Month: December 2023

A thoughtful end to 2023

Christmas is over and, a new year beckon,  offering the prospect of a fresh start and transformation. It’s a time of year that invites us to slow down, reflect, and embrace change. Just as trees shed their leaves to make way for new growth, we can shed old patterns and embrace the opportunity to grow, learn, and live more intentionally.

To help me make the most of the remaining moments of 2023, I take some time to reflect on the previous year and,  I’ve created a roadmap of deep questions covering various aspects of life, from personal growth to relationships and beyond to help me. These questions I share with you now so you can use them like me, as a compass, guiding you on a journey of self-discovery and intentional living. So, grab your favourite notebook, find a cozy corner, and let these questions inspire you to make next year a season of growth and renewal.

Personal Growth

  1. What have I learned about myself in the past year, and how can I apply this knowledge to my personal growth this autumn?
  2. What habits or behaviors no longer serve me, and how can I let go of them to make room for positive change?
  3. What is one skill or area of knowledge I’d like to develop or deepen this season?
  4. How can I use my strengths to contribute to my personal growth and the world around me?
  5. What is the most important lesson life has taught me recently, and how can I incorporate it into my daily life?

Recreation and Leisure

  1. What activities bring me the most joy and fulfillment, and how can I prioritize them in my schedule this autumn?
  2. What adventures or experiences do I want to seek out in the coming months to infuse my life with excitement and wonder?
  3. How can I create more moments of peace and relaxation to rejuvenate my mind and body?
  4. What hobbies or creative pursuits can I explore to spark my passion and creativity?
  5. How can I bring more playfulness and spontaneity into my daily life to keep my spirit alive?

Career and Meaningful Work

  1. What meaningful goals do I want to achieve in my career or work life by the end of the year, and what steps can I take to move closer to them?
  2. How can I bring more purpose and passion into my daily work routine this autumn?
  3. Are there any projects or initiatives I’ve been putting off that I can finally tackle in the next few months?
  4. What skills or knowledge can I acquire to enhance my career and contribute to my long-term goals?
  5. How can I find a sense of balance between my work life and personal life to nurture both aspects?


  1. Who are the people in my life that truly matter to me, and how can I strengthen my connections with them this autumn?
  2. What can I do to be a better friend, partner, or family member to those I care about?
  3. Are there any unresolved conflicts or misunderstandings in my relationships that I need to address and heal?
  4. How can I foster a more empathetic and compassionate approach in my interactions with others?
  5. What acts of kindness and gestures of love can I incorporate into my relationships to deepen their significance?

Mind and Spirit

  1. How can I cultivate a sense of mindfulness and presence in my daily life this autumn?
  2. What spiritual practices or rituals can I incorporate into my routine to nourish my inner self?
  3. What books, podcasts, or resources can I explore to expand my knowledge and perspective in the coming months?
  4. In what ways can I infuse more creativity and inspiration into my daily routines to ignite my spirit?
  5. What are the most important values and principles that guide my life, and how can I ensure they remain at the forefront of my decision-making?

Health and Well-being

  1. What steps can I take to prioritize my physical and mental health during this season of change?
  2. How can I improve my daily habits to support a healthier lifestyle?
  3. In what ways can I better manage stress and create a sense of balance in my life?
  4. What practices can I adopt to enhance my emotional resilience and mental well-being?
  5. How can I incorporate more mindfulness into my eating habits to nourish my body and soul?

Financial Goals

  1. What financial goals do I want to achieve by the end of the year, and what strategies can I implement to reach them?
  2. How can I develop a more conscious and sustainable approach to my spending and saving habits this autumn?
  3. What steps can I take to create a budget that aligns with my financial goals and values?
  4. Are there any financial skills or knowledge gaps I need to address to make more informed decisions?
  5. How can I strike a balance between financial responsibility and enjoying the present moment?

I hope these questions are your companions on a journey of self-discovery and intentional living over the coming weeks and months. Embrace the transformative energy of the season, and let these reflections to guide you toward a more meaningful end to 2023.

What I have learnt from Christmas past

It’s the same every year. Drinking on an empty stomach. Buying the tree too early. And yet, as Christmas comes to a close, we need to be reminded of the lessons to be learnt for next year.

1. If you put the tree by the radiator it looks like roasted rosemary by Boxing Day.

2. If you buy the tree too early all the needles will be in a needle mountain on the floor by the 25th.

3. The dog will get the low lying chocolates on the tree. And the ones near the bottom if they can stand, or use a fellow dog for an assist.

4. Velvet is far too hot if you are cooking Christmas lunch. You might as well be wearing a hazmat suit.

5. Go with cheap wrapping paper and the presents will be clearly visible through the holes by the time it comes to unwrapping them. It rips if you look at it, and the metallic stuff shrugs off the Sellotape: they basically unwrap themselves.

6. Always go with the bigger size. Always! You can’t really go too big where the male YAs are concerned and you might easily go too small. Also, once you’ve gone to the trouble of changing it they won’t want it, because that’s the nature of swapped presents; they lose their lustre.

7. Never countenance new ways with sprouts or other suggested deviations. Of course you don’t want to say to the YA’s girlfriend: ‘To hell with your fancy idea. Forget it! Not in This House! Not on My Watch!’ Of course you feel like a controlling Grinch, especially when everyone insists they’ll take full responsibility and it will be FINE.

But you know how it goes: give an inch and they are toasting the almonds and braising the chestnuts and taking up one third of the cooker surface when everything has been ready for 45 minutes, that is if they haven’t lost interest and drifted away. Do not change the formula is the unbreakable rule, closely followed by don’t relax until the gravy has been poured.

8. To have a starter is madness brought on by someone watching some late night Jamie Oliver holiday special.

9. Three slugs of champagne before the ‘everything coming together moment’ is the difference between calmly cruising into Christmas lunch like a swan drifting into dock and red-faced, gravy stained meltdown. It’s like alcohol taken in aeroplanes at high altitude, with anxiety medication: roughly five times more intoxicating.

10. Not bothering with an apon is like not bothering with an oven glove when you’re taking out the turkey. The gravy accident happened (again) partly because the turkey was very heavy and you were using your knee to assist and partly because of the slugs of cava that might as well be neat vodka.

11. Definitely better to have a blow dry than try and look OK under your own steam when the hot water keeps running out.

12. Avoid conversation flashpoints, at all costs. Don’t think ‘Oh why not, we’re all grown ups and everyone’s getting on like a house on fire’. No. That’s because you’ve not mentioned politics.

13. Did not need the extra midi ham. Didn’t need the bigger Christmas pudding. Didn’t need the last minute panic dash (every year) for extra potatoes and cranberries and cheese. Once again we have enough food left over to do it all again. The gallons of cream!

14. Drunk man washing up is worse than no washing up at all, and the sight of it sitting there on the draining board semi-clean but not clean, is infuriating.

15. Other things that drove us to the brink yesterday even though we should know better by now. People who ask ‘Can I help?’ while pouring themselves a drink and slowly exiting the kitchen area. The table plan that takes half an hour and then doesn’t include your mother. Spilt red wine that the spiller watches sink in with curiosity. People rubbing the cook’s back in passing, as if for good luck. The decent fizz running out before you got any because you were cooking.

Better luck next year.