Friday Focus 31/12/21 – Time

It has been lovely to have quality time together as a family over the festive period and time catching up with a few friends and family either side of Christmas. We spent our Christmas down in Cornwall, staying at Coombe Mill. It was good to be able to get away and be in a little bubble – just us and my husband’s parents. We enjoyed our walks around the farm, the opportunity to feed the animals and being able to spend Christmas quietly.


The word 'time' with a watch forming the 'i'


There have been lots of happy moments, as well as moments for allowing and acknowledging grief. It’s four years this week since Jessica had her Fontan surgery and the ache of missing her always feels more acute at this time of year with the festive season and those memories of our time in hospital shortly afterwards. As one year comes to an end and another begins, it also brings with it the reminder that time continues to push us on further away from the life we once had with Jessica. I know that she’ll always be with us and part of us though, and we’ll carry her with us into the new year once more.



What I’ve been grateful for over the last couple of weeks:


A piano in the front of a church with a Christmas tree behind it; Sophie helping our friends decorate their Christmas tree; two Christmas trees, one with Sophie standing next to it; Sophie and Thomas standing behind a tree stump containing a fairy garden; Jessica's forever bed with a vase of flowers and a Christmas wreath; Sophie holding a Saturday Mash-Up Mug; Sophie and Thomas with Father Christmas in a Victorian train carriage - "#365daysofgratitude 2021 - Week 51"


  • Day 351 – I am grateful for carols and mince pies at church.


  • Day 352 – I am grateful for time spent with friends.


  • Day 353 – I am grateful that the Christmas trees are finally up. My first time having a real tree this year.


  • Day 354 – I am grateful for finding fairies on a winter walk.


  • Day 355 – I am grateful for a quiet moment on my own with Jessica.


  • Day 356 – I am grateful for Sophie’s excitement at being sent a Saturday Mash-Up mug.


  • Day 357 – I am grateful for a ride on a steam train and getting to see Father Christmas.



Sophie standing next to a fir tree covered in lights; Sophie and Thomas opening presents together; Thomas with chickens; an excited Sophie opening a Christmas present; Thomas lying on a tree trunk; Sophie and Thomas snuggled together in a web swing; Sophie and Thomas jumping on a trampoline with their cousins; magnetic letters spelling '365 days of gratitude' - #365daysofgratitude 2021 - Week 52"


  • Day 358 – I am grateful for a Christmas Eve walk.


  • Day 359 – I am grateful for the Christmas magic seen through my children’s eyes.


  • Day 360 – I am grateful for a feed run to start the day and the joy of collecting freshly laid eggs from the chickens to enjoy at lunchtime.


  • Day 361 – I am grateful that limited space for taking Christmas presents away with us means we had them to look forward to on our arrival home today!


  • Day 362 – I am grateful for an afternoon outdoors with friends (and Thomas found a nice spot to chill out while Sophie and her friend were climbing trees).


  • Day 363 – I am grateful for a screen-free day.


  • Day 364 – I am grateful for a brief visit from cousins on their way back home to Luxembourg. Love how much fun they always seem to have together.


  • Day 365 – I am grateful for another year of gratitude making six years in total since I started looking for one thing to be grateful for each day. It hasn’t always been easy and there have been more than a few days when I’ve not felt very grateful at all and times when I’ve been grateful through tears and gritted teeth but I have found it helpful to keep looking for small positives even when it feels very hard to find them.



Other things that have made me smile over the last couple of weeks:


A Playmobil scene depicting the boy Samuel in the temple


  • Watching Sophie and her grandad making paper chains together.


Sophie with her grandad sitting at a table making paper chains


  • The postscript on Sophie’s note that she left out for Father Christmas.


A mince pie and carrot on a plate plus a note that says "P.S. I have been good."


  • Toasting marshmallows on Christmas evening.


Sophie toasting marshmallows in the BBQ hut at Coombe Mill


  • Playing board games together.


Sophie with her grandad playing Catan Junior


  • Finding a painted rock while out on a walk.


Sophie holding a painted rock


  • Listening to one of my favourite records from my childhood with Sophie. I think it was the first time she’s seen a record player!


Sophie standing next to a record player with the album sleeve for '20 all-time junior hits' in front


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26 thoughts on “Friday Focus 31/12/21 – Time

  1. I am so glad you got away to Coombe Mill. It sounds like a lovely place to spend Christmas.
    Sending love and hugs.
    Fab photos. Congrats on the 6 years of your daily gratitude. It really is a great achievement. x

  2. How lovely to go to Coombe Mill for Christmas and to take their grandparents too. Nice idea to leave presents at home. It can feel so flat when you get back. Sophie and Thomas look so happy in all your photos. I’m guessing they had the best time ever. I love the PS on the note. Happy New Year to you all. #wotw

    1. Thank you Cheryl. It was lovely to go away and to be able to have Christmas when we got back too. The children had a wonderful time. Happy new year to you all too.

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed your little break, it sounds like a lovely way to spend Christmas. I’m going to try the 365 days of gratitude this year, I hope I can do it, managing to do it for 6 years is a big achievement. I can only imagine how hard it’s been for you at times.

    1. Thank you Anne. I’m glad you’re joining with the 365 days of gratitude – always lovely to have others join in too.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas, we also managed some time away I find it good for the soul. Lovely festive photos of the children too. I really do like your posts about finding gratitude in the small moments, it is a very good habit and one which I should also take time to do. Sending love and hugs and wishing you and the family all the best for 2022. Happy New Year xx

  5. Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas with the family, which is so special and rare for some people too. Your memories of Jessica will always be there and I believe you will also find that life and grief get easier to bear with the passing of time. I hope I am right. Happy New Year to you and yours too.

  6. How lovely that you spent another Christmas at Coombe Mill. My kids want to go back, but I am worried it won’t feel the same without Fiona and Nick. Happy New Year

    1. It is different without Fiona and Nick, but we find it just as magical and Emma and Anya who run it now are both lovely.

    1. Coombe Mill was lovely. It is a little different without Fiona and Nick, but Anya and Emma who run it now are both lovely and we enjoy our holidays there as much as ever.

  7. So many wonderful photos, of Sophie and her Grandad, roasting the marshmallows, and that little postcript next to the Santa’s treat made me chuckle. Glad to hear you were able to have some time with Jessica on your own. It is understandably a difficult time, with painful memories. You’re an amazing, strong woman, and I admire your courage and positive outlook. Happy new year to you and yours!

    1. Thank you Galina. We had some lovely moments and it was good to have space for grief as well. Happy new year to you and your family too.

  8. How fab staying at Coombe Mill, I have always been quite tempted to book that place. Looks like plenty to do and nice accommodation. Toasting marshmallows on Christmas day is pretty cool. Think my boys would like that. Lovely photos, bet it was wonderful catching up with family over the holidays.

    1. Coombe Mill is a lovely place to stay – I’d certainly recommend it. I’m sure we’ll be going back again at some point.

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