37 Things I’ve Learned (Or Remembered Again) in 2015

I turned 37 this week. Let’s not dwell on this fact or that I have no idea how I got to be 37. Life seems to speed up, as you get older, doesn’t it? Each year gallops along, it’s summer before you know it and then everyone’s gearing up for Christmas again. I always get reflective around this time of year – I know most people do, but because my birthday is on Christmas Day, and I turn a year older so close to the end of the year, I get doubly reflective.

It’s a great time to think about what you’ve learned and what you want to carry on into the new year. Here are some of the things I’ve learned (or remembered again, because it’s so easy to know something but forget it until someone reminds you of it) in 2015…

  1. Don’t be too quick to write off a whole week/month/year as being crappy. If you look hard enough, you might just remember some glimmers of positivity. Have you seen those ‘Year in Review’ things on Facebook? I saw them start to pop up on my news feed last week, and immediately decided not to look at mine “because it’s been a really crappy year”. But then, something made me look. And do you know what? I realised that it hasn’t actually been a really crappy year – there have been so many brilliant, fantastic, fun things that have happened. Take that, negative thoughts.
  2. When you have a fringe, a small handbag-sized fringe comb is everything. Especially handy to whip out quickly as you walk into a meeting, after being blown about by the wind, on your walk from the station. (I got mine for 99p from Boots.)
  3. You’re stronger than you think.
  4. You can never have too many striped tops.
  5. Comparison really is the thief of joy. I think I need to tattoo this somewhere on my body, as it’s something I forget and then remember on a monthly basis.
  6. Stuff will always happen out of the blue, which will knock you for six. These things often happen when you don’t actually need the extra stress/grief/worry. You usually can’t control this kind of thing – see number 3.
  7. If you have pre-school age children, you should go on as many term-time holidays, breaks and days out as you can. Go, do it! We spent the first two-thirds on 2015 doing this – we went to the Caribbean, Cornwall, Portugal, Worcestershirethe Peak District and we went to Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures and Alton Towers. And I’m so glad we did, because since the five-year-old started school in September (and Mr P started his teacher training at the same time), we’ve been…. nowhere! Which is fine, as we’ve been really focused on getting into the new life routine and helping our daughter settle into school.
  8. Staying in is often so much better than going out. Going out is so overrated. Give me slippers, PJs, a candle and a magazine, and I’m a happy person.
  9. It can be so hard to know which path to take in life, but do take one of the paths – if you stall and put off making a decision, you might end up missing out.
  10. Embrace your identity as a mum. (I didn’t until this year.)
  11. A cup of tea and a big slice of cake with a friend will pretty much solve any problem.
  12. Pets are great. Not only do they give you company, fun, and an extra family member over night but it’s true when they say that they help teach kids about death and grief. What surprised me to learn, though, is this: they help teach grown-ups about grief too.
  13. Experiment with your lip colour, and don’t feel guilty about spending 25 minutes in the shop, agonising over whether to buy Gay Geranium or Coral Rose.
  14. Other things you shouldn’t feel guilty about: What you just ate, enjoying time away from your child(ren), how much wine you drank last night, parenting choices (co-sleeping, how you feed your baby etc etc).
  15. Redecorating a room, or changing up a colour scheme, can rejuvenate you and make you fall in love your home all over again.
  16. Don’t be scared to fail. It’s a cliché but it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all. (I need to tattoo this somewhere too.)
  17. Starting your day with a healthy smoothie makes you feel ZINGY.
  18. Real friends don’t only get in touch when they need help with something or advice on a problem – know anyone like that? Be careful how much of your time and emotional energy you spend helping them.
  19. Party bags are the root of all evil.
  20. Self-care is so so so so important. Sometimes when you’re stressed and busy, it’s too easy to stop eating healthily or moisturising your face or (eek) shaving your legs. And before you know it, you feel unhealthy, dry and hairy. Look after yourself – you’re important!
  21. How your friends and colleagues see you is often very different to how you see yourself.
  22. It’s surprisingly easy to eat a 200g bar of Dairy Milk, in one sitting.
  23. Just because another woman disagrees with you, it doesn’t mean she’s jealous of you.
  24. Don’t listen to any little voices you might hear in your head which chip away at your confidence. They don’t know what they’re talking about. (Read this ace post from Alice at More Than Toast on Imposter Syndrome.)
  25. Wearing clothes that actually fit you makes ALL the difference. I started wearing tops a size larger this year, and YEP they look loads better.
  26. It’s important to make the effort to see your friends – life can whizz past you and before you know it, it’s months since you saw that special mate who makes you laugh until your stomach hurts.
  27. Don’t judge another person – even in your head. You don’t know what their situation is, and you’re probably just seeing a snapshot of their life that’s totally out of context.
  28. A DIY-at home Byron is a great Friday night treat – buy decent burgers, brioche buns, Monterey jack cheese, gherkins and make a super mustardy mac ‘n’ cheese FTW.
  29. You have to go through something to get past it – you can’t go around it or pretend it’s not there. Tackle that problem, talk to that person, open and read that email.
  30. You must not treat yourself any less courteously than you would a loved one, or a team-mate. Become your own pet and feed your pet well, give it plenty of water and exercise. This advice comes from the amazing Caitlin Moran – read her full article here.
  31. Choosing new friends based on how much they like drinking prosecco is a totally valid thing to do.
  32. Anxiety is a bugger. So are hormones.
  33. Keep an open mind. Surround yourself with people who don’t necessarily think the same way as you – don’t be afraid to discuss things with them and be open to having your opinion changed by them.
  34. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. (I learned this from my pal Katie who has it on her office wall.)
  35. The Good Wife is one of the best things on the telly (nay, in the world) ever.
  36. No matter how prepared you think you are, having your child start school is one of the biggest emotional rollercoasters ever.
  37. Work out what your strengths and talents are, and use them. Don’t worry about trying to do what everyone else is doing – it might be right for them, but not for you.




  1. Lisa Irwin
    December 27, 2015 / 12:19 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful, timely list. Much appreciated x

  2. December 27, 2015 / 2:51 pm

    Completely agree with 4 and 8 🙂 great list

  3. December 27, 2015 / 8:15 pm

    Agree with a lot of these, especially the chocolate as I have just eaten a lot of it, and the stripes tops! I haven’t looked at my year in review, don’t think I will but I know there have been some smiles this year too unbelievably. Happy birthday once again!! Xx

    • Alison Perry
      December 27, 2015 / 10:04 pm

      I don’t blame you Julia. There are some years it’s actually just better not to look. Lots of love xxx

  4. December 27, 2015 / 9:24 pm

    I’m with you on everything, except the smoothie for breakfast. No, just no. Loved your blog this year btw x

    • Alison Perry
      December 27, 2015 / 9:26 pm

      Get involved with the smoothies! I add oats to mine to make it mega filling.

  5. December 28, 2015 / 8:54 am

    Wonderful, Alison! Absolutely love this. I’m actually looking forward to doing a year-in-review this year because it feels like absolutely nothing noteworthy happened to me. But I bet when I look closely, I’ll see differently. <3

  6. December 28, 2015 / 8:24 pm

    I’ve just re-read this Alison and it’s brilliant. Seriously, so many things here that we should all get tattooed somewhere visible on our bodies. I’m bookmarking for those shitty days when I have no confidence and need a boost xx

  7. December 28, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    Fantastic advice and kernals of wisdom which I’ll be taking into 2016. You are very wise. xxx

  8. December 28, 2015 / 10:57 pm

    Awesome list. I think personally pretending you had no idea party bags exist is a totally valid way to go. Worked for me, at any rate.

  9. December 29, 2015 / 2:54 pm

    Yes, yes, yes. Apart from striped tops – I just can’t wear them even though I wish so much I could. I know I’ve heard this before somewhere – but I want to be just like you when I grow up. Fantastic list x 😉

  10. December 29, 2015 / 10:55 pm

    I love this post and so true. I wish I would of done number 7 before Meme started school. I am still working on number 10 and yes yes yes to number 36 – I am glad Im not the only one who feels like that x

  11. December 30, 2015 / 8:45 pm

    Absolutely love this A! Nodding along to pretty much all of them, and WHY didn’t I think of doing DIY Byron burgers?! That’s my New Year’s Day dinner sorted, off to Sainsbos tomorrow to buy ingredients! x

  12. December 31, 2015 / 9:06 am

    This is a great list, I found myself nodding all the way down. Better go and buy a striped top!

  13. January 1, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    Hope you had a truly amazing birthday lovely! Roll on 2016 and we ned to meet to drink some Prosecco 😉 x

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