Saturday, 31 December 2016

Getting Ready for a Healthy, Happy and Productive 2017

To say that 2016 hasn't quite gone to plan would be an understatement. I had big plans for all aspects of my life; the blog, the business and our home. With the year whizzing by in a flash along with a few personal challenges and the loss of loved ones, my plans have not transpired.

It hasn't been all bad though. Where I haven't achieved a few of my goals, I have achieved something else. Other than a years worth of fantastic memories with my family, knowledge and motivation are top of my list. I have learned so much whilst running my own business (Hello My PA) and re-discovering my confidence in my professional abilities has served to remind me of my skills and how I can use those in 2017 to reach my goals.

This post isn't about looking back over what hasn't happened. Instead I am taking stock of everything I have learned, getting prepared for the year ahead and declaring that 2017, I am so ready for you.

Here is a little run down of the some of the things I am taking from 2016 to help me in my 2017 ventures.

A healthy body (and healthy mind) can help you achieve SO much more!

2016 was the year that I discovered healthy eating and Zumba! My aim was never to lose weight (although I did lose 2 stone in the process) but rather to be fit and healthy. I have two little boys to keep up with and the days of going to the gym and yoga classes were well behind me. Two babies on and a habit of using biscuits for fuel caught up with me and I became very aware of my poor fitness levels. 

A Fitbit helped me to keep track of my step count and hourly activity (I went with a simple one, the Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity Tracker and Sleep Wristband) a weekly Zumba class (which is AWESOME) on a Sunday helped me to increase my energy levels and get a bit fitter (i.e. I was less out of breath running up the stairs) and the occasional bit of yoga at home along with using the stepper occasionally were my little changes that made a big difference.

I also dramatically reduced my refined sugar intake (stopped eating packs of bloody biscuits and cake), increased my water intake, discovered camomile tea and reduced my massive portion sizes. All in all I began to feel much healthier and fitter. My mindset improved, I started to sleep better and my energy levels increased which meant I was much more productive. The last couple of months have seen me do a u-turn on all of my lifestyle changes but keeping in mind how great I had been feeling I am ready to go back to my new found habits. 

Clothes and make up aren't scary

Along with feeling more energetic and more healthy, I felt the most comfortable in my own skin then I have since I was pregnant, you know, when its ok to be packed tight into massive leggings and eating stuff from jars without judgement! Jokes aside, I had sort of given up on clothes and make up was only worn when it was a special occasion, like a trip to the shops (*sigh*). In 2016 I found time and motivation to play about with skincare options, make up products and I even purchased new clothes that weren't jeans and baggy t-shirts!

I even bought some dresses! I have two that no longer fit around my waist after the Christmas period but I can't wait to fit into them again! I don't often post pictures of me on the blog but here is one of me in a little gem from House of Fraser. It's a wrap dress and I was so impressed with material of it because it wasn't clingy. It just hung really nicely and I decided it would be great with a pair of heels (yeah HEELS, better get some more of those too) to go out or with something more casual. Check me out talking about clothes.
I actually feel so much more comfortable and confident in a dress which is something I never thought I would say. I have been browsing the House of Fraser dresses (which just happen to be on sale at the moment) wondering what style I might go for next. Anyone who knows me at ALL will be surprised to hear me say that. I am normally a 'buy the same t-shirt in 4 colours' kind of girl.

Everyone really does love Lego

2016 was also the year we went to Legoland. The boys absolutely loved it. I managed to buy Hubby B the massive Lego Millennium Falcon which he has wanted for a long time and Lego has totally taken over the Little Bs imaginations and our house; so much so that we are currently making plans for a guest room to be a 'Lego room'.

After selling a few more of these framed Lego letters via word of mouth, I am planning on opening up a small online store. What do you think? Pop me an email if you would like to find out more about them! In fact, by way of getting this little venture off the ground, anyone who emails with the subject line 'I love Lego' can have 10% off the normal price. Hows that?
Colouring books aren't just for children 

I tried so hard not to jump on the adult colouring band wagon but in truth, it really is therapeutic. I only do a few minutes here and there but it just helps me to calm and refocus my mind. Your can pick up books and pencils from anywhere (it doesn't have to be expensive) and I highly recommend it if you often find yourself being a bit stressed out. Just sit at the table with a cuppa and focus on this for half an hour! 
This particular book (Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book) is one of three in my collection and the range is just beautiful. They even do Colour your own postcards which are firmly on my wish list. 

Small changes can make a big difference

This is a broad statement and can apply to most things (as I mentioned before, I made a few small lifestyle changes which resulted in dramatic effects) but here I want to talk about our garden. I have noticed in 2016 that the small changes we have made to our outdoor space (which was otherwise just a square lawn) have helped to make the garden look more established and inviting. Hubby B loves growing beautiful flowers and I have enjoyed helping digging in flower beds and creating nice shapes and different levels in the garden. It is wonderful in the spring and summer to see all of the lovely colours come through. I am really keen to paint the back garden fences to create a nice backdrop like we have done in the front and dig in some more beds. If we win the lottery, I would really love to extend our patio area.

With our estate being new and building works still going on, the wildlife is not yet confident in visiting us. With this being integral to a thriving and established garden and our ecosystem or course, I am really keen to try and bring some more wildlife into the garden. As the colder months are upon us and as we head into 2017, we have been creating some aesthetically pleasing (for us, not the birds) bird houses, hanging bird feeders and making other small changes to try and make a more inviting environment for local wildlife. Having checked that hedgehogs can get into our garden we want to build a hedgehog house and we planned on acquiring a couple of hens in 2016 but that did not transpire either so hopefully that will happen in the next few months.
You can paint everything!

After my visit to The Handmade Fair in September 2016 (where, by the way, Annie Sloan asked me if I was a bloody designer!) I became inspired to paint everything I own and everything I didn't own (I acquired a sideboard from a skip pile and some old chairs etc etc). I am just waiting for a dry day to get out into the garden and get the big items sanded and prepped. Meanwhile I am making do with smaller projects and the interior walls. I hope to indulge in more painting in 2017 as it is something I have found that I quite enjoy! 

Father Christmas gifted me a copy of Annie Sloan Paints Everything and it is full of inspiring step by step projects for any level of experience.
Productivity needs planning

One of the biggest learning curves for me in 2016 was the juggling act that is running a business, keeping a home, being a mother and writing a blog. Oh and looking after myself in the process. How we do it all I do not know. What I do know is that when I am more organised, I am much more productive. Over the last year I have met some wonderful people who are also business owners and parents and I have received various comments on my organisation skills. My growth in self confidence has helped to to recognise (in a none cocky kind of way) that this is a skill that I should put into practice all of the time and also something that I can help other people with. Since 2009 I have started my year with 'Project Me' by which I note down some goals for the year and how I am going to achieve them. It has never really been a strict process, just something to give me a little focus and inspiration. 

In 2017 I will be launching a small course via email to help others to set their goals, become more organised and productive and achieve their aims You can find out more from my business site once it has launched in you fancy it! You can sign up to the Hello My PA Journal here.

Other than my annual Gruffalo family planner (which I review here and buy every year without fail; get yours here) and my trusty Filofax (yeah, I said it!) this year I am keeping track of all of my goals and tasks in this fabulous planner, The Master Plan This is a great tool for any busy family, parent or business owner. It has monthly vision boards, a weekly and daily checklist section, five extra rows for each week (perfect for one row per family member or per goal), a space to note birthdays and meals daily, a couple of notes pages and a 2018 year to view. Perfect for noting down important dates as they come up. 
I feel as if everything is set in place for a very productive 2017. I have spent a good couple of weeks away from laptops, phones and desktops just enjoying time with my family and friends and I feel inspired and motivated and ready to continue my life's adventures into 2017 and beyond.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year!

Mrs Crafty B
*This post contains a couple of affiliate links and although all opinions and thoughts are my own and most of the things I discuss were purchased by me, I was sent one dress and a diary for the purposes of a review. I should also mention that I am not a nutritionist or a health professional and I have described lifestyle changes that worked for ME.

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  1. Glad you found your mojo again! Hope 2017 is a happy and productive year for you and hope to see you at The Handmade Fair again this year. Good luck! Becky x (

  2. Great post, Annie! Have a fab 2017!

  3. First You are beautiful and I love your blog post, all so true!! Happy New Year! I am sure it is going to be fantastic! from Iowa, USA

  4. First You are beautiful and I love your blog post, all so true!! Happy New Year! I am sure it is going to be fantastic! from Iowa, USA

  5. What a great post - I love how your are focussing on what you learnt to carry you forward:) Here's to a great 2017

  6. Nice sharing! Glad to read your post!


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