The end of the year deserves a little something, doesn't it? This is why today I'm going to serve you a messy blog post full of things that I see as those that influenced my 2018 the most.
1. Meditation. On New Year's Eve I may even come up with a special dance to celebrate that massive and glorious thing that I came back to in 2018. I used to meditate regularly two years ago, but during my pregnancy I abandoned my daily practice. In the second half of 2018 I came back to it and I realised that it made a huge difference to my life. I'm myself again and I am not exaggerating. If you think that meditation is for those who are away with the fairies or that it's something to do with religion, or that you need some special skills to do it, let me only tell you this is absolutely not true and the benefits may affect your whole life. Give it a go for a week and you'll see. If you don't know where to start I strongly recommend the Calm app.
2. White Teeth by Zadie Smith is now officially my favourite novel that I've read in 2018. This is in the "Most brilliant, fabulous and intelligent." category. See the below categories for other winners:
Best page turner: Eleanor Elephant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Most confusing: Autumn by Ali Smith
Ridiculously thought-provoking and: Never Let Me Go by Kazoo Ishiguro
The biggest disappointment: The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (sorry Mrs. Hogan, maybe my expectations were too high?)
The biggest disappointment because it ended and I never wanted it to end: A Keeper by Graham Norton
Most inspiring cook book: Trufla by Patricia Dolecka
Most inspiring art book: Art & Fear by D.Bales & T.Orland
Most inspiring baby book: Montessori and Mindfulness by Susan Mayclin Stephenson
3. Music-wise I did not (not even for a single day) let go of Sam Smith. Don't think any more explanation is needed. If you don't know who Sam Smith is then... how come? Just click here and listen to my recently favourite track of this genius boy.
Plus in 2018 I remembered my old love, Anthony and the Johnsons. That love started with the Beautiful Boyz by CocoRosie, but what reminded me about Anohni's special voice was his Fistful of Love that played in Les petits mouchoirs which of course is a must watch and my comfort-movie that I always go back to (just please, don't watch the trailers, don't read the stupid descriptions of this film... they are definitely off-putting and don't give it justice)
4. My favourite skill that I learnt in 2018 is... how to make homemade pasta. I haven't perfected it yet but I definitely got a grip on it.
5. One most important thing that I learnt in 2018 is that it's okay to change your mind and opinions. In fact it can be quite a brilliant experience and feels great to allow yourself to change.
6. Kasia's Advent Calendar was my latest free offering at Everything Art. We were doing 24 art journaling prompts for the 24 days before Christmas. All to check in with ourselves, to find a moment of peace in this busy time. The way the offering worked, the way people connected and shared, the way I built it - this is something really good. This is the exact way I want our business to go and I'm really glad that I discovered it through this great experience of my Advent Calendar.
7. Something I realised: Most of people don't really listen. They hear what they want to hear, they form their answers before you finish talking, they ask a question and suggest you the answer, they start every sentence with "I" and give advice that they weren't asked for and that often is irrelevant. Sometimes it's those who are really close to us and then I decided I'm going to still love them and still listen to them even if I, myself am not listened to. All the rest of people who don't want to listen... well, I think they should be avoided and our energy saved for those who do. And this is not making me feel down at all. Quite the opposite - it's exhilarating to realise that not every relationship has to be taken care of and we must free ourselves of some of them in order to make space for the most valuable ones.
8. Another thing I realised is that somehow I got myself into my very own art journaling trap. I put pressure on myself that my pages must be coherent, that they must fit in with the style of other spreads, that each has to be finished and preferably finished on the same day. All of it is exactly how art journaling shouldn't be and I know it, but somehow still managed to forget. I did realise my mistake quite quickly though, so now I must sort myself out.
9. I fell in love with essential oils. During my pregnancy I started to strongly dislike all synthetic aromas and that stayed with me. This is how I discovered the delight that a good essential oil can bring. I pay much more attention to the scent of each room in my house and I know now that it can improve my mood almost instantly. There's no evening without a good mist of lavender and tea tree oil, no bath without a drop of ylang-ylang, no christmas without siberian fir oil in my diffuser.
10. Cooking once for the whole week. I love food and cooking but with a toddler it was using up most of my spare time. I would spend evenings cooking and even though sometimes I enjoyed it I also sometimes wanted or needed to do something else. Take-away more than once a month is not an option for me. Once I started cooking in batches and taking the advantage of our big freezer my evenings are all free and we eat well and healthy. If I plan well then we have a meal for every day of the week (lunches and teas!). I'm loving this so much!
11. The above means that I also plan our meals more mindfully and so I am able to include more vegetables and pulses in our diet. Some time ago we both decided that we don't want to and don't need to eat much meat. Though going vegetarian tempts me more and more I'm not quite ready yet to make that decision, especially not for my child. This means that we of course eat meat but we buy only one kind of meat per week. This was a very good change!
13. Going back to writing was one of the best things I've done in 2018. Refreshing my website, getting my blog going again... oh wow, this feels good.
14. My favourite photograph that I've taken in 2018... is hard to choose. So I have two - both with my favourite people on them. The top one is from Zosia's first Birthday. It was such a happy day. We had both families together in our house, Zosia shamelessly face-planted into her cake which made us all cry with laughter, pure happiness.
The second picture is of Jamie and Zosia too, but this time they are exploring the winter garden of my parents. It was another wonderful day shared with people I really love the most.
Have you done a summary like mine on your blog? Please post a link because I love reading them.
I wish you all a fabulous New Year. Let it bring you what you need most and let it be good to you.