We love the New Forest and visit it many times in the year. I love how somewhere so close to a big city can be so vast, and I love how you can get lost in your thoughts whilst admiring nature and it’s beauty around you. I’m often asked where is best to walk, so here’s a round up post of some of our favourite spots
To help with my plan for eating and living better in 2018 I am starting a monthly update on my health. I used to be a really active person, walking every day and being outdoors for most of my weekend, but in recent years and especially towards the end of 2017 with hectic schedules, this lapsed. Some blood test results need to be redone at the end of January following December’s tests, so before things can get worse, the focus is on to make them better and each month I will set mini goals. Here are January’s:
And so we move into the second year of Living Arrows. Last year I captured a photo of J most weeks and it was clear to see how much she had changed over the year, if not a little bittersweet
Last night we hosted a mini New Years Eve party with my cousin and her family, opting to celebrate ‘new year’ with the girls at 7pm rather than midnight, to allow them to celebrate with us
J was so excited and all day practiced her countdown from 10. She started getting ready at 2pm and was in her party dress and with her “make up” on (some 3 hours before their arrival)
When “midnight” arrived we watched fireworks, let off silly string and popped party poppers. We all danced to several cheesy hits from our youth, and danced to Cotton Eyed Joe in my tiny lounge. It was so much fun with the girls and I don’t think I’d want to do New Years Eve any other way now, it was a great way to see out 2017.
And so there we have it, a complete year of monthly family photos. I am so immensely proud of the fact we’ve continued this throughout the year, and it’s been so nice to look back on our photos and the memories that accompany it. Christmas was amazing and I really saw and felt the magic in Js eyes this time around. Her face when we met the real Santa in Trentham was amazing and it almost made us believe
I wrote the other day about my resolutions for 2017 and plans for 2018, and I wanted to dedicate a post to my blog and all of the great things that have happened to me this year either through it or as a result of it
- 2017 was the year of the conference for me. I plucked up the courage to attend my first conference in September without knowing anyone who was going and donned a Christmas jumper to visit BlogOnXmas in Manchester. It was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time and I’m going again in May next year – I can’t wait to meet and network again!
- I also visited BlogCampOnBoard which was held in Southampton and it was nice to visit and walk around a cruise ship for the first time. It changed my mind about going on a cruise ship with a child and the hubster’s hoping we can go on one soon!
- I’ve booked myself onto a weekend away next April with lots of other bloggers and vloggers. I’m completely and utterly outside of my comfort zone, but I booked and paid before I could talk myself out of it (thanks hubster!) and I’m really looking forward to the sessions
- I met a couple of Hampshire based bloggers in “real life” after chatting to them on Instagram. Steph and I have been for a couple of dog walks and a coffee, and we’re going to be sharing a room together for the Flea Retreat next April!
- Wendy has 2 young boys and we’ve met at a country park and for coffee, and I even helped her paint her new house when it became a little overwhelming pre-move. Wendy is as lovely in real life as she is online and hopefully we’ll catch up early 2018
- A couple of other local bloggers were met at BlogOnXmas and BlogCampOnBoard. Both AK and Sara-Jayne are lovely, and both made me laugh a lot. Hoping to catch up with these ladies too again in the new year
- Massive shout outs to Lauretta, Laura and Sarah who I met through these conferences too, and Emma who I finally met in ‘real life’ after talking to through various link ups!
Brand Collaborations and Reviews
- I got my first ever commissioned post in 2017 and I was so excited and phoned the hubster immediately. My recipe went down a treat in the Cook household and J and I had a great time making it
- I also wrote several other reviews for products and toys. I’ve loved reaching out to brands, and talking with them to see if there’s any way we can work together, and I’m grateful for the opportunities that have come my way this year
- I managed to get a family portrait photo every month and we have a great time running back and forth from the camera for our monthly pictures. I am so proud that we have achieved it every month this year
- I joined in with the Living Arrows linky, and posted frequent photos of J through the months. She’s growing so fast and it’s clear to see from the start of the year to the end of the year
Blogs and Linkys
- Donna at What the Redhead Said has one of my favourite blogs and is the most lovely person on social media – I’d recommend her blog to anyone and hopefully I’ll meet her in person next year – until then I’ll continue to read her blog and link up to Living Arrows and The Ordinary Moments
- KA ran the My Family Adventures linky and I adore her blog for the gorgeous colours and writing. I love writing a monthly round up of our adventures and I adore reading her blog on my Friday lunch break
- Mummy Daddy Me was the first blog I ever read and continues to be in my favourites. She’s branched out into YouTube this year and has done amazingly, but I’ll always admire her photos and camera technique through her blog
- Fiona at Coombe Mill seems to be one of the most generous and kind bloggers I know and I loved linking up with Country Kids in 2017 and hope to many more times in 2018
- I adore reading Hayley from Mission Mindfulness’ blog and found it this year after being invited to join in with a linky. She has some brilliant tips and runs The Sat Sesh Linky with Lucy. One of my favourite link ups from 2017 and one I’m looking forward to joining in again with in 2018
- I blogged daily for the first time in October and while I needed a rest after it, I loved the buzz it gave me and the creative streak it made me push
- I socialised with a lot of people on Instagram and found some amazing feeds which I now follow. It’s by far my favourite social media platform, and I’m often found there in the evening after J is in bed!
Next year I hope to do more of the above, it’s been a blast having this little corner of the internet, and I’m grateful to everyone who reads, comments and talks to me on here and on my social media channels. Happy new year to you all.
I’m aware that time moves at a set pace by my goodness didn’t 2017 feel like it flew by? Since I’ve become a mum the days felt like they had moved quicker, and then when J started school it stepped up yet another notch, with more routines and diary bookings
I started 2017 saying it was going to be the year of health, adventure and family, and whilst there’s still room for improvement, overall I’m pleased with my progress:
I love Christmas – there’s no doubt about it – but this year I’ve struggled with embracing my usual level of excitement, so when Donna asked if anyone would like to be included in a Christmas tag I jumped at the opportunity to feel festive. Donna’s blog is one of my favourites and she runs several link ups I adore, so do pop over and see her post. Here’s my answers to the Christmas tag questions…
I’m not quite sure what has happened since my girl turned 5 but she’s been hard work. Her listening ears aren’t kicking in, she’s doing her own thing (ignoring us) and just being the complete opposite to what we’re used to. Being a glass half full person I know we’re lucky that this is probably (hopefully!) only a phase, and that we’re lucky to have a well mannered child who doesn’t hit or do anything untoward, but it’s pretty relentless
Before this year I always thought Christmas was busy since becoming a parent with a toddler, and then I became a school mum and it went to a whole new other level. There are craft days, nativities, school assemblies, inset days, Christmas bazaars, odd sock days and non uniform days – the list feels endless and that’s only the month of December