#328. 26 things I love about NYC

5 March 2016

Central Park Reservoir. Li, a Scottish and NYC lifestyle blogger talks about the 26 things that she loves about NYC

Wow! You know how people always say time flies? Well, I completely feel that. This week we will have been living in NYC for 6 MONTHS! How scary is that?!?

In some ways, I feel like I have been living in the Big Apple for ever. I feel settled, know how to navigate the subway and have made some wonderful friends. 

But in other ways the time has just flown in and I feel that it was only last week that we moved to this wonderful city. 6 months is a really long time and it is amazing how much has changed in a year. In March 2015, NYC wasn't even on our radars. We were busy getting ready for our wedding in May and constantly thinking about colours, dresses and seating plans. Fast forward, a year and I'm sitting in our cozy NYC apartment with a big mug of tea, searching for work, blogging and loving life in our new adopted home.

So, I thought I would share my favourite things about the Big Apple. Here's what I love about NYC.

  • Everything is open all the time. NYC really is the city that never sleeps and everything is just so damn convenient. Fancy a doughnut or pad thai or a bubble tea at 3am? Easy street.

  • Each area of the city is so different and has a unique vibe, which makes it perfect to explore. No matter what sort of mood you are in, you can find somewhere to suit and have a great time. From laid back cocktails in the East Village, to hipster brunch spots in Brooklyn, culture galore on Museum Mile in the Upper East Side and speakeasy bars in Flatiron, the city really does have something for everyone.

  • There are surprises literally around every corner, from sculptures to amazing street or subway art, festivals, cable cars and whiskey distilleries, to street performers and film sets. Everyday I leave the house wondering what I'm going to discover, which is pretty exciting.

  • There is so much green space. Although NYC is a fully developed city and real estate heaven with construction seeming to happen on every corner, the untouched eden of Central Park is amazing. In five minutes you can be lost in the beauty of this green space, well away from the honking of cars and busyness of the streets. I try to head to the park at least once a week for some calm and always discover something new, it's just that big. 

NYC Halloween Dog Parade. Li, a Scottish and NYC lifestyle blogger talks about the 26 things that she loves about NYC

  • Everything is just so big. Things in NYC are the epitome of bigger is better mentality. From the skyscrapers to the shops, the burgers to the cocktails. It's all just so bright and vibrant, that you can't help but feel incredibly small wandering around in the mix of it all. It really is a grounding experience.

  • There is an energy in NYC that cannot be described but it will draw you in and is pretty addictive. Everyone is always on the go, trying something new. This energy makes want to go out, explore and make the most of the time you have, which can only be a good thing. No FOMO for this gal.

  • There is so much to do and see that you could never be bored in NYC. To explore the city fully would take your whole life I expect. From top culture and word class theatre, delicious restaurants and truly special cocktails. NYC really does have you covered.
  • The choice of theatre. There is just SO MUCH theatre to watch that it makes me such a happy person. I could quite easily, single handedly keep the Broadway theatres in business. 

  • The cocktail and speakeasy culture. Cocktails are such a big thing in NYC and Robin and I have been slowly working our way from bar to bar, Manhattan to Manhattan, sampling ALL the drinks. I love that bars are hidden from the naked eye, behind secret doors in barber shops or at the back of 5 Guys. There is just something about them that is so much cooler than going to a regular bar and you feel like you are part of a secret. I also discovered my love of whisky in NYC.... yes it took me leaving Scotland, the land of whisky, to discover my love for it. I owe our favourites Attaboy, with their whisky based penicillin cocktail a debt.

Snow in the Upper East Side, NYC. Li, a Scottish and NYC lifestyle blogger talks about the 26 things that she loves about NYC

  • The brunch culture. GUYS, BRUNCH HERE IS SO GOOD! IN NYC, brunch is done right with thick croque monsieurs covered in cheese, baked eggs and my ultimate favourite, smashed avocado on toast with a poached eggs. Food heaven right there baby. Bottomless mimosas with brunch are also entirely acceptable and encouraged, which makes for a pretty fun start to your weekend. I love The Smile, Jacks Wife Freda, The Penrose, Penelope and Pardon my French.

  • There is a lot of history in NYC but not a lot of it is noticeable at first glance,like cities in Europe. The modern NYC, with all it's tall buildings can disguise the history and so I love being able to discover surprising stories, sometimes hidden right in plain view.

  • Talking about views...There are just so many amazing views and I don't think you can get a better sight that the NYC skyline. Whenever I seen it I often have to pinch myself, as I still can't believe that I am lucky enough to live here sometimes. I love walking along The High Line at sunset. It's stunning and sometimes the sunsets really do take your breath away. Top of the Rock is also beautiful at sunset and dusk, when you see the city lights starting to wake up.

  • The countryside and some wonderful wild areas are only a short train ride away. Although NYC is pretty ace, sometimes you want to get away from all the hustle and bustle and it's so easy to do that. In an hour and a half you can be somewhere as pretty as Coldspring or Bear Mountain, perfect for long walks and fresh air.

  • There are so may places to eat that if you wanted you would never have to eat at the same place twice. Every sort of cuisine, dietary requirement and budget is catered to and easy to find. Now, I am a creature of habit and so I enjoy going back to the same restaurants, especially when I've had a good meal. Some of my favourites are Hu Kitchen, Almond, Gingersnap Organic and Bare Burger. Oh and Cafe Lalo for cake! The restaurants are also really experimental with food and I've enjoyed a ramen burger, a rainbow bagel and a cronut since moving to the city.

Cheesecake at Cafe Lalo, NYC. Li, a Scottish and NYC lifestyle blogger talks about the 26 things that she loves about NYC

  • Don't fancy going out? No worries as most of your favourite restaurants will deliver takeaway to your house! A nifty little app called Seamless is wonderful for grouping together all the restaurants nearby that do takeaway, making ordering quick and easy and hey presto, your yummy dinner is at your doorstep in half an hour. I like Seamless a lot as the choice is huge and you aren't just restricted to traditional takeaway food or pizza, currys and burgers, nice as they are. Hiya sushi!

  • The city is so laid back that you could literally wear anything and no one would take a second look. This mentality has made me a lot more confident in my outfit choices and more experimental too.

  • The subway makes it so easy to get around! Its ace. Also if you are lucky you might see a pizza rat equivalent and break the internet.

  • There is some festival or fun event every weekend to take part in. I loved the Halloween parade and Halloween Dog Parade in October and in a few weeks time I'm going to a giant pillow fight. Yup, you read that right.

  • It's pop up heaven, from shops to restaurants to bars to museums. The NYC scene is constantly changing and a place that was there one week will be gone the next. My favourite so far has been the Museum of Feelings that I visited before Christmas.

TRex at the Museum of Natural History, NYC. Li, a Scottish and NYC lifestyle blogger talks about the 26 things that she loves about NYC

  • There are tasty as food trucks on every corner all which smell amazing, so you can never be short of a tasty snack or two. When we moved here I couldn't understand why there were queues at food trucks as my experience of them from the UK, other than Edinburgh Fringe time, was greasy burgers and chips. But my tiny mind was soon blown by how good they are. Fresh, tasty food, fast. My favourite is Falafel King - HELLO!

  • The snow and the city wide car ban. I have never seen anything like it in my whole life and I loved it so much. It was like being in Narnia.

  • Robin and I live only one block from the East River, which makes it the perfect place to go for a run or a long walk and gaze back down towards the city. It is so nice to have a small bit of green space so near us.

  • In true Taurus fashion, I like certain things. So I was a bit anxious about being able to find the taste of home, i.e.. Yorkshire tea bags and Irn Bru which are my absolute favourites and a necessity for a fully functioning Li. Luckily for me you can find whatever you want in the city pretty easily and there is something to make everyone feel like home, no matter how specific a craving. I found Irn Bru within a week of arriving at a cute little shop in Greenwich Village called Tea and Sympathy, which stocks all manor of UK goodies even maltesers for the inevitable malteser based emergency, so I'm sorted.  

  • Every inch of the city looks iconic. It probably is as there's a high chance you will have seen it in a movie. One of my favourite games is to try and guess what movie I've seen a specific landmark in. My recent discovery was working out that the National Museum of the American Indian was actually in Ghostbusters!

  • There is a rooftop bar for every occasion because there is nothing better that drinking outside. It makes you feel like you are constantly on holiday.

  • The people may sometimes seem scary but strike up a conversation and they are the friendliest ever. I've now met friends in a dumpling shop, at theatre festival and in taxi, after being brave and starting to chat. You really do meet people in the most random of ways and it's great! 

What are your favourite things about NYC?

#327. February 2016 gratitude list

1 March 2016

As I'm writing this its about 12 hours away from being the start of March and I for one can't wait. 

This morning it was pouring in NYC. That real heavy monsoon esc rain where it bounces off the pavements and you feel like the rain is coming from every angle. So I arrived at yoga a soggy mess, looking like I had just decided to shower with all my clothes on then walk into class. The rain just got everywhere.

But an hour and a half later, the sun was beating down, warming me right to my bones. All thoughts of rain forgotten, I bought a bangin' smoothie and walked home with a spring in my step, feeling like a badass listening to Beyonce. NYC smelled like Spring today and I couldn't help but smile. 

I think that's as good a way as any to start off my February gratitude list. I've been writing a short gratitude list in my Happiness Planner every evening before bed. I've been finding that it really is helping me to be a lot more positive about things, as there is always something fun to write, however small. Actively trying to find the happiness in every day has been working wonders for my general mood, especially when this month has been tough with job hunting. Onwards and upwards as they say.

  • Walking home from yoga with a delicious smoothie in the sunshine, singing along to Beyonce
  • Being inside when it's raining heavily and just listening to it pour 
  • This article about privilage
  • Discovering Babe Vibes 
  • These dogs made me smile so much
  • This video 
  • Emails from friends
  • THIS POEM - pals, please please give it a watch. It's pretty special
  • Discovering a new organic cafe where I can eat Whole30
  • Saying yes to being Box Office Manager for an exciting show in Brooklyn during March
  • Having nice compliments on my blog
  • Free tea refills
  • Hayley's post really makes me want to visit Leiden
  • Going to see a series of short plays with a friend and chatting afterwards about feminism, tattoos and saying yes
  • Supportive friends
  • Seeing Coney Island in the winter
  • Reading this refreshingly honest post from Rosie. I have been there so many times and understand completely
  • Getting separated from Robin on the subway and laughing goodbye as the doors closed and the train pulled away, like in a romcom
  • Alphabet date A to the Whitney art gallery
  • Fun slogan badges
  • Jasmin's happy posts
  • Feeling myself getting stronger doing Kayla Itsines Bikini body workout plan
  • Coming third in a F.R.I.E.N.D.S trivia night
  • Sending care packages
  • Pushing myself through workouts to Timber
  • Getting my new copy of Radical Self Love in the post
  • RSVPing to a friends wedding
  • I'm going to use Donna's tips the next time I go charity shop shopping
  • Heading to the cinema with a group of girl pals to see 'How to be single'
  • Long phone chats with friends
  • Toni's great post on things she has stopped apologising for
  • Funny texts out of the blue
  • Starting to read my book club book - The Bone Clocks
  • Discovering Kikki K stationary - major swoooooons!
  • Discovering a fun site for buying clothes and accessories
  • Buying a gorgeous jumper in Gap for only $11!
  • Remaining upbeat after job rejection
  • This article on self love
  • Going further upstate in NY to go to a farm with friends for the afternoon
  • Surprise weekend away to Boston for alphabet date B
  • Drinking prosecco in a 1920s cocktail bar in Boston
  • Spending a good amount of time with Robin
  • Mango, pineapple and coconut milk smoothies
  • Photobooths
  • Pre-ordering my issues of Caboodles for the rest of the year
  • My mittens
  • This post on taking things slow from Sorcha
  • Being inside and warm when it's so cold outside
  • How beautiful it is when it is cold outside 
  • Starting Radical Self Love bootcamp
  • Interesting chats about exciting projects
  • Carrot cake Lara bars
  • Going to a theatrical happy hour and meeting new people
  • Feeling the love for and from a new blogger pal
  • Seeing The Young Vics, A View from the Bridge at the theatre 
  • Celebrity spotting Mark Ruffalo ahead of me in the box office queue
  • Doing 24 commandos in a row in my morning workout
  • Going to TedxBroadway and hearing from so many inspiring and interesting people
  • Hanging out with my lovely blogger pals when they visited NYC
  • Going to a yoga class set to hip hop music
  • Check in from friends making sure I'm ok
  • Going to the Fairytale Fashion exhibition at FIT
  • This post from Kirsty made me laugh and smile, as it all sounds so familiar! 
  • Dancing and laughing a lot on a girls night out at Rebel Bingo
  • Motivating myself to workout even when I don't quite feel like it
  • These fun ideas for play
  • Watching the Oscars in real time in a cool bar, with Robin, prosecco, nice food and trivia
  • Watching a pal do amazingly well in her improv showcase
  • Red lips
  • Lynne has been blogging every day in February in beauty and man, were the posts inspiring!
  • Having dinner and drinks with friends
  • Going for long walks around a lake
  • Meeting new people and having the confidence to chat
  • Reading my book in the bath
  • Lis talking about her digital detox
  • Shopping for cute baby grows for my besties baby due in a few weeks
  • Vanilla chia pudding from Hu Kitchen's mash bar
  • Having a nostalgia session and watching Legally Blonde, 13 Going on 30 and Hercules 
  • Getting Frightened Rabbit tickets for May
  • Going to a REALLY HARD yoga class and surviving
  • Going to a fun gig with Robin at The Box
  • Looking at cool street art in Brooklyn
  • Making a delicious butter chicken curry with cauliflower coconut rice from Paleomg blog
  • Going to a ballet fitness class and loving it
  • Shortbread fingers getting me through my job hunt
  • Getting to know our neighbours
  • Alphabet date C to the cinema and watching Birdman
  • Buying new fitness clothes from Gap

#326. Diary of a rookie yogi, part 1

19 February 2016

Li, a NYC and Scottish lifestyle blogger talks about starting yoga as a beginner, being a rookie yogi and what she has learned so far
Really cool illustrations at Y7 yoga studio in Flatiron

When yoga springs to mind I always used to imagine tight and toned woman doing crazy handstands, twisting themselves into crazy contorted positions and pulling their legs up behind their ears. And looking incredibly serene and poised while doing it.

HOW? These people are not normal. How is it humanly possible to be that flexible and like a total Marvel superhuman? This from the girl who struggles to touch her own toes most of the time. Yeah, cause I am a genuine granny.

It's an image that for years made me ignore yoga as a form of exercise. I also have tight hamstrings and had heard from a few different people that yoga might help. But it seemed so scary and daunting and like OMG, I'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THAT, so I just never tried. Instead I would curl up under a cosy blanket, reach for the remote and content myself with watching Julia Roberts doing yoga for me instead in Eat, Pray, Love, like a regular person. Because watching it is the same thing right? 

But a little part of me was still intrigued and since moving to NYC, with a Classpass membership burning a hole in my pocket and some time on my hands, I thought why not? Why not try being brave and actually have a crack at something that scares the living daylights out of you? 

Not gonna lie, I also seen a BEAUTIFUL jumper with namaste written on it that I really wanted to buy. Because a girl has to look good look doing yoga, yeah? But I thought that I should probably at least go to one class first. Then it's totally legit.

So in October, I booked a class on Classpass, bought a cheap sexy green ($8) yoga mat and set off for my first class. After signing in at the studio, I immediately felt like an outsider. Like I wasn't in the gang. It was silly things like I didn't know what to do with my shoes (why was everyone else barefoot?) or what to pick up. All the other people in the room were busy stretching with various blocks and bands, getting in their yoga zone and so I did what is always the best option when in doubt...copy everyone else. I lay down my mat, got some blocks and blankets and started stretching this way and that, like a proper profesh. But still, WHAT DO I DO WITH MY SHOES? Eventually a kind lady was my knight in shining armour and leaned over, telling me that you leave your shoes outside. Aha! In my keenness to get in and start, I must have missed this. With shoes dutifully placed outside I sat cross-legged, channelling my inner Mr Miyagi and was ready to begin.

After telling the teacher I was new to yoga and the class we started going through a variety of poses, some harder than others in a 'flow'. I quickly realised how much harder yoga actually is than it looks. Holding yourself in even simple poses for short periods can tire your muscles quickly and muscles I didn't even know I had started throbbing like mad. I also realised really quickly how much a good yoga mat makes all the difference, as I discovered that my cheap mat had no grip at all, so I was sliding all over the place and obviously looking as graceful as a hippo doing it. Complete rookie error. 

But I started enjoying the rhythm of moving between poses and once I knew what I was doing I started feeling more confident and things started becoming quite meditative. Before I knew it, the hour was over and I was namaste-ing my way out of the class, collecting my shoes and out the door.

And much to my surprise, I wanted to go back. I had enjoyed the class enough to give it another go, with or without buying my Namaste jumper. Since then I have tried to go to at least one class every fortnight, but I have been on FIRE in February, managing a couple of classes a week. I am feeling stronger and more confident and like I am becoming part of the gang. A yogi. Although a complete rookie one, who still has to copy everyone else, has to lift my leg into position a lot of the time as I don't stretch that way and still sniggers at the names of some of the poses.

And so, I thought I would share my experiences as I become more practised in yoga...and work my way towards that beautiful Namaste jumper (which I still haven't bought, but I've set myself a personal goal and will buy myself it then as a treat). I can feel myself getting stronger and am no where near being able to put my leg behind my head and in fact, I might never be able to do that, but for the meantime I am enjoying learning.

So from one rookie yogi to a potential other, here are my tips so far and things I've come to realise:
  • There will be tonnes of older people way more flexible than you. Don't be intimidated by the granny's doing a headstand or touching the floor with their hands, just concentrate on doing the best you can.
  • Although classes are a group exercise you are encouraged to search inwards and do what is 'within your practise', so if you can't touch your toes that's completely fine. Yoga is very personalised and the class is all about you, so do what feels good.
  • Doing the poses correctly is HARD and tiring. You may only look like you are standing with your arms out but so many of your muscles are encouraged to engage that you will feel the burn quickly. It's a different kind of strength to what I was used to. If you are struggling with a pose, don't hurt yourself trying. Just head into childs pose for a little chill and start again. This is normal and completely ok!
  • Yoga gets sweaty and if you really work it, you will not walk out without a little feel good forehead shine.
  • You will discover muscles you didn't know you had, when you can feel them two days later.
  • Man, there is a lot to think about with each pose. What is my leg doing? Hold my core tight? Where's that arm reaching to? Why's my hand doing that etc. Then when you think you finally have it nailed, a body part will do something completely on it's own and your knee will be bent instead of straight. It takes work.
  • It takes time to learn and build up your strength.
  • There are so many different kinds of yoga. Now, I don't know if I was naive in not knowing this. I knew that hot yoga existed but I thought that all the moves and poses were the same across yoga classes, but there are so many types that concentrate on different things. I went to one class last week and the teacher banged a gong for 30 minutes, giving all of us a 'gong bath'.
  • You will have to get over putting your bum in the air, getting into awkward positions and heavy breathing in front of a room full of strangers - FACT. 
  • Even though everyone looks like they know what they are doing, they probably don't. They are probably just as worried and confused as you are.
  • Keeping your balance on one leg or in a lunge is hard, but you will feel like a proper machine when you manage not to fall over.
  • You'll quickly realise you have a favourite pose (and one you hate with a passion). My fav is definitely happy baby...rolling about on the floor holding your ankles can't help but be fun and doesn't feel like exercise.
  • The relaxation time at the end of every class is the actual bomb. Wake me up in five, yeah?
  • Some poses have funny names and make me giggle. The pigeon always cracks me up for some reason.
  • You will want ALL THE YOGA THINGS as it's all so damn pretty. When can I realistically buy the jumper that says namaste, or the tshirt that says #1 yogi?
  • Your daily posture will get better. After a class I feel so long and relaxed that it's a bit addictive and hard not to want to walk that tall and confident all the time.
  • It may take a little while to get down with the yoga lingo. Sometimes it's like a whole other language. I just worked out this week what 'sit bones' are - the bones in your bum that you sit on. Who knew? 
  • Go into a class completely open minded, so you get the most out of it. A couple of the classes I have went to were a bit more 'out there' than I had anticipated but I gave it a chance, settled in and really enjoyed them.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help or ask questions after class. The class is about you and your practise.
  • Invest in a good mat or rent one from the studio until you know if you want to keep going with yoga. A good mat really does make all the difference.
  • Leave your shoes outside the studio. If you have an issue going barefoot, you can buy little socks quite cheaply with grips on the bottom.
  • There is such a rush when you feel yourself getting stronger and able to hold poses for longer. You will feel yourself getting better, little by little.
  • Yoga is fun, so go ahead and enjoy yourself.

#325. 2016 goals: One month (and a bit down)

13 February 2016

Li, a NYC and Edinburgh lfestyle blogger updates on her 2016 goals and resolutions

I do quite like January. Being all cozy in the house, chilling in front of Netflix and taking some evenings just to hibernate and gather your thoughts for a fun year ahead really is the best. But I am enjoying the lights getting subtly lighter and the promise of Spring being on it's way again. (I say that, but as you are reading this it is -16 in NYC!)

I honesty can't believe it's February already. Time seems to be rushing away from me and I feel like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, constantly chasing my tail.

With that in mind I thought an update on my 2016 goals, one month (and a bit late) down was a little overdue.

Goal 1. Make fitness and health an essential part of my life and of my daily routine

Generally getting my butt in gear to tone up, exercise regularly and make healthy food choices. Why?Because it makes me feel good, confident and strong and my skin looks awesome. What's not to like? I chatted about this a little here

How'd I do in January?
I started well with healthy eating as Robin and I decided to follow the Whole30 program as a kick start to our 2016 goals. It focusses on eating whole natural foods for thirty days, making you think differently about what you are putting in your body and then slowly reintroducing foods again. We have been planning our meals ahead of time, eating so much delicious food and generally feeling a whole lot better for it. Yesterday was our last day and although it was hard at the start (I wanted to eat ALL THE FOOD), we got into a rhythm and ended up really enjoying it. I'll do a little post about the Whole30 itself soon.

Exercise was a slightly different story. I had been exercising a little bit before the new year but not as much as I had been earlier in the year, so starting back up after Christmas was hard and tiring and a bit demotivating as I felt all the way back at square one in terms of my fitness level and strength. Your fitness really does drop off quickly when you prefer to be a sloth! But I have been scheduling myself onto classes through Classpass, 2-3 times a week and have been working through Kayla Itsines' bikini body workout plan, which I am really enjoying and it is starting to feel like a routine. Hurrah! There is a good mix of cardio, strength and LISS workouts which make it completely time manageable. I do feel sorry for the neighbours though, hearing me thumping around doing burpees through our paper thin apartment walls.

Goal 2. Read more

I used to read so much as a kid but don't anymore. Little Li would be so disappointed. I want to get lost in a good book again the way I used to

How'd I do in January?
I'm really proud of this one as I am doing well so far. I have started a list of books I would like to read this year as a starting point and an actively making time for reading. I've already read Orange is the New Black and the Opposite of Loneliness and have been working my way through Big Magic, which is so inspiring. The lovely Charlene and I have also started a little book exchange to encourage us both in our goals and we have chosen the first book we will be reading which is exciting, so I can't wait for it to arrive so I can get stuck in.

Goal 3. Travel

Life is too short and I have a huge travel bucketlist so I better start ticking some of them off

How'd I do in January?
We didn't do too well last month as we didn't actually travel anywhere. Oooops. But we have a list of all the places we want to visit this year and have started pencilling in dates. We had friends over to celebrate New Year with us, so the start of January was a lot of fun showing them around the city and discovering new places as tourists ourselves, so maybe that counts. NYC is such a big city and there are so many places to explore and discover. We have booked flights home in April for my Dad's 60th birthday and a pal's wedding and are also going with a group of friends to the Poconos at the start of March for the weekend. We have lots to be looking forward to but my goal for the end of February is to have other holidays and travel plans scheduled and make travel in 2016 a priority.

Li, a NYC and Edinburgh lfestyle blogger updates on her 2016 goals and resolutions

Goal 4. Get happy

Actively try and be happier

How'd I do in January?
I feel this goal is going really well. My moods have been a lot more consistent since I have been on the Whole30 and my outlook is a lot more positive. I have been reading a lot of books, doing some soul searching, having long and regular catchups with friends, planning fun things, applying for interesting jobs and spending time relaxing which I think has been working wonders. I really enjoyed writing my first gratitude list for January and am looking forward to doing more of these. I also invested in The Happiness Planner and have been filling out my goals for each day as well as what I am grateful for last thing at night. Reflecting on the day is a nice thing to do before heading to bed, as I go to sleep positive. 

Goal 5. Be more creative

Plan and spend more time on personal creative projects

How'd I do in January?
Well...not too shabbily I think. I have been colouring in most evenings to relax before bed, which I have really been enjoying and have have been researching photography courses I would like to go on in a few weeks time. This weekend I am planning on heading to an art shop and stocking up on some paint, brushes and a canvas and just seeing what happens. It's exciting. I've also been spending time creating a Radical Self Love Bible with Gala Darling - there's nothing better than tearing fun pages out of magazines and getting creative, writing positive affirmations.

Li, a NYC and Edinburgh lfestyle blogger updates on her 2016 goals and resolutions

Goal 6. Get up early and make the most of everyday

I find it so hard to get up first thing and I am not a morning person in the slightest. I want to make getting up early part of my routine, so I can make the most of the mornings, rather than lazing around in bed wasting precious time. I am always running late and instead I want to ease into my day and create a fun morning routine to set me up properly.

How'd I do in January?
I've been doing not too badly which I am so happy about. I've been using the sleepcycle app and generally I am not letting myself snooze past the time I have set. When I wake up, I have been having a large glass of water and then using the Headspace app for 10 minutes. I have never tried meditation before but I find it really helps me focus and be a lot more productive during the day, just by taking a short stretch of time out every morning. I've also been scheduling gym classes early in the day to help create more a routine and spending time reading inspiring articles over breakfast, with a big mug of tea.

Goal 7. Say yes

Making the most of 2016 and the relatively short time I have in NYC

How'd I do in January?
January was a slight hermit month for me so I maybe didn't do as well on this one as I could have, but February has been a lot better. Two friends and I (one in NYC and one bestie from home) had big chats about this and we are going to encourage each other to do fun things. AWESOME!

So here's my plan and thoughts for the rest of February - bring it!
  • Continue with Kayla Itsines workouts as they are hard but I feel amazing afterwards. They are good for your body and soul.
  • Set aside time every night for some reading and colouring to relax after a busy day.
  • Plan and research some amazing trips and adventures for the rest of 2016.
  • Continue getting up early and having a slow and relaxed morning of exercise, meditation and breakfast.
  • Keep eating well even when the Whole30 is over. It makes me feel so much better!
  • Make mini daily goals and stick to them - they work and help me plan better and be more productive with my day.
  • You are stronger than you think you are. Keep going.
  • Keep planning fun things to do with friends to push me out of my comfort zone. It's worth it I promise. 
  • Book a photography course.

How are your goals going? I'd love to know - update me below.