I always like to do an end of year round up – for myself as much as anything, even if I get no readers and zero comments this post will exist in perpetuity to remind me of the good things I have experienced in life and that we have experienced as a family.
So without further ado:
I took JJ to the panto in Woking for the second year running with my friend Clair and her son. I still felt that EJ was just a bit too young for the experience and I’m kind of regretting that we haven’t booked panto for this year now because I think he would have enjoyed it. Maybe a last minute booking? Anyway, we saw Justin Fletcher (AKA Mr Tumble) playing Wishy Washy in Aladdin and it was a fun afternoon out.
We discovered the delights of Despicable Me on DVD which brought all of us a lot of happiness. It’s not often that a children’s programme or film really keeps me entertained and makes me genuinely laugh but this has to be one of the best kids movies ever. Despicable Me 2 is just as good as well in my opinion!
It was my Mum’s 70th birthday on February 7th and we had a big family celebration at a lovely foodie pub with my sister’s family too.
I bought and started using my Happiness Project five year one sentence journal which I have managed to fill in every day since and I have loved having it and being reminded to stop at the end of even the draggiest day and find something positive to say. It allows me to keep track of both thoughts and events which is a nice way of recording your journey through life.
Keeping on the theme of happiness, this was the month I decided to create my lovely little ‘Happiness Shelf’ in my bedroom, which I’ve added to and decorated for Easter and Christmas – it is really the only place in the house which is mine and mine alone.
We do not seem to have done anything remotely memorable in March!
However, we squeezed a fair bit into April – one of my favourite months of the year. We had a lovely spring visit to Manydown Farm with friends, my mum and I took the boys on an Easter Egg trail at Osterley House and Gardens (they also had an Easter Egg hunt at my parents’ house), and in the second week of school holidays we went on holiday with the hubster to Great Yarmouth where the kids had fun on the giant inflatables on the beach, we visited the Africa Wildlife Park and we took an open top sight-seeing bus round Norwich like proper tourists!
I also had a great night out to the Old Thorns hotel in Liphook, Hampshire for a very convincing Michael Jackson tribute night and dinner – I’ll never forget ‘Michael Jackson’ giving me directions to the toilet…
We finally had a family outing to the Chestnut Sunday celebration in London’s Bushy Park which is something I had been wanting to do ever since I was pregnant with JJ (probably the last year that the event had the benefit of a beautiful sunny day!). A picnic, parade, fun fair rides and family made for a lovely outing.
I finally managed to arrange a night out for a meal at Zizzis with my NCT girlfriends – something we had been talking about for – oh, only about five years 🙂
We also finally managed to meet and make friends with some lovely neighbours who’s sons are not far off the age of ours (they are 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively so they all muck along quite happily!). They have both school and the same child minder in common.
One word: Britmums!! I finally made it to a Britmums conference after the infamous double booking of 2014. It was a lovely couple of days and I got a lot out of the experience, not least of which was getting to meet some of my favourite people in the blogosphere in real life and some others who I have got to know a bit more since.
Had a lovely day with family celebrating my cousin’s little boy’s first birthday in Stoke Park in Guildford – the kids had a splash in the paddling pool there, we had a picnic, but little did I realise at the time that it would be the last time I would see my uncle before he died after an unexpected terminal cancer diagnosis later in the year.
Took the boys to see In The Night Garden Live at Old Deer Park in Richmond with my mum.
Potty training commences!
EJ’s third birthday saw us hitting Legoland and really enjoying the gentler rides.
Visited the Lavender Fields at English Hampshire Lavender with the boys and my lovely friends Lorraine and Glen who I hadn’t seen for such a long time. We had a lovely cream tea and photo session with the boys running up and down the purple corridors.
Went to see some Edinburgh Fringe comedy previews with my friend Mel one evening which was fab – I so miss going to live comedy.
One very amazing thing happened in August – the hubster and I had a child free weekend for my birthday and went away to Bath – somewhere I’d wanted to visit for a long time. We had such a lovely relaxed time, and I got to do everything I wanted except for the Thermae spa – sightseeing bus, beauty treatment at a day spa, cream tea, Bizarre Bath evening walking tour, dinner at Jamie’s Italian and a magical evening’s stroll around the Roman Baths.
We had a lovely, if somewhat ill fated camping trip to Weymouth with my sister in law and family later on the same week. High winds and rain in early August were a bit of a bummer but it didn’t put us off the idea of camping again and it was lovely to spend time in each other’s company albeit briefly!
The boys and I had a lovely day meeting up with best blogging buddies Fiona (Free Range Chick) and Reneé (Mummy Tries) and their beautiful children at the Horniman Museum in South London. We had lovely weather for our picnic and JJ and EJ along with Clara and Polly all convinced us to buy them ukeleles from the Sue Ryder charity shop on the way home which is kind of funny in hindsight!
JJ’s birthday party was a big deal in September – he chose a ‘donutting’ party at the local ski slope and we had absolutely stunning hot sunny weather which meant our little party tea in our garden afterwards was ideal! I really enjoyed planning and hosting this one.
It’s obviously not a ‘best bit’ of my year but I want to record that my Uncle Steve died the weekend of JJ’s party. It was very unexpected with just a week to get used to the idea that he was ill and a spate of last minute family trips out to Spain where he lived by various family members who had the chance to say their goodbyes. Gone but not forgotten. X
Another lovely busy month which started with us celebrating the hubster’s birthday by visiting Winkworth Arboretum with EJ and afterwards having a Pizza Express lunch in nearby Godalming.
JJ’s school had a Harvest Assembly and then, during half term we took our second family holiday of the year to Shorefield Country Park in the New Forest. During our week there we enjoyed lots of Halloween themed activities and visited Beaulieu (twice)! We also visited the picturesque village of Burley and took the boys to the Oceanarium in Bournemouth and even managed to enjoy ice creams on the beach!
Theatre season! My mum and I took the boys to the National Theatre to see the wonderful adaptation of children’s book I Want My Hat Back and also were lucky enough to have the opportunity to review The Tiger Who Came to Tea at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. I loved being able to take the kids into Central London and they loved the train rides!
We also started Christmas off (a bit too early perhaps?!) by visiting Santa in his grotto at the Badshot Lea Squires where we helped one of the elves to find Rudolph’s lost nose (bit careless to lose your own nose, but who am I to judge?).
All the Christmassy stuff. JJ’s school nativity; EJ’s preschool singalong; my work Christmas night out/meal at TGIs; the Christmas trail & Santa’s grotto at Ham House with my dad; a Christmas movie at the cinema; my side of the family’s traditional Christmas Eve get together for lunch in Guildford; Christmas day at my parents’ house with my sister’s family too; Boxing Day at my in-laws with the hubster’s side of the family and his daughter; and lastly, one more theatre trip with my mum and the boys to Wimbledon’s Polka Children’s Theatre to see the play “Beasty Baby”.
I have to say that looking back over the year I do feel like we didn’t do as much as we did in 2014 – that there were times (see: March) when nothing happened and it was all a bit sad and lonely. I really want to be a bit more organised and intentional in 2016 – more things booked into the diary each month, and a lot more photography too – I really was lazy with my camera this year.
I intend to write down a list of places I want to go, people I want to see, events I want to attend and then make it happen! EJ will turn four and start school in September – proof positive that life is flying by!