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Articles tagged with: Blogging

Reflecting on 2014 and Looking Forward to 2015...

on Thursday, 01 January 2015.

On the 2nd January 2014 I sat down and wrote this post.  In it I outlined what I hoped 2014 would bring our little family.  That week I had handed in my notice to work, something which was scary and exciting in equal measures and I had no idea how it would work me working freelance and for myself.  I also wrote about how I was determined to try and lose weight and to change my lifestyle, something which I have never been able to stick to before.  It's now the 1st January 2015, the start of a New Year and time to say goodbye to 2014.

What can I say about 2014?  It was a truly special year.  We had no significant milestones or events, but we have grown as a family and it has been really exciting.  I feel like I have learnt so much about myself and where and who I want to be.  About the balance between being the best Mummy I can be but yet finding an identity that isn't utterly defined by my children.  When I handed in my notice I had no idea what to expect but it turns out it was one of the best things I ever did.  I work harder than I ever have before, way more so than in my old job where I could more often than not switch off at the end of the day.  I have to fit in work around my girls, with them going to nursery two long mornings a week, but other than that I do things whenever I can- mainly at nap times and during the evenings.  

I have to sacrifice occasionally- I often go to a local hotel to sit in the bar and use their wifi on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when I really want to be at home or having fun with my little family and some evenings Mr E and I don't talk a word to each other hardly, but for the most part working for myself is more than I could ever have hoped for.  It's flexible, I love the clients I have, and coupled with blog opportunities means that I am helping support our family and bring money in each month.  I say it a lot but I genuinely feel thankful every single day for what my blog has brought into our lives. 

I turned 30 in March and this definitely made me reflect on life.  I started running back in January last year and if you had told me a year ago I would still be doing it I would most definitely not have believed it.  I have never stuck at fitness fads for more than a couple of weeks before this year, but I have two half marathons under my belt and plans to do lots more in 2015.  I have a whole post on a year of my fitness mission coming up in a few days but I most certainly have stuck at it, I have lost two stone and although I have periods where I don't exercise (hello Christmas) and my weight fluctulates a little, overall its become a way of life for me now.  

This year we finally became a little more comfortable with money.  Don't get me wrong, we certainly aren't flash but our ridiculously high five year fixed mortgage rate ended and so we have a little bit more than we are used to.  It had been a tough few years, especially with Mr E basically being made redundant when I was on maternity leave with Mads, so while we still are very careful with money, the pressure has eased off a little.  

As such we have had done some updating to our home this year- we had our living room redone in a yellow and purple theme, we completely gutted and redid our bathroom (I love it so much!) and we also had our bedroom redecorated in a pink, white and gold theme too.  We have plans in 2015 to put the girls in a joint room so we can get our study back so expect a few more interior posts coming up!  

We have had some amazing adventures this year, I feel so lucky to have made some incredible memories as a family.  Travelling has always been a passion of mine (I worked in the travel industry for six years) and so I love that we are taking our girls on adventures.  We went on some really love mini breaks in 2014-  a magical weekend away to a treehouse in Wales, a weekend glamping adventure, a trip to Center Parcs with our Besties and a trip to Brighton with my sister.  I've also been honoured to work with some great travel brands this year, including being chosen to be a Mark Warner Ambassador and work on a campaign with KLM where we went to the beautiful city of Amsterdam.   I hope that we will continue to travel and make adventures in 2015- already we have a holiday booked, a hopeful trip to Disneyland Paris and a potential trip away with our besties again, as well as my first girls weekend since I was at uni bar hen do's!   In November I became part of an exciting project- Space In Your Case is a website dedicated to family travel that I am part of with three other bloggers and I am excited to hopefully see that grow over the next year- I am honoured to be a part of it.

It's been an amazing year but it's not been perfect.  I am well aware that with a blog you only see a very small part of someones life.  While I will always be honest and talk about the not so good times as well as the fabulous ones, inevitably when you post about adventures and memories, they generally will paint a picture perfect document of family life.  And sometimes I feel like people may think it's a little nauseating- but this is our life and for the moment we are happy.  We are lucky, we are blessed and life is good.  Of course life is mundane and sometimes stressful- we argue, we have family dramas, we have life worries or money worries, but for the most part it is good.  

This year I have struggled with my health a fair bit- I have touched on it here and there on my blog but in January I started getting sick and having tummy pains- they go away for a while and then come back with avengence.  This hasn't been easy and I have had some tough times this year, but luckily I am under consultant care now and hopefully they will get to the bottom of it soon.  At the moment I am having a good stage so let's hope it continues for a while.  After all your health is by far the most important thing of all and we will never take it for granted.

 

So what do I want from 2015?

 

 

It sounds a cliche to say it but I just want my family to be safe and happy.  Ultimately that is all that matters to me.  You take away the opportunities, the fun days out and the material posessions and all that matters is our family.  As I get older, I inevitably reflect even more.  Becoming a mother has made me realise how quickly life can change for both the better and for the worse and I just want to enjoy the little things and the ordinary moments with my family.  I am not one for particularly making resolutions, but I do make goals.  My main one for 2015 is to enjoy every minute, I have done that this year, but I want to put my phone down a little more, to really play with my girls and to try and switch off as much as I can.  Myself and Mr E work so hard and I wouldn't have it any other way, but I want to try and find a balance so I can enjoy the evenings with him more.  

Blog wise, I want my blog to grow of course I do, however in 2014 I decided just to blog when I felt I had something to say and I am sticking to that in 2015.  Sometimes I feel like I should write about more topical things, or do more posts that people may find interesting- like gift guides, blogging related things, style posts, recipes or things like that, but if I am honest I just can't get to grips with them.  I often worry my blog content is pretty boring if you aren't a long term reader- I just write about our life nowadays, but I find it hard to think about what else to write about.  I sometimes think I should be blogging every day or writing more reviews (some of my favourite bloggers post most days), as I really admire the people who do, but I can't seem to do it.  Therefore I shall continue just writing about our adventures and slightly boring, mundane life and hope that people want to continue to read them.   

I would like to improve my photography and also learn more about video.  I am loving taking videos of our adventures and learning more about it, although I am a complete beginner.  I wish I had started sooner as while photography will always be my number one passion, there is something so lovely about looking back on our videos.  I would love to grow my You Tube channel, but I really have no clue what I am doing.  I am still going to be recording our Ordinary Moments each week as I love that I am documenting things I might otherwise forget, and I am still going to be taking part in Me and Mine and Living Arrows too.

Fitness wise I want to continue the way I have been, although I have been a bit lazy the last couple of weeks.  I started off the year doing quite a few tummy exercises with my kettlebells, but I got lazy towards the latter part of the year.  I want to try and get abs as they were starting to peek through but have now got hidden behind an over excess of cheesecake and Quality street at Christmas time.  I have a few more races that I have signed up for, including two more half marathons.  I started off the year drinking lots of water but the last few months I have become awful, I hardly even drink a glass a day.  I am going to really make an effort to drink more water and less Diet Coke- of course I won't be able to give up my number one vice totally, but I do need to cut down a little.

I want to make more time for my friends, for my husband and for my girls.  I know I am a pretty good wife, Mummy and friend, but I want to be better.  I need to take more time to call friends I haven't seen in a while, to touch base and tell them I am thinking of them.  I have a husband in a million who supports me every single day, and sometimes I need to look after him a little more- even just little things like cooking more, letting him sneak off for a bath in the evening or sending him a little card to tell him how much I love him.  Just little things to show I care.

And that's it.  Like I said, the main thing I want to do is enjoy life with my little family, to continue making memories and having adventures, and to make the most of every minute.  They may be simple goals but they are the ones that mean the most.  If I succeed these things in 2015, then I couldn't be happier.  

Thanks for the memories 2014...

 

Here are a few of my favourite posts and photos from the last year...

 

Just click on each photo to read the post.

 

5 years 

alittlephotoshootbeaut 

dec sisters fav pst 

christmas favourite post 

a scarborough trip

child friendly amsterdam1 

autumntitle 

a bathroom renovation

a motherhood

atriptobrightontitle1

aug-fav-camping

aug-fav-post

aweekendatwedfest

a colour

a before and after pic

these kind of days

a magic adventure

and it was all yellow

pink white gold bedroom 

intense fav post

sometimes you just need to forget

ourlovelylongeasterweekend

atriptotheseaside

retro inspired living room makeover

30th Birthday Weekend

arainydayfavouriteposts

alittlebirthdayphotoshootfavouriteposts

abugpartyfavouriteposts

itsthemiddleofthenightfavouriteposts 

abouttimefavouritepost

 Happy New Year everyone...

xxxx

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #35 'A Not So Ordinary Evening.'

on Sunday, 21 September 2014.

This past week has been a little bit of a funny one in our household.  Our house has quite literally been turned upside down as we are in the process of having our bathroom renovated.  While this is incredibly exciting, I have been waiting to be able to afford to do it since we moved in five years ago, it also has caused havoc to our routine.  The week has passed me by in a blur of dirt, mess, builders and grumpy children who haven't been able to nap due to noise.

Therefore I haven't been able to even contemplate taking any photos for my ordinary moments post this week, my mind has been completely elsewhere.  Therefore I am slightly cheating and sharing some photos that are actually anything but ordinary.  Oops.

On Friday I headed up to London for the Mad Blog Awards.  For anyone who doesn't know what they are, they are a rather swanky awards celebrating parent blogs in the UK.  I couldn't believe it when a few months ago I found out I was a finalist in two awards, Best Baby Blog and Best Blog Photography.  

I met up with my good friends Morgana and Jenny who I was sharing a room with, and we had some lunch and spent some relaxing time chatting, getting ready and drinking birthday prosecco.  We also had a gatecrasher in the form of Katie, who writes one of my favourite blogs, so it was lovely to have some time to chat to her.  The afternoon whizzed by and soon we were in our dresses ready to head down to the awards.

I can't possibly name everyone who I met and saw but it was a fantastic evening, meeting new bloggers and chatting to old friends.  The awards were being hosted by Dr Ranj from CBeebies, something which Mads was utterly excited about.  The Best Baby Blog category was the second award of the evening, and I know that everyone says this but I truly didn't expect to win this year, therefore I was gobsmacked to hear my name called out.

I was shaking really badly as I headed up to the stage and I think I may have uttered the most terrible speech ever, speaking far too quickly and with my voice breaking on a couple of occasions.  I used to have to speak and do presentations in front of lots of people for my work all the time, but for some reason I just clam up when it comes to my blog- I think it is because it means so much to me.  I was so nervous.  The rest of the awards passed in a blur, with some incredibly worthy winners including some of my favourites My Two Mums, Little Button Diaries, lovely Fritha and Actually Mummy.  I didn't win the photography category, but my good friend Lucy was a very deserving and talented winner. 

We were actually quite tame (some of us were anyway Katie who broke the world record for the amount of sweets you can fit down a pretty dress) and didn't drink too much, but it was a late night, with the night ending with myself, Morgana and Jenny eating pizza at 2.30am in our huge big bed!    Waking up in the morning, my timeline was full of tweets congratulating me- thank you to anyone who took the time to do that and to who voted for me in the first place, it really does mean a lot.

I am honestly over the moon to have won an award, especially as the other finalists were all so fantastic.  We all care so much about our blogs, and to get a little recognition for your hard work out of a community of amazingly talented people, is just such a special feeling.  For a long time I haven't told friends or family that I blog, although a few have found out, but I really am starting to feel proud of my little online space.  More than that though, every time I go to an event, I feel so lucky to be able to call myself a blogger and to have met some such incredible people through writing about my little ladies.  

 

I only had my iPhone on me, but here are some photos.  They are a little blurry as the light was SO bad...

 

amadblogs14a 

 Beautiful Jenny in our huge room!

amadblogs14b

Gorgeous ladies at lunch, it was lovely to be able to spend some quality time with Morgana and Jenny.

aaaahb

All dressed up.

amadblogs14d

 I was sat on a table with two other winners- Fritha and Tom.

amadblogs14e

Jenny and I with Dr Ranj!

amadblogs14g

Some lovely ladies- Fritha, Lori, Bex, Kirsty, Becky and Lucy.

aaaa

Katie, Morgana, Jenny, Sarah and Suzanne.

amadblogs14h

2.30am pizza- always a good idea.

amadblogs14i

A yummy omlette and waffle brunch with Morgana, Jenny and Katrina.

amadblogs14j

Yippeee so chuffed and amazed!

 

M is for Mads... (And Mango!)

on Monday, 08 September 2014.

One of my favourite brands is Innocent- not firstly for the fact that I am a little bit obsessed with their Innocent Veg Pots (Yum!) but also because I have always had a secret yearning to work at Fruit Towers- it looks like the best place to work ever.  When Innocent got in touch to see if we wanted to be one of twenty six bloggers spelling out the alphabet for their Alphabet Challenge, we said yes of course.  We would happily sell our souls in exchange for some free vouchers.  (That bit might not be entirely true)  

We got given the letter M so of course M is for my Mads.  And Mango.

*****

Little over a year ago I wrote this post.  In it I wrote down all my feelings about Mads potentially starting preschool, about how it was the end of an era and how about we should treasure all these precious moments together.  I read it back today and almost cried, I look at those photos of her running around in her little pink tutu clutching some balloons and she just looks so young.  I remember that day like it was yesterday, yet so much has changed.  She has grown at least a foot taller, those little ringlet curls have got looser and are now almost down to her bottom, and she has changed so much in the face.  Gone are the not quite a baby/not yet a girl features, instead now she is a little girl through and through.  This Summer has seen the arrival of a splattering of freckles, sun kisses as we call them, over her little button nose.  

I'm feeling very nostalgic at the moment, and a little sentimental too.  Seeing proud parents post photos of their children all over social media, smiling in their slightly too big, ironed and crisp new school uniform, I am well aware that next year that will be us.  It's something that every parent goes through, we have known it was coming even from when she was tiny, when the very idea of school seemed like a far off dream.  But slowly we are ticking those milestones of the list- she's been at nursery/preschool almost a year now, she can write her name, she no longer needs her little musical doggy to send her off to sleep at night.  Tick, Tick, Tick, another day passing, another milestone achieved.  

She drives me mad on a daily basis, she takes about fifteen minutes to get into her car seat especially when I am in a rush, and she can throw one hell of a wobbler if she doesn't get her own way on occasions.  But for the most part, we are best friends.  She is completely innocent, still sucks her fingers and plays with ears when she is tired and still believes we are the centre of the world.  While she realises there are bad people in the world, or that bad things can happen, she doesn't truly grasp that concept quite yet.  She lives in a world of rainbows, fairies and Toy Story characters that come to life.  And I am not ready to leave that world behind.

Growing up hurts sometimes, it hurts us parents who watch them leaving those precious days behind- those tiny, wailing newborn days, those days where you feel like you will never get off the sofa without a child attached to your breast, those terrible twos where they won't eat anything but fromage frais, and those funny days where they learn word after word and pronounce them wrong.  But that's life.  We change.  We grow.  We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, let alone a year from now.

So I had to dedicate my letter in the Innocent Alphabet to Mads.  My precious little girl, who over the next year is going to change and grow more than ever.  Who one day won't think her Mummy is the centre of her universe.  Who a year from now I will have to let go of just a tiny little bit, as she learns to become the person she is meant to be through the help of her hopefully special and memorable school days.   We will enjoy the next year together, the lazy days, the days where we don't have to rush around for the school run, and the days where it's just the three of us.  We will bake cakes, see friends, go to the playground and make smoothies.

M is for Mads.  And Mango.

innocentsmoothies9

innocentsmoothies6

innocentsmoothies7

innocentsmoothies5

innocentsmoothies8

innocentsmoothies3

innocentsmoothies2 

innocentsmoothies1 

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #32 'Celebrating The Ordinary Moments.'

on Sunday, 31 August 2014.

 

Blogging is a funny old thing, it's really hard to explain to someone who doesn't really know all that much about it.  It's something which has become a part of me, of who I am, and I am now just automatically programmed to think about my blog each day- to check twitter, instagram or to read blogs, it's part of my day to day routine.  I've made lots of friends through it, had many opportunities and been able to showcase my freelance work.  Of course there are times where I wonder what the point is, why I obsessively document our memories, or times where I wonder why people want to read about it.  Our life is happy and simple, but it's pretty dull.  We are just an average family, with nothing particularly exciting going on.  But then I know why I read my favourite blogs, because I am genuinely interested in their lives and I love to hear about what they are up to.

There are times where I feel really uninspired, when I can't be bothered to pick up my camera and it sits behind the sofa collecting dust, or where I need to just spend my evenings with my husband and not worry about writing a post.  There are times when I just need to switch off and there are times when life gets in the way and I just don't have time to record our memories, or absentmindedly flick through my social media channels.  But after doing this for over three years, I know that there is something ingrained in me to always come back to blogging- that it's ok to take a break, to feel uninspired or to just quite frankly not be bothered for a while.

One thing I do love doing is writing these Ordinary Moments posts each week.  When I haven't written or done much blogging all week because of being busy, or feeling uninspired, I know that I have this post to write.  I know I don't have to do one each week, that I could leave it for a couple of weeks, but it's almost like I have become programmed to write it.  Like with anything, it will get to Saturday afternoon and I will spend the girl's nap time writing a post when I should be doing the housework, but I like the fact that I started this little project and that I am documenting our day to day life.  Because really I am such a creature of habit, I love the days out or the exciting times, but home is very much where my heart is.  I thrive on routine, and as such so do my girl's, so our weeks pass quickly in a blur of mealtimes, seeing friends, nap time and bits and bobs.  It's not particularly thrilling but I really do relish these times the most.  I am happy living our slightly boring, ordinary life.

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Clarks who had found my Ordinary Moments project and wanted to collaborate with me on their new Autumn/Winter brand book.  I was genuinely thrilled that they wanted to work with me and a couple of days ago they sent me a few copies that have finally been printed.  My little ethos on celebrating and documenting the ordinary moments will now go out with every single pair of first shoes bought, as a reminder that it's not just the big milestones that are important, and that makes me feel really proud.  Out of all the opportunities I have had through my blog, this one has really stood out for me because that is exactly why I started my blog in the first place- to record our family life together.  

My blog may not be the most exciting, the most glamourous or indeed the most interesting blog to read- I don't do many reviews, I don't write posts that stand out or make a difference, or that make people inspired or laugh out loud, but it has reminded me exactly why I will continue to spend my very rare and limited spare time coming back time and time again to this blog.  

To record and treasure our Ordinary Moments.  

Because they really are the ones I want to remember.

clarks brand book1

clarks brand book

 
NB:  Clarks didn't ask me to write about featuring in their brand book, but I am just really proud!
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