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Is it too late to say Happy New Year?

Book 'The Shortest Day' and zebra socks on a purple blanket

Wow. So Christmas happened! We had the usual lurgy filled early December, but W had holiday to finish up from work, so there were often the two of us around, which was novel.

Christmas itself was spend at home, skyping with family members spread far and wide, taking family walks, and eating our amazing Christmas cake, (you can compare it to last year’s cake.)

Since the new year we have been to the Panto (which was particularly good this year), and now we are back to our day to day lives of work, learning and trying to get the washing dry.

I have high hopes for 2015, but before I tuck 2014 to bed, here are the things I found that really stuck with me last year:

  • Dobble (aka Spot It – in the US) – Various blogs I read talked about this game in the run up to Christmas and I got it on a whim, but I’m really glad I did. I now keep it in my bag so that I can pull it out if we’re out and about. Plus it gets plenty of play at home too. We got the standard version, which it recommends for 6+ but my 4 year old is fine with it. (There are a ton more versions of it in the US including educational ones with letters, numbers and even sight words. There are also rugged waterproof outdoor sets, and character themed sets, like pixar and disney themed ones.)
  • Milly-Molly-Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley (ISBN 978-1447273066) – I never read Milly-Molly-Mandy as a child, and picked up one of the books randomly at the library. We read through that in about two sittings, (in fact we probably could have done it in one, since all three were asking for more), and have since gone back and read through the rest. In fact as well as the original books, I have some of the seasonal collections on my phone, in case I need to whip out a story on the fly. They are simple enough that my (bookworm) nearly-2 year old will sit through a story, but engaging enough that FB (who is 6 now), asks for them too. And if you like them, then you should also try Bunchy (ISBN 978-1903252222) which is by the same author.
  • Community (NBC years and now yahoo screen) – I am so late to this party. I am notoriously late to most parties, but since having children my finger is usually off the pulse, and only prodding from the BFF will get to watch something. Luckily she has great taste, and has got me into shows such as Leverage (which you should also check out if you haven’t before now), and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (ditto). She lent me the first four seasons of Community, and then sat patiently while I found the time and the head space to watch it, knowing that when I did I would be texting her to rave about it. (Which I totally did.) She told me it was basically an american ‘Spaced‘, and I didn’t believe her, because I’m a fool, and she was totally right. (Dan Harmon has admitted as much.)
  • Sarah & Duck – Everyone in our house is a bit in love with the cartoon Sarah & Duck. It’s just funny and strange and sweet. And short. It’s our go to programme when I need to brush CP’s hair, (why yes, our nearly 2 year old has hair that reaches more than halfway down her back now, and doesn’t like having it tied back), or where there is time of one more tiny programme while I serve up dinner.  The narration is done by Roger Allam. Having grown up listening to Cabin Pressure, my eldest two don’t bat an eye. I could listen to him talk for hours (though I’m still not going to listen to him read bloody Jeffrey Archer on audible. That would be going too far.
  • Bullet Journalling – I have kept notebooks off and on since I was a teenager, and as a mum I tried various types of To Do list, but after coming across the Bullet Journal video last summer I gave it a go and it’s stuck. It doesn’t keep all my plates spinning, all the time, and not everything that gets written down gets done, but it’s made me a hell of a lot more intentional and productive, and I’ve stuck at it, and don’t plan to stop any time soon.
  • Project-Based Homeschooling Master Class – After doing the Journalling for PBH week long class in the summer, I did the PBH master class last autumn and it was outstanding. Lori is a thoughtful, caring and attentive course leader, full of good ideas, honesty and solid support. I need to go through my materials and put myself through the course again in my own time to be honest. I think I’ll find just as much to learn the second time through.
  • This amazing comic about teaching art by diaemyung – I only found this yesterday, but relates to ‘teaching’ and I found it really inspiring and a Home Ed parent.
  • Junto by Basement Jaxx – In the late-90’s, when I was a student, I lived in Brixton around the corner from a club that Basement Jaxx regularly played at. Or so my housemate told me. I wasn’t cool enough for that. And I was listening to a lot of Belle and Sebastian, and Suede. Now I go running to Basement Jaxx and it’s like pure sunshine in my ears.
  • Wittertainment on Radio 5 – because who doesn’t want to listen to a load of movies I’m not actually going to see, interspersed with old-married-couple arguments and in-jokes from Mark Kermode, and Simon Mayo?
  • Running – As someone who has never enjoyed doing sport, it amazes me that I actually completely the couch to 5km program last year. But I did. And it was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. And then I hurt myself. And then winter came. BUT… the thing it that I know I can start back at a level I feel comfortable at and work my way back up again. And that feels revolutionary.

So there you go. Thanks 2014. You were a tough year in many respects, but there was some really good stuff there too.

In 2015 I’m planning more dyeing, more patterns (VAT be damned!), and more writing here.

What lit you up last year?

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