I feel like the first time sitting at my laptop ready to tap out a few thoughts after a bit of a break is always the hardest. To get back into that mode of getting those words out of my head and onto the screen in front of me. It’s those in-between days between Christmas and New Year and I do always love to take the chance to have a bit of a ponder and a plan, looking back at the year gone by and think ahead a little to what might be to come.
For me, in loads of ways 2018 was a huge year. It was the year I became a mum. My little family became a three (five if you include the dogs… or seven if you add the rabbits in there too…) Which of course is a massive thing really, I’m not sure there’s much in life that can change things as much as having a child?
But at the same time in many ways it feels like a relatively quiet year for me. Since Eleanor arrived I have gotten back to work as much as time I had allowed really. In all honesty, it’s been harder than I expected. I realised that I couldn’t do both well so knowing that my daughter was starting nursery in the new year I had to just accept that work just wasn’t going to happen beyond the sorts of bits and pieces I could fit in.
In loads of ways it’s been nice to take a step back and know that I don’t have to bust my gut as much whilst I focus on mum-life a bit more. But at the same time the huge fear that I’ve taken too long away, or that I’ve just let things go a little too much and now have an even harder up hill battle against me than I did anyway to get things back to where I was. It’s such a competitive world, whilst I’m proud to have been going for as long as I have and feel like I’ve been successful, to take a break and try to get back to where I was is quite a daunting prospect.
Normally when I look back at the year gone by in a blog post I tend to focus on work experiences but as that’s not been my focus as much this year I’ve been looking at other things that have made 2018 memorable. It’s pretty hard to look past the big fat obvious one of my daughter.
I’m not going to sit here and type that every moment has been rosy and wonderful. Those first few weeks are a combination of SO hard and painful and exhausting but also this glowy bubble where even the worst discomfort and pain is completely forgotten when you look at your baby. As with all of life, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster with moments where you fall into a routine that works, things seem to flow and be going well – then something changed and everything is thrown off and you have to work out a new normal for it all. Be that small things like a day where she refuses to nap, or bigger things like introducing solids or catching a bug.
Having a baby is a massive curve ball for any relationship too. No longer and Ollie or I put our own needs/each other first in the same way. We’ve both always been really independent and whilst there’s been times where it’s not been easy at all – I’ve felt that niggle of resentment creep in when it feels like he has all the freedom in the world or that he’s ‘lucky’ to get to go to work. Overall though, in loads of ways I feel like having Eleanor has been amazing for both of us. We both love it 10x more than we both expected and she makes us smile every day. In general, we’ve become way more of a team than we have been previously and it’s worked brilliantly. I am so so grateful to him for being so amazing and supporting me and our little family in the ways he has. From cooking me dinner every night to sometimes just saying the right thing at the right time. He’s been amazing.
Which brings me to my most recent highlights – visiting New York – Definitely not something I would have anticipated that I’d be able to do with a nine month old baby but I am SO happy we did. It was a brilliant trip. To go somewhere that’s really special to me meant more than I probably realised when we planned it. The fact it all went so smoothly really exceeded my expectations and was everything I could have wanted.
In fact, the fact that I fully believed travel would be off the cards it was very much the opposite. In the time since Eleanor arrived I’ve travelled to: Majorca, northern Spain, Las Vegas (& Joshua Tree) for Zoe & George’s beautiful wedding and most recently New York. Not bad for the year I’ve had a baby and SO SO grateful that I’ve made travel work as it really is such a love of mine. I hope 2019 has more travel on the cards, I know we have one trip to Chicago on the cards late in the year but other than that… who knows!
Family has been a huge highlight for me this year, beyond just my own immediate one expanding. But seeing how much Ella’s grandparents love her has bene amazing – babies do bring a whole lot of joy. Having her surrounded by all her grandparents for her first Christmas was the cherry on top.
I guess one fairly significant thing I did work/internet life wise was to make a split of instagram accounts. It was a bit risky, but feel like it was the best thing I could have done. My original and ‘main’ account @beautyjunkieldn is now back to being fully dedicated to being ALL beauty. Then I have my more personal/life account @jen_thorne where I share all things baby/dog/life/travel. If you don’t follow either would love it if you wanted to join me over there!
So, saying goodbye to 2018? A year I became a mum (but not just a regular mum, I’m a cool mum… HA, nope), I put other things ahead of my career, slowed down and took a step back from the super competitive side of blogging. BUT I am excited to spend more time on the blog and my freelance projects in 2019 (casual plug… if anyone is looking for some social media help, I’m your girl). Seeing Eleanor grow and learn new things. Attempt to keep my sanity and juggle family, work and a possible big house project…. I’m excited for 2019, I have a feeling it will be a good year (Brexit nonsense aside…)
Pregnancy photos shot by Farlie Photography