Looking back on 2016

It’s been a funny old year, hasn’t it? On the news front it feels like quite a depressing year looking back – the horrors of what has been happening in Syria, the shock of the Brexit vote and Trump being elected US President, and the deaths of so many celebrities. I have to confess I’m not convinced that 2017 is really going to be any better on that front but it would be good to be proved wrong.


For my part, I’ll be doing what I can to make my little world a better place.  This year I focused on my #366daysofgratitude challenge. Next year I’ll be taking on #365daysofkindness – one small act of kindness every day. I won’t be sharing daily updates on this on the blog or my social media but I will be continuing with my daily gratitude photos on Instagram using #365daysofgratitude as this was something I really enjoyed doing in 2016.

A collage of photos of some of my happy moments from 2016 - splashing in puddles with my girls, seeing a unicorn at the Enchanted Museum event, Jessica with her certificate for being brave for her cardiac catheter, Jessica getting her first badge at Girls' Brigade, our Land's End to John O'Groats challenge, Jessica starting school and turning five, Sophie turning three, enjoying Halloween at Legoland and dressing up as the Nutcracker and Sugar Plum Fairy for our Christmas card photo

On a personal level, 2016 has been a good year on the whole. I don’t really tend to make resolutions but I had two goals at the start of 2016. One was the #366daysofgratitude challenge and the other was to improve my French. I’ve been using Duolingo to help improve my French this year. Whilst I didn’t quite manage it every day, I did manage 335 days out of 366 which isn’t bad! Plus Sophie and I have started going to Bilingua Sing French classes together which we are both enjoying.


Here are some of my happy moments from 2016:


Things I loved in 2016

  • Being told that Jessica didn’t need to have her next surgery before she started school and that all being well it can wait for another year or two. We’ve had two hospital admissions this year (one planned and one unexpected one). The thought of surgery was a big weight on my mind throughout the first part of 2016. It was a huge relief to have this weight lifted.

My brave little girl with her certificate after her cardiac catheter procedure

  • Being shortlisted for best family blog in the BiBs. I might not have made the finals but to know that my readers enjoyed my blog enough to vote for me to make the shortlist was amazing. Thank you again to everyone who voted for me.


  • A week’s holiday at Butlins – seeing how much the girls enjoyed all the live shows, the photo shoots with the various characters and the rides on the tots funfair. It was also lovely to see them both becoming more confident in the swimming pool.

Having a photo taken with Billy and Bonnie Bear at Butlins

  • Jessica starting Girls’ Brigade, taking part in her first Company Display and getting her first badge on her badge bag.  I love watching her at church parade each month. She looks so tiny next to the other girls but she loves being part of it all and looks forward to going each week.

My big girl with her first ever badge after the Girls' Brigade awards evening

  • Travelling from Land’s End to John O’Groats by bus and train. It was crazy and fun. We did wonder whether we were mad to attempt long train journeys with two small children in tow but they amazed us by how well they coped and how much they enjoyed it too!

Me, hubby, Jessica and Sophie standing in front of the signpost at John O'Groats

  • A summer that was full of happy moments and little adventures. It was a summer I wanted to make the most of – the last summer before Jessica started school and everything changed.  There were afternoons soaking up the sunshine in the garden and splashing in the paddling pool, fairy tale walks and fun days out. So many little moments of just enjoying being together and making the most of the time we had.

Jessica and Sophie splashing about with a ball in the paddling pool

  • Seeing how much Jessica enjoys school and how well she has coped, especially given that she started on full days for the word go. I have especially loved seeing her delight at learning to read and write. Those little moments of seeing a new word suddenly “unlock” and the realisation that she can recognise words around her is amazing to watch. There have been so many happy moments this autumn relating to Jessica enjoying school – her being awarded “star of the week” for being always being kind and helpful, a glowing report at parents’ evening and watching her taking part in her first nativity. As much as I love seeing her enjoy school, it has been a joy to have her home for two whole weeks for the holidays!

Jessica on her first day at school

  • Rediscovering how much I enjoy drawing. My Christmas present for my hubby this year was a book sharing 96 things I love about him – one for each page with a little sketch to illustrate it. Seeing his reaction was one of the highlights of Christmas Day. For me though, working on it was also a constant reminder to focus on the positives in our marriage and not on the challenges, which is all too easy to do at times!

The cover of my "96 things I love about you" book


My ten favourite blog posts of 2016

  1. The Stick Man Trail at Wendover Woods (written in the style of the book)
  2. The truth about co-sleeping
  3. Parenting bloggers: there’s room for all of us
  4. An ode to bedtime
  5. Having a lie-in today (a poem celebrating the joys of the lie-in)
  6. My darling, you’re growing too fast
  7. Sometimes I look at you…
  8. Wishing the moments away
  9. This is our normal
  10. 30 simple things that make my world a happier place


As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to look ahead to 2017. Other than trying to do an act of kindness each day and continuing with my daily gratitude photo, I have no real resolutions for the year ahead. I find it hard to look ahead at a new year. There is always that uncertainty and fear about what the future may bring and the knowledge that at some point another heart surgery will be on the cards for Jessica. At the end of the year, I am just very thankful for my family, for another year of being together, of being complete. At the start of a new year, my wish for the year is always the same – that my family will still be complete at the end of it.


3 thoughts on “Looking back on 2016

  1. Oh I love your kindness challenge for 2017, that’s such a lovely idea. I hope you’ll write occasionally about it on your blog, I’d love to hear about it.

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