Happy New Year! So here we are on the New Year, New You merry-go-round again (or: “You…but better”).  Yesterday morning I was thinking about how to deal with the “too much to do, too little time syndrome” that impacts most of us, and these 3 words came to me: WHAT. REALLY. MATTERS.

What really matters? When you cut out the fluff, abandon the non-essentials and focus on who and what you really care about, you not only lighten your load, you buy yourself more time.

One of the best bits of advice I read recently was “Focus on what’s important rather than what’s urgent”.  At first it sounds so counter-intuitive. But. Visiting an elderly neighbour who lives alone is “important. Baking a cake for tea isn’t urgent (even if you do have 4 people coming at 3pm – buy one, dole out the biscuits, or whatever). Neither is finding a new pair of shoes for Saturday night (what have you worn till now?)  Renewing your passport is important (especially if you’re travelling later in the year)…collecting stuff from the dry cleaner’s probably isn’t that urgent.

What matters is LIFE. How we affect those around us. What legacy will we leave? What really matters is those small, important gestures…like giving your gloves to a refugee on the bus on freezing New Year’s Eve, a little chat with an old lady in the supermarket checkout line, checking in with someone who’s been ill to see if they might need a soup delivery.

What really matters? Health. Family. Friends. Integrity. Doing the right thing. Speaking our truth. Living for the moment, in the moment.  Not holding grudges. Sorting stuff out. Agreeing to disagree as my mum says.

Last summer, I was chatting to an elderly lady in a wheelchair at tea time, in a care home.  By dinner time, she was dead.  She’d been “fine”. Smiling, we’d been balancing our cups of tea on a wooden bench in the garden, marvelling at this gloriously warm late August afternoon. This sunny afternoon was the final paragraph of her entire life. By early evening she was gone. I watched her die, I saw her lifeforce leave her as paramedics tried to revive her. Shocked, I found myself wishing we’d been taught about and had talked more about death (e.g. at school). One minute here. The next – gone.

Tomorrow comes with no guarantee. Life is fragile.

This month I’m having a clear out.

Beauty Instagrams packed with bathroom selfies – or too “salesy”…unfollow. OUT.

Beauty bloggers and people who are way too “my way or the high way” (including some doctors I know as well as a couple of big name skincare “gurus” who are paid by the brands they promote) – OUT.

Excessive emails, newsletters I thought might be interesting 4 years ago but no longer read let alone need – UNSUBSCRIBE (Unroll.me is brilliant – do you use it? It rolls up your subscription emails into one “page”, slimming your inbox down instantly).

Less vanity. More humanity.

Less following the herd. More following your heart.

Less perfection. More real.

Less ego. More eco.

Less hanging on to. More letting go.

Less pushing. More trusting.

Whittling it down to what’s important. What will (actually) matter in 5 or 15 years. What, and who, do you love (not just “quite like”)?

More looking up. Less looking down (at smartphones – cue a whole new generation with serious cervical/spine problems).


Text neck is wrecking our spines…the more “down” we look, the heavier/worse for our back (and necks!)

More walking, less sitting. More doing, less thinking.  More volunteer work, less social media.

Vacuuming the “fluff” out of life to reveal What. Really. Matters.









  1. Christina says:

    So with you on all of this Fiona.

  2. Marvelous post Fiona! What a revelation among these “new year new you” challenges posts I see all around! I have been thinking along those lines too, and decluttering my life in many ways in the last year as well. We don’t need so many things we need, and it is so refreshing not finding 65 emails in our inboxes too. More library, less IG! I raise my cup of tea to it xo Give me real over preened every time!

  3. Hi there. Just came to this article which has the same name of a tab on my own blog:
    what really matters.
    Couldn’t be more in agreement. So good! Thanks!
    Best from Portugal 🙂
    Happy new year!

  4. Joanna says:

    As always, utterly and completely spot on. Congratulations Fiona, once more I find myself enthusiastically nodding in agreement at the end of every sentence. If everyone tried to live their lives this way (allowing for a few unavoidable trip ups along lifes way) the world would be a much better place to live. I feel challenged and enthused. 😊

  5. Karen says:

    Good luck with your clear out and yes have always lived my life as if everything matters – a meaningful life is one that appreciates all the good things – thanks for your posts The Beauty Shortlist 🙂 Xxx

  6. Katie Fielder says:

    Love that. Totally positive and sense making. HNY. Xx

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