Inspired by Modern Mrs. Darcy’s annual post along these lines, and soon to be followed by a “what didn’t work for me in 2016”. Some of these things are totally trivial, but I discovered them in 2016 and they changed my life for the better.
A new job. I got my personality profile today (we’ve been doing some management training and they paid for us to get profiled). “Yvann has exacting standards at work and at home.” Ummm, yes. Turns out, you can’t be a full-time client-facing audit senior manager to my standards in 35 hours a week every week. Maybe you can do it to other people’s standards, and in fact one person urged me to stay and “just be a bit less good”. My new job is absolutely ace, in subject matter that I love, and it is zero stress and perfectly possible to do in 35 hours a week.
Cycling to work. Now that I work at the same office every day, it’s much easier to cycle there. And I love cycling there. I get an hour a day of decent exercise, fresh air, I see London, I see horses in Hyde Park and red buses and Buckingham Palace and Big Ben and I cover 16km a day under my own steam, which feels like an achievement.
Balsamic glaze. On salad, on steak, on grilled chicken, on mozzarella, on garlic bread, on pizza crusts. So good. I keep a bottle in my desk drawer. (along with some truffle salt)
Whatsapp groups. I only really got into Whatsapp when I was about 4 weeks shy of having Bookmark, and my NCT group were keen to have a group. Since then I’ve set up or participated in groups for my immediate family, various subsets of my cricket team, the friends with whom I go to tiny European countries, the friends with whom I do pub quiz, Supernanny and the other mum who sometimes drops her kid off with us… I love it as a communication tool.
Family Fitbit competitions. I went to the USA with the Musician, Mini-Me and Bookmark in September, and we were a little stretched between my perspective (will happily walk 20 blocks with Bookmark in the pram rather than carry the pram in and out of the subway / to get her to have a good nap) and theirs (sometimes, taxis are the way forward). We ended up walking more and more, and they were fascinated by how much ground we covered. The 25k the day we went to Disneyland was probably a bit much. Anyway after that we all got Fitbits, and have been merrily competing ever since. The Hedge Fund Slave has zero interest in getting one, which I find bemusing.
Pro tip: I didn’t get on with the Fitbit Flex because I didn’t like wearing it on my wrist. I keep my Fitbit Zip either attached to my bra strap, or in my sock, and I forget it’s there. I believe the Book Accumulator goes for the more traditional waist-band Fitbit location.
Putting the TV on to go to sleep. I know, I know, the screen is evil. But. I have a history of taking well over an hour to go to sleep, because the voices in my head won’t shut up. Alternatively, I put on BBC iPlayer (QI is a favourite, but Mock the Week, Have I Got News For You, Only Connect, No Such Thing As the News all do the trick), and I’m asleep within 5 minutes. Podcasts work too – I actually save the weekly QI Elves podcast No Such Thing As A Fish for bedtime listening. It often takes me the whole week to actually listen to the episode because I fall asleep so fast. WHY didn’t I discover this as a teenager? I do like all those shows and willingly watch them when awake, but I can’t use my favourite dramas like The West Wing for this, and similarly I don’t use podcasts like The Double X Gabfest or News In Slow French because they take too much brainpower to let me fall asleep.
More to follow!