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2016 with a grateful heart

New Year always makes me pause. Theres a bit of ‘where did last year go’ and a bit of ‘what shall I do this year…?’ so much happens so quickly and so many plans. Although I start 2016 without any resolutions.

Instead of resolutions (which I just don’t make, haven’t done for years, never keep them anyway!) I am choosing to look back with a grateful heart and look forward with hope. 2015 had it’s ups and downs.

I have said this before and you may well have noticed that, generally speaking, I don’t share or dwell on the downs. There have been some fairly epic ones BUT life has a way of balancing them out with amazing times. So dwell I will not. This is not to keep anyone in the dark, more that I choose to live this way. I choose hope and move forward.

Julia Smith - photographer

On the up side, renovation progress was pretty epic also! We are almost half way round the house (operation save-up is back on for the next round of work) and the kitchen/dining/living spaces are just about done. We will ignore the bedrooms/bathroom a little longer as the roof is leaking again and there is a small flat roof to replace. I’m still quietly hoping for my shed/workspace, but it seems to be nudged down the priority list…

Anna finally decided she is happy to go to playgroup without separation issues daily. Such a small thing that makes such a big difference. And if I’m honest, a bit of a relief since she will be starting school in September. New adventures await.

Ed sat his SATs, finished primary school and moved on to secondary school with so little fuss, considering he knew only a couple of people there and the school is huge, another of my proudest moments. I’m convinced we can learn a lot from the resilience of children.

Millie continues to be the most amazing Millie I know, she went away for a week without us over summer 2015 on a big camp, the longest time she has been away from home and was so full of independence and confidence when she came home. She has a big heart and an incredible appetite for reading books, we can’t keep up.

I started a blog. Still that makes me chuckle. I’m pretty sure I’m not actually a blogger but I adore this corner of the internet very much! And that you visit, well, that is just the best feeling ever, so thank you.

We hosted gatherings and parties, the biggest was for around 100 people, so much fun!! So much tidying up afterwards… We had weekends away none of which were planned more than a month or two in advance and all of which were brilliant, we had a summer holiday disaster and came home early. That’ll be one of the downs…

The great de-clutter started again this week, I love a good clear out. It always amazes me just how much stuff has come into the house each year though I guess that just happens with a family of 5. I’d like to slow it down a bit as the giving away of ‘things’ is becoming a mammoth task, the material items too numerous to consider, and I reckon at least half of it has been used rarely if at all. Well meaning gifts and impulse buys, eek, too much…

I’ve been absolutely inspired by a couple of my friends photo projects in 2015 and am definitely going to attempt to keep some going this year. Sarah (who is all kinds of lovely) shared a portrait of one or both of her gorgeous daughters each week. Often candid moments that capture them just as they are, this is my favourite style of portrait photography and one I hope to develop. I may well have to resort to covert camera operations as it seems my children are about as happy in front of the camera as I am (i.e. find it rather painful) so I’m not promising a full 52 weekly photos, but I’m going to give it a go! Hannah rounded up each month with a grid of nine photos. Beautiful enough but oh so much better when you look at them as a collection, she sums it up on her blog and I am inspired.

I won’t write a long (likely unachievable) list but there are a few other plans I have for this year. I’d like to read a couple of classic novels. I am a third of the way through Wuthering Heights at the moment. I can’t remember ever having read any of the great novels before.

In May, although not necessarily a plan, I’ll be turning 40. Eek. Until then I’ll be in denial.

Most of all I hope to keep appreciating the little details. The mispronunciations of childhood, the wildflowers of early summer, the curls of steam rising from a hot cup of coffee. The details and moments that punctuate life, the softness of a woollen blanket, the first buds on the trees. The musky scent of my favourite rose… And the daydreams that somehow morph into reality, the taking of photographs that leads to the writing of words that leads to a lovely new path to wander.

With nothing but a grateful heart.

Julia x


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