2018 wasn’t always easy. There were bad times and sad times, and some difficult challenges, but there have been some absolutely amazing times too. As the year comes to an end I want to show gratitude for the good times and focus on the happy memories we made.
2018 was the year Cardiff Daddy and I both turned 40. His birthday weekend away with his family got cancelled because of the first snow Cardiff had seen in five years but our friends rallied around and trudged through the snow to help him celebrate. Although he was disappointed our plans had fallen through it ended up being such a lovely weekend. A real peacefulness resulted because everything had to stop. Our street and local park were full of families playing. People stopped to chat. Warming hot chocolates felt so delicious after a morning in the cold. And we were thankful for the friends who made a real effort to help him celebrate.
I didn’t want to do anything for my 40th in June. In fact I thought I’d got around not wanting to celebrate by planning a peaceful weekend review trip glamping in the Gower before my birthday and a weekend away with my university girls the weekend after. But my friends and husband had other ideas and conspired to throw me a surprise party anyway. Taking place in my friend’s amazing kitchen extension all their husbands were there too – it was amazing that they’d all managed to coordinate babysitters on the same night. I wasn’t at all worried about turning 40. The age thing doesn’t bother me. In fact I feel more confident and content than ever before.
2018 was also the year that my youngest started full-time school and for the first time in almost nine years I had no children at home with me. I’m still struggling with the emotions of that. I’m so grateful that my children are doing all the things they should be doing as they grow up but I really miss them. It’s been strange for me – especially as I work from home. My daytimes are certainly a lot quieter than they used to be and I’m slowly getting used to a new routine and finding more of ‘me’ again.
2018 was the year we had two glorious weeks in sunny Tuscany and I wore a bikini for the first time in 10 years. I almost didn’t publish the post I wrote about facing my fears and body hang-ups – but it was one of my most popular of the year.
2018 was the year we glamped in the Gower and glamped in Devon. We had city breaks in London with Sn-ap travel where we visited the museums and my children saw their first West End show; and Bath with National Express and as guests in one of Bath Boutique Stays incredible town house properties.
2018 was the year I had a weekend away in the Cotswolds with my lovely uni girls and I went to Milan with my Cardiff friends – my first trip abroad without my children since I became a mum. We also went away for a long weekend with several other families from my children’s school, staying in a huge converted barn in Devon.
2018 was the year my children amazed me by climbing Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales. Even my newly-turned four year old walked the whole distance. It was such a clear day and the views from the top were incredible.
2018 was the year I re-discovered running. I started with Cardiff’s weekly 5K Parkrun – I couldn’t run the distance without stopping at the start of the year but by the summer I had taken on two 10K races and in October I ran the Cardiff Half – my first half marathon.
My children ran two 2Ks and two 5Ks including Ty Hafan’s Bubble Rush. As a family, we raised more than £800 for Ty Hafan children’s hospice for Wales through our running. We’ve spoken a lot as a family about how lucky we are with Cardiff Mummy Says to have such an incredible audience and how we need to use that to help other people.
As an extended family, we donned our festive fancy dress and ran the Santa and Elf Dash for Welsh Hearts in December – seven little cousins, six parents and three grandparents. I’m so proud of all the children for embracing this challenge and wanting to do something for an important cause.
Like every family, 2018 had its ups and downs for us. There were some really sad and difficult times and challenges which I won’t really go into here.
But I think it’s important to focus on the positives and to we have so much to be thankful for.
2018: you weren’t always easy but thank you for some amazing memories.