Saturday, 31 December 2016

MY 2016 IN PHOTOGRAPHS

So here we are! It's the last day of 2016 and I for one couldn't be happier! I know I am not alone in that sentiment. There has been so much sadness, instability and loss this year which has made us all question the world in which we live. For me, I am not only closing the door on a very tumultuous year, but  - she says with everything crossed - on a four year chapter of my life that I REALLY hope is over. Supporting both my parents in their illnesses and dealing with the loss of both them in such a short space of time has tested me to my limits and then some and is not something I would wish on anyone - though I fear that may not be the case. Life is an education and I firmly believe everything happens for a reason (you wouldn't have caught me saying that four years ago!) so I am very accepting that this chapter of my life needed to happen for my own personal growth. I've come a long way, along a very bumpy road these last four years, facing things, dealing with things I never imagined I would be having to deal with  - EVER. Yet, I have faced them and I have dealt with them and I've learnt so much about myself; I've found strength I never knew I had; I know my own mind more than I ever have done and I've learnt to nurture and cherish what's really important in life - namely those I love. I may have had to learn it all the hard way - I can't say I advise this particular route!- and not a day goes by without me wishing my Mum and Dad were still here, but I am a better person for it and for that, I say with my hand on my heart, I am grateful.


EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED AND YET, I AM MORE ME THAN I HAVE EVER BEEN


And on that hopeful note, I thought I would take a positive look back at the year because in amongst the stresses and the strains, the tears and the sorrow there have been good bits - snapshots of joy which have made me happy and are to be celebrated, no matter how big or small they are. "Finding happiness in the little things in life" became my mantra in 2016 as I mentioned here and became even more my favourite thing to do once I realised there was a gorgeous Danish word for it. I'm definitely planning on carrying on in the same "hyggelig" vein in the new year!

So without further ado, here are my twelve favourite moments of 2016. One for every month and why they are so special. Pour yourself a coffee, snuggle under a blanket and I hope you enjoy....

JANUARY


A quiet month but a month to rejuvenate and enjoy simple pleasures like a cold winter's morning watching the sun rise. My heart lives by the sea and I love nothing more than being on the coast on a chilly, sunny, winter's day walking Sammy. It was just one of the way's which helped, an otherwise dull month, feel that little bit better which I talked about here.

FEBRUARY


One of THE highlights of my year - the wedding of my cousin Catherine to Daniel in the beautiful Elgin Valley just outside Cape Town. Such a gorgeous week full of sunshine, family, love and happiness.

MARCH


Lydia turned 13 in March - a TEENAGER! How did that happen?! And now, as I type this, in less than three months she turns 14! I honestly don't think I've seen her change so much in the last 365 days since I did in those first twelve precious months of her life. She's creeping past me in height, overtaken me in shoe size and knows how to apply eyeshadow and highlighter far better than me! I love her to bits!

APRIL


The Easter holidays meant we got to spend time in our happy place, Mudeford. Much needed downtime, fun and enjoying the seasides' simple pleasures...

MAY


Bella made it into double figures and turned 10! Like her sister, I've seen so much change in Bella this last year. Her sensitive side has come out a bit more as she finds her feet amongst her peers, but my fun loving girl has blossomed so much!

JUNE


I love this photo I took of Dad in June. We had a day on my Uncle's narrow boat and with Dad's cancer progressing, I was determined to get some lovely shots of him before he started looking too ill. I will cherish this one forever.

JULY


July was my favourite month of the year. It was my birthday, Philip turned the big 50 and for our wedding anniversary I surprised him with a 24 escape to the Wagon in the Woods - a cosy, private Shepherd's Hut in the middle of the Hampshire countryside. We were only ten minutes from home, but felt a million miles away and with it's very own hot tub, it was the perfect, much needed, romantic getaway. Waking up to this view was very special.

AUGUST


August too was a very special month for us. Dad treated the whole family to a wonderful sun filled, relaxing week in Majorca, a place close to our hearts as I mentioned here. It was such a wonderful week - bittersweet - but beautiful and again a time I will cherish forever.

SEPTEMBER


Me at my happiest. With the girls on various school residential trips away, Philip and I made the most of the gorgeous Indian summer with a day out to Burton Bradstock in Dorset. Apart from a walk along this beautiful coastline, Lobster & Fizz were the order of the day at The Hive Beach cafe. Arrgghh that lobster was SO good!

OCTOBER


I just love this photo of Lydia and Sammy! Thanks to a few inset days, we had some wonderful "mother-daughter" time together - a bit of shopping, a bit of lunch and fun on the beach with Sammy! She's become so much more independent this year which is wonderful, but means I want to make the most of the time I spend with her!

NOVEMBER


So this picture is the one exception as it is about the saddest day of the whole year and apart from the day when Mummy died, the saddest day of my whole life. I won't ever forget driving over to Dad's house that morning, pulling into the drive way and seeing him through the window sat, still on the sofa. Alarm bell's went off in my head as realised he hadn't made it up to bed the previous night but, hopefully, I thought "Silly billy must have fallen asleep on the sofa". In fact my beautiful, brave Daddy had fallen asleep forever.

DECEMBER


Rounding off the year with the people - and four legged friend - I love the most, my tribe! This photo was actually taken earlier in the year, but I love it so much and since we're spending the New Year in the same place, it seems appropriate. These four are my world, my rock. They make me smile; they hug me when I cry; they are my reason to be and my reason to look forward to 2017.

So that's it! That was 2016! I hope you enjoyed my little look back, it's certainly helped my close the year with warmth and gratefulness. And I'd like to thank you, my lovely readers, for taking the time to read my posts, leave such lovely comments and like the photographs I so enjoy creating. I have exciting plans for this blog in 2017 so I hope you'll join me for the journey in the new year, it's going to be fun!

Wishing you all  new year filled with love and happiness!

Jo
xxxx

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