Two statements currently run hand-in-hand: happy new year – and have you made any resolutions? Well, I wish you a new year that’s happy, healthy, prosperous and successful – and not just for January either, but for the whole twelve months.
I’m not asking about your resolutions. After all, aren’t they just a humorous means of reminding ourselves and our friends of previous shortcomings? On new year’s day I could have told you with absolute certainty that I would be opening my mail every day, remembering to take my vitamins and cutting back on the chocolate overload. In less than a week I can’t quite quote those determined statements with an absolute degree of honesty, nor would I want to. I know my chocolate willpower’s not stable enough to make it a thing, and I refuse to set myself up to fail.
Business, on the other hand, certainly does benefit from a written list of resolutions. And I say written, as it’s well proven that the goals we set in writing are far more achievable than those we say, however true we intend to be to our convictions.
So, have you set your intentions for this year? Are your business goals (and life ones for that matter) realistic? Is it reasonable to believe you can achieve them during 2016? Have you set end dates for each task you wish to complete? Silly to say, perhaps, but isn’t a goal without a date just a dream? Qualify your aims into long- and short-term timescales, keep them specific and set time limits. I’m happy to help if you’re finding it hard to focus.
As expected, my lead up to new year involved a lot of lovely food. One brunch worth mentioning was at the trendy new branch of Ottolenghi in Spitalfields – and not simply for the delicious food. Yotam Ottolenghi and his partner Sami Tamimi shared their childhoods in Jerusalem, and create works of ‘edible anthropology’ using recipes from both Palestinian and Jewish cultures. These talented chefs represent the two halves of Jerusalem, one raised in the west by Jewish parents; the other born and bred on the east side, living within a large Arab family. Both grew up amidst good home cooking and brought their love of excellent food and creative recipes to London.
What a fantastic example of two waring cultures joining together in harmony for the hedonistic pleasure of feeding the discerning public. Food unifies, it provides nourishment and makes people happy. If only Ottolenghi and Tamimi could transfer the philosophy of their business model into a political manifesto, the world might become a better place.
At the opposite end of the London food scene, my friend Andrew spent nine days feeding homeless people at Crisis. A hot meal, a warm bed, a safe and secure environment to spend the holiday season – luxuries that most of us take for granted. Let’s hope that 2016 is a safer, kinder place for everyone. Live happily, fulfil your potential and achieve your dreams.
Ralph McTell wrote these words over 40 years ago. While everything’s changed, in some respects nothing’s changed. ‘How can you tell me you’re lonely, and say for you that the sun don’t shine? Well let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London; I’ll show you something to make you change your mind.’
I spend an awful lot of time in London and love love love its dynamic, cosmopolitan atmosphere and eclectic mix of architecture, galleries, walks and restaurants. There’s too much that’s fantastic to end the first blog of the year pondering Ralph McTell’s sadly enduring words. But let’s not forget them, and – hopefully – 2016 will be kind to everyone.
‘People so busy, makes me feel dizzy, taxi light shines so bright. But I don’t need no friends… As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset I am in paradise.’ We all need friends – make yours here. Or here: @WeekendWitch.