12 favourite blog posts of 2014

It’s New Year’s Eve, a time for reflection and New Year’s resolutions usually. I’m not doing any resolutions this year (see point 1, below!) but I did take some time to browse my blog posts over the past year. It was an interesting exercise – I realised I’d written a lot more than I thought this year and also remembered a lot of activities or events I’d already begun to forget.

It’s been one of the best years of my life – the year I married the best guy ever on the planet and father to our two children. It’s also had its ups and downs with childhood (and adult) illnesses causing stresses and strife.

Anyway, here goes with the top 12.

– First up in January, I wrote about New Year being a bad time to make resolutions. There’s so much pressure to stick to them that people rarely do! In general I tend to say I’m going to be healthier in January but that’s mainly due to the Christmas excess – this year it seems to have been copious amounts of Prosecco and chocolate!
– In February I wrote a post on 10 things I do in the first hour after the childrens’ bedtime. A warm bath featured strongly, as it still does.
– In March, I wrote about my Best Mum Moments for Mothers Day. That was really lovely to reflect on. I’m sure I’ve added some more since then, for example my 2 year old telling me she loves me.
– April’s favourite was about keeping sane through childhood illness. I went through one of those periods where one child falls sick, recovers and then the other falls sick. Incredibly stressful for childcare cover and just generally keeping everyone happy.
– In May, I decided to look at 10 ways I know my girls love each other. At the time, my now 2 year old had only just started walking really (what a difference a year makes!) and it was nice to see the beginnings of their pretend play sessions and cuddles. Now they cuddle-fight-play over and over.
– June saw my thoughts on turning 38. Hmmm. Tomorrow sees the beginning of the year in which I turn 39. Argh!! I always like to double my age and see if I could live my whole life again and still be alive. It’s starting to push it a bit!
– In July I reflected on a stage where I felt I was reaching normality again. I used to find it difficult to leave the house on my own without leaving an itinerary for my husband. Suddenly it felt like I could – they were less reliant on me and much more independent.
– In August I was gearing up for our wedding, so I didn’t blog much but I did write this piece on vegetable eating in kids. The best part being cooking up a huge tomato sauce with loads of veggies in it and blitzing it with a blender.
– September’s favourite posts is of course our wedding. I keep meaning to update it with new pics so that’s a potential task for 2015. It was such an amazing day. I really wish I could do it again.
– There was lots going on in the latter half of the year: as well as our wedding, our eldest daughter started preschool shortly afterwards and I wrote about receiving her first learning journey from her school. I loved this – she still never tells me what she gets up to at school so this day by day diary with photos was amazing to read.
– November saw my fledgling action plan for dealing with gyrating females on TV and not wanting my daughters to become infiltrated by the image they’re portraying of women. I stopped short of buying them a biography of Kate Adie, but maybe that’s one for the future.
– December’s favourite was easily our daughter’s first nativity. Absolutely loved it – she was fantastic and it was so special.

I wonder what 2015 will bring? Happy New Year everyone!
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New Year: a bad time for achieving resolutions

Keeping New Year's resolutions

It’s January. The Christmas and New Year festivities have been and gone in what seems like a flash. You’ve just taken down the tree for twelfth night. A growing sense of foreboding engulfs you as you contemplate going back to work and ‘getting back to normal’. You had a great time, but feel sluggish from all the excess food, drink and celebrations.

So why do we choose this time to set New Year’s resolutions?

It’s completely bonkers.

Apparently 88% of all New Year resolutions end in failure. We tend to make similar resolutions each year – “I’ll lose two stones”, “I’ll finally get the bike out of the cellar” or “I’ll take up that hobby I’ve been meaning to do for years”.

I agree with goal setting in general – having something specific to aim for, staying focused, achieving a goal that increases your feelings of wellbeing.

But, as I was reflecting whilst in the throes of pre-schooler tantrums, endless snack and drink making and trying to tidy the house the other day, the beginning of January is most certainly not the time.

Here are my personal reasons why I’ll still be eating cheese, the odd chocolate and berating myself for not going to the gym in January:

  • Too much, too soon. There’s a lot of pressure attached to resolutions and everyone seems to be making them. This only leads to a bit of often unhealthy competition – weekly weigh ins at work, for example. In addition, we don’t tend to set just one goal in January. We set about six. Totally unachievable. Which leads me on to…
  • January is dull enough as it is. Everyone is skint and can’t go out, go shopping, or participate in generally fun activities as much. It’s also difficult getting back into work if you’re lucky enough to have had a decent amount of time off over the festive period. It’s frankly dull – and you need a glass of wine and the odd treat to perk you up.
  • There’s too many leftovers. Unless you’re really full of the most amazing willpower, it’s very hard to throw out the leftover Christmas cake, snacks and chocolate. Criminal, even. I’ll be eating it. Maybe not as often, and perhaps I’ll offer as much as possible to visitors (“aha!! I shall also thwart YOUR resolutions!”) but I will be having some.
  • The children are more of a ‘handful’ than usual. I have a three year old and a one year old. It’s only the 4th January and already they’ve behaved like something out of The Excorcist at times. It’s hard for pre-schoolers to suddenly see the tree being taken down, all those lovely decorations they helped you with. Everything went crazy – and now it’s back to normal a again. All the more need for a cheeky snifter to settle your nerves in the evening (just one).
  • None of your friends stick to them, either. They might be all smug after the first couple of weeks and tell you about their latest 5k run and how they lost about a stone – but it won’t last. This lack of peer support also makes it more difficult for yourself to succeed.

For me, I think that life is busy enough. I’ll wait until things have calmed down a little and set myself one achievable goal (which I’ve decided will be to take up Ashtanga yoga again. I will have a wedding dress to fit into this year, after all). I’m confident I’ll achieve this – and then maybe I could move onto something else.

In short, I aim to go easy on my often frazzled self and revel in my own underachieving January.