Okay, so I get it – 2021 seems like SOOOO long ago! But, before we get any further into 2022, I really wanted to share my highlights and the things I appreciated about last year. I think it’s safe to say that for many 2021 was another year of lows, stress and sadness – it dealt a lot of worry, fear and hard things to navigate. And, I am VERY aware of this and the knock on effect the pandemic and restrictions have had on so many (us included at times). However, without wanting to risk sounding insensitive, I also believe (and have seen) that even the hardest of times, there is always goodness to be found somewhere and there are always reasons to smile. It is focusing on these things, and finding those moments of joy and blessedness, that have helped me in my life in recent years; to not only endure harder times, but find reasons to smile still when all you want to do is hide or cry (though some days I do still do that too)!
So while the last few weeks have been a little chaotic and full on for me (and I have missed the obvious “new year” time frame to share a post like this), I just wanted to take this opportunity to share 21 things I loved about 2021 now. I want to capture the gratitude I have felt for these things – the tender moments, the happy cherished moments, the adventures, the learning opportunities, the memories and highlights, that came together last year to make life wonderful and happy – despite another weird and difficult year otherwise.
1. 3 Months of no school runs – while having all the schools closed again was not ideal, I was grateful that the year began with no school runs. Last January I was heavily pregnant and as I neared having the baby, it was great to not have to waddle to school twice a day, but to be able to rest a little and be with the kids. It was great for my hips, great for nesting and great for less stress and morning madness.
2. The opportunity to teach my kids and be a part of their learning! – Home learning with 3 kids and a pregnancy was a challenge this time, but also filled with some many tender, fun and lovely moments. I very much enjoyed the opportunity to teach my kids, spend everyday with them learning together, and generally being a part of their learning journey. I liked the vibe in our home, their passion, confidence when things clicked, and general discoveries of things. I liked seeing their skills, knowledge and I loved the inspiration I felt and where it led us.
3. Snow – lots of Snow – Snow is so exciting and we really made the most of it sledging, walking and exploring. The world is always so beautiful clothed in snow and it was such a thrill to have loads of it and see the glee of the kids in it.
4. A healthy new baby boy & Baby snuggles – Having Oscar was a tremendous blessing and highlight that has rippled across the entire year. I am so thankful for his safe arrival and that he has a healthy body. He has been, and is such a joy. He has brought extra joy to the family and our home, and I love to see the sibling bonds between my kids growing every single day – so so lovely.
There have been countless lovely moments, baby snuggles, first milestones, mat leave and family time with him here.
5. Down time/Rest time – from afternoon naps with a new baby to not really having anywhere to go because of restrictions. I felt like 2021 (especially the first few months) offered me a lot of down time and time for rest. I was grateful to be able to watch a variety of seasons, hang as a family, sit and snuggle my baby, have no pressures and time to take naps. It was great for my well being, for my recovery after birth and just to simplify life a little.
6. Discovering Vinted – Vinted has been a game changer and I have loved that I discovered it through a friend in 2021. I’ve had some amazing and wonderful deals for me and the kids (as well as selling things), and each one makes my heart happy.
7. Having scones, cakes, lunches, drinks etc with other mum friends! – Since restrictions lifted, I made the most of being out of the house and meeting up with old and new mum friends. So lovely to chat, banter, laugh and cry together. To eat scones, cakes, hot chocs and enjoy lunches, while putting the world to rights – I really made the most of mat leave and seeing lovely people and it is always lovely to get out and be with other mums and babies.
8. Walking 100K for SANDS and raising £415 for them – it was a bit of a last minute decision to do this last Summer, but I am so glad I did. Physically it did me the world of good, and I loved all the walks I did with Oscar on my back. It was wonderful to raise money for an amazing cause and the whole experience left me feeling humbled, invigorated and accomplished.
9. Seeing my oldest friend get married – Covid postponed so many celebrations for so many people. It was wonderful to finally see my oldest school friend make her vows and have her special day. Love a good wedding – they always make me smile and feel more love and appreciation for Nath too.
10. Baptisms and Blessings – Megan and Oscar shared a special day together when she was baptised and he was blessed on the same day. While all who would usually attend couldn’t (due to restrictions) we were glad of who was there, and that we could see our kids have these blessings in their lives – my heart was so full that day! We also had a lovely family picnic with all who came and it was super lovely and fun.
We also saw other nieces and nephews baptised through the year, and each one was special and lovely with family.
11. Sunshine & Beach days – I felt like we spent so much time from Spring until Autumn embracing the weather and heading to the beach. We walked, explored, played, dug, sun bathed, body boarded, caved and swam – and it was all absolutely fabulous! The beach makes me so happy and I was so glad for each and every moment we spent there with family and friends.
12. Camping – Camping with a 6 month baby could have gone either way, but thankfully it went in a good direction and we had some fun in North Yorkshire at the end of the Summer camping as a family. We laughed, enjoyed the outdoors and cooked on our Kelly Kettle. I love to see the kids setting up their spaces in the tent, torch toilet trips and family chat late at night.
13. A week in the Cotswold’s – Having a holiday felt like such a bonus and we really made the most of what the Cotswold’s had to offer. It was a lovely week away making memories and having adventures…fun times and cherished moments together.
14. Legoland – Legoland is still frequently talked about with the kids and it makes me happy to see their excitement over it. It was a fab day out and I loved having fun with the kids, seeing the incredible creativity and imagination of the whole place and just finally going to Legoland. It was also really funny cramming all 6 of us into a Travelodge the night before because we messed up on our accommodation!
15. Started a new qualification/Venture – I haven’t really talked about this one on here yet, and I don’t intend to go into a lot of detail right now, but I am super excited about it. I really felt like this is right for me and discovered that it encompassed so much of my passions and soul. I have never felt more alive than when I have been on my course days, learning my new skills, educating myself further and planning for my new venture this Easter (more coming soon!).
16. Going back to the Theatres – School of rock, The Railway Children, Come from away – So much talent, joyful moments and wonderful times. I am so glad that the theatres are open again; they make me feel so enriched and happy.
17. Watching my kids perform – I always feel so much joy when I see my kids performing. Ethan is a wonderful musician and its fun to watch him on the piano and trumpet – I always feel so wow’d by how simple it seems for him.
Megan is great at Gym and singing (and recently making documentaries with E), and bosses every family karaoke session (of which we had loads last year). Each time I watch them share their talents and perform I just beam – feeling so thankful for them and who they are, and proud to be their mum.
18. A few dates out of the house with MR Smith – this is something we really need to improve on, and it’s also something that for a while wasn’t even a possibility was it? In between crazy family days and lock down’s etc we managed to steal a few dates out of the house together. A Turkish spa, meals out and time together. Lovely! It makes me happy to be the 2 of us and to do things together; talk, dream, set goals, have fun and refresh.
19. A spontaneous trip to London – I was so glad to be able to squish in a spontaneous day to London before Christmas as a family. It was a lovely adventure and filled with so much joy all round. I went to London twice within a week of each other and I especially liked seeing all of the amazing Christmas lights and soaking up its vibes.
20. 10 Months of Breastfeeding – I don’t know how long I intended to breastfeed Oscar, I guess I just wanted to see how it went without putting pressure on myself. He wasn’t the easiest feeder and I struggled a lot at times, but somehow I managed 10 months of it before a combo of painful biting (and not letting go – OUCH!) combined with me getting covid, caused me to choose to call it a day. I loved feeding him myself in all kinds of places and times of day, it was such a special time and a great accomplishment I am proud of.
21. A family Christmas – the Christmas season was a little different again last year and we missed the joyful and lovely school plays in person, Christmas fairs and carol singing to the elderly (all of which I love about the season). But Christmas was still a highlight as we got to see all of our family, go see the lights in London, watch our kids enjoy the things we picked out for them, and of course – the excitement of Oscar’s first Christmas.
Life is full of weird, hard, sad, scary, amazing and wonderful moments – and all are significant! I am thankful that 2021 held all of these (and many more) highlights, memories and accomplishments that I can remember with fondness and cherish and, take with me as I look forward to seeing what 2022 brings our way!
What were your faves about last year?