2015 reflections, 2016 resolutions and a competition

Well haven’t I been quiet so far this year?!

Happy New Year guys.

I know, I know a bit late to the party with the ol’ resolutions blog post but I have been taking some time out to reflect, think and plan for a fabulous 2016. Considering one of my resolutions was going to be to blog more I really haven’t succeeded so well so far, having only written one blog post in 2016… until this one.

Baxter the Legend at Hill Holt Wood

Now make sure you make it to the end of the post, because I have an exciting giveaway to help kick start your New Year.

So what have I been up to so far in 2016?

I kicked off the New Year in Dorset with some friends, including a very cute dog who was my New Year cuddle. Awww.

Since then I have spent a lot of time in Scarborough, where we have a small family flat I have been making use of for my reflecting time. There is nothing quite like gazing out over the big ocean as you wonder, no matter how cold, rainy and windy it might be. Believe me it was pretty cold, rainy and windy!!

Scarborough in winter

Right now I am back in London for a few days where I am catching up with friends between meetings with new freelance clients. I need to get my regular London fix for inspiration, motivation and friends and I am pleased to be squeezing in as much as possible while I am down here. I’ve certainly already drunk my fair share of hot chocolate and tea whilst meeting with people the last couple of days.

It has been good to take some time to reflect and though my reflection time isn’t quite over, I am feeling a little clearer and a little more concise about the path I am forging forward. So without further ado I will start with my reflections on the good, the bad and the blooming fabulous things that happened in 2015.

Reflecting on 2015

reflecting on 2015

On work…

In all honesty 2015 was a tough work year. I spent almost three quarters of the year in a job I hated. I didn’t hate it straight away, (in fact it was quite fun for a while) but as the year progressed the job got worse and the longer I spent in the central London tower block building I called ‘work’, the more trapped and miserable I became. I won’t go into all the reasons but needless to say it was people that got me down, but it was people who got me through and focusing on the positive I have made a small handful of lovely friends from that job who I am sure will stay my friends for years to come. If there is one thing I have learnt it is that not everyone is going to like me! A lesson we all learn at some point in life and one that I am slowly coming to terms with.

Leaving the job in October set me free and I am finally following a path I want to follow. A life of freedom, of entrepreneurship, of travel and a life filled with people I love and care for deeply. Listen to me going all mushy.

On blogging…

This little blog is slowly growing at a pace I am comfortable with and continues to bring me joy every time I get a comment from one of you lovely readers or followers. This blog has brought some mega highs like being featured as one of National Geographic Traveller’s blogs of the month in December and getting to travel to new exciting places (see below).

I write this for me and I write this for you and I plan to continue being honest and perhaps at times more open with my journey into freelance life and the world of blogging.

On travel…

In 2015 I visited six countries, the Norway, UAE, Denmark, Spain (Mallorca), Poland and Slovenia. I ate copious amounts of delicious food, made new friends, visited new places, returned to old places and had a lot of fun in the process. I still thank my lucky stars every day that this little blog has brought new travel experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise had and with it has also brought lots of lovely new friends. Hey blogger buddies x

On family…

If there is one (more) thing you learn as you grow up it is that family come first. Family will always be there for you no matter what and family matter! I feel lucky to have such a wonderful caring family surrounding me and I am determined to cherish them all always. My family are supportive of the dreams I am following and continue to offer me the love and encouragement I need to forge my path forward. 2016 watch this girl fly!

On Reading…

2015 was the year I set myself a challenge to read a book a week, to read 52 whole books in one year. And guess what… I DID IT! Last year I read 52 books and I feel a better person for it. My reading habits have changed, my horizons have opened, I’ve learnt new things, formed new opinions and had many fictional adventures along the way. I am soon to write a post about the 52 books I have read so watch this space for more details on my reading year.

So a little reflecting on 2015, a year of change and a year of developing as a person. I am excited to continue to grow this blog, my business and myself in 2016. If you’re interested in learning how then read on…

Thinking at Lake Bohinj

Resolutions for 2016

To make this simpler I have four key resolutions I have set myself for 2016 and I am asking you to hold me to account on these. Ironically none involve travel, but travel is a given regardless, travel is a part of me, a part of life and something I won’t be giving up.

1 Buy a house

Oh you know, just a little one to start me off. I had planned to buy a house last year, well a flat… in London! However after putting in several offers, scrimping every last penny I could find and getting help with a joint mortgage it was soon clear that I still couldn’t afford London! Many people can’t afford London. London is a sinking money pit. Last year I left London and decided London isn’t for me. If I had moved into a studio, stayed in the studio every night and weekend, lived off baked beans and worked every waking hour I might have been able to afford London, but sadly that doesn’t fit in with my life goals so I left. The north however… where I was born and bred, hopefully is for me and so I am hoping I will find a property I can afford somewhere up north to finally start on that ever growing property ladder.

2 Read (another) 52 books

Last year’s successful resolution was fun and so I have decided to do it again. I am already ahead of schedule and on book four of the year so far and get so excited planning what books are coming next. I could happily live in a bookshop and have been tempted to get a part time job in a book shop just for the pure joy of it. So if any book shops out there want to employ me you could pretty much pay me in books because this is a girl obsessed. To expand on last year’s resolution I have set a few goals within my resolution to make sure I read a variety of different books

  • 5 translations – after watching a TED talk by Ann Morgan I was inspired by her quest to read books originally written in other languages. Not wanting to outshine Ann I am starting small with an aim to read at least 5 translated books over the year
  • 2 Shakespeare plays – 2016 commemorates 400 years since our most famous bard left this earth and so to celebrate his life I think it only fair to add a couple of Shakespeare plays to my list. Do you have any recommendations?
  • 5 autobiographies – I haven’t read many autobiographies in my life, but those I have read I have enjoyed and so wanting to learn from others I am adding a minimum number to my list
  • 5 non fiction books – ok so this one is probably fairly easy as I already read a lot of non fiction but adding it in to make sure.
  • 5 classics – because everyone should read more classic books
  • 5 totally random books – I’ve never been one to read sci fi or fantasy or even much crime so wanting to widen my reading repetoire I want to read at least five totally ‘not me’ books this year and who knows I may find a new favourite.

The rest will be what I happen to find at the time. I would LOVE to hear your recommendations for books you think I should read this year. I am just about open to anything!

3 Make a success of my business

This one goes without saying really, but being freelance means constant hustling, constant creativity and always striving for new clients, new pieces of work and always believing in yourself, because without self confidence you will struggle with any business.

I am working on my business website at the moment, but in the mean time if you are interested you can read more about how you can work with me through my blog and beyond on my work with me page.

As for this blog I hope to continue to grow it as part of my business, occasionally expanding beyond travel and being more open about the high’s and lows of life as a blogger, as a freelancer and as me Jen, the girl who gets around! :) I would love to hear if there is anything in particular you would like me to write about as I am open to suggestions.

4 Health is wealth!

More a motto to live by than a resolution but this year is about sorting all aspects of my health out. Two years ago I had a ski accident that still brings daily pain and discomfort and I am determined to work harder to make the pain go away, alongside all that normal stuff of losing weight, eating healthier, doing more exercise… bla bla bla! So Health guys, this year I am going to be healthy in ‘almost’ every possible way*

*NB. I will still be drinking wine, eating cake, having lazy days, eating sweets, drinking gin and tonic and a few other naughty things but everything in moderation right?!

Do you think my resolutions are achievable? Wish me luck.

Snow in Derbyshire 2016

Comment below and tell me one or more of your New Year’s resolutions to WIN an exciting prize…

Win The ENTERTAINER, London worth £40

The ENTERTAINER London 2016 – is a new app featuring over 900 Buy One Get One Free offers for restaurants, bars, nightclubs, attractions and spas across the capital. The ENTERTAINER London 2016 is valid for one calendar year with no weekend exclusions and can save customers up to £60,000 over the 12-months. Over 50 of the available buy-one-get-one-free offers on the new app have an estimated savings value that is higher than the cost of the app itself, so customers can make their money back by redeeming just one offer.

The subscription has some of my favourite London restaurants on  it so I highly recommend!

To enter just comment below telling me one or more of your New Year’s resolutions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions 

  • Winner must be a resident of the UK or Ireland
  • You MUST comment below to be entered and can add extra entries using the Rafflecopter competition guidance below.
  • There is no cash alternative
  • Entry closes at midnight on February 7th 2016
  • Fingers crossed, you’ve got to be in it to win it.

Good luck everyone and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

reflections on 2015

Comments

    • Jen Lowthrop says

      Amazing! Love hearing about people’s book ambitions :) I am already ahead this year almost finished book 6 :)

  1. catherine burke says

    My resolution was to give up smoking, so I gave up, now I have to wait till next year to go on a diet

  2. Sarah says

    My new year’s resolution is to smile every day and see the positive wherever I can.

    Great competition, I will add eat out at new exciting reataurants if i win this :)

  3. Ken Lilley says

    I think you have captured everyones thoughts here – thank you.
    My resolution is to write (pen to paper) to friends more this year as I enjoy receiving such letters / cards AND to go to the theatre more – love ballet and opera.
    Cheers
    Ken

  4. Mervyna says

    Great article, beautifully written. You managed to take me with you on your journey and also reflect on mine. Such a good move to leave the central London Tower block! Lol lol

    My resolution? Be authentic, true to my real self and follow my gut with the self assurance that I am doing the right thing for myself and those I care about.

    • Jen Lowthrop says

      Thanks Mervyna, It was a good move to leave the London Tower Block! I love your resolution. Following our gut is something so few people do enough of. The most underused organ!

      Happy 2016 :) x

  5. says

    I had 3 sports related resolutions/challenges for 2016:
    1. 10,000 press ups and 10,000 sit-ups
    2. 1x marathon
    3. 1x “Ultra”

    1 and 2 are on track. No 3 still feels a bit bonkers though :)

    • Jen Lowthrop says

      They are some pretty intense resolutions! Is that 10,000 press ups and sit ups a month or in total over the year 😉

      Good luck Mr Biggs

  6. Sam says

    My resolution is to eat less cake… Which I’m already struggling with!

    Great review on your year, sounds like it’s been a good one

  7. says

    I definitely think you’ll be able to keep up your resolutions, how’s it going so far?

    Mine is to try a new restaurant every week. I’ve just moved to London so it’s proving a great way to explore the city and discover new cuisines (and an excuse to catch up with lots of old friends). So far so good!

  8. Adrian Bold says

    My resolution (again) is to lose weight and generally get healthier. I set myself a target of losing 2 stone this year, and I’m on target so far having lost 5lb so far.

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