I'm surprised to say that this January has been pretty good! I'm surprised because I normally find January to be a pretty depressing month where I never end up doing a great deal. I really don't think that i've ever had such a positive start to a year which feels amazing to be able to say.
I kicked off January in style with an impromptu trip to London on New Years Day and I felt so incredibly lucky because Mr Kirby had booked us a nights stay at the Shangri La Shard! I never in a million years thought I would ever spend the night in London's tallest sky scraper and it really was an incredible stay. Our room was beautiful and luxurious and we were treated like VIP's from the moment we arrived. We also enjoyed our first heated toilet seat experience which I have to say was a bit of a life changer! Who knew a heated toilet seat could feel so good!? Everything was wonderful and it was so nice to just chill out, enjoy a swim with a view and of course order in some room service. I wish I could do it all over again! It was the perfect start to 2016.
Oh, and did I mention the view from our room?
After Christmas and at the start of the year it seems like everyone is excited for the January sales but I have to say that I never really feel an urge to really throw myself into them, especially on foot and in person. This January though I did find myself exploring some of the sales online and I did manage to pick myself up a few bargains including some pretty stationery from Kikki.K, a new purse from Matt & Nat (whose sale was amazing by the way - definitely something to remember for next January) and a lovely 'Peace, Love & Avocados' vest from the Deliciously Ella sale.
This month has been surprisingly pretty busy and after a hectic Christmas I really wanted to make sure that I practised some self care so as to not completely burn out. This has involved some colouring, quite a few long baths and naps on the sofa. It also led me to consider how I and others can be prone to feeling low in January so I decided to put together my own 'Beat the January Blues' blog post where I shared some of my own wellbeing tips which promote better mental health. It definitely helped me to focus on and remember the things that I should be doing to help my mood not sink and I think it really worked this month as i've really felt mostly positive.
January is often a time when people don't feel like being very social possibly due to the financial hangover of Christmas, or maybe new year diets and sobriety. However, this month has been fairly active for me and i've really enjoyed playing host to a couple of get togethers including a vegan afternoon tea and a vegan dinner party all under my own roof. I feel so fortunate that the powers of social media have bought me together with some lovely likeminded people within my area who i've truly become great friends with.
After all of the over indulging at Christmas and completely falling out of my usual routine I've been really pleased to 'get back to normal' again. I think it was in the first week of January when I realised that I hadn't eaten an avocado for what felt like weeks and I could almost feel my body crying out for some of the heavenly green goodness! I soon put that right and got back onto one of my all time favourite lunches - avocado on toast with a sprinkle of paprika & side salad.
I've definitely eaten out more than I planned to this month too. It's always difficult to just go back to normal after all the going out in December and it's amazing how quickly eating out every day can just become a part of the norm. That being said, it was really great to make a return visit to one of my local vegan hot spots The Den at 23 in Colchester. It's the perfect little spot to enjoy some lunch and, since working from home, it does just feel really good to get out of the house and enjoy lunch in different surroundings and have some human contact! The Den also have a new menu which I was excited to try out and I can highly recommend the 'Messy Mexican Burger'. It's great to see that this little cafe has clearly become a hit with the locals and even some meat eaters too!
I also had the opportunity to visit somewhere which has been on my hit list for quite a few months - the Toby Carvery. If you didn't already know, the Toby Carvery now features three vegan dishes on their menu which is really quite applaudable for such a carnivorous restaurant. However, my experience of dining there had it's pro's and con's which you'll have to read my review to find out more about!
A real highlight of this month has been getting to grips with my new DSLR Canon 750D camera. I made the decision at the start of the year that I really wanted to pursue my passions more and a huge love of mine has always been photography. Until now I've just relied upon my iPhone 6 Plus as my main camera and to be honest it's a really good camera which has served me well, and it's definitely one that I shall continue to use. But in order for me to really improve my blog photography and start to move forward with things I needed a more professional set up.
Since owning this camera i've really started to take more pride in my photographs and their set up. I put much more thought into the compositions and consequently spend a lot more time photographing in general. It's also led me to be really proactive in ticking off some of my 2016 goals and i've already signed myself up to a photography and a photoshop course which I can't wait to start in February.
Everyone knows by now that I am a huge fan of subscription boxes and one of my blog goals for this year was to move away from one subscription and review multiple different boxes instead. This kicked off pretty well in January with me reviewing both the LIFEBOX and the Buddy Box.
Overall this January has to be the best month to date for my blog, which also happens to celebrate it's 1st birthday around about now! My following has been growing rapidly each day which is always amazing to see and my post hits are always on the increase which really does make blogging feel all the more worthwhile. After all, it's great to see that people are looking at and reading my posts as well as leaving me some positive feedback. One post which caught a lot of people's attention this month was my Open Letter to GBK following their rather dissappointing advertising campaign mocking vegetarians and vegans.
To celebrate The V Nice Life turning 1 I decided to give the blog a little makeover. It felt pretty nerve wrecking deciding to completely change the look and format of my blog but at the same time I do get bored pretty quickly and I felt the time was right for a new look. I hope you all like it too!
The creative juices have certainly been flowing this month and it hasn't stopped with writing and photography. For some unknown reason I was overcome with the desire to do some home decorating! This really doesn't happen very often and I think maybe taking a peek at some home inspo pics on Insta fuelled my need to get the paint brushes out. Sadly it didn't go completely to plan with us initially choosing the wrong colour paint which we didn't fully realise until we had painted our entire hallway. A little frustrating to say the least! Anyway after a second visit to the paint shop and a new colour in hand we finally achieved the colour we were hoping for and Farrow & Ball's 'Mizzle' came to the rescue.
With Valentines Day around the corner I decided that I wanted to surprise my husband with a family portrait. I follow quite a few different artists and illustrators on social media but someone who I have adored for a long time is Viktorija from And Smile Studio. Her work is just so beautiful, simple and fun! I instantly know when I am looking at one of her illustrations as her style is so individual and recognisable. Her Instagram feed always makes me smile and i've been longing for a piece of her work and my own portrait for some time now. I'm so incredibly happy with the family portrait she created for me which of course had to include our beloved pets. I love it so much that I couldn't even wait until Valentines Day to show my husband so this portrait has now taken pride position on our wall for everyone to see. Mr Kirby was pretty bowled over by it too!
Back in December my husband had bought me a spa break for my birthday which we decided to book for the end of January. January can often be a bit bleak with little to look forward to so it's been nice to actually get away this month and do some different things. We stayed at the beautiful Charlton House Hotel in Somerset which has the most amazing spa. It was so lovely to just relax, enjoy the facilities and explore the nearby city of Bath. We had hoped to do some of the touristy sights like the Roman Baths but unfortunately it rained so bad the whole time we were there that we only managed to enjoy some retail therapy and vegan eateries - which I shall be sharing with you all soon!
How was January for you? I hope you all had a great month!