Raising My Game

Raising My Game

At the end of last year, I thought that my theme for 2013 was going to be a year of new starts.  A couple of weeks later, events took an unexpected turn and I had to reassess.

With no longer any guarantees towards the life I had envisioned for us, I revised my theme for 2013 and decided that I was going to make it the year that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone instead.

I had been so caught up in a cycle of being pregnant/not being pregnant, looking after a 3-year old boy, while also working full-time on the other side of London, that life seemed to have simply passed me by.

I was about to turn 40 and I wanted to take back control.  I did not want to be afraid to really live my life.  I wanted to stop letting fear of the unknown make decisions for me.  I wanted to say Yes to more opportunities than No.

I wanted to have fun again, laugh, be impulsive.

In the months that followed, I accepted offers to be interviewed by Red magazine and contributed a blog post to Red online.  I quit my job to spend more time at home with my son.  I changed my twitter handle from @smudgerella to @grenglishblog.  I asked for further investigations into my two miscarriages and discovered I have an auto immune condition called Hashimoto’s disease.  I stopped eating gluten.  I agreed to be filmed for 4-weeks as part of a TV show that will be aired next year.  I went to Paris… for lunch.  I threw a big party for my 40th birthday.  I entered a competition to win a ticket to Blogfest and I won!  I turned my hobby as a blogger into a paid profession.  I bought an iPhone.  I walked my son to and from school every day.  I cut my long hair short, grew out my fringe and added highlights.  May seem trivial, but for the first time in years I like my hair.

I formed new bonds and made new friendships.  I walked nervously into big rooms full of strangers, wearing a big smile.  I took my boys to Devon for the first time, a place where I spent many summer holidays growing up.  I made my own pizza dough.  I played croquet and made my own Christmas gift tags with the WI.

I did learn a lot this year and I laughed even more.  I may not be good at everything and certainly not the best at anything, but I feel like myself again.

I want to continue to do all of these things next year, but to do them all better.  So, my theme for 2014 is to raise my game.

I want to focus even more on my son.  Play more, get outside more, learn more.

I want to be a better wife.  Listen more, talk more, spend more time together.

I want to be a  better cook.  Make more meals from scratch, be more adventurous, take more time.

I want to a better blogger.  Write more, read more, comment more.

I want to work more; and spend less of my down time on Netflix.

I want to be a better friend.  Make more time.  See more people.  Make more effort.

I want to make my time on the committee of the East Dulwich WI count, not just pop along for the wine.

I want to feel more organised, more on top of it all, more in control.

I want to raise my game and see where life takes me.


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  1. December 31, 2013 / 11:06 AM

    Ahhhhh, love this post so much. It makes me very happy that I got to spend a teensy bit of 2013 with you, and very sad that I won’t be close enough to share a bottle of wine with you and admire that fabulous hair in 2014. Have a good one, lovely. Can’t wait to read all about it xxx

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 1:14 PM

      Happy new year lovely, I am so happy I got to spend some time with you this year too and to meet your gorgeous family. Looking forward to hearing more from your adventures down under x

  2. December 31, 2013 / 11:07 AM

    Oh honey, what an amazing post from one of my favourite bloggers and mates. You rock, inspire and write like a dream. I cannot wait to see you on telly next year. I feel the same about so much of what you’ve written and will be compiling a blog post about my hopes for 2014 soon, lots of love, health and happiness for 2014 xx

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 1:53 PM

      And to you too my love x

  3. December 31, 2013 / 11:12 AM

    The East Dulwich WI! I was a founding member (and used to be a fairly ineffectual member of the committee about 5 years ago). I moved out of London (and back again) and stopped going. You have inspired me to return. Might see you there in January? Lucy

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 1:54 PM

      Yes definitely! I will be there… look forward to meeting you!

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 2:53 PM

      Yes me too! Will make a firm date soon xx

  4. December 31, 2013 / 12:20 PM

    Fab blog post. What an amazing year. Hope 2014 proves to be all you hope.

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 2:53 PM

      Thank you! And to you too…

  5. December 31, 2013 / 2:15 PM


    This is probably one of the best reviews of a year I’ve read. I particularly like “I walked my son to and from school every day” – quite an achievement, I didn’t manage this and I only live 15 minute walk away from pre-school.

    Looks like you’ve got some good ideas to work on for the coming year, good luck with 2014!

    Nice site btw, first visit.

    Cheers, Stu (arrived here via twitter)

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 2:54 PM

      Thanks so much for visiting! Welcome back anytime!
      Happy New Year

  6. Noo
    December 31, 2013 / 9:20 PM

    You are already an amazing friend – cherish you Smudge. Love this post – gonna join you in raising my game. Let’s meet over wine and compare notes! Love Noo xx

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 2:55 PM

      Yes! Am not wine-ing in Jan but can have a mint tea or wait until Feb xx

  7. December 31, 2013 / 10:16 PM

    Wow you’ve packed so much into a year already and it really sounds like you’re happy with the progress. All I can do is wish you the best of luck and I hope the good times continue to visit more often in 2014!

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 2:55 PM

      Thanks Stacey x

  8. January 1, 2014 / 7:54 AM

    Well done – what a fantastic achievement. I have similar goals for 2014 – no more coasting, it’s all about living life! PS I love your hair too x

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 2:56 PM

      Haha thanks! Yours is also mighty fine 🙂
      Cheers to no more coasting and lots more fun,

  9. January 1, 2014 / 10:38 PM

    YES!! You’ve said so many things that I could not form into coherent sentences. Thank you xxx

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 2:57 PM

      you are welcome!! Hope 2014 is glorious for you x

  10. January 2, 2014 / 8:30 AM

    You have achieved so much, that is an amazing year’s work. As someone who is teetering on the brink of giving up my job that makes me miserable, to explore some new opportunities, this is really inspiring. Ultimately happiness and family are the most important things and it strikes me that you have found the perfect balance. Thank you.

    • Grenglish
      January 2, 2014 / 2:59 PM

      I was terrified at the thought of going out there alone, but honestly was the best thing and I have not looked back. Balance is better although still not perfect x

  11. January 2, 2014 / 8:19 PM

    Love this – you have inspired me to follow a similar mantra. It’s far too easy to suddenly sit up and realise 6 months have passed by and you missed it. x

  12. January 4, 2014 / 9:53 PM

    Wow – what a round up of 2013. Totally inspiring. What an emotional year it must have been! Here’s to 2014, change and family 🙂 xx

  13. January 11, 2014 / 2:34 PM

    Great reading and I can completely relate to it. Sounds like you had a busy 2013.

  14. Sarah
    February 27, 2014 / 8:13 AM

    I have just discovered your blog and love it, this post especially. I too have my own Greek Godzilla! And have sadly just had a miscarriage. This post is uplifting x

    • Grenglish
      March 15, 2014 / 7:58 AM

      I am so sorry you have been through that. Such a sad thing to happen to anyone. Thank you for commenting x

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