Well, we’ve reached the end of another year. Another in limbo year when some things were pretty much back to normal (tennis), but others (socialising) was still nowhere near back to normal thanks to Covid still being rampant. Fingers crossed the Omicron variant will be a fleeting wave, with the virilence reducing and us hopefully being able to get back to more normality.

It’s felt like 2021 whizzed by. Even N thought it went fast.

It’s a year that has felt like we’ve still not really done much. We’ve still not been on holiday or any breaks. We’ve not travelled to visit friends. I’ve still not seen my best friend and her family. Although dancing has been back, I’ve not felt ready to be back getting close to tens of people each time, even if everyone does a lateral flow test. Maybe next year, but we’ll see.

Anyway, here’s my look back and review of 2021.

review of 2021 and looking forward to

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Work

I’m still at the same company, and it’s been another busy year. Sustainability is still top of mind, and that means lots of work for us. We’re now hybrid working, so working from home unless there’s collaborative meetings or sessions we need to be in the office for. In the summer there was a post restrictions lifting outdoor social over lunch. It was great to meet new people based in our office there, as well as getting to chat to a lot of people. That was my first time being out with lots of people and wasn’t as worrying as it might have been due to being in a pub garden. I’ve so far been in for one team day which was good to meet all the new colleagues in our team, and catch up with some older faces.

Our work have been really good with the safety aspect, and people are responsible about testing before going in. We have air monitors, better ventilation, one way system, and limited numbers in the office, so it did feel safe going in. Given the government then recommended working from home again, I’m not sure when the office will be back open again.

It’s been sad to see some great people leave, but working from home is working for me, for our family, and so far I’m not feeling like I’m missing lots about the office. I do miss seeing people I’d usually speak to and sit near daily, but who I don’t now see or speak to day to day, as we’re in different teams.

Family

Everything with family is good. We’ve seen a bit more of my brother once restrictions had lifted, with him popping over, and taking N outside for golf, shooting practice, and a bit of kicking a ball around. He was also able to come for Christmas this year which was nice to have him back with us again. N loves spending time with him, and I’m sure our mum would be looking down in amazement at how well we get on – when we were kids she always used to say she worried at how much we fought, and whether we’d ever talk as adults.

With Covid, we’ve still not been with all the OH’s family – Christmas time pub meal was cancelled due to Omicron surges. It was a shame, but sensible given the size of our family and number of households that would have been mixing. Maybe next year we’ll be able to do something in the summer together outside.

School

N’s in his final year of primary school. Eek. We’ve submitted our secondary school application with no idea of whether he’ll get the school he preferred. If not, he’ll get the catchment which is fine. But we’ve now heard that he would be unlikely to get a bus seat for the catchment school anyway, which was the big reason for it being a good option.

At the moment, I have no idea how I will even be able to get him home from school once he starts in September. If he gets into the school most of the others in his school want to go to, then car sharing or maybe even organising our own clubbed together transport would be an option. Otherwise I’m a bit screwed, and could end up having to reduce my hours by quite a lot to manage the pick ups, which I don’t really want to do.

Year 6 has been going quite well despite them largely still keeping to their mini bubbles. Thankfully while there have been a handful of children off with Covid, it doesn’t feel like it’s been too disruptive for them.

N’s one of the 2 prefects in their class again, and his work seems to be on track, with maths again going well. He’s really enjoyed their World War 2 topic, and their extra comprehension sessions (which is a surprise!). Although mindfulness and their Christmas play have yet again not been his thing. It’s a shame that these and RE seem to have taken a lot of their PE time, so they’ve not done much this year compared to last year.

Health

This year I’ve really got myself organised. I’ve got back on my keto diet, and have upped my exercise. N laughs at me because my exercise is stepping/dancing around to music. But I’m getting in over 30 minutes of exercise a day, and usually 14-18k steps a day. My resting heart rate has improved – my fitbit tells me I’ve gone from fair level of fitness to average-good. I’d like to up it a bit more but until the weather improves and we can get back out on the tennis court again, it’ll take a while.

Because I changed my scales in May, I don’t know my actual starting weight or realistically how much I lost before that point. But I think it’s over 5 stone. I’ve got a bit left still to lose. March will be a year since I started, so hopefully I’ll hit my target near enough by that point.

I love eating keto. Because I still get to eat desserts (just no sugar/carbs versions), I don’t feel like I miss out from not getting to eat my favourite old cakes and confectionery. My tastes have changed now – sweet things before that I loved like milk chocolate and custard, just taste way too sweet for me now.

I feel so much better in myself, and now I’ve lost several dress sizes, I’ve gone a bit mad on sales shopping. Well, bra and jumper shopping. I’ve cleared out my old larger sizes from my wardrobe – making a fair bit on Vinted by selling them on – and now have so much choice from my smaller clothes that I held onto. This time I don’t intend to put the weight back on again.

I’ve also managed to grow my nails. It’s only taken 40+ years, but I now have nice nails (except for the one that broke really low over Christmas!).

Sports

Really the only activity we’ve taken part in this year is sports. N is still playing tennis, and wanted to do more tournaments, so we’ve been out and about doing those. Speaking to other parents and the coaches has basically been my social life this year. It’s nice that tennis has been pretty much as normal this year.

Return to post lockdown tennis

Over summer, I also got on the court with him on Sundays for a hit. I was getting better and more consistent again before Sunday slot was lost to a new coaching time. So I’ve not been able to find the time with the dark evenings. Next year, hopefully I’ll get back on court, and I want to try out rusty rackets or some coaching if possible. We’ve managed to get back N’s extra coaching slot with the main coach as well as the second coach which has really helped his technique. Next step is moving up to junior level – no more mini tennis. Although his coach is suggesting holding off more matches until Spring once his game’s bedded into the new standard ball, and likely full size racket.

N’s also now playing football. In the past he’s never been interested, but the Euros sparked his interest. Mostly in football facts, but also playing. So he’s now doing football club at school and loving it.

Having a table tennis table* now might also see us getting better at that (assuming the wind gives us a break on occasion).

Time out and relaxation

Relaxation has mostly been at home this year. I’ve read 80+ books this year for my Goodreads challenge. I’ve taken up crocheting again – 3 hats made so far. I’m getting a bit obsessed. And I’ve done a bit of sewing although I’ve not done as much as I’d hoped.

N’s been doing a lot of baking this year – he’s really loving it. And has increased his repertoire of cooking meals too. He loves watching youtube chefs vs home cook challenges. The end of the year had him making numerous batches of mince pies.

woman celebrating arms up in front of sunset or sunrise

Days out

This year hasn’t seen a lot of days out. We’ve largely stayed close to home if we’ve gone out at all. We’ve had a few lunches out following tennis tournaments, and I’ve met up with a couple of friends. There’s still a lot of people I need to catch up with in the new year though.

My favourite day out was a day in Oxford to myself, followed by an afternoon at Blenheim seeing their Christmas Nutcracker displays. And I also managed one of the rescheduled from 2020 theatre trips to see the 25th anniversary Riverdance show with a friend. My other 2 shows were rescheduled for 2023 and 2024, while the other I have a credit voucher I need to spend.

decorated christmas tree with girl dre

Hopefully next year we’ll do some more days out, make use of my Blenheim Palace and National Trust annual passes, and maybe get on holiday, even if it’s just a few days away around the UK, possibly catching up with my best friend at the same time.

Blogging

After last year I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep the blog doing so well, but it’s been another record breaking year for this blog. I’ve finally hit 1 million views (it’s only taken 9 years with the majority coming in the last 3 years), and

Top posts this year:

It’s been nice to see some newer posts doing well – with the top 2 from 2020.

Favourite posts from this year were:

If there are any posts or topics you’d like to see on here, then do let me know.

Next year what would I like to do more of? I don’t usually set goals because I prefer not to feel pressurised into having to do certain things when life always changes what you can do. But I’ve a few things I’d like to do more of.

Aims for 2022

  • Reach my target weight and maintain
  • Catch up with more of my friends face to face
  • Budget more – with inflation my savings aren’t going to be doing very well, so I need to budget a bit more, and get back to meal planning again which will help.
  • Play more tennis, and maybe do a rusty rackets course
  • Do more recipes on the blog – and improve my food photography (it just seems like a lot of effort when everyone just wants to eat the food).
  • Get away for a few days
  • Do more with my dance blog. Because I’ve not been dancing in a few years, I’ve posted only once. I’d like to do more with it, and get the readership back up again.

Goodbye 2021 and happy 2022.

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