Here's hoping we all have a happy and prosperous 2017!
Lots of us find ourselves spending more time with our other halves than usual which occasion causes tempers to flare. Particularly when figuring out how to set up an X Box and negotiating later bedtimes with the kids.
As a sufferer from Tinnitus and Hypercusis, I occasionally find I'm focused on a noise I just can't place. And, it seems, I'm not alone. More and more of us are reporting hearing strange noises which sound like the hum of a machine reverberating across whole towns in some places.
I wrote this post in praise of poetry whilst wondering why we don't rate this amazing creative skill as highly as more practical talents - like computer coding (which is the Husband's job).
In April I found myself wondering why some pregnant women get so incensed about attention being drawn to their bump. Since I had my kids so late (at 43 and 45) I was always incredibly proud and pleased whenever anyone mentioned my increasing girth!
The Husband spends quite a bit of time working away and in May I found myself pondering what I've learned from my experience of 'faux single parenthood', if you see what I mean. Coping on your own gives you a great insight into how hard single mums and dads work to bring up their little ones.
We made a special effort this year to save some cash for Christmas by following Skint Dad's Penny Challenge where you save the same number of pence per day that corresponds to the number of the day in the year - so, for example, on 31st Jan you save 31p and on the 1st of Feb you save 32p and so on. June is a good time to check the balances and see if you're on track with your annual budget and it's not too late to start a mini savings plan to help cope with the worst excesses of the festive season.
In July we were lucky enough to be able to attend a production of "The Hunting Of The Snark", an adaptation of the Lewis Carroll poem, at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff. The kids love going to the theatre and there is nothing quite like the magic of a live production. This one was excellent and one of my New Year's Resolutions is to attend many more productions this year.
Ah. The long summer school holiday. It normally starts off so well but by the end of 6 weeks, I'm sure lots of us parents heave a quiet sigh of relief - which led me to pen the handy guide below.
There's a chill in the air about now and it's time to batten down the hatches and get the house more energy efficient for the autumn. These tips to save money on your energy bills apply all year round though.
This month we worked with Aquafresh to make sure the kids' dental hygiene was up to scratch. Luckily both Caitlin and Ieuan had a clean bill of dental health at their last check-up.
Colder weather demands warmer meals, doesn't it? In November we practised our family cookery using a cookery book produced by nursery provider Bright Horizons Family Solutions. I thought we did rather well.
This month, aside from the usual festive shenanigans, I found myself pondering whether the current decluttering obsession started by Marie Kondo in her book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying" might be going a little too far.
Some things are too precious ever to be given away. We've told the kids we're keeping them (as long as they behave).
So there you have it. My twelve favourite posts of the year. Don't forget that I also regularly run great giveaways and offer my unique advice (!) on my problem page.
Happy New Year!