House Column by Liz Willingham

January 2012…

Happy New Year to all you lovely House readers! I know the festive season probably feels like distant history but, as this is my first opportunity in 2012 to wish you a healthy, happy year ahead, we’ll stretch it out just that little bit longer.

Last year was a big one in many ways; a revolution in Egypt, major earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, a Royal Wedding, Bin Laden and Gaddafi were killed, rioting in England, we lost Steve Jobs to cancer, and Amy Winehouse became the latest member of the ‘27 club’. This column has enabled me to share some of the great things to have happened here in our own home patch in 2011 – all signs of a region full of energy and ambition. Long may it continue into 2012 and a big thank you goes to House for the opportunity to spread the word.

We’ll all be full of fresh intentions, as we are every January, to be fitter, healthier, more focused, blah blah blah, but it is a good time to regroup and think clearly about what we want from this year. I’m a great believer in setting your sights on something and aiming towards it.

Personally, I am aiming to be more disciplined in 2012. I’d like to be firmly fixed on ticking off boxes and finding the time and will power to get the niggling jobs done before they become a stress. Small examples include: sourcing a new piano teacher, getting pictures on the Liz Lean PR office walls, and, yes I know it’s been said here many times before, but I really need to get fit! That’s the big one for me. You never know, 2012 could be my transformational year?

One Bournemouth hotel is trying to help. The Green House Hotel has set its own new year’s resolution to host more ‘green’ events and as a result, a series is to be held on the first Thursday of every month. The first one is right up my street (especially as it includes a glass of wine) with a talk from a chap called Jango who has been in the fitness industry for five years and is tipped as the ‘south coast’s rising fat loss expert’. The title for his talk is ‘how to become unstoppable at achieving a great body’. The fact that he claims he can help put an end to chocolate cravings for good is enough to get me there – I could be his biggest challenge yet, in fact I think he’d need to be a wizard or a witch doctor! But I’m keen to check it out, and yes I’ll remind myself I have to be self-disciplined.

Whilst I recognise that being more physically active beyond my once a month personal training session (yes, I’m that rubbish) is the only way forward – and I’m hoping that walking an energetic new puppy will help – I do love to drive. From owning a car as a student that was such a horror story I named it ‘Christine’ after the film, driving a reliable car nowadays continues to feel a daily privilege. I currently drive a blue VW Beetle convertible, which is great fun and I hear a new model is being released this Spring which should give the range a refresh. Working with Breeze Volkswagen we get to see all their new ‘toys’ as they’re launched and they’re most excited about the brand new addition to the range coming out in March, simply called ‘Up!’

My ‘blatant plug of the month’ goes to Up! which is VW’s smallest vehicle to date. Top Gear recently awarded it their ‘Small Car of the Year’ before it has even launched. The show claims the car “is the cleverest small car around today” so we’re hoping it bodes well for Breeze this Spring.

The Volkswagen PR department has had some fun with it too – proving it is surprisingly spacious, they managed to squeeze 15 girls and one man from their own team into the interior spaces of the Up! With the boot lid, windows and doors all shut, two people sat in the boot, one on the dashboard, seven on the rear seat, and two in the footwells. It doesn’t sound comfortable but it’s all in the line of duty in this business and well done to their team for being game.

I know they say January brings the blues, but we’re all looking forward to a fantastic year ahead – let’s think ‘Up!’

‘Til next time…..