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Focus on a happy 2016

January 1, 2016

Focus - Happy 2016 on mycustardpie.comWaking up to a beautiful sunny day, a box of fresh, sharp pencils, the clean pages of a new diary planner, a virtuous green smoothie and my head swirling with ideas. I still have house guests here so time is stretched but I’ve sneaked off to my desk to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

We marked the passing of the old year with good friends, good food, nice wine and some extraordinarily beautiful fireworks viewed across the waters of The Madinat, Dubai. Our pleasure and optimism for the start of the year was tinged with sadness at the thought of friends lost in 2016, the worrying state of our world right now and the fact that a few kilometres away a huge fire was raging at one of the largest hotels in Dubai. Thankfully everyone got out safely. I hope you had a pleasant evening wherever you spent it.

The cliche of new year, new start does work for me and I looked back on this time last year when I’d made a resolution that my word of the annum was going to ‘kinder’. I also published a food manifesto which you can read in my sidebar. I think that resolution worked for me in the same way as mindfulness and has resulted more personal tranquility and confidence.

Focus and planning - Happy 2016 on

So what of this year? It has to be focus:

  • Writing and creating for this blog is one of the most rewarding and pleasurable things I like doing; why are there so few posts over the last three months? I’m going to focus on the things that are really important to me.
  • Veggie teen is in her last year at school so the first half of the year are precious times for us as a family and she needs me to focus on supporting her.
  • Health and values about food provenance continue to be burning issues for me. I’m going to be vegetarian for January to help support veggie teen and to focus on our family eating habits more rigorously.
  • There are way to many things on my ‘to do’ list, in my calendar (and in my cupboards!). A bit of prioritisation and focus wouldn’t go amiss here.

A few weeks ago I witnessed someone, aged 56, collapse and die of a heart attack right in front of me. It was a wake up call to focus on things that really matter and to stop being distracted by peripheral things.

These are broad brush intentions and require some action planning, diarising and detail to implement but they’ve made me excited about what is possible for the up and coming twelve months. Happy to share more of the details if you are interested, but sharing my intent here is incredibly helpful to just getting things done. It makes it real.

Massive thanks for joining me here in 2015. Happy New Year.

Fireworks in Dubai - Happy 2016 on

Fireworks at midnight at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

I’d love to know what you are planning for 2016 and how you make sure you are going to achieve it. Got a word for 2016?

  1. January 1, 2016 7:55 pm

    Sally, thank you as always for a fascinating and thought-provoking post. As you know, I’m leaving Dubai in a small handful of months and hope that you will visit me in Europe on your annual trips. I have really enjoyed your very personal blog. Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • January 1, 2016 8:34 pm

      I’ve loved your comments Dave – I’m always touched by the time and trouble you take and the perspective you give. Best of luck with the new turns your life is going to take and of course we’ll keep in touch.

      • January 1, 2016 8:37 pm

        Not gone yet! Would love to see your 2016 food in Dubai wish list…

  2. January 1, 2016 8:28 pm

    Hello Sally, a Happy New Year to you. I have just started to follow your blog last week, the place you live in and your recipes are the reason I have signed for your newsletter. I am just starting with food blogging, so in 2016 I hope to develop further my own style and voice and get better in photography. I write in Dutch, but because I was born in Czech Republic I cook Czech food frequently. That is my first focus on my blog.
    Personally I hope all people who are dear to me (especially my two children and my husband) will keep healthy in 2016.
    Courious to see more of your posts!
    Regards from The Netherlands, Renata

    • January 1, 2016 8:37 pm

      Your blog is gorgeous Renata – the photography is so alluring. Happy new year.

      • January 3, 2016 4:01 pm

        Thank you Sally, I am still learning every day (from you to by the way)

  3. January 1, 2016 8:30 pm

    Wishing you and your family and very happy, healthy 2016.

  4. andreamynard permalink
    January 1, 2016 9:42 pm

    Wishing you a very happy new year Sally, look forward to reading your lovely, always fascinating posts.

    • January 2, 2016 9:21 pm

      The feeling is completely mutual Andrea. Your posts transport me to a bit of country life that I miss – they are so beautifully written and evocative. Happy new Year.

  5. January 1, 2016 11:42 pm

    Even your brief posts are thoughtful, thought-provoking – and just splendid! Best wishes for 2016 and, in the short term, totally enjoy your planned veggie January with veggie teen. Our day has been spent paddle boarding in the Gulf of Mexico with my family, drinking breakfast mimosas on my sister’s balcony over-looking said Gulf, and just now having big bowls of jerk black eye pea stew with cornbread. It will be hard to leave here and go back to the UK but like you I have a head full of lists and things I wish to accomplish. Best wishes achieving your goals and pursuing your interests. xx

    • January 2, 2016 9:22 pm

      Enjoy your sister – in such a gorgeous sounding place. Your blog never fails to inspire and I always want to eat every single recipe. I’ll be turning to it a lot this January. Thanks for the kind words – really appreciate them.

  6. January 2, 2016 2:08 am

    May 2016 be a glorious year for you and your family!



    • January 2, 2016 9:23 pm

      Rosa – you are incredible. Blessings for 2016 – in awe of your endless creativity.

  7. January 2, 2016 2:42 am

    I wish you a wonderful 2016!

  8. January 2, 2016 9:47 am

    Enjoyed the post. Wishing you a wonderful new year!

  9. January 2, 2016 11:25 am

    Great post, as usual. I’ve decided to not make resolutions this year and focus on my goals of writing more and living in the moment. But what I really want for 2016 is to really love myself. Because if I can manifest this, I think kindness, mindfulness, healthiness and everything wake I want will happen anyway. Happy New Year!!

    • January 2, 2016 9:36 pm

      Love your writing so looking forward to reading more in 2016. Being kinder to myself last year has reaped rewards and hence I feel more able to set more concrete goals this year. Good luck with your aim and Happy new year.

  10. January 3, 2016 6:32 am

    Sally, my word for 2016 is “resolve.” (Not to be confused with New Year’s “resolutions” — I gave them up a long time ago — and not that an entire year can be encapsulated in one word, but your notion of “focus” helps!) This year I’m resolved to be more mindful, proactive, and self-nurturing… looking for ways to help others, and in turn, help myself. I simply love this post… positive and FORWARD moving. Thank you & Happy New Year!

  11. January 3, 2016 11:24 am

    Happy New Year Sally. Indeed, it is time to focus on what is really important ! best wishes to you and your blog. It is always such a pleasure to visit this space and read your words.

  12. January 3, 2016 1:53 pm

    Yours is one blog I always love coming back to 😊wishing you and your family a Happy 2016 Sally.. Hoping to see many more awesome topics and posts on the blog..

  13. The Real Geordie Armani permalink
    January 3, 2016 3:55 pm

    Happy New Year to you all, I hope to see more of you this year than last year!! take care x

  14. January 3, 2016 10:29 pm

    One word to sum it all up – Focus, said beautifully.
    Here’s wishing you and your family, especially your loving teen a splendid 2016!
    Have an amazing year ahead, Sally 🙂

  15. January 4, 2016 12:25 am

    I adore your blog and the way you’ve written this post. So beautiful! I hope 2016 is everything you hope it to be and so much more! lots of love, Sarah. x

  16. January 4, 2016 2:34 am

    Happy New Year and Happy Blogging 2016!

  17. January 4, 2016 10:16 am

    Happy New Year Sally and I love your use of one word as a resolution to provide focus. I think mine would be to relax a little more – my todo list gives me a big sense of achievement but means I never stop to smell the roses!

  18. January 6, 2016 1:42 pm

    Happy New Year to you! And thank you for connecting us, I I’ll share your blog to my FB page, I have a few friends living there at the moment and I’m sure they would love to connect with you X

  19. January 16, 2016 8:20 pm

    What a horrible thing to witness!! I already got my wake-up call when I got diagnosed with my Mixed connective tissue dissease. I spent a year living like I was in mourning. Okay it’s not cancer but it does alter my entire life and leaves me with a bleak future. What I want to do I have to do now. I might not have the strength later. So take every day and live it to the full x

  20. Natalie Jones permalink
    February 12, 2016 8:57 am

    Hi Sally,

    Focus. That was some hardcore resolution on New Year, and I strongly second you. I have been struggling to have a healthy eating habit and focus on a healthy lifestyle.
    I would love to get a list of places to eat that offers fresh ingredients, being a newcomer in Dubai having a hard time keeping myself off the kebabs.
    I did check out a few restaurants like Wagamama who serve a wide range of salads, but there aren’t many.

    Would love some suggestions. thanks.



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