As one chapter closes, another begins and this weekend sees us enter a new year which has prompted me to reflect on 2016. Everywhere I turn right now I hear people saying what a bad year it’s been, so many deaths, lots of hard and sad times. I don’t disagree, but I do however think we have a lot to be thankful for and so much positive to hold on to. So I’ve decided to highlight some of my best moments from this year.
Whatever the season, no matter the weather, we love getting the kids out and about. We have quite a few favourite stomping grounds which we regularly re-visit, but this year we added a couple of new ones to the mix. It’s always fab discovering new places. We particularly love Richmond Park, Black Park, Battersea Park, Brighton and Cambridge (we have friends and family in Cambridge). However we also made outings to a couple of new spots; Hatfield House, Botany Bay and The Devil’s Punchbowl.
WEDDINGS and ENGAGEMENTS!
This year in Spring, my gorgeous Sister got married in the ever so beautiful Positano, the Almalfi Coast in Italy. We were fortunate enough to get a week off school to enjoy the run up to the wedding at the spectacular Villa Oliviero and then the wedding itself with lots of family and friends. She made a stunning pregnant bride and tackled the endless steps and steep paths of Positano like a CHAMP!
Then the Summer saw my sister Abby and her partner get engaged…which was super exciting! Plans for a summer wedding in 2017 have already begun!
This year was a popular year for some scrummy new arrivals. As well as our own family, a couple of my close friends had first babies. Both my sister Lucy and my brother Danny had their first children in June and July within weeks of each other. We welcomed Milo and Betty with all the love in the world, taking the cousin total from 6 to 8! Then my sister-in-law and her husband had their first baby at the end of the Summer. SO much joy to celebrate!
As with every year, we spend each Summer in France, creating more everlasting memories for the children and unwinding and soaking up the beautiful rural South West. Every year brings new adventures with the children that bit older each time, so the dynamics are constantly changing. This summer in France however was extra special because Abby got engaged at the very beginning of it (IN FRANCE!) and Lucy came out with her new baby daughter. Long days and nights in the heat and under the stars. Totally unforgettable. We also discovered a new place called Angles sur L’Anglin, which is one of the ‘prettiest villages in France’. It was a firm favourite so we went back a couple of times before the summer was up. Looking forward to next year already!
Following on from our 4 weeks in France at the house, to break up our drive home, we stayed in a place called Hardelot, only an hour away from Calais, in the North of France. We’d never been before but Tye had done some research and it looked good. We spent two nights there, by the coast enjoying the beach before returning to England. It was a lovely stop over and we plan on re-visiting it again next year.
2016 was also the year I began to paint again. I started my Wreath Art paintings during the summer then come Autumn/Winter, signed up to a few craft fairs to sell at. Something I’d never done before which in itself was quite a step out of my comfort zone. I’m loving the time I get to do something for myself and away from the children. It’s so important to hold on to hobbies. Hopefully 2017 will bring more exciting developments for me and my work!
We finally did it..this year, myself and two best girlfriends, having discussed it for a good few months, left the children at home and went away for a couple of nights. It was much needed US time, no babies pulling at our legs, no husbands, just us three like old times, wonderful! We went to stay in the Isle of Wight at a cottage owned by my friend Lucys’ family. There was no outrageous drinking or debauchery involved, just good old endless talking, laughing, eating and a spot of charity shop browsing! Here’s to hoping we can organise a couple more for 2017!
NEW AND INSPIRING PEOPLE
With my blogging and various events and exciting new places I get to go to, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some really amazing and inspirational women this year. All mothers, thanks to the brilliant Mothers Meeting. As mums, you can barely string a sentence together at the best of times, and often feel like no one can hear you when you’re screaming through the house, or you struggle to shave your legs because keeping the kids clean is higher on your priorities’ list! Juggling parenting and jobs that you love to do, whether they pay the bills or not is bloody TOUGH! Which is why I’ve loved meeting some gorgeous ladies (fellow bloggers/ mum bosses) along the way. I’m so thankful for the support we recieve and encourage, it’s comforting and so important to stick together (below is just a few, there are many more…you know who you are!).
And finally, as we approached the end of 2016, our little Stanley got very poorly with Pneumonia…which isn’t something I’m counting as my ‘great memories’, but what I do want to champion is the NHS. We are VERY thankful for the work they do. If it wasn’t for our healthcare system, Stanley’s journey could have been very different. It’s so easy to take for granted such luxuries that we are blessed with. Good health is far too important, and while this year for some may be filled with sadness, heartache, loss and anger, let’s not forget all of the GOOD that has filled our lives and count our blessings.
I want to wish everyone the happiest and healthiest NEW YEAR ahead and treasure every moment.
By Laura xxx