a year of many things

You’re going to need a cup of tea for this one. Or if you’re not in the mood for ramblings, look away now.

One of the things I’ve noticed so far in the great what-d’you-want-to-see-here blog survey (have you filled it in yet? Pop over here for a moment and have your say) is that people seem to want more personal posts.

First off, in the tradition of good old Livejournal where first we met, I’ve been tagged by Vonnie to write about my highs and lows of 2012. And as years go it was a pretty big one, so here goes:

~ What was your happiest event?

Moving to the seaside. Our new house.

Being shown around by the owner who said ‘we want someone who’ll live here as a family and love it as their own and bring their children up here’ as I crossed my fingers and hoped they’d like us. Crying with happiness as I saw the attic bedroom with the view over the roofs to the sea. Crying with happiness again when she said she would happily take it off the market even though we couldn’t move in for a month. Sleeping in the dining room on a mattress before we moved the children in.

(Ross will be reading this and rolling his eyes. I saw a psychic who told me I’d live in a house just like this with views to the sea – I am resolute that if you imagine hard enough you can see the sea. Or at least the idea of it.)

~ What was the saddest thing to happen?

Cancer. It keeps trying to take people I love and I’ve had enough of it.

~ What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did?

Now this – this is where I really want to write something, but tact and stuff means I can’t. Which is a bit naughty, I know. If you really want to know leave a comment and I’ll tell you. But I’m still cackling over it.

~ Who let you down?

I was surprised to find that some friends who I’d known for a long time couldn’t cope with my getting divorced. I’m not sure why – whether it was because they thought it might be catching, or because (as another newly-single friend commented) it was that they were worried I might steal their husbands. But it was a year of surprising new friendships and cementing old ones.

~ Who supported you?

So many people, both online and off. My best girlfriends* (I was going to name you all but it started and it was turning into a speech worthy of Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars, so you know who you are and where the bodies are buried, so we’ll leave it at that. Love you all x) and of course Ross, for whom I don’t have the words. But he knows. *and their husbands, in the case of lovely Phill

~ Tell us one thing you learned.

I learned that I don’t have to do everything perfectly and that perfectionism can be a curse.
Still working on that one but it’s a good lesson.

~ Tell us one thing that made you laugh.

The Oatmeal – particularly this piece (particularly apposite after one slightly negative comment on my survey sent me into a flat spin of must-give-up-blogging panic). I cried laughing reading this.

~ Tell us one thing that made you cry.


~ Tell us something your children did to make you feel proud.

Dealt with tremendous amounts of change, moving schools and making new friends and settling in to seaside life amazingly well. It’s easy for us as adults to say children are resilient, but I think that’s a cop out and not really true at all. I moved schools a lot as a child and I remember that new-school feeling so well. So dealing with that, and a new stepfamily, and their dad living in Canada – well, I’m incredibly proud of them.

Oh and one more thing – both Verity and Archie learned to make coffee. For those of you with small children who wake at 4 or 5am who think there’s no end to the early morning risings – hold on to that one. It’s bloody amazing.

~ Tell us one thing that made you proud of yourself.

I started the year with no money, no job, and surviving on benefits which was a massive shock to the system. I had no idea how difficult it was to get anything – the Daily Mail stereotype of the single mother raking in money is so far removed from reality. Every time I sorted one thing, another one was taken away. There were periods where I couldn’t afford to eat, and I was too proud to ask my family for help when they’d already helped more than enough.

I ended the year with a job, the blog coming back to life, the book edited and ready to be published this month and a plan. Lots of plans, in fact.

~ Tell us one challenge you overcame.

I think learning to cope with the children’s father living in Canada. We’ve reached a point where we all get on well, where they feel secure and confident in their relationship with him, and I feel like we’re all working together well.

~ Tell us three things you’d like to change about your life in 2013.

I’m going to be more organised with my time (about which more in a future post)
I’m going to get to the gym regularly and get back to a decent level of strength and fitness
I’m going to take time to look after myself – there’s a gorgeous spa round the corner and I intend to start using it. I turn 40 this month so it’s time to start having facials (or is it too late? eek).

And finally Jax at liveotherwise has asked me to tell you all about my Next Big Thing. Well, that’s not that hard: later this month my book Sealed with a Kiss is released into the wild. I’m currently reading through the edits of the edits of the edits. I dream about typos and stray apostrophes. And cover art.

If you’re still here you deserve a prize. Congratulations. Sure you lot still want more personal stuff on here?

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  1. What a year you’ve had! And you’ve come through the other side to a very good place. Bravo.
    That photo may be my favourite of you.
    And, of course, I’m curious about the vague-blogging secret thing…

  2. Yes, I do want more personal stuff. And I’m still here :)

  3. Wow, what a year and what an amazing lady you are to have got through all of it so well!

    Yay for all the positive changes and your imminent book release!


  4. Wow!! Such a lot to deal with!! Well done! Some of your points I could totally empathise with friendships and divorce, cancer, amazing children and starting over!! Enjoy this year, looking forward to your book and your house looks fabulous!! I live in Cheshire and would love to live by the sea!!!

  5. i’m so glad I took the time to get the tea, and the seat in the rocker and reading this. I loved this post. I missed You.
    Cackling eh? hmm?
    I loved too the link to the oatmeal yeS!!! I think the comments part is why i keep my chair mostly to the people I know.

  6. Awww, lovely post – and luckily I’d just sat down with a cuppa so it was perfect. I’m so glad things have turned out so well for you xx


  8. Cackling? Spill the beans…

    Love your blog, I see a bit of me in you and often wonder why our paths didn’t cross more at school? I was perhaps trying to be someone I’m not, never will be and actually don’t want to be! The part about who let you down struck a massive chord with me. I too learnt the hard way who real friends are.

    I wonder if I could do it all again how different my life would maybe be…