Sunday Post: January Girl

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Hello! Welcome to A Venturing Girl and my first post of 2016. I think we’re all well and truly over the whole festive vibe right now so just a quick roundup from me:

Christmas…I spent Christmas with my family. I played some charades, ate great food and caught up with old friends. I had a wonderful time and I hope that your did too.

New Years…New Years Eve involved an escape to Stirling with my boyfriend and an adorable Bed and Breakfast stay with the kindest hosts. We had dinner, got drunk , laughed a lot and watched the fireworks over the castle. It was the perfect place and the perfect company for new beginnings.

Aaand Back to Reality…I went back to work on Tuesday, this week has been long and tiring and yeah I totally wallowed in it – I hope that you were more successful than me!

Okay so now that that’s covered, let’s talk about what’s next.

I have a slightly different approach to my New Year plans for 2016.

I find the concept of New Years Resolutions a bit archaic. The idea stems from ancient religious practices and as positive as I’m sure they can be, I can’t help but link them to some deep seated guilt or self loathing that we’re meant to feel about ourselves which impels us to try to change who we are to be “better”. I mean, thinking about plans and goals is always a good idea. But rather than try to do something new and change myself (because no one needs to do that, we’re all fine) I want to enrich and build on what I already have.

One of the main skills I learned in 2015 was Project Management and how to really deliver on a goal. With this in mind I’m giving myself an achievable monthly To Do List to feed into a larger plan for the year.

Because who doesn’t love a good To Do List?!

So here’s mine for January:

  1. Try homemade Thai food: my boyfriend got a Thai recipe book for Christmas so what better month to try some new recipes than January: when you are constantly forced inside due to poor weather and a lack of money!
  2. Capsule wardrobe: I overhauled my wardrobe last weekend and created a capsule wardrobe after reading so much about it on other blogs. And also because with 2 trips away over Christmas my wardrobe had become insane.  Something had to be done. After a week of this I can say it works! There is a lot more clarity in my wardrobe right now (phew!). I plan to keep this up throughout the month. To find out about capsule wardrobe this blog post is a great guide.
  3. Make sourdough bread
  4. Go to One Gym Class Per Week: okay I’ve been doing this anyway but I want to stick with it!
  5. No meals after 8pm
  6. Make my Instagram beautiful: I want my Instagram account to have more of a themed vibe this year showing positive healthy imagery. Rather than spam people I know with blog promotions and a thousand hashtags I took the decision to just set up a separate Instagram account for this blog so that people could follow me because they were interested in health and fitness. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you can find me here (oh and I’ll totes follow you back).

So that’s me, short and sweet. What about you –  are you bothered with New Years resolutions this year?

Leave a comment below, I love to get them!

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Go For It: Crafting

I’ve associated crafting with taking a step backwards for a long time. Think about it, when you read the word, did you automatically think of being back at school, or something you did with your mum or nana? Going deeper, I actually just associated it with an antiquated way of thinking. Pfft women crafting, go back to the fifties! The truth is though, quite a lot of my friends are wonderfully creative knitters, sewers, origamists (no, that cannot be a word) and one is particularly talented at making fantastic creations out of Tunnocks tea cake wrappers! All educated, intelligent hard working women who love to craft. So over the past few months I’ve gotten down off of my high horse and given it a go.

What I’ve found is that taking an old jar and making a new use for it, or going for a long walk with your friends to collect some Autumn leaves to press is relaxing and fun but also feels kind of productive. It’s just a pleasure to see something you actually made around the house and know that it’s completely unique to you!

For me, my favourite thing about crafting is the social aspect. Two of my friends and I meet for craft and wine nights and solve the problems of the world over some good food and felt. Only recently my friend Emer invited me to a Laura Ashley crafting event to launch their range of crafting kits in Glasgow. Sitting with a group of lovely women, drinking tea, having a giggle and eating mouthwatering cakes at the Butterfly and Pig all while violently stabbing our felt creations into shapes (some with more success than others) was a brilliant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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I liked using the crafting kits from Laura Ashley because even though I’m not particularly good at crafting, having everything that I needed gave me a bit of confidence. I’m quite pleased with how my little creations turned out!
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Before even going to the event I had bought someone (I’ll not name names in case they read this) one of the Laura Ashley apron making kits for Christmas. I thought it would be something fun and a bit different for the Christmas stocking. I’ll include a link to the website here if you want to take a look at their stuff for a gift (or maybe a little self gift…).

For me the key to crafting is that it does take you a step backwards. But not in the way I’d thought. When you’re with your friends, laughing at your concoctions or by yourself with your masterpiece, crafting gives you bit of time to step back from yourself, your schedule and all of the noise to immerse yourself in what’s in front of you.

So my recommendation is to give crafting a go. Have you ever tried it? Leave a comment below and tell me all!

 

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Four Reasons to be Cheerful

Saturday, for me had to be a day to switch off. It was one of those classic November days in Glasgow where the rain is pouring down and while the juxtaposition of the orange leaves and the gray sky is pleasing to the eye, it’s not actually weather that you want to be out in if you can avoid it. So I totally avoided it!

I find it pretty hard to sit about and do nothing for a day but I needed this. The last week has been packed with things to do and I needed a day to just chill out.

I had to take a rest week from exercise this week because I was getting over a cold and I’m glad I just focused on Yoga and stretching rather than doing any cardio. Taking a day off on Saturday was a good chance to reflect too on what I’m thankful for this week:

Fireworks and Fun: So one of my favorite things about living in Scotland is that not only do we have Halloween, there’s also Guy Fawkes! I love the fireworks and this year I went to see the big display in Glasgow Green. I’ve done this every year since I moved here and it’s become a tradition now. This time me, Chris and my friend Naomi went to West Brewery for mouthwatering outdoor burgers and beer (well, hot chocolate for me – I had an early start for an event the next day). I had some friends over to the flat last week for Halloween and even though I was getting over a cold it was such a fun night. The girls and I dressed up as trolls and we danced the night away. It was the most effort and make up that I have possibly ever worn but we truly felt like magical creatures! I was pretty reluctant to take my wig off at the end of the night if truth be told!

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A Day in the Snow: I organised a work event at the indoor slopes in Braehead and it was a great day out. As with any event there was a huge amount of preparation in the lead up to it but it was a pleasure to get 70 people out of the office and onto the slopes. Seeing a day come together like that is always really rewarding and while the lead up was exhausting – I was up till all hours the night before making last minute edits to the presentations and doing arts and crafts! – it’s just worth it every time in the end. I feel very lucky to be able to do things like this in my job.

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Narcos: I am obsessed with this show on Netflix. Narcos is based in late 1980’s Columbia during the war on drug baron’s and the rise of Pablo Escobar. If gritty drama, intelligent scripts, history and subtitles are your thing, check this one out!

Crafting: Okay, I’m a self confessed Winter hater but these cold evenings in are starting to grow on me a bit. I’ve been a bit more creative around the house have started recycling old jars for storage and adding a few little touches to brighten the place up a bit. My two friends and I have been getting together for little craft nights and it’s been a lovely way to spend a dark weeknight. It’s nice to have some homemade comforts around the house and while I’m definitely not an artist or really remotely talented when it comes to crafting I like having some pieces that are just my own little concoctions! Plus creativity, friends and wine are always a winner in my book.

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Book perfectionists look away now!
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So I cannot take credit for the hand knit stag cushion you see before you. My friend in the US sent this ti me as a housewarming gift and I absolutely love it. I just wanted to show it here because I'm so proud to have something so unique in my home. While I'll never have this level of talent she's definitely inspired me to be a bit more creative!

So these were the little things I was thankful for this week.

Are you a crafting novice like me? Do you have any recommendations for good series right now – because I’m getting through Narcos at an alarming rate -?

Go For It: Peanut Butter + Comedy = Happiness

A big part of having a healthier lifestyle is being open to new things. I mean, you’re not going to get too far with your goals if you are stuck doing the same old thing all of the time are you? This has lead me to think about a series of posts that I could write to encourage breaking out of your comfort zone from time to time or just looking at something everyday in a different way. Sometimes I can be quite bad for sticking to the same routines and it can be pretty boring and also quite discouraging. So I am going to start a weekly post called Go For It, where I will talk about a thing or activity that I recommend trying out because it pushes the boundaries a bit, or it’s something that I’ve tried and tested before or just because it’s really, really fun. The only parameters for Go For It posts are that it should relate in some way to a healthy lifestyle. These posts are not necessarily aimed at spending money as I am really against the idea that money should be a necessity for living well. This is is about doing or trying something that is achievable, fun and worth a try, so here we go!

I had peanut butter and banana with my pancakes this morning and it was really good
I had peanut butter and banana with my pancakes this morning and it was really good

Peanut Butter 

I know that this one can be divisive but I am a self confessed peanut butter addict. I absolutely love the stuff! It’s sweet but not overly so and I am particularly partial to the crunchy varieties. Aside from that, as someone who exercises regularly, I find that peanut butter is fantastic both as a precursor and a recovery tool when excising. Along with it’s nutritional value, peanut butter is a brilliant way to leave you feeling full without being stuffed before a workout. It’s also great with a bit of dark chocolate to build up your body afterward exercise. Peanut butter contains vitamin E; monounsaturated fats which reduce bad cholesterol; magnesium (for healthy bones), and some good old vitamin B6 which is boosts your immune system. The great thing about peanut butter is that a little goes a long way, you don’t need more than a spoon or two to reap the benefits. Of course, if you have a nut allergy peanut butter is not an option for you, but you might find some healthy alternatives here. If you are looking for more foods which contain monounsaturated fats, you can find them in: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil and also sesame oil.

Live Comedy

Okaaay, so what does live comedy have to do with a healthy lifestyle I hear you ask? Well, it won’t make you fitter (unless you walk to the venue), but it will make you happy and it’s bloody fun! Friday was the International Day of Happiness, and although there seems to be a day devoted to every little thing, I reckon that your happiness is a pretty important thing to consider at least once a year!  And who are the happiest people in the world? Well comedians of course (bloggers are the most sarcastic). Seriously though looking at the funny side of things is a great way of brightening your mood. Chris and I decided to check out the live comedy at Yesbar on Friday night and it was brilliant. For less than a tenner each we saw four great acts and I have to say every one of them had me in stitches at one point if not the whole way through. We sat at the back because we were a bit scared of getting picked on. In typical me fashion though, the host asked the couple in front of us a question and of course I answered and dragged poor Chris into the joke, but it was a good laugh and not as scary as you might think. The Glasgow International Comedy Festival is on at the moment, but if you don’t live here check out what’s going on in your area, live comedy is something that everyone should try at least once!

They are my suggestions to go for this week. Do you have an alternative to peanut butter that you would recommend? Or had a recent experience with live comedy? I’d love to hear about it, just drop me a comment.