Happy 2015

2015 will be here in just a few hours, and will come as a bit of relief, as 2014 has been one heck of a rollercoaster.  We moved home with our two young children, giving up our independence by moving in with my in-laws while we figure out where we’re going to settle.  This year saw me surrender my registered nurse status in favour of the prestigious stay-at-home mother status, which has been a huge shock to the bank account.  I gave up eating land meat (I still eat fish), and I lost 10kg of weight (and still counting).  My mother retired, and my mother-in-law survived cancer.  I launched Free Range Chick, following a suggestion from my father-in-law, and have seen my father become my biggest fan.

2014 has been a cracking year.  Full of highs and lows, but ultimately a spicy, fun-packed year full of new beginnings, discoveries and experiences.  Now that it is nearly over, I’m looking forward to the forthcoming year.  Now I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but I did want to comment on some of the things that will be happening in 2015.

As you know, we moved out of our lovely rented maisonette in New Malden to my in-laws’ substantial house in Mitcham.  We did so because of a loss of my salary, and needed a breather to decide where we were going to settle permanently.  We’ve done some thinking, and have agreed that we should settle outside of London (way outside of London), in a less densely populated area.  The pull of fresh air, open space and more bricks for your bucks is willing us out of the Big Smoke.  So the plan is for us to make this a reality in 2015 and buy a house.  I can’t wait for this to happen.  The kids need their own space, and the pollution here bothers me.

My beautiful mother retired earlier this year after a lifelong career as a nurse, and sister in her final years in the job.  She retired just before her 60th birthday, and it couldn’t have happened sooner.  The job had begun to affect her health, and I was delighted when she no longer had to undertake the long, physically challenging hours of that job.  My wonderful dad has remained at work, but at last long last, is due to retire at the end of January in 2015.  I’m absolutely thrilled.  I don’t get to spend enough time with my dad, as he works long hours in the week, and is often found hunched over his laptop on his weekends, catching up on his work.  My mum hasn’t been able to spend much time with him in the last few years because of both of their jobs, so this will be a wonderful time for them both to kick back and concentrate on the things that make them happy, rather than the things that they have to do.

We are yet to go on a family holiday.  I’ve never been one to travel with babies, but my kids are now at an age where they can both walk (this has been a crucial deterrent to me taking them anywhere as babies), and can probably cope with relatively short journeys.  I’m not in a hurry to jet off abroad, but would love to take them away on a UK break in 2015.  I have so many destinations on my wish-list, but the criteria would be rural, coastal, self-catering, outdoors-orientated and heritage railway-themed.  North, south, east, west – I don’t care.  Just get me a lovely cottage somewhere in glorious Britain!

Towards the end of 2014 I formed a working relationship with a wonderful company called Campfire Guitar.  This relationship was sparked as a result of me renewing my relationship with music this year, and ultimately inspiring me to take up the guitar after many years.  Roxy, one of the Campfire Guitar founders, generously sent me one of their fantastic acoustic guitars.  I’ll be bringing you more information on Campfire Guitar in the New Year, but owning a guitar after so many years is incredibly special.  Musical instruments last a lifetime – the guitar pictured in my header is my dad’s, and he has had it since the early 1970s, if not before.  I know that my Campfire acoustic guitar will be with me for the rest of my days, there for my children to tinker with and my husband to learn on.  I’ve already started learning new songs on it, and will be looking forward to improving over the next year.

Speaking of music, another result of the renewal of my relationship with music was my re-discovery of some of the bands that I used to love.  A rock chick (or rock Chick?), I’ve always adored music from this genre, particularly bands of the 1970s and 1980s.  I have a penchant for glam rock; the eccentric frontmen, the extravagant guitar solos, the hair, the spandex.  Heavily into Queen back in the early noughties, I got drawn into modern band The Darkness.  Their style was reminiscent of everything I loved from the vintage bands, and I bought their debut album.  I lost touch with it all, but recently re-discovered them again as a result of my curious elder son rooting through my parents’ cupboards and imploring me to play him Permission to Land.  I’d missed a lot since 2004, but am thrilled to discover that they have written a new album and will be touring in 2015.  I haven’t seen a live band in years (other than a few really decent cover bands in pubs), and plan on seeing them a couple of times on tour, even if it means I have to beg, steal and borrow for tickets.

2014 has also seen the birth of Free Range Chick.  I have had the opportunity to flex my writing muscles, and make friends with some inspirational and talented fellow bloggers.  My WordPress annual report was sent to my inbox this afternoon, and it reliably informs me that the gals who have shown me the most support with comments are Mel from Le Coin De Mel, Sam from And then the Fun Began, Kim from Northumberland Mam and Jocelyn from The Reading Residence.  So a whopping thank you to you wonderful ladies for your support.  I’ve also been incredibly taken with the campaign Let Clothes Be Clothes, and their well-written and thoughtful blog on matters that are compulsively anger-inducing (gender stereotyping of children)!  And of course, I cannot possibly mention my blogging relationships without giving some serious props to Vicki of Honest Mum and Mummy’s Got Style.  This lady seriously rocks.  Talented, driven, successful, intelligent and beautiful, she manages to exude all of these qualities into every aspect of her blog and social media presence.  I’ve connected with her in the public fora, as well as private messages and emails.  She is as lovely and thoroughly honest in both mediums, and I am really looking forward to setting a date to meet with her for a cuppa (or some bubbly) in 2015.

Lastly, 2015 will see me enter my mid-30s when I turn 34 in February.  Ok, so probably the best of things to be looking forward to, but as I got mistaken for a school-girl in a shoe shop recently, I’m not going to be too bitter about creeping further away from my 20s.  And while we’re talking ages, my younger son Fraser, who still resembles a baby (albeit an enormous one), will be turning two in June.  And my big boy Finley (also my baby) will be turning a whopping four in November…

As Gretchen Rubin so eloquently put it, “the days are long, but the years are short.”

And I couldn’t agree more.  If there is one thing that I am going to do in 2015, it will be to treasure everything.  Everything.  Despite being at times, a difficult year, 2014 has been invigorating.  It has flown, and with it 365 of our lives.  It has been most pronounced when I look back at pictures and video clips of the kids from the beginning of the year.  It is unbelievable how much they have grown and changed.  I look forward to seeing how different they will be over the next 365 days, but will endeavour to treasure each and every part of the journey.

Here is a little video message from Finley and I, just for your entertainment.

Thanks for reading, Happy New Year All x


8 thoughts on “Happy 2015

  1. Ok firstly I LOVED your vlog so much, you are gorgeous as in Fin (I wanna pull those cheeks of his and touch your hair)-now I can’t wait to meet you in person (we have to make this happen in 2015) and I love you were rolling with ketchup and sugar in the van.

    You are a natural, gifted writer and presenter lady. So engaging!

    I want to make a vlog with you next year, please let’s do it!

    Secondly you made me cry with your words. I feel so happy to have connected with you and love that we’ve become friends thanks to blogging, we just click and I feel honoured to be included in your list of blogger friends, those ladies rock too.

    You have amazing taste, and hair!

    Anyway thanks for all your amazing support and love this year and for being so flipping awesome. Maybe you can take me to a gig! We have so many similarities too-we lived with my folks (ages in our case) when we were deciding our next stage in Leeds. Bloody loved it. Often wish we still all lived together now. Mwah and Happy New Year xxx


    1. Vicki, thank you for your wonderful words. I’m so glad you liked my video message! It was done in a hurry and it is true what they say about never working with children or animals (or condiments, for that matter!). We absolutely must meet up this year. I would LOVE to do a vlog with you! The content possibilities are endless – we MUST do this. Let’s get on the email to sort it.

      As for my words about you, all true and from the heart. You’ve given me an untold amount of support, encouragement and confidence on the blogging-front during my first blogging year. As well as all of that, we have definitely clicked and I feel like we have a heck of a lot in common. So the next step has got to be an epic meet-up, coupled with some laughs, photos and some fizz to mark the occasion.

      And I’m going to drag you to see The Darkness with me now d:

      Happy New Year to you and yours, lovely Vicki. Bring on 2015 xxx


  2. Love your writing and hearing about your family. We moved from Liverpool this year to Much Wenlock, a tiny town but packed with independent shops, history and magic – surrounding by hills. I couldn’t be happier with the space we now have as a family. Every time we leave the house we comment on how it’s like we’re on holiday! So big yes to your countryside move. I haven’t regretted or missed Liverpool once, which was my LIFE for 10 years!

    Thank you so much for the mention of Let Clothes Be Clothes too, it’s tricky at times as time is so limited and opinions so fierce! But hoping something positive will come of our blogging 🙂

    Happy New year! Xx


    1. Fran, I’m so glad to have discovered Let Clothes Be Clothes. I’d discovered Ruth through Love It Love It Love It, and am delighted to have discovered you (and Sewing Circus) also. Let Clothes Be is a fantastic campaign, and is a real eye-opener to all of the nonsensical gender stereotypes that are ingrained into our society. Very worthwhile indeed, and I shall be looking forward to following and supporting in 2015.

      Your home town sounds truly idyllic. Cities will always be there to visit for short breaks or day trips, but I don’t think that this city is bringing me much joy to everyday living. I’m so looking forward to moving this year.

      Thanks for your support of my blog, for reading and commenting on my posts and generally connecting. Happy New Year to you and yours, Fran xxx


  3. Love your video message – happy new year to you too! Sounds like it has been quite a year for you and good luck with finding a house this year and hope you also manage to get a family holiday too. Looking forward to reading more from your blog in 2015! 🙂


    1. Louise, thanks for taking a peek at the video message. I’m eager to get back in the van and make some more! It has certainly been an eventful year (aren’t they all these days?). Thank you – I sincerely hope we do get a family holiday! It would be bliss. I think it is so positive that you are sharing your heart journey, and I have been fascinated to read about your experiences from the other side of where I’ve previously stood. You’re doing some great work, and I will be reading on this year. Take care Louise, and Happy New Year xxx


  4. The more I read about you, the more I think we would have become friends at first glance if we’d met each other in ‘real’ life. I am rock chick, too and even though I haven’t been to a gig for a couple of years, I find live music.

    I am glad I am one of the people who comment most on your blog. I love your positive tone and informative / well-researched posts. This is the first post I have read in 2015! (am switching off a bit for a week or so)

    Great little video from the van, he he! Bless your little man with his ketchup! Happy new year to you, too!



    1. Mel, what a sweet, sweet, lovely comment! I had no idea you were a rock chick too – I’m even more excited to know you now (does that sound shallow?).

      You make such an effort to read and comment on my blog, and I really do appreciate it. My blog is teeny, but I really enjoy connecting with like-minded folk, especially when it is clear that I’d get on with those folk (like you) in ‘real’ life. Actually, Vicki of Honest Mum referred to this as 3D this week, which I liked.

      That’s awesome that this is the first post you’ve read this year!! That video post… honestly, does it get more professional than that?!

      Hope you and your clan are well and have made a cracking start to 2015 xxxx


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