Tag Archive | New Year

New Year, New Look

yesterday2013 wasn’t my best year but that’s now behind me and I’m ready to move forward. I already have a good feeling about 2014 with a number of events to look forward to in the diary.

Before I start as I mean to go on for the next 365 days or so I have decided to change my Blog-look for something a bit funkier and different to my previous theme. A change is as good as a rest so they say and the clean and fresh layout and colour scheme works well with my content. Who knows? I might change it more regularly in future to shake things up a bit but this suits me for now.


Looking forward month-by-month I’m sure that this time next year I will be thinking “What happened to 2014?” Already I have so much going on, so many people to see and places to go that I will need all my energy and stamina to get through these exciting times. Needless to say, rest and recuperation will also be high up the agenda as well as healthy eating and gentle exercise to build up my strength slowly but surely.


To start at the beginning, January is a “write-off” as we will be busy, busy, busy preparing and filing UK personal tax returns before the 31 January deadline and before we know it February will be upon us. I celebrate my birthday in February and have already booked the day off to ensure I won’t break my lifetime habit of never working on my birthday. I haven’t done so far and I don’t intend to start now at the tender age of 51! It’s good to have something to look forward to in what many people consider the most depressing month of the year.

March heralds Spring with the Iranian New Year “Now Ruz” to enjoy and my niece’s Hen “Do” in London. I’m not sure what we are up to yet but a day and evening out in the capital promises to be fun. April will be a busy month with the Wedding of the Year when Pippa gets her man at last and this is closely followed by my son Will heading off to Iceland for a geography field trip of a lifetime-lucky boy. Geysers, thermal power stations, volcanoes and the blue lagoon all await and how I am looking forward to hearing all about it.

May is usually a lovely month with my garden getting into its stride and a couple of Bank Holidays to shorten the working weeks is always welcome.

June will be quite stressful I imagine with important A Level exams for Will who is hoping for some good grades to get him into his University of choice to study Geography and Natural Hazards. The course looks great and having been to an open day a couple of months ago I would gladly swap places with him!

The summer promises a fabulous holiday for me and Feri, details of which I will disclose as and when it is booked! It is a belated 50th birthday present for me and it will be well worth waiting for if we can book the holiday we want. Needless to say my camera won’t be far from my side with batteries fully charged!

Late summer brings the exam results and hopefully a place at University for my baby boy. I can’t believe that 18 years have disappeared so fast and that he will be leaving home but I know that he will enjoy the experience and the opportunities it will bring him. I am excited for him and I have my fingers crossed that his exams go well-he deserves it.

All this and I haven’t included the major sporting highlights. The Football World Cup in Brazil, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Ryder cup at Gleneagles and the Winter Olympics in Russia.

There is also the 100 year anniversary of the start of WW1 to commemorate.

2013 has been challenging, disappointing, frustrating and tiring.

2014 will be inspiring, exciting, joyful and tiring!

Bring it on!

new year


Goodbye 2011, hello 2012

Like many people I found 2011 a challenging and demanding year for a number of reasons, the most frustrating of them was feeling below par mentally, physically and emotionally. Good health should never be taken for granted and I realise now that I am “at that age” (as everyone keeps telling me) when I have to work at keeping as healthy as I can. It’s not so easy maintaining a sensible weight and building sufficient exercise into my daily working routine. I need to relax more and look after myself if I am to see in many, many more New Years to come!


My New Year’s resolutions are just that. Look after myself. Eat healthy foods. Exercise a little more and enjoy whatever life brings along the way. I’m not setting targets or deadlines as I can find them counter-productive if not met so I will try my best to keep my resolutions at the forefront of my thinking so I don’t lose the overall focus of just being healthier all round.

Fingers crossed that this time next year I will be lighter, healthier, buzzing with energy and “looking forward” to celebrating my half-century!

Fat & fifty?- No thanks.

Fighting-fit, fabulous, feisty and fifty?- absolutely.

Bring it on! 


Iranian New Year-Nowruz and new shoes

This year the Iranian New Year will be celebrated on 21 March, the first day of Spring. I need to start preparing this week so that we are ready and I can create my table display of the traditional “Haft Sin” (7  S’s) as best I can.

The traditional 7 S’s which are normally displayed are;

Sabzeh (greens)

Wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolising rebirth.

If I’m a bit late preparing I tend to make a flying visit to Tesco for some cress which is cheating but it looks very similar!

Samanu – sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolising affluence

This is something I don’t make- but will remember the horse which went round Esfahan Square last month as it’s name was Samanu!

Senjed (سنجد)- dried oleaster fruit – symbolising love

Oleaster fruit or Russian Olive. Mmmmm, may be difficult to get hold of.

Sir– garlic – symbolising medicine

Garlic-no problem and I will be able to dig some wild garlic from our garden.

Sib – apples – symbolising beauty and health

Rosy apples-plenty of these.

Somāq – sumac fruit – symbolising (the color of) sunrise

We don’t get the fruit over here but we get the dried herb which I always use instead.

Serkeh – vinegar – symbolising old-age and patience

This element becomes more significant as the years pass- Cannot be overlooked.

There are other “S’s” and symbols which I use and I often include a selection of the following:

Sonbol– the fragrant hyacinth flower – symbolising the coming of spring

Sekkeh– coins – symbolising prosperity

Lit candles symbolising enlightenment and happiness

A mirror

A bowl with goldfish symbolising life, and the constellation of Pisces which the Sun is leaving.

This is particularly meaningful for me as I am a Pisces and I am myself embarking on my “New year”.

Water with a bitter orange in it symbolising Earth “floating” in space

Rose water, used to cleanse in Islam before prayer and is also heavily prevalent in Iranian cuisine

A poetry book, such as the Shahnameh or the Divan of Hafez, or a religious text such as the Quran or the Bible.

BUT the biggest thrill for me and the best “S” in the dictionary is SHOES! It is tradition at Nowruz to have NEW SHOES! Whooooo………..off we go shopping. It’s traditional. It has to be done. I am such a good Iranian wife, it is necessary!

How fantastic is that!

So long December, welcome 2011

It doesn’t seem five minutes since I was writing ” So long November, hello December” promising to make this last month of 2010 a more sedate and calm affair. What a laugh. Despite my best intentions, it seems like I have been busier than ever, but then that’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for.

December was dominated by the weather. Snow, ice, blizzards and sub-zero temperatures like I’ve never experienced (since I was born in February 1963) all combined to wreak havoc with my travel plans  making my final 2010 visit to my colleagues in Scotland impractical. Christmas was white, albeit that no snow actually fell near home that day, but we still managed to keep to our original plan of having a Barbecue instead of the traditional roast. The snow did melt in time for our annual Lubenham village walk which led to copious amounts of sludge being brought back to the pub for well-deserved stew and dumplings. It’s not nice being hosed down in December in the car park !

My fund-raising Santa Run scheduled for 5th December in Greenwich Park was cancelled due to the dangerous conditions, but I did fulfil my part of the bargain by completing the run on my treadmill resplendent in Santa costume. Another first and I raised a total of £1,500.00 for the Depression Alliance.

I am still enjoying writing my Blog and I am never short of things to say, just the time to write. In the New Year I will be spending more time trying to keep fit so I may not be so prolific with my posts in 2011…we’ll see.

Yet more lovely new friends this month; Andrew may be regretting his Facebook friend request which he fired off early in December. I’m not sure he fully realised what he was letting himself in for being a fellow (very depressed ) Aston Villa fan of 40 years standing and having so much in common. Andrew I apologise now for being so verbal and opinionated but you seem to be coping admirably! I also welcome Carole, fellow depressioneer as well as Will Gibson from Reading University hoping to climb Scarfell Pike on New Year’s Day to raise funds for MIND. What an inspiration this guy is.

Will’s Fundraising page

As well as welcoming new friends, I had to say “Goodbye” to two friends at work, both of who have fantastic new opportunities awaiting them in the New Year and thoroughly deserved too. Whilst I will miss Nicky and Emma when visiting Birmingham, I wish them all the best in their new roles and know that we will keep in touch regardless. “Good Luck Girls-Kick Ass”.

Dream Alliance won’t have the chance to defend his Welsh National crown this year, the race is postponed until January 8th. I will still be cheering him on and will no doubt have a few pennies on his back (but can’t watch) hoping that he repeats his remarkable feat of last Christmas-a real Dream come true.

All in all not a bad month and Christmas was far less stressful than usual. Perhaps that was because I ignored it as far as possible but now feel very guilty for not sending my son a Christmas card. Next year, I may feel more festive and do the job properly. Or I might be able to persuade the family to decamp to Iran. Now that would be a really cool Yule.

Inner peace

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.”

Something which does not come naturally or easy to me is much longed-for peace of mind. Always opinionated, passionate and incessantly active my mind chatters away leading to mental and physical exhaustion when I fail to switch off. This year in particular has been emotionally draining and has left me with an underlying craving for peace. Clearly this is something I need to work on if I am to avoid a similar burn-out which I experienced early in November. Nothing is worth that awful feeling of impending doom, hopelessness and lack of control over my emotions, concentration levels and sleep patterns. I need to become more emotionally intelligent, confident in my ability to say “no” and gain authority over my inner self.

In the last week of 2010  I start to think ahead to the new year beginning on Saturday and what I can do to improve my quality of life without depriving myself of all those things I enjoy.  After some soul-searching and contemplation I have decided to make just one Resolution.  I will work towards attaining inner peace. Easier said than done I fear but sheer determination can overcome many hurdles and I am determined to succeed. Failure is not an option if I am to avoid melt-down in what  will  be another busy year.  I believe that if I can acquire some equilibrium and become happy with myself then everything else will fall into place. This year, I refuse to put myself under pressure to lose weight, get fit or work fewer hours. Instead, by focussing on what I enjoy doing and making time to relax, I will achieve a balance right for me.

So having determined my goal for 2011 I need to work out how best to meet the result desired. I need a plan flexible enough for it not to become a chore and it must take into account my unpredictable work patterns.

I have all week to map out my route to success……and so my journey begins.