Tuesday 30 December 2014

My blog year in review: 2014

So, Christmas has been and gone and a new year beckons. Inspired by several other bloggers who have posted about their favourite posts of the year that's been, I wanted to join in and share my blog year in review. It's been really fun to look back at everything we have done as a family and to re-read some of my past posts. 

Grab yourself a cuppa as it's a big one! I've summarised the highlights from each month and my favourite posts and I hope you enjoy taking a look back at 2014 with me - and thanks for being a part of my year!

This was a month that in all honesty, I had been dreading. On 5th January, maternity leave ended and I went back to work, four days a week. It's such a weird concept to think of not working and having so much time away to look after your new baby and then it's really hard to get your head around the fact that someone else will be looking after your little one, the most precious thing in the world to you, whilst you go out and earn those much needed pennies again. It was hard, but perhaps not as hard as I first thought, as a new routine quickly establishes itself and I just made sure to make the most of my time with Ethan on my day at home midweek.

I was also co-organising the first #midsblogmeet event in February, went to a craft bloggers meet up, learnt more about my favourite brand, Cath Kidston, and announced that I was a member of the Center Parcs family blogger club - happy days! Hubs and I also had a weekend away, just us two, to London as a surprise trip for his birthday, to see Les Miserables and we stayed at the quirky and fabulous Citizen M hotel.

This month didn't get off to the best of starts and on one particularly unlucky day, Ethan was called out of nursery sick for the first time whilst I was in London and then some so-and-so hit my car when it was parked, denting my rear passenger door, and left without a word - it just wasn't my day.

In other blog news, I wrote about Ethan's teething troubles, continued my #treatyourselftuesday and #midweekmealsformums posts and of course, it was the first #midsblogmeet, which was a lot of hard work but it was all worth it and the day went really, really well. I also wrote about how being a mum just keeps getting better - and I couldn't agree more with that sentiment today.

This was a special month for me as it was my first Mother's Day and I couldn't wait to celebrate it with my little man. It was also a month I seemed to get a bee in my bonnet about a few things, from the cost of childcare debate and how can you really put a price on the care of your child to 'help, my baby's stolen my brain!'. I also had a huge response to a post I wrote in defence of mummy bloggers - it was great to see and share views with other people on this often contentious topic.

I had quite a varied month on the blog, posting about things that had got people talking or me thinking and sharing my ideas and plans for both Ethan's first birthday the following month and the second #midsblogmeet I was organising with my blogger pal Emma. 

I also started what became a regular feature, #meetamum Monday's, as a way to connect with and introduce other mummy bloggers through my blog. Over the next few months, I had 15 lovely mamas take part in this guest feature and I'm really proud of this and so glad to have been able to 'meet' other bloggers. 

As a family, we went away to Butlins Skegness with friends and had a really fun long weekend, dressing up in Disney costumes (it was someone's 30th birthday, not 3rd!) 

Looking back, my favourite posts that I'm quite proud of are: who are we to judge, a post about Natasha Hamilton and her new baby announcement, to never know who she was, all about my feelings as a mum following the death of Peaches Geldoff, and how to make the most of your time as a working mum, a guest post I had written for Alex at Bump to Baby.

This was a big month for us and one which I had been counting down to for a long time. On 5th May, Ethan turned one and we were just so proud of our little man - I honestly thought I was going to be an emotional wreck the whole day! I wrote this letter to him on the eve of his first birthday, took photos of Ethan doing a really fun cake smash at home, posted this at the exact time he had been born the year previous and shared Ethan's first year in photos along with a lovely poem I found.

Looking back, I think I worried too much about the kind of party to throw and what we 'should' do to celebrate. I can't help myself get carried away sometimes but regardless, we had a wonderful day and Ethan had such a great time. 

I got to enjoy a wonderful spa day with my hubs at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest (and my post was later published here) and then ended the month with a mock 30th birthday celebration at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest, Cumbria, with my best buds, hubs and bubs. It was the perfect Bank Holiday weekend and we enjoyed cocktail evenings and dinner hosted by different people each night, including a murder mystery theme on my night, called 'Come Die With Me'. Oh, how I tickled myself with that pun... for weeks!

It really was a busy month and I also posted about the pressure on celebs, and mums, to get back into shape after having a baby as well as sharing our lounge mini makeover.

The second #midsblogmeet took place on 31st May and I wrote about all the fun we had at Cherry Reds in Birmingham. I really enjoyed this second blogger event I co-organised with Emma and it was so nice to take a day out to enjoy a good chat with other like-minded people - something I very much needed.

I also wrote about a woman's right to choose if and when to have a family, following comments made by Kirstie Allsopp, how Ethan was tottering on the edge of toddlerdom, what I liked to call the toddler tapdance and how Ethan's new found skill of pulling himself up to stand meant that we had a kind of cushion assault course fashioned in our lounge.

June was also a big month in the blogging calendar and I went to BritMums Live for the first time. It was such an intense, inspiring and slightly overwhelming two days, being in a bloggers bubble, but I got to meet a lot of people face to face for the first time and it helped to build and solidify friendships.

Oh dear. It was time to turn 30, for real this time. I changed my hair, going much shorter and much darker, as I felt a new decade deserved a new 'do. Hubs, bubs and I took my sister-in-law and her fiancĂ© to Center Parcs Sherwood Forest to celebrate and we spent a week cycling, swimming, eating and relaxing - we even made a video of our break. 

Other posts that month included my top toy tips for toddlers, picnic planning, another spa day with my bestie this time and a skincare 101 piece about my beauty tips.

I also shared my light therapy journey to deal with my psoriasis. It was a big investment in time and it did work, although as it stands today, it has returned to a similar level as before the treatment - such is the case with this skin condition.

This was a month of firsts for my little boy. I wrote about how he was my inbetweener at 15 months, learning some things and not quite ready for others, his first haircut and his first pair of proper shoes.

I also my thoughts on children being free to play, the roles I felt I played as well as my husband when with Ethan and my admiration for single mums and dads as Ethan had been a little tricksy due to teething and so on. I think I was finding things a bit tough that month and questioning myself a lot. 

We also went to the National Forest Adventure Farm and generally tried to get out and about as a family as much as possible.

We had some holiday time this month and spent some time getting the house into order, storing or selling some of Ethan's older toys and trying some new things too. We visited our favourite people for a weekend that consisted of a beer festival, Ethan crawling up the stairs for the first time and a new tattoo for me. Whilst on our travels 'up North', we visited Ox Pasture Hall Hotel and had a lovely little break, which you can read about here and here, and when we came home, we revisited our wedding venue with Ethan on our 4th anniversary

I posted an update on our weaning journey, as Ethan learned how to fee himself, and wrote about when to have another child, thinking about the pressure on people to get married, have a baby, have another baby, following the royal announcement that Wills and Kate were having bambino number two.

I also took my train-spotter in the making to Thomas Land for the first time, which is LOVED - so much so, I think we're going to take him there on his second birthday.

And to finish what was a very busy month looking back, my little blog had a little makeover. Phew!

After a busy September, I had a somewhat quieter October, mainly trying a few new things and posting about things that had caught my eye.

I did the #nomirrormakeup challenge with a surprising level of success (although it's not a habit I have since adopted), I posted a video on the #voiceofmums theme about what being a mum feels like and we had a great day out at the Sea Life Centre and even met some of the Octonauts. Cool mum bonus points.

I also asked the question what are we blogging for, which was really well received and it was really interesting to talk about this with other bloggers.

Fewer posts this month but looking back at this post, I can see why! My head was already filled with thoughts of Christmas and I also reflected on how Ethan was (and is) becoming his own person.

My favourite post has to be the one where I took one of Ethan's toy figures, Eddie, and had some fun taking photos of him going on an adventure around the house. I sound slightly potty I know, but the end result was great and I made a photo storybook for Ethan from Christmas from these photos which he really seems to love.

Still fresh in my mind and just two days left, this month has been all about Christmas (and getting over a week of totally unplanned and incredibly inconvenient illness due to an ear infection and food poisoning - fun times!).

We went away with our fab friends again to celebrate mock Christmas in the most amazing cottage in yorkshire, we visited Santa not once, twice or even three times, but FOUR (excessive, I know, but we went to so many places this month - The Magical Journey, Webbs, West Midlands Safari Park and Umberslade Farm - and the big guy in red was always there too) and we even took Ethan on his first train journey.

We're enjoying a nice long break as a family and you can read all about our Christmas in my last post.

Wow... there you have it! My blog year in review! It really has been a bumper year and looking back at everything we have done and how Ethan has changed is quite mind-boggling actually. I've got my latest letter to Ethan to share soon, as I missed month 19 so thought a summary of the past year for month 20 would be a good idea, and I have a new Linky I want to launch for 2015 so watch this space for more details.

Thank you to anyone and everyone who has stopped by my corner of the web this year and I hope you enjoyed this journey down memory lane. Here's to lots of new adventures in mummyhood, being mum and being me, in 2015...

Belle du Brighton


  1. What a great post - lovely to hear about your year.

    Lizzie Dripping

    1. Thank you Lizzie, and thank you so much for being such a regular reader too! All the best for a fab new year!

  2. Thank you so much for linking up, i've loved reading this and have bookmarked it to come back and read lots of the posts to mentioned when I'm not away with family! I think you've had an amazing year, Ethan has come along leaps and bounds by the sounds of it and is a proper little man! I am amazed that you managed to post so much this year after being back at work, I found it a bit of a struggle returning to work after mat and keeping my blogging mojo going!
    I also feel a bit bad i've not taken A to see santa once, your four times puts me to shame!

    Here's to a brilliant 2015 for you!

    1. Thank you so much Lauren, and thank you for the idea in the first place! It really is so good to look back as it makes you appreciate everything that's happened and what you have done and how far you have come. It is hard to blog, be a mum, be me and go to work. I'm realising I need a bit more balance in my life but I've always liked to keep busy!

      A very happy New Year to you and your family too - let's make it one to remember! X

  3. It was so lovely to read about all the things you've been up to, it sounds like a great year with so many special moments. Happy New Year #ShareYourYear


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