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2016 is here!

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I hope you’ve all had a wonderful time over the festive period. We had our first at Chez Huntley and it was lovely. We relaxed, ate too much, had the odd tipple, suffered the after-effects of too many Brussels sprouts, watched some favourite re-runs of old Only Fools and Horses and played a lot of games whilst snacking on even more indulgent treats!

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Every Christmas I always take some time to quietly remember those who can only spend Christmas with us in our hearts and memories. Sadly, we all have those virtual ‘empty chairs’ at the table and it’s these times which can make us miss those who are absent all the more. What I try to do is keep remembering the good times or even have a little chat to them in a quiet moment in my head… I occasionally update my late father, brother and friends who’ve passed on how life is going. It may sound crazy but this one sided conversation is quite therapeutic. It’s often when I’m alone in the car on the way home from work. “Hi Dad, today I really missed you. Mum made me laugh the other day, you should’ve been there. I’d have loved to have asked you for some advice regarding growing herbs in the kitchen. I was just remembering your beautiful garden. Anyway, I’ll go for now but will chat soon. Love you”. Well, I just thought I’d share that as I am so aware that Christmas, although lovely in many ways, can also have its sadder times.

New years, however, are blank pages full of unwritten adventures, challenges and mysteries! We can never be in full control of our destinies but we do have some say in how we live and how we begin each year. This brings me on to the (dreaded) New Year’s Resolution!

What’s yours? I’ve struggled to think of one -in part because there are so many things I’d like to resolve, it’s hard to pick just one! Finish the work on Chez Huntley? Well, that’s a given, ongoing ‘work in progress’ anyway…

Not be so hard on myself? Hmm, again, a lifetime’s work. See friends and family more? Well, that relies, partly, on the finishing of Chez Huntley! I could stop laughing at very silly, immature things like toilet humour… but why? Where would be the fun in that?!

Hmm, it’s a toughie. About 10 or more years ago I had the most amazing opportunity. Possibly the biggest publisher of self-help/self-development in the world today offered me a book deal. I went to meet with them at their London offices. They then arranged another meeting at the poshest restaurant I’ve ever been to, The Wolseley in Mayfair, and we discussed the proposition further. I was offered a considerable advance in return for my sample chapter. What went wrong, then?

My self-belief, ironically! I simply wasn’t in the right head space at the time. The offer was right there but I didn’t get back to them. I, instead, retreated to the safety of what I knew rather than stepping into the unknown. I doubted myself. They had such belief in me and I didn’t want to let them down so I backed away in order for that not to happen! People talk of fear of success or fear of failure. They can be equally debilitating. I try not to berate myself for having apparently ‘thrown away’ a golden opportunity. Instead, I tell myself what I actually believe to be the truth.

It was the wrong time for me. When the time is right everything will fall into place.

I had intended to start work on the book(s) in 2015. The house and all the related work (plus my mum’s very unexpected run of ill health) have eclipsed almost every other part of my life so that hasn’t happened. There is still so much to do at the house but no more funds, so it’s a little-by-little crawl to the finish line. It’s very likely it will still be ongoing this time next year but I will get there.

So, my resolution for 2016? To get writing! I love writing but dedicate almost no time to it. There are several ideas which have been bubbling away in many areas but one, in particular, which is closest to my heart. That’s where I’ll keep it for now but I do look forward to this time next year when I can update you on how well I’ve kept to my resolution. I don’t want to set myself a challenge I can’t keep to so I’m starting small by saying I’ll do one hour a week in the hope that I will get carried away and turn that into several hours a week. Wish me luck!

I kept last year’s resolution, which was to maintain the health and weight loss I achieved with Christianne Wolff’s Body Rescue Plan in 2014. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself in my entire life! Having said that, I’ve put on a few extra pounds this month with a little over-indulgence but I’ll be back on it again in January.

I would love to hear your resolutions. Did you stick with those made last year? Any biggies for this year?

I would like to thank you all for the incredible amount of support you give to me through my blog, Twitter, Instagram and on the telly. My mum is doing great and thanks you, also. Here’s wishing you a fabulous 2016 with plenty to smile about.

Lots of love,

Catherine xxx

12 Comments

  1. ann cain January 1, 2016 at 12:25 pm -  Reply

    Happy new year to you and all your family.

  2. Teresa Karasavvas January 1, 2016 at 1:55 pm -  Reply

    Happy New Year Catherine to you and your family. I too do have little conversations and it does help. We may lose the ones we love but we will always have to treasure the wonderful memories that they brought us and we were part of.

  3. Sue Dominey January 1, 2016 at 6:27 pm -  Reply

    That was a lovely blog , and before I get carried away happy new year . I know what you mean about people we love not being here , at this time of year . I lost my husband 12years ago at this time and your right you just have a few quite thoughts . I am lucky enough to have a lovely loving family around me which helps . and to top it all I might a lovely man 5years ago and we are getting married in April , which I never thought would happen to me . So this new year I have to try !!!to get in shape . For this big date .

  4. Lidia Gawlyk January 4, 2016 at 6:32 am -  Reply

    Hi Catherine. I always read the presenters blogs, but have never commented. But having just read yours, I have to tell you how touching it was. I lost my dad 20 years ago and every Christmas I tell people that on the 1st December he’d put his little Christmas tree up and he was ready for the big day. He loved it, and I think that’s where I get my love of Christmas from. You never forget the people who have left us, but they are remembered even more at this time of the year. I always wonder what it must be like to have a very large family gathering around the Christmas table for dinner, as we only have a small family. Your photo reminds me very much of our family, with our mums at the head of the table. I would like to wish you and your family a Very Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year. Lidia xx

  5. Steven January 4, 2016 at 10:45 am -  Reply

    Happy New Year Catherine. Hope you have a great year. PS great to see you and Claire on one of the first shows of the year xx

  6. Patrina January 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm -  Reply

    Happy new year to u and yr family . I know what u mean about remembering every one who carnt be with us . It was a very hard Christmas for me as I lost my husband in January last year . But we raised a glass to him and went on how he would have wonted us to . Let’s hope we all have a good new year .

  7. Caroline Lott January 5, 2016 at 10:16 pm -  Reply

    Happy New Year Catherine. Lovely words in your blog it was hard for me this Christmas as I lost my Mum just days before, it was a very difficult sad time and seemed really empty without Mum being here as we were always together, your words gave me comfort, Thank You. X

  8. Joy January 10, 2016 at 2:07 pm -  Reply

    I was touched to read your moving comments about your late father and how you keep him alive in your memory by occasionally talking to him and sharing things with him. Sadly , I lost my beloved dad 2 weeks before Christmas this year and so it has been a difficult time for my mum and myself . I miss him so much, but I also have found some comfort and strength in talking to him and sharing how I feel with him. Your words struck a chord…thank you for posting them. I wish you and your family a Happy and peaceful New Year. X

  9. Carrie January 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Catherine,
    I absolutely can’t wait to meet you tomorrow. This touched my heart in multiple ways. I lost my Dad this past year and find myself doing the same thing you do-I think of it as keeping in touch. I also relate to stepping out of your comfort zone!
    Best,
    Carrie

  10. Catherine Huntley February 18, 2016 at 12:14 pm -  Reply

    You beautiful people,

    Thank you so much for your comments. I’m so very sorry I haven’t caught up with them until now. The truth is, I write my blogs and don’t ever really anticipate much of a response so it really surprised me to see all of your comments. I hope you’ll forgive me for not replying individually to each one but, believe me, I am so touched by every single comment.

    My heart aches for you knowing the pain you feel. Some of you have endured losses agonisingly recently. It’s an old cliche but it really is true that time heals. Not completely, the scars will always be there, but the pain gets less intense. Sleep will return and a new normality will come to be.

    Give yourself time, don’t put pressure on yourself to be back to your old self too soon. Lean on your friends and family. If you don’t have friends and family then reach out to some of the wonderful bereavement charities you can easily find online. If things get tough remember The Samaritans. They’re not just there for extreme desperation. I once began the process of applying to become one but my shifts at QVC meant it wouldn’t work with their shift patterns. They are worth speaking to if you’re low.

    Sending you all big hugs and love. I’m hoping 2016 brings you lots to smile about and that the happier memories begin to overshadow the sadness.

    Love Catherine xxxx

  11. Lorn February 19, 2016 at 9:54 pm -  Reply

    Hello Catherine,

    I hope your house is coming along nicely and I know you will get there in the end. I know you will take the humble approach but I feel I must say it is an enormously brave thing you have done to take on a complete house with the way prices are etc and to do so much yourself whilst working so hard to keep the pennies coming in.
    You must have experienced a few tears along the way (who wouldn’t) however the most wonderful prize from this is giving your children a home whatever happens in their lives in the future. In this uncertain world for youngsters with so much for them to think about, to know that they will forever have a loving home to return to everyday is simply priceless and you have created that home for them. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
    So well done to you, I think it took me a little longer in life to realise what my parents had done for me and have no doubt the security you have provided will allow them to step out into this sometimes crazy world with confidence.
    Good luck with all the finishing touches!!

    Best

    Lorn xx

  12. Catherine Huntley February 23, 2016 at 12:30 pm -  Reply

    Dearest Lorn,

    What a lovely message. Thank you for your words.

    I must admit I have had plenty of tears, lots of sweat and even some blood in the process of building this future for us :-)

    I’ve always been a very determined person though. I work hard if I decide to do something. Mind you, if I could go back in time would I have done it differently? Yes, quite a few things I’d have done differently but I’m seeing it through and will get there in the end so it will have all been worthwhile.

    It’s all come to a little bit of a standstill in terms of the big jobs due to finances but there’s no shortage of things to do so I’m still very busy. The main thing is we finally have a home of our own. It’s not perfect but it’s home and we are all together under the same roof again. Can’t put a price on that!

    I hope that you are keeping well & happy.

    Lots of love,

    Catherine

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