The highs and lows of 2014

This year began waiting for my Grandma's prognosis meeting. It's fair to say that we weren't looking forward to it. She'd had a diagnosis of bowel cancer at the beginning of December, followed swiftly by an operation. We knew it was stage four cancer, but we didn't know how long we would have left with her. The doctors told her she would have nine months left without chemotherapy, and twelve to eighteen months with the chemo. She opted to give the chemo a go. I had also started thinking about moving house to my grandma's in the summer, and was still at the excited stage. In The Gallery, I looked back at my friendships and my love of football. By the end of January, Grandma was facing setbacks as her kidneys were not working as well as they should have been, meaning she had to wait to start her chemotherapy.


We went away for a weekend with friends on the first weekend of February. Our children are the same age and we had a fantastic time in the Lake District. I was begin to feel the stress of finishing my dissertation, which was on responsibility and childhood obesity. My husband and I spent Valentine's Day as we would any day of the year because we don't do romance. Grandma started her chemotherapy and my children both got ill, meaning we couldn't go anywhere near her! I had a weekend away in a travelodge in Lancaster (oh, the glamour), but it meant that I got an awful lot of work done on my dissertation just because I had time alone.

In March I went to see Beyonce in Manchester and she was absolutely amazing. It was my daughter's third birthday and I marvelled at how much she was changing and becoming so determined. I joined in with the Team Honk relay, taking the baton to Harewood House, which was fantastic, My Grandma made me cry by telling me how proud she was of me, and I actually managed to put together a good economics presentation, which was nothing short of a miracle. I got all my essays in on time and got decent marks.

April saw us going on holiday together to Haven in Whitby, we had a fantastic time by the sea and messing about in the swimming pools. We also took a visit to The Deep in Hull, which is fabulous. I wondered if it was wrong that we don't do the Easter bunny, but decided that it really doesn't matter what you do! I shared my top five tips for travelling with children. I reviewed Durex condoms, something I never thought I would do, and my video had over 100,000 views. Lambs featured on my blog regularly in April. They are one of the things which mane me incredibly happy. I celebrated handing my dissertation in, definitely one of the biggest achievements in my life. I spent the end of April being angry at the anti-gay movement in Africa.

May was a quiet blogging month due to a ridiculous amount of revision, and the beginning od my finals at university. We did manage to grab a day out at Nickelodeon Land in Blackpool with the children. I tried Thinking Slimmer, but it didn't work for me. I ended up weighing more than I did before I started, which definitely wasn't the plan! My grandma's health deteriorated and it was so hard watching her fade. She had so, so much energy pre-diagnosis. We got our first ever caterpillar set and watched them grow into butterflies, which was astounding! The end of May saw exams coming thick and fast, sadly at the same time my husband tore ligaments in his knee playing football, which made life difficult for all of us.

In June we got out in the garden to help my Grandma. This was probably one of the last times she sat outside and just gardened. My exams finished and I felt relieved, although I knew I hadn't done well in them, so was left on tenterhooks waiting for my final results. We went to Alton Towers and visited Cbeebies Land, although my children preferred the rest of the park. We got into the World Cup in June with flair and I made a plethora of World Cup Snacks, some of which were absolutely delicious! Sadly Grandma continued to deteriorate and I was soon popping up most days to look after her and make sure she ate something. My dad came up for a few days and we tried to renovate our kitchen, which didn't go as well as planned. In fact, it is still unfinished and we are waiting to finish it before we can rent our house out.

July started with finding out that I had got a 2:1 at university. My son responded to this news with 'so you beat the others?'. I genuinely struggled to grasp that I had done well at university. It was one of the hardest things logistically that I have ever done. Trying to negotiate two children, a home, two cats and looking after my dying grandmother was tough! Finishing university didn't equal slowing down, it just meant that I didn't have to travel so far! We enjoyed Le Tour coming through our town and spent the day by the side of the road. It was an amazing event though and really showed Yorkshire at its finest. I wrote a blog post to the teacher who told me I was stupid, realising that his words had impacted me deeply for a long time. Well, I guess they still do. I graduated and we went to Morecambe as a family for the night before my graduation. It was so nice sitting on the seafront having a beer with my husband and dad (my mum was stuck listening out for the children). My daughter broke her collar bone a few days before the school holidays started, but she didn't let it bother her. I enjoyed watching the tractors baling hay, it really is poetry in motion. The very end of July saw us move house to live with my grandma.

August was a quiet month. We went on holiday to France for two weeks and then came back and took over the running of my grandma's B&B. My grandma got frailer and finally became bed bound at the end of August and a week later she died. I was, an still am, devastated. I have never experienced a close family member dying before and it has hit me hard. September was largely about saying goodbye to grandma. We were also ridiculously busy in the B&B, and the children started a new school and a new nursery, so there was very little time for us to catch our breath. I also documented cutting my hair off for cancer. I donated my  hair to be made into a wig for a child with cancer. It is still growing back and I definitely want to have it long again.

October saw me getting back to blogging again, and trying to catch up with all the posts which had been waiting all summer! I wrote about finding my new normal, learning who I am and how to run this business and fit it in around family life. I started making jam and using the produce from the garden. I will be entering it into the spring show and hoping to make my grandma proud! I was challenged to make a Freddo out of loom bands and had a spectacular craft fail. It was even picked up by the craft fail website! I love autumn and we had fun going to the ice cream parlour and the fall festival they have there. I wrote about my three top tips for starting university, and at the time I was really missing the fact that I wasn't going back!

We went away for half term in November and visited my best friend, which was amazing. We went to London and took the children around. It's so nice that they are big enough to enjoy a day sightseeing. I also went with my daughter to the Sealife Centre in Manchester. It was nice to have a day out just me and her because it doesn't happen often! I also launched Month in a Minute, a monthly vlog which is around a minute long, using two seconds from each day in the month. I really like to look back on them and am enjoying filming more. November also saw me writing about Black Friday and my disappointment in society!

December has been good. We were really busy in the B&B, full for three weekends. I also helped out at the local school as we had Christmas festivals. We went ice skating as a family, which was good fun and we also got to see Santa for the first time this year. The beginning of December also saw what would have been grandma's birthday, which was a tough day. We lit a candle on a cupcake each and thought about her before blowing the candle out. We had snow the week after, meaning that we could go sledging. Then we had the wind down to schools breaking up and the children getting a rest. The first week of the holidays I let them both sleep in play tents in their bedrooms. It meant they didn't sleep brilliantly but they had a lot of fun!

It has been an incredibly eventful year, both positive and negative and it's going to take a little while to get over it. I am certainly hoping that 2015 is slightly less filled with drama! I wish you all a happy new year and all the best for 2015!

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