Claiming a Colourful 2019

Well hello there, folks. Just a little something to say “Howdy, I’m alive,” since my last blog post was over two months ago. Things at The Girl Next Shore HQ have been rather hectic and as mentioned previously, I was in a state of transition where big decisions were made. Not to get into much detail, but the fear of settling has actually, ironically, put me in a state of feeling slightly more settled. And now, coming into Spring (!!!) I’d like to take this time to reflect on where I’d like to be at the end of 2019.

Let’s just say I’ve set a few goals.

#1 Make my house a home

After 13 years of falling in (and sometimes out of) love with South London, I’ve made the big leap towards north of the river. I’ve been living in my new borough for almost two months.

Admittedly there’s still a slight “like-fish-out-of-water” feeling but isn’t that what’s moving like, anyway? It’s like replacing a pet that died; you worry you won’t feel the love you had for the old one, and fear the new one might bite. I can’t say North-of-the-River is home yet, but I’d like to think it could be (with the help of #apartmenttherapy and Patch Plants). Oh, I’m also encouraged by the strong sense of community, the easy access to quaint shops and interesting spots, and the fact that some of my close friends live only a stone’s throw away.

I still live next to greenery. But I do miss the river.

#2 Be a better person – online and IRL

I’ve been trolled a few times last Summer and over the past month (admittedly, I’ve replied when push came to shove). And whilst I feel absolutely sorry for these fake accounts investing too much time causing havoc in other people’s lives (I’m assuming these are sad people who can’t stand happy shiny people themselves) I’ve come to realise that there’s no point in retaliating. Nor should it be an option to give them any oxygen. These assholes can go fuck their pathetic selves whilst I concentrate on being a better person and concentrating on people who matter. #theythinktheyknowbuttheydontreally

There’s too much bitching and drama in the world and frankly, nobody needs to be a part of that unless they’re vying for an Oscar.

Some things I’ve been trying to do: Message the family thread every (or every other) day. Call my parents over the weekends. Make regular catch-up appointments with girl friends (and stick to them). Catch up with blogger friends and make effort in maintaining friendships with those who make an effort with me. Stay away from toxic people.

#3 Learn more. Write more. Read more.

I’ve missed studying, being challenged, and working towards a qualification. This year, I’m working towards becoming a Chartered Marketer in alignment with my MSc. Exciting times, but assume that’s going to take some effort – although well worth it.

I’m also going to write more like I used to. A bit more thoughtful, a bit more mindful and a bit more of the style that I started blogging with.

I’ve always been an avid reader and inspired by a recent London Bookshop Crawl, I’m planning to read more this year. In 2018, I read 49 books, which I thought was decent. This year, I want to better that. No challenges set, but my “to-read” pile is stacking up quite nicely and my list of independent bookstores to visit is growing longer. Recommendations are welcome (I generally prefer non-fiction, but I’m starting to explore more fiction, too).

#5 Work

I’ve gushed enough times about my (not-so-new) job. I’ve been talking to people about the sense of fulfillment I get from my 8.30-5. It’s the first time, in my years of working, that I’ve felt I’m significantly contributing to the betterment of society and not just some corporate schmuck who builds on the money banks. I love my job.

And this year, I really want to make a difference to what I’m doing. Whether it be to become a better marketer, or a better professional with a conscience.

#5 Be mindful

The final quarter of 2018 was a tough one and anxiety levels were on a definite high. This year, I’d like to spend at least time to “calm down” – whether it be by running again or doing yoga again or by taking ten minutes every here and there during the working day to breathe a little bit.

Sometimes I find myself having too much energy that needs to be released. Perhaps it’s time to have a hobby. Or start something new.

I’ve even ventured into knitting. Anyone up for a scarf?

#6 Be healthier

There’s a plan to drink less, smoke less, and sleep more this year. I doubt I’ll ever quit drinking (because come on, we all need a break) but to quit smoking ultimately is a definite goal. Sleeping more than 4-5 hours a day is also an aim.

Gone fishy

I’ve cut down the daily bacon rolls, and have explored the idea of eating healthier (although not obsessively). I’ve tried going pescatarian for the whole month of January and though the idea of completely giving up a rare fillet of steak is painful, I’m definitely going to cut down on my red meat intake.

Even if that means giving up weekly Sunday roasts… =(

#7 Give back

I’m an active supporter of 4Ocean, as I genuinely believe what makes 70% of the Earth is essential to modern day civilization. The bracelets are cool, and each purchase supports the cleaning of 1lb of ocean waste as well as supporting causes and charities affected by ocean plastic pollution. I have five so far, supporting causes close to my heart: The 4Ocean Bracelet, The Dolphin Bracelet, The Marine Nursery Bracelet, The Whale Bracelet, and The Sustainable Fishing Bracelet (my fave).

I’m going to continue campaigning for this cause and I hope you guys do, too.

#8 Let go, let live, let love.


I’ve learned to let go. Of (what I thought were) sentimental, material things that really and truly only account to junk (Marie Kondo would be proud). Of mental things that I used to worry about (from giving trolls too much oxygen to whether that Oxford comma was really necessary). Of long-term relationships/friendships that could be better without me.

This would allow for living the moment and really focusing on who and what matters. I’ve learned to keep friendships and relationships that will bring nothing but positivity. We meet so many people in our lives and as much as we tend to aspire for a congeniality title, truth is we can only nurture a handful (if that). Valuing this borrowed time means spending it with people who really matter most, and doing things that truly make one happy.

Erm. Like this:

There’s a bit of me that’s scared, but a lot of me that’s excited.

Suffice to say, 2019 has been colourful.

And I hope it continues to be.

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  1. 13th March 2019 / 9:32 pm

    It’s always good to think about what you want from life and make some goals. Sounds like you’ve got an exciting year ahead!

    • Honey de Gracia
      18th March 2019 / 5:23 pm

      Thanks Laura! Really hoping to have a good one 🙂

  2. Lian
    14th March 2019 / 8:34 am

    What an exciting time for you. Also like the other plans so Lee up the good work!

    • Honey de Gracia
      18th March 2019 / 5:23 pm

      Lian! I miss you! x

  3. 14th March 2019 / 10:55 am

    What a lovely post. Good you love your job. That is so important. Have a great year.

    • Honey de Gracia
      18th March 2019 / 5:23 pm

      It is indeed! Hope you have a great year ahead, too!

  4. 14th March 2019 / 11:14 am

    Ah this is so lovely and so much to look forward to right now! Your dog is the double of mine!

    • Honey de Gracia
      18th March 2019 / 5:23 pm

      Thanks, Laura! He’s actually my best friend’s dog, so I’m godmother/auntie 🙂

  5. 14th March 2019 / 4:23 pm

    It is so important to love the job you do, as you spend much of your actual life at work. Looks like a great start to 2019

    • Honey de Gracia
      18th March 2019 / 5:22 pm

      It’s been a pleasant start, yes.

  6. 16th March 2019 / 10:03 am

    Aw! I love reading a catch up from you!

    • Honey de Gracia
      18th March 2019 / 5:22 pm

      Awww thanks Angie! See you soon I hope!