September: the new January
It’s blindingly obvious when you think about it; September is a much more sensible time to start the year than January. Many of us by now have had holidays and a break from work or mundanity. We’re feeling refreshed, relaxed, and energised. Memories of beaches and warm evenings have not completely faded. There might still be sand in your shoes. Perhaps even a hint of a tan remains.
Lots of us have made the annual pilgrimage to buy shiny new stationery and school shoes (one of the few things it really is quite hard to do online). We’ve had a much-needed hair cut after a summer of ignoring self-care. And although our summer eating may not have been wall-to-wall Ottolenghi salads, at least we haven’t just spent two weeks mainlining turkey stuffing and pigs in blankets. In short, in September – unlike in January – we’re ready for whatever life can throw at us. And it’s a relatively short stint until Christmas, when we can mainline turkey stuffing and pigs in blankets again.
January, on the other hand, is a daunting month, with the whole year stretching out before us just begging us to trip up. Experience (and many, many wise people) will tell us that January is the worst month of all to set goals or deprive ourselves of anything that makes us feel good. Everyone knows the best bits of winter come before January (i.e., parties, carol singing, mulled wine, sequins), and the worst bits come afterwards (mud, mud, mud. And darkness) so why would we make it any harder by giving up carbs or booze and forcing ourselves to go for a muddy run in the dark!?
This September – more than perhaps any other – feels like a poignant time for a fresh start because of the seminal change in the UK monarchy. After 70 years of an incredible Queen, the baton has been handed over to our new King Charles III. What better time to make some changes in our own lives?
Our September resolutions are not ground-breaking, neither are they hugely original. What they are – and this really is the key to any good resolution – is realistic. Gone are the days when we swear off bread or sugar or red wine forever more. As we all know, the kind of resolutions we will stick to involve small tweaks that fit in with the kind of lifestyles we already have.
So here goes:
Eat a bit less meat
As Indians, we were brought up appreciating how to elevate the humble vegetable. But we can all lose our way a little, especially when life gets busy and it’s frankly much easier to bung some chipolatas in the oven than to start a vegetable curry from scratch. Anna Jones’ cookbook ‘A modern way to eat’ is our starting point and we’re giving her dal with crispy sweet potato and quick coconut chutney a whirl this week.
Take pride in letter-writing
Some friends recently told me that they don’t see the point in writing to anyone anymore as a text does the same thing. I never expect a thank you letter, but I do love to write or receive a handwritten note or card. Stationery is still one of my favourite things (a throwback to that September back-to-school feeling), and nothing can beat a smart set of notecards, especially ones embossed with your own initials. Smythson make some of the best: good enough for our late Queen, no less.
*image courtesy - smythson.com
Be a beacon of colour
Repeat after me: Summer is not the only time to wear florals and colour! I’m always amazed by how few people seem to wear colour as soon as the weather turns Autumnal in the UK. It needn’t be head-to-toe neon, but a slick of bright lipstick and a block-printed gilet over a light jumper will go a long way as the weather turns colder. Or if you want to experiment with colour at home, wrap yourself up in a cosy, quilted dressing-gown to give you a colourful lift in the mornings. We’re determined not to fade into the background this Autumn.
Going from zero running to lots of running is unrealistic, but just getting outside once every day for a walk (or even a short jog) should be achievable. We’re so lucky to be surrounded by beautiful countryside and to be able to see the seasons change that it seems criminal not to be in nature more often. Whether you live in a bustling city or a field in the middle of nowhere, getting outside and moving is a tonic for the mind and body. We’re going to put a walk in our diary, don our (bright) wellies and commit to stomping those footpaths daily – come rain or shine.
What about you - what are your ‘New Year’ resolutions?
All the best for your September fresh start,
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