Life update

2020 Reflections: A year in review

Well, what a year it has been! I do not think that anyone could have predicted how this year was going to turn out! In this post, I look back and reflect on how the year has been for myself and my family and think about the year that has passed. The post starts with a recap of what happened each month of the year. I then offer my 2020 reflections on the year and discuss personal growth and development. 

January 

I started the year with high hopes for a fantastic year which I would be embracing as my word of the year was embrace. For some reason, I thought that the year 2020 would be the year that everything went well for us! However, we were unwell and Darren had the first week of the year off work. He was far too unwell to go in. Not the great start that I had been hoping for!

Lauren celebrated her 22nd birthday and I got to meet my first ever nephew, Aaron. My little brother has a son, and I could not be more proud. In home school, we started a space topic and visited the London Planetarium. We also went on some lovely family dog walks and Faith had a sleepover and another friend come and spend the day with her.  

Faith looking at videos in the royal observatory.
A snap from our trip to the Royal Observatory.

February

February was a very busy month for us. It is Faith’s birthday month, she turned 12. We took her to the London Anime and Gaming Con for her main present. I also had my last darts meal as the team folded, which was sad. I was invited to a bloggers event at my local Lush store which was great fun. In home school we started a new topic, the UK.

Unfortunately, the last ten days of February were awful. We were all so unwell. I was full of cold, lost my voice, had headaches, and was so tired. Darren was the same but his symptoms were not as bad as mine although his cough was much worse. Faith was sick multiply times and complained of headaches and tiredness. Chloe was so sick she was sent to the hospital as she was dehydrated and they were worried about her blood pressure. 

March

This is when I first heard of this COVID-19. Crisis always seems to bring out the best but also the worst in people. People started panic buying and there was a major shortage of essentials such as toilet rolls and pasta. All the supermarket delivery slots were booked and I remember going to a supermarket and all of the shelves were bare!

We were told that we should work from home unless unable to do so and even though it was mothers day we were asked to stay home. People started getting furloughed, a word I had never heard of until this pandemic. Darren was furloughed for three weeks. For others, it was much longer. 

It was also a month where the whole country came together to give a round of applause for the NHS and other key workers. The first night that it happened, I opened my door and clapped and I did not expect many to join in. I was so surprised when I heard the applause of hundreds of others in our area. It actually gave me chills and a great sense of pride. 

April

The whole of April, we were in lockdown. I managed to finish my bathroom tiles and Darren managed to get a lot of painting done which he had been putting off for a very long time too.

Easter was celebrated but very differently to our normal celebrations. I did not see my oldest daughter and I have never been more than a week not seeing her in our whole lives. We started doing family quiz nights on zoom in an effort to entertain and see each other. 

My middle daughter Chloe moved back home in April. She is a single mum so we were in a support bubble with her and my grandson. 34sp started doing a weekly bingo session via zoom which was nice and broke up the week. A local pub also did a weekly quiz which we participated in.

The schools were closed which is when I knew that this was a big thing, as they never close the schools. Being a home school family, that part of the lockdown did not affect us but I know that it was hard for many children and families. In our home school we had moved on to a new topic, African animals

Easter 2020 - baby boy holding a wrapped chocolate bunny
Easter 2020

May

Another month in lockdown! Poor Chloe had her 21st birthday. We did the best that we could under the circumstances and she actually said that she really enjoyed it. The only thing she missed was not being able to go to the nightclub with her friends. 

Lauren and James should have been getting married this month as well. Poor Lauren was so sad on the day that they should have married. It is so hard as we have no idea when things will return to normal so she can not even plan for the future. She is currently left in limbo waiting to see what happens. 

June

And yet another full month in lockdown! You can see a theme with these 2020 reflections! Probably the most uneventful month of the year! In home school we moved on to a new topic, the human body. We also took the dogs to the dog park a lot as the weather was lovely and carried on with online quizzes and Netflix marathons. 

July

On July 4th we were finally out of lockdown! Although there were restrictions of course in an effort to keep everyone safe. This month we finished decorating our living room with our feature wall. In our last topic of year seven in our home school, we ironically learned about the polar regions!

I finally got to see my mum and sister who I had not seen since February and my dad who I had not seen since March. We finished year seven of home school and we were pleased with how well it had all gone. Things were starting to look brighter and I opened a little online store on my blog. 

Keaton and Aaron, cousins playing together in ball pit
Keaton's 1st birthday party!

August

August was a busy month. It was Keaton’s first birthday so we had a COVID friendly garden party for him at ours. We also went to Roarr! Dinosaur adventure for the day on his actual birthday. I was gifted tickets to review the attraction. It was a lovely day out and we will definitely return. 

BBC Radio Suffolk was interviewing local bloggers and influencers and I was chosen to be interviewed on the radio which was exciting. It was also extremely nerve-wracking too, but everyone who listened said that I came across really well. 

The government launched ‘eat out to help out’ where you could buy food and drinks at 50% off on Monday to Wednesdays in August. The government then paid the participating restaurants the money that we saved. We went out to dinner four times using the offer which was nice as we do not normally eat out very often as a family. Unfortunately, some people took it a bit too far eating out multiple times each week!

September

Unsurprising, after a month of everyone eating out together and then the schools returning, COVID cases were on the rise. 

This month we finally made it to Thorpe park for Chloe’s main birthday present from us. It was originally booked for early June but we got there and Chloe had a great time. 

We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary at home with a Chinese takeaway. We saw my dad and did a BBQ as a belated birthday celebration as well. It was also my mums birthday so we took mum out to her favourite restaurant, just myself and my sister. 

Home school returned and this time Faith was in year eight! We started with the new topic of volcanoes

October

My birthday month and this year it was the big four 0! My celebrations lasted a week as I could only see a couple of people at a time, sticking to the COVID rules which were in place at that time. 

The blogging conference which I had been looking forward to all year, was changed into an online event. It was good fun but nowhere near as fantastic as actually being there was the year before. I also launched a free course – 8 weeks to a happier you‘. 

Halloween was strange, we still decorated but it was the first time in 22 years that we had not been trick or treating! We had been looking forward to taking Keaton now that Faith is 12 but it was not meant to be. We also missed having our big family party like we did last year.

In our home school, we did a ‘witchcraft through the ages’ topic which was fitting for the time of year!

Showing the stages of making a homemade volcano
The volcano we made in our home school

November

A quiet month, back in lockdown. Cases have risen higher than at the start of the pandemic here in the UK. We are being asked to stay home with the promise of being able to form Christmas bubbles with up to three other households for five days over Christmas. 

In home school, we finished the witchcraft topic and moved onto our final topic before breaking for Christmas. We did a Minecraft topic.

December

December was a difficult month as it was so different from how we usually spend December. It is usually full of family time and parties and laughter. This year I did not get to see my mum, sister, brother, dad, or extended family at all. We did not get to take Keaton to see Santa. There was no big town light switch on which we normally always attend. 

The government broke their promise of five days over Christmas. Instead, we were only given Christmas day and some people who have been placed into a new tier four, like my dad, could not even have Christmas day.

On Boxing day Suffolk was also placed into tier four, so no sales shopping with my oldest daughter either. No new years eve parties. It would seem that we are starting the new year in a worse position than when this all began. 

On Christmas day my two oldest daughters, son-in-law-to-be, and grandson spent the day with us. It was a lovely day and for a few hours, we almost forgot about all of the troubles that the world is facing. 

My 2020 reflections

It has been a difficult year for sure. I know that I am extremely blessed. We home school my daughter anyway, so school closures did not affect us. I did not have to make any difficult choices about sending my daughter back to school. I work part-time from home on my blog so I did not have any changes there either. Darren was furloughed, but only for three weeks as it turned out his company falls under key workers, so then he was straight back to work. So far, we have not had any family or friends become unwell with COVID. 

Hard times

However, with all of these big blessings, it has still been really difficult so I can not imagine how hard it has been for others more affected. Seeing Faith miss out on seeing friends and going to cons has been hard. Not seeing my family, harder. I had never been as long as I did this year without seeing my oldest daughter and it was heart breaking. Cancelled weddings, big birthdays not celebrated as we had hoped and a touch of cabin fever has been hard to swallow. 

Seeing the position that the country is in right now, makes it all the worse. It feels as if it has all been for nothing as COVID cases keep getting higher and the death toll continues to rise. I know that hindsight is a wonderful thing but I can not help feel that things could have been handled so much better than they have. I have lost the last bit of trust that I had in our government and that is a scary feeling. 

Finding myself 

In a strange twist as most people have felt quite lost this year, it has been a year that I have found myself. I have finally got real confidence in myself and I love who I am. I joined in with a self-love Instagram group, posting once a week about things I love about myself. This has also helped me to see the positives in myself more, but more importantly, has hopefully inspired others to do the same. 

I wore shorts this summer for the first time since childhood, as I no longer feel burdened with the worry of what other people think. I also reconnected with my spiritual side. Returning to what I believe in, despite it being unconventional to most and that has helped me to feel a part of something more. I launched a free course which did not go as well as I had hoped, but I do not feel any shame in that (like I would of before). Instead, I hope to learn from it and make it better, so that the next time it runs, it can help more people and be more successful. 

What will the new year bring?

It is frightening going into a new year in the position that we are in as a country with the pandemic. Being someone who loves to plan, the uncertainly of these times makes it all the more difficult. However, I believe that with love, kindness, and positivity, we can get through anything, so here is hoping for a brighter 2021. 

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