I know I said I will no longer write this type of posts, but I couldn’t let a year start without looking back at the things I have discovered and enjoyed the most during 2016.
BOOK: WOMANCODE, BY ALISA VITTI
I read Womancode early in January and it has changed my relationship with my health. It is a book every woman should read and buy for their female friends - I have definitely waxed lyrical about it to all mine! Womancode is a sort of manual to feminine health and a great resource to understand hormonal issues and how to improve them by using food as medicine and some lifestyle changes. The book explains the different phases of the feminine cycle, what factors disrupt your balance and a step by step guide to restoring it.
Since then I have made some changes to my diet (the hardest was to wave goodbye to coffee) and I have been slowly seeing results, but the best thing is to actually understand my body and know what I need to do when it feels out of whack.
You can read my full post about it from last year here.
PODCAST: THE LIVELY SHOW
I've been listening to The Lively Show for longer than a year, but in 2016 it was such a source of inspiration. If you have never listened to it, it is a podcast by Jess Lively. I am trying to find words to describe what Jess does, and I guess you could call her a coach. She started out as an entrepreneur and then offered business coaching, lately focusing on her online programme "Life with intention" and her podcast. In the past there used to be weekly interviews, mostly with women in business, which I found really interesting, but life took an amazing turn for Jess this year and she sold everything she owned (apart from a dining table) and has been travelling since the spring. Of all her work, there are two things that stand out and resonate with me the most:
- Making your intuition your guide. If you have read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle you might be familiar with the concepts of ego and being. Being is what Jess Lively calls intuition, and it is that peaceful voice that knows what you need in every single moment. Earlier in the year I read The Chimp Paradox and there was a similar pair of the chimp and the human, the more impulsive side and the one that knows. I have a tendency to overthink, so I find it really interesting to tune into my intuition when I am unnecessarily worrying about something.
- The concept of flow, as opposed to this huge hustle mentality that exists out there, of forcing your way into things, of working so damn hard for everything. It is not about being idle or lazy, but sometimes sitting back and letting situations develop without so much force has been really helpful for me.
Listening to the podcast each week became such a balm when I was stressed and worrying about relationships or work! It has taught me different ways of looking at things and I intend to write a whole post about it to share it. I've recommended it to many friends and I realise this is not something for everyone (a friend said she was too chirpy, ha ha), but I'm really into self development and growth so this is right up my street!
Reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying in the summer of 2015 was the beginning of something for me. Since then I have taken to my local Oxfam shop more than 10 bags of clothing and books. The whole idea of just owning what you really love really resonated with me and I have never looked back. It doesn't feel restrictive at all either.
A few months ago I discovered the podcast and blog by The Minimalists and have been voraciously listening to them and watched their film Minimalism on Netflix. I really loved the film because it shows lots of different ways of doing minimalism. It is not just for people who live on their own and are austere. There are minimalist families, people who love living in tiny houses (I love following tiny house accounts on Instagram!), people who travel… It is what you make it, there are no set rules.
I don't consider myself a minimalist but I definitely enjoy having fewer clothes, books, things that distract me from the things, activities or people I love. I feel lighter and freer.
PRODUCTIVITY: BULLET JOURNAL
The Bullet Journal became huge in 2016 and judging by how much of it I have seen on social media this week it will be even bigger in 2017. It is a very concise way of journaling and recording events for which you need no fancy diary. All you need is a notebook. I read about it in this post by Lily Pebbles, which sparked my curiosity, so I decided to give it a go last spring.
I currently use it in 3 areas of my life:
- At work, to organise myself with to do lists and keep notes from meetings.
- For Sunshine + Glow, to keep track of what I am posting when, important information and to do lists.
- In my personal life, mostly to keep track of health stuff and setting goals, as otherwise I use my phone for appointments.
Looking at examples of it on Pinterest you would think it is a work of art, but I use it in its purest and simplest form, as per the description on their website and it is quick and simple! It is a system that I find very flexible and it works brilliantly for me, so I intend to stick to it for the foreseeable future!
If your curiosity has been sparked, you can read more about it here.
BEAUTY: BAREMINERALS COMPLEXION RESCUE TINTED GEL
As I have been minimising the amount of products I use, I don't have loads and loads of products that I usually talk about, but the ones I use I really, really love.
Last year I started wearing tinted moisturiser instead of foundation, and this year I started switching to natural products where possible, and found this one by Bareminerals in the process.
This is a very light gel with hardly any coverage at all, but it makes your skin look really plump and healthy. It has some light reflecting properties and I think this hides imperfections much better than really thick foundation. I've just bought my second tube.
TRAVEL: A YOGA RETREAT IN SIERRA NEVADA
I think I went on my blogging hiatus just as I was going to go on this holiday last summer, so I actually have not said anything about it. Once again I went with Shine Yoga Retreats, as I think Jen, the founder, has a real knack for finding places off the beaten track that feel really special. We spent a week in a tiny village called Ferreirola, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains just outside of Granada in Southern Spain, and it was magical. The food was outstanding (I will share a recipe for a watermelon salad when the weather gets warmer), the setting was breathtakingly beautiful. We were practicing yoga on a sunny terrace looking at the mountains every morning and evening, hiking daily or just enjoying a splash in the pool with a good book. We had so much fun in the yoga classes, playing with inversions every day (this time I managed a headstand too!) and even a little bit of acro-yoga. We also spent a day in Granada and visited the Alhambra, something that had been on my bucket list for years!
I'm off for my fourth retreat with them in a few weeks, this time to Bali, and I cannot wait!
WHAT'S IN STORE FOR 2017
Looking ahead, my main priority for 2017 is going to be moving more. I would love to run regularly and build strength. My other two resolutions are to save so I can go on another big trip at the end of the year and to meditate daily.
Hope you found this interesting! I would love to hear what stood out to you during the past year!