My Four Seasons of 2016 Highlights & Acceptance of Change

Hey Sweeties,

2016 has been a funny old year hasn’t it? We’ve lost a lot of people, some I’ve been truly sad about (Alan Rickman, Caroline Aherne, Victoria Wood, Carrie Fisher…); we voted to leave the EU which, while a lot of people are very angry about it, I’m a glass half full kinda’ gal and we have to look forward otherwise we just stay angry and stew over something that we simply can’t predict what will happen. Trump got elected to be the President of the United States and while Hilary Clinton definitely wasn’t a much better option (don’t kid yourselves just because she would have been the first female President), we have that to watch unfold over the next 12 months. In a recent Twitter chat, we were asked to describe 2016 in one word and for me, that word was ‘change’.

Also for me, the year always begins in spring because it’s my favourite time of year -we’re over winter and nature comes back to life bringing change and new things. The evenings get lighter, the weather warmer and we just feel motivated to do things.

Spring: 

Wedding Blues

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My Christmas Day Swim across Weymouth Harbour

Hey Sweeties,

As the end of the Christmas break is coming to it’s sad end (I’m so not ready to go back to work yet!), I thought it was time I got back to the blog and figured telling you about my Christmas Day swim across Weymouth Harbour would be a good start.

So, anticipating your questions, basically back in 2013 when I last spent Christmas with my in-laws in Weymouth, we were in town on Christmas Day when I first saw people swimming across the harbour. Now, some of you may or may not know that I love a challenge (remember the Yorkshire Three Peaks and the XRunner Water Wipeout Challenge?) -for me challenges provide a focus, a goal and something to work towards.

For two years I have been saying I will swim across Weymouth Harbour and then a couple of weeks ago, my confidence wavered and I thought that actually, maybe it’s not such a good idea after all. I don’t like the sea, I’m not a strong swimmer, and making the family get up on Christmas morning just to watch me swim would be a bit pointless. But I knew I couldn’t do that, I said I would swim so I bit the bullet and registered, deciding also to see if I could gain some sponsorship for Independent Age for my efforts.

The sponsorship surprised me, I set a small goal of £50 but in the end I have raised £120 as friends and family really got behind me and the swim so a huge thank you to them! I would like the say it made my legs kick harder and me to swim faster, but the water was so cold my body started to stiffen in shock soon after I plunged in!

Weymouth harbour

Waiting on the pontoon waiting to start the swim!

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My 2016 Beauty & Skincare Favourites | Blogmas Day 22

Hey Sweeties,

I apologise in advance that this will be quite a mammoth post… but I’ve saved this for almost the end of blogmas because it’s a nice way to start wrapping up and reflecting on 2016.  Also, I really tried hard to capture Christmas in the photography –it’s an aspect of my blog I am always looking to improve and develop, and I am so envious of people that can assemble stunning flat lays. I always try to ask myself when taking product shots, “how can I make this photo better” and sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t. Anyway, I am making this post even longer by rambling so without any further ado, here are my 2016 beauty and skincare favourites.

2016 beauty favourites

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The ClaireySweetie Annual Christmas Advert Roundup for 2016 | Blogmas Day 2

Hey Sweeties,

As is routine for me to do each year, here is a roundup of the Christmas adverts for 2016.

John Lewis – #Bustertheboxer

After being probably the only one that doesn’t cry each year at the John Lewis Christmas advert (see my post, why so anti?), I’ve probably become one of the few who actually really like it this year (apparently people look forward to crying at these ads?).  I have not only been desperately hoping in the lead up to the advert’s release that they do something different, but I’ve been quite vocal about it too (apologies). So, when the advert got released a day sooner than Twitter was expecting, rather than wait to see the advert for myself organically on TV, I watched it online and fortunately for my willingness to get into the Christmas spirit more enthusiastically this year, I can be positive about it for once. In the unlikely event that you haven’t seen it –

The first thing that came to mind was that the John Lewis creative team had obviously been scouring YouTube for inspiration and came across dogs on trampolines (aren’t those videos great?!). Then, having got to the end of the advert and realised that not only did John Lewis not want me to cry, but also that people genuinely would struggle to, I could get excited about it for the first time in yonks. For me, I really like that they’ve gone for a much light hearted vibe this year and the message of ‘gifts that everyone will love’ really does work in line with Christmas, and with their advert overall. I also feel people might view foxes and badgers differently, and not just as pests. I think it also needs saying that using a non-white family is a good nod to Britain and our culture at Christmas time. Well done John Lewis, I’m back on your side!

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My Happiness Jar

Hey Sweeties,

So far, call it premature if you will, but 2016 is opening up to be a year of achieving personal happiness and less about all the other things, most of them materialistic. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll possibly have noticed that following a lengthy wardrobe sorting session at the weekend, I decided quite abruptly to just not buy any more clothes for as long as possible, terminating after a final January sales haul. I don’t feel I am in a position yet where I want a wardrobe of key pieces, I still enjoy regularly updating my look with items that don’t break the bank and if this means those items don’t last very long or are worn only a few times, this is ok. My problem is I am at the point where I have thrown out all I can and am reluctant to throw something else out for the sake of allowing myself something new. My short-term solution is to just stop purchasing for a while, wear what I already have and then it’ll be more clear what doesn’t leave the hanger. I did also sort of extend this ban to beauty product purchasing as well except for things I genuinely run out of, but I think I need to adapt this claim to just think more sensibly before I hit the tills at Boots/Superdrug etc.

So back to my Happiness Jar.

Happiness Jar

Writer and author Elizabeth Gilbert (the gal that penned Eat, Pray, Love) recently posted on her Facebook page about her Happiness Jars that instantly appealed to me. While I don’t particularly like following trends or anything that seems too gimmicky, this one seemed perfect for 2016 and so, so simple to do. In short, each day I write down 1 happy thought on a piece of paper and put it into my Happiness Jar. I can leave all the notes in there, never to look at them again, or I can pick a couple out at random when I’m feeling not so positive, and/or I can look at them all at the end of the year and reflect on 365 happy moments experienced throughout 2016. There are no rules.

My vessel of happiness is a jar I picked up ages ago from TK Maxx and until housing my happy thoughts, housed un-burnt tea light candles. I love that it has a big heart on the front, it literally couldn’t be more perfect as a Happiness Jar.

My Happiness Jar

2016 -the biggest thing for me this year is getting married and transitioning into a wife, leaving behind the young woman I have known so wholly for 28 years. While I don’t envision much changing, I do lose my surname and become associated with a new family, I also go from a ‘Miss’ to a ‘Mrs’ which will sound strange when said aloud.

Happiness elsewhere exists in my body and mind, in my attempts at eating an almost 100% vegan diet and my commitment to ensuring I keep my body active and fit through gym workouts, classes, yoga & hiking as best as I can. 2016 is all about enjoyment too, regular trips & adventures, my relationships and friendships.

Until next time x

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