Another read from early in the year which has stayed in my imagination is Caraval. With an air of The Night Circus about it, this book is mysterious and enchanting. Nothing is quite as it seems in this book and you find yourself questioning everything and everyone. Scarlett is a very likeable and strong heroine who manages to blend vulnerability and courage. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a bit of suspense along with their romance.

Strange The Dreamer – Laini Taylor

I love Laini’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, but Strange The Dreamer just elevates her writing to a whole other level. The words on the page are so prosaic and they weave a simply beautiful story filled with magic, love, tragedy and hope. You cannot help but fall in love with Lazlo, a hero who represents all the dreamers of the world. If you only read one book next year, make it this one. I guarantee you will fall under its spell.

Lord of Shadows – Cassandra Clare

When it comes to YA fantasy masterpieces, Cassandra Clare is on point. Lord of Shadows is the follow-up to Lady Midnight and it is every bit as thrilling as I hoped it would be. Emma and Julian continue to wrestle with their feelings for one another while their world slowly unravels around them. The majority of this book is set in London which just made it all the more delightful to me because I knew the places mentioned. Lord of Shadows is a highly political book, mirroring the turbulent times we currently live in. There is also plenty of magic, adventure and romance to keep you hooked right up to the heart-wrenching ending.

When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

I loved this book. Cute, romantic and funny, it was the perfect summer read. As a fan of Indian culture, I loved all the Hindi and cultural references scattered throughout this book. Dimple and Rishi are adorable and their love story made my heart melt. The supporting characters are also great, especially Dimple’s mom who is a typical Indian mother wanting to get her daughter married to a respectable boy from a good family. Dimple’s interactions with her were some of the funniest parts of the book.

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index – Julie Israel

In the past I wouldn’t have bothered with a book like Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index. The main themes are loss and grief, but having experienced these things myself this year I found this book a big comfort. Juniper is struggling to come to terms with losing her sister in a car accident. When she finds a letter from her sister addressed to YOU, she sets out on a mission to discover who this person is. Along the way she makes mistakes, finds new friends and falls in love. This book really helped me think about the way I’ve been processing my grief and I could quite often relate to how Juniper was feeling. I really loved the idea of the happiness index cards. The best thing about this novel, however, is the friendship group that Juniper builds up around her. I really loved seeing these teenage girls bonding and standing up for one another; it was so refreshing and it’s true that friends are so important when going through a tough time in your life. No matter whether you have gone through something similar to Juniper or not, I am sure everyone will enjoy this book.

Seven Days of You – Cecilia Vinesse

Another great summer read, I literally could not put this book down. It is so cute and romantic and made me want to go to Tokyo. Vinesse paints such a vivid picture of the city that I felt like I was there with the characters. Sophia is a very likeable heroine and I adored her romance with Jamie. It really is proper cheesy cuteness but it was so much fun and just what you need for a bit of escapism.

Language of Thorns – Leigh Bardugo

This compilation of fairy-tales set within the Grishaverse is just beautiful. From the gorgeous illustrations to the new take on some classic fairy-tales, this was the perfect Halloween read. I loved how each tale was full of grey shades, and it wasn’t always clear at first who the real villain of the story was.

Night of Cake and Puppets – Laini Taylor

Laini makes the list twice, but she is seriously just an amazing writer. Night of Cake and Puppets is a novella about Zuzana and Mik from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. Anyone who has read that series will remember how adorable they are, and this novella is just so romantic and beautiful and made we want to go to Prague when it’s snowing. Zuzana’s plan to romance Mik was pure genius and I loved how he turned the tables on her. There is also a cameo from Karou. A must-read for fans of the trilogy.

Those are my favourite books read in 2017, but what are yours? Do you have any recommendations (because I really need to add to my TBR pile…)? What books are you most looking forward to in 2018?

Rosenborg Castle

One of the many things I loved about Copenhagen was the architecture. I’ve never considered myself someone interested in buildings before, but I fell in love with the gorgeous colours and mix of old and new in Copenhagen. As a fan of all things royal, it was a must that we visit one of the royal buildings. We settled on Rosenborg Castle as it was a stone’s throw from our hotel.

We were not disappointed.

From the outside, Rosenborg Castle screams fairy-tale. It towers into the sky as you approach, the red stonework with the black-lined windows so gothic and romantic. Everyone was stopping to try to take in how magnificent it is.

Continue reading “Rosenborg Castle”

Tivoli Gardens

Of all the places we visited while in Copenhagen, I think the one we fell in love with most was Tivoli Gardens. Not once, not twice, but three times we ventured there during the course of our trip. Simply put, it was magical. One of the ladies issuing tickets told us that Tivoli is different by day and night. We went twice by night and once during the day and she was absolutely right – it was completely different but still amazing.

When we went, Tivoli was dressed up for Halloween and boy did they go all out. As a lover of Halloween, I was in my element. The first thing you see as you approach the entrance is a giant pumpkin grinning down at you. When you get inside there is then an alley of lit-up pumpkins overhead, interspersed with lanterns. It was one of the coolest sights I have ever seen!

Continue reading “Tivoli Gardens”

Copenhagen

Last weekend I fulfilled a life-long ambition – I went on holiday abroad for the first time.

With my 30th birthday approaching I decided it was time to start ticking things of that bucket list and so when my other half asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said a holiday abroad. I settled on Copenhagen because so many people had told me it is a great place and also because the flight was quite short and neither of us had flown before at the time we booked the holiday.

Choosing Copenhagen was the best decision I ever made. It is a wonderful city. From the moment we stepped onto the metro I was impressed with how efficient everything is. Finding our way to our hotel was so easy. We stayed at Ibsen’s Hotel, which is located a stone’s throw from Norreport station. It was a lovely boutique hotel, with a cute and cosy room and the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. I highly recommend it!

Continue reading “Copenhagen”