Reflecting on 2016 and looking forward to 2017 {Ordinary Moments 2/1/17}

So here we are in 2017 and once again I find myself looking back over the past 12 months, wondering where the time went and how best to plan the next 12 that I am faced with. I realise there’s a lot of writing and a lot of my favourite photos here, but humour me for the indulgent post, they don’t happen often!

We arrived back home on New Year’s Day after a fantastic few days in Crewe with our good friend RH, and had quite simply the best Christmas break – I’ve literally loved every minute of it. In comparison to last year this Christmas wasn’t plagued by voice loss and me spending it in bed, instead we spent quality time together, visited woods, hills, cities and counties and found new places for adventures

The overwhelming theme to 2016 for me was illness, I spent April through to July with recurring chest infections and numerous x-rays, antibiotics and blood tests. I lost much of the year, the blog took a back seat and I regret that time I lost not being able to do the things I love with the people I love

When I began to write a round up post on Instagram on New Years Eve I started to say how I wasn’t sorry to see 2016 go and how happy I was that 2017 was fast approaching, all because I initially focused on the illness that had plagued me throughout. Whilst there is an element of relief that the year was over I started to think about what had actually taken place and realised that despite the hard times, 2016 gave me so many wonderful memories, and sometimes you have to scratch the surface to reveal just how great the underneath is

Last year was the year my amazing, clever, funny daughter learnt how to ride a bike without stabilisers. It was the year she learned how to spell her name, grow confidence in swimming and the year she went on stage at the pantomime and made us laugh and cry at the same time

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2016 saw J develop the most amazing sense of humour and the caring side that everyone always comments on shone through like the brightest star. It was the year she experienced her first ever festival, visited London to see Big Ben, and the year she fell in love with her “little Lexi” a bit more than the year before. It was an astonishing year seeing my 3 year old turn into a 4 year old, and it’s the most bittersweet feeling to see her growing up

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I started 2016 saying it would be the year of change and for most of it I succeeded. I feel I achieved a better work life balance as at the beginning of the year my work hours were lowered, giving J and I every Wednesday together without me having to clock watch. I set a target to walk 500 miles in 2016 thanks to a cheesy hit song, and despite 3 months of being mostly inactive, I succeed with over 650 miles

Household decluttering began with gusto in January and the last baby items will soon be leaving the house for good and clothes that are no longer being worn or are no longer required have been bagged up and given away

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All in all, it had some really great memories, yes there were hard moments, and I’m not just talking about illness, but the year finished as it started – with my family and friends that mean a lot to me

At the end of the day who needs material things when you have those closest to you supporting you and helping you through every step of the way?

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To look forward, I see the three words that will underpin and define 2017 for me:

-FAMILY – HEALTH – ADVENTURES –

Health

This is the one thing I want to improve in 2017. The past 12 months have  made me realise just how important listening to my body is and how much rest I need to have to ensure I can be the best mum, colleague, partner and friend possible. I am fiercely stubborn, and I know it can be one of my faults, but it can also be a good trait. When I set my mind to something I will achieve it, it’s not something anyone can do for me, I’ll do the background work and the rhythm and success will soon follow

Activity wise, J is fast on her scooter and bike, and this is involving some pretty brisk walking to keep up. As I achieved more than 500 miles on foot last year I am aiming for 1000 this year. A crazy figure to some, but a nice target for me and something I know is achievable if I put the time in

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Family

My family is something that will always be at the heart of everything I do and I will continue to do activities as a family unit and give J the support and love she deserves. I want to create more memories with my immediate family in 2017, including outings and gatherings with my parents, sister, cousins, grandparents, non blood family, and not forgetting the furry animals that love us unconditionally

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To continue with the family theme, a monthly portrait was started at the beginning of 2016 and continued quietly in the background during my non blog months with J, me and the hubster, and this is going to continue in 2017 without fail. In fact J loves this part of an outing, running to and from the tripod to set it up and sprint back to pose for a photo and makes for lots of laughs and smiles!

These are some of the many photos I have loved taking and looking back on over the year, and I am so glad I started this memory bank of family photos

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Adventure

Something that I have become renowned for in my family is my passion to find new areas and new walks and my constant need to explore. In 2016 I fell in love with Instagram and as a result we visited the Tunnel of Trees, Alice Holt Woods and Trentham Gardens, providing me with beautiful views and some of my favourite photos. An outdoorsy theme will continue in 2017 and I am sure there will be new places I’ll fall in love with through Instagram once more

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2017 already has trips booked for Devon and Florida, and I am so excited to do both of these things. There is something simply magical about Florida and no matter how old I am, I am instantly transported back to a child when I see the castle and characters, I honestly cannot wait to visit with my little crew, my parents and my sister and her partner

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Devon is like a home from home for me and I cannot wait to explore it once more in the first half of the year and revisit places I haven’t been to for nearly a decade

With one of my best friends now living in the north west of England I now have even more of an opportunity to explore our beautiful country that I hadn’t got to explore, and I am determined to walk the Peak District and visit Snowdonia and see the beautiful views. I have always said I would like to climb Snowdon, and this is on my lifelong bucket list

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I would also like to visit London again with J, and explore the New Forest and find new walks. We used to head to the New Forest so frequently as we lived in the neighbouring town, but since we moved it’s a rarity and I’d like to change that this year. Surrey walks and National Trust properties in the immediate and surrounding areas are also on the list, as is a visit to Bath. I expect there will be a lot of walking and maybe it’s an adult weekend where little legs can’t moan, but I definitely would like to visit it

Finally…

I’d like to recognise my blog and photography. Despite missing many weeks this year, I have loved the Ordinary Moments link up that Katie has run for the last few years, and I am so pleased that both her and Donna will be running this over the next 12 months. It makes me record the great weeks, the small moments and the days I will remember fondly when J has grown up

I am a firm believer that the outdoors and fresh air is essential to a child’s upbringing, particularly in this digital age, and I am thrilled that Fiona at Coombe Mill is running the Country Kids linky again in 2017, the ethics behind it and the adventures are great to read and record

My camera gathered a lot of dust in J’s early years but as I started recording memories on here the camera came back out from hibernation.  As the year has gone by I have worked hard to improve my photos and I have received the most amazing feedback from family, friends and on social media. This year I’m going to continue to take photos, I’d love to upgrade my current 450d as lets face it, it’s becoming a bit of a classic, but adventures and savings come first!

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And thats 2016 wrapped up and an outline of what I’d like to achieve in 2017. Thank you for being a part of my little online diary, and for giving me feedback, I really appreciate it.

 

 

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