Monday, 28 June 2021

A Mid Year Look At My 2021 Goals For The Year

 At the start of 2021, I set myself a few personal goals and a few business goals and like every year, in the Summer, I like to take a look at where I'm at and see if I'm sort of 'on track' to achieve everything I hoped. I definitely didn't set myself as many goals this year as I have in the past just because the last year has been hard for so many of us and who wants all that that extra pressure to achieve loads of stuff? That being said, I do find setting myself little goals really keeps me motivated so I always have a few things in mind. So, here's a mid year look at my 2021 goals for the year. I'd love to know how you're getting on with any goals you set too!

Reach 150 Etsy Sales
I went into 2021 on about 55 sales after opening my shop Bear's Brownies & More in October and I was SO proud of myself for reaching that in just a few months. When I decided to take the plunge and start up my own baking business, I had absolutely no idea how it was going to go. I fully expected I might get a few sales and then it would quickly stop but luckily that didn't happen and that's mainly due to the support I've had from the blogging community. It overwhelms me how kind people can be online who I hardly even know so if that's you and you've contributed in any way, thank you so much! As I didn't know how the shop might go this year, I decided I would aim for reaching 150 sales by the end of the year. I hit that in March! That just makes me so happy and the buzz of getting a sale never goes away. I'm hoping to reach 200 sales now but I might up it at some point if I'm feeling confident! I've definitely noticed sales slowing down a little since lockdown lifted which is understandable, I think so many small businesses are feeling it right now but I'm sure it will pick up again soon.

Reach 1000 Followers on the Bear's Brownies & More Instagram
Another business goal this year is to hit 1000 followers on the Bear's Brownies & More instagram. I'm now on about 730 followers which I'm really pleased with and I'm hopeful I'll reach my goal later in the year. Instagram can be such a pain though so I won't be too disappointed if not, sometimes it seems like you can be doing all the 'right' things and it still won't matter. If you'd like to follow us & see all of our delicious bakes, this is the link to our Insta!

Exercise Regularly
Ahh I can't say this has gone brilliantly so far this year! Last Spring/Summer I got into such a good routine with exercising and eating healthier and I felt brilliant for it when lockdown properly lifted so I really just want to get back to that. I notice a massive difference in my mental health aswell as physical health when I exercise, even if it's just something small so I'm determined to get back into something I enjoy this Summer. To be fair, we did buy a treadmill recently so I have no excuse anymore. Moving house and all of the stress leading upto that this year just got in the way of this goal and I seem to have lost all inspiration for cooking recently but there's still time.

Buy A House
That follows on nicely from my last point, we bought a house! I was very brief about this in my goals post in January as by that point we'd already had an offer accepted and knew we were in the process of buying but I didn't want to jinx anything! I knew buying a house would be stressful but I don't think I quite anticipated just how bad it would be at times. We had SO many delays, we should have been in far earlier than we were but by May we got the keys and I can't quite explain how good it felt to finally step into the house knowing it was ours. I genuinely think this is the happiest we've ever been. Bear absolutely loves it, the living room is my happy place as it's decorated how I always wanted and we have so many exciting plans for it over the next few years. So so proud of us for achieving this.

Read 80 Books
I'm not doing so well with my reading challenge for 2021 I've gotta say. I knew I wasn't likely to read as many books as I have over the last few years due to moving and also because of the shop but I've seriously slacked with it this year. I think I'm about 20 books behind schedule according to goodreads and I can't remember the last time I properly picked up a book and read for a while. I'd still love to read 80 books by the end of the year but if I don't, it really doesn't matter. I want to make sure I'm not just reading for the sake of it and rushing through everything.

So that's a little mid year look at my 2021 goals. Apart from one or two, they're going pretty well I think! I'm really excited to see where I'm at with my business by the end of the year and I also can't wait to keep making this house a home and making little changes in the coming months.

Did you set yourself any goals this year?

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Monday, 7 June 2021

What I Read In April & May

 I've ended up combining April & May's monthly reading roundups as there just wasn't enough to say for April alone, I seriously slacked with reading and for the most part I just couldn't be bothered to pick up a book. There has been a LOT going on recently and to be honest the majority of this year has been quite stressful which has definitely played a part in the lack of reading I've been doing but there was a good reason for it. We moved house! In May we FINALLY got the keys to our new home after first having our offer accepted just before Christmas so it's felt like a lifetime waiting to complete. We had so many delays so week after week I just felt stressed & of course lockdown didn't help but as soon as we got the keys, all of that just went away. I'm hoping I'll get the reading bug back now that stress has gone & Summer is on the way so I just know I'm going to be sat in the garden loads with a book while Bear plays, something I've wanted to do for so long. Anyway, now that's out of the way and hopefully explains a little why things have been a bit all over the place here, let's talk about the books I did manage to read in April and May.

Playing Nice by J.P. Delaney - ⭐⭐⭐
This is the first book I've ever read by J.P. Delaney which is surprising as his books have been recommended so many times! Playing Nice starts when Pete Riley answers his door one morning, not knowing a parent's worst nightmare is about to come true. There stands Miles Lambert, a stranger, who says that Pete's son Theo isn't actually is his son, he is the Lambert's little boy who was switched at birth. Their real son went home with Miles and his wife Lucy. For Pete and Maddie, their life is about to change forever. This was really tense just from the first chapter and I knew that no matter how nice everyone seemed, Pete and Maddie were going to end up with a fight on their hands. I didn't trust Miles from the start but I found all the characters quite complex and like they could be the one hiding something big from everyone else. For the most part I really enjoyed this but towards the end it just lost me a little. The ending was really drawn out and unrealistic.

The Stopover by T.L. Swan - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The first five star book of the month! I know books like Fifty Shades of Grey can divide opinion and I would say this is definitely along those lines so I'll keep try and keep this short and sweet but I clearly really enjoyed it! I'd seen this recommended quite a few times recently on Instagram and I was too intrigued to leave it any longer. This starts out with Emily Foster getting bumped up to first class for her flight to New York, something that never happens to a girl like her and that's where she meets Jameson. Sitting next to one another during the flight, they enjoy drinks and find they actually get on really well. Due to bad weather during the flight, they are rerouted to Boston and have the chance to spend the night together. After the best night, they go their separate ways, thinking that was all it was ever meant to be. A year later, Emily now has a job interview in New York and it turns out it's at Jameson's company. He wants to pick up where they left off but Emily has a boyfriend now. Can they resist? I'm so excited to read more from this author in future now.

The Spark by Jules Wake - ⭐⭐⭐
This is a really tricky one to rate, at times it felt like a five star, especially at the beginning but as the book went on, something changed and to be honest I don't know what. Insightful I know. The Spark is about Jess and Sam. As soon as their eyes lock at a party, there's a spark, genuine love at first sight. The issue is Sam is just out of a relationship and his ex Victoria won't back off making the honeymoon period hell. Is love at first sight enough to make this work? There was an obvious connection between Jess and Sam & I loved both characters despite their flaws & the messy way they get together because it just felt very believable. Life isn't always straightforward. At times though it was very predictable & I wish Sam had been a bit more outspoken as it often felt like Jess had to take the brunt of Victoria's pain which was a little unfair. I think if you're after something lighthearted to read this Spring, this is probably something you'd enjoy.

No One Can Change Your Life Except For You by Laura Whitmore - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I rarely read non-fiction books but Laura Whitmore's brand new book stood out to me for a few reasons. Not gonna lie the gorgeous cover sucked me in and the title but it also seemed like such a positive, uplifting read and that was something I really needed at the time. In this, Laura talks about how we can become our own heroes and create our own dreams after sharing her struggles and experiences with heartbreak, self-doubt, insecurity and more. There's lots of chat around positive affirmations, self-belief and optimism and how all of those things can benefit our lives if we let them. I'm really into manifestation and speaking positive affirmations and I truly believe it's why some things have worked out how they have over the last 6 months so this was kind of just reinforcing a lot of what I've been trying to do anyway. I loved finding out more about Laura and some of the people she looks upto and I think there was a nice balance throughout of chapters about her life aswell as tips on controlling your perspective, trying to have a more optimistic outlook and positive affirmations to use going forward. It left me really empowered to be honest and I can see myself going back to this again and again for several little snippets.

The Doctor by Nikki Sloane - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Okay I'm going to have to keep my reviews short for the next few because I don't really know what to say other than they're pure smut. Books by Nikki Sloane make Fifty Shades seem tame so that's saying something. The Doctor is the first book in a 3 part series by Nikki and it was definitely my favourite of the three. Cassidy is just home from college for the Summer when she realises her relationship with Preston is going nowhere. After deciding to end things, she realises the connection she has with his father...There's a 20 year age gap but the chemistry is real & can either of them resist? Of course not. I can see why this wouldn't be for everyone but I really enjoyed it. I read it all in about an hour!

The Pool Boy by Nikki Sloane - ⭐⭐⭐
The second in the series by Nikki Sloane and just as risque as The Doctor. Erika has just discovered her husband has been cheating on her for years with his boss and she's decides she's wasted too many years doing what is best for everyone else. She's putting herself first from now on and that means saying yes when she finds herself in a compromising situation with the twenty something pool boy. Whilst I did enjoy this and again found myself reading the whole thing super quickly, I definitely didn't find it quite as intriguing as Nikki's previous book.

The Architect by Nikki Sloane - ⭐⭐
The final book in the series and this was definitely my least favourite. I don't even know how to go about explaining the plot because it's just so crazy. It had moments which I enjoyed and it was nice that characters from previous books turned up at points but overall it was a bit too much for me.

So that's everything I've read over the last two months. I would still love to reach my reading goal of 80 books this year but I'm very behind right now so I have my doubts! I've really missed just sitting and getting properly stuck into a book these last few weeks whilst everything has been a bit mad so I'm looking forward to a bit of calm now.

What books have you read recently?

By the way, after taking much longer than I expected away from my small business to move house, I've finally re-opened the shop today! We still have 7 gorgeous brownies to choose from and we have 15% off all week too so would love it if you felt like treating yourself to a box or spreading the word!

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