29 December 2016

2017 New Year's Resolutions

Oh gawd how is it nearly the end of December & almost the final sunset for 2016? 

Although to be fair I think most people will be glad to see the back of this year, myself included. Anyhow, it’s that time of year again to reflect & set new resolutions for the year ahead. I was almost going to shun it this year. Sometimes just the thought of making resolutions starts to make me panic.

Last year I posted my 2016 resolutions in January & set 5 goals, some I did better on than others:
  1. Read more. I haven’t kept count exactly, but definitely think it’s less than 10 which is pretty poor. I’ve started using the Goodreads app, so hopefully this will keep me on track for 2017.
  2. Eat healthier. I got off to such a great start at the beginning of the year full of vigour with my shiny new nutribullet, tea detoxes, piloxing & I even attended a Vitality Brunch event. It was all so healthy that it actually made me sick before my holiday. So, everything needs to be done within moderation. That said a Maccie D’s every week is probably not ideal for the bikini body.
  3. Learn to use my DSLR & photograph more. Well, I acquired my dream camera the Olympus Pen in February which looks oh so pretty, but sadly I just haven’t done it justice. I did switch phones from the iPhone 6 to the Samsung Galaxy Edge 7 which I must admit does trump the iPhone & has upped my Instagram game (becky_wren)
  4. Have more adventures. Yep, going on a girls surf camp to Morocco was my big adventure & a weekend away SUP’ing at Lake Wimbleball was pretty awesome too. I also bought a second hand SUP & been out paddle boarding a few times this winter.
  5. Blog more. Hmm… yes, I know, this one didn’t quite happen. Again I started off full of excitement, stacks of ideas & then I started a new job at the end of March. And everything just kind of got busy & I fell out of sync with writing for me & worrying about pleasing everyone else.

So what does 2017’s resolutions look like?

I was reading the lovely Louise Croft’s post over at Pauper to Princess where she used a template from blogger Secret Owl & it gave me some inspiration to do something a little bit different. This template has more of a laid back thought provoking approach rather than setting hard hitting goals which set you up to fail.

So, here’s a snap shot of my 2017 resolutions. It’s a real mix of actions & feelings.

I won’t go through all of them, but here’s a few that stand out:
  • Organise – I’m pretty chuffed as I’ve already KonMari the hell out of my office this afternoon & finally de-cluttered some boxes from a previous company I left 2 and half years ago! Plans are already in play for doing up my ensuite & the garage needs a rainy day to declutter my old school & Uni files. 
  • Gain – a new job. Yep, my secondment in PR & Social Media comes to an end in March & it will be on to the next adventure – whatever that might be, which is kind of exciting & daunting.
  • Travel to – I’m hoping by putting Sri Lanka in writing is a step closer for Dan & I to actually go either later this year or for New Year. It will definitely be an adventure & will help me with my other goals of improving my surf / SUP skills.
  • Do less – stressing & worrying what others think! This applies to my parents, friends & work colleagues. I’m a typical cancerian & take things to heart & stress about what people say or think for far too long. Hopefully with ‘doing more’ yoga will help me find some inner peace & stress less.
  • Practice – always! I had the horses in mind when I thought of this one, but it applies to everything. Even when I go for a quick ride up the road you need to be ‘on it’ & working the horse in the right outline, thinking about your position etc. It goes for any sport, work, & blogging.  I guess we're always learning & practicing, as one day one of those pipe dreams might just come true.

Have you had a chance to think about your New Year's resolutions for 2017? I'd love to hear them & find out how you got on with your goals from this year.

28 December 2016

What I Got for Christmas 2016

Hey Country Bumpkins!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with family & loved ones?

I’ve debated for a few days whether or not to post my Christmas presents, with fear it could seem like I’m a bragging spoilt teenager. However, as one of my new resolutions (to be revealed tomorrow) is all about worrying less about what other people think, stopping procrastinating about my blog & just write – I will embrace my new mantra & just get on with it!

So, once again I’ve been a very lucky girl & pretty spoilt by both my parents & Dan. I might be 35, but do still get a buzz from unwrapping gifts & wondering what on earth I’ve been bought. I was pleased not to receive a single pair of socks, although my mum did buy me 3 pairs of fancy knicks. Ta mum.

Below is a snap shot of some of my fave presents…

Top row – left to right:
  • Candles – Since reading The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking I’m all about finding my Hygge this winter, getting cosy with a good book, whilst burning some candles. So, I was pleased to receive 3 new scents to try out: No 2 by Senini of England – a fresh mix of lily, white tea & cotton musk; patchouli which smells herby or hippie according to google; Westcountry Collection plum pudding – a cocktail of sweet juicy raisins, sultanas & currants with nutmeg & mixed spice – basically Christmas in a candle!
  • Earrings from Allum & Sidaway – I can’t wait to wear these dainty little silver link & gold heart shaped earrings from my parents. They’re not too in your face but enough to add a bit of pizazz to an outfit.
  • Rituals Hammam Mint Tea from Dan’s brother Toby & girlfriend Lucy - the box in itself is just beautiful with a lush mosaic print. It also reminds me of my week in Morocco & the strange taxi driver who took us for mint tea.

Middle row – left to right:
  • Ripcurl hoodie – was spot on from Dan, consisting of my fave colour - turquoise, fave surf brand of the moment & is lovely & snug. We just need some beach adventures now.
  • Pot of roses – my gorgeous goddaughter Evie painted the pot, in again my favourite colours & the roses have been sprayed gold. It’s currently jazzing up the grey paving & adding a bit of sunshine to winter.
  • Cosy snood – my folks do surprise me sometimes, & purchased this lovely cosy snood from Goulds of Dorchester which matches my furry Animal headband.

Bottom row – left to right:
  • Surf Café Living by Jane & Myles Lamberth – is right up my street & was a fab present from my best friend Rach, I can’t wait to get stuck in.
  • Framed picture of Dan & I – this actually made me well up. I didn’t realise the other week Dan was keen to take a selfie of us before my Christmas drinks party & sneakily printed the pic the next day. He’s a keeper J
  • Eau So Fresh by Daisy – Marc Jacobs – it’s been a while since anyone’s bought me perfume & it always smells so much better when you wear bought perfume. I think I’m going to get through this bottle pretty quick as it’s so easy to wear day or night & smells fresh & light, but not too girly.
Anyhow, I guess I have been pretty spoilt this Christmas by the ones I love.

What did you guys get for Christmas? What was your favourite or funniest gift?

27 December 2016

Spotify – my 2016 wrapped up

Those dudes over at Spotify our geniuses. & guess what they’re Swedish too, who knew? The Swedes brought us Ikea, H&M, Abba & now Spotify. Even though it’s been going for 10 years, I only set up an account back in 2013. I remember a couple of the cool kids in the office kept banging on about it being the way forward to listen to music – well I finally got there in the end.

It’s crazy to think how the way we listen to music has changed so much even during my last 30 years from growing up with vinyl at the folks house, to playing cassettes on my Sony Walkman, CD’s on a portable device & a lot of CD players who never really lasted that long, through to Apple’s iPod / iTunes & now streaming through Spotify. I skipped the short lived MP3 players – they just looked pointless.

I guess I was a bit of a laggard when it came to Spotify, but I’m all over it now & love their 2016 outdoor marketing campaign ‘Thanks 2016, it’s been weird.

And then they sent me my 2016 in stats ‘Your 2016, wrapped’ which is pretty darn cool & got me very excited. Aww thanks Spotify, you guys are the best & your marketing works. High praise!

They also included my Top 2016 songs playlist  with over 100 songs & 6 hours of playtime, Well that's New Year's Eve warm up sorted - genius!

No surprises that Bob Marley & The Wailers 'Could you be loved' was my top played song. It was definitely the anthem to my summer surf trip to Morocco & made it onto our playlist - see another good reason for Spotify.

There are a lot of surf tunes on there from Manu Chao, Blink 182 to Sunset Sons. As well as a few from the Jurassic Fields festival - headliners Fun Lovin' Criminals & folk band Duncan Disorderly & The Scallywags

Anyhow, feel free to have a listen to my top songs 2016 playlist, there are a few shockers on there, but I'll let you be the judge of that! 

Have you received a playlist from Spotify or any other good streaming company? What's been your fave tunes for 2016?

24 December 2016

It’s been a while...

Hey Country Bumpkins!

Yep, it has been a while since I last blogged back in August, almost 4 whole months.*Hangs head in shame.

Have no fear folks, my blogging hiatus is over! I’m leaving all my measly writing excuses along with the rest of the crap that went down in 2016, I’m swallowing a whopping great big positive mental attitude pill & getting ready to crack on with 2017 as well as bottle of Heston’s mulled cider.

In a nutshell, as I don’t want to be all doom & gloom this Christmas, but the last 4 months have been a bit of a roller coaster to say the least. Starting off with Dan & I breaking up for a few months over the summer, we’re now back together – phew, so look out for more adventure posts to follow including tales of SUPing & surfing. Barley my gorgeous chestnut Irish boy had a benign tumour cut out of his foot in August & has been on box rest ever since as it’s taken a very long time to grow over. Jonty went on a jumping hiatus during the autumn, however, on Monday we had an amazing jump lesson with eventer Jo Rimmer which left me buzzing & wanting to kick on for next year. And the worst bit of crap was my darling mum being very poorly this autumn/winter. So, all those stresses that life threw at me left me feeling pretty meh & I couldn’t find the heart to blog.

After a few people at work commented that they hadn’t seen me blogging for a while, I decided that Country Bumpkin Chic needed to be heading into 2017 with a new look & feel. It was also another good excuse that if I had a brand spanking new look I’d get my blogging thang back. So, I got back in touch with Serena Ozgowicz from Pretty Wild Things, who originally created a festival vibe blogger template back in the summer of 2014 – which was perfect for when I was gallivanting around interviewing the likes of Seth Lakeman, Newton Faulkner & Andy Jordan, you know – the fit one who used to be Made in Chelsea.

My new look is stripped back with a clean & simple vibe. I’m not afraid to use black & white, which I know my designer friends gave me the thumbs up for. I’m still being true to Country Bumpkin Chic & the swallow from the previous template has flown over to the new one, & had a re-vamp making him look pretty darn country chic. I’ve also added a carousel for images at the top, so you can easily see recent posts. As well as adding in some topic headers for the key areas I will be writing about - Food, Travel, Fitness, Dorset & Interviews.
Anyhow… I’d love to know what you think of the new look & I promise to blog more this festive period & next year. Watch this space for more tales from Country Bumpkin Chic.

Have a fabulous Christmas with family & loved ones. 

My little Xmas tree...