|Recent snowy scenes|
First, though, 2016. Mini Bite's arrival was a momentous occasion and I have already posted some of my reflections on that adjustment. However, the year also involved other events and milestones. I acted up into a higher level at work (and then thanked my workplace for the privilege by going on maternity leave...); we had family visit who we hadn't seen since leaving Australia in 2014 (my mother-in-law in April; my brother-in-law and his partner in August; my brother in October), as well as a return visit from my parents; we had a week in the Forest of Dean; and we explored more of the countryside around our new (now new-ish) home in Kent.
From Goodreads I can estimate reading 67 books (give or take the odd one I filed late or not at all). I gave lots of books 4/5 or higher so will limit my list here to those that got the highest 5/5 rating;
- At The Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
- Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel
- Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
- Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine
- Longbourn by Jo Baker
- Poseidon's Wake by Alastair Reynolds
- Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen
- The Boleyn Trilogy by Laura Andersen (3 books, all excellent)
- The Illustrated Herdwick Shepherd by James Rebanks
- The Memory House by Linda Goodnight
- The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
I saw one film at the cinema (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) - the only cinema-based film I have watched in the last 2 years! However, we watched nearly 30 films recorded off TV at home. Of these, I gave 8/10 or higher to;
- 12 Years A Slave
- Ex Machina
- Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- Iron Man 3
- Saving Mr Banks
- The Imitation Game
- The Fifth Estate
- The Way Way Back
- Thor: The Dark World
I post blogging details on my blog anniversary in March, but will note now that I shared 95 posts - considerably fewer than the 142 of 2015 and the 170-180 odd of the previous years. Pregnancy and a new baby will do that to you.
I ran no races in 2016 (again, pregnancy and a new baby will do that) but did run 442 miles (710km) across the year. This is not very many by my usual standards, but I am proud to have run throughout pregnancy. I also started pilates, first pregnancy pilates and now mother/baby pilates, and the benefits for my back have been huge.
Looking ahead to 2017? I have 6 key aspirations:
- Run a half marathon in the latter half of the year. This would be my first race in 2 years and gives me a focal point for increasing my mileage back to the 13.1 level.
- Keep up pilates. This may not always be in the form of a weekly class, as when I am back at work that may not be feasible. However, the benefits of regular pilates have been so pronounced for me that I would be foolish not to prioritise keeping it in my routine.
- Find a routine for advance meal preparation. Whilst on maternity leave this isn't necessary, but when I return to work in June it will be a balancing act to fit everything in. I like the idea of setting aside an hour or two on a weekend to chop vegetables or prepare key staples.
- Related to (3), cut down on food packaging. For someone that likes to eat whole, natural foods where possible, I still buy a lot of packaged / processed foods. These are more expensive and aren't great for me or the environment. I'd like to get better at buying core ingredients in bulk and making my own versions of things wherever possible. Ideally packaged items would be a treat and not a weekly purchase.
- Get to the outstanding items on our 'To Organise' list at home - most pressing, buying a rug for our living room, a mirror to hang over our fireplace, and investigating options for putting a fire into the fireplace.
- Live in the present more than I'm inclined to do. This will be a tough one to evaluate, but I am terrible at looking back and mulling over past events, and then looking forward and worrying about future ones. I like to plan and will always have that tendency, but I risk missing out on wonderful moments because I am not mindful enough to appreciate them. The arrival of Mini Bite has highlighted this to me in a new way and I would like to stay in the present a little more often.
What were key highlights from your 2016, and/or what do you hope the next year will bring?