I started blogging a year ago today. Yeah, on Valentines Day 2012. We must have been having a fantastic day for me to stop whatever it was we were doing to sit down and write my first post! Haha. In all honesty, Mark and I aren’t much into Valentines Day, I am very lucky in that my wonderful husband shows me every day how much he loves me, (Boak, sorry again!) so we were probably just doing what we usually do every day; he was probably training and I was probably hanging out with Little Miss, thinking of ways I could be a little more productive with my life. (which clearly if you follow my blog you’ll know, I haven’t quite figured out yet!)
So this year has been a pretty eventful one, some of it I have been able to share with you all. As a family we have moved from Avignon to Lyon, via Glasgow, Sheffield and London. The difference between living in the south of France and living in the middle is like night and day. My mind at the moment is preparing for summer in a month or so, after 2 years in Avignon, but the reality is that it won’t start getting warm here until about April. I think I will cry if it doesn’t heat up soon. Dark nights and freezing rain is NOT enjoyable for me, if I wanted that I’d still be living in Glasgow.
I do love that we are in the city, though, I haven’t been able to enjoy it as much due to the cold weather, but knowing I am here is really comforting. I can go shopping when I want, I can eat Subway if I want, I can go to Ikea, have a Starbucks, buy nice makeup, travel on the subway, see all the different cultures on a daily basis…in Avignon, as beautiful as it was, it lacked these little luxuries that I really need in my life. Is that pathetic?? Anyway… I love our little apartment in Lyon too, its comfortable and just right for Mark and I. For the first time since we have lived abroad, (with the exception of Almere, Holland, where Mark’s team declared bankruptcy after 3 months) we really feel at home.
I went to Paris in March with some of my best friends. It was a great girly weekend, that I really needed. I miss those girls more and more every day, its what I miss most about Avignon, besides the sunshine. (Two of them are visiting at the end of the month, I cannot wait to see them!)
Our Little Miss started school in October. It’s amazing how much she has changed in the year. She went from being a little toddler doing little toddler things, to a little girl doing little girly things. She has matured in more ways than I can begin to explain. (Or begin to bore you all with…lets just say she’s pretty awesome!)
Mark played in the Olympics, which was pretty HUGE for us and an experience that we as a family will cherish for ever.We had an amazing summer in the UK, one of the longest summers but worth it. I spent lots of time in London which was fantastic, I’m so lucky I have amazing family there I can stay with, without my lovely cousin my summer in London wouldn’t have been possible.
I went to see the USA v GB Mens basketball match in Manchester with one of my oldest friends, which was amazing. Seeing some of my basketball heroes playing close up was just a dream come true, the courtside seats were nice too! I also started playing basketball this season again after not playing seriously in years. (I played a little in Avignon last season but my heart really wasn’t in it) It’s taking a bit of time but I’m starting really enjoy playing again.
In May I had my hen weekend in Amsterdam, it was so nice to hang out with all my close girlfriends for a few days in my favourite city. I have such amazing women in my life, I am so fortunate and grateful for the effort they put in to make my weekend so special for me.
Two of my best friends got married. One of my oldest friends, David, got married to his lovely wife Amanda and my other great friend Sam got married to her ever-so-dapper husband, Andy. Both weddings were so unique, so wonderful, so perfect and fitting for their personalities, I am thankful I was able to be part of their special day. I love that my friends are all getting to an age where they are settling down with people they respect and love, its all anyone could ever wish for their friends. I also attended the wedding reception of one of my old school friends, Natalie, and her husband Scott.
I hadn’t seen Natalie in years before the reception, but we were best friends when we were younger and our mums were best friends too, so it was such an honour to be invited to her celebration, some of my school friends were there too, amazing to catch up with them all….more amazing that Natalie is happy and enjoying life.
Speaking of weddings, Mark and I also got married this summer. We had such a special day, a day that was exactly us. We called it our “Mish Mash Bash” because it was a bit of an unconventional mish mash day/weekend, lots of friends, family, beer, dancing and caramel cake, but it wouldn’t have been us if it was anything else.
Last year I lost my someone so special to me, someone who shaped my life and helped me become the person I am today. I still think about Jim Lay every day, I still miss him, I still wish he was here and things turned out differently, but I also know he is watching over me, keeping me on the straight and narrow. I think losing Jim inspired me to start blogging, I think I felt like I needed to put all my feelings, not just about loss but about everything, down on paper, so to speak, so it was tangible, out of my head. I needed to have purpose, I needed to “do” something with my life, and starting to put what I was thinking down somewhere for other people to read, think and maybe feel inspired from, was a start for me.
Through my blog I have been able to write my thoughts down, vent, experiment with words, express myself, share funny stories, form opinions, research stuff, grow. I have learned this year that not everyone will care about my blog, even people I think should care. (part of the reason I decided to stop posting my blog posts to my personal facebook page, knowing that I would dramatically reduce the amount of people who read my blog.) Some people will love it, some will hate it, some will be offended, some upset or angry, but I have to accept all of it because that’s what blogging is about, this is who I am and I can’t change that, my opinions may not always be right but they are mine and part of me. I may not be the best writer but I have realized that I love engaging people’s minds, even a little, causing them to think about their own opinions on certain subjects. I have been surprised more than anything at who reads my blog. People have sent me emails telling me they are enjoying following me, or I have helped them in some way, people I haven’t spoken to in years, or I wouldn’t think bothered about my thoughts, or people I don’t know, are reading each week.
I have connected with some pretty cool people through blogging, I don’t know these people personally, we haven’t hung out, but I enjoy their stories, I look forward to hearing about their adventures and though I can’t call them friend, I can say they have affected my life and helped me in some way, with whatever I have struggled with at that time.
I have written 177 posts this year, about lots of different topics; parenting struggles, parenting successes, life, love, being a woman, a friend, an expat, marriage, poetry, TV, music…if I haven’t written about it, I probably don’t know that much about it. All my posts I try and put a little time and effort into and some are better than others.
I have 139 blog followers and 105 followers on my Facebook page. I am thankful to all of them who stop by whenever I write a new blog post. I also wanted to thank everyone who voted for me on the Circle of Moms International Blogger competition, I finished 18th, and though the competition itself didn’t have an effect on my blog views, I really appreciate that everyone took the time to vote for me.
It’s been a bit of a journey this blogging one, I am still learning how to write well, and though not everything I write is shared with you, I try to share most of the good stuff and will continue to do so.
I don’t have a favourite post but the one I enjoyed writing the most has to be the Gary Barlow one. I also really enjoyed writing “To Louise, From Louise” that got published on the website “You, Me and Charlie.” Both these posts took me back to happy times in my life, times I really enjoyed reminiscing about. I also loved writing the poems “Choose You” and “You” – but to be honest, I love writing poetry so all of them I love in one way or another. Blogging has opened a few new doors for me, with Your Student Body and my AngloInfo blog, so I am also pretty happy about that. There’s probably a ton of stuff I’ve left out of this round up too…it’s been a good year when I think back.
I’ve enjoyed blogging…I hope you have enjoyed reading. Thank you for joining me, whether you read every post, or just read when you can, whether you comment or don’t, I really appreciate that you take the time to stop by.
Now, I do have one last thing before I go. A few questions, is there any topic you’d like me to write about in the future? Is there anything you enjoyed reading that you want more of? Let me know.
Until next time! Oh, and Happy Valentines Day!