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Archive for the category “19for2019”

19 for 2019 – Year End Review – Part 4

Here is the final part of my 19 for 2019 review:

Celebrate a personal anniversary – My partner and I went out to celebrate our fifth anniversary. I also marked the anniversary of my divorce by spending the day being kind to myself and doing things to feed my soul.

Sing karaoke – I had my doubts about this one when I put it on the list as it is so far out of my comfort zone. Needless to say, I didn’t do it.  However, I was up for going to one of the karaoke bars in Portugal with my daughters, figuring that no one would know me so what did it matter, but they refused!

Master the pilates roll-up – A few years ago I could do this but now I struggle. I practised through the year and managed to achieve it with a towel folded under my lower back. I’ll carry on working on this.

Walk in the countryside each season – This was a success: Brockham and Headley (Surrey, UK) in winter; Arundel (Sussex, UK) in spring; Goring (Sussex, UK) in summer; Zante (Greece) in autumn.

Overall, twelve of the 19 items were achieved, six of them were started/attempted but not fully completed, and one (karaoke) didn’t happen at all. I’m extremely pleased with this outcome as I know that writing this list forced me to make the effort to do things that are important to me. Although I might not have had one hundred percent success, I certainly achieved more than I would have done without this focus.

Not only that, but I also started a list of my unplanned activities and experiences which happened during the year. Among the items on this list are: Sky Dance and overnight stay in Brighton; I participated in two National Journal Writing Months; my first yoga retreat; I contacted and met a self-published author; I went to a swing jive evening; I saw my first Arthur Miller play and had numerous other theatre trips; I did Marieke Blokland’s Art and Creativity Challenge; I took part in Sketchbook Revival; I went to my first opera (Carmen) and two ballets (Manon and Coppelia) at the Royal Opera House; I practised aerial yoga and hot yoga for the first time; I went to Spain on my own; I took up ballroom and Latin American dancing again after a long break. I think creating a 19 for 2019 inspired me to be more (pro)active and to grasp opportunities.

With that in mind, my 20 for 2020 list will be coming soon.


19 for 2019 – Year End Review – Part 3

Following on with the review of my 19 for 2019 inspired by Gretchen Rubin:

Complete a Udemy course – I took Dave Fox’s Travel Journaling: How to write extraordinary travel diaries.   enjoyed the course as it gave lots of simple and easy to use ideas on different ways of travel journaling. I’m planning on going through it again to refresh my memory and then consciously put the methods into practice. I did keep a basic travel journal this year and this is a developing process.

Use Art Fund pass – This is a paid-for pass (I got it half price as a special introductory offer) which for the most part gives a 50% discount on entry to art exhibitions and museums. Among the exhibitions I visited were Space Shifters at the Hayward Gallery, Dorothea Tanning at the Tate Modern, Helene Schjerfbeck at the Royal Academy, and Pierre Bonnard. There are so many free art galleries and exhibitions in London, which means that in the past I haven’t bothered with the paid exhibitions; however, this encouraged me to try artists that I wasn’t familiar with and I enjoyed the fact that you got  to know the artist and their work in more detail. Unfortunately, when I renewed my pass, they took the money but despite several requests, the pass never arrived so I ended up receiving a refund – can’t really understand what happened there!

Weekend break with my daughters – We intended to have a weekend break but ended up booking a week in the Algarve, Portugal, at a brand new hotel, which we found on a special introductory deal. Then, as our intention had been to have a weekend city break, we found another deal for a weekend in Bologna. Both trips were a great success. Not only did we enjoy the experience of exploring new places, but it was also so lovely to spend this special time together. I love that we all get on so well and have this amazing relationship.

Try twelve new recipes – I’m not sure I managed twelve; I did start to keep a list but somehow this slipped during the year.  I’d estimate I tried around nine or ten: Moroccan minced beef pie, Mediterranean baked cod, lemon posset, shortbread biscuits,  pineapple cake, Mexican chilli, strawberry cheesecake, and Cantonese sweet and sour chicken, plus a couple of forgotten others.

Write first draft of novel – I made a start but got distracted. I’ve been finding it hard to develop a writing habit so am working on that.

Fourth and final part of my review to follow shortly.


19 for 2019 – Year End Review – Part 2

Here’s the second part of my 19 for 2019 review.

Go for a cycle ride – I did this – only once – but that’s probably once more than I would have done if it hadn’t been on my list.  I don’t know why I don’t do more cycling as I love it but I just never seem to get round to making the effort.  Making it one of my 19 for 2019 made it happen.

Grow vegetables – I planted two courgette plants; however, neither of them grew! I’ve been successful with them in the past so perhaps it’s a case of try again this year.

Devise a home exercise routine – Well, I did it, but not in quite the way I wanted and it never became a ‘routine’. I need to find a way to get my motivation going for home exercise.

Host a get-together – Happily, I can report that this item was undoubtedly achieved and a roaring success. My partner and I hosted a summer drinks and dance party at our home for one hundred – yes, one hundred! – of our family and friends. The sun shone, the prosecco flowed, the food tempted, the music played, and even the non-dancers danced! We’re thinking of doing it again this year.

Participate in InCoWriMo – I took part in this for the second year running and managed to hit my goal of writing and sending a letter every day in February.

Part 3 to follow.

19 for 2019 – Year End Review – Part 1

Inspired by Gretchen Rubin, I ended 2018 by creating a list of 19 items I wanted to do or achieve during 2019.  Here is an update of how it went.

Create a vision board – I did this early on, choosing my word of the year as aspire, and keeping my board in sight throughout the year.  As I look at it now, I’m amazed to see that everything I included did in fact manifest itself.

Visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – This had been on my bucket list for several years but putting it on my 19 for 2019 list meant it finally happened.  To ensure that time didn’t yet again slip by without it occurring, I booked my ticket early in the year, around February time, and went in August to see Twelfth Night.  It was fantastic, with everything about it from the acting to the atmosphere, and even the English weather, being great.  I’d highly recommend that any child studying Shakespeare see a play here as it truly brings to life the entire experience and makes it far more accessible.

Participate in a reading challenge – I took part in the ‘mommymannegren’ reading challenge, which is to read 52 books in 52 categories.  Much to my surprise, I completed it around August time, and far surpassed my target by reading 76 books. The challenge helped me to focus on reading and to reach for a book instead of wasting time on my phone and other mindless activities.  I also found that by picking up a book more frequently, I got into it more and wanted to keep reading. Furthermore, I read books that I wouldn’t have otherwise have read.  My book of the year – which has, in fact, now become my book of all-time – is Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter.

Blog one a week – I got off to an excellent start on this but it tailed off after a few months.  I find that once I break the chain on an activity, I struggle to get back on track, so this is something I’m working on improving.  Perhaps my initial goal of once a week was too ambitious for me and I would have been better off aiming for once a month instead.

Finish organising the house – I made progress on this but didn’t manage to complete it.  It’s now an ongoing project.

So that’s my review of the first five!

More to follow…



19for2019: January update

Now that January is over, it seems appropriate to review my 19for2019 (see Gretchen Rubin for more information on this).  Here goes:

Create a vision board: I’ve done this and have chosen ‘aspire’ as my word for the year.  It’s all about stretching myself beyond the limits of my mind.

Visit the Globe Theatre: I’ve had a google at what’s on and will book something this month.

Complete a Udemy course: I started one in December but haven’t done anything on this in January.

Participate in reading challenge: I read seven out of the 52 books in January: Tin Man by Sarah Winman; Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout; The Only Story by Julian Barnes; How to be Human by Ruby Wax; Frog Music by Emma Donoghue; Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter; The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers is, I have to say, the best book I’ve ever read.

Blog once a week: I’ve been keeping up-to-date on this, both on this blog and on my business one.

Finish organising the house: I got some lighting and accessories, and also finished my first run-through of tidying the study.

Go for a cycle ride: It’s not the right weather for this at the moment; however, I did go on the exercise bike at the gym.

Grow some vegetables: Again, it’s too early in the year for this but I need to start doing some research so I’m ready to plant at the right time.

Devise a home exercise routine: I’ve made a start on this with a morning yoga routine.  Next on the list is pilates, followed by Swiss ball.

Host a get-together: I organised this in January for 1st February and had a few friends round to dinner.  It was a lovely evening.  I kept the food simple so I didn’t get stressed and it was all very relaxed and fun.

Use my Art Fund pass: I didn’t visit any exhibitions in January and need to start looking and booking for February/March.

Try twelve new recipes: I cooked Moroccan beef, which was nice, but I’m trying to cut down on red meat so I’ll take this into account when deciding on the next one.

Write first draft of novel: I made a start, then other things got in the way, although I am trying to write as often as possible.

Have a weekend break with my daughters: We haven’t got round to organising this yet; however, we’re thinking of extending this to a week.

Take part in InCoWriMo: International Correspondence Writing Month is February so I’m busy handwriting a letter every day.  I did it last year and have kept in contact with a few people from different parts of the world.

Celebrate a personal anniversary: I’m planning on doing this in April.

Sing karaoke: This is the one item on the list I’m starting to have doubts about – why did I include it?!

Walk in the countryside each season: We had a lovely winter walk around the quintessential English village of Brockham.

I’m pleased with my progress so far.  I’m determined to do all the items on this list (even the karaoke) and still feel motivated.

How are you getting on with your 2019 intentions?


19 for 2019: Weekly Review

I know it’s not 2019 yet; however, I don’t see that as any reason to prevent me from getting my 19 for 2019 underway.  In any case, I think it’s better to make a start over the Christmas period when I’m off work and have a bit more time; that way, I get the momentum going and it’s easier to continue.  Here are some of the steps I’ve taken this week.

Participate in a reading challenge: I’m taking part in the challenge to read 52 books in 52 weeks within certain categories.  I’ve already started to read two books towards this: Tin Man by Sarah Winman and Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Street.  I’m enjoying both of them so far, particularly Tin Man.

Devise a home exercise routine: I’ve now tried out and written up my first yoga routine, which I’ve adapted from The Yoga Healer by Christine Burke.

Host a get together: On 28th December, we invited both families round for a betwixt Christmas and New Year buffet lunch and games.  It was a bit last minute so not everyone was free to make it; however, I think it went well and will do it again next year with a bit more warning so people can keep the date available.

Write first draft of novel: In preparation for this, I’ve signed up to‘s #WriteChain challenge.  My daily target is either to write 200 words or one blog post or to edit/research for 20 minutes.  It’s all about developing a daily writing habit.

Master the pilates roll-up: I’ve begun practising this and, although I’ve got a long way to go, I think it is doable.  I’ve only ever managed to achieve this with one teacher and that was several years ago.  I’d also like to be able to do the Upward Facing Bow (Wheel Pose) in yoga.  I could do this as a child – we used to call it the ‘crab’.  I’ll work slowly and gently on this as, at the moment, my arms don’t feel strong enough and it’s hurting my lower back.  My yoga teacher has given me some advice on how to approach this and again, with regular focused practice, I think I’ll get there.

Walk in the countryside each season: My partner and I, accompanied by my daughter’s dog, had lovely, post-Christmas, three mile walk around the beautiful Surrey village of Brockham.

Create a vision board: I’ve gathered some images and have a canvas board ready to use.

I’m pleased with my progress this week and feel optimistic for the future of this challenge.

What are your intentions for 2019?



19 for 2019: Friday Review

There’s something about making a list that motivates me to take action.  Since creating my 19for2019 a few days ago, I have already taken the first steps on a couple of the items.  Incidentally, the idea for this list comes from Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcasts, which I would highly recommend.

Devise a home exercise routine: I’ve bought some yoga blocks and hand weights, and have a borrowed a book from the library on various yoga poses and their benefits, which also has some short routines in it.  I belong to a gym and have been doing yoga on and off for a number of years so I have some knowledge of the practice (I would seriously recommend that anyone wanting to begin yoga finds an instructor to guide them initially).  Although I attend classes when I can, I also want to have some short, structured routines in place to do at home so that I can easily make yoga part of my daily life.

Use my Art Fund pass: The Art Fund pass (available in the UK) allows free or reduced price admission to museums, art galleries and exhibitions upon payment of an annual subscription, so it’s cost effective if you plan on making several visits a year.  This week I went to the Space Shifters exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London.  It’s a exhibition of sculpture that challenges your perspective and I found it fascinating. I was particularly enthralled and intrigued by WeltenLinie, an installation by Alicja Kwade.

Try twelve new recipes: I’ve looked up two new recipes, which I plan to try over the next couple of weeks.  The first is Moroccan Minced Beef Pie and the second is Mango and Coconut Brown Rice Pudding.  I found them on the website.

I’m pleased about the start I’ve made and now I just need to keep the momentum going.

What are your 19for2019?



19 for 2019

After a long gap, I’m finally resurrecting this blog and decided the best way to do so would be with my 19 for 2019 list.  I got this idea from Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcasts (check these out – they’re great).  It involves writing a list of things you want to do or achieve in the forthcoming year; these can be small things such as making a dental appointment or ambitious projects such as writing a novel.  Here’s my list, in no particular order:

  • Create a vision board
  • Visit the Globe Theatre
  • Complete a Udemy course
  • Participate in reading challenge
  • Blog once a week
  • Finish organising the house
  • Go for a cycle ride
  • Grow some vegetables
  • Devise a home exercise routine
  • Host a get-together
  • Use my Art Fund pass
  • Try twelve new recipes
  • Write first draft of novel
  • Have a weekend break with my daughters
  • Take part in InCoWriMo
  • Celebrate a personal anniversary
  • Sing karaoke
  • Master the pilates roll-up
  • Walk in the countryside each season

I’ll post regular updates on how I’m getting on.

Are you doing something similar?  What are your 19for2019?


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