Looking back on 2017

We are a couple of weeks into 2018, and the time has come to reflect on the year just gone, and look forward to the year ahead.

2017 was definitely a mixed year for us. We had some really good highs, and some pretty depressing lows. It was the year we took a decent step forward with managing my chronic pain issues, I got a lovely new office, and we had some great family time… but we also lost two Grandparents within a short period of time, and I had a tough time managing my anxiety and mental health at times too.

Pumpkin Week at Hatton

2017 in 12 minutes

Throughout 2017 I have loved taking part in the Month in a Minute project. Month in a Minute is Sian’s brainchild (aka Helpful Mum) and each month I create a minute long video with clips from the month, which I love to look back on to watch again.

At the end of 2016 I strung all my minute long videos together and really liked the end result. You could really see how the girls grew and changed over time, and it had some of my favourite memories from the year in there too… and it is the same with this video…

On the blog…

I published 127 blog posts last year, and enjoyed doing a fair few videos over on our YouTube channel. This year I want to blog a bit more for the love of it, rather than just blog posts about our days out, and product reviews. I enjoy reviewing products and sharing our thoughts with you lovely lot, but I don’t want to only be blogging about things I am obliged to post about – things were so busy and stressful at times last year, that I didn’t have a tonne of time to blog for the love of it, as much as I would have liked.

My favourite blog posts from 2017

Chronic Illness: The things I (almost) never tell people – probably my most brutally honest post of the year! I don’t blog loads about my health but, even though it has improved a bit since my neurologist appointment, it still has quite a big impact on my life, and our whole family.

Giving this IKEA table a new look – I enjoyed this simple spruce up of the girls table and it is still going strong. Our home improvement budget is quite small, so I want to do more of this sort of simple, low cost but effective, projects to make our house feel more comfortable.

Our Welsh camping trip – I really enjoyed this holiday to Wales – despite the rain and the slightly leaky tent! On the whole we were lucky with the weather and it is nice to be able to look back on the trip with this post & the video.

The most popular blog posts I published in 2017

(Not including giveaways!)

Planner Series: Part One – Free Printables – I enjoyed making this set of planner printables and plan to do more this year. I intended to make some more shortly after this batch but had a bad run health-wise and never quite got back to the project.

Our Luvabella Interactive Doll Review – As Luvabella was one of the hot toys for Christmas 2017 this one isn’t a huge surprise! Lots of people were looking for reviews of this doll before Christmas, and on the last few days of the year I had people ending up on the blog googling for info. Here’s my tip – use decent batteries, cheap ones aren’t powerful enough for this robot baby, which Lydia is still loving!

Dinosaurs in the Wild at the NEC – This was probably one of our most memorable evenings out this year. The multi-million pound experience takes you ‘back in time’ to a research post in the Jurassic era. The girls loved it, and the 3D scenes and the whole thing was intricately detailed and very immersive. It has now moved to London after successful runs in Birmingham and Manchester.

Dinosaurs in the Wild, NEC

What’s on the cards for 2018?

This year I want to make more time for blogging, as well as taking photos and making videos. I want to keep my web development working hours to the girls school hours, except for emergencies like hacks – and spend more time in the afternoons and evenings with my family.

Try to figure out the whole life-balance thing a bit better, and not let myself get too stressed out or ill over it. I don’t really ‘do’ resolutions as such, but this is something I’ve been trying to sort out for a while – and it is certainly a lot easier with both girls in primary school together.

Our family at Jurassic Kingdom

We are planning some family holidays – not especially glamorous ones, but relaxing ones… and we might actually leave the UK this year! We’d love to take the girls to Disneyland Paris sometime, but it’s just not in the budget. I’d also like a new kitchen but that’s not happening anytime soon!

Anyway, happy new year to you all!