First things first- a belated Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed seeing out the old and ushering in the new, hopeful year ahead. I kicked of 2022 with a little break. From blogging and from pretty much everything I could put on hold without life grinding to a halt. It felt very indulgent.

This time of year is a good one for plans and resolutions, isn’t it? Last January, I made a handful of resolutions that came to mixed results ( success in writing more and shopping small. Not dwelling on the rest) and wrote a wish list post all about my 2021 travel plans. Some of them came to be, like Champing and a trip to London. Others stay on the list of places I’d like to get to but didn’t quite manage. Yet.

Home for the night, Champing Spring 2021

Towards the end of 2021, I lost my fizz a bit. Felt a bit flat, stuck in a rut. That’s not like me, and I didn’t like it.

Fed up with bad news, covid and the endless round of mundane things that keep life ticking over but then struggling to enjoy anything that broke the boring bits up. Gave me the old thrill of doing something. I’d find myself saying things like, ” Maybe another time ” or “Can’t see the point, it’ll get cancelled anyway “

Honestly, I think the past few years caught up with me. We’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster, haven’t we, both collectively and personally.

It’s okay to get down, but don’t stay there. When it comes to forging change, you have to just start. If you change nothing, nothing changes. All of that to say, 2022 will not be the year of resolutions for me, but the year of recharge.

What will that look like? Glad you asked, here’s the actionable bit…

Basic Self Care a.k.a Try To Be A Grown Up.

What can I say, on paper I am officially a sensible adult. I have a family, I run a home and all of that. I can also be my own worst enemy. I don’t always get enough sleep, I sometimes have one more drink than is sensible and my coffee consumption goes off the scale. I can eat really well one day, the next be on a meal plan that looks like it was created by a small child.

Back to basics for me. More water, less caffeine, good food. I’ve been browsing Liz Earle Wellbeing for recipes and inspiration. I mean, look at Liz… I’ll have what she’s having!

Focusing Less on Travel…

And more on exploring. I love to travel and still will when I can. But when I can’t, I’ll embrace exploring. Because to travel you have to go somewhere. To explore…well, you can go somewhere or you can explore your own neighbourhood. You can do it from your armchair via an online experience, a good book or a TV show.

I share my Netflix watches on here and 90% are International shows or movies. That’s because I love the feeling of being immersed and transported to another place. Show me something that captures me set in, say, Iceland, Germany or most recently Luxembourg (Capitani , worth a watch) and I’ll be googling flights , ferries, fashion brands and locally produced food & drinks before the end credits roll.

Staying Inspired & Encouraged

I’m a firm believer in external inspiration and encouragement. I’m all for positive self talk but I also think it’s vital to hear from other people, know their triumphs and failures, have a perspective other than your own. So I’ll be reading the books, listening to the podcasts, finding the encouraging quotes and doing the things that make me feel like I can.

Photo by Bekka Mongeau on

And I’ll be doing these things as often as I can because encouragement and inspiration seems to have a limited life span. You have to keep topping up.

Filling my Cup Daily

Following on from my last point, fill your cup daily. What do you need to do to feel positive and good?

For me it’s being outside and around nature to make me feel grounded and content. I’m out most days with The Little Wolf (who has now outgrown his puppy nickname and is actually massive) but I’m guilty of sometimes having my mind elsewhere. This is a reminder to myself to take the time to stop and stare, listen and just be.

Things Helen Loves, large black dog running
Outdoors plus dog equals happy.

Being a Happy Square Peg

I’ve always been a bit of a square peg. I like it that way, even if it means people sometimes don’t get what I’m into. I’m curious about places, people and stories. I love going there and back to see how far it is, or going to a place that makes people say, ” what on earth are you going there for? “. I like finding clues that lead to stories, like a post box in the middle of nowhere on Salisbury Plain that turned out to have been there for long gone army camp. Backyard exploring at it’s finest.

Exploring an abandoned hospital, Germany

I love exploring new places, and old abandoned ones. I like a bit of Urbex ( exploring closed or abandoned manmade structures) especially when I can convince Mr THL to come. It’s not everyone’s idea of a romantic date but it works for me. Speaking of romance, I like mine unconventional. Flowers are lovely, but just before Christmas Mr THL brought me home a pheasant and I was thrilled. Dead birds for the win.

I have taste in music best described as interesting, current playlist includes Russian dance music, a handful of former Eurovision entries and a bit of Miss Saigon. When I get into things, I get really into them. I can’t play it cool for love nor money, hence the name of the blog. Safe to say, I’m a bit of a square peg. And it doesn’t matter, as long as your happy and doing no harm, right? Let’s celebrate being authentic and all the things we truly enjoy.

A Bit of Eurovision fun… I love Eurovision.

So here’s to 2022, to encouraging and inspiring each other. To new adventures and experiences. To stepping into the unknown with a spirit of adventure and a sense of humour. To ditching the bossy, must-give-things-up New Years Resolutions and replacing them with things that bring a bit more loveliness into our days.

I’ve a lot of fun things planned for the coming months and I hope you’ll stick around and come along with me. Let’s kick it it all of with a chat in the comments; what do you think of my recharge over resolutions? Have you made any New Year promises to yourself?

Helen x

28 thoughts

  1. I’m with you all the way, especially as we share a lot of the same likes and loves. I’m still coming to grips with no longer being able to drive which reduces my ability to explore to virtually ‘nil’ as local transport is iffy to say the least (and now today they are saying that lack of drivers means the timetable from March will be further reduced. I have no family in the UK at all and few friends share my interest here in walking and exploring but hey, I’m still here and doing as much as I can even if i’m not posting anything these days due to laziness and lack of get-up-and-go.
    Incidentally, you mention Miss Saigon. Do you know that BritBox has the Anniversary show available? It’s brilliant. I watched it alone and then had a few friends in for an evening to watch it again and share a bottle or two of liquid refreshment. N,Y. resolutions? Forget them!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Oh no I didn’t know that about Miss Saigon, I’ll definitely look that up! I could watch/listen to it over and again. I hear you about public transport, our services have been cut. We just have to do what we can! Thanks for the MS tip, think that’ll feature in my monthly round up at some point!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you Marion, i hope you’ve had a good start to the year 😊

  2. All very positive – and best of all, achievable. Good luck and all good wishes for 2022.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Definitely achievable, I’ve set it all up in my favour this year. Well, cutting back the coffee might be a stretch but we’ll see how it goes!

      1. No, cutting back the coffee isn’t feasible 😉

  3. A Happy New Year to you, too: stay healthy!

  4. I totally concur with the ‘sensible adult’ paragraph. Old enough to know better, but life’s for living, isn’t it? I enjoy your writing and there’s often some good sound advice to be had. I popped over to that bonny lady’s place and she seemed to address a lot of things that I should probably be thinking more of…like hydration. Nice broccoli quiche too. Shame the other half hates broccoli.
    It was an easy year to feel deflated in, wasn’t it? Onwards and upwards. Only we can make it better? Enthusiasm is catching. Have a great year, Helen!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Aw thanks Jo 😊 I’ll keep trying to be grown up, can’t really promise anything though! We’ve all had so much in the way of tough times, this is the year to be gentle on ourselves. Here’s to the year ahead, I have a good feeling about it 😊

  5. I love your inspiring attitude Helen! It’s definitely good to explore and stay inquisitive and young-at-heart. I also think having a dog around is good–they can be excellent examples for staying in the moment. Here’s to 2022!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Joyce, dogs are great for grounding and positivity.

  6. I instantly recognised the feeling you described about not wanting to book anything because it will only get cancelled anyway. I need to get over that and take some chances or we’ll never do anything! Your recharge idea is a good one; much less daunting than resolutions which I’m never likely to keep.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Oh, the lofty resolutions I have made in the past that came to nothing… the most ridiculous thing being, I knew as I made them that would be the outcome! I say no more of that, just gentle and positive things that help me live a little happier and healthier. I’m glad I’m not alone in getting in a booking funk, hopefully this year will bring a little more freedom and a lot more optimism.

      1. I hope so. Though the things we HAD booked for Celtic Connections (before Omicron raised its head) are slowly being postponed.

  7. My New Year promises for 2022 is to fail more, so I can let go of the results and focus more on doing. Great post you have here. Wishing you all the best for the New Year too!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      That’s a great way of reframing the traditional New Year resolution! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. All the best.

  8. This is a lovely post Helen, thanks for sharing it. I’m so glad you’re taking time to recharge and refocus, I feel like the last few years have affected all of us – whether we realise it at the time or not. You’re right it’s OK to be down, and also that ultimately we have to find a way out of it. I’ve been focusing on happy things a lot recently – after my surgery and infertility, life isn’t going to be my ‘Plan A’, but I can’t lose my ‘Plan B’ life being sad about the Plan A I don’t have – yes, for a while be sad, but then like you say, you have to focus on the small positive things that bring joy. And all any of us can do is aim to feel joyful, it’s what life is about. So here’s to a happy 2022.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you so much. Life has thrown a few curveballs my way lately so I’m trying to keep my balance and remind myself that happiness and a good, rich life can come in many forms… even if it’s not quite what I had in mind!

      It must be very painful at times closing the door on ‘Plan A’ and I wish I had the words to make it easier. I wish you lots and lots of joyful moments in the year ahead.

  9. Such a great post! Looking forward to your explorations in 2022. And seeing more of Little Wolf of course. 🙂

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Aw, thank you… he’s never out from under my feet so I’m sure he’ll pop up regularly.

  10. I like that you’re doing a “January recharge”. Taking life one day (or one month) at a time is amazing.

  11. I think it’s a wonderful idea to focus on recharging rather than setting resolutions we all know, deep down, we probably won’t keep! And I recognise what you say about being wary of making plans that might be cancelled. Maybe the ‘new normal’ will be when we recognise that ALL plans have always risked being cancelled, we just didn’t factor that into our planning to the extent we did now. Let’s take the plunge, plan away, and if things go wrong we’ll adjust. If we’ve all learned one thing in the last two years, it’s how to adjust 😀

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Sarah, it’s definitely made January feel like a more gentle month. I think the whole feeling is just about adjusting to the ‘new normal’. Once we are through the thick of it- and hopefully we are!- you have to carve out a new way of doing things. I hope your January has been peaceful and positive, and here’s to making plans for the year ahead!

  12. theunpurposefulmother says:

    I love your way with words. I especially love explore when you travel less.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you so much, and thanks for dropping by!

  13. How do you feel about the current songs selected for Eurovision 2022? As of today, I think we have five.

    My main goal for 2022 is to run 2022km and to run either a half or a full marathon each month.

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