2015 in Review

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Coming towards the end of the year, it’s easy to focus on the things I haven’t done, the goals I haven’t hit, the problems I wasn’t able to fix.

Those things aren’t on this blog, of course. Call it blogger’s creative license. We all do it (or at least I hope we do, or my life is seriously lacking compared to the blogs I read). 

We blog the gorgeous holidays and the special days out and the funny stories and happy memories we made.

We don’t blog the days we hid under the duvet and cried. The time we realised that being over 40 doesn’t mean you can’t get your heart broken. We don’t blog about the losses, the illnesses, the moments when we were scared, or enraged. We don’t even blog the average days, the ones that slide by in a routine of rushed breakfasts, school, work, dinner, TV, collapsing into bed at 1am after spending too long stalking Twitter.

But I don’t regret that. It doesn’t make me value my blog any less.

Actually, I love that at the end of the year, this blog is here to remind me that there are a lot of kick-ass days in between the other days. That yes, my skirting boards are collapsing and my personal life’s best described as “complicated” these days, but me and Flea? We squeezed a lot of fun out of 2015. Here’s some of my favourite memories:

January

In January, I kicked off my year with a tour of Central America with Thomsons. I got to see the rainforest in Costa Rica, drink cocktails at sunset in Colombia and ride across the Panama Canal on a vintage rail car. And I got to spend time with Rachael, who is one of the smartest, funniest and kindest people I’ve had the chance to meet in recent years.

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And of course, January was the month our dog joined out little family – it feels like Teddy has been with us forever by this point! Although I should note, that kitchen floor? Was eaten by the dog within months of this photo being taken.

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February

Not all our adventures this year were far-flung – in February we were invited down to Wales with Visit Wales, to visit Folly Farm and film a YouTube commercial showing the fun adventures to be had.

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I’ll be honest – it was colder than a polar bear’s toenails and my abiding memory of the day is trying not to fall over on the icy pathways, but we got to feed penguins and get close to giraffes and best of all, we got to pop in to see my friend Ruth, who has been a work chum in one way or another for many more years than I care to remember!

March

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This year saw Flea head off on her first ever overseas school trip, when she spent a week skiing in Switzerland. Of course, she had an amazing time, and picked up some great skills. I, meanwhile, grew at least 200 new grey hairs and spent a week torturing myself with all the Terrible Things that might be happening while I was too far away to be of any use.

April

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One of my highlights of the April half-term break was getting up to the Lake District with Flea, my brother, my niece and nephew.

We tried out the fab Go Ape course in Grizedale, and headed off for a picnic and some climbing. It was such fun to share a day out in the fresh air with all the children, after what felt like a very long, cold winter, and despite the time of year, I managed to get sunburn – again!

May

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In May, Flea and I headed off to France to visit the bonkers and brilliant Puy du Fou theme park – quite unlike anywhere we’ve ever been before, and a must-see if you’re in the Vendee during the summer months. It’s a chance to see live historical shows with flames and birds and lions (I kid you not) and more (fake) blood and guts than I suspect would be allowed anywhere outside France.

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At the end of the month, we headed off to Majorca for some much-needed sunshine.

We stayed in an impossibly lux villa in the gorgeous town of Pollensa, and tried out every beach we could find for a glorious 72 hours.

June

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This was a GREAT month for both of us. First up, I took Flea and three of her friends to the Capital Summertime Ball courtesy of Vodafone and then probably one of the highlights of my year – seeing the Taylor Swift 1989 concert in Manchester. I took Flea and my niece and sang to EVERY song and danced and wanted it to last forever. Perfection.

July

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In July, the garden makeover was finally finished, and that meant Flea could have the trampoline she’s been asking for since she turned six – it was so lovely to finally have a real, usable outdoor space after living in our house for seven years – and the tramp has been used weekly ever since. Thanks to the ever-helpful Vicki over at Honest Mum for the recommendation – we bought our trampoline from the site she recommended and have been SO pleased with it.

July also saw Flea head off on a PGL break at the start of the summer holidays, and I took the opportunity to book into Champneys – it was great to have some solo time with no phones, no Internet and nobody to talk to for 72 whole hours – it sounds miserable and anti-social but it was so relaxing, I’m thinking of making it an annual retreat!

August

Big Sur River with kids

I was lucky this year that I was able to take most of August off work, and we headed out to California for a four week road trip, from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica and San Diego. We swam and surfed, and rode jet skis and jumped into rivers. There were tacos and theme parks and oh so many reasons to laugh. We loved it.

September

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Back to school and I was panicked by the realisation that yes, this is Flea’s last year of primary school and we’d better start thinking about what comes next. So we started booking in secondary school visits and ordering brochures and reading up on the (frankly) terrifying decision of secondary education.

One of my favourite memories of September, though, was how excited Flea was to see her friends again – and we celebrated with a sleepover attended by four of her best friends. There was lots of giggling, far too much candy was eaten, and it reminded me that I need to help Flea really enjoy this precious last year with her friends – some of whom she’s been in a class with since she was barely three!

October

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Another month for adventure, as I headed out to Thailand to attend the TBEX Blogging conference in Bangkok, followed by a four day food tour with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Jet lag aside, it was the most amazing opportunity to meet new people, and have some fantastic new experiences.

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Home from Thailand, Flea and I were on the move again, this time to Jamaica, where we got to experience an all-inclusive holiday at two luxury resorts on the island with Beaches, the family holiday specialists. Probably the highlight of this trip was Flea becoming a fully-fledged scuba diver, with two open water dives under her belt!

November

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It’s my Mum’s birthday in November and we celebrated with a family get-together. I also took a day off work, and Mum and I headed to a local spa for a spot of pampering and afternoon tea. My Mum is pretty much my rock – she’s wise, insightful and unfailingly kind, and I thank my lucky stars that I’ve been able to live close to her while raising my own child.

This has been a great year for spending time with my family. Everyone’s healthy, happy and safe, and I tend to think that’s about as good as you can get, isn’t it?

December

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Flea and I like to take a pre-Christmas adventure and this year we did it in style, with a 5-day break in Chicago, for no real reason other than the fact we wanted to go somewhere really cold. Chicago delivered – it was minus 3 when we landed. There was plenty of skating and hot chocolate. We ate pizza pie, we shopped at Macy’s, we strolled around museums and galleries – it was a blast.

So there you have it – our highlights of 215 and, on reflection, we’ve had an amazing year of new experiences and adventures and on balance, a lot more reasons to count our blessings than not.

Here’s hoping that your own annual round-ups show the same – I’d love to read, so please do leave a link in the comments if you’re done your own round-up of the year. And I hope that 2016 brings us all more good moments and memories.

Happy Christmas! 

 

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

23 Comments

  1. 26th December 2015 / 3:23 pm

    I agree that we don’t write all the ordinary routine days let alone the unhappy days…. but not many of us could do highlights as fabulous as yours. I’m wonering what my highlights would actually be now. I feel a blog post coming on……
    Midlife Singlemum recently posted..Muffin Tin MealsMy Profile

    • 27th December 2015 / 1:59 am

      It is true that we have some wonderful experiences, but it’s all swings and roundabouts – I look at other people’s round-ups of the year and feel a bit of a pang at the things we don’t have, or experience. I guess I just think it’s very easy for someone’s life to look perfect or amazing from the outside, especially on a blog. And it isn’t – because nobody’s is. But yes, you’re right, we are very fortunate in lots of ways and I do definitely count my blessings.

      Wishing you a happy and peaceful 2016, thanks for reading againx

  2. 26th December 2015 / 5:16 pm

    Wow Sally what an amazing year, thats what I love about blogging. The fact that you record it all means its all there to look back on, even the little things. But you are right, only the great and the good stuff gets on but thats what I want to remember and want the boys to look back on. Hope you and Flea a wonderful New Year xx
    Sarah Christie recently posted..Merry Christmas From The Christie FamilyMy Profile

    • 27th December 2015 / 1:58 am

      It really is amazing when you look back at it all, isn’t it? We’re so lucky in lots of ways and the gorgeous thing about blogging is that it’s so easy to forget – wow, we did all these wonderful things together – because you’re focusing on this drama or that frustration. Blogging rocks! Hope you have a wonderful New Year too, and I’m sure we’ll catch up again in ’16 x

    • 27th December 2015 / 1:57 am

      Back atcha, and looking forward to catching up soon x

  3. 26th December 2015 / 6:07 pm

    You are such a kickass mother and having met that little girl (AND raced her on a microscooter after midnight, in a very posh hotel) I can vouch that she is entirely bloody awesome as well. What a great year you have had! I hope that 2016 is even better. x

    • 27th December 2015 / 1:57 am

      That’s such a kind thing to say and I kinda needed it today after being told in no uncertain times that I’m a sucky parent by someone who knows nothing (obviously)! Hope you have a brilliant 2016, hope to see you again very soon x

  4. 26th December 2015 / 7:22 pm

    Obviously before reading this I could have confirmed February as a particular 2015 highlight for Team Whittle. That was such a lovely evening. As you say, you remember the good bits – main lining the Lindt chocolates you so kindly brought (good) in a bid to keep nausea at bay (bad) and hide early pregnancy. I need to get onto my 2015 round up but one will definitely follow. Doubt my Dad getting remarried and pretty much ditching me and Sis and his first grandchild will feature (yip, kept that one well away from Twitter and Instagram) as quite frankly in amidst all the times we’ve cried under the duvet too, 2015 has been rather brilliant. Give me enough notice for 2016 Pictionary and I’ll book the babysitter. Lots of love to all of you xxx
    Ruth Walters recently posted..Parenting: 0-3 monthsMy Profile

    • 27th December 2015 / 1:56 am

      It was a lovely evening. I’m sorry you’ve had family drama this year, I think I can relate to that part of the crying under the duvet, but you’ve managed to cope with a newborn as well. I’ve loved following your blog these past few months, such gorgeous writing, reminding me of those very early days. You’re going to have such an amazing 2016, all the best bits are coming up!

      • 2nd January 2016 / 7:53 pm

        They are, aren’t they? The very fact I can collapse the pushchair without losing a finger feels like such a huge milestone at this near four month point. We all know one another so well or at least so much better now. I might even have time for some green juice in between the madness this year. Big love, see you soon.

  5. 26th December 2015 / 10:31 pm

    OMG Teddy was sooooo small and cute!! Still is, I guess. You’ve done pretty well this year. I guess the most difficult part was deciding what photos to put in this post. Wishing you a happy and just as exciting 2016 🙂
    Stephs Two Girls recently posted..The chance to danceMy Profile

    • 27th December 2015 / 1:55 am

      She was so adorable, and grew into such a destructive, stubborn little critter! We wouldn’t be without her though!

  6. 26th December 2015 / 11:07 pm

    Looks like an amazing year. Ah I know about the days we don’t blog about too. Ha, I had a puppy to this year and some days she still has me in tears. Can’t wait till she stops eating and hiding my shoes!! She only eats mine, grr!! Wishing you a Happy New Year 🙂

    • 27th December 2015 / 1:54 am

      Hi Claire, we had such a lot of fun this year, I definitely count my blessings. But oh my – I am not missing those early puppy days! Such hard work!

  7. 26th December 2015 / 11:12 pm

    Wow, it really was a great year in terms of achievements and trips. I do love to read round -ups, I must get round to thinking about mine.

    Hope you had a great Christmas, and that 2016 works out the way you and Flea would hope
    Emma T recently posted..My Sunday Photo – swingMy Profile

    • 27th December 2015 / 1:53 am

      Thanks Emma, we had such a fantastic year in lots of ways, we are so lucky to have the travel opportunities and other experiences that come our way. Here’s hoping you have a wonderful 2016 with your family, too – thanks for reading!

  8. 27th December 2015 / 1:54 pm

    What a fab jet set year filled with excitement and family. 2015 looks to have been a great year. Heres to 2016 being just as awesome
    Jen Walshaw recently posted..Toilet Roll Confetti PoppersMy Profile

    • 28th December 2015 / 1:18 pm

      It was definitely action packed! Hope you have a wonderful new year x

    • 28th December 2015 / 1:18 pm

      Thanks Vic, it’s been an interesting year, for sure! Here’s hoping 2016 has a bit less personal drama for both of us!

  9. 29th December 2015 / 8:52 pm

    What an amazing year. Yes there’s all the mundane things, but so many wonderful highlights. I love this. I think December is my favourite. Wishing you a wonderful 2016 xx

  10. 1st January 2016 / 9:31 pm

    Happy new year to both of you and thanks for sharing your review of the year. I’ve written a far less interesting one about the nonsense we got up to here!

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