2017: A Year in Review

2017: A Year in Review

Another year is about to finish and it has been interesting to say the least. There’s been highs and lows, fun and laughter, sadness and tears, but above all it’s been another year with my gorgeous boy Dexter and he has been the smiliest and happiest, and that for me has made the year.

On the blog I did start reviewing each month as it went by, but as I went back to work full time and the weeks were taken up by long days in work, a hefty commute and days off spent tidying and cleaning, it became apparent I didn’t have that much to blog about. This is now my chance to review our year, celebrate the highs and analyse the lows before setting myself some goals for the year to come.

2017: A Year of Celebrations

Mummy to Dex Blog

I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved on the blog this year, but I won’t go on about it too much here as I wrote a whole post analysing my goals and writing new ones for 2018. What I will say is that I have loved spending time writing blog posts, chatting on WhatsApp with friends I’ve met through blogging and meeting these friends in real life back in September for BlogOn. The blog kept my mind ticking over while I was on maternity leave, been a safe place for me to write my fears and worries when returning to work and a source of a small amount of income helping us to save money and pay off debts. I hope 2018 will see more growth to the blog and more opportunities for me to write about things that really matter to me.

My most popular blog posts this year were:

Baby Led Weaning Recipe: Sweet Potato Burgers

Baby Led Weaning Recipe: Banana and Peanut Butter Cookies

Fun Activities for Five Month Olds

Baby Led Weaning Recipe: Tomato, Spinach, Ham and Cheese Pinwheels

Baby Led Weaning: 8 Must Have Products

Baby Led Weaning Recipe: Sugar Free Lemon Cake

Baby Led Weaning: Iron Rich Food

Baby Led Weaning Recipe: Pepper Pasta Sauce

Feeling Exhausted By Another Mental Leap

Baby Led Weaning Recipe: Potato Croquettes

Returning to work

I was totally daunted at the prospect of returning to work and was so worried about how I was going to cope as a full time working Mum. I returned on May 4th 2017 and the weeks have just flown by ever since. I have loved every minute of being back in work and have enjoyed growing performance in the branch I’m in while making new relationships with staff and customers. It’s been a joy to watch some of my team grow and develop themselves and to see our team move from 9th place in the area to firmly take the number one spot where I hope we will stay until the end of the financial year. My one and only regret is that I stuck two weeks of annual leave onto the end of my maternity so I didn’t have to return so soon. I have missed having those weeks of leave and really could do with having a break before the end of the year but unfortunately it is what it is. I don’t know what 2018 will bring work wise, I envisage a move to another branch but we shall see!

My husband learnt how to drive!

One of my favourite celebratory moments of 2017 is my husband finally passing his driving test after all these years. We have been together for seven years and during this time I’ve done all the driving including a road trip to the south of France, numerous trips to London and god knows how many trips between north Wales and Liverpool while we were doing long distance dating. We decided in September that it was time for Neil to get going but we didn’t tell a soul! After six lessons with his amazing instructor Neil passed with only two minors- which begs the question why on earth we waited so long! It was one of the happiest days of my life texting friends and family to let them know he was now a fully competent driver when they had no idea he had even been learning. Now I just need to get my head around the fact that I am a passenger and try not to be such a backseat driver!

Two holidays abroad

We had two lovely holidays this year, a fair way off from the usual long haul jaunts we do, but still lovely nonetheless. The first was taken in April and we went to Mallorca with my Dad. It was only for four nights and the weather was quite cool but it was great to know we could take Dexter on a plane and we would be able to manage. The second holiday was taken in October and we went to Lloret de Mar. This time we went got six nights and didn’t have the safety blanket of my Dad there to support us. Once again, we loved it! The weather this time was much warmer and we even had a dip in the sea. I hope 2018 brings more holidays, I am feeling very brave and want to try a seven hour flight but I’m not sure my husband agrees!

2017: Not Everything Goes to Plan

We didn’t buy a house

It was one of my dreams to buy a house in 2017 and I was convinced we would do it. We have the deposit ready plus extra savings for fees and stamp duty, we even went and viewed a few houses and fell in love with one. This was a huge mistake. When it came to discussing our finances with a mortgage broker there was one small detail impacting us and we decided it was best to leave it for another year. A year would give us more time to pay off debts, grow our savings and wait for things impacting our credit files to drop off. (Word of warning to the young: when you finish a mobile contract make sure you don’t owe anything else before you stop your direct debit!) Perhaps this was a blessing disguise because financially we are now better than we have ever been and the Tories recently announced that they are stopping first time buyers paying stamp duty which will save us a couple of grand. I am hoping that 2018 will be the year we finally purchase our forever home.

We are not pregnant

I did want to expand our family in 2017 but I didn’t want to do so without making sure we had our own home. Baby making was therefore put on the back burner, not that we would ever be able to find the time with a toddler running rings around us! I wrote this post wondering if we’d ever find the right to have another baby considering how much I’m enjoying work and worrying about how Dex would handle having a sibling. Will 2018 see the patter of tiny feet? Watch this space.

Didn’t buy a new car

Now that Neil has passed his test I desperately want a new car, but just as I won’t have a baby before securing our house, nor will I go out and frivolously spend money on a car before the mortgage is secured. We have a great car which is working perfectly and although it can feel a little cramped at times, it will see us through for another few months at least.

Dad being ill

The worst part of the year has been my Dad being so ill. He started being ill while we were on holiday in Lloret at the end of October and as I write this now on the last week of the year he is still in hospital, although doing well. It has been incredibly hard for us all to see him spend ten weeks in hospital recovering from a very serious illness but I know in my heart of hearts that 2018 will bring him health and happiness.

2018: Aims for the Year Ahead

I’ve touched on many of these while writing about the highs and lows of 2017, but here they are in all their glory ready for me to review again this time next year.

  • Buy a house
  • Grow our family
  • Continue to grow my blog
  • Buy a new car
  • Two holidays (one long haul?)

 

What are your aims for the year to come?

 

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4 Comments

  1. 3rd January 2018 / 1:34 pm

    Look at how much you’ve achieved this year!! I’m sorry you didn’t manage to get a house, car or baby this year but I’ve got a great feeling that 2018 will be your year for ALL of those things!! x

  2. 3rd January 2018 / 1:49 pm

    Happy New Year Nicola! All the best for the year ahead, sounds like you have big plans! 🙂

  3. 21st January 2018 / 2:06 pm

    And to you Brandy!

  4. 21st January 2018 / 2:07 pm

    Thank you so much Dev and thank you for being a great friend over the past twelve months, sniff.

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