a month in | an intention update

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I think this January has been one of the quietest months on this blog, although December also looks like a good contender. I do miss writing more consistently in this space, but at the moment I seem to be having difficulties in keeping all the balls in the air. I simply don’t know how some people do it. I do share more regularly on Instagram though which I am seeing as something that is happening for a lot of people. Anyway: an update of how being intentional is working for me.

I eventually got down to doing some planning for the year. I took a kind of different method with a bit of mood-boarding of what I want my year to look like. I am still using Danielle LePorte’s concept of Core Desired Feelings: and basically I want to feel calm, happy and creative with a heaping of adventure, wander and gratitude.

I do have a few more ‘standard’ goals:

  • Finishing my dissertation (yes that old mess still. The department finally gave us part-timers some deadline dates so it will definitely be finished this year).
  • Improve my Italian.
  • Do all the travelling! (see below).
  • Make an Italian friend (any Italians based near by please get in touch!)

I do still need to work on my intentions for this space and my photography. I feel like they are both stagnating a bit and I need to come up with some actions on how I am going to change that up.

But I feel like things are going well on a personal level. I wrote 1000 words for my dissertation the other day. I seem to somehow have cut down on TV by about 95% (although I am not sure how long that will last). It definitely means there is more time for other activities. Like reading. I even bought myself a Kindle (which I totally love. I went for the cheaper one that needs a light because hey I can keep a light on while reading). Tim and I know spend most evenings reading.

I also started working on building some new habits and I think I am getting a strong B+ in this category. I am using a similar process to my habits chart that I shared last year but no rewards and with a weekly ‘star chart’ feel. I have kept it simple with just five habits that I want to work on this month and with goals that are easily achievable. I feel that way I won’t become disheartened and just give up. So far that means I have gone to bed earlier than normal (which means I also don’t struggle to wake up), have worked out three times a week (even if for only 20 minutes) and begun practising my Italian more consistently again.

I have also really found my five minute journal to be brilliant too. It is amazing how those few minutes each morning and evening really create a positive frame for your day and your sleep. They are helping me create a better and calmer routine in my mornings. Something that I think I will work on a bit more in the next few months.

In other news it seems my secondary word for the year is travel and we have booked another trip for our February break. We are taking the train to Rome and then flying to Budapest. I am incredibly excited by the fact that Budapest has a chain of hummus bars (which I think indicates how lacking Trieste is in non-Italian food) but would appreciate any other tips if you have them.

How are your goals/intentions/resolutions going so far? I definitely think a monthly check-in will be in order. I know they are more personal and don’t really have any major benefit for you but I really enjoy the journalling aspect of this space sometimes so I hope you won’t mind the ramble.

getting there

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I feel like it has been more of a slow shuffle into the new year and all that is promises rather than a leap. But I am getting there and starting to work out what I want 2015 to look like.

Until I allocate some time to actually sitting down and writing some posts I thought I would share these iPhone photographs of yesterday’s sunset with you. I just kept taking pictures as it changed and it was so darn pretty. I think sunsets are just about one of my most favourite things in the world. I would estimate that I have spent about 942 hours of my life appreciating the wonder of sunsets. Maybe I should make a book … Or one that is crowd sourced … A world of sunsets.

Anyway, I hope they set you up for a week where you stop to appreciate the magic of the everyday.

my word for 2015

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Happy New Year! I hope you have all had a good break.

I would love to say I came back from my holiday in South Africa ‘restored’ but honestly squeezing in all the friends and family there into two short weeks was pretty exhausting (though of course still lovely). My mind is still full of all my thoughts and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and think them out properly.

That said I have chosen a word for the year. Something to keep me ‘on track’ as it were. I love words. They have such power and beauty. I chose a word last year and although I wasn’t always very good at harnessing the focussing power I think it was still useful. This years word is a bit more active.


Intentional

Meaning: done with intention or purpose.

Derived from Intention: a thing intended; a plan or aim.

Interestingly it comes from a Latin word meaning ‘to stretch’ or ‘purpose’


In a nutshell I want to be more intentional with what I do with my time (our most important personal resource) and what I put into my body. To some extent this requires me reconsidering my core desired feelings and I plan to spend some time rereading Danielle LaPorte’s book and working through more precise intentions for the year; something that January’s wintery evenings will hopefully give fruit to. I am looking forward to it.

Do you have a word for the year?

happy new year

I am sitting on a computer for the first time in a week (although it feels like a bit more than that) and just wanted to mark the end of this year on my little spot on the internet as well as wish all those in my little internet community a happy new year. I hope that 2015 is another beautiful and exciting year for you and look forward to seeing it unfold with you.

2014 was such an amazing year. It will always stand out in the timeline of my life for the simple reason that it was the year that I married my best friend, partner in adventure and love of my life. I have also had so many adventures, with some local travel and some further afield. I have started to find my place in our life in Italy and am becoming more confident of who I am and my next steps (thanks in part to the help of Marie and some coaching). I have strengthened new friendships and enjoyed spending time with friends who came to visit us and those we were able to visit. It hasn’t always been easy but I am entering 2015 with a little more wisdom, a thirst for adventures and such love and happiness. If 2015 is half as good as this past year I know it will be a good one.

In particular I am stepping into the new year with some knowledge that I have been repeating to myself for the last month or so: “My problems are blessings”. I am so lucky (although of course I have created some of that) and I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have.

I haven’t made any resolutions or goals as the last few months have flown away from me but I am planning on a quiet(ish) January with some time for reflection and planning.

Felice Capodanno!

how did it get so late so soon?

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Since before December I was planning on a whole bunch of Christmassy-ness that was going to happen in real life, some of which I was going to share with you. But the time has run away with me and I haven’t stuck up one single Christmas decoration! The fact that we are leaving for South Africa on Saturday and won’t be at home for Christmas kind of makes it feel not worthwhile for three days either so I am afraid this year will be the year I didn’t decorate. Oh well there is always next year and there are plenty of festive feelings flying around.

But to share some Christmas love I thought I would link up to some Christmassy loveliness from across the web.

Decorating Love

Wrapping inspiration

  • A great idea of using DIY printables in a different way for this  wrapping idea.
  • The simple addition of a wreath brings a bit of greenery to your presents.
  • Or some watercolour on paper. I think I have a roll of ikea white paper somewhere.
  • An old post of mine with some ideas for reusing shopping bags for wrapping (I am truly terrible at wrapping presents so bags often win)

Winning Gift Giving

  • Chocolate bark is always a great last minute gift idea (can literally knock some up an hour before leaving the house for a last minute Christmas engagement. This combo sounds delicious.
  • I think I might gift this to myself to read on the plane to South Africa. I am not the tidiest person and any tips I can get to not have to spend half a day cleaning on the weekend would be magical. I think many might appreciate the sentiment for a new year.

Let’s Eat

  • For those to squeamish for eggnog how about a vegan version. Looks good to me.
  • These mincemeat and clementine rolls are great for a last minute Christmas gathering, or you know any reason.

Also check out my post from last year on photographing Christmas lights if you are heading out for some evening walks.

eek! life is awesome

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Last night I spent three hours organising a very small corner of my life. Copies of exercises for tutoring (something that I never would have though I would have been doing a year ago). But that isn’t very awesome is it?

I want to share some plans without sounding like a big brag. Is that okay? It is just life is currently pretty awesome and I like to share with you guys. Because I feel that you are some of my people.

We just bought tickets to Japan for “Summer 2015”. I put that as a ‘title’ because our summers are pretty epic with Tim teaching and me on a similar contract we get an amazing two and a half months off. We don’t get paid in that time but I think it is worth it.

We’ve made travelling a priority for the next few years so we are also looking at spending a week with friends in Crete as well as heading back to London in August for three (!!!) weddings.

Oh and we are heading back to South Africa for Christmas but that has been in the pipeline since the beginning of the year.

Prioritising travel means making some adjustments. Taking on some extra tutoring work and being a bit tighter with the budget. But when I question why it is 8pm on a Thursday night and I have three pre-teen boys staring at me questioning whether something is a past participle I can adjust my attitude to ‘how awesome is my friend that passed this on to me so I can have the amazing experience of eating Ramen in Japan!’. Happiness is just an attitude after all, right?

Anyway, if you have any tips for Japan and Crete I’d love to know!

On a side note this is a detail from the picture above which I just thought looked cool. Kind of like a painting.

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