Oh, last year, part of me wants to so desperately forget you. Put those painful happenings of 2016 in the back of my mind or even lose them all together. The other part of me, wouldn’t want to lose all those precious memories and family adventures that surrounded those painful events nor lose what I learned from experiencing raw pain like no other. They say things usually come in threes, don’t they? I wish they were wrong. Having had three members of my family being plagued by cancer within weeks of each other and one of them passing away on our way to America for Christmas this past year, tore my world apart. It’s partly why it’s been so quiet on here lately, sorry readers. However, it’s a new year and new start. I am picking myself up and giving myself new challenges with a new outlook on life. But don’t worry about me, 2016 still held many family adventures and memories for me to recall and wash over the grief with happiness.
I started last year with a goal to keep life simple and gave myself life changes instead of new year’s resolutions. For the most part, I kept them. I didn’t keep life as simple as I wanted but that partly was out of my control but I kept my life changes of exercise and eating healthier on track all year long. (Ok, minus Xmas week, that doesn’t count does it?). I have changed the way I eat and exercised more than I ever have in my entire life. I feel so much better for it. I think this year would have been harder if I hadn’t stayed on track. It helps that hubby has made the same food and exercise choices that I have so together we can motivate each other to stay on track.
We celebrated hubby’s birthday with a special Cadbury Crunch Chocolate Cake as our last sugar rush of 2016. (high expectations) and I started my hashtag community on instagram called #lifecloseup which has over 36,500+ tags in just a year.
A huge first for my littlest as January marked the first time she ever saw snow! It was enough to have our very first family snow day! She loved sledding but when the snow first started to fall she was in a fit of tears screaming, “make it stop!” at the top of her lungs. I won’t ever forget how hard I was laughing at her tantrum over the snow falling on her hat.
Last January, I finally felt brave enough to share my experience with B and his allergies and the day he died in my arms. It took years to find out what foods he couldn’t have and how to keep him safe while we travelled and were out and about. Starting school for him, was harder on me than I thought with visions of him eating the wrong thing by accident and no one watching close enough. It’s a day I will never forget and that haunts me to this very moment.
I also made Parmesan Stuffed Courgettes (Zucchini).
For Valentine’s Day I whipped up a scrumptious Jammy Dodger Marshmallow Ice Cream recipe that had us all drooling. It also held the month that my mother came to visit us in the UK. I love when she comes to see me as we always take time to travel somewhere just the two of us. I have taken her to Paris, Florence, Pisa, and this year London. (seems small to us but to her, an American, it was on her list). While we were in London, I got to share a glimpse into the blogging world that has her baffled all the time too. I love spend special time with my mother just one on one even at my age. Just shows you how important it is throughout our life to do so.
On top of my lovely ice cream, I also made Sweet Poppyseed Muffin Bites recipe.
My mother was still visiting so we made some early Easter crafts together, went for a family weekend getaway, and MM’s room got a mini makeover in preparations for her big girl bedroom. March is always one of my favorite months of the whole year. (mostly because my mother is always here for her bday) and because it seems the weather turns nicer, the days get longer, and I get interior motivation to change and redecorate/rearrange the house after a good spring cleaning. (call me crazy).
I made a lovely recipe: Chicken Soup with Spring Salad.
Last year, I talked a lot about eating healthier and working out more and along with this goal in mind I also wanted to revamp my beauty regime. I never had one before I was 30 and I think my skin is worse now than ever before because of it. I never had spots growing up like I do now which seems weird.
We also took the ferry to Ireland with the kids to see hubby’s side of the family for Easter. We loved staying at his grandparents house where his mother was raised. A house so full of memories and generations being bathed in the sink. I love it.
My office got a major makeover in May. I finally found a corner of the house that wasn’t being overly used and stole it for myself. My desk didn’t look so awkward in it’s new place and adding a lovely grey chair and some new desk accessories it quickly became my favorite place to work. No more hunched over my laptop on the couch, working into the night. It helps me get a better work routine in place during the day.
We went to Spain for the May bank holiday weekend. It seems to be what we do each year in May. It’s so nice to catch up with our friends that we have grown so close to and the kids all play so well together. The weather is always good to us too.
I shared Why I love Being a School Mom and getting used to having kids in school and everything that comes with school life.
I made a scrumptious Dark Chocolate Coconut Bread recipe.
June was an exciting month, I got to experience my first Villa Holiday in Northern Portugal. It was such a great adventure minus my fall and getting stitches in my face! I won’t forget either experience.
It also marked the month of my daughter’s third birthday celebrations. I can’t believe how fast she is growing up. It’s funny how the second child’s birthday’s and milestones go so much faster than the first.
The weather was good to us in June of last year. We got to really explore as many parks around our area as possible. It’s one of my favorite things to do on weekend where we don’t have much planned. The kids either pick their scooters or bikes to ride around and we bring the soccer ball to kick back and forth. It always turns out to be a great day out in the fresh air. I think when the kids are grown up these weekends at our parks will be what I miss most. They will be the memories I recall back time and time again. Watching them play and laugh is the very best memory in my mind.
I made 3 Tapas Recipes you will love!
Nothing overshadows July like our trip to America for the whole summer. Going home is the most wonderful feeling in the world. As an expat, I can’t describe the feeling just landing in my own country, surrounded by my own accent and all my family and friends from growing up. I always feel whole again. I feel comfortable again. While I have lived in England for 10 years now, it still doesn’t feel at home. I still get asked everywhere I go where I am from, why I am here, and how long I have been here? Even in my own grocery store on a daily basis. I still get shhhed for being too loud that American accent travels farther than you think. But at home, I am just me.
We are always in America for the full month of August. The weather is always red hot and we swim practically everyday, all day. I love our summers at my parents house. I love sharing my own childhood memories with my childhood and so grateful it can be apart of their childhood memories too. We experienced our very first camping trip while we were there. The kids absolutely loved it. I was a little nervous how they would get on but it was perfect and we went a few more times over the summer.
If we aren’t at my parents swimming or camping with my best friend and her family we are at the beach. August also hold the month of my eldest turning five years old and a double birthday party featuring Paw Patrol.
I was over joyed and surprised to have won a MAD Blog Award in September. Having been shocked I was even in the finals, I never expected my name to be called. I couldn’t thank all of you enough for voting for me and supporting me over these past three years of blogging. It’s changed my life. I owe you all a huge thank you.
September marked the start of B’s second year in school in Year One. I couldn’t believe how fast the first went and MM is soon to follow this year too. I will be experiencing empty nest no doubt. But September also is always hard for me to get back into UK routines having spent the whole summer in America. I am always so sad the first week back home having had to say goodbye to my family and friends. So we had a lot of unplanned family days out when we returned just to get our mojo back and to spend quality time with Daddy because it was the first year he didn’t get to come to America with us. It’s a long time to be apart and hard but that’s what we had to do this past year.
I made quick and easy Coconut Greek Yogurt with Pomegranate Seeds for a delicious treat.
With Halloween in store, each year, we put on our best display of pumpkin carvings. This year, we carved Gengar Pokemon, and Paw Patrol pumkins. What is celebrating the holidays without a little home interior styling to go with it too. All of 2016, I was joining in with Styling the Seasons project. I really enjoyed changing little corners of the house for each month. October was my favorite as we decked out our mantelpiece with Halloween decor.
But it wasn’t all fun and games in October. MM decided she would show us what a true tantrum would look like and it lasted for a few weeks. I was at my wits end not knowing how to deal with her. I even resorted to tears one night after she went to bed. I missed my little girl. I wanted her back so desperately. I was told time and time again that she might be like this for a while. She was always the quiet and easy baby and toddler. We didn’t suffer through terrible twos or had late nights with her as a baby. I was shocked to see a threenager side of her forming. I won’t lie parenting was tough. As luck would have it, she came back to me all sparkly eyed and happy again a few weeks later. We have yet to see that version of her again. I hope it was a one off but that’s wishful thinking I think on my part.
Late October and early November we headed off to Spain for Autumn Half Term. We normally don’t go twice in one year but we had such a great time with our friends and their kids in May, we thought it would be nice to do it again. Once again, we got lucky with the weather and caught some much needed winter sunshine to stock pile for the cold winter ahead. The kids seems to have grown up so much since May and the dynamics between the five children together is so fun to watch. We celebrated Halloween with them with a costume party and the kids were ecstatic to be Batman & Batgirl Halloween Costumes this year. Yes, I realize it’s not very scary but it was their choice not mine this year!
Sadly it was the first month I didn’t make a recipe. November was plagued by extremely sad news in my family three times over. I am hoping to make it up in the new year for my lack of time in the kitchen and food styling.
My favorite month of the whole year! Each year, we trade on and off where we go for the holidays. For 2015 we spent it in Ireland with Mr P’s side of the family and 2016 was my turn to be with my side of the family. We headed off to Atlanta, Georgia to see two of my brother’s and their families for the holiday celebrations. We strategically left Santa a map at home like we do every year for him to find us. I don’t think we will ever spend Christmas in the UK having both sides of the family abroad.
I didn’t blog very much during December due to so many reasons but I have so much to share with you so do please keep watch. Firstly was I finally took the jump and joined in with Vlogmas for December. I wasn’t sure how I would fare vlogging every single day and edited and uploading every single night. But I lasted 15 days of it which I thought was a good start. I don’t think I would vlog up until Xmas day anyways because I want my undivided attention and evenings to be apart my family and relaxing with no stress or work to do. But maybe next year I can make it to the 20th! New Goal! Also, we left for America and I didnt’ want to have to be worried about how to uplaod and edit each night with family all around me. It was time to slow down.
Secondly, I just needed some time with my own family for the holidays. I have spent the better of three years blogging/vlogging/social media on a daily basis having no real length of time off. I needed it. My heart was aching from family news, I was feeling overwhelmed with everything in life, work was feeling a bit rocky and I wasn’t sure where the new year would take me. The time off really recharged my batteries and made it easier for me to focus on the right things for the new year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
It’s now time for 2017! I hope you have all enjoyed my blog in 2016 and my review here if you missed anything. Most important of all, I can’t thank you enough for reading my blog, engaging with me on social media and being apart of this space. I have so much more I want to share with you for 2017 and some new features coming soon too. I want this to be a space you enjoy as much as I do. If there is something you want to see more of here please let me know in the comments below or if you want to see more of something I haven’t shared on my blog shout out. There is always room for change here on Let’s Talk Mommy. Here’s to another blogging year of life.