January - A look Back at 2021, What's to come and dates for the diary
January 2022 is now here, that sounds super weird to say.
I honestly can not believe how fast 2021 has been and gone. Again we are entering a brand new year with uncertainty and we are not really sure what is going to happen over the next few weeks. Will we end up in another lockdown? I hope not, but honestly I am finding it so difficult to even make plans for a few months time because we just don't know what is going to happen.
We started 2021 with restrictions. Not being allowed to spend the previous Christmas with family was hard but this year we managed to visit family, so I was grateful for that.
We basically stuck with local walks and attractions that were open, pretty much up until the restrictions were lifted in the summer. At the end of March we had a car accident seeing our much loved car written off, however this pushed us to buy a camper, which we put to good use in June when we visited one of our favourite camping spots in North Yorkshire. We decided to visit some places we had never been before and it was so good to be able to go camping again. Plus the weather was amazingly hot.
Then the summer holidays hit. As a home educating family we don't usually stick to school terms, however we decided to just enjoy the summer and let the boys have time to relax and refresh. We worked with a few tourism boards and helped to promote staycations which is something we are passionate about. (This country is fantastic and has so many great places to visit) Over the summer we enjoyed visits to car shows, nature reserves, picnics, fruit picking, long beach days, dino trails, skiing, lots of circus shows and a day trip back up to Scotland to see friends.
In 2021 we once again had a few lockdown birthdays, we just made the best out of the situation and the boys all still had a good day. We did move house again but not because we wanted to, but because we had no choice. Thanks for that slum landlord! We decided to only rent a house when we moved back to England because we are not 100% sure if Sunderland is our forever home yet. Turns out the landlord had the wrong type of mortgage to rent the house out and the mortgage company had warned him about it previously. Safe to say I didn't have nice words to say to him. Thankfully we found a house that is much more suitable for us. I even have a spare room for my office/craft room! It is close to the city centre, in an ok area with great neighbours and a park and beach on our doorstep.
The blog became a huge success in 2021, after many months contemplating giving up with it all, spending hours trying to build it up and it just seemed like it was going nowhere. Then come summer and the Facebook page just went a bit mad with new followers which in turn boosted my blog views massively.
Ending December on almost 15.5k followers on Facebook which I am really happy with because my target was 10k by Christmas. If you are reading this I would be forever grateful if you could give me a follow on socials....
The boys turn 16, 14 and 10 this year. They are growing up way too fast.
Nothing is set in stone just yet, lots of outside time with walks and just being in nature.
I have been thinking about decorating the house, this is a mammoth task because the house is huge. All of the rooms are big, there are 5 bedrooms and it's on 3 floors. There is also a cellar but I have blocked that off because I just don't want to deal with that right now. (Dark, spidery and dusty!) I also want to replace the flooring on the stairs and in the bedrooms too. When we were moving in, we had the flooring done downstairs and rejigged the kitchen.
My main priority is to get the outside space to our standard with lots of growing our own, wildflowers, hanging baskets, birdfeeders etc.
Adam is finishing his GCSEs and has done mocks to be prepared just in case we enter lockdown or they cant do the exams. He has already sorted his college options and is just waiting to get started. We are excited for this new chapter in his life but I am also sad that my oldest will be 16 in May! Toby will also be joining the college to do his GCSEs in September 2022.
In January I usually create a mega plan ready for the term ahead and plan what we are going to be learning about. We will most definitely be continuing with our more hands on projects and letting the boys have more say in what they learn about. I did make a start on the education plan and so far have lots of opportunities for cookery, woodwork, art etc. We don't stick with a school curriculum although we do still do Maths, English, Science, History, Geography etc. We just do it in our own way.
We have lots of plans for day trips and mini vacations. I have already booked London and Blackpool and I am eyeing up a few other options too. I don't think I will book a holiday abroad because it is just so uncertain at the minute. We have big plans for the blog in 2022 and hope to expand massively. I really want to work on Instagram and continue to expand on Facebook. I have just bought a GoPro and we are planning to video some of our day trips.
For Christmas, we don't just purchase things the boys have asked for, we like to do an experience list too and this year we have gone all out. We have bought Merlin passes and have plans to really get the most out of them, we are continuing with our English Heritage, National Trust and WWT memberships, we have a trip to Chester Zoo planned and so much more. I hope you will enjoy following our adventures and we will be sharing our top tips.
Plans in place
I never really do resolutions or say the usual 'new year new me' because no one ever sticks to any of it, there's no point, but I do have some things I want to get done in 2022.
*January we always do a clear out of toys, clothing, books and like to start our year as clutter free as possible. I don't really buy myself that many things over the year anyway but for 2022 I would really like to try and get things preloved and reuse. I have never been a fan of buying new and throwing things away, so I think Ebay may be my new best friend.
*Nature Journal - This was on my list last year but I never did it because we were in lockdown and the only things we were seeing for the best part of 6 month was seagulls on our beach walk and the odd spider. However I would love to do this now that we are ok to be out and about. I may even publish this next year so watch this space!
*In 2020 we challenged ourselves to do 30 nature reserves in 30 days for the wildlife trusts 30 days wild challenge. We almost managed it but Adam had a terrible accident whilst out on his bike and badly broke his arm so for that summer we had to rejig our plans so he could rest. We would love to give this another go this year. We are really going to be stepping up our conservation game for 2022 and want to help out in any way we can. I am passionate about reducing plastic use, tree preservation and local wildlife which has rubbed off on the boys.
*Weekends off. This is something I started doing last year and it was so good for my mental health. As a writer I literally spend every waking hour either online or writing, so the weekends off I allowed myself were so refreshing. I left my phone upstairs all day, laptop turned off and just enjoyed no tech. We watched movies with no interruptions or the temptation to just check my notifications, we went on walks and although I did have my phone for emergencies I took time to use my camera again. It was wonderful and I intend on doing it again for 2022.
*As I said above I plan to expand the blog and basically keep doing what we have been doing. Producing good quality articles, working with fantastic businesses, and just enjoy the new year and see where it leads. I have set myself a new target of 25k on Facebook by next Christmas. Fingers crossed.
*Books - So in 2019 I set myself a goal of writing a children's book. I did that and for some silly reason I have not published it. So for 2022 I am going to publish my children's book and work on my cookery book that has been in the pipelines since forever.
*Fall in love with photography again. I seem to have just lost interest over the last 6 months. So I really really want to get back into it again.
As you are all well aware by now that I have square eyes (as my nana would say) I just love to watch tv and 2022 is an amazing year for movies and tv series. I have picked out the ones that we are more excited about...
Scream - So looking forward to this.
The Batman (Still not 100% on this one)
Dr Strange multiverse of madness
Sonic 2 (we loved the first one)
Jurassic World Dominion
Lightyear - Elliot is excited for this one
Avatar 2 (Finally)
Super Mario Bros the movie
No release dates for 2022 yet
Hocus Pocus 2 (maybe October?)
Hotel Transylvania 4
Minions Rise of Gru
Cheaper by the Dozen
TV in 2022
Stranger things season 4
Lord of the rings
Cobra Kai season 5
No resolutions to see here, however I have set these goals for myself.....
* Be kind to myself *Practice Self Care
*Slow Down *More time for Craig and I
*Positivity *Believe in myself
Dates for your diary
25th Jan Burns Night
28th - 30th Big Garden Bird Watch
1st Feb Chinese New Year
4th - 20th Feb Winter Olympics
14th - 20th Acts of Kindness week
14th Valentines day
1st March is Pancake day !!
(I will do a separate post for dates in the diary with the full year.)
Many of you know that I love our night sky and astronomy is something that we all enjoy.
January's full moon is known as the Wolf moon and will be full 17th Jan.
Constellation to look for is Orion Nebula
Also a meteor shower night of the 3rd / morning of the 4th Jan and constellations to look for are Boötes which will be near to the plough.
7th Feb - Uranus will be visible but you will need binoculars to see the icy planet.
27th Feb - Venus is in conjunction with Mars
Spring Equinox is 20th March
(I will add all the astronomy details to the dates for the diary 2022 post)
Do you have any plans for 2022 yet?
Happy New Year everyone - North East Family Adventures.
Check out these other posts
National Trust Nunnington Hall Our Family Guide
A Guide to Teessaurus Park - The Home of Middlesbrough's Dinosaurs.
WWT Washington, A World of Wetland Nature on our Doorstep.
Family Friendly Things To Do In Northumberland