For 2023 I am starting a new tradition, a bit of a monthly dump of what's been going on for me, including some pics from my phone :-)
First of January, I didn't make a New Year's resolution. I stopped that a long time ago. However, I do choose a word to remind me as the year goes by of my intention for the year ahead.
Last year my word was brave. And for 2023 I chose flourish.
I really wanted something around abundance and growth. But flourish felt perfect because we can only flourish in the right circumstances.
So this is very much about creating the world around me that I can do my best work and by the time I came to the end of 2022 I knew I had smashed the word brave by making the really tough decision to resign from my job as a fashion design. lecturer.
It was my first really professional career. I did it for 11 years.
But ultimately, it was holding me back and time to move on.
So we opened January with the word flourish in our minds and I held my annual Nollaig na mBan gathering, a celebration of all the women in my life, my friends, and we all had to get together here at my house. It’s a really nice day that harks back to the Irish tradition of women given the day off not do their traditional women's work in the house. As a thank you for how hard they'd worked at Christmas.
Don't get me started on the idea that we only have one day. But there we are. And I'm happy to bring this tradition back. As a chance to have fun with friends.
Also back in Ireland on the news Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of Sinn Fein was spotted wearing our beautiful LES snood. It looked absolutely fantastic on her I have to say and it was cool to track her down on the telly.
Speaking of knitwear, I spent most of January developing new feminist fair-isle motifs, and lots of different colorways these are really unique to Black & Beech and something I feel really passionate about.
I might write a separate blog post just about fair-isle when I get the chance. Suffice to say I'm heading to Scotland at the weekend and I'm really excited to take you on that journey. It'll definitely be included in the February roundup.
At the end of December, I had a piercing in my ear, which I think it was very strongly linked to my decision to end my job and have some kind of marker of change and strength.
Clearly I'm now addicted and in January I went back for two more piercings.
Not really sure what's drawn me to this experience. But it definitely makes me feel really empowered and strong to experience that moment of pain and know I can handle it.
In January my birthday also happens and my glitter and trauma crew slash Whatsapp group slash book club pals always make the celebrations really special.
In this instance, we had a sort of pyjama pyjama party with everyone wearing their B&B pyjamas at my friend Eli's house where we had pizza, drinks and just hung out … it was so nice to see our pyjamas on such a badass group of women but also just spend some time together. In PJ’s!
Me and my family also had some trips to Barry Island, which is the seaside near Cardiff. The kids loved crazy Golf, chips were eaten and fossilised rocks gathered. Something about Barry island in the winter that I really like it's much quieter and kitsch.
I also started a diet and exercise routine for approximately seven days before completely failing, giving up and feeling pretty shit about that process. I do really want to shape up but I really struggle with diet culture, which seems to make me become entirely obsessed with eating.
Nevertheless, we'll carry on. Before someone jumps on me for sharing my true feelings about this. I'm not speaking for anyone other than myself.
I personally would like to lose some weight for my health and wellbeing and because I have a wardrobe of clothes that don't fit me.
In the spirit of being strong and healthy, I did start Pilates on Saturdays for the last two weeks with my friend Meg, which I've really enjoyed and found incredibly challenging, but in again, quite a good way.
I think the fact that the class is set to music really helps.
And towards the end of the session I can really feel myself wanting to just sing.
I also really enjoyed co working on Mondays with some of my friends at a bar in town called Bacareto. Funnily, because of my dyslexia I have called this place Barceto for a number of years… EEKK.
Found I was becoming quite lonely working in my office at home alone for much of the time, and I just needed that routine of catching the train and heading to work, so to speak, as well as having chats around the watercooler slash table that we all shared.
Speaking of community we caught up with Ruby the founder of Wuka, the UK is first period pants brand. I love the products so much and really enjoy working on giveaways etc. with them. It was so good to catch up with Ruby on this Insta Live and she really inspires me as a founder you can catch us chatting here.
I also recorded a podcast this month with Jane from Quite the Hive. She works with women around making brave choices and had lots of interesting questions to ask me. and I think I really opened up on the podcast which will be out in March.
That's it for January, I hope yours was pretty good too.
And I hope you've enjoyed reading what we've been up to.
Let me know what you think below, we'd love to hear from you.