With a national lockdown and gloomy weather in full swing, it's easy to fall into a negative and unproductive headspace. To combat this, and to show that there is still so much of this year to be looking forward to, we've asked some of our favourite tastemakers to share what's getting them excited for the year ahead.

Joanna Dai, of Dai
"My one thing this January keeping me energised and optimistic for 2021 is: knowing that 2021 will be better than 2020 and being inspired by our strength and perseverance as humans. We all pushed through 2020 together. During the first lockdown, people did kind things for each other, learned new skills, and took time to switch off from our fast-paced digital lives. We can do it again, and this time there's light at the end of the tunnel. We're in the last leg of this marathon, and returning to normal, travelling or seeing my parents again is just around the corner. And if the last pandemic was over 100 years ago, this might be it — the last lockdown in this lifetime. Knock on wood.

This year, I will continue outdoor exercise. I will always be going for outdoor runs 3-4 times a week, even if it's -2 degrees out. I usually do 8-10km during weekdays and a longer 15-20km trail run on the weekends. It's great to get endorphins and either switch off, brainstorm ideas or listen to a podcast."

Holly Clemett, founder of Pollenet
"I'm looking forward to all the good bits we miss about pre-Covid life –meeting with friends, giving my Mum and Dad a hug –3 but I'm also looking forward to returning to the parts of normality I never knew I loved: 4am wake up calls, choosing flowers at the flower market and the madness of driving flower arrangements through London at rush hour! I think we all learnt to be a little kinder to ourselves and each other in 2020, and I think small businesses like Pollenet will be better for it. I'm looking forward to celebrating every success this year, whether that's creating floral arrangements for the dream client or just simply seeing a smile on someone's face when they receive a surprise Pollenet bouquet." 

Belma Gaudio, founder of Koibird
"What is keeping me optimistic about 2021, is that we are all more prepared and aware of what to expect with the COVID situation, and I'm hopeful that the vaccines will be more widely available sooner. I am optimistic about new leadership in the US and a new landscape that we are jointly forming across the world. But mostly, I am optimistic about all of us as humans, as we have changed and are continuing to change. And for the better. We are more humble, sympathetic, responsible and ok with being who we are, with what our lives are and what they mean to each one of us. We value other people more, we value our time more. I am optimistic about the world as a whole being moved forward by a more compassionate race that has all suffered and become more understanding of what we need to do as humans, and why we are all here. As we have seen just how small and insignificant we all are when challenged by a stronger force."

Azzi Glasser, Perfume Designer
"The start of 2021 has certainly been a crazy and uncertain one, and keeping my mind, body and soul energised has been absolutely key. As a single mum with two teenage boys, home schooling, running a business and endless cooking and domestic chores, has left me needing a bigger boost than the normal in take of Vitamin C, D and Iron.

As a perfumer, my answer to what's keeping me energised is probably quite obvious, at least when it comes to material things. It's a bottle of my signature fragrance, Sequoia Wood. You might think I have gone crazy, but perfume to me is like a love tonic, and I use my scent every time I need an energy or confidence boost. I've hid many special molecules in that bottle, it's my armour and power in a bottle. So I'd say a perfume keeps me optimistic, keeps me motivated with hope and love in my heart to keep climbing the mountain. I think positive, I stay positive and I attract positivity – it's like a mantra you should repeat daily. Try it and see what happens."

Noella Coursaris Musunka, founder of Malaika Project
"One thing that is keeping me energised and optimistic for 2021 is the drive of the young girls we look after at Malaika, the non-profit I founded back in 2007. 

At Malaika, we provide free education to 370 girls, we ensure they and our staff have at least two nutritious meals per day, as well as regular, free health checkups. We also have a community centre that offers literacy, sport, entrepreneurship and health programs, and a clean water program through which we have built or refurbished 20 wells. 

Empowering young women is so important to me and seeing our girls thrive at Malaika is great motivation to continue the work that we do. We are honoured that Malaika is able to touch thousands of lives each year, but 2020 was an incredibly tough year for the entire Malaika family. Our school and community centre were forced to close down for several months and the price of food and essentials skyrocketed, but our girls never lost hope, they never gave up, and that has inspired me to keep pushing through no matter what 2021 brings. They deserve every opportunity to succeed."

Bethany Williams, of her namesake fashion label
"2020 was very turbulent and full of many lessons. We are really fortunate to have steadily grown as a business over the past year, so for 2021 we are looking forward to growing our team and to amplifying our voice to further address social and environmental issues by building on our current brand values and expanding our network of support further."

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