It's my favourite post of the year! I love putting together a little review of the last year and reflecting on what the last 12 months have brought! This year has definitely been the most exciting of my life ever! Nothing changes your life like becoming a mother.
I was 3 months pregnant in January, so life was pretty much carrying on as usual, and we started work on renovating our kitchen. It's tough not having a kitchen for a few months! But it was nice to see it slowly come together. I liked how despite half our house being a building site, you occassionally discovered glimpses of the buildings past, like these layers of old wallpaper....
Clearly we realised the benefits of getting out and about and away from the house, as we also had a day out in London, browsing the Classic Car Boot Sale on the Southbank, before redeeming a voucher we received as a wedding gift for afternoon tea at the Ritz! A lovely day out, although I remember feeling frustrated that I couldn't stuff myself with sandwiches and cake as I was starting to get quite a big baby bump and was really uncomfortable and got full really quickly! I'll definitely have to go back one day to take advantage of the unlimited cucumber sandwiches! :)
By the end of March the kitchen was starting to take shape and we also started preparing the nursery. Such an exciting time! It's quite embarrassing, but the day that Smeg fridge was unpacked made me so happy! ha! And we had the Smeg hob and oven installed so we could finally cook in the new kitchen.
As the sunny days of Spring arrived, I enjoyed getting out in the garden to create craft blog posts for AO at Home who I contribute to. It's my favourite time of year when you can start sorting out the garden and eating lunch in the sun.
In May, I attended Blogtacular. It was the first year of this fantastic blogging conference and it was a great success. I was speaking as part of the Secrets of the Editors panel which was a huge honour being alongside editors from publications such as Mollie Makes, The Guardian and Ideal Home. It was a tiring day as I was 7 months pregnant by this point, and there was so much going on, but I'm so glad I went, there was a wonderful atmosphere and so much to learn.
By the end of the month I was really starting to feel tired, huge and uncomfortable, so started spending more time trying to relax, working on my patchwork quilt and putting the finishing touches to the nursery...
We had our first wedding anniversary at the end of June. I was literally 12 days away from my due date, so we had a few friends over, reminisced about our amazing day in France last year, and everyone put bets on about when baby Rowland might make her appearance! Oh and hubby treated me to some beautiful flowers...
We then began the wait and endured numerous false alarms that come with the last week before your due date!
I knew things were starting to happen on Sunday 13th July. It's funny, everyone told me you just 'know' when it's the real thing, even though it isn't the intense, mad rush to the hospital that TV and films make it out to be! The early contractions were mild, so we busied ourselves with a trip to the supermarket and then we made a cake! We knew we were having a girl and had chosen the name already so we made Ruby her first birthday cake! Our theory was that once she was born we'd have lots of visitors to entertain, so a cake would come in handy!
On Monday 14th July at 9:57pm she arrived. The majority of my labour was managed using hyponbirthing and a tens machine, with a gas and air near the end. I'd highly recommended practising hynobirthing, it's really not as hippy as it sounds, and it definitely made the experience so much easier. The midwifes kept saying they couldn't believe how calm I was! Things didn't quite follow my birthing plan when it came to Ruby's exit, and I ended up in surgery, but hey, these things happen, and the main thing was she was healthy and absolutely beautiful!
The rest of July and August was a whirlwind of sleepless nights, visitors, learning how to be a mum and getting to know this little person. The summer really did pass me by this year! Ruby has definitely been my biggest achievement in my personal life, but the end of August seen the biggest in my professional life. My dream of seeing 91 Magazine in print was realised through a collaboration project with Mollie Makes magazine, where we produced a bookazine which I edited for Mollie Makes, and inside was a special 32 page edition of 91 Magazine!
I'm now selling individual copies of the 91 Magazine special, I have limited stock, so pop over to the website if you'd like one! I don't know if or when I might be able to do another print version! www.91magazine.co.uk/shop
It's quite the shock to the system how much time caring for a baby actually takes! Not that I was completely naive to it beforehand, but it is still a surprise! But once the first few months were out of the way, I started to get in the flow of things and was able to do some 'normal' things again. I FINALLY finished my patchwork quilt (I started it in early 2013!) and I was able to add some finishing touches to our kitchen... (although it's still not completely finished!)
It's crazy how quickly babies grow up. By the end of the year Ruby will be 5 and a half months! This first image below is her at about 2.5 months, the second shot she was 4 months and the last one is from just a few days ago at 5 months.
And now here we are getting ready for our first Christmas as parents! I'm looking forward to a quiet one at home, I may well stay in my PJs all day. It's been a roller coaster of a year, but one I will never forget that's for sure!
I have a few exciting things coming up in 2015 which I will hopefully share soon, but for now, have a wonderful Christmas and thank you for stopping by and supporting me, Patchwork Harmony and 91 Magazine!
Lots of Love, Caroline x