2016: A year to celebrate, a New Year to embrace.
Wow, we are almost at the end of another year but my goodness what a year it has been. It has been mental, busy beyond belief, full of tears and tantrums (from me and the toddlers), it’s been months of piling on the pounds, attempting to reclaim ones ‘yoof’ by being all silver haired and contoured, late nights out dancing like a tit and more hangovers than I thought I would suffer in one year.
However there have been lots to celebrate, I couldn’t sum up 2016 without mentioning something I am so incredibly proud of…yes yes I’m proud of the kids but this…this is my baby: Pudding & Chops.
Having the opportunity to start up a business, learn something new, create something to be proud of – whilst working alongside one of your best buddies is incredible.
I remember nervously pressing ‘publish’ on our first announcement post, launching Pudding & Chops on to Facebook. There was no need for nerves as it soon took off like a storm, taking us both by surprise. As well creating our alternative milestone cards, which made local news;
We launched our popular NICU milestone cards to help raise awareness and to support parents going through the NICU process.
We partnered with Bliss to help raise money to help support other sick babies and their parents and I shared my personal story ‘One day we will be normal parents’ – the inspiration behind the cards. Massive thanks to my blogging buddies for helping us out and spreading the word – many I will have tagged already but special mention to The Mum Club, a fantastic blogging platform that has been going from strength to strength, can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for you guys and to Vicki at The Honest confessions of a NICU mum, who has been campaigning and working her socks off in highlighting awareness of life on NICU – an absolute trooper and I can see her campaigns going far in the next year.
I also got to meet the hilarious Alison from Totes Inappropes whilst on a networking event on Pudding & Chops business – I was a proper school girl squealer.
In terms of blogging, I’ve not been as up on my game as previously, trying to juggle work, home, family and new business meant something had to give. However it’s not all doom and gloom, I had the pleasure of being shortlisted for the MAD Blog Awards for Best Baby Blog –
Amazing to be included in something that seemed to be for the well established more long standing blogger. I didn’t win, I didn’t expect to, I’m not an award winning writer, but I did meet some fabulous people, to name a few, Jamie from A Day in the Life, Jess from Mummy of boy girl twins, Sam Avery, Claire from Tin Box Traveller, Prabs from Absolutely Prabulous, the list goes on. It was very surreal being at an event where I knew no one, but had a great night meeting new people, having a laugh and putting faces to blogs.
I have been fortunate to have been in the local paper and my hometown paper when my shortlisting was released – minor celebrity moment. Even more amazing was my letter from Edward Timpson House of Commons – that’s in the keep box.
I also attended my first blogging event Blogfest in November where I met the lovely Anna from Mother Pukka, the hilarious Scummy Mummies, Katie from Hurrah for Gin, Jemma from Sleepless nights and Ginger Highlights, Lindsay from And Other Idiots and last but not least I finally got to meet the fabulous Gemma from Life is Knutts. This woman has had me giggling throughout the year and I’m so glad to have finally met her – amazing woman, a great blogging friend to have.
But where would I be if I didn’t mention Rod from Modern Dad Pages, he has been a great friend over the year, supporting Pudding & Chops and my blog and generally being a good friend to share blogging woes and laughs with – who also introduced me to the lovely Alan Herbert from OMG It’s a Girl – who I have to say is a superstar, a fab blogging buddy to have and such a great supportive person to help you out along the way, apologies for being pretty shite in return Al, I will endeavour to do better 😉
As well as all of this I returned back to work and have been juggling part time teaching, tutoring and spending time with the boys. Some days I have found it hard and questionned what I have been doing and did it have to be like this but thanks to my little Knights in shining armour I have kept going.
I have waded through what felt like endless sleepless nights, weeping in despair at whether I would actually feel sane again. Would the burning behind my eyeballs ever subside? – would this child EVER sleep through? Thank goodness after 19 months the smallest one finally slept through, he’s still up and down but I’ve finally had more than 4 hours sleep in one go.
I have continued to battle with my own anxiety and insecurities – this year has taught me a few things and has opened my eyes to the some of the people around me (Who needs fronds like these when you have anenomes). I still feel like I have no idea where I stand in the world of social circles for I feel like I am a drifter, not cemented in lives of anyone and could easily be lost, replaced or forgotten about but I continue to be the best that I can be and I’m grateful for the wonderful friends that I have in my life- maybe 2017 will see anxious self doubt being quashed once and for all, maybe 2017 will be the year of self confidence.
This year has seen some moments of parenting lows, ones that wrack you with guilt as the actions from the day echo in your mind as you fall asleep – hearing my eldest shout ‘stop shouting at me’ hit me hard, but then I know these moments are fewer and far between and actually there have been some parenting highs – hearing ‘mummy I love you’ ‘mummy your my best friend’ has made my heart swell with pride and love. Even after the tough days, the days where I have literally torn my hair out, poured myself a gin and tonic before tea time, eaten far too much chocolate, cried far too many tears and nagged far too much I still have my boys wanting to snuggle in for cuddles, read them a story and tuck them up in bed. In the end I’ve tried to remember to Stop, take a moment and try not to let it all gather on top of me, we are all allowed bad days, as long as they don’t outweigh the good.
So what does 2017 have in store for me? Well this year I have decided this I need to look after myself, I’ve neglected myself, indulged in far too much alcohol and eaten way too much food. I am the queen of the angled selfie but all its done is mask the reality that in actual fact I need to take better care of myself. So the first thing I am going to do this year is get myself in a better state, a better shape, be fitter, stronger and leaner – I can’t hide forever behind an angle and a filter. As much as I am all about self love, self acceptance and showcasing real body images, if I am not happy with what I see in the mirror and if I don’t love myself then who am I preach? So this year it’s time to go from flab to abs.
This next year will also see the growth and development of Right at Home South Cheshire, a business set up around providing care and support to those who need it in their own home -led by none other than dear ol’ hubby. This will be a year of hard work and sacrifice but I can see the benefit it will have to many across Cheshire, already Crewe and Nantwich are becoming more Dementia friendly through information sessions led by Ben.
Of course there will be the continual growth of Pudding & Chops, with new products and new campaigns to support it will be another exciting year, especially when we celebrate our one year anniversary – we can’t wait to share what’s in store. Alongside this Parents Life Ltd will have its official launch. A new site providing parents of the North West with information at their finger tips on days out, clubs and classes, competitions and reviews.
I hope in terms of the blogging side of things I continue to dabble in creating live videos and even branch into the odd vlog here and there. Watch this space (There’s nothing there at the moment – it’s all in working progress). I hope to meet more friendly blogging faces and definitely meet up for gin induced (blogging) sessions with Gemma (Life is Knutts) – it would be sacrilege not to indulge in some friendly gin drinking where we share parenting and blogs woes.
However a New Year does not mean I have to think there will be a parenting overhaul, there will still be tears and tantrums (from all of us), there will still be shitty pants to clean (not mine of course), mountains of laundry to wash and sleepless nights (hopefully less of them). There will still be bartering and bribing with treats and chocolates and many many exasperated moments where I will be driven to the bottle (of Prosecco) but I also know that there will be lots of laughter, many memories made and lots of challenges along the way….and of course many more selfies.
So whatever you are all doing to celebrate the entry of a New Year – have a good one, hope 2017 brings you more laughter, sleep and gin.
Thank you so much for following my waffle, it means to much to have you all as wonderful readers, I hope I have brought some laughter, solace and words of comfort/wisdom….whatever!