It’s the last week of 2016, we’re about to usher in a new year so it’s time for the Absolutely Prabulous annual review.
Every year has its ups and downs; this one has been no exception. 2015 was just damned awful on the personal front; a seemingly never ending storm. When I first started working on this post a few days ago, the rest of that previous sentence went: “but I have to say I’m in a better frame of mind writing this year’s retrospective than I was last year.” I’ll be honest, with the recent death of George Michael which prompted me to write this tribute (and the death of Carrie Fisher days later), I can’t say I’m pouring the bubbles as I now finish it. Nevertheless, 2016 has been alright, with some great bits, some sad bits, some challenging bits and some continuing personal issues that remain unresolved. That’s life, though, right? How can anyone have 365 perfect days?
So grab yourself a coffee (or something more interesting), pull up a chair and join me while I look at the fantastic wins, sad times and bloody great big mistakes of 2016 (there’s even a video at the end if you want to skip straight to that).
2016 was the year when I opened up about my failings as a mother
I mean properly opened up (well as much as I could without making you totally hate me). My usual tendency is to evade serious issues and fluff over my hardly expert parenting via the use of comedy . Not this time. Yet to my amazement, instead of the trolls lining up to rip chunks out of me, reader after reader identified with what I wrote.
And it was the year I almost shared a bed with a total stranger during my first ever blog event
Okay, not quite a total stranger; it was Helen of Just Saying Mum, whose blog I loved from the moment I came across it. But we’d never actually met in real life. Come June, I’d left it so late to book accommodation for my two day attendance at #BML16 that I couldn’t find any single rooms, so I persuaded Helen to share a double room. So basically what I’m saying is I asked someone I’d met online to sleep with me. In the end, she went down with flu (so the she says ha ha).
2016 was the year my family was at the receiving end of immense joy and utter sadness.
A close family member had the most surprising and happy news…followed all too quickly by terrible unexpected tragedy which many of us are still trying to process. Life is cruel. Exactly four weeks after the tragedy, I became an aunt again as another close family member had their second child. One life leaves, another arrives…
Meanwhile, my parents celebrated 50, yes FIFTY years of marriage. Oh and my husband got even thinner.
And it was the year I squeezed my ‘Not 21 heck it’s not even 30 anymore’ bum into skinny white jeans in the worst wardrobe decision. Of. My. Life.
This is actually still beyond my own comprehension. When getting dressed shortly before the Brilliance in Blogging awards back in June, I stood in front of the mirror in a lovely white top and white lace skirt, had a wave of self doubt about ‘overdoing it’ and promptly took them off. What did I put on instead? One of my favourite summery blouses (nothing wrong there) and heaven help me (and anyone who had the misfortune to see this) the TIGHTEST white jeans you’ve ever laid eyes on. In my defence, I’d fast forwarded to the mental image of me sat at the table bravely clapping for the Unmumsy Mum or one of the other worthy finalists who I was convinced would win, looking ridiculous in my “Oscars” outfit and so I decided to tone things down a bit. Forcing my middle-aged bum into those white trousers was the opposite of toning things down. I realise that now. The thing is I’m used to seeing myself from the front (as in the title photo for this post), as opposed to from behind so I had nooooo idea how bad things had got ‘back there’. The lesson here is: better to overdress and conceal your arse than try the understated look and end up looking worse. The skinny jeans have been confined to the back of the wardrobe and I’ve put the sorry episode behind me, excuse the pun. (But you can catch my epic fail on YouTube as it was videoed by New Mum Online.)
2016 was the year where I realised that just because Hubster was amazingly supportive of me writing this deeply personal post, it doesn’t mean…
…any of the issues have actually been fixed.
And the year when I talked as candidly as I could about about growing old
which was a big deal for me. Oh look, a woman
moaning talking about ageing for once. Yes, I’m a cliche. However, it’s not something I’d written about on here. I’ve been quite coy about divulging my age partly because most of my blogging peers are WAY younger than me and I already feel like a dinosaur next to all these younguns on their first pregnancies without yelling my age all over Prabulous town. I also for some daft reason, felt it would hold me back in some way from achieving my blog goals. Anyway, bottom line, I wrote about it. Moving past my early 40’s wasn’t a problem. Getting into my mid 40’s, I just accepted that. But the realisation that my last birthday officially placed me in my late 40’s was awful. The body greeting me in the mirror these days is definitely not the toned one of my 20’s and I needed to describe how I feel (ok it wasn’t a totally serious post) as a form of rationalising and therapy.
2016 was the year when people lost their s**t because a mother showed her child some love with ‘that kiss’.
As a result, I lost my patience…feel free to click on this pic to read why:
And it was the year they lost their damned minds voting a crap-talking, tantrum-throwing, narcissistic, racist, crass, misogynistic, tax-avoiding vagina-grabbing manchild into the Oval Office.
The Brits may have had Brex-shit but the Americans went bigger.
2016 was my annus most horribilis as I went ‘head to head’ with dreaded lice.
Yes, go ahead and chunder. I’m right there with you chundering myself. I cannot (it’s okay I will not in fact) describe the full horror of the lice plague that haunted my kids and me. Honestly, at one point, I thought I might have to set everyone’s hair on fire. A tad melodramatic? Er, actually nope. You have no idea (because I meant what I said about not sharing the grizzly details) how long it went on for. I wanted to submerge the entire flipping house in tea tree oil. And I came THIS close to treating the girls’ Barbies for it too. Hurl.
And the year we watched a LOT of films but also got off the sofa long enough to get a little bit fit:
When I wasn’t busy laughing along to Zootropolis, losing myself in the Spielberg triumph that is the BFG or feeling like a kid again watching Pete’s Dragon (what? you mean they also make films for grownups?) I got myself back running. Man it’s good to be back! At one point, I wondered if I’d ever run again as I was off for over two years due to injury, following an incident that I’m still not brave enough to write about. However, once the initial thrill of getting back to pounding the pavement subsided, the issue of actually fitting it in with blog, kids, house set in. The challenge in 2017 will be setting and sticking to a consistent schedule that does not involve risky moves like putting the kids to bed and heading out in the dark for nighttime runs because it’s the only time I can fit them in. I also managed to get the kids to Summer swim school, three times a week. Go me. Seriously, I’m rubbish at doing anything three times a week. I could hardly believe the progress they made.
2016 was the year when I got nominated for two blog awards, made the shortlist for both and somehow actually won one of them!
In case you don’t know – although this is less likely than the tooth fairy having Santa’s love child because I may possibly have mentioned it a ‘couple of times’ already – I won the Brilliance in Blogging Awards Best Writer category (you can watch my speech if you fancy). I do feel like a tool mentioning it again but it would be a bit odd doing an end of year retrospective and leaving it out as it was obviously a major highlight of my year and blogging career to date. (And let’s face it, probably the only time in my life I win something unless they start giving medals for the most prolific key loser so it needs a final nod before 2016 comes to an end.)
And the year I fought my fears and actually did things I never thought I’d do:
Launching my Laugh til you cry voyeuristic cringefest series that is the #OopsFiles series.
Yeah Baby. People had the mother of road trips, KEPT dropping their pants, suffered monumental toilet fails and somebody even got mistaken for a prostitute! To think I was nervous nobody would be interested in featuring! I had no idea how shockingly hilarious the stories or how numerous the willing participants would be. Thank you to everyone who’s helped make the #OopsFiles a corker and stay tuned for more hilarity in 2017.
Getting Out From Behind the Computer Screen and Getting in Front of the Camera!
This has been THE revelation of this year for me. I still feel a bit odd saying it but I’m finally vlogging. I’m very new to this gig and honestly don’t have a ‘strategy’ yet thanks to my trying not to overthink. Funnily enough, being confronted with my voice and over-expressive collagen-starved face (linking back to the age thing), which were some of the things that put me off vlogging in the first place, has helped me accept who I am a bit more. I’m ‘seeing’ myself properly for the first time and am learning to not to dislike the bits of me I’ve loathed for so long. If it hadn’t been for my future sister-in-law who gave me the push (within just ten minutes of meeting me!), I wouldn’t be vlogging at all by the way. There’s more! I’m teaming up with Just Saying Mum for a regular YouTube series #BloggersCafe which will be coming to a screen near you in 2017!
Cohosting a linky series
It sounds daft doesn’t it? But I’ve always been nervous about regularly hosting a linky for fear of some kind of perceived ‘failure’ or inability to commit. Luckily my #CandidCuddles partner Cuddle Fairy is an awesome co-host and had already built a lovely community when she hosted it solo for over a year so slotting in was super easy. Find the link ups to date here.
It was the year where terrorist acts, the plight of refugees and atrocities in war torn countries no longer seemed to shock us.
Dare I say it, we’ve become complacent and sort of immune to the horror.
And of course, 2016 was the year where we learned you just don’t know when your number will be up…
Death after death of legend after legend shocked us and shocked us. What a year. The older you get, the more you realise life really is so very short. My childhood faded further into the distance as the icons I grew up admiring left one by one. They were a personal inspiration to me for so many reasons:
Prince and Ali proving to this brown-skinned girl that skin colour doesn’t always have to hold you back.
Victoria Wood proving to this female that women ARE just as hilarious as men.
Ronnie Corbett proving to this petite thing that the shortest of people can reach the highest of heights.
Terry Wogan simply because I actually met him when I was seven years old and loved the man’s broadcasting style forever more
David Bowie because…do I actually need a reason? (I did explain here though…)
And most recently, George Michael and Carrie Fisher as mentioned above. I’ve actually had to amend that ‘most recently’ bit as the most recent death when I started writing this was that of the incredibly talented and often controversial writer AA Gill. It’s been unreal.
Last but not least, 2016 is a year that I end wondering how I’m so blessed to have such loyal readers.
I’m more thankful than you can ever know. Without you, dear reader, there would be no point in me sitting here in the first place, at oh-my-gosh-is-that-the-time o’clock, writing about the year that has been.
So thank you so much for being here. I wish you and yours health and happiness for 2017. Here’s a little video from me to you. Mwah!
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