My 3rd Blogging Birthday and 2016 in review

Happy new year! I can’t quite believe that today marks my little blog’s third birthday. This year has certainly been a busy one. We have worked and played hard and as a result the blog has suffered a little! (a lot). The first half of the year was spent frantically completing projects around the home and during the second half our family life seems to have taken on a whole new level of ‘busy’ as our children grow older and have taken on more hobbies and commitments. I also took on another job (that makes three plus the blog!) in September so it has taken a while for us all to adjust to a new routine. However, despite the craziness, it has been a great year and we look forward to 2017 feeling hopeful and ready for some new challenges and the changes that lie ahead.

As has been my tradition, I thought I would take some time to look back over the highlights of the last year (just in case any of you missed anything!) As many of you know, my blogging birthday is just one day before my actual, real-life birthday and this year, it’s a big one so I thought I would share some of my feelings on this as well.

We hit the ground running in January planning a couple of big projects and I shared some of our ‘home’ goals for the year ahead. Looking back, I think we were slightly over-ambitious (we usually are!) but I am so happy with the changes that have taken place this year, it’s hard to feel disappointed.

Home Heart Harmony Pretty Letter BuntingI shared a ‘how-to’ for some pretty letter bunting that we made for our daughter’s bedroom door. The idea was suggested by my Mum and she, Ella and I all spent a wet and windy January afternoon cosied up in the kitchen drinking tea and making the bunting. I’ve been reading all about the Danish art of ‘hygge’ lately and I think that afternoon definitely qualifies as being ‘hyggeligt‘. (More about that another day!)

At the end of January I shared some of the things that had been bringing me happiness and comfort throughout what has to be one of the hardest months of the year and decided that actually, it hadn’t been so bad!

In February I updated you all on our plans for a kitchen re-model. We had gone backwards and forwards on the idea so many times but the time had finally come to take the plunge. I talked inspiration and plans and it was all very exciting!

Home Heart Harmony Organised DVD'sWe still made time for some smaller, organising projects and I took the opportunity in February to tackle an area that I had long been planning to sort out – our DVD collection. This was one of my favourite organising projects and one that is still working hard for us.

Later in February I shared our plans to update our daughter’s bedroom. An exciting opportunity to partner with Laura Ashley had arisen and, as a huge fan of their homeware products, it was too good to refuse (even with plans for the kitchen in full swing!)

Home Heart Harmony - Things I'm loving lately - FebruaryI ended the month by sharing another ‘Things I’m loving Lately’ post. I loved writing these and just sharing some of the ‘day-to-day’ with you all. I really must make time for more of these posts in the new year.

In March, things were hotting up and the projecting had begun. Things were a little slower on the blog but I shared my thoughts on decorating inspiration and talked about how I plan for and then tackle a new decorating project.

Another update on the kitchen progress followed. Big budget decisions were being made and I was terrified of making the wrong one! We had picked the kitchen units and appliances and I shared our choices along with the options we were considering for flooring, work surfaces, hardware, lighting, tiles and paint.

Home Heart Harmony Image 4By April, we were in full projecting swing! The bedroom and kitchen were underway and the whole house was in chaos. I shared updates on the bedroom progress as well as taking a quick moment away from the madness to respond to some reader requests to share with you where some of our furniture items were sourced. We are big fans of IKEA’s storage solutions and the quality of their furniture which is so reasonably priced so I counted out our top ten IKEA purchases.

Home Heart Harmony Image 2At the end of the month, I was finally able to reveal the Laura Ashley update we had made to our daughter’s bedroom. It is one of my all time favourite projects and, as I revealed on Facebook recently, I still love it each and every day. It really is a beautiful room and our daughter must truly love it because she has transformed from keeping her room in a perpetual state of devastation to a very tidy little lady who loves nothing more than an hour spent ‘organising’ in her lovely new surroundings!

May kicked off with what I hoped would be the final update on our kitchen progress. We were so close we could smell the finish but those few last details took a frustrating amount of time to get ironed out and by the end of the month, we were really ready to be done. I updated again towards the end of the month and shared where we were with everything. I also explained those little frustrations we were trying to overcome to get things finished.

Home_Heart_Harmony_My_3rd_Blogging_BirthdayAt the beginning of June we were finally able to share the big kitchen reveal (even though there were still some final touches to complete) and we were completely thrilled with the way it had turned out. The novelty truly still hasn’t worn off and we are so grateful for this amazing space in our home. We have done lots of entertaining already and there is much more to come but most importantly, this room really has become the heart of our home and we are cherishing all the memories we are already creating here.

Home Heart Harmony Kitchen RevealIf I’m honest, I think by the end of June, we were really burnt out. The first six months of the year had been exhausting – we spent lots of late nights painting, wallpapering and moving our furniture from one area of the house to another, we were well and truly ready for a rest. Of course, along side all of that, we wanted to make sure we were still as present as ever for our children and all of the running around after them didn’t ease up while all the craziness was going on. July is always a crescendo point in our year so something had to give. Through all of our efforts, we did feel the pressure of the deadlines and the ‘big reveal’ here on the blog which added an extra level of stress for which I felt responsible. I think I had a bit of a wobble over the summer wondering whether I was doing the right thing. I decided to take my foot off the accelerator a bit and just enjoy the summer with the children. I shared some of my thoughts on the situation and told you all what I had been up to here and here. And then I took on another part time job and disappeared for even longer!!

Home_Heart_Harmony_My_3rd_Blogging_BirthdayActually, this part of the year also saw a significant shift in our family life. As I mentioned, the children have taken on much bigger and more time consuming commitments this academic year and this obviously, has its impact on us as parents. We seem to have less hours in our days all of a sudden and I feel like we have moved into a new parenting ‘phase’ if that makes sense! It has been an adjustment and I’m not sure we are working as efficiently as we could be in the transition!

I have spent some time over the Christmas break trying to get some systems in place that might help us save a few minutes here and there in the new year – a 3 week meal plan and rotating shopping lists have been created!! In addition, having taken a ‘social media break’ a couple of months ago (and having been sucked right back in again) I realised how much time is released by just cutting out (or even cutting down) this one activity so one of my new year’s resolutions is to cut right back again on that little ‘time thief’!

home_heart_harmony_saturday_shopping_kilver_courtIn November, I felt like I was starting to hit my stride again (before December hit and Christmas took over!) and I launched a new ‘Saturday Shopping’ series which you will see more of in the new year. I talked about one of my favourite places to shop locally and had a lovely time mooching around in the process! At the end of the month, I shared my favourite diaries and planners for 2017 and talked about how I attempt to keep track of all our family’s comings and goings.

Home_Heart_Harmony_Christmas_Fireplace_GarlandDecember went crazy both with work and family commitments and I only just managed to check in before Christmas to share a little crafting project my daughter and I completed to dress up our fireplace for the festive season. It has been a hit and I’m sitting in front of it right now making the most of the last few days of the twinkly Christmas lights before it all has to be put away again for another year. We always leave our Christmas decorations up until after 3rd because that’s my birthday and it’s just what we always did when I was growing up.

As I mentioned, I’ll be turning 40 tomorrow. What is it about big birthdays that make you feel like you should have achieved something?! I always feel a little bit inadequate around these milestones – like there was something I should have done that I haven’t!! Actually, I had a bit of a ‘spin-out’ about it earlier in the year. I think it’s the fact that this birthday is coinciding with our youngest’s last year of primary school that brought it on. It feels like I’m coming to a cross roads and everything is about to change. I have decided I’m going to be very positive about it and view this next phase of our lives as an exciting time full of opportunity (which, actually, it is!) And after all, we just never know what’s around the corner, do we? I’m focusing on appreciating my wonderful family, our friends and our lovely home. We have everything in the world to be grateful for and we truly are.

I hope all of you have had a wonderful Christmas and your new year celebrations went off with a bang! Thank you so much for another year of encouragement and support here on the blog. I so appreciate each and every person that takes time out of their day to stop in and catch up here.  I wish each and every one of you a joyous, healthy, prosperous new year!

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

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  1. Helen Tyson says:

    Have been trying to follow your good advice on getting organised with a command centre. I have turned our pine desk on the upstairs landing into our command centre and bought Designers Guild files and personal organiser from Kilver Court and used family photos and flowers and a lamp to add a feminine touch. Am so pleased with the result I sit on my Lloyd loom like chair and admire my hard work and it makes me smile inside. Xx

    • Sue Parfitt says:

      Ah Helen, I know exactly what you mean!! So glad to hear you are enjoying your command centre as much as I am mine!! 😘

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