January Catch-Up

Any Human Heart, Blogs, Creative Writing, Goals, Journey Back to Health, Writing & Blogging

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The Joy of January

I have to confess to usually hating January. It’s cold, its dark, the Christmas lights that were making everywhere look so pretty are gone, money is tight and it’s so cold that I’m left clinging to the radiator like we are shipwreck survivors.

The Change
This year I have changed my whole attitude to January and have been embracing it. After the craziness of Christmas, I’ve been taking this quieter month as a real opportunity to have some downtime and spend more time quietly at home. To take care of my house a bit more, to read with my children. My evenings have been spent snugged-up indoors having a hot bath and reading one of the awesome books or box-sets that I got for Christmas. I have been enjoying the gentle quietness January brings.

Reflection
This time also allows for some quieter reflection of what I would like to achieve in 2018, rather than the big – I wanna be skinny – resolution, I can take time to really think. I mean, obviously, I do want to be skinny but I am able to take the time to really think about how I am going to achieve that. But also consider life goals, work goals, what writing I want to work on, family goals. To really think about the year ahead and what will be best for us all.

Soul Detox
I also decided to have an online detox in January and have been attempting to Marie Kondo the hell out of my life. It’s still a work in progress but if it doesn’t bring me joy… I’ve unsubscribed and unfollowed. I’ve changed my notification settings so that my phone isn’t pinging every two minutes with notifications that I don’t need to see urgently. It’s been really nice to receive emails and notifications that do bring me joy, and it definitely feels less overwhelming.

January’s Close
Now that we are nearing the end of January, I am loving seeing little shoots appearing in the ground and I hope that I too will be able to step into February feeling entered, refreshed and renewed.

January Writing Workshops

The Let’s Start Writing Workshop that I ran at the beginning of January was fantastic and we had such a wonderful time. I love running this course as it’s so much fun seeing people trying something new for the first time and loving it.
And great news – starting on Monday I am running another two courses that you can sign up to…

There are plenty of testimonials on the Writing Workshop page so take a look.  Enjoy the rest of your January and I hope to see you on one of the courses soon.

Nicola x 

 

What’s On Your 2017 Anti-Bucket List?

Any Human Heart, The Anti-Bucket List

If you haUnknown.jpegve been following me for a while you will probably be aware of my Anti-Bucket Lists.  If you haven’t or need reminding you can read all about it here but basically, when I was having treatment for advanced Colorectal Cancer I decided that when I got better I would flip the traditional ‘things-to-do-before-I-die-Bucket-List’ idea and came up with ‘The Anti-Bucket List’… these are things I am going to do because I’M ALIVE!

I think Anti-Bucket lists are different to New Years Resolutions because resolutions are more goals of the year like losing 3 stone (obviously this is on my list) or drink Green Juice everyday (also on my list), whereas the Anti-Bucket list are things I want to do and experience this year.

I think especially after or during something like cancer, it can be especially good to have one of two things to focus on that aren’t illness related.

A couple I have are…

  1. Take the children to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the West End
  2. Visit Harry Potter World at Letchworth Studios (this has been on there for a while, I really hope that this year will be the year!)
  3. Visit somewhere new – This has been on my list the last few years but I think this will remain on my list forever…

So what are you putting on your list?  What are you going to enjoy doing this year to celebrate being alive?  Whatever they are I hope you have fun doing them and send you lots of love for 2017!

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Hartwell House Hotel and Aromatherapy Associates – Anti-Bucket List 2015 Update

Health & Beauty, The Anti-Bucket List, What's Happening?

One of the best things about putting ‘visiting Spa’s’ on my Anti-Bucket List is getting to do one of my favourite things…. visit spa’s!

Last weekend I had the complete joy of visiting a new spa near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, at Hartwell House Hotel with my lovely friend L.J. Ross.

Our rather stunning room

Our rather stunning room

The old manor house has been turned into a hotel in the most beautiful way.  It has retained the feel of a house, keeping four large drawing rooms with fire places for guests to relax in (or read and write within as was the case with us – what can I say, it’s all rock n’ roll when two writers go away).  With such a number of drawing rooms and a library available to use, it never feels crowded.  There was more than one moment when I felt like I was in Downton Abbey, especially when walking down the engraved, ornate staircase.

The Spa is in the old stables and has been wonderfully converted, again very sympathetically, complete with the required beige stone and soothing music.  The Spa uses Aromatherapy Associates a product that surprisingly, I hadn’t tried before.  The smell was delicious, not as fragrant as other products but I think that is a good sign.  It shows that there aren’t high levels of chemical perfumes added.

Unknown-3I had the Aromatherapy Associates Essential Rose Facial with Back Massage.  Starting with the back massage the therapist focused on my shoulders after I told her it was my area of concern and then went into the facial, complete with an amazing head massage.  I honestly felt like a new woman and my skin looked so clean and radiant, wonderful.  My wonderful co-assistant reviewer had an Indian Head Massage which she enjoyed but would have liked more time spent on her head and less on her shoulders as her back is so ticklish.  Thank God I don’t have that problem, couldn’t imagine not liking back massages!

I was very impressed by the products and went on to buy the Rose Face Mask and Rose Facial Tonic, which I am enjoying using.

Overall, I loved Hartwell House Hotel and Spa.  So much so that I am planning on taking husband there and it is high on my list of favourite hotel.  An amazing big tick of the Anti-Bucket List 2015, but I think I will happily add it again and again! 🙂

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The Anti-Bucket List Continues…

Cancer & Me, Journey Back to Health

If you don’t know what my Anti-Bucket List is, you can find out exactly what I am talking about in my previous post ‘The Anti-Backet List’ but basically, the theory behind it is that people write Bucket Lists of things they would like to do before they die, I write an Anti-Bucket lists of things I would like to do because I survived.

10418189_10154241991000153_4028011133427836123_nSo 6 months in, I got the check and very big items off the Anti-Bucket List – going to a big Horse Race.  My husband bought me tickets to Royal Ascot for my birthday back in March and we finally went on Tuesday.

The event itself exceeded my expectations.  I don’t think I have ever experienced such a collective outpouring of adoration for all things British.  From standing meters away from the Queen, (THE ACTUAL QUEEN OF ENGLAND!!) and Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince Harry to singing British greats like Land of Hope and Glory, We’ll Meet Again and Hey Jude (fast becoming the second national anthem I think) around the Band Stand, accompanied by The Welsh Guard military band.  From Toff’s in top hats and tails, signet rings shining in the sun to the ordinary folk walking barefoot and swigging wine from the bottle, it literally was all there and I loved it.

Of course there was also actual horse racing going on as well which was pretty awe-inspiring to watch, those horses are just amazing.  We were in the Grandstand meaning we could go watch the horses before the race and get really close, it was awesome.  Even though hubby and I won nothing, not one penny, we had the best day and I was SO pleased that the Anti-Bucket list finally gave us the momentum to do something we have been wanting to do for years.

Most importantly, I had a deeper level of appreciation that I get to enjoy these things

This day out confirmed for me why I decided to have an Anti-Backet List and why I think everyone should have one.  Obviously money and time are always considerations but you haven’t got to go crazy, pick as many as you can realistically do and go for it.  It could just be a walk you have always wanted to do, or completing a Race for Life?

The point is it is so easy for life to get in the way.  Year after year can easily go by without doing these things.  Nothing serves are more of a reminder for this than getting a life-threatening illness but truthfully we shouldn’t let it reach that stage.  Be living the life you want to live now.

Another (slightly more random) thing that I learnt at Royal Ascot is that I am rather partial to a fascinator!  I may even wear a hat to my cousins wedding next week.

I really genuinely want to know, what one thing is on your Anti-Bucket list?  Click on comment at the top of this post and let me know.

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The Anti-Bucket List

Cancer & Me, Journey Back to Health, The Anti-Bucket List

I think everyone is now familiar with the term Bucket List as a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.  When I was having treatment for advanced Colorectal Cancer  I decided that when I got better I would flip the idea and came up with The Anti-Bucket List… these were things I was going to do, not because I was going to die, but because I was going to live.  Got the idea?

I see this as different to New Years Resolutions because I consider those the be goals of the year, whereas this list is more things I want to do and experience.

Last year I only included a few things as I was still having treatment / recovering but there were;

  1. Travel to somewhere I haven’t been before / Travel for the first time with my P1010291colostomy bag – I went to Morocco.  Truly amazing experience.  I was so nervous to travel for the first time with a colostomy bag but in reality it was fine.  Just made sure I had plenty of everything (I took about 2 months worth for 3 nights) and in all different bags in case something happened, but nothing did.  No trouble flying.  Everything was cool.  Have now flown a few times, all fine.  And Morocco itself was out of this world.  It is firmly at the high end of my favourite places to go list (Mexico remains number 1).
  2. Go to University – Wasn’t easy and at times I wondered why I put it on the list but I did it.  I now go to the University of Hertfordshire reading English Literature, Philosophy & Writing and I absolutely LOVE it.  It is one of my favourite things to do on earth at the moment.
  3. Read another 3 books of my list – My list is the BBC Top 100 Reads voted by the public.  Its been really good actually, made me read loses of books I wouldn’t have otherwise, most of which I have really enjoyed.

So that was last year, but what about this year…  This is what I have so far…

  1. Go to a fancy Horse Race – by that I mean like Ascot, a traditional big race where the ladiesIMG_2621 get seriously dressed up.
  2. See a Ballet at the Royal Opera House –  I haven’t been for years.
  3. Visit Harry Potter world at Letchworth Studios – as close as I can get to the real thing.
  4. Take part in Cancer Research’s Colour Run – Have you seen how much fun this looks… has to be done.  If you want move information about it, visit www.thecolourrun.co.uk or if you want to know more about why Cancer Research means so much to me specifically you can click here!
  5. Go somewhere I haven’t been before – This doesn’t have to be abroad, there is still a lot in the UK I haven’t seen.  Quite like the idea of the outer-Heberdies… anyone have any suggestions?

So that is the Anti-Bucket list as it stands but I am looking for inspiration and things to add so please leave and comment & let me know what else I can do that will bring fun and excitement to this year I’m living.

But, most importantly, what is on your Anti-Bucket list?  I really would like to know leave a comment & tell me.

Whatever it is, hope you have fun doing it! x

Some other awesome lists to check out….

101 Things to Do When You Survive

Bucket List Publications