2012 Review

2012 was in essence my recovery year. 2011 was fraught with my full time Master’s, full time work, big breakup, meeting family members for the first time and my first big holiday. By the end of it I was very happy, but also in need of a rest.

I had thought, then, that I hadn’t done a lot this year. Until I sat down to think about it and the list kept on growing.

There are lots of things I’m really proud of, both personally and professionally. A lot of the goals I set at the beginning of the year were met, and through them I felt I learnt a lot about myself and where I want to be.

Health – Food

I lost a total of 2 stone in 2012. I put a little back on at Christmas, but the fact remains that if one really commits to something, then it is possible! This will be something I continue to work on in the new year. I still feel that the food that I do eat could be healthier, more veg etc.

I sporadically kept a photographic food journal, and occasionally counted calories and nutrients. I find the photo-journal very effective as it really makes me think about what I’m doing.

I also stopped eating in front of a television show, I now always eat at the table with music for company. That way the food gets my full attention and I feel like I’ve actually eaten by the end of it. I also enforced a strict washing up policy, and started to get on top of the “I can’t be bothered to go to the supermarket, I’m just going to eat pasta and cheese” issue.

Exercise

I went for my first ever run in 2012 and loved it. I didn’t keep it up after an accident in August, but am planning to add this back into my regime this year. I also purchased a kettlebell, and figured out a weekly plan that I am happily able to stick to. I want to keep working on this and keep getting stronger.

Work

I have become quite fond of the Pomodoro technique, and found it doesn’t actually deviate that much from what I was already doing. Particularly with design, it can help to take your eyes away from it for a few minutes to help refocus the ideas. Every 25 minutes or so I either get a drink or work on a small sketch.

I started working on my new portfolio, but sadly never got it live! I think it’s a case of “cobbler’s shoes”. This is back on the list of “must do”s for this year!

Beauty

I do resent that women are expected to do so much more in terms of “beauty”. I found that once I settled into a clear routine, it felt like less of a chore. More like pampering myself. That was the way I felt about my changes to my eating. I felt like I was looking after myself, and this was exactly what I needed after such a hectic year.

One of my favourite things I added into my routine was painting my nails. As a teenager I always painted them, but during the chaos this habit had become lost. I think they can finish a look, and add a little dazzle to whatever you’re wearing. I had some fun trying out the “sponge” technique to create some different looks. I got a bit addicted to Barry M polishes and scored this lovely set of Disney Villain Nail Polishes whilst in NYC.

Cleaning

This is something I am still not on top of. I have started to get better at not putting things near to their homes. I am the kind of person who will put something next to the bin instead of in it, if there is something that makes it too much effort. It is a really bad habit, and one that I do not understand! I notice when I do it now, so it has become less frequent.

Essentially, I have a 30 day cleaning schedule, which in theory should take 20 minutes per day, but most of them take less. You can find the schedule here.

The reminders pop up on my phone, occasionally I listen. Definitely need to be more on the ball with this this year.

Art

My daily sketch has become one of my favourite things about the challenges I set. I also got the paint out more than once, and tried to be more considerate when I was doing anything remotely creative. I think there needs to be more paint this year.

I paid a visit to the recently reopened Watts Gallery and lusted over one of my favourite paintings, as per usual. I went to the Saatchi Gallery for the first time too, which has an incredible room that’s just full of oil. I paid a couple of visits to Woking’s own Lightbox Gallery.

The highlight of my art love was the visit to the Met in New York. One of Henri Rousseau’s paintings there brought tears to my eyes. I brought back a postcard of what I now think is one of my favourite Van Gough paintings, but it’s just not the same. Being so close to the brush strokes, and being able to smell the paint (even after all this time!), it’s a wonderful experience. I know why we can’t touch them, but I would have loved to touch that painting.

Writing

In November I started writing for Nanowrimo. Sadly I had to stop once I hit 15000 words. I was on track until that point, but the chaos leading up to my New York holiday and some work issues put pay to it. I imagine I could have kept going if I’d really pushed myself, but this was recovery year after all. I am very happy with what I achieved with that and would love to do it again this year.

Films

As it turns out, I watched approximately 108 films last year. 70 of them I had never seen before. I might post a bigger breakdown of this at some point. I went to the cinema 7 times. I would like to up this to 10 this year, but then it depends on if there is anything worth seeing!

I also attended my first film festival. This was to see Broken, winner of the BIFA for best film. Broken is a very raw film, fantastic acting. The story is very reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, but told in a modern day East London setting.

I had my first IMAX experience for The Dark Knight Rises, which was dizzying. The shots over Gotham/NYC really made me feel dizzy! We went to the one at the BFI, which has the largest screen in Britain! It was stunning, and what a film to see so big and loud!

Theatre/Performance

I hadn’t actually set goals for this. I somehow ended up attending Cillian Murphy’s performance of Misterman twice – and loving every second of the harrowing experience.

I saw the Rockette’s Christmas Special while in NYC, and attended a performance by Fascinating Aida here in Woking.

I went to the Postsecret live event in London, which was another very raw experience, but at the same time felt like a giant group hug. I can’t remember a single Sunday in the last 8 years where I haven’t gone online first thing to read the secrets.

An extra special mention has to go to Professor Cox & Robin Ince’s End of the World Show. It was a spectacular night, filled with science, comedy, music, Hugh Grant and classic 90s cheese. And the world didn’t end.

Music

Only 6 gigs this year, which is a little sad. They were really good though which makes up for it.

Standouts included Muse and Radiohead. Muse I attended on my own and somehow ended at the front in a very safe location for the duration of the gig. As I didn’t know the people I made “gig friends” with, I had a proper rock out and enjoyed every single second.

It was lovely to see Placebo at the beginning of the year, I’m looking forward to them touring this year.

Metric were excellent. From the Jam were very cool. And The Big Pink rocked it, although the Wedge wasn’t very full which was a shame.

Holidays

Alongside my usual visits to Brighton, Portsmouth and Bognor, I also went to France and New York City (yes, again!)

Also had a little adventure to Whipsnade Zoo to see the wonderful elephants.

Other Stuff

I managed to bag tickets to recordings for QI, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and the Infinite Monkey Cage. All of which were hilarious to behold. I had the opportunity to lick Noel Fielding’s face, and didn’t – this is probably my biggest regret of 2012.

I attended a wedding, other art shows. Finally got that new sofa and had quite a few people to stay.