20 Wishes for 2017

I have recently posted about my blogging goals for 2017, but with a huge sigh of relief, as we wave goodbye to 2016, I thought it would be nice to write about my 20 wishes for 2017 as I was kindly tagged by Hayley at Devon Mama.

I love writing posts like this every now and again because it gives me a chance to get to know a little more about other bloggers and also because it gives me a change to find out more about myself. A way of really evaluating my life and what I like or dislike. I like to put a lot of thought into these things as it can be very cathartic.

My Five Family Wishes

  1. I really hope that come September of this year Pinky starts school and settles quickly. I know it is going to be a huge phase of adjustment and I am expecting it to be a difficult for her because she can shy away from new things at first.
  2. On the same note of schools I hope Pinky gets offered a place in one of our top choices. The schools are so over subscribed in our area there are no guarantees.
  3. I want to spend more quality time together at the weekends as a family of four. Often we can be really exhausted by Saturday but even if it is just a nice walk I want to make that time special. Days out and about are so much nicer than being sat at home. Not that our time at home is wasted, we bake, we do puzzles, we read. I would simply like us to get out and about more. The girls are both at such good ages to make the most of this too.
  4. I would like Hubby and I to spend more time together just the two of us. This is a hard one to do with kids but it is all about making the best of the situation you are in. I wrote about our Date Nights before and much of that is about making a particular evening (Friday for us), when the TV stays off, phones get put down, we have a meal without the girls and we chat about our weeks. We are usually asleep by 10pm as we are both so exhausted from our respective busy weeks but it is special time where we concentrate on each other. I want to do more of that, perhaps start a monthly date night where we actually go out. This is HUGELY dependant on my in-laws though so it may be unfair to suggest.
  5. I want to spend more time with Perky when Pinky is at preschool/school. Perhaps start a toddler group such as dancing or music we can do together.

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My Five Personal Wishes

  1. I want to be more confident in myself. I know most people who know me will see me as a fairly confident person but that isn’t always the case. I want to feel less anxious about how people perceive me and just be me. If people don’t like it they don’t have to stick around.
  2. I want to worry less. I take a lot of things to heart and waste my time thinking about things and people that aren’t worth thinking about. I think it is natural to worry about certain things; finances, the children’s health, my parenting ability. But these things can take up 100% of my brain capacity some days and that isn’t OK.
  3. I want some more ‘me’ time and when I get it, I want to enjoy it. I don’t want to spend the little time I get sat on the sofa wondering what to do with myself.
  4. I want to try and keep a couple plants alive this year. I could very genuinely kill a cactus and I would like to rectify this if possible!
  5. I want to perfect my ‘style’. I have quite a mismatch of clothes at the moment, which is fine, but not all of it feels very ‘me’ anymore.

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My Five Blog Wishes

  1. I want to go self-hosted. I have been putting this off as I wasn’t sure what I wanted or how to go about it properly with minimal hiccups but I think I am ready now.
  2. I want to be more focused with my writing and have a few more posts scheduled so I can organise myself.
  3. I want to start utilising social media a bit better with promoting the blog. I am already exploring scheduling tools and seeing which ones I like the most.
  4. I want to get to grips with Vlogging. Especially in regards to my baking.
  5. I want to push my boundary’s and see what happens.

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My Five Hopes and Wishes for the Year

  1. I want this year to be less of a rollercoaster. We had some huge highs last year; we stayed at Claridge’s for my birthday for example. But with those huge highs came huge lows!
  2. I hope we can stick to our goal of ‘being bold’. It is something Hubby and I both agreed we would do. Try and do more things that make us nervous and uncomfortable… Aim high.
  3. Ok this is a cheesy one and completely out of character for me…. Each year Hubby and I get closer and closer. We have our good and bad days but at the end of it all I am happier now that I have ever been and that increases all the time. I want that to continue throughout this year too.
  4. I want to help Hubby find a hobby. He has played golf and it has always helped him relax. He is working so hard now to support us as a family I am conscious that as much as I need a break he does too. I find baking very therapeutic; I want him to have a regular escape too.
  5. I want the girls to continue to be the best of friends. They are so close and love each other so much. They comfort each other when needed and they are each other’s rock. I want that to continue to grow.

 

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So those are my wishes for 2017. I hope you enjoyed reading them. I would love to know what you wish for the most this year….

Amy at The Smallest of Things

Sarah at Ups and Downs Smiles and Frowns

Maria at Happy Mummy

Rachel at Coffee Cake Kids

Jess at Tantrums to Smile

Kayleigh at Little B and Me

Bethany at Being Mummy

Samantha at Bespoke Buckley

Nicola at I am Crabstix

Ruth at Top Five Mum (I thought as the sections were split into five this would appeal to you) X

 

2017 Blogging Goals

With 2017 just around the corner I have been evaluating the blog and planning where I want to take it. It took me a long time to really get into writing again; it used to be a huge passion of mine when I was younger. I found myself at a cross roads in my life about 9 years ago and I had a choice to make; Medicine or Journalism. I chose to train as a nurse and whilst I don’t regret that decision it hasn’t exactly panned out how I expected. Perhaps that is why I have finally embraced the blogging journey more this year. Although I started it in 2015 I had no confidence left in my writing style or my voice. I had spend so many years writing evidenced based essays, dulling my own opinions that weren’t supported by medical evidence I found it hard to write about a simple opinion. I have many opinions and I base most of them on experience and knowledge that I have gained in my lifetime. I am happy to admit that they are just my opinions and do not make me right, but may also not make me wrong. In nursing and medical teachings you cannot have an opinion or take action without ramifications if what you do or say doesn’t have recent scientific evidence to back it up. This is what keeps patients safe but it is also what squashed my writing passion. 2016 has been about getting that passion back and rediscovering my ‘voice’.

2017 is going to be about pushing my own writing boundaries and seeing where it takes me. 2017 is about being bold and being daring.

Only this morning I read a post by Aby at You Baby Me Mummy in which she said ‘If your goals don’t make you feel uncomfortable, they aren’t big enough.’ Read her full post here.

Well my blogging goals for 2017 are making me feel uncomfortable. I am already doubting if I will be able to achieve the sort of things I want. I believe success is subjective. I already feel like my blog is successful because I have achieved what I initially wanted. I hoped to find my confidence again, in both my writing and myself. I have done that. I wanted to explore my passion for baking in a blogging form. I have done that. I wanted to find a little piece of myself that made me feel more than just a mum. I have done that. My stats and numbers may not be huge, sometimes that bothers me but ultimately I know that doesn’t matter and that isn’t why I started blogging in the first place.

With that said part of my goals are increasing my social media followers. I finally feel ready to shout my blog from the rooftops. I am proud about most of my writing and I have begun to realise that some of my best work are the posts that make me the most nervous to push the ‘publish’ button.

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First up I want to increase my Instagram following. This is my favourite platform by far; I love the variety of photos you can find. Flat lays, interiors, children; crisp white tones to slightly blurred or colourful images. My biggest sense of community comes from Instagram and I have virtually met some amazing women on there who I feel I have genuinely come to know without ever having met face to face. We exchanges messages regularly and they are always there for support if I need it. You all know who you are!

I have been reading various blogs and have found some really useful advise on hashtags which help increase followers and the whole community feel. One of the best blog posts is by Katy from Hot Pink Wellingtons about hashtags for parent bloggers read it here. Talya from Motherhood: The Real Deal also has a very helpful post on hashtags.

I have also found THIS post by Colette at Going on an Adventure blog and THIS post by Gin the Mystery blog really helpful to increase followers.

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I recently took the plunge and started a Facebook page for the blog. I have been putting it off as I really don’t understand Facebook as well as I do Instagram and Twitter. I still don’t really understand how to increase your followers but I am more comfortable with that. Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine has written a post about it that explains it is really hard but just persevere… Well I will! I’m sure in time followers will come but for now I am enjoying the support offered by lots of blogging groups and another way of connecting with new bloggers.

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Now for the big goal…. The one making me the most nervous… Vlogging! I want to give it a go but am at a total loss of where to start. I have been toying with the idea for a long time but am really struggling with the confidence to take the plunge. Helen at Just Saying Mum is a huge part of my inspiration to just get on with it. She has written a beautiful post on her vlogging decision and I can relate to so much that she says. I found a few helpful posts from some of my favourite vloggers on hints and tips of getting started. Rebecca from Mrs Meldrum has written a great post on her vlogging equipment. Although some of what she uses seems pretty advanced for a beginner I can see the use of it all in the long run. Alex from Bump to Baby has written a really helpful beginners guide, which includes things like ‘Don’t hate your voice.’ This is a huge thing for me, which may seem like a silly thing for someone who wants to start vlogging. I have found Alex’s advice incredibly helpful and I can relate to a lot that she has said about getting started with vlogging.

I am not exactly sure when I will plunge into the vlogging world but I feel it needs to be sooner rather than later or I risk never doing it.

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The final thing I am going to do in 2017 is physically put myself out there a bit more, into the blogging community. I want to attend a couple of blogger events and seminars. First up is the Lucky Things Meet Up at the end of January. Sunita from Lucky Things Blog has arranged a bloggers meet up (her second one) which aims to inspire and connect like-minded people. I am really excited to be going but also a little nervous to be meeting so many new people all at once. This is hugely out of my comfort zone as I usually stick to groups of two or three people at once. I look forward to meeting everyone going but please be patient with me if I seem a little quite; I’m not being rude, just a little shy.

Does anyone else have any plans for 2017? The year is long and I would love some more suggestions of goals and ambitions.

 

My Plans for 2017

I won’t lie I am looking forward to saying farewell to 2016. It has been a year of ups and downs for us in our household. Well the last 6 months have been anyway. It has often felt like one step forward and four steps back. Anything not 100% in our control has caused quite a few bumps in our road. In the general scheme of things we will, and mostly have bounced back. We all still have our health, which is also the most important thing (I am touching the thickest piece of wood now to make sure that lasts into 2017).

So, to concentrate on making 2017 a positive year I am planning on keeping things simple. I am finally coming to terms with not working (I will write about this properly soon), the house is starting to look how I want and the girls are getting older and more independent by the day.

I refuse to make new years resolutions because I feel that simply sets you up to fail. Instead I have a few things I would like to do more and a few things I would like to conquer for my own satisfaction.

  • I would like to go on more family walks at the weekends

We may have to drive to get to the good walking spots but it would be nice to get out into nature a little more often and with Hubby, not just me and the girls.

  • I would like to spend more time reading to the girls.

I simply don’t do this enough, they both love it so I want to make more time to do it with them.

  • I would like to concentrate on settling Pinky into school.

I know she isn’t keen on the idea of going, but I also know she will be fine. I just want to be able to concentrate on her needs outside of the school hours for the first few weeks.

  • I would like to go on a sugar flower course.

There are a lot of baking courses I want to do but this is top of my list.

  • I would like to eat in 2 of our ‘bucket list’ restaurants.

Hubby and I have many restaurants on our Bucket List so we may have to sit down and choose our next stop.

  • I would like to watch at least one film a month.

I used to watch films all the time. Now life and children seem to get in the way. I think 1 a month isn’t too unreasonable and is achievable.

  • I would like to dance with the girls more.

We all love to dance, although Pinky is the only one of us who can actually do it!

  • I would like to go to the zoo.

We planned on going earlier this year but we never made it. We kept pushing it back and now it is December and we simply aren’t going to get to go. So next year it is a must!

I think this will do for now. I want to keep things simple and I feel like I have. I have a habit of over complicating things and I don’t want to this time. We like to be busy and I think 2017 is going to be our busiest year yet, but that doesn’t mean we have to over complicate things unnecessarily.

Here’s to a happy 2017. Do any of you have anything big or simple on your list for next year?

Copper Accents

I am on a bit of a house accessorising mission at the moment.  We have all the furniture we need but I feel like a lot of the other bits are very mismatched.  None of the picture frames match, most things have a home but aren’t in it.  There are a few ornaments that just need to go now as our tastes have changed over the years.  In the new year I am going to do up our bedroom as this room is in need of the biggest overhaul.  I have my ideas for there but as I sit here typing away the living room simply isn’t right anymore.

I want to remove most of the pictures and make a feature wall out of them up the stairs (we live in a town house so there are a lot of stairs!)  We have white furniture with black sofas.  To mellow the monochrome feel, which although I love it that was never a deliberate intention for the living room, I thought I would add in some copper.  I love copper at the moment, we bought a couple of copper and black lamps a while ago and then I got some black and copper cushions from Sainsbury’s to compliment them… The obsession has begun!  So here are some of the items I want to complete the look:

A Copper Wall Clock

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Copper Fairy Lights

I think these would look great in a glass bowl vase.

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Copper and Black Vase

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Copper Candle Holders

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Copper Letters

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Hopefully I can get some of these in the new year.  I’m eager to get filling my life with copper.  I have had to stop looking because it is just going to get out of hand…. I really am obsessed!

The Diary of an 'Ordinary' Mum

I Love the Winter

I love the winter. I make no secret of it, it is my favourite season. Many people think I’m a little crazy and I do understand the nice warm summers mean it is easier to get out and about. Also the rain is less than ideal if you are out, no one wants frizzy hair and wet feet. However, the cold I find refreshing. I love a cold bedroom so I can have a nice thick duvet cover and I sleep better. I love jumpers, scarves and hats. It is the time for hot chocolates, gingerbread lattes and mulled wine. Plus there is Christmas with all its festivities, twinkly lights and tinsel (ok I hate tinsel but I’m trying to make a point).

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She has grown so much!

I do love the summer, I really do but to get full enjoyment out of it I need a cold ‘reset’. The winter needs to be really cold*. There should be snow, not just a small smattering but lots of it and multiple frosts. These last couple of winters have been down right rubbish for me! This year I am really hopeful for a cold one. I’m talking minus temperatures regularly! The South East of England does get warmer weather than the rest of the UK but I’m really hoping some of the cold snaps reach us this year. Sorry fellow SE residents… Ok I’m not sorry!

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Since I cannot control Mother Nature and since there are still Global Warming deniers out there warming up my winters (bas***ds) I have compiled a December bucket list so I can tick little fun things off as I go. So even if I don’t get snowed in with the girls and make snowmen, women and cats. Even if I can’t go out and instantly feel Jack Frost nipping at my nose I can have other things to concentrate on. I’m also hoping this will help with the inevitable cabin fever we start getting with the Christmas Holidays approaching.

The Bucket List

  • Write a letter to Santa with both the girls
  • Pick a Christmas Tree
  • Decorate the Christmas Tree
  • Watch our favourite Christmas films
  • Go to Hobbycraft and get some Christmas themed crafts for the girls.
  • Go and see the Christmas lights in London with the girls
  • Visit a Christmas market
  • Visit Santa
  • Make Winter Cocktails
  • Wrap all the presents (all at once usually)
  • Go and visit the local RSPCA and make a Christmas donation
  • Visit the local garden centre to see the decorations and the rescue donkeys
  • Go out for a gingerbread latte and cake
  • Christmas themed baking
  • Finish and send Christmas cards (I have actually started them)
  • Take the girls shopping to each pick a present for Daddy.
  • Have an indoor picnic

I think we will have lots of fun completing this list. Is there anything else you would add?

*I know most people consider anything below 10ºC to be cold; I need it to be sub 4ºC to feel like it is cold…. I’m seriously not joking! In Vienna last year, in December, it didn’t get below 5ºC in the days… I was gutted! I think I would be very happy somewhere like Canada in the winter.

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One Messy Mama
3 Little Buttons
Admissions Of A Working Mother
Dear Bear and Beany

My Christmas Wish List

I wasn’t going to right a Christmas wish list post but after some consideration I thought I would. Whenever anyone asks me what I want I always claim I don’t know. This isn’t totally untrue as I often get caught off guard and in the middle of something. My brain doesn’t engage. I have always had lovely presents over the years and have never been disappointed but I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t have got more use out of an alternative on some occasions. I hasten to add that none of this is aimed at Hubby. He has always excelled at Christmas presents for me. This is more aimed for him to read and to pass on to anyone who asks. We do Secret Santa in our family and this year I think my Mother in Law has me… I don’t know for certain but perhaps some of this will help her (or whoever actually has me). With that in mind I have tried to keep all ideas under the £30 limit that we have.

First up I really really want a Terrarium. I can’t keep plants alive no matter what I try. I think this is because I have a habit of forgetting to water them. Apparently that is vital to plant life? So with that in mind I think a plant like a succulent that required watering very occasionally I stand a fair chance of keeping alive. Plus having spent much of the past couple of weeks looking at them on Pinterest they look amazing! I have found one I really like on Amazon, plus they have kits with the stones, soil and plants to get you started.

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Mine will never look like this! £15.99
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£4.09
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£19.80
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£14.99

Next up I fancy some nice face stuff. I had a little tester of this Nuxe exfoliator a while ago and it was so luxurious. It left my skin feeling so soft and clean. I would definitely like some more for Christmas.

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£16

Every year I love getting slippers. I don’t have any at the moment as mine haven fallen apart. Generally I love a boot style slipper with nice fluffy insides. I don’t mind a pattern on the outside but not too much bulky detail like bows. Accessorize do my favourite slippers.

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Look at that pattern! £19
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Oh so soft! £17

One of my all time favourite beauty brands is Cowshed. I flippin’ love them! So no Christmas list of mine would be complete without a little something from them.

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£30

As a self confessed M.A.C addict it would be rude not to put a couple of their products on here that I want. Look at this green pallet! This turns from a powder to a creamy texture according to their description, which sounds divine!

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£25

I have wanted this make up pallet for a long long time now and always forget about it. I think I now prefer the green one but who wouldn’t be happy with this smoky eye kit?

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£25

M.A.C also have some gorgeous lip kits, I am more of an eye makeup person but on nights out (Haha! Yeah right!) I love putting on some lippy so its nice to have in the draw.

Everyone who knows me, will know that this Apron by Parent Apparel was made for me! (It totally wasn’t but wouldn’t it been cool if it was). This definitely makes my Christmas list.

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£25

So there is my Christmas wish list.  I hope I have provided some inspiration to someone.

Admissions Of A Working Mother
Dear Bear and Beany

Festive Pine Cones

In a bizarre fit of insanity I thought it would be a good idea to take the girls hunting for pine cones so we could decorate them. I am not very craftsy. I cannot be bothered with the clear up or the mess, so I surprised myself when the suggestion passed my lips… Of course there was no going back on it by this point!

There aren’t any pine trees that close to our house so I figured I would pair it up with an afternoons walk in the woods which always goes down well with the girls. Our local woodland is made up mostly of pine trees so the floor was completely littered with cones. The girls had a bag each to fill with pine cones and they loved picking the best ones they could find.

It had been raining for the couple of days before our little hunt so the cones were completely soaked (plus it is a popular dog walking area so I dread to think what else was on some of them). Once back home I washed them as thoroughly as I could and then put them on foil lined baking trays ready for the oven. I baked them for what seemed like hours (it was probably only an hour) at 150oC. Slowly but surely they dried out and opened up nicely.

I set the table up ready for decorating them… Note to self: Do not buy ‘The Sun’ newspaper for crafts. It might be cheap but it is full of scantily clad women… Strategic positioning of each page got a little tedious!

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We painted each with some glue and then rolled them in glitter. It was actually a lot of fun. I then remembered I had some metallic spray paint left over from a little decorating project earlier in the year. I saved some cones for myself and then sprayed them bronze. These actually worked really well and are my favourite ones.

Despite my initial reservations I am really pleased with how they turned out.

The Pramshed
3 Little Buttons

My Top 5 Family Christmas Films

I am a huge Christmas fan. I won’t lie; I start getting excited in September. I love Christmas shopping, even if I do it all online. I save all of my wrapping until Christmas Eve when I sit down with a Mulled Wine or Winter Jack and wrap all of the presents watching a Christmas film (or two). I have decided to compile a list of my top 5 festive films.

  1. Arthur Christmas (2011) (U). I only discovered this last year and it quickly went to the top spot in my rankings. This is a modern take on the Santa Clause story. Santa misses a girl on Christmas Eve and his son, Arthur, comes to the rescue along side a wrapping specialist elf, Bryony. It is so sweet, suitable for all of the family and with some modern twists and humour that will keep parents chuckling away. arthur_christmas_poster
  2. Home Alone (1990) (PG). Is there anyone who doesn’t know Home Alone? Ok, just in case… Kevin is a young boy who invariably drives his parents a little crazy. In the madness of trying to get about 20 people out of the house so they don’t miss their flight for their Christmas holiday, he gets forgotten. Whilst home alone over the festive period he protects the house from a couple of burglars, the wet bandits. Of course everything is alright in the end… Ooopps, spoiler alert! I love ‘Home Alone: Lost in New York’ too, but the original is the best.                                                          home_alone_poster
  3. Miracle of 34th Street (1947/1994) (U). I think I prefer the more recent version but that is mostly because I was always a huge fan of Richard Attenborough and his Santa performance was brilliant. This is a story about a girl who no longer believes in Santa. She meets a man who tries to convince her he is the real deal even though her mum told her Santa doesn’t exist. It is a lovely story that shows the importance of hope and having something to believe in no matter what age you are. mv5bmti3odezoda0nv5bml5banbnxkftztcwmji1mjiymq-_v1_uy268_cr30182268_al_
  4. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (U). This is such a lovely film with a message we all need to hear every now and again. A man who feels overwhelmed by everything in his life and a general waste of space, is shown what the world would be like if he had never existed. It shows him how he has touched so many lives throughout his time. We all need to feel valued and appreciated. It is easy to forget the impact we have on others when the daily grind gets us down. This film always puts a smile on my face.mv5bmtmzmzy5ndc4m15bml5banbnxkftztcwmzc4njixnw-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_
  5. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) (U). What is not to love? The Muppets, Christmas and utter silliness. The Muppets take on the Dickens classic is brilliantly funny, heart warming and addictive. I have lost count of the amount of times I have watched this film and now the girls love it too.                                                                                              muppet_christmas_carol

What are your favourite Christmas films? Have you watched any yet (shhh…we have)?

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