Acceptance and Accidental Progress: Sharing My 2015

This time last year, Sarah inspired me to find 'a word of the year'. The idea (or the idea as I interpreted it anyway) is to find a word that summaries your intentions for the year; it's a brilliantly simple way to find a focus without signing up to a list of impossible-to-stick-to resolutions.

My word for 2015 was acceptance.

In November 2014 I wrote about giving up on goal setting. I was in the middle of an anxiety pit and, once again, had fallen apart after putting myself under too much pressure. Usually on New Year's Eve at midnight I end up thinking about my how my mental health's been that year and wondering, 'When will I be well again?' Last year, however, I had a mini epiphny. I thought, 'I've had two breakdowns this year, which were awful, but the in-between bits were great. Maybe this is as good as it gets. This might be it and actually that's ok.' I decided there and then that 2015 would be the year I stopped waiting to be 100% well again, accepted myself, and let my life happen. I  treid to stop striving and start living.

As it turned out, acceptance didn't mean the end of progress. Here's what happened in 2015....

I travelled to Greece and Japan. Greece was a lovely, relaxing (cheap) package deal and Japan was, well, a total accident. Pete found out he needed to go to Tokyo for work and, luckily for me, he needed to go during the summer holidays. So, with only a month's notice, we booked and planned a trip to Tokyo. A brilliant thing that came about with absolutely no planning or striving! We also managed some mini adventures, including a trip to Portsmouth, a nght in Cardiff and a weekend in the Forest of Dean to see our lovely friends Fee and Dave tie the knot.

2015 brought acceptance of another kind too. I said yes and we're getting married in March. Woo! After much initial stress we took the pressure off ourselves, said 'fuck that' to the big family wedding and started planning a much more manageable do. More about that in the next couple of weeks!

The biggest change in my life this year has probably been with work. I applied for a couple of jobs at the beginning of the year and didn't get them. I began volunteering for one of the charities and decided to enjoy getting the experience and not push things too hard in terms of the job hunt. I settled into a routine for a new months and accepted the situation as it was. Then I got a phone call asking if I was still interested in a job I applied for in March. I was and, after some waiting, I started my new role in November. I absolutely love it and I still can't quite believe it's actually happened.

My blog hasn't made much progress this year, although I have found lots of lovely new blogs to follow and started taking part in Lousia and Jane's Photo an Hour (when I remember!). I've also been sending more snail mail. Let me know if you want to exchange letters, I'm always up for findig new penpals.

Health-wise this has been my most stable year yet, and I don't think that's a coincidence. I've cut down on my medication and am rounding up therapy. On the whole I think I've managed to avoid putting undue pressure on myself (not easy for me). Not bad for a year where I didn't set out to achieve anything!

So... What's my word of 2016..? I'll let you know at the weekend (just as soon as I've thought of it).

I'm linking up to Lauren's 2015 round up. Go and take a look and comment on the others (if you want to, obviosuly).

Share your 2015 - Belle du Brighton

Happy New Year! I hope your 2015 was wonderful.

12 Lists of Christmas: 3 Crap Presents

Christmas should obviously be all about the gratitude, but sometimes it's funny to reminisce about the crap gifts too. Right? My Gran was Queen of the Terrible Christmas Present, so much so that her 'interesting gifts' were actually referenced in her eulogy.

Unsurprisingly then, all of the terrible Christmas gifts I've received came from her. The worst ones were:

A porcelain dolphin. I hate animals, ornaments and dusting.

A packet of tissues. With four of them missing.

A Christmas musical box. Jesus rotated in his manger when the lid was lifted.

They're the worst ones I can think of! If you can beat these, please tell me.... I need to know!


My mum wasn't massively impressed with the Poundland DVD she got from my dad. Don't worry, it wasn't her only present, there's no divorce in the cards.

12 Lists of Christmas: My 8 Favourite Bits of Christmas 2015

Spying a Christmas Eve rainbow. Incidentally, was anyone else ever told as a kid that simultaneous rain and sunshine means it's a monkey's birthday? Pete was.

Having a leisurely wake up with A Christmas Carol. It's kind of hard to read it without imagining the muppets and Michael Caine.

Conquering preset mountain.

Hanging out with The Family. It's the first time we've all been together for Christmas Day and it was noice.

Seeing what Santa brought me. Yeah, I'm 29, what of it?

 Opening a Lindor that is as big as my, admittedly large, head.

 Eating cold roast potatoes topped with salted caramel sauce. And then eating them again for breakfast on Boxing Day.

Playing Cards Against Humanity for the first time. My Mum won after playing the 'Three dicks at the same time.' card beautifully.

12 Lists of Christmas: 5 of the Best Sitcom Christmas Specials

Once a year the TV geniuses create something that combine my two passions in life: sitcoms and Christmas. Yes, my friends, it's the Christmas Special. Although I do like a good Christmas film, I'm a TV girl at heart and I ruddy bloody love a Christmas special. In no particular order, the best ones are:

The Office Christmas Specials

I know I said this list was 'in no particular order' but clearly it is, because this is the best Christmas special ever. If you want to reminisce but can't be bothered to re-watch the episodes, then I wholeheartedly recommend this Buzzfeed list of the best moments. The music video! The kiss! The 'Finchy f*ck off'!

Peep Show - 'Season's Beatings'

Obviously I had to include a Peep Show in the list, and 'Season's Beatings' is a cracker. It captures family tensions beautifully, and Mark has a rare moment of confidence which, for once, sees him come out pretty much on top. Merry Christ-mark, everyone!

The Royle Family - 'The Queen of Sheba' 

I re-watched this yesterday and it broke me. Hysterical laughter and hysterical tears all within the space of an hour. Touching and hilarious and just perfect.

Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special

I wasn't 100% sure about including this one on the list, because it's a bit hit and miss, but Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon both play a blinder and Nessa's 'Oh, Oh, Oh' never gets old.

US Office - Dwight Christmas

Generally speaking, the quality of the US Office declined pretty sharply in the later series, but Dwight Christmas is definitely a highlight. His performance as 'Belsnickel' appeals totally and utterly to my sense of slightly surreal humour, and it's the only episode in the later series that I've ever wanted to watch more than once. Let's face it, Dwight is awesome.

Right, I'm off to do ALL THE CHRISTMASSY THINGS. Tell me what I've missed off the list, I'm always up for a sitcom recommendation.

12 Lists of Christmas: 6 Ways to Feel Christmassy

I've read a few blog posts recently where people have bemoaned not really feeling very 'Christmassy' yet. As the (admittedly self-proclaimed) Queen of Christmas, I thought I should share some tips.

 Bake a Christmas cake! Hey, it wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't link to my Christmas cake baking post! Baking a Christmas cake has now become a firm tradition for me and the smell really does get me is the Christmas mood. In fairness, it doesn't have to be a Christmas cake, Char's mince pies look amazing!

Pop some Christmas songs on your playlist. Nothing jazzes up a commute like Step Into Christmas.

Mulled wine, yo. 

Eat Christmas dinner. Get some friends over, buy some crackers, put some songs on, put their presents under the tree, make them some dinner (don't worry if you haven't got time for a roast; I made spag bol). I did this last week and it felt like the proper beginning of Christmas.

Give someone a present. Open a new tab and hand over some of that hard-earned cash to charidee. I read The Life You Can Save this year and it really motivated me to give more to charity. Their website is really good for finding out which charities will use your money wisely.

Don't try too hard. Relax. It'll come.*


12 Lists of Christmas: 5 Awesomely Christmassy Blog Posts

The 12 Lists of Christmas are back! Yes, it's 20th December, but better late than never, right?


I'm going to start this year's lists with a little present for you: Christmas blog posts that you should totally check out.

Now that I've gone veggie, I enjoyed eating vicariously through Sarah's reviews of Christmas burgers *salivates*

Got a friend who's spending Christmas alone? Read Sarah's post about the dos and don'ts. She's a wise lady.

Janet's Christmas gift wrapping is beautiful, cheap and environmentally friendly. What's not to love?!

Beth's list of her favourite Christmas films made me chuckle with recognition. Obviously we are in agreement that Santa Claus: The Movie is the best Christmas film ever.

Becky is killing it with her Christmas posts this year, and this one about her memorable Christmas moments is just lovely.

Hit me up with your Christmas posts please!