Finding Joy in January

Why the bad rap’s totally unjustified…
Finding Joy in January - The Cardiff Cwtch

Hey look at us; who would have thought? Not me! Because the fact of the matter is that anyone who knows me well knows that I’ve got a long history of ripping on January. Historically, I’ve hated it. I’ve called it the worst month of the year, the most depressing month of the year, and if there’d ever been a petition to bin January then my signature would have been right at the top. I mean, let’s be honest; at face value, there’s not a lot to like. It’s dark, it’s gloomy, there’s all that new year/new you pressure, all the Christmas fashion’s on the floor in the sale section, and – let’s be honest – the bank account’s always in a state of recovery this time of year.

So I was more than a little bit surprised when the other day (in the middle of cleaning my bathroom – that’s when all the big thinking in my life happens, clearly) that so far, I’ve actually really enjoyed January. Even though, I haven’t really done much. I haven’t booked any holidays, I haven’t eaten out (other than a massive fry up round the local garden centre cafe), I hadn’t even hit the Sales until last week. I’ve just been quietly doing the things I enjoy – like cooking, writing, walking – and since Sunny decided to relax the crazy hours he was working before Christmas, we’ve had more time to piss around on the PlayStation and goof around with Bungle. There have been zero plans made, zero events attended… and zero expectations.

And that’s the trick to it, I think. Zero expectations.

The trouble with January is that there’s a huge amount of pressure to blast out the other side of Christmas and into the new year at a hundred miles an hour. It’s all about movement – about setting goals, making plans, booking holidays, and this year I just didn’t bother with any of that! Not intentionally, I might add; the truth is that it was a busy Christmas and I was absolutely knackered come January 1st. I needed a break – a couple of weeks just to breathe – to slip back into a routine. I didn’t want to throw myself at a hundred miles an hour into anything other than my baggiest jumper, the left over Christmas chocolates and season one of The Witcher. Normally I’d have slapped my own wrist after a couple of days and had a bit of a word with myself, but this year I decided to just allow that slight pause and not expect too much out of January – and I tell you what, it’s been the best thing I’ve done for myself in a while.

Finding Joy in January - The Cardiff CwtchFinding Joy in January - The Cardiff Cwtch

The only slightly “January” thing I have done is that I’ve started documenting on my phone – through my camera roll and in my notes – the little things that I’m grateful for every day. Small things, like late breakfasts on the weekend, frosty mornings walking Bungle in the field, a bargain Sezane shirt dupe for £5, home improvements and playing board games with my family. I knowwwwww – whenever I’ve seen people mention Gratitude Journals in the past my eyes have rolled so far back into my head that I could see my own brain. But after a heavy 2019 the only thing I’ve been craving for 2020 is more of the little things I enjoy – and writing them down and taking pictures of them just serves to remind me what those things are. That way I can make time for more of them – which is exactly what I’ve been doing so far this January. No big plans, no expectations, just small moments of gratitude for the things I love. 🙂

Finding Joy in January - The Cardiff CwtchFinding Joy in January - The Cardiff CwtchFinding Joy in January - The Cardiff CwtchFinding Joy in January - The Cardiff CwtchFinding Joy in January - The Cardiff CwtchFinding Joy in January - The Cardiff CwtchFinding Joy in January - The Cardiff Cwtch

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

Goodbye 2018

And just like that, we’ve hit the end of the road!  Goodbye 2018!  It’s been an amazing year full of surprises, amazing food and friends (which always tend to come hand in hand!), two incredible holidays (I dipped my toes in Canadian glacier water and the Gulf of Mexico this year…), a giant inflatable pineapple, an engagement (congrats little brother!) and a very mischievous bundle of blonde fluff.  Despite how it looks through the lens, I’ve had my own little share of heartbreak too over the past twelve months – but on the whole, I really, really can’t complain; I’ve had the most incredible year.  So, here’s to 2019 (that’s insane), and to you, lovely reader; thanks for sticking around, and I hope that the new year holds only the most amazing things for you and your favourite people.  Happy New Year! ✨



DSC_0033

DSC_0104
DSC_0161



DSC_0004




DSC_0074


Blwyddyn Newydd Dda (Happy New Year!)!  See you on the flip side!

About Motivation

Wouldn’t it be great if they bottled Motivation?  So whenever you were feeling stuck in that emotional rut of “I just can’t be arsed” you could just drag yourself to your local supermarket and literally stock up on cans of whoop ass that would give you that much needed boost to get stuff done.  They’d be right there on the shelf next to those silver cans with bulls and lightening bolts on them, but completely separate because let’s not confuse motivation with energy.  After all, they’re completely different things.

A slump in energy can be quickly solved with a sold eight hours shut eye or a stonking great big cup of coffee (…or tea, if you’re like me!).  Motivation though?  That’s trickier.  Motivation is elusive.  It’s unpredictable; it comes and goes and can’t be pinned down.  It can’t be summoned, and it can’t be kept.  Just like inspiration (I’m a firm believer that the two are either the same thing or at least go hand in hand), it’s got an air of mystery and magic to it – a sudden spark that gives you the jolt you need to tackle anything and everything from the moulding dishes in the sink to job applications, blog posts and unwritten books.

Motivation – when it sticks around – makes you feel powerful, invincible.  You know the feeling; it’s practically a superpower, it’s that voice inside that shouts YOU GOT THIS and just for second makes you believe that you’re capable of doing almost anything.  The problem is that almost as soon as it appears, it’s gone again.  Hopefully after you’ve finished that pisa-esque pile of ironing or bashed out that blog post that’s been bugging you, but y’know sometimes it’s been known to bugger off sooner, leaving you high and dry – something that’s not only incredibly rude, but can be incredibly depressing too.  It leaves you feeling the exact opposite of strong and capable; weak and unable.  Useless.

Perhaps that’s why Motivation’s so elusive.  I mean, if we all went around ignited by that spark 100% of the time then we wouldn’t value it as much – not to mention, we’d be bloody exhausted from taking over the world every day of the week!

Sadly, I can’t see Tesco or Waitrose bottling Motivation any time soon (but if it did it’d probably be flavoured with blood oranges and salted caramel), but there are definitely a few ways to encourage that fickle spark of superhuman can-do to return.

Rest and Re-energize

Ground breaking, I know.  But, Motivation never likes to stop by when you’re feeling run down or exhausted.  So relax, put that to-do list on hold for a while and refill those batteries.  Not by necking caffeine though – all that’s good for is a quick burst of Faux-tivation followed by a crash.

Do Something Else

Motivation likes to be inconvenient.  Just like that Hermes delivery you’ve been waiting for and watching out the front window for all morning; you know that as soon as you decide to get in the shower or plonk your bum on the toilet the front door bell will go.  A watched cake never bakes (…or something like that). So do something else; read a book, go for a walk, start binge-watching that new show everyone’s been talking about and you can guarantee that Motivation will suddenly show up unannounced and ring that bell.

Ask for Help

There’s no shame in taking a sip from someone else’s can of whoop-ass.  When you’re feeling in a rut, ask for a boost-up from friends or family.  They might have the answers you’ve been looking for and couldn’t see yourself, or be more than willing to give you a break and help with that to-do list.

Fake It

Sometimes we can’t afford to hang around waiting for Motivation to give us a jump start (there’s no AA membership when it comes to Motivation!), and during times like that you need to be able to roll your sleeves up and get things done anyway.  Everyone has their own ways of tricking themselves into feeling inspired, whether that’s bribing yourself with a reward for getting the job done, or a playlist of songs that help you feel empowered.  And you never know, maybe Motivation might sense the positivity and offer a helping hand after all.

What are Your Tips and Tricks to staying Motivated?   🙂

On Being #instagrounded

What’s your favourite Instagram filter? Come on, everyone’s got one. Mine’s Valencia. I. Love. It. One click of that beautiful button is akin to squirting half a bottle bleach down a grotty loo; it smooths over a multitude of sins. It brightens a gloomy day, makes my face cream look as if it’s punching way above its weight, and seems to make my slapdash food experiments look slightly more edible. All my snaps get the same “treatment” before they make the grid and join all the other filtered snaps in my finely curated grid. 

A filtered record of my day to day existence.

Last month’s  Elle Magazine featured a brilliant article by Robyn Wilder called Do you have FOLO (Fear Of Life Offline)? in which she talks about Real-Life versus Insta-Life and how a feed full of finely-edited glimpses into the lives of others can mess with our own identities and perceptions of what real life really looks and feels like.

“We can now edit and art-direct our lives online like never before. But how would our friends and followers react if we removed all the filters and presented our existence In Real Life?”


Continue reading “On Being #instagrounded”