On Beginnings

Happy New Year ~ reflections on January ~ the pleasures of beginnings ~ theme of the month ~ my own beginnings for 2017

Hello and Happy New Year! It’s great to be back to the blog (and, as you can see, I’ve done a few little updates to the design), although I definitely enjoyed taking a bit of a digital detox over the holidays. Unfortunately, both my Mum and I were rather ill over Christmas and New Year’s, but we relished the fact that, for once, we could just lie on the couch and do nothing until the lurgy passed. I also managed to completely reorganise my wardrobe, bookshelves and office over the holidays, which has definitely left me feeling a little smug. We’ll see how long it lasts….

January, my least favourite month of the year, often finds me a little dispirited, with the prospect of February and March looming ahead not doing much to diminish the gloom of these grey days. This year, however, I sense a change. Blogging has helped me to connect more with the seasons, to pay attention to the rituals of each passing month, and in doing so, I’ve learnt to appreciate each stage of the year so much more. For me, January is a time for cosiness, with quiet evenings spent reading or knitting, but it is also a time for beginnings. Are there any months more pregnant with possibility than the first month of a new year?In general, I like beginnings so much better than endings: opening the first page of a new book; stepping off a plane into an unknown country; putting pen to paper on a white page of a fresh notebook; catching the sunrise over a beautiful landscape; butterflies in your stomach as you get ready for a first date with someone you like. There is definitely a lot that is intoxicating about beginnings, which is partly why it’s so easy to get fired up and start so many New Year’s Resolutions.

The hard part, of course, is what comes after a beginning, when excitement, novelty and optimism have deadened, giving way to less pleasurable experiences. Change always brings its challenges, and it can be all too easy to leave those new projects and intentions at the beginning stages, never finishing anything or creating a lasting change. I no longer write New Year’s resolutions, as I found I never stuck to them for long; instead I now choose a theme word for the year (I share what mine is for this year in tomorrow’s Tea & Tattle episode), and it serves as a good reminder whenever I go off course.As well as having a theme word for the year, I thought it would also be fun to introduce a particular theme for each month. For January, then, I am focusing on beginnings: early rises to greet the dawn, nourishing breakfasts that set me up for the day, fresh projects, different approaches and new friendships. These topics will be reflected in blog posts throughout the month, but here are a few beginnings I’ve just started or am about to commence:

Building A Capsule Wardrobe

I am gradually shifting my closet towards a capsule wardrobe, and over Christmas I donated or gave away about 20 bags worth of clothes! This month, I’ll be continuing to think more about my style and any changes I want to make as I go into my 30s.

Using Mantras

I’ve started writing down short phrases that especially resonant with me in a place where I see them often (e.g. my diary). The ones I’m using to keep me inspired, motivated and lighthearted at the moment are: accept people where they are, do small things with great love and it’s what you do everyday that counts.

Keeping A Journal

A few days ago, I read this fantastic article on the benefits of writing a daily diary, and it immediately changed my perspective on journal keeping. Never having had much interest in journalling before, I dug out one of my prettiest notebooks and a pen and got started straight away. My very first entry taught me a valuable lesson and a rather shocking realisation about myself that has made me determined to keep at it. I think this subject deserves its very own blog post, so I won’t say anymore for now, but I’ll be writing about it soon.

A New Book Series

For Christmas, I received all of the Murder Most Unladylike books, and I love them! It always feels exciting to discover a new series, with all the pleasure of the next book ready and waiting before you. These mysteries are technically children’s books, but I know many an adult enjoying them too. They’re like a cross between Mallory Towers and Miss Marple – delightful!

Sleek Technique Nutrition Programme

On 10th January, I’m joining the fabulous Victoria and Flik from Sleek Technique, as well as other dedicated Sleekers, in the Ballerina Body Nutrition Programme. I spoke with Flik and Victoria on Tea & Tattle about the programme, and I’m looking forward to a bit of a body reset after the indulgences of Christmas (although I do have cocktails with girlfriends scheduled on the 12th….whoops!!).

I’m hoping many of these beginnings develop into lasting habits; I’d be proud if I stuck to keeping a journal for a year, for instance. We’ll see how I do!

Are you starting anything new this January? What kinds of beginnings do you enjoy best?

P.S. If you like my updo in the photo at the top of this post, then you may be interested to know that I got it done by Prettly, and they’re currently offering Miranda’s Notebook fans 50% off their beauty treatments (offer valid until September 2017). Use the code N-MIRANDA to get the discount.