Since finishing my degree, having a virtual graduation and failing to find a new job I have had a lot of time to consider what is next for me. Covid-19 and the proceeding UK lockdowns/tier system have resulted in me not seeing much of anyone in the last 12 months and like many I have found this a strain on my personal well being. Summer was fun, hubby was able to take the summer off after a short contract in Spring – which started and finished without him leaving the house – so we had time to hang out together. We even managed to have a mini adventure on the boat we excitedly bought into just before the 1st nationwide lockdown started. Isolating from the infected masses on a 39′ sailing yacht floating around the Solent in the beautiful summer sunshine was a Godsend.

I sit here now having just enjoyed a makeshift Christmas celebration with just hubby, the cat and I. We were put into tier 4 with just 4 days to go and so had to change our planned trip to bubble with my parents and go on a swift turkey hunt! I think we managed to rescue Christmas successfully though it was a big disappointment for my elderly parents – my brother and his wife did an amazing job of breaking the day up for both my folks and his in-laws too by visiting them each in their gardens on Christmas day itself as well as organising an international family gathering on Skype. I am hoping that we will be able to have a live in person Christmas do-over soon; they have both now had the 1st of the 2 vaccine shots which will give them a freedom they’ve not experienced in almost 12 months.

Over the months leading up to Christmas I have applied for many, many more jobs and though I have had a couple of interviews, my situation remains unchanged and I get more zero responses and thanks but no thanks than ever before. I remain optimistic that the perfect role is out there for me.

My leather crafting took a slightly different turn this Christmas, as I changed from making stitched items to creating individual and personalised items with my own particular style. I found a fabulous local company who made me a bespoke set of dies for cutting letters out of my toughest leather and I’ve made everyone a personalised coaster and personalised keyrings for Christmas. Wish I’d have taken more pictures though!

At the start of December I took up a free place on a healthy living program – Feel, Look, Be (FLB) courtesy of my lovely cousin. She’d been doing the plan since July and was looking amazing, her outlook on life seemed to be much more vibrant and, well buzzy. I had looked at the plan when she first mentioned it, but the price made me gasp – at full price it’s £145 a month. I know that’s a lot right? But with the 1st month gifted to me thanks to my wonderful, buzzy cousin I thought I’d give it a go. So far, so good. So good in fact that I have signed up for January too – now at the existing members price of £99 – still a lot, but with both hubby and I feeling great and my mindset changing for the better with each daily live session its not too much. To add to that, over the month of December, I lost – yes lost – 5.3kg, that’s around 10.6lbs for those preferring the imperial system! Lockdown was not good for me in terms of motivation to move, but this plan has me up at 6.45 for a daily live zoom, bodyweight workout and I am well on my way through couch to 5k. I am learning all about the facts behind the foods I am eating and why we are eating them. Alongside the daily zoom workouts, lovely walks and daily educational live sessions I have found the most amazing group of women on the program with me. Everyone is so supportive and positive – the group is a closed members only group on facebook for each month of the program. I am not one for connecting on facebook, never have been really but especially now with so much fake and negative commentary going on, but this group is such a breath of fresh air! Okay I’ll stop bleating on about the FLB program – but if you want to know more, check out my link below, if you join the program using my link I’ll get an affiliate payment (being open and honest), but I’d recommend the program regardless of that – I wouldn’t be doing it myself otherwise!!

So what does the future hold for me? I am going to grasp the dream that led me to study creative writing just over 3 years ago; I am going to write. I am not talking about this blog, though I do intend to do more than just a couple of posts a year! I am talking about a novel, or two and I’ve started a kids book too, it’s about a dog called Fred. He’s lost his bark.

Watch this space for more on Fred and his bark and if you want to know more about FLB click here to go to Shelley Booth’s website and read for yourself!