My #SewingTop5 of 2017: the (non-sewing) highlights

This year I’m taking part in the #SewingTop5 challenge again, and you can find the first post (reflections on my sewing in 2017) here. So, to balance that out, here’s the non-sewing highlights of the year 🙂

1: Up the duff again

Yes, I can’t seem to stop having children!Not content with two of the little monkeys, this summer Andy and I decided to try for another. It was now or never, to be honest, because I knew if I got too used to having a bit of time to myself again I wouldn’t want to give it up!

This one is due in May 2018 and we won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl till then. Whatever, I’m happy. I’m also currently enjoying the relatively comfy stage of pregnancy where I can still get my shoes on and don’t yet have heartburn. I might not be quite so content come April, but hey, it’s a short time in the grand scheme of things.

Over the next few months expect more maternity makes, and I’ll probably get on with finishing some old quilts too as the nesting instinct takes over.

2: Visiting Madrid with Andy

Outside the Prado with Andy

We’ve been saying for a few years now that instead of buying Christmas and birthday presents for each other we’ll get nothing, and use the money to go on a European city break for a few days while my parents look after the kids in the February half term. In 2017 we chose Madrid as neither of us had ever been there before, and it looked like an interesting city. It was our first time in an AirBNB, and we had a great time visiting art galleries, wandering the city streets and eating tapas in little restaurants. This year we’ve chosen Berlin, so if anyone has any tips for things to do there, do let me know!

What with the baby being less than a year old in February next year I doubt I’ll want to leave them, even for a few days, but perhaps we’ll go away for a night or two in the Easter break or the summer half term–perhaps in Italy, as I’ve recently begun learning Italian (I’ve also been promising myself I’ll learn another language for years now!). With so many wonderful cities to explore, I doubt we’ll ever run out of places to visit 🙂

3: Taking the kids to the South of France

St Paul de Vence, Daisy and Gabriel, August 2017 1

Now, family holidays are not without their challenges (no babysitters, potential for illness, never getting a moment to let your guard down in unfamiliar locations), but in 2017 we finally braved heading out to the South of France and taking the kids on their very first flight. Typically Gabriel slept on the outbound flight, but he really enjoyed the one on the way back and we even got to go in the cockpit!

We stayed near Nice and to be honest it was too hot what with the heatwave they were having, but we had some lovely days out on the beaches and by the pool, and visiting St Paul de Vence was a real highlight. We probably won’t be going on a family holiday abroad in 2018 what with having a newborn to cope with, but we’re considering booking a few shorter holidays in the UK. I’m angling for Mid Wales and/or Cornwall, but again, there are so many beautiful coastal locations in this country we’re really spoilt for choice.

4: Running the Frome 5k

Frome 5k

Again, I’ve been saying I’ll run in the local 5k race for years now, and 2017 was the year I finally booked myself in for it and started training. I really enjoyed the race itself and ran a personal best at 30 minutes 5 seconds, so I was happy with that.

It’s funny to think back on how unfit I was in my youth, and how much I enjoy exercise these days. My teenage self would have been in hysterics at the idea of me voluntarily running a race like this! Admittedly, at the moment I’m not feeling terribly fit as pregnancy and looking after Gabriel has sapped me of much of my energy and time to exercise, but I’m planning to get back into regular workouts again once Gabriel starts nursery next month. Feeling strong and fit is now my baseline, and I don’t want to be any other way ever again! Honestly, the weight loss benefits are very much a happy side-effect–it’s the fitness I’m after!

5: Transforming my garden

Okay, I still have a long way to go on this one, but I’m really pleased with the work I’ve done in our courtyard this year. Unfortunately I don’t have any really good shots of the whole space in full bloom for some reason, but you’ll have seen the white walls and hanging baskets used for many a blog backdrop this last year. This coming year I’ll continue with the Mediterranean/semi-tropical planting scheme by digging out the hydrangeas and putting in some more attractive plants, like a palm and a bottlebrush tree.

In 2018 there’ll be plenty more work to do in the back garden proper (vegetable beds and flower beds created, and some ugly conifers taking out) and the front too, but at least in 2017 I had a lovely, sheltered, private courtyard to sun myself in. Even now in the depths of winter it’s looking fairly pretty with the winter baskets and containers I planted up, and I can’t wait for spring to roll around again!

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So, those are my non-sewing high points of the year. What were yours? Has anyone else finally got around to doing things they’ve promised themselves for years?

And if you’re taking part in the #SewingTopFive or have written any other kind of round-up, please link in the comments so I can come and have a nose!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a round-up of how I did with my #2017MakeNine challenge. See you then!

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