Lovely Colette just shared a post about this year and it’s inspired me to share my own. It’s my favourite seven blog posts from the year, seven things I’ve loved most from this year and seven things I’m looking forward to in 2021.
Now, I know, my initial thought was that this year has been pretty damn crappy and it would be far too hard to think of seven things I’ve loved about it. And with that I can’t possibly think of anything I’m looking forward to next year. I just cannot bare to think about it.
But, even on the darkest of days, at the hardest of times, there is something to be thankful for, however small that thing may be. And, there is always something to look forward to. So, I’m going to give it a go and see what positive things I can share.
And I’m starting with my favourite blog posts from 2020.
This recipe was the one where people started to notice my fudge recipes and where I started to get really inspired to make a whole variety of flavours, a little break from the norm.
It’s not my most read or searched for fudge recipe this year but it’s one of our favourites – and a fudge that everyone loves whenever they try it.
We went to Mauritius in August 2019 and by January 2020 I had written all my blog posts about it, finishing with this roundup of things to do as a family.
At the time it was just a final piece of content but, looking back now, it makes me so unbelievably happy looking at all the things we saw and places we visited. We had no idea it would be our last proper holiday as a family before the pandemic came along and it’s a holiday, because of that, which we talk about often.
Last year we made a plan to start visiting the Harry Potter filming locations across the country. At the start of this year we had high hopes to tick many off – and plans to visit Wales, Yorkshire and much of the coast to see as many locations as possible.
In the end, we just had one walk around London, just before the original lockdown. But, it was a lovely one and filled some gaps on our checklist!
4 – Goodbye Infants
No-one really read this post when I published it but I started this blog to document the children growing and our family milestones so when Little Man left Infants, to move to the Juniors, in the middle of a pandemic and after homeschooling for months, it only felt right to write about it.
Lockdown and homeschooling were really hard for me but I didn’t really talk about it or share it. I felt everyone had their own struggles and so I just kept my head down and ploughed on. But, over those first months I put together things I’d been learning about myself, our family and our life as the weeks went on.
Work this year has been very up and down so, to get a collaboration opportunity that fit really well with our family and that the kids were so excited about, in the middle of a pandemic, was amazing. This was one of my favourite brand campaigns of the year.
And just last week I wrote a blog post of all the things I’m thankful for this year. I sacked off the bucket lists, travel diaries and resolution updates in favour of just looking at the good things. And I felt much better for it.
So that moves us on nicely to the 7 Things I Loved Most in 2020:
1 – Our Loft Conversion
That was easy. We had our loft conversion done this autumn, had to move out of our house for a month and had a whirlwind few months of building work, decorators, self storage, dust and mess. But then it was done, and it felt like it had always been done.
The loft has completely changed my work life balance. It’s given us more space, given us a spare room and given Dave and I a bedroom that feels like a posh hotel suite. It’s amazing.
2 – Weymouth
We managed to have a week in Weymouth at the start of the summer holidays with Daish’s Holidays. It was so lovely to have a glimpse of normality, to go to tourist attractions, spend time on the beach and just spend quality time together away from the house. We really needed it and really enjoyed it.
3 – Our Garden
From the very first weeks of lockdown, through to the end of the summer holidays, our garden was such a huge thing for us. It was space to relax, space to play, somewhere to have barbecues. It allowed us to have a paddling pool, to toast marshmallows and to just get fresh air without venturing out of our home. It was such a privilege.
4 – The Children
This year I have spent more time with the children than I could ever have imagined I would. When they both started school I knew that my time with them would be in chunks – before school, after school, weekends and school holidays. So having months of time with them was an unexpected bonus of this year.
I won’t lie, homeschooling was hard, draining and emotional at times. But, it gave me time to see how the children learn, to watch movies with them, read with them, bake with them, play with them and just be with them. It was, in some ways, like an extended summer holiday just with extra learning. And I really appreciate that extra time I was given with them. They are, after all, my two favourite people.
5 – The Cat
Leia is not getting any younger and so each year I give thanks that she is still here with us. And at 14, she really isn’t getting any younger. Her brother got hit by a car and died a few years ago now and I wasn’t sure how she’d get on without him. But, she’s been fine. She gives us so much love, is constantly with us and she is one very much treasured part of our family. She brings us all so much joy.
6 – Reading
This year I have found a new love of reading. I’ve always really enjoyed it, and made time for it, but I had a couple of months where I had a few eye issues and couldn’t read. When I realised my eyes had fixed themselves I started reading again with so much enthusiasm. There is nothing like a good book.
7 – Blogging
Now, blogging has been really hard as a career this year. But, I have spent so much time working behind the scenes, creating new content and updating old posts that, actually, blogging has been one of my favourite parts of the year.
A few months ago I was approved to the Mediavine advertising network – thank you for not complaining about the adverts – and since then I have had a small, steady income each month which has been much appreciated this year. I’ve also had more pageviews than ever before – hitting 100k in 30 days at my December peak!
And there you have it. 2020 wasn’t all bad. We had a few nice days out, a few barbecues with friends and family and had so many lovely cakes, bakes and makes at home. It’s been such a grey, gloomy year but it has definitely had moments of sunshine too.
But what are we looking forward to next year? Here goes…
1 – Family and friends
This year I have really missed the few family members that we have. Dave’s lovely parents, my big brother, seeing my little brothers and sister. We also have a handful of close friends that I cannot wait to see again. It’s been a year with so few people in it and I cannot wait to spend time with people again – even at a distance.
2 – Travel
I have a little hope that we’ll be able to go away this year. Not necessarily abroad – even though that would be amazing – but I would just love to go to Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Wight, Yorkshire… I want to explore more of this country, have more quality time with my favourite people and spend a little less time at home.
3 – Doing things
I love a day out but, over the last year there are some things that I’ve really missed and just so much more that I want to do. I want to go to the cinema, go bowling, go ice skating. Just normal things that we love doing as a family.
I want to go for meals out, I want to do GoApe, I want to wander around London and play crazy golf. It’s all those things that I took for granted before and would love the chance to do next year.
4 – Barbecues with friends
I love inviting friends or family round and having drinks and food whilst the children play. It’s something I’ve really missed this year as we’d usually do it all the time, not just twice through the spring/summer. I really hope we get the opportunity to do it more next year.
5 – Getting a grip on our finances
With the loft conversion and the pandemic, despite my initial attempt at spending less this year, our finances have gone out the window. I’ve just lost track of what we spend and so I’m looking forward to getting my money ducks back in a row, having a savings pot and starting to put money aside for projects or even holidays again.
6 – Spa days
I used to have a spa day once a month at one point and this year I think I had one right at the very start of the year. Next year I’m hoping for two – maybe for my bestie’s and my own birthday, six months apart. That is two things I’m really hoping for!
7 – Tea and cake
And the main thing I’m looking forward to is simple. Tea and cake with a friend. Chatting on a sofa over a cuppa, sitting at our kitchen island with a nice cup of tea or, hell, maybe even sitting in Costa with a cup of tea and a chocolate tiffin. I don’t want much – just tea, cake and a good chat with a friend at home, at their house or in a cafe – not walking outside in the rain.
So there you go, Seven things I’m looking forward to next year. I have so many little hopes and big ones too, but I daren’t let my hopes get too high any more and will just enjoy the good things as they happen.
What are you most looking forward to next year?