Making the most of 2016: a goal, not a resolution… (and your help, please!)

CiCi Marie 2016 goal - the experience challenge
So, in 2015 my resolutions were all things I thought I’d have a good shot at keeping that would improve my blog/life in small ways – and what do you know, I mostly did them. All bar that pesky ‘master basic sewing’ one. After one botched hem attempt and deep puncture wound it became very clear that YouTube alone could not teach me the fine art (I’ll need to do actual lessons one day to avoid stitching myself to something).
Anyway, I did start writing a similar list for this year and then I realised that actually, I’m generally happy with where I am at the moment and don’t want to make many changes. So, this year I’ve decided to instead set the goal of having a monthly fun ‘experience’ that I maybe wouldn’t have otherwise had. And unlike an unrealistic resolution that requires me to magically master a skill I have zero talent at, I might have a shot at actually doing it!
You see, this challenge will require some diversion of funds somewhere other than the Collectif website and thus a change in attitude is needed. (Er, please note I am setting this goal having got my raid of the 50% off sale out of the way.) I’m not talking about going skydiving every month (ha! Not in this lifetime), I mean things like e.g. going to a nice restaurant when normally a) I don’t have the spare cash for that because… clothes and b) if I do my mindset is that it’s a ‘waste’ blowing it on food because… clothes again and c) I might come to a compromise where I go to a cheaper place instead because… you get the idea. And as well as quality, the quantity of things I do that don’t involve shopping could be better too – so I’m going to add activities wherever I can, even if I’m – gasp – already quite busy that month! (The old me is also unsociable and lazy. Actually the new me is too, but I’m going to try to fight it!)
So far, I’m already making good headway with this goal… B and I have just celebrated our third anniversary of being a couple (we call it the first Sunday of the year). We lined up shopping, a cinema trip and quick meal out on the day. 2015 me would have stopped there, but 2016 me has also decided to go for a special meal this weekend, where I can wear one of the ridiculous number of dresses bought in 2015 before I set this year’s goal to stop buying them (well, all the time, at least). We even know where we’re going, as we’re returning to the gorgeous little gourmet restaurant that threw the NYE Gatsby bash, so here’s a bonus picture of us there (bad quality, B isn’t really that shade of beetroot). That’s January taken care of, at least for now…
CiCi and B on NYE 2015/16
February we haven’t quite figured out yet. It’s my least favourite month of the year though – it’s the coldest it gets, work is always manic and it feels like it goes on forever even though it’s the shortest month of the darn year. Of course, I could propose on the 29th… (B is hopeful I’m joking about this, to which I say, ‘if you like it then…’). How’s that for an ‘experience’ – although not sure it’d qualify as ‘fun’? Joking (or not joking) aside, I’m half thinking I should do something around Pancake Day, as that’s, conversely, one of my favourite days of the year. I’m suddenly realising most of my ‘experiences’ are going to be around food. I’m ok with that.
March, on the other hand, we’ve already got sorted. My parents kindly gave B and I a fab gift of a two night hotel stay with afternoon tea thrown in as a Christmas present (told you food was a theme). We’ve already booked it up and will be heading for Harrogate (I’ve never been, but B assures me it’s nice) towards the end of the month. B’s birthday is also in this month, so I’m sure we’ll do something fun for that too and I’ve got one of my best friend’s hen dos, which I’m pretty much solely organising. Nailed it.
B drinks tea
April is also in the bag already, as B and I will be heading to Wales to stay with the lovely Porcelina and her husband! I already can’t wait (the picture below is of when we met for the first and so far only time in 2015). She’s promised us the full tourist experience, and for someone who hasn’t been to Wales for a very long time, this is extra exciting (I’m not counting December when I went for work and didn’t actually see daylight; long story). And it’s my friend’s wedding, but I can’t take the credit for that ‘experience’!
CiCi and Porcelina at London Edge
And then there’s May. If you’re wondering why there’s a picture of a small child here, see if you can read the badge? It says ‘Birthday girl’ and of course this adorable ball of cuteness who didn’t quite grow up that way is me, on my 2nd birthday. Fast forward a few years and you’ll find someone who’s going to turn 30 this month. So of course I need to have something amazing lined up for that! At the moment, though, I’m not sure what that is… So…
CiCi at 2 years old
Can any of you help me? Have you already turned 30 and if so what did you do? If not, what would you want to do? I’m all ears as I try to figure out how to see in such a landmark year. Note I did nothing for my 21st and it’s something I’ve always regretted ever since…
Anyway, all this aside (and there’s lots more planning to do!) I do have one more goal, while we’re on the subject of de-prioritising acquiring yet more material goods. I’ve dreadfully neglected one accessory that I’ve had for years… I’m going to do my best to learn to love and use my smile!
CiCi's smile challenge


  1. January 5, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    This is a great idea! You will love harrogate, it's gorgeous, make sure you go to Betty's when your there, people travel from all over to go there for food or afternoon tea. Visiting Wales to see P is going to be amazing too, sounds like you have some fun food and traveling ahead! I'm rubish on ideas for 30th birthdays though, it's Harrys in March and so far I haven't thought of a thing!

    • January 5, 2016 / 1:54 pm

      Phew, that's what B said too but he was remembering from childhood so I was skeptical! I will make a note of Betty's, thanks 😀 I've got a great idea that my work friend said that I'm toying with but not sure it's 'me' enough – someone she knew set up a children's party, complete with SNES on a projector screen for playing Mario Kart and goody bags etc. Sounded great! I really want to involve vintage in mine somehow, but not the 80s so much…! x

  2. January 5, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    SO FUN! My boyfriend and I love to take classes and experience new places/things. I don't know if you have Groupon or Living Social where you live but I have found us some cool stuff on deal sites like that – for example: beer making class, glass blowing class, admission to an animal sanctuary to meet the animals, little getaways to local places for overnights, etc. Most of them are small but they're experiences and we love having day trips!!

    • January 6, 2016 / 1:48 pm

      That's a great tip, thank you! I've bought things through Groupon before, but never this kind of stuff… Again, always the material goods 😉

  3. January 5, 2016 / 2:08 pm

    I've already turned 40! A workmate told me you should always do something you've always wanted to for a 'big' birthday, so for my 30th I dyed my hair pastel blue (not at all usual back in 2004; I got loads of abuse in the streets for it) and for my 40th we went to Burgh Island for a couple of days. You should deffo do something big for your 30th.

    Currently on my list of things I'd like to do are… stay at another Landmark Trust place; have cocktails at the Savoy; go back to Burma; visit San Francisco; do my family history trail in India; see more test matches (luffs me some cricket); eat at Duck & Waffle… think that's about it for now!

    • January 5, 2016 / 2:14 pm

      I'll join you at the Savoy for cocktails Mim!!

    • January 6, 2016 / 1:49 pm

      I like the idea behind doing something you've always wanted to! Agree, lets all go for cocktails at the Savoy!! I have family history in India too, weirdly…

    • January 6, 2016 / 2:01 pm

      Interesting – my lot were mainly Calcutta, Chandernagore and Dacca, plus Burma. Though there don't seem to be any rellies left out there now. Where were yours based?

      Cocktails all round 🙂

  4. January 5, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    Woo hoo to fun stuff in 2016!! I am most excited about your trip to Wales obviously and will compile a list of things to do at some point. As for your 30th, definitely go all out. For mine I had a Tex Mex house party and had to be put to bed at 11pm…

    Enjoy your anniversary date, pictures please of you in your frock! (Which one will you choose?)


    • January 6, 2016 / 1:50 pm

      Yay! Too excited! I love that you had to be put to bed at 11pm – you didn't even see in the end 😉

      I will try to get pictures at least for Instagram in the frock. Believe it or not, it's a frock you haven't even seen yet… I know, I know. That's why I've got a new goal! xx

  5. January 5, 2016 / 3:10 pm

    This is such an exciting idea! I've also decided to try to spend more $ on experiences where I can actually wear my fab wardrobe rather than continue collecting. Truly I need to be living a celebrities life in order to wear all my wardrobe. I blame my love of vintage gowns on that.

    When I turned 30 (way back when…) I believe we did nothing and I got depressed. I've had a thing about not celebrating birthdays basically ever since I turned 24. I think I thought it might magically stop me aging past 24. Anyhow, this year I turn 50 and we are tentatively planning a trip to Africa and a safari. I've wanted to do that for years and I'm hoping this is the year we manage to pull it off.


    • January 6, 2016 / 1:51 pm

      Exactly, why have all these amazing clothes if you gots nowhere to wear 'em!

      I'm really glad you're going to potentially do something so special to see in your 50th. I think there's a part of me that wants to wallow, but the bigger part thinks I'm only going to spend the next ten years regretting not doing anything like I did for my 21st, more! x

  6. January 5, 2016 / 6:42 pm

    Great ideas! It's my 21st this year so, like you, i'm trying to plan what to do! Not necessarily for your birthday, but for another month a trip on a steam train would be good with a lovely picnic! Definitely agree with smiling more, a smile is a girl's best accessory!! x

    • January 6, 2016 / 1:52 pm

      Oh, so young! I can't even remember what being 20 was like 😉 I love the idea of a steam train and picnic – but I have to plan for the fact that the weather is usually, without fail, horrendous on my birthday!! x

  7. January 5, 2016 / 10:21 pm

    Oh, I so relate to this! I also tend to spend all my spare cash on clothes (and occasionally makeup),which means I never seem to have anything left over for fun stuff! I tend to do most of my shopping online, though, so a couple of months ago I decided to start taking some cash out of the bank as soon as I get paid, so it's out of temptation's way, and there to be spent on other stuff: I only managed to stick to it for one month, but it did make a big difference, so I should really do it again: clothes are all well and good, but it's nice to have somewhere to wear them, too!

    • January 6, 2016 / 1:53 pm

      Oh yes, makeup too. Guilty as charged. I like the idea of physically removing cash out of my online bank account – there's something in that. But like you I'd probably do it once, find it a chore, and not do it again 😉

  8. January 6, 2016 / 11:46 am

    Really loved reading this post! I am trying to buy less dresses this year, unless I can't live without it or Collecitf has a sale lol.. I did buy something from the sale but it wasn't a dress so it's okay, right? 😛
    I'm like that with eating out too, I love homecooking though.. Max and I are trying to get into the habit again of going out and having a date out once a month, usually lunch and a movie or something else nice!

    • January 6, 2016 / 1:53 pm

      Damn Collectif and their sales! They get us all… I also didn't buy a dress this time either, so we've both been super good 😀 and exactly on dates out – I guess that's really what I'm getting at as most of the time B will be with me anyway 😉 x

  9. January 6, 2016 / 7:15 pm

    Sounds like you have a fun year ahead! I hear you on the spending money on clothes thing, and then being too dressy most places you go bc you spent money on clothes. I'm 32 and my 30th was a par for the course bday, meaning most years preceding I'd have a mimosa brunch sh*tshow with 60 of my "closest" friends. I wanted it that way because I knew I didn't want to be doing that as much anymore, so it was kind of a farewell to my 20s. I was actually a little overwhelmed that day bc I hardly had time to spend with my actual closest friends and sig/o, but in a way I wouldn't change it bc that was proof to me that I was over the blowout party stuff and I'll never look back. IDK if that helps-at all-but that was my experience. Hope you're looking forward to your 30s…they're really not that bad! XO

    • January 10, 2016 / 5:31 pm

      That's an interesting point. If I were to do what I always do it really wouldn't be very much, so I think I have to up my game for this one a bit! I like your thinking though x

  10. January 6, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    Sounds like a great choice of experiences so far. You will love Harrogate, it is a lovely, pretty town. I would really recommend going to the Harrogate Turkish Baths. It has been restored from Victorian? times and is beautifully painted and tiled. There are 3 dry heat rooms which get progressively hotter, a sauna and a scream inducing plunge pool. You need a few hours and you probably need to book. They do treatments too. Also, go downstairs in Betty's as it has beautiful marquetry panelling or book for afternoon tea which is yummy. Near by is Harlow Carr, a big garden which might make a good back drop for photos!

    • January 10, 2016 / 5:31 pm

      Thanks for these excellent tips – I have made a note of them all. Super helpful 🙂

  11. January 8, 2016 / 12:01 am

    Big 30? That'd be the one to go sky diving, I think. 😉
    I would love to have a really cool suggestion, but I'm terrible about that kind of thing. My first thought is always to travel, but I don't know if that's an option for that month for you. I'm sure you'll figure something out, though, because the rest of the months you have planned so far sound awesome.
    Seriously, though, I have the hardest time convincing myself to spend money on things other than clothes.

    • January 10, 2016 / 5:32 pm

      Argh, no! I'll wait until I'm 130 for that one 😉

      I was trying to avoid travel only because it would exclude my friends from being a part of it… we're getting closer to an idea now, but by no means decided!

  12. January 8, 2016 / 12:21 am

    This is such an awesome way to recap one's year, breaking it down by monthly highlights. I might just have to follow your lead next year and try my hand at this approach, too.

    It's super exciting that you're going to be turning 30 soon. My 30th birthday was spent hitting as many thrift and vintage stores in a two hour radius as me and my mom to get to before they closed. Then in the evening we met up with Tony and my sister (after their workdays wrapped up) and we all had dinner at a fun Italian place with GF options in a nearby city. After that we drove home with a full moon illuminating the lake. It was a fun, busy, beautiful way to usher in my thirties and one of my favourite birthdays ever. 🙂

    Big hugs & happy b-day count down wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

    • January 10, 2016 / 5:34 pm

      It's certainly giving me lots of things to look forward to, which at this time of year is no bad thing.

      Your 30th sounds lovely – definitely a day I'd enjoy too! I think I have so many seeds of ideas now that I may just have to have a week of celebration 😀 xx

  13. January 9, 2016 / 6:23 pm

    LOL I know the dilemma of wanting to buy clothes vs spending money on anything else all too well! Your goal for 2016 is very worthy of trying to shop less though. I commend you on it and wish you lots of luck!

    • January 10, 2016 / 5:34 pm

      Thank you, I need it! I'm not doing very well so far but the sales have been so good lately!!

  14. January 10, 2016 / 7:10 pm

    This is such a wonderful idea for a year! Many people forget their goal or resolution, but if you have a new thing to do each month, it's perfect for keeping the year great and exciting. And it looks like you've got many great things lined up!
    Also you have a fabulous smile! I have a very hard time using mine (its crooked) but it's definitely a goal to smile more, and a good one at that!

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