2017: my word for the year

Instead of setting unachievable resolutions that will be forgotten by February, this year I’m choosing a word. A word that will help me focus on what I want to achieve in 2017. At the end of 2016, I realised the year had passed me by. While it was full of stressful experiences and things I’d rather forget, I probably could have gotten a lot more out of my year. I’d love to say I have ‘no regrets’ about anything, but I’m sure I could have put more effort into some things in my life last year.

It’s hard balancing a business, a house, pets, and a job, as well as everything else in life. But I don’t want to spend my life just treading water. When people look back on their past year, listing their achievements, I’m a little jealous. I feel like I shouldn’t compare to people who’s lives I only see a hint of online, but I also wonder if I’m doing something wrong by not being proud of myself for the year I’ve just had.

I was talking with the Mr before Christmas about what I might have achieved if I’d actually stuck to things. If I’d put effort in. Instead of coasting along, where would I be if I’d spent the last year being driven and motivated in everything I do. Feeling constantly drained and exhausted does have it’s affects on my mojo, but I’m also convinced that there as steps I could take to improve my energy levels. I want to feel passionate about life again – feel ignited, enthusiastic, alive, with a sense of purpose. I need to find that thing that makes me feel energised and motivated to get stuff done.

When I was thinking about having a word for 2017, the first word that came to mind was ‘commit’. It was perfect. I’ve been so flaky and inconstant about most things over the past few years. If I could just do something consistently, I’m sure I could achieve anything I wanted. But I let excuses and laziness get in the way. I never ‘feel like doing’ anything. Again, chronic fatigue has a lot to answer for. But I also think my mental state creates fatigue too. It’s so easy to feel ‘blah’ about things and put them off. And the more I feel like I can’t be bothered, the more tired I feel, and then I feel like I can’t do anything.

So, this year, I’m committing to life, committing to myself. I need to stick things out. I need to have a plan and make it happen. No more flaking. No more excuses. No more ‘I’ll start tomorrow’. Every time I feel like I can’t be bothered, I need to remind myself of how I felt at the end of 2016…looking back wondering what could have been. One perfect example is my health – my 2016 was full of sporadic episodes of healthy eating, followed by binging on anything and everything. Going to the gym was inconstant, and aside from running prior to the race for life in the summer, my cardio was limited to dog walks and walking to the fridge (kind of a joke, kind of not!). People achieve amazing things in a year, they completely transform their bodies – that could be me, if I was consistent.

But it’s not just my health I want to commit to – it’s my business, my family, my home. I want to have the motivation to go after the things I want. Instead of wishing, actually go out and do it. I want to end 2017 feeling accomplished and proud. Here’s to 2017…and all the things I’m going to commit to!


Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017


2016 was a weird ol’ year. Some bits were quite ok, but not to be pessimistic, most was pretty rubbish. It was a year where my family had plenty of personal challenges and stresses, along with political events and changes that had (and are yet to have) world-wide significance. To be honest, even though I try to think positive, 2016 was a year I’m looking forward to leaving behind. Looking back at my intentions last January, I’m not even sure I achieved much – my plan for 365 running miles definitely didn’t happen, for starters. But, you know, I’m not going to be so hard on myself. I saw something on Instagram that said something along the lines of ‘I’m not doing resolutions, because I know I’m doing the best I can’.

So I’m kind of going into 2017 with that mindset. Do the best you can. Having said that, I don’t want to use that as an excuse when I just don’t feel like it. I don’t want to get to the end of 2017 and think ‘what could I have achieved if I put more effort in’. I want to enjoy my year without putting too much emphasis on what I ‘should’ be doing, but then I don’t want to let the year pass me by again. I know it’s so easy on social media to compare, and I don’t want to be doing that, but when so many people are listing their ‘amazing experiences’ from the past year on Dec 31st, and I’m sitting here thinking ‘I survived it and I’m glad it’s over’, it’s hard not to feel that I must be doing something wrong.

I’m not going to make resolutions. I know the person I want to be, and I know the life I want. I don’t need to start 2017 with a long list of unachievable targets to hit. I want to find my passion. I want to be that bright spark of energy. I want to feel unstoppable. I know a lot of people don’t make resolutions, but pick a word for the year instead. My word came to me straight away – it’s not glamorous or fun, but it was the first word I thought of when thinking about what I want 2017 to be like. I’ll reveal my word in another blog, but I’ve been saying it to myself since Christmas, in an attempt to end 2016 with good intentions and it’s been working so far!

A few days ago, my mum showed me something that popped up on her Facebook memories from years before. It was a blissfully unaware ‘happy new year’ message from a January before a particularly painful year. Our lives were never to be the same again after that status, and yet my mum’s message for the start of the year was so full of hope and optimism. It made me realise how we really don’t know what’s around the corner. We really should treasure every day as if it’s our last – treasure your loved ones, don’t stress over the things that really don’t matter, and make the most of the time you have with people.

So, instead of the usual resolutions, I’m looking forward to a fresh start for 2017, time spent wisely, more love, more laughs, more life in my days.

Blogging: Plans, Dreams and Musings

I’ve been blogging on here for a little over a year now, and addicted to Instagram for as long as IG has been around, but I want to up my game a little when it comes to content. I’d love to have a little community of readers and feel like I belong to a blogging community. I used to write for my own website, back in the day…a sort of blog for the era before ‘blogs’ became a thing. And I miss that. I felt like I was contributing something to the world…like I had a purpose online and people came daily to see what I had to say about certain topics. Do we only get once chance at things like that? Was that my ‘thing’ and now it’s over, do I get a second go?

It feels like back then, writing came easy. What I wrote about was what I loved, what I was good at – an organic, effortless combination of being passionate and knowledgable about a topic. I mean, it took time and hard work – so it wasn’t ‘effortless’ in that sense – but what I wrote about came naturally and I guess that came across in my content. Now I’m older, and the internet world is full of bloggers, youtubers, internet savvy writers and contributors, it seems like the internet is harder. I’ve got so many things I love in my life…do I write about it all, or do I pick one topic and focus on that? Do I have to be really, really good at something in order to provide interesting thoughts on it? Or, do I just dive in without a plan…stress free and with no expectations from myself? Am I interesting enough to bring traffic to my pages? There are a million questions I ask myself when it comes to blogging, and I have no answers.

So here’s to the future of blogging – I’m going to try and bring more content to my little home on the internet, make more of an effort with pictures and share more insights into my life. And if there are people out there that stumble across my site and enjoy it, then please let me know! I’m feeling pretty restless, jumping from home and interior posts, fitness, crafts, shopping, make up etc…I guess I just share what I love and hope that my enthusiasm for everything seeps through the internet. And maybe along the way, I’ll find my niche…that spark of inspiration where everything lines up and I find my calling in life.

Please do say hi in the comments section, and if you’re a follower of my blog, let me know what you’d like to see more of!

Tidy house, tidy mind: Spring Cleaning and Interior Dreams

Recently, I’ve been on a bit of an interiors binge – oogling other people’s homes, shopping for accessories, drooling over in store displays. Since getting my own home, I’ve been much more into obsessing over interiors. And, Instagram, my trusty old addiction, doesn’t help, as I have a feed full of gorgeous homes popping up constantly. Seriously, I love house-snooping.

There is an element of interiors-obsessing I don’t like, and that’s the ‘never being satisfied’ bit of faffing. It seems I’m always on the hunt for ‘one more thing’ for that spot, or to finish the room off. I guess, being quite recently moved into a bare house, it’ll take time to add things and accumulate treasures, but I’m definitely happier with our home than I was a few months ago, given the extra effort we’ve put in to make it less bare. The new bookcase in the living room made a big difference, and although I’m still adding stuff, it’s made the room seem much more lived in.

The kitchen is another part of the house that I’ve been trying to improve. It’s not like we disliked the kitchen when we moved in, but we would have chosen something different if we had a choice. I’ve been trying to cosy it up a little – more homely touches that make it feel like our kitchen, rather than the previous owner’s.

Keeping the house clean and tidy is a challenge with two dogs and a very furry long-haired cat, but I’m forever motivated by the gorgeous snaps on instagram of cosy, clean homes. I always wondered how my mum has so much energy and motivation when keeping her home immaculate, and I’m starting to realise – there’s nothing more satisfying than a spotless room after it’s been cleaned.

I’d love to follow more pretty homes and interiors, so please say hi on Instagram or leave a comment so I can check out your page.

We are made of Stardust: Positivity and Good Vibes

Recently, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather, demotivated, a bit ‘meh’ in general, and I really have let feeling rundown get to me mentally. Despite Fibromyalgia not bothering me too much in my everyday life these days (believe me, there was a time when it was much worse, many years ago), I still get flare ups of feeling tired with pretty non-specific flu-like symptoms…you know, just feeling kinda pants. And it gets to me. There’s nothing worse than feeling completely devoid of energy, of life, of purpose. And when you’ve got some pretty rubbish physical symptoms like muscle pain, aches and headaches, it makes for a really miserable time…especially when there’s nothing you can do but wait it out and hope it passes.

Luckily it doesn’t affect me as frequently as it used to. Maybe my lifestyle has changed enough to benefit my health (more exercise, being mindful of my eating, reducing stress) or I’ve been suffering with the lingering effects of glandular fever for years rather ‘officially’ fibromyalgia. Whatever the reason, I don’t feel as bad as I used to – my diagnosis (or rather, ruling out of everything else) was almost 10 years ago now. It feels like a lifetime ago, and that period of my life seems like it belongs to a different person. But I’m constantly reminded of how frustrated I was with feeling rubbish, every time a flare up of old symptoms occurs and it takes me back to that life.

As hard as it is not to let it get to me, there’s nothing I want to do more than mope and feel sorry for myself. It takes summoning any remaining energy not to let myself get in that state of mind. I know that feeling like this will pass and I have to be mentally strong, taking comfort in the little things in life and focusing on feeling better. I think once you start wanting to see the beauty in life, the magic in just being alive, your whole perspective shifts. I often look up to the sky and realise just how amazing it is that we’re here, living life, with dreams and hopes and passions. I’m reminded of that quote about how we’re all stardust, and that seems pretty magical to me – how we’re here, going about our daily business, planning, laughing, working, cooking, creating art, philosophising, dreaming, loving, hoping…and yet, we’re all just stardust from the universe, leftover from stars that died long before we ever lived. Mind blowing.

And that’s enough to make me feel grateful. Grateful to be alive, grateful to be in this place and time, with the people I love. Grateful to have a body that works, despite feeling tired sometimes. Grateful for a home and family. Grateful for food to fill my belly. Grateful for a job that allows me to earn money for my home, food, bills. Grateful to for the freedom to say what I think and to do things that make me happy. The more gratitude I have, the more amazing I feel life is. So despite feeling unwell temporarily, I feel happy to be here, now – that somehow enough cosmic dust came together to allow me this human experience, and that’s pretty incredible.

We have calcium in our bones, iron in our veins, carbon in our souls, and nitrogen in our brains, 93 percent stardust, with souls made of flames, we are all just stars that have people names” –  Nikita Gill

Signs of Summer, countryside walks and the great outdoors

I am most definitely at my happiest in the summer months…warm weather, sunshine-filled days, long walks in the countryside. In Northamptonshire, we have a fair bit of countryside – not quite as rural as some places, but beautiful nonetheless. With the weather warming up, I didn’t take much persuading to spend my weekends outdoors recently.

We’re lucky enough to live in walking distance to some stunning countryside views. The dogs love their walks, and I love a relaxing walk on a warm day…nothing better in my opinion! I also love taking photos of the countryside as we venture on our walks – it’s amazing to look back in my photos and see the same views in different seasons. Of course, I think it’s at it’s most gorgeous in the summer, with blue skies and green leaves, but it’s hard to deny it looking beautiful at any time of the year.

Looking at the changing seasons, it makes me realise how precious time is, how quickly the world changes without you noticing and how cyclical nature is. It seems like only a few weeks ago I was sharing photos of this same view covered in snow – where has that time gone? It certainly makes me want to savour every moment of my favourite season, as I know that before I know it the days will be colder and darker and we’ll be saying goodbye to 2016. But not just being more aware of the changing seasons, but time in general. Sometimes I think that the years are rolling by, disappearing without me making a significant impact on the world around me or making any memories. Looking back at photos from the last year or so, I realise that’s not quite the case as I see all the good times that have been had. It’s still important to value our time and savour ever moment, as I’m sure we are all guilty of letting the days, weeks and months fly by. I’m definitely going to try and remember to enjoy every second of the summer months while they’re here!

Decor Inspiration: Mood Boards

I’ve been thinking more and more about how to add some extra inspiration to my office and I’ve fallen in love with the idea of creating a mood board or inspiration board since seeing them on the Kikki K website. I would love to get a big board and buy all of their inspirational notecards and cute little accessories. For inspiration, especially decor inspiration, I always head to Pinterest and they have some great vision board ideas. I think I’ll definitely have to get myself a board for my office and fill it with photos and motivational quotes.

In the meantime, here are some of my favourite photos from pinterest:
Follow Ruby Wren Designs’s board Inspiration Boards on Pinterest.







Recommitting: 2016’s plans and dreams

I’m not sure why but when my busiest few months of the year were over (Valentine’s, Mother’s Day), I fell into a bit of a depressive state. I think working so hard, my whole days consumed by keeping on top of orders, I really burned out. It’s taken a good few weeks of feeling exhausted after Mother’s day to have any sort of motivation. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I am so grateful for the amount of customers who want to buy my products, especially at Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day…but it’s so hard to stay 100% motivated when you’re self employed and your business is you.

So I’ve been absent from blogging, kinda sat back from social media, and I have so many new products that need listing that I’ve just not had the energy for. Hopefully, now that I’ve had a few weeks to myself, I’m reenergised and ready to start getting back on track with my plans for 2016.

I’ve found I feel a lot happier and more fulfilled with a busier day – not necessarily the sort of busy that I get at a big seasonal event (Mother’s Day, for example) but filling my day with meaningful tasks…time for work, errands, housework, exercise etc. It’s so easy to give up on everything when you’re not feeling like your usual self, and I think for me, that’s a really destructive path to go down. I need to plan my day, purposely set myself things to do so I feel productive.

So, today is the day I recommit to life, my goals for 2016 and get back on track. A positive state of mind should be enough to motivate me out of my current mood and back to being the person I want to be. I’m a big believer in the power of positive thinking and how your state of mind can affect your actions. Watch this space, the rest of the year is going to be amazing!


Habits: tracking them and keeping them

They say it takes 30 days to create a habit, and good habits are as hard to break as bad ones once they’re formed. I’m trying to get some of my good intentions to stick through 2016 and tracking them each day seems to be a good way of getting things done. I’m a sucker for a good streak – if my streak is getting longer, I’m more likely to not make excuses and go that extra mile to get whatever it is done. My Kikki K wellness planner came with a habits tracking notepad – I dare say it won’t last the year, but I’ll find some other way of tracking my daily habits after that! 🙂

My ‘habits’ for 2016:

  • Drinking at least 2 litres of real water – not tea, not coffee, but actual water. I’m finding filling a litre water bottle with mostly cold water, juice of a fresh lemon, and a splash of hot water makes for a comforting drink that I can consume quite easily…I’m half way to my target with my warm lemon drink each day. The warm water is so good with lemon as it’s a great health tonic, plus ice cold water in the middle of winter is sometimes hard to bare. I use the Nalgene Wide Mouth Everyday Tritan Bottle – the big 1 litre water bottle means I can sip water for ages before needing to refill, and two fills gets my target met. This bottle is great quality, BPA free, guaranteed for life, and goes everywhere with me!
  • Daily Green juice – to get my daily dose of nutrients and antioxidants, I try to eat a varied diet with lots of vegetables, leaves and fruits. A great boost to this is a greens powder and I love the Amazing Grass Green SuperFood Powder. One serving gives you the antioxidant benefits of 7 portions of fruit and veg, so making my green drink is one of my top priorities each day.
  • Supplements is another thing I always forget. One of the most important to me is iron – I’m constantly finding myself diagnosed as anaemic and given a majorly high temporary prescription of iron to boost my stores, only to go through the whole thing again next time I get a blood test. Also top of my supplements list is probiotics as I consider them so important to gut health, immune system and overall wellbeing.
  • Exercise – goes without saying really doesn’t it? Along with weightlifting at the gym and yoga, I’m also aiming to get 365 miles in by the end of 2016. It’s not going quite according to plan, but I’m hoping to not get too far behind so I can catch up as my fitness improves…bring on those 6-7 mile runs I used to do!
  • 6am start – probably one of the most difficult but majorly impactful habit I’m trying to form. Sleep and me have an odd relationship, probably being diagnosed with glandular fever and then chronic fatigue syndrome doesn’t help, but I’m determined to get stuff done and not sleep my days away. Getting up early and filling my day with everything I want to do is my plan.

What are the habits you’re trying to form? How are you tracking them?


2016 Running Challenge, 365 Miles

A few years ago, I challenged myself to run a mile a day. A mile a day is surely super easy to fit into a day, and I love a good every-day-streak-challenge (I remember I even ran a mile at 10pm on Christmas day because I wanted to keep my streak). However, I got to about 2 weeks in and life took over. Work is so seasonal (greeting card making at Ruby Wren) and my health is a little, shall we say, unpredictable? It was not easy to commit to even a mile a day. It sounds like a shoddy excuse, but working 18 hour days in the run up to Valentine’s Day last year, sleep was my priority.

I love the idea of my mile a day challenge – I mean, a mile is only a mile, it’s less than 10 minutes of my day. But, I can’t commit to every single day in a row. So, this year, my mile a day challenge will be a total for the entire year. I want to end 2016 with 365 miles under my belt (or 366 seeing as it’s a leap year this year). I’m planning on averaging a mile a day…being a little easier on myself in terms of commitment, but still getting those miles in. Since deciding to set myself this 365 Miles in 2016 challenge, it seems Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook-fame has also set himself this challenge, so it looks like I’m in good company…be assured, I set my challenge first, he’s copying me 😉

When I was at my peak, I remember running 8-10 miles non-stop. That was pretty amazing to me, as I’d never been very fit. Then, I injured my foot and couldn’t even walk. It was painful, but the frustration of not being able to run was worse. And, that wasn’t all – once that injury healed (it took months!), I did the same thing to my other foot and that ended up taking even longer to get over. I never really got back into running after that, and I really miss it. I’m hoping my running challenge motivates me to fall in love with running again – when I was running regularly, my health, my weight and my mental clarity was at their best. I can’t wait to be back on the top of my running game!

My Running inspiration board on Pinterest is here, check it out for more and photo credits