And just like that...2016 is over with.
As cliche as it sounds, it's crazy how quickly that year flew over - it seems like only yesterday I was putting up last years Matching Christmas PJ family photo ( which has become a tradition!) when we were a foursome, and now we are doing it all over again.
These photos were not taken on Christmas eve like last years because this Christmas I tried to spend less time behind the lens and more time experiencing things first hand - it of course resulted in far less captured memories but far more time spent actually being part of the fun, which is ok with me...most of the few photos we did get were taken on my phone (which got used more than it usually does and took a bit of a bashing as a result,..thank goodness I'd invested in some protection for it with this collection of the best leather iphone cases!)
Instead we took these photographs on New Years Eve during the afternoon when we were having a lazy day at home ahead of the evenings festivities, which meant they were "late" going up but also meant they were much more enjoyable to take too...so I'm calling that a win and it's a good reminder to me of what I hope to do more of in 2017, which is to live in the moment more and not worry so much about self imposed deadlines and to do lists..."stuff" can wait but family time can not.
2016 was a year that seemed to convince the world that some dastardly curse was at work seeing off all of our most loved celebrities (George Michael being the one that cut me deepest, admittedly), but it was a great (although challenging) year for us as a family and to me 2016 will be remembered as The Year Of Irish Twins!
The year we became a family of five, and the year we learned how to manage life with two babies - we spent a couple of months with 2 babies under the age of 1 which was an experience to say the least, and as the year draws to a close I can only hope that as we near Sailor's first birthday and he starts to become a bit more independent that things may become slightly more simple to manage....logistically if nothing else!
I'm not going to update about our Christmas here as I have seperate posts planned for that, instead I want to talk about our plans for the year ahead.
For me, 2016 was the year I started to figure out what I want to achieve, what's important to me and who I'm NOT...and I hope that 2017 can be the year I put steps into place to help me reach my goals and focus more on being comfortable with who I am.
Here are the plans I've made for the year ahead:
Launching A New Blog
When I look back on our year, I realise that some of the highlights for me were our travel adventures - our first family cruise experience to the Norwegian Fjords was a real stand out highlight, our first trip to Disneyland Paris and even our little holiday to Butlins stands firm as one of the happiest weeks of the year for me - and because of this, I have decided to start a secondary blog dedicated to family travel.
In actual fact I started Sparkles Suitcase about a year ago but never bothered to use it, but this year I'm going to be dedicating some time to getting it off the ground - if you'd be interested in following our adventures through the year and our tips on family travel and days out, then do feel free to give us a follow here - it would be much appreciated!
Plans For This Blog & My Career
I absolutely love this blog and I'm quite proud of the things I've achieved with it - this year I wrote an article for one of the countries leading womens magazines and I was even nominated for a blog award (something I never thought would happen!) , and I really want to continue along the same vein in 2017 - I feel that I've found my voice with it all in the last year or so, but I do feel that I perhaps worry too much about it all when it can probably tick along by itself without needing to be constantly updated 3 times per week or more.
So instead I intend to write fewer posts but make sure the ones I do write are better quality - I'm not going to be doing so many family updates as I feel as though these are just "filler" that nobody other than myself is that interested in (and rightly so!) which would perhaps more at home on my YouTube channel, so instead I will focus on other posts and writing about things that interest me. I am hoping to only update this blog once or twice per week, and instead use my spare time to focus on writing novels again.
I also intend to start launching some blogger courses this year, after lots of conversations with lovely people last year (In particular Le Coin De Mel who has helped me to realise that this is something I should go for without worrying so much!) who expressed an interest in it, I will be starting work on creating courses to help people earn real money from their blogs...I firmly believe in being very frank about these things and helping to build other bloggers up, so this is what I'll be aiming to do with my courses.
I intend to take a more organised approach to my YouTube channel this year - I'm so sporadic with my uploads, I sometimes upload three things a week and I sometimes upload nothing for 3 months at a time - I barely engage over there at all and yet I wonder why my channel doesn't grow much!
I make no secret of the fact that YouTube interests me FAR less than blogging does and to be honest I barely even watch any YouTube content myself so I've been stumbling around not really knowing what to do, but doing Vlogmas this year encouraged me to engage a lot more with people I hadn't come across or watched before and introduced me to lots of different YouTube styles - it's taught me a lot about the kind of style I feel comfortable with myself, what I want to share and what I personally enjoy watching, so now that I feel that I have a clear goal in mind I plan to consistently upload twice per week for the year, so wish me luck with that!
This will (if all goes to plan!) be the first year in 3 years that I haven't had a baby/been heavily pregnant so I am hoping that this will give me a chance to get some long standing health issues sorted!
I have appointments in place for tests on my heart after having a nasty episode over the Christmas period where my heart seemed to stop for a few seconds, and I have appointments in place about my Graves disease to hopefully get my medication sorted and get a plan in place around whether or not they'll be doing surgery to remove my thyroid gland or not (I'm hoping for not!)
I hope to also continue on my weight loss journey, I managed to lose just under 3 stone last year and although my efforts have been slowed massively thanks to being put back onto steroid medication for my thyroid I'm hoping to be able to continue losing weight at a slower pace and eventually reach my goal of a 6 stone loss overall.
Family Plans & Goals
This year I plan on trying to decide once and for all whether or not we'll be trying for any more babies or stopping at 3, which will then enable us to make some more solid decisions around moving house and where we will eventually settle.
Tyne will be starting school in September this year and Noah will be starting nursery, so I really want to have these things organised by then.
We will be celebrating Sailor's 1st birthday in February, Noah's 2nd birthday in March and Tyne's 4th birthday in March too so I need to get started on sorting out their celebrations - always something to do!!!
Our travel plans for the year include another trip to Butlins Minehead around the boys birthdays, and a 2 week mediterranean cruise in early October which I'm REALLY looking forward to - we are also really hoping to be able to stretch to another visit to Disneyland Paris too but we'll have to wait and see!
Last night I asked Tyne what his resolutions for the year were (after explaining to him what a resolution was) and he surprised me by saying that he wants to start doing some jobs around the house, in particular he wants to take the rubbish bins out! I'm sure this won't last but I thought the sentiment was very sweet!
Looking back over our photos for 2016 it's really does feel like it all went by in a blur - I hope this year to be able to slow down a little and "smell the roses" a little more, so to speak.
Here's to a happy, healthy 2017 - and thank you to everyone who reads our posts and comes along for our journey too, I hope 2017 is an amazing year for all of you!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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