It only seems like two minutes ago that I was writing my last challenge update, and now here I am at the end of January, writing my first update for 2018! I be honest peeps… I haven’t really done a huge amount. The theme for January has been procrastination!
I’d love to say that I’ve been super motivated and got loads done, but to be honest that would just be a whole load of b*****ks quite frankly! I’ve even struggled to write up my long list of planned blog posts… (Bad Clare!)
I always find that January is always such a meh month. You’ve got no money because you totally overspent for Christmas, the weather is grim and there is no fun planned. January is the month you grit your teeth and just get through!!
So here we go! Make of it what you will! My update for a non productive January 2018!
Fit by 40
Does it count that I’ve thought about it and made a plan?! You can read my plan here
I’ve come to the conclusion that in order for me to actually manage to crack this challenge I need to take a different approach and focus on making some major, sustainable lifestyle changes, which I’ve written about here.
Ultimately I need to start making healthy choices and enjoy them, consistently. I know that it will make me feel better, so I don’t know why I keep putting it off but I do. I think that actually I’m a little bit scared of the change. What will my life look like if I make these changes? The other problem is that I don’t know where to start…
But I think I may have a solution! This month I went to a bloggers health ans beauty event in Bristol (more about that later in this post!) Where I met the lovely Rosie Letts, a nutritional therapist from Bristol who offers face to face consultations and runs an online programme. (You can find out more about her work here) we were chatting about this challenge and she was super upbeat and optimistic about how I could achieve my goals.
The cynic in me was like hmmm, yeah right! But a couple of things struck me about Rosie. 1. She positively glows, and is a seriously good advert for what good nutrition can do for you! 2. She’s realistic, and focused on working out what will work for you as an individual, she fully accepts that there is joy to be found in a little of what you fancy.
So my plan for February is to bite the bullet, make contact and see how I can move forward food wise.
In other fit by 40 news…
This month I have also been using my calendar to track healthy habits. It tells me I’ve remembered my vitamins, managed to walk more, drunk much less than last month and kept more of an eye on what I’m eating. That counts as progress right?!
Empty Nest Survivor
This month Empty Nest Survivor has been about three things really. The blog and planning trips!
First up… The Blog!
Building a following…
I’ve been spending a little bit of time trying to build my following on both Twitter and Instagram. I’m now close to 200 followers on both platforms, which I’m really pleased about. It feels like I’m starting to make contact with the big wide world and sharing ChallengeClare! I really think that this year is going to be all about making connections and writing as far as the development of the blog is concerned.
Blogger event 1 – Photo Styling Workshop
I also attended two blogging related events this month. First up a photo styling workshop at The Willow Tree in Cheltenham. The Willow Tree is a really cute cafe/gift shop/creative space run by Amber Turnbull which is just about to celebrate it’s first birthday. I have no idea really when it comes to styling photos for my Instagram and Amber and Hayley of LoveHayleyBeth were an absolute mine of information! I got to have a bit of a play with props and different ways of setting up photos, and already I can see an improvement in my photos! There will be a post about this workshop and The Willow Tree’s other offerings later this month.
Blogger event 2 – Networking
The second event that I attended was a health and beauty bloggers meet up organised by Heather Cowper (who blogs at Heather on her Travels) via the Bristol Bloggers and Influencers Facebook group. It was an opportunity to meet up with other local bloggers and brands to discuss potential collaborations and blogging in general. The event was sponsored by The Marriott Hotel in Bristol city centre, who provided the meeting space and refreshments.
This was the first time that I had attended an event like this and I really enjoyed it. It was great to meet other bloggers, see some new brands and start getting some more ideas and inspiration for future collaborations and post ideas!
The brands that I was introduced to were all local to the West Country and Lush! They were:
ScenteredScentered are a local company based in Wiltshire that produce 100% natural, aromatherapy products to help you stay centred no matter where you are or what life throws at you. Their range includes scented candles and balms to suit your mood, that are suitable for home and travel. I was particularly taken by their balms. I love aromatherapy and anything that makes it more accessible and easy to use gets a big thumbs up from me. The balms were made of really complementary and well chosen blends, just like an aromatherapist would create for you. Check out their range here: https://scentered.me/
The Pilates RoomThe Pilates Room Bristol – is a home studio run by Ali MacLennan, in the heart of Bishopston, Ali offers personalised Pilates tuition using the latest state of the art equipment in a relaxed and informal environment. Ali showcases her Pilates instruction here: https://thepilatesroombristol.com
Amphora AromaticsAmphora Aromatics have a shop on Cotham Brow where they stock 100% natural, aromatherapy inspired beauty products, created using essential oils and other natural ingredients. The range includes: creams, gels, massage oils, bath oils, shea butter moisturisers and aromatherapy essential oils.I love this range, I adore aromatherapy and never cease to be amazed at the therapeutic qualities of essential oils and I can’t think of a better way of incorporating them into your daily routine that through a range like this. Check out the range here: https://www.amphora-retail.com/
Grace Emmerson – Dr HauschkaUp until about 18 moths ago I was an Elemis devotee. Then on holiday in Germany I discovered Dr Hauschka and I haven’t looked back. My whole skincare regime is from this range and I have noticed a big improvement in the general tone and ‘glowiness’ of my skin. I’m a total convert! So I made a beeline fro Grace and over the moon at the thought of the relaxing and restorative Dr Hauschka facial and body treatments, Grace offers, using organic and bio-dynamic skin care products from the range at her treatment room in Bristol. (Grace also sells Dr Hauschka products online – do it! You won’t regret it!) For more inspiration visit: http://www.graceemmerson.com
Shy Mimosa PerfumeryShy Mimosa is a luxury artisan perfumery in Clifton Village, specializing in rare and niche perfumes. Pure opulence! If you want something unique and different, your own signature scent that isn’t from the high street, then look no further! Head to https://www.shymimosa.co.uk/ for unique perfume finds!
Somerset Toiletry CompanySomerset Toiletry Company make a huge range of beauty, bath and body products as well as gifts such as scented candles. lovely stuff. See the range here: http://thesomersettoiletryco.co.uk
Now… Planning Trips
We have planned our first doggy friendly holiday to an AirBnB a couple of hours drive away in Wales. In the Brecon Beacons. Lots of walking, pubs and chilling out for a few day with no kids! Hurrah! More of this later in the month!!
World by Train
not much to report on this one… We ummed and ahhed about booking a quick jaunt to Italy in the February half term, but we decided against it because really 5 or 6 days just isn’t long enough for that kind of trip, and to get the best deals you have to book your tickets way in advance.
However plans are afoot for our summer trip… Watch this space! More on this next month!
Mortgage Free by 50
As I explained in my update last month the first stage of our mortgage free by 50 project starts in September when our current mortgage deal comes to an end. With this in mind we arranged to have our house valued to see where the land lies.
Our house has increased in value by 56k in 18 months. We couldn’t believe it! But in the same week a story ran in the national press. It said that the small market town we live in has experienced the highest rise in property value in the country due to it’s proximity to Bristol for commuting. Result! So this means we should be able to get a better deal now that we have more equity in the house. Plus our eyewateringly massive mortgage might not seem so bad after all!!
It also got us thinking about when we should be downsizing and reducing the size of our mortgage. I know mad after just a year, but we have 6 bedrooms and we don’t actually need all of them. We also have plans to see a financial advisor, so it’s quite exciting starting to lay the foundations of our plans!.
This month also saw me trying to pay off a big chunk of the credit card, which I have. By basically curbing my spending! Scary thing is that I’ve realised just how much gets frittered away. My plan for February is to really get focused on budgets, savings etc
This month, we have literally done nothing to the house, other than make some tentative plans. The house valuation kind of threw us because it meant we started to talk, about how long we think we might be here in this house. Which makes a bit of a difference to our DIY plans.
However, one job that really needs doing is the Jack and Jill bathroom. We were going to start ripping stuff out, but we’ve both been a bit under the weather and couldn’t really find the motivation. However at least we have a plan.
Which is: replace the sink and strange table the sink rests on. Remove the tiles, hardboard the floor and replace with lino. Decorate and accessorise. The shower and tiles are ok. I don’t want to spend a fortune on tiles I love, when we might move in a year…
So, the plan is to remedy any issues and make the bathroom presentable. Mr Challenge is itching to start ripping stuff out!