BIG VICTORIES – 2016

Each month, I put together a Small Victories post, telling the internet (anyone that will listen) what I would like to achieve over the forthcoming 30 to 31 days. The decision to set these targets for myself was born from a desire to cut myself some slack halfway through last year and endeavour to celebrate the smaller achievements in life that that I am inclined to overlook whilst striving for twenty-something life-perfection, or as the youngsters call it, #goals.

Although I enjoy reaching for these smaller aims each month, we’ve reached that time of year again – a time for reflections and resolutions – so I thought it might be a better idea to share with you some of my bigger, more overarching aims for the year ahead instead.

So, if you would like to hear what I have planned for 2016, read on. And if you don’t? Then don’t. But be sure to take the time to reflect on your own resolutions.

Here goes.

1. Organise Myself

I want to make sure that I actually use my diary beyond the 14th January this year. Always one to scupper plans, clash dinner dates and forget to schedule posts on time, I am going to be so organised it hurts this year. Hopefully, this way, I’ll do – and achieve – a lot more. Last year was a chance to gather my thoughts and this year is a chance to take action.

2. See Things

Starting with Oslo at the end of this month and ending in Paris in December, I plan to see lots more of the world this year. After accepting that I no longer have what it takes for lengthy stints of backpacking, I will be enjoying clean sheets and shorter trips away throughout the year, enabling me to see snap shots of the world instead.

3. Learn Something New

I am going to learn how to code this year. I went to my first class last night and am already thinking about the usual anxieties about the next one: What do I wear? Who do I sit with? WILL ANYBODY LIKE ME?

I need to remember that – much like school – I am there to learn, not to socialise.

4. Never Work A Day In My Life

I want to find a job I love. I don’t want to just enjoy it, I want to really, really love it. I am looking for something that involves being creative and dynamic with perhaps a little bit of tech and travel involved. Where that might be? I’m not sure yet. Hopefully this will be the year I find out.

5. Give 

Finally, and most importantly, I want to choose a charity that I really believe in and actively support them throughout the year. Instead of lazily donating money each month to a selection of appeal posters that catch my eye on the tube, I want to get fundraising and spread the word for a good cause or two. Know of any charities who need a hand getting off the ground? Let me know, I’d love to help out.

So now you think about it. What would you like to achieve over the next 12 months?

If you’re not sure what to commit yourself to just yet, think about what would make you really happy and then write down the steps you will need to take to get there. And these are your resolutions. Simple.

Be sure to let me know what you’ve chosen to focus on this year and, that way, maybe we can spur each other on.

Good luck!

BAGS OF KINDNESS

Whether it stems from a fear of the cold or a belief that no one should be alone at Christmas, winter time makes me feel far more charitable than the rest of the year.

Although I am, of course, aware that there are still people in need in the height of Summer, I seem to give more money to charity as we head towards December, am more likely to stop and talk to a person in need on the street and I am certainly more likely to promote projects such as this one. And being a feminist and an admittedly seasonal charitable person, this drive for ‘Bags of Kindness’ is an opportunity to help sent from heaven. And it’s so easy to do. So whether it’s Christmas at yours this year which means that you’re unable to put your hours in at your local Crisis centre or whether you don’t have the cash to donate to your chosen charity, I have a solution. And it comes in the form of a rucksack filled with kindness. Kindness in the shape of sanitary towels and a toothbrush no less, but kindness all the same.

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Unless you live on Mars, (in which case, why are you reading this?) you will know that there are thousands of vulnerable women sleeping rough on the streets of London and across the UK and that they need your help. These women have wound up on the streets, not out of choice, but because of abusive relationships, familial fall outs or a series of unfortunate events. But their struggle doesn’t stop at finding some spare change for food or somewhere dry to sleep. The streets are a difficult place to be and – often – it’s only a matter of time before vulnerable women end up sex working to survive. And some of them with children to protect. This is not only dangerous, but mentally damaging for the mother- and even the child.

So what can you do to help?

Although it is impossible for us to drag each and every single one of these women away from their dangerous circumstances, the amazing women at The Kindness Project have come up with a way of helping those women in need in ways that we take for granted. The idea is that we each buy a rucksack (or even rucksacks) for these vulnerable women and then fill them with everything – from moisturiser and knickers to sleeping bags and socks – to make their life that little bit easier over the coming winter months. There is a Facebook group that you can join that tells you exactly what to put into the bags and exactly what not to put into the bags and it’s important that you follow these guidelines. Where and when to drop your bags off is also included here, so make sure you click.

Whichever way I seem to look at the moment – on the news, in the papers and online – there seems to be violence, torment or just something negative for people to shout about, so let’s give kindness a voice this Christmas and get this female-focused project off the ground. I have never seen girl power like it. Except for the Spice Girls. And they would definitely donate a rucksack or two.

See you at the drop off point!

BRIGHTON MARATHON 2015

My friend Imani is insane. She is insane because she ran 26 miles today. My friend Imani is also amazing. She is amazing because she ran 26 miles today.

Luckily for me, Brighton is a simple train ride away. Or so I thought. Meeting Jess, who almost didn’t make it due to unforeseen hungover circumstances and a desperate need for chicken nuggets, made for a somewhat flustered start to the day. But once we arrived in Brighton, found a good spot and ran alongside our bestie, we soon forgot about the drama of the morning.

Spending the day in this seaside town is always a pleasure. And although she didn’t get any chips and had to side step her way home after the race, I think even Imani would agree that it was the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday.

Here’s what we got up to…

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A gazillion energy drinks and some almost-tears later, Imani completed the race in just over 5 hrs. Proud doesn’t even cut it.

Apparently it’s mind over matter, running the marathon, but I’m not so sure I could do it.

Could you?