Although I really do enjoy the festive period, after a long month of planning, organising, and generally being absorbed in the Christmas spirit, when January arrives and we are given a new year I really cannot wait to embrace a fresh start. Although I don’t do New Years resolutions as they add too much pressure on us, I do like to make plans and start to think about what I would like to achieve in the coming months - realistic benchmarks that I can work towards organically without the constraints of a resolution.
One of the things that helps to focus my mind and attune to this new start is taking down the Christmas decorations. I know that so many of you will write and inform me that I should wait until twelfth night - however I simply cannot do it! For me, going into a new year with Christmas decorations hanging around just does not work. I always say that as long as you’re not hurting others, do what makes you happy - for me that means decluttering and starting my year without the trimmings of the previous month/year.
Taking down the tree was no easy feat this time around. As you may remember, my tree was almost twelve feet tall, and as I like my Sitting Room to be warm and cosy, it had rapidly died and dried up! Just removing the decorations and lights left me with thousands of needles all over my carpet. Then to get it out of the house I had to saw it into three pieces, leaving a trail of destruction all the way to the front door. Nevertheless, it is all done and I am ready to start my year.
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
Although I don’t go completely overboard with indulgence in December, I do like to begin the new year by going back to a semblance of normality with my diet and health. In my last blog post - 10 BOOKS I’D LIKE FOR CHRISTMAS - one of the books I shared was one by Amy Chaplin called WHOLE FOOD COOKING EVERYDAY. Santa was very sweet and left a copy of said book in my stocking and I’m pleased to tell you that it is wonderful and the perfect guide to help you eat more healthily and cook using whole foods.
The first few chapters of the book are particularly appealing to me because they are focused on Breakfast. I have not eaten breakfast for over two years as I like to do my workout first thing in the morning and would find it uncomfortable on a full stomach. However, I would like to start having a small breakfast after my gym session instead of waiting for lunch. The first chapter of the book gives recipes for Chia Bircher Bowls - a delicious pudding-like breakfast that is packed with goodness. The handy thing about bircher bowls is that they can be prepared in advance so that you have a good breakfast waiting for you every day of the week. I thought I would share a recipe from the book here with you today.
Chia Oat Bircher Bowl
1/2 cup / 50g rolled oats
1/4 cup / 40g chia seeds
1/4 cup / 40g ground flax seeds
1/2 cup / 70g whole raw almonds, soaked overnight in 2 cups of water
2 cups water
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch of fine sea salt
Combine the the oats and the chia, hemp and flax seeds in a medium bowl; set aside. Drain and rinse the almonds and transfer them to an upright blender. add the water, vanilla, cinnamon and salt then blend until completely smooth. Pour into the oat mixture. Stir well to combine and then set aside for 25 to 30 minutes, until thick and creamy. This can be eaten immediately or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Top the bircher bowls with a variety of fruits, nuts, seeds, or compotes.
SOME GOALS FOR THE BEGINNING OF THIS NEW YEAR
I have a few goals and targets that I would like to achieve in January. It is a quiet month and for me, the perfect time to get things done around the house. I moved into my apartment just over one year ago and it is still not finished in terms of decoration. The biggest project and one that has been annoying me is my bedroom. When I moved in, the bedroom was painted a sky-blue colour by the previous resident. Although it isn’t really a bad colour, it just seems to be more suited to a children's bedroom.
My plan is to renovate this room by the end of the month without breaking the bank. I am going to repaint the walls in either a neutral shade of white, similar to the walls in my Sitting Room, or in a very warm and delicate pink.
In my previous bedroom I had a canopy over the bed which made the room feel like it was hugging you - this is a feeling I would like to bring to this new bedroom. As the ceilings are very high and the room is quite big, I am missing a feeling of comfort and cosiness that I think is so important in a bedroom.
To keep costs down I am going to take the two sets of curtains in my sitting room and use them in the bedroom. I will use one set for the canopy bed, and the other set for the window. The curtains were already in the apartment when I moved in and although they are harmless, the sash windows are really beautiful and in my mind, do not need to be surrounded with curtains.
I think these two changes will completely transform the space and make it feel as cosy as the rest of the house. I can’t wait to share this project with you.
I would love to hear some of the goals or plans that you are thinking of aiming for in this new year - let me know in the comment section below. For now I will say bye-bye and wish you all the very best for this new year ahead!