2021 New Years Resolutions

It’s a new year and time to set some goals again. While this year doesn’t necessarily feel as fresh and hopeful, because we are still in a pandemic and my country is still in a semi-lockdown, I still thought it would be helpful to set some goals for how I want the year to go. I’ve had to tweak them a couple of times to make them ‘COVID friendly’, but I’m hopeful that I can still achieve them!

1. Finish crochet blanket
I have been working on a crochet blanket for my bed for years now and I’m hoping I can finish it off in 2021!

2. Keep making good food choices
As I said it my last post, I have been making healthier food choices (in particular, replacing sugary snacks with healthy ones) and I want to continue this in the new year. That’s not to say that I won’t allow myself treats!

3. Read 50 books – read 5 books in translation
After a year of good reading in 2020, I want to keep up my reading pace this year. I’d also like to include more books in translation, because I am ashamed that as a translator I haven’t actually read that many translations!

4. Join a choir and a yoga class (when possible)
Hopefully later on in this year, classes and choirs will be able to open again. I think that joining them will be great for my depression and anxiety, as well as my physical health.


5. Travel somewhere (either in UK or abroad) (when possible)
I’d like to be able to go on a holiday somewhere other than my county at some point in 2021. I don’t care if it’s just a long weekend in the Lake District in October, it’s all dependent on COVID and my anxiety.


6. Keep getting guinea pigs out 5 times a week
Like I said in my last post, I have got into a good routine of looking after my guinea pigs well. I want to continue this in 2021.

7. Go for a walk 5 days a week
Again, I’ve done pretty well with this in 2020 and I want to continue it. I believe it’s good for both my mental and physical health!

8. Meditate each day
I’ve been managing 5-6 days a week and I want to expand to every day!

9. Keep Sundays social media free
This is something I started in late 2020, inspired by ab_reads on Instagram, and I think it’s been great for my mental health.


10. Sew something with sewing machine
My mum gave me a sewing machine in either late 2019 or early 2020 and I have yet to actually get it out and work out how to use it. Even if I only sew a cushion cover or something, I’d like to make something.

Have you set any New Years Resolutions for 2021? I know it’s going to be a tough year to predict!

Review of 2020 New Years Resolutions

I like setting New Years Resolutions. I don’t necessarily hold myself strictly to them, but they give me an idea of what I would like to achieve for the year ahead. Before I set this year’s goals, I’d like to address how I did in 2020.

1. Read 45 books (I normally aim for 50, but have fallen short in the last few years, so decided to go for a slightly more reasonable one this year!)
I have achieved this! I have actually read 49 books as of 26.12.20 (partially because I got back into audiobooks while knitting) and I am so pleased with how I’ve done.

2. Meditate for 5 mins 5 times a week (I’ve tried meditation in the past and found it useful, but never managed to do it consistently)
I’ve been pretty consistent with this. I use guided meditations on Insight Timer and consistently meditate for 7-15 mins about 6 days a week.

3. Do Couch to 5K from February (I’ll be starting with three 30 minute walks per week in January and moving on from there!)
I gave up on this. 1) I hate running and 2) after listening to this episode of the Gut Loving Podcast, I discovered that running isn’t actually that great for people with IBS symptoms. Instead, I am trying to walk 14km a week over 5 sessions. I’ve had medium success with this – it’s a lot harder now it’s cold and dark!

5. Master IBS (routine, diet, exercise, medication) (This is something I want to document. I had a tough time at the end of last year with my IBS and want to get to the bottom of it)
This is a work in progress. I’ve talked a bit about this on my instagram, but because of covid, a lot of the tests and appointments I was due to have didn’t happen. I also attempted a gastroscopy, but couldn’t tolerate the tube. In the new year, I have an appointment with a consultant, so I’m hoping to change up my meds and get some more tests booked. I’ve also been working on the anxiety that has arisen thanks to my IBS symptoms with a counsellor and am hoping to have more sessions in the new year.

6. Finish crochet blanket (I started a crochet blanket two years ago for my and my husband’s double bed and it’s still not finished).
I haven’t done this. Instead, I did some other crochet projects and taught myself to knit as well. I hope to finish the blanket next year!

7. Make better snack choices (fruit, seeds, dried fruit, hummus, olives) (I generally just want to eat a bit healthier. I don’t want to cut things out completely, just make wiser choices).
My success with this has been mixed. I did the low fodmap diet (again) in 2020 and therefore my diet was very restricted and I didn’t eat that well. Pre Christmas, I was making good choices with food, but that has rather gone to pot over the festive season! I’m hoping to get back to it in the new year.

8. Get my guinea pigs out 5 times a week (I have four sweet little piggies and want to give them the best life!)
I have been very successful with this! I have a good routine sorted and the girls get run around time practically every day, either on the lawn if it’s warm and dry, or in an indoor pen.

9. Get new GP hutch and two new piggies – DONE (I actually completed this at the end of 2019! I think we still want a little boy for our herd)
We already completed this in 2019 and have since decided that four pigs is enough for us!

10. Spend more time on hobbies (theatre, choir, crochet, piano, drawing, reading etc.) – 1 hour a week
Again, this has been mixed. Before COVID hit, my anxiety/IBS was making social hobbies like theatre and a choir more difficult. Then we went into lockdown and now those things are impossible. However, I have read more books this year and spent more time on crochet and taught myself to knit too. I hope to continue these hobbies into the new year and build up to going to the theatre, joining a choir and a yoga class!

11. Create personal blog and write 12 blogposts – 1 per month (That’s where this tumblr page comes in! Hold me accountable!)
Haha, this definitely failed. I will be trying to post more regularly in the new year.

How did you do with your resolutions this year?

Period Power: Book Review

I’m a little late to the game and it took me a whole month to read and digest, but I finally read Period Power by Maisie Hill and I was not disappointed. My initial reaction was to give it five stars, but upon reflection (and reading some of the one star reviews on good reads), I decided to give it four. It was incredibly informative and I will definitely be taking some of the advice home with me, but there were definitely times that it felt a little ‘woo-woo’. In this blogpost, I want to give a more detailed breakdown of my take homes from this book and even include a handy PDF summarising the main feature of the book: the four seasons of your menstrual cycle.

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Best crime thriller series available now

You might be getting a bit sick and tired of lockdown by now and be looking for new things to divert your time. I know I am! I have to admit I’ve been letting my reading habit slip a bit this month in favour of nights tucked up on the sofa with my husband watching some seriously bingeable tv shows. The summer nights are longer, meaning it feels like you have more time to watch TV, plus it’s always a little cooler in the evening so you can curl up under a blanket with your loved one (or in different houses if you’re apart at the moment). My husband and I love a good crime series, so here are our the five best crime series available at the moment.

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Low FODMAP Meal Plan

As detailed in my last blog, IBS/Mental Health Update, my IBS has been a lot better than it was this time last year, but, because of COVID-19, I feel that I have taken a little step back in terms of improving the symptoms. This is especially because my tests and further appointments with consultants have been cancelled due to the outbreak.

This has led to a fair amount of soul searching for me, in terms of what I can do to improve my IBS, my mental health and health overall. I have been reading a lot of non-fiction about anatomy and physiology and menstrual cycles, as well as consuming media about IBS to try to improve my understanding of my body, how it works and how I can help it. (Some top recommendations are Melanie Murphy’s channel on youtube, who talks about her experience with IBS and The Gut Loving Podcast, where a dietician and IBS sufferer sit down to tell you about all things IBS.)

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IBS/Mental Health Update

Hi all! I hope that lockdown/quarantine is treating you okay. Personally, it was pretty smooth sailing to begin with, but this last week I have found tougher. I think it’s partially the weather. I have also noticed a dip in my IBS/mental health this week, leading to me taking half the week off. So I thought I’d give you all a little update on where I am now that will also hopefully help me once life is back to normal and I can have an appointment with a specialist.

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My IBS Journey

This week, I thought I’d talk you through my history with a chronic syndrome: IBS. My original idea for a tagline for this blog was ‘Books and Bowels’, because I love reading and literature, and I have been reading more blogs about people’s experiences with IBS, due to a very bad flare-up last year into this year.

Continue reading “My IBS Journey”