It’s interesting when you start to think about what you want to achieve in a new year. 2015 was a difficult year for us, but I don’t like having regrets and I’d rather be a glass half full kinda girl! There’s lots that I’d hoped to have achieved in 2015, but haven’t. But hey ho sometimes life gets in the way and all you can do is just live.
The goals I have set myself for 2016 are both personal and some are what we want to achieve as a family. I think it’s good to set some goals that you are likely to complete to keep you going for those goals that are more challenging!
So here’s my goals for 2016!
Run a half marathon. This is a personal goal of mine, following the start of my running journey in 2015. Ive run before but had a bit of a gap and then started running again in early 2015 and successfully completed 3 10k runs. I’ve found a new love, one that I wish I had more time to enjoy. Half a marathon feels a million miles away (excuse the pun!) right now. I can only run 10k currently and need to double this for a half marathon!!
Start weekly meal planners. We’ve been meaning to do this for ages! Too often, we got back from work with the house in chaos, children whinging, with no dinner prepared or planned! With our hectic schedules it’s imperative we plan our meals in advance and that they can be prepared easily on the nights we’re home later. So we have started well, with a 4 week meal plan devised and we have completed an online shop with everything we need for week 1 of our meal planner. So far so good.
Do more craft and baking with the kids. I’ve really enjoyed having time to do crafts and baking with the kids over the Christmas break. It’s made me realise how much they enjoy it and how much I actually enjoy it too! Baking is a known love of mine, whereas craft takes a bit more effort!
Book something to look forward too. I can’t wait to have some extra pennies to book our first break. It’s so important to have family time together and as usual we’re not sure what the plans are this year. Following Christmas we’ve looked at Lapland but that may be a bit out of reach financially right now. The hubby and I have been together 20 years and always said we would treat ourselves to a night away, so that’s definitely on the to do list. We will probably do our usual family caravan break at some point too. So hopefully lots to look forward to!
Go to bed earlier and read. Now how achievable this is, I really don’t know (as I’m up late writing this!), but I have to try! I’m blaming it on blogging, I just can’t help myself. However, I do have an early start at work and long days, so I really must make the effort to go to bed earlier. I also want to read more as a way to relax. I really struggle finding a good read though so if anyone has any recommendations let me know!
Spend more time at the beach and outdoors. We already spend quite a lot if time at the beach, but we spent a lot more time on the beach when it was just my son before my daughter was born. We were always out and about all weathers and understandably it’s more difficult with two. I really want my daughter to have the same outdoor experience as my son did, so we are aiming to get down to the beach or out for a walk somewhere most weekends. It’s good for the soul being outdoors and there’s something about being by the sea. There’s really no excuse as we live so close to the beach, we really are very lucky!
Clean up our finances. We have some debt to pay off this year and we need to finish our house so we can eventually sell and move. Where we are now was never the long term plan (isn’t it always!) but we need to clean our finances up first. With my hubby’s new job, I hope this will be more achievable this year (it was on our 2015 list!).
Declutter the house and gardens. We really need to clear out our loft, there’s so much junk up there! And have a general de-clutter of every room in the house. I started de-cluttering our bedroom before Christmas and took about 8 black bags of clothes to the charity shop and it felt so good!
Start a blogging calender and planner. I need to get more organised with my blogging, set some regular time slots and diarise linkys, posts, etc. Especially now I am getting some blogging work! I brought myself a lovely notebook for blogging a few months ago which worked well for a while, but what I really need is a proper diary or calendar.
Stop beating myself up too much and get irritated by small things. One thing I’ve promised myself this new year is not to let little things make me anxious. Quite often I’ve had a busy day at work and got home and got annoyed about the house being messy or the kids going to bed later than planned. So what if the house doesn’t get hoovered for a few days or the kids go to bed 1/2 hour late? Time with my family is more important! I need to relax a bit more, chill out and give myself a break!
It’s been a busy old month again, hang on, when isn’t it??!! I’ve had a fabulous December, lots of extra quality family time, Christmas and some blogging successes! Here’s my summary and highlights of the last month and a fabulous Christmas!
1. Christmas decorating. I am always super keen to get the decs up as soon as I can! This year we put them up the first Saturday in December and as always it was a joy pulling everything out from the dusty boxes! We have a fake tree these days, which is completely hassle free and never drops (apart from when you put it up and take it down!) which is great with a toddler who has found themselves! My daughter was more aware this year (she was still a bub last year) so really felt the excitement. And my son enjoyed helping to decorate, for 5 minutes before he found a decoration to drag along the floor for the cat to chase!!
2. The Santa Train. We’ve done the Santa train for the last 4 years, so it has become a regular Christmas outing for us. Every year bar one we’ve done the Buckfastleigh to Totnes route, which I think is the best. You get on the train at Buckfastleigh and there’s always such a buzz! About 40 minutes later your at Totnes, where’s there’s normally some stalls at the station to potter around. On the way you get to visit Santa in his grotto and the children get a gift each. There’s also time to enjoy a mince pie and glass of mulled wine! It’s a great day out for the whole family!
3. Christmas Day of course! This Christmas we went to my mums for lunch and the afternoon with my sister and her children, which was fun. But before this, we had our traditional ham breakfast at home and unwrapping of the Christmas presents of course. My son had woken at 5.40am and walked in our room to tell us Father Christmas had been! It was like torture waiting for his sister to wake up to unwrap presents and in the end we have in and let him wake her up! The kids got so many presents again, completely spoilt! I remember sitting there on Christmas Eve looking at all the unwrapped presents just wondering why we had brought so much and why we had left all the wrapping until now!
4. Beach walks and fresh air. We’ve been out and about as much as possible over the Christmas holidays, including several trips to the beach. One of my favourite trips was to South Milton sands on Boxing Day with my hubby’s sisters family. The kids loved running around and playing together, you can’t beat a brisk walk on Boxing Day! It was so windy but the sun did come out for a little bit. Afterwards we went to the pub for half a cider and chips (well the kids had juice and chips!).
5. Christmas crafts and baking. If you’ve been reading my blog and following me on social media, you’ll know I’ve done some Christmas crafts and baking with the kids. This has included making our own Christmas decorations for the Christmas tree at home with our Hobbycraft Christmas craft set. We also enjoyed painting two Gruffalo ceramic money boxes the kids got for Christmas. These were also from Hobbycraft and they both did an amazing job! We also had fun making our own mince pies and chocolate cake! It’s so nice to have the time and energy to do some crafts and baking!
6. Saltram House. The magical Saltram! It really is beautiful there at Christmas time when they decorate the house. Saltram house is a National Trust property in Plympton near Plymouth, somewhere we’ve started to visit regularly with our membership. It’s perfect for families as it has vast grounds and gardens for children to explore and the house has a really interesting history. I’ve written about it more in my ‘Saltram at Christmas’ post which you can find here Saltram post
7. Visiting Father Christmas at the zoo. This year was our first trip to see Father Christmas at Paignton zoo and it was great! We are annual members but had to pay a small extra fee (about £8 per child I think) to see Father Christmas in his grotto. I have to say Father Christmas was amazing, the most realistic Father Christmas I have seen for a long time! The zoo was great as always and we visited all the standard attractions. My boy knows this place like the back of his hand, so he normally takes the lead!
8. Not working & no school! its been so fabulous having time off with the family. In all, I was lucky enough to have just over two weeks off from work, heaven!! We’ve managed to have some jam packed days plus some quieter days lazing around at home, it’s just been the perfect combination. I was so sad to be going back to work today and my son back at school. I’m counting down the days to my next time off now! But there’s something about Christmas that makes it extra special.
9. Late nights & lazy mornings. As well as all the extra time together as a family, I’ve enjoyed not having to rush in the mornings to get everyone ready for school and work. I really dislike the mad rush and routine you have to abide by most of the year and it was a joy to take advantage of not being constrained by this. Most days we didn’t get downstairs until 9am and stayed in our PJ’s quite often until midday!!
10. Going Self Hosted! At last I decided to take the plunge and go self hosted. I can’t thank enough Stevie at ‘A Cornish mum’ and Debbie at ‘Rambling Musings’ who I have questioned endlessly! Thank you ladies for helping me and putting up with all my stupid questions! And thank you to my hubby for paying for it as part of my Christmas present and putting up with me working on it until late! It took a few determined days over Christmas to migrate and I’m nearly there! The sites back up and live, hooray! But there’s still some work to do!