2016 ... what now?


I know that some of you will be expecting this post to be one of 'new beginnings', 'fresh starts' and 'resolutions' but I've got to be honest with ya - the line that divides 2015 and 2016 is a bit blurred for me. That might be partly due to the release date of my latest book The New Vegan (31st Dec), which kinda straddled the two and meant I was essentially ending and starting on a high - a weird but terrific feeling. Of course, there's still so much more work to do with ongoing publicity and the like but I'm also trying to do something I didn't manage to achieve with Keep it Vegan, which is to savour each and every moment. I'm so incredibly proud of the book and want it to be equally well received but in this game nothing is ever guaranteed. Being the control freak that I am, releasing something into the ether and allowing it to have a life of its own is strange but ultimately, when you write a book, that's precisely what you have to do - let it go. So, while I'm working on letting things go (physically, metaphorically and even spiritually) I'm easing myself into a year that promises to be full of surprises - and trust me, there's already been a few. It's true what they say, the more you do something the easier it gets and I've definitely found this with live tv in particular. When I think back to my first tv appearance more than a year ago, I feel like I've learnt so much - same goes for radio ... it's so fast-paced you really have to think on your feet but that's what makes it so thrilling. I guess all those years of training and acting professionally have finally come in handy!


little side note about The New Vegan ... not just for 'new vegans' the title was more of a nod to a fresh take on a lifestyle that is plagued with preconceptions. It's as much about a new collective approach to veganism as well as my own particular mindset, and contains advice on 'What to tell people', as well as ways to veganize your wardrobe. The recipes range from raw, gluten offerings through to robust, wholesome fodder, which means there's something for everyone - even the pickiest of eaters should find a selection of recipes they will use and like. As ever, I've applied my straight-up straightforward, simple approach to things and I've even included a handful of DIY beauty recipes that you'll hopefully find useful. I'm so proud of the book and can't thank Nassima Rothaker enough for her creative input and incredible photos - it was like she was reading my mind and absolutely nailed the vibe I was after. If only I had  1% of her photography talent! In my opinion the book is quite a departure from 'Keep it Vegan' although I've retained my storytelling style, prefixing each dish with a personal tale. Anyway, let me know what you think, I always love to read your comments.


Aside from that, the other big question, of course, has got to be am I or have I made any resolutions? Well, no. I'm a continual goal-setter but when it comes to cut and dried resolutions, I'd just rather not. Take last year for example. I had two major goals I set myself for the year. Were they resolutions? I really don't believe so and despite the fact I managed to tick those particular goals off my list, not having them set so rigidly in stone meant I was much more relaxed about them ... and ensured that I wouldn't feel terrible had I not achieved them. That's my crazy logic anyway.


Right now I'm trying not to have too many inflated expectations and simply let life unfold in a more organic way. I know I'm much happier when I'm not obsessing over things, so leading a (semi) relaxed existence is something I'm 'mindfully' trying to implement - and have been for a while. That doesn't mean I don't still get stressed about things or apply myself in the same way ... I just try to not carry around any silly annoyances with me and leave work at the home office door - easier said than done! Speaking of home offices, I'm trying to find a way of making that space more creative for me to work in. It feels quite stale at the moment and because it doubles up as my closet and laundry room, it doesn't always offer that zen atmosphere I'm after. I think a bit of a re-jig is in order and I'm after a large planner that I can put on the wall, as I'm already keeping too many deadlines and appointments in my head, which is only asking for trouble.


Thankfully my Sister bought me this cool organiser type notebook for Christmas. It's entirely blank (no restricting lines to prevent any necessary doodling) and begging to be the beginning of a brand new recipe book - although I suspect there'll be lots of other ideas and creative titbits scribbled in there very soon too ... believe it or not my interests and ambitions extend beyond food. So yeah, I'm excited for the year ahead but taking it one day at a time, and trying not to let the small things slip me by. How do you like to approach the new year?


miscellaneousAine Carlin