Wednesday 9 January 2019

The Top 7 Tag: 2018/2019

2019 is here with a bit of a blur for me. I seem to have fallen into it rather than the usual meandering approach through Christmas, possibly because I've slept more in the last 3 weeks than I did in the previous 3 months. Back to Earth with a bang, and a little reflection on the year just gone.

I've been invited to join in with the Top 7 tag by Laura from Tired Mummy Of Two. It was started by One Frazzled Mum and asks me to look back at 2018. To share my favourite 7 blog posts, 7 things I loved about 2018 and 7 things I'm looking forward to in 2019. Then I get to tag 7 other bloggers to take part.

7 Of My Favourite Blog Posts from 2018

My first choice is also my first blog post of the year, and it was a review of the holiday we won at BlogOn in September 2016. It took us a while to organise ourselves to take the holiday and it was well worth the wait. We had an amazing time away in Northern France, a proper break from everything and I saved my review for when everyone was thinking about holidays in the New Year.

Collage of photos depicting french camping holiday with children

In the Summer holidays last year I shared my love of STEM by writing 20 different 5-Minute STEM activities. None of them need anything special or cost you more than pennies and this one is my favourite because you only need yourself and a wall and 2 minutes...

Boy surprised and then laughing about floating arm trick

One of my most popular posts of the year was 13 Reasons Why Not. Probably not as well written as the post which it grew from, 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Decide To Leave This Christmas Or In The Period Thereafter, but there's a lot of me in that post and it deserves to be in this list. This post is not a happy post, but it is positive.

Book with title 13 Reasons Why Not

I might love STEM and science, but my passion in children's education is communication and language. I am a massive advocate for children's literacy and in 2018 reviewed as many books as was humanly possible, although I've struggled at times with some eyesight problems. I believe any reading is good reading and put together a post with some ideas for reluctant or less expert readers aged 6-8, at that tricky stage when they aren't ready for novels, but aren't really enjoying Biff and Chip...

two boys holding stegosaurus book and plastic toy stegosaurus

The post which gave me most joy of the whole of 2018 was when I was working with the Co-op. I love the Co-op anyway so was proud to work with them on something I feel is important - teaching your grown up kids how to cook healthily for themselves. Going over to visit my daughter at uni was brilliant fun, as was having my tea cooked for me. I'm sure they'd be delighted to know she just stepped in when we were ill and cooked Christmas dinner for 7 people including perfect turkey. And she bought most of the ingredients at the Co-op because of her extra student 10% off...

Young woman smiling and shopping in co-op supemarket

My date night with the cat. Yes, it's true, I had a friend date with Gary. I'd never have believed the day would come, but I'm a sucker for money, which is what Gary's actual preferred brand were offering. No brainer really. I don't know if I took it more literally than they expected, but it was a lot of fun. I also made myself a very nice vegetarian beefy pie with gravy and didn't even have to share...

I found out in the last days of the year that the post I wrote to mark 4 years since we lost Elspeth had been chosen by Mumsnet as one of the top of 2018. It was Readers' Choice too, which is as high an accolade as I can ever hope to achieve. Thank you if you nominated, I am incredibly proud. In that respect, it would be remiss of me not to choose this post as my final favourite of the year, and the fact my post was chosen, bittersweet as it is, as one of the things I hold dearest from 2018.

7 Things I Loved About 2018

As well as the above, a lot of the other things I loved most from 2018 occurred towards the end. Getting flu was nasty and did overshadow our Christmas, but we all survived and it takes a disaster to cause a miracle. I honestly can't be prouder of our kids or more grateful that they made Christmas happen. While I was passed out over a sick bowl and unable to even understand that my partner was in hospital on Oxygen and a drip, they were running up and down to various shops and ensuring Christmas happened for us all, including their little brothers. They saved it. I love them.

They didn't only save it, they went much further and they even pulled off Christmas dinner - although we were missing one of the big lads. I'm still in awe. My partner and I could eat very little, but every mouthful was through happy tears and wearing a cracker hat. That's what winning feels like.

the beautiful and delicious Christmas dinner that my older children cooked

I loved that my partner and I both discovered we were Anaemic and got the correct treatment. I'm iron-deficient and he has Pernicious Anaemia. It drags you down, makes you short of breath and tired, gives you headaches and makes life generally a lot harder. 2019 should see both of us with more energy - once we get over the flu!

My 5th thing is far more general. I loved that the UK population have started to question politics and the media and the lies they are told. As a whole we really aren't stupid and the powers that be have become so complacent about treating us as idiots that they don't even bother to hide it any more. Too many people with money got too power hungry. I sometimes wonder if we wouldn't be better off if money got scrapped entirely and we all started over. It really shouldn't be what makes one person so much more important than 1000 others.

I loved our Christmas decorations! The only bit of Christmas we actually managed to finish before we were suddenly stopped. We were ill all Christmas, but in a beautiful Christmassy grotto of a room, with a huge LEGO Winter Village. I was posting a new photo of a small segment each day until I became ill and my children planned a grand reveal of the whole village on December 24th. I guess today is close enough...

I love my friends and family. Yet again we had a disaster and yet again offers of help, support and best wishes came from all directions. You guys have carried us for the last 6 years and I don't know where we'd have been without you. I'm so proud of the young people our children have become, and so grateful to everyone that gave us the strength to be useful parents to them while they did it.

7 things I'm looking forward to in 2019

I'm looking forward to writing more personal blog posts this year. Last year I reduced reviews in the first 6 months and then was offered such amazing things in the second half of the year that I didn't like to turn them down. I love toys, games and books, but want to spend less time reviewing and more time playing!

I seem to live from one disaster to the next, so I'm also hoping that the first days of January with flu is the most exciting thing that'll happen for a while. I'm looking forward to a calmer time. We deserve it.

I won Afternoon Tea for 8 in a competition on Facebook before Christmas - obviously we haven't been able to take it yet, but I am really looking forward to gathering together as many of my family as I can and taking them out for a treat - and I can dress up!

I'm looking forward to getting my 3rd and hopefully final ever hernia operated on. It didn't fare well with me having flu and has expanded quite a lot. It'll be big surgery again and I'll be entirely made of plastic. It would have been cooler in Kevlar... Fingers crossed for the coming couple of months.

I'm looking forward to next Christmas. We were really on it this year and without flu we'd have nailed it. It really isn't fair for lightning to strike twice in the same place, so hopefully next December we can repay our grown up kids for looking after us this year.

I'm looking forward to watching my 8 and 10 year old boys continue to grow and turn into young men. It's such an amazing time and they change so much at this age, and haven't quite mastered being lippy!

I'm looking forward to seeing how adult our big kids become over 2019. Three are at uni and the oldest has just moved into his first rented home. They grew up and they flew the nest. It's exactly what you hope for, yet at the same time you really don't want it to happen. The bonus is that every time they come home it's incredibly exciting and special to see them...

I'm tagging the following bloggers to take part. Not quite the 7, but I'm late to the party ~ Laura at Max And Mummy, Elaine at Fun As A Gran, Gemma at Yorkshire Mum Of 4, Tina at The Soup Dragon Says


  1. Thank you for taking part i loved reading this. How amazing of your kids to take over Christmas for you when you were ill. I bet you couldn't have been prouder. I hope you have a great 2019 x

    1. Thank YOU. It was loads of fun to write and yes, I really couldn't have been prouder. They did everything, including looking after their little brothers, one of whom was really quite poorly. They're complete stars x

  2. Aww I just love reading this. It is amazing to watch the kids grow and some fly the nest through your blog. And you are just amazing, Jenny, you really are. I am sorry you guys got the flu and it sucks. Next Christmas will be better. I just love reading your blog posts and wish you the best year xx

    1. Aww Susan, you are one of the loveliest people, you really are. I wish your head was kinder to you! It is weird. I didn't consider when I started out that all our kids would get so grown up - I only really thought about the fact the little ones would get bigger. I'll be covering Grandchildren at this rate :)

  3. Awww I am so glad the kids grouped together and cooked Christmas Dinner, I would be looking for them to cook it again this year! ;)
    It will certainly be an eventful year, but all for the best, let rock it love!
    Sim xx

    1. Hahaha - I have already suggested it and they say "no chance" :D Indeed it will be a good year! :)


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