Happy New Year everyone. As you may have noticed, I took a couple of weeks' break from blog posting over the festive period. This was due a busy social calendar and also I was helping my older son pack up his life in London and move to Sydney to live, where my other son has been living for over two years. It's a weird feeling to have one's children all living on the other side of the world; now I know how my parents in New Zealand felt with all three of their children living 12,000 miles away. However technology has moved on from when we left home and communication was restricted to letters, faxes and (land line) phone calls. With Skype, Facetime and free calls via tools like Whatsapp and Viber, the distance feels much smaller especially when you can see your children on your phone or computer. Hey ho, at least I have a good reason to visit Sydney regularly!
I'm sure many of you have made serious lists of new year's resolutions. There are all the usual things that people have on their list of new year's resolutions, the self-flagellation things like no alcohol for January, joining a gym, losing weight, not spending any money and so on. I'm of the opinion that our new year's resolutions should be about doing things we enjoy especially creative things, stretching ourselves by getting out of our comfort zones. For example, I'm going to learn how to dance salsa even though I'm a lousy dancer. I know I'll enjoy it even if I don't master all those sexy hip movements!!
Below are five suggestions for some new year's resolutions that are both enjoyable and creative and will also develop you by making you push the boundaries:
1. Learn how to paint furniture - up-cycle your own items, those already in your home or ones you find at junk shops, markets or auctions. Find your nearest Annie Sloan stockist and sign up to an Annie Sloan Workshop to learn how to paint furniture with confidence and to achieve a professional finish. I did the workshop three years ago at Phoenix on Golborne which is a fabulous shop and one of my regular haunts. I love the fact that you just slap on the paint - no sanding or undercoating - and eureka, you have transformed a piece of furniture! You can paint any surface including silver, ceramic, wood, metal, walls etc. The day after I did the workshop I was so inspired I painted my mahogany sideboard which I had actually planned to get rid of. I started with a coat of Aubusson Blue (my favourite colour) and then a coat of Florence - I adore both of these colours. Then distressed it with a coat of clear wax, then dark wax and finally another coat of clear wax. It was so much fun transforming the sideboard and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling when friends and family paid me a lot of compliments!! At the end of this blog you will find links to other items I've painted. Please sign up to an Annie Sloan workshop; you won't regret it.
2. Transform a room in your home with a strong colour - most people are terrified of colour and stick to decorating rooms with neutrals. If you are one of these people, be brave and have some fun - transform a downstairs loo or walk in pantry or cupboard in a bold, strong paint colour or fabulous extravagant wallpaper. Loos are great places to have real fun with decorating. Here are a couple of ideas: Farrow and Ball 'Stiffkey Blue' is a stunning darkish blue paint and looks stunning on walls. You can also paint the ceiling and skirtings in the same colour or contrast these with white to complement the white loo and basin. Or paper the walls with one of the divine Cole and Son Fornasetti II Acquario wallpapers (several colourways though I'm partial to the black background one). Both these ideas can be seen in the two images below.
3. Take classes in something fun and creative - I've signed up salsa classes! I'm no dancer and I know this is right out of my comfort zone but I am sure it will be really enjoyable (eeek!!). I'm also going to learn how to play bridge. I've always thought bridge was for the "oldies" as I associated it with my grandma and mother but I'm constantly being proved wrong; it seems to be quite trendy these days and it is great for the brain!
4. Buy more flowers and plants for the home - I bang on about having flowers in the home in many of my blog posts (it's the florist in me!). Flowers & plants are not only beautiful but they can be therapeutic to have around as they always make you feel happy. I have them in most rooms and often they actually make me smile when I enter a room and see a vase of beautiful blooms. They are also a great way to introduce colour into a neutral colour scheme. Be brave, be bold - buy purple and orange tulips and put them in the same vase as I love to do (my two favourite colours); pink and orange roses in the same vase; an orchid plant in the bathroom. Just three suggestions. I'm not a huge fan of green plants but I do love flowering spring plants like hyacinths and daffodils so buy some of these when they are in season and put them in pretty pots around the house.
5. Be kind to yourself - Have a regular beauty treatment - I have found a local spa that offers a half hour back & neck massage for only £20 and the girl who does the treatment is absolutely superb. I feel totally "filleted" after the massage and they always encourage me to chill out afterwards on their reclining sofas with a herbal tea for a half hour. I struggle to get up after that and go home!! I cannot stress enough how important it is to treat yourself - a manicure, pedicure, massage or other (just not a waxing as that's self-flaggation in my book !!!!!).
I hope you will consider some or all of the above five suggestions for your new year's resolutions. Just remember to love yourself and you deserve to enjoy life a bit more. So less of the self-flaggation and more of the above tips!!
I'd love to hear of any resolutions that you have on your list that involve enjoyment and creativity as well as pushing you out of your comfort zone.