2019 Reflections: Goodbye To Another Year
As we say goodbye to another year, I’d like to take the opportunity -as I have for the past few years now- to look back on everything that’s happened. I’ve had a lot to ponder over for my 2019 reflections, as it’s been another busy year. Every year we seem to pack more into our already hectic schedules, juggling family, work and life in general to try and find that elusive perfect balance. Let’s take a look at our highlights and the various challenges of 2019.
This Year’s Goals
If you look back to my Happy New Year 2019 post, where I outlined my plans for the year ahead, you’ll see I had two main goals this year. Learn to run, and learn to drive.
To attain a driving licence was my top priority, but the running part was easier –eventually. I tried RED January, where you run every day through January, and managed only a week or so on the new treadmill I’d received for Christmas before I (literally) ran into difficulties. I just wasn’t physically up to running every single day. My ankles were SO painful I could barely walk, so it was off to the physiotherapist for some help. Turns out he’s a running expert as well, and was able to give me some brilliant advice to get me back on my feet and running safely and in a healthy way.
With proper guidance, I eventually managed a 3k then a 5k run on my treadmill, and with continued practice I was regularly running 5k on my treadmill by summer. Running still isn’t my absolute favourite thing, although I admit the feeling once I’ve finished a run is tremendous.
My exercise and fitness routine helped keep me confident so I was regularly able to model sexy lingerie and outfits for reviews and for fun…
As I mentioned earlier in this 2019 reflections feature, learning to drive was my main aim this year. I went into it with absolute determination, but tinged with fear. I started my lessons in February, got on hugely with my driving instructor (we’re still great friends, I went to her birthday party in September) and my lessons ended at the start of October.
Because I PASSED MY DRIVING TEST!
I passed my theory first time in late spring, then passed my practical driving test first time in early October. Not before I made myself ill with the stress and worry, so worried in fact that I had to get some beta-blockers from the doctor in order to feel calm enough. I’d tried meditation and herbal helps such as Kalms and Rescue Remedy – and even Night Nurse to help me get to sleep – but they didn’t touch the stress levels I experienced before my test. Anyway, it all turned out well and one of my happiest 2019 reflections is that I’m now the proud owner – finally! – of a full UK driving licence.
Other than cracking running and learning to drive, we’ve all enjoyed our third year in our forever home. Darren got divorced –he’d started proceedings but then got a note to say the other side had also started at the same time, so we got our money back. Hilarious that not only did he really want to get divorced but in the end it didn’t cost us a penny to get it done. He also started learning to drive this year, a couple of months after I started, so we’re hoping he’ll achieve his full licence in the New Year. It’s brilliant to see him so happy, settled, confident and independent these days.
Griz has been as cute as ever, getting bigger but still a kitten at heart <3
2019 hasn’t been without trying times and challenges. My 2019 reflections must touch on these less than happy times. The Pleasure Panel review project sadly ended, after a great run for several years.
A group of patrons are still on-call for various reviewing opportunities as and when they arise, but the monthly Pleasure Panel rounds have ended.
Darren’s mother, who has lived with us since the start of 2013, has become increasingly disabled and dependent on her twice-a-day carers and on us, too. She has diabetes, heart problems, COPD, a hernia of 30 years, ulcerated legs and she’s a very large lady.
With minimal mobility and regular falls, much of the year has been spent trying to find alternative living arrangements for her. With a teen and a level 3 autistic child in the house to care for, it was just too much with her on top. Especially as she can’t climb the stairs, so lived entirely in the downstairs of our lovely but ultimately small family home.
With most of the searching work done by Darren, with some support from the carers and various medical professionals, our home was eventually deemed officially unsuitable for continued residence for her. Still wanting at least semi-independent living, she opted to try a ground-floor council flat in a nearby town, where Darren’s brother would live with her as a full-time carer for all but the most personal/hygiene needs –which would still be undertaken by professional carers. After a LOT of form filling, waiting, visits and more, a suitable flat was eventually assigned to her and we were all ready for her to move out.
At the very last hurdle she fell – literally. Trying to get into her new flat she had a fall and as she’s unable to get up by herself, this resulted in a long wait for an ambulance. Then a stay in hospital, and finally a long-term recovery in a specialist physiotherapy unit in a further away hospital. At the time of writing we don’t know what the plans will be for after that; our home is unsuitable for her increasing needs so it looks like either a funded respite home or trying for a ground-floor council flat again. We’ll see – the saga continues.
Back to happier memories – some of the holidays and short breaks we enjoyed this year.
In spring we had a mini-cruise to Bruges to celebrate minnie’s birthday – adults only.
Then some weeks later, as a family, we had a fantastic holiday with the autistic children’s charity we’re a part of. We all boarded a coach and had a long weekend just outside of London, visiting Chessington one day then Thorpe Park the next.
During May we had a family weekend in Coventry, where the boys visited Warhammer Fest.
We also went to The Deep in Hull one morning, and in the afternoon the boys went Karting.
In June minnie and I had a weekend break on the south coast; wining, dining and sailing aboard various ships in the port of Southampton.
July, of course, is Darren and I’s birthday month – and we loved our traditional Big Birthday Weekend pubbing, clubbing and having ‘strictly grown-up time’ in Lincoln.
In August it was time for another family trip – this time for a caravan holiday in Chapel St Leonards, which is just up the road from Skegness but a lovely British seaside resort in its own right. The caravan was cosy, the beach was wild, windy but lovely, and we enjoyed the amusement parks and swimming pool which made up the family-friendly complex.
Another family weekend away with the autistic children’s charity in September – to Blackpool. It was a bit of a hectic one, with so much to pack into a little weekend, but we still managed to ride the tram, have an amazing day out at Pleasure Island, have some fish and chips by the sea and go up to the top of Blackpool Tower.
Finally, in October Darren and I had a lovely romantic weekend in Jersey –a Christmas gift from a friend last December. Last year we chose Paris, this year I took D back to where I grew up and showed him some of the sights. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t the best but we didn’t let that detract from our holiday …and anyway, we had a gorgeous hotel room to make use of 😉
Other events of the year? The boys had brilliant birthdays, as always – my eldest was 14 in August and the youngest was 7 in October.
Halloween is always fun, with school discos, dressing-up, trick or treaters and the first selection of house decorations going up at what is otherwise quite a dark and dismal time of year here in the UK. As soon as Halloween is over, the commercial world goes into full Christmas mode, and it’s hard not to get swept up in the festive excitement. I’m sure you’ll have seen plenty of our festivities on Instagram and Twitter.
Misc 2019 Snapshots
I hope you’ve enjoyed my 2019 reflections and this look back at what we’ve enjoyed through another very busy but fun year. I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings. At some point in the New Year I’ll write about my hopes and goals for the year ahead, so watch out for that feature in the next few weeks.
Hopefully you’ve all enjoyed a very Merry Christmas, if you celebrate it, or exceedingly jolly holidays if not. Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year once the bells chime where you are. Thanks for reading my blog this year, I can’t wait to bring you more updates on our exciting adventures during the year ahead.