Stepping in to Brave

Hello again! How is 2017 treating you so far? It seems a bit mad that we're past half way through January already, but actually I already seem to have fitted quite a lot in.

Thank you to everyone who read my previous post about my word for the year, and to those of you who shared your own guiding words and what you hope to get out of this year. I thought today I'd give you a quick progress report, because there are several plans that are already in motion, and I'm excited to experience where Brave is leading me so far.

I started doing yoga in the mornings back in November, and I'm proud that I've been able to keep up this new habit every day (with the exception of a couple of days when I had a really bad cold). Now that I'm starting to feel like I've reconnected with my physical body I'm feeling braver about trying slightly harder routines and poses. I've been following a combination of Sarah Beth Yoga's Month of Yoga, and Yoga with Adriene's Yoga Revolution, and they're definitely stretching me - physically and mentally! I've been so out of touch with exercise for a while that it's actually a pleasant surprise when I find I can balance on one leg for over a minute, or hold a deep stretch without collapsing, or twist further than I thought was humanly possible. So I'm chalking this one up as the first major success of the year, and a habit that I hope will help me cultivate more courage to carry across into other areas.

If you remember, one of the biggest areas I wanted to focus on this year was food and my eating habits. Well I'm happy to report positive progress here too! I've tried a couple of new and different meals that I would have avoided before - although I did pick the pieces of onion out of my Dad's chicken chasseur - and have made a new soup recipe from scratch (this one from Waitrose) which turned out really yummy, but resulted in a very messy kitchen! I've also been looking at switching up my snacking (once we eventually eat all the Christmas chocolates and biscuits) and found Deliciously Ella's Cacao and Almond Energy Balls. Now I haven't eaten fruit for years and the base ingredient of these is medjool dates - but they are absolutely scrummy! I bought a couple to try, but am also going to have a go at making some myself with the recipe from Ella's website - I'll let you know how they turn out.

One of my biggest aims for this year is to start growing my business and income, and to continue sharing what I'm up to. Step one of this project has been an update to my Etsy shop this week with some new products - cosy chunky hand knitted scarves - and switching my photography listings to digital downloads so you can buy my images and receive the files instantly instead of having to wait for prints to arrive in the post. Step two is a radical redesign of my website and moving it to a new home. I'm still working on this at the moment, and of course I'll let you know before I disappear from here - but in the meantime keep an eye out at www.jennifercockcroft.com for news of when I'll be ready to launch!

Finally for this update, some brave steps towards getting out into the world more and meeting new people. I have two trips coming up in the next couple of weeks - firstly a day in Birmingham to meet some Instagram friends who are all UK based, and I expect there to be cake involved. To be really honest, I am nervous about this, although I've conversed online with all of them over months, but actually meeting face to face still brings an anxiety - what if they're nothing like they present themselves online? What if I don't like them? What if they don't like me? Anyway, all that chatter is going on in the back of my head, but my train tickets are booked and I'll be off on Saturday. I'm sure it'll turn out to be a fantastic day and all the worries will be completely unfounded!

The second trip I'm super excited about - I'm going to Edinburgh for a few days! It's a city that's been on my list for a while, and an opportunity has come up for me to be out of the house for a while, so I've booked more train tickets and will be off to Scotland at the end of the month. I've got a list of a few places that I definitely want to visit, but if you've been and have any recommendations then I'd be really grateful - unmissable sights, interesting neighbourhoods, history and culture, the best place to get a hearty breakfast or a satisfying dinner - leave me a comment or send me a message and let me know!

Goodness, that's definitely a lot already for just a month into 2017 isn't it? I can't wait to see what February brings.