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