At the very end of last year I set myself 18 goals to achieve in 2018. Most of them are ongoing, so I can’t necessarily definitively tick them off until the end of the year. However, I wanted to hold myself accountable so I thought I’d share my progress every three months, so I can see how I’m getting on. This is my nine month update!
1. HAVE A BABY!
B is now six months old, and we’re about to start weaning. It’s scarily fast how quickly this year is going!
2. OVERPAY THE MORTGAGE
We’ve continued to do this every month, which I’m really pleased about. We had been toying with the idea of moving house recently, as we’ve well and truly filled our house since having B. However, a bigger house would mean a bigger mortgage. So, we’ve decided to take the pressure off financially, stay where we are and keep overpaying the mortgage as much as we can. We just need to keep decluttering as we no longer have a spare room to dump everything in!
3. LAUNCH A NEW BOOK AND ACTIVITY-RELATED SERIES ON THE BLOG
Pondering Playtime is still going! I’ve been finding it a bit of a challenge to keep on top of recently, but all of the activities are scheduled in my diary until Christmas, and I’ve even started thinking about activities for next year! M has been really enjoying all of the activities I’ve set up for her, and I’ve been enjoying doing it with her. Soon B will want to get involved too, and then the fun will really start!
4. JOIN IN WITH THE LIVING ARROWS LINKY EVERY WEEK
I’m still going with Living Arrows! I’ve only had one week where I’ve had to hurriedly write the post on a Monday morning as I’ve completely forgotten about it, so I think I’m doing okay. I love this linky as it means that I’ve got a lovely lot of beautiful photos and memories of the girls to look back on.
5. LEARN HOW TO USE MY NEW CAMERA
Yep. STILL in auto. But it takes lovely pictures in auto, so I don’t really have any incentive to make life more difficult for myself!
6. WORK WITH AT LEAST ONE EXCITING NEW BRAND
I’m lucky to still be working with exciting brands from time to time. So far this year I’ve worked with BabyStyle on the new Oyster 3 release and Britax on their updated Römer swivel car seat, amongst others. I love the nature of blogging, where you just don’t know what might drop into your inbox!
7. TURN THE SPARE ROOM INTO A NURSERY
In my last update I admitted to allowing B’s room to turn into a bit of a storage area. That’s still the case, I’m afraid, but I have been slowly sorting it out. It’s mostly got bits of pram in it, as we have so many and so many accessories to go with them! It’s not too much of a problem at the moment as B is still sleeping in our room, but M is starting to realise she can stand on B’s armchair and reach things on a bookshelf (the I’ll-put-this-here-so-the-toddler-can’t-get-it shelf), so I really need to have another big sort out in there as soon as possible!
8. SORT OUT MY MATERNITY ALLOWANCE
There’s been quite a turn of events regarding my maternity allowance. Before I went along to the pre-launch of the Oyster 3, I phoned the Maternity Allowance people to check that it was okay. When I applied for maternity allowance, I was told (by the Maternity Allowance people, not some random person!) that blogging is a ‘grey area’ and that as long as I wasn’t earning any money from it, I’d be okay. Well, it turns out I was misinformed, and in fact even writing about our trip to the park last week counts as ‘work towards my paid employment’. Which is a complete no-no. So, in the interests of not committing fraud, I cancelled my claim with immediate effect.
It’s all sorted now but obviously not ideal as that was an income that we were expecting to have until the end of the year. The most important thing, though, is that I’m not breaking the law. So if you are a blogger on Maternity Allowance, please do check that you’re claiming correctly. It’s worth noting here that if you’re on Maternity Pay from an employer, that you’re allowed to earn as much as you like through self employed activities while you’re on maternity leave. So please don’t panic if that’s you!
9. READ A BOOK FOR PLEASURE
Okay, so I did read The Power by Naomi Alderman* (*Affiliate link) before B was born, but I haven’t read anything since. I have, however, been listening to audiobooks while doing the night feeds. I highly recommend Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (*Affiliate link).
As I mentioned earlier, my main focus for decluttering is B’s room. I feel like we’ve decluttered that room SO many times (we’ve repurposed it three times since we moved in!), but it really does need doing again. We’ve realised that with a toddler, we really do need to live a more minimalist lifestyle. M just gets into everything! This week we’ve already had unfortunate incidents with a paint stick and a bottle of moisturising lotion…
11. GET IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
I think I’m getting better at this! I’ve put a few more photos of myself on my Instagram grid. I still need to teach Matthew how to take a good photograph, though, as most of the time, I’ve had to resort to selfies.
12. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE MORE
I think I’m doing a bit better with this. We’ve bought annual passes to a local attraction which is really pushchair friendly, so I’ve started packing up a lunch and taking M and B out by myself for a visit. M loves it and I feel like we’ve had some nice time outside, but somewhere that I feel safe. Unfortunately, I often feel too anxious to walk by myself with the girls around lakes or down footpaths, so this is a good solution for us.
13. HAVE MY HAIR CUT REGULARLY
I have been doing this! I now book my next appointment before I leave my last one, and I’ve even had my hair coloured (which you can see in the photo above). It’s made me feel loads better about myself, so I’m definitely going to continue this little bit of self care.
14. PAY OFF THE CAR FINANCE
We did this in March. Which is just as well now that we don’t have the Maternity Allowance coming in, as we’d have been a bit stretched making monthly payments for two cars. Paying the car finance off our second car was definitely the right move for us financially.
15. GET ORGANISED
I’m starting to feel more organised now that B is getting older and I’m more into the grove of having two little ones to keep track of, instead of one. I’m already looking at diaries and calendars for next year, to keep me feeling on top of things!
16. BE MORE PRESENT
This has improved. Matthew bought me the book, How to Break Up With Your Phone (*Affiliate Link). I haven’t managed to read all of it and I’m not prepared to go cold turkey without my phone, but I have been stricter with myself and now don’t have my phone with me at the dinner table (yep, I’ll be brave and admit to that!) and I’ve deleted off some of the apps that I was needlessly addicted to. I’ve kept a couple, though, to keep me entertained during the night feeds.
17. BOOK A HOLIDAY
In my last update I said that I was toying with the idea of booking us a weekend away at Centre Parcs. Well, I bit the bullet and we’re off there next month! It’s been really nice having something to look forward to, especially with Matthew starting a new job. I’m so excited for us to have our first proper holiday together! It’s less than an hour down the road, but I know we’ll feel like we’re well and truly on holiday once we’re there. At least it’s close enough to pop home if we forget anything major!
18. BE KIND TO MYSELF
I’m still working on this. I’m feeling a bit happier about my figure as more time has passed since having B, and I’ve started a postpartum workout course, Love Your Core. I just need to make more time for myself to actually follow the videos!
I’ve struggled a bit since B has been born with feeling like there’s never any time for me. But, she’s refusing to take a bottle, so I don’t really have much choice but to be available to her. I’ve got a lovely friend visiting next weekend so hopefully that will rejuvenate me a little bit. I’m also reminding myself that breastfeeding is a temporary thing, and one day B won’t need me in that way any more. So I’m going to make the most of it while it lasts!
Have you set any goals or resolutions for yourself this year? How are you getting on with them?
*Affiliate Link – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk.