Yes it’s the third of January already, but I’ve been mentally planning this post for a good few days, and finally found the time to write it. I’m sure your social media news feeds are awash with similar content to mine; lots of resolutions to change, make more, do more, eat less, cleanse, be mindful, and so on, which is all great. I know I said it last year, but my hopes and plans for the new year remain essentially unchanged to what they were two years ago.

 

Our bus – taken on a December evening when it was filled with families participating in a Christmas crafts blogging event. 

For me 2016 was another busy year, predominantly filled will all things related to being a primary school teacher. As well as teaching a lovely Year 2 class, over the last year highlights at school have included organising the fourth residential visit to France, (the fifth is due to take place in the autumn) attending a Pupil Premium awards ceremony in London where we were thrilled to be named Regional Winners for the second year, plus plenty more to keep me occupied such as overseeing a project transforming an old school bus into a space for children to learn, blog and read.This year promises to be as jam-packed with plans, events and opportunities and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Outside of school, the most surprising aspect of last year (not least to me) was my undertaking and commitment to something new: running. At the end of October I completed my first half marathon, in a time which I felt was actually half decent (2 hours 51 seconds). Should you wish, you can read more about my running journey here, and as the new year begins I am already craving more hours of daylight so I can hit the trails and continue to develop my technique, strength and fitness. I knew that after the half I would enter a risky time when it would be easier to shelve running for the better weather, and to stay indoors tucked up under a blanket with a cup (or glass) of something warming. Well, whilst the rigidity of my training plan has slackened a little, I’m still running a couple of times a week and somehow mostly managing a decent time/pace. Two days after Christmas, what I had hoped would be an hour’s run extended to 1 hour 10 minutes, and then as I was temptingly close, I kept going to make it 10 miles, which felt great. Another exciting development is that I’ve taken one of my dogs on a couple of runs in the last week, and have just ordered a dedicated lead which should make this even easier. I usually run alone and it’s so nice to have him trotting along beside me.

 

Post-run Wilfie – straight after his second 5 mile run.

Last year I also very much enjoyed getting out and about with my camera more, in particular making use of a zoom lens I’d been given. I’d like to say I’ve learnt all about how to get the best out of my camera, but I really haven’t. I don’t have much idea about settings and even my editing is amateur at best, but I’ve been happy with a few of my shots and I look forward to learning more and finding more subjects to photograph.

Nuthatch, Sherwood Forest, January 2017
Blackbird, October 2016

All of the above has meant that I didn’t sew as much as I would have liked last year, and there were long periods where I had nothing in progress and my machine went untouched for weeks. I still have several projects cut out and scattered around my sewing room, (aka the dining room) and truth be told some of them are unlikely to ever be made up. I’m around a dress size smaller than I was this time last year, and the need to trace off and adapt sizing on patterns has definitely hindered my sewing efforts and enthusiasm. I started my ABC of dresses in February last year, and got as far as making a T Dress right before new year – my U Dress is the first thing I have completed during 2017. That’s twenty dresses, still my favourite thing to sew, but some of which have already made their way to the charity shop and many of which are in my wardrobe but require significant alteration to the fit in order to become wearable. I’ve just made three consecutive Emery dresses which have turned out well, so I guess aiming to complete my alphabet by the end of February 2017 would be good.

Inserting the invisible zip on my S Dress – My Skater Dress. As yet unblogged…

Hand in hand with my reduction in sewing is my reduction in blogging. I’ve used my blog for some photo challenges which I enjoy participating in, but apart from that there haven’t been many regular updates. I guess this is where link ups like Sunday Sevens come into their own – they prompt you to blog consistently. Organisation plays a part here too; I’ve got decent photographs of some of my dresses but not others, so my next dress to blog should be my L Dress but I only have one photo, and as it’s a summery print and I’m not sure how it fits now, I’ve ground to a halt – something I should really bite the bullet and remedy.

In short, during 2017 I hope to continue with all the things that I enjoyed during the last year. I don’t want or need a new year to create a new me, but I do want to sew more, blog more, run more, photograph more, and lots of other things besides. Overall though, I think being open to new things is crucial. This time last year I would have instantly dismissed the thought of me running 5k – I’m not that kind of person. I’ve learnt that sometimes you don’t plan, or even see changes and opportunities coming, and sometimes these are the things that make you happiest.

Oliver, December 2016. Looking back but going forward.

 

 

 

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