A year in review!


This time last year 2019 was coming to a close and we can't say that we were feeling good, happy or excited. To be honest, we were already ready to throw in the towel at the start of 2020. It was hard to feel motivated for the year ahead. We didn't want to be happy and we didn't exactly feel inspired to do anything when we missed our Nanna so much. 




However, we know that grief isn't something you get over, nor is it something that just magically disappears. Grief is something that you learn to live with. It's something that one minute can make you feel like the wind has been knocked out of your sails and the next it might be a nudge or come as a small reminder of someone you lost and you simply spend a quiet moment thinking about them. 



In many ways we were fortunate back in January. We didn't have much time to sit around for we had work, in addition to helping with funeral preparations. Kids are rather magical creatures and gave us something to smile about each day and distract us a little bit from our negative thoughts. And so, January saw us take on new roles at our jobs and say bye to our Nanna. We made a trip to Italy as our family came together to celebrate one of our most favourite people in the world and someone who we will forever feel blessed and insanely grateful to call our Nonna. 




By February/March we were still trying to navigate life without her. Lots of wonderful things were happening at work and at home and it was a struggle not being able to tell her everything. Our days changed drastically for if there was one place we loved spending most of our time, it was our Nanna and Grandad's house. The routine of seeing her before and after work and curling up with her on weekends was one we missed terribly and even now we find ourselves wondering what to do with ourselves sometimes when that feeling of emptiness washes over us and we want so badly to experience that routine again. 


It's funny, since our Grandad passed away three and a half years ago, we always hear his voice and every day are reminded of advice he used to give us. We actually find ourselves connecting with that advice more each day and realize now why he must have repeated it so much. One thing our Nanna always said to us was "Be Happy" and honestly, this year we feel like she has been guiding us and encouraging us to "Be Happy" that little bit extra. 


We, like some of you, dealt with more loss this year, people that have been apart of our lives since we were born and it's been difficult not to grieve or celebrate in the ways we would have liked. It's been heart-breaking to want to visit family and not be able to hug them and comfort them and simply be there for them during these times. 


This year has bought a lot of pain and sadness for so many people and maybe in some cases we can relate and in other cases that pain has come from a place we can not even begin to imagine, but we feel it has also been a year of learning, choosing love and togetherness. 



Everyone's journeys, paths, accomplishments and lives will have looked incredibly different this year and we think it's so important to remember that and to reach out with warmth and empathy. We feel it's important to celebrate the ups, learn from the downs and not shy away from tears over the sad. In saying Goodbye to the year 2020 it's difficult for us not to get emotional over the lives lost, the fear and anxiety that the year has bought with it and the fact that a whole year has gone by since we last hugged our Nanna. But, in heeding her words "Be Happy" we wanted to share some of the good from this year; with gratitude for the moments that have bought us joy. 




Lucy:


I started working full time with a child at work and every day they have taught me something new and have given me so much purpose. My days spent with them are full of fun and simply chatting to them fills my heart with happiness. 


I got to provide respite fostering for a child during the first lockdown and they were an absolute blessing and someone I will never forget. There were tears, (on my account) lots of lessons and priceless moments and I have so much admiration for carers and all that they do. 


I signed a three book deal with Aria Fiction and got to share 'One Snowy Week in Springhollow' with you all, as well as work on a project with Kelly that we have dreamed about for so long. I spent Spring/early Summer writing book five in my garden in the sunshine and felt grateful for the inspiration that bought with it. 


I had my very first vegetable garden, which made me think of my Nanna and Grandad every day. I re-decorated parts of my house and really felt like I started to understand self-love and embracing being on my own. I'm truly grateful for these lessons and for the contentment I feel. 





Kelly: 


I wrote a lot this year and in turn met some amazing Children's authors, who have inspired me and offered me so much advice and encouragement. I completed writing courses with Children's author Amy Sparkes and really felt like I found my groove. Consequently, I've ended the year by being longlisted in Write Mentor's Chapter Book prize, which I honestly cannot begin to describe how amazing that feels. I already feel like I've won!! 


Thanks to coming across Charlie Raine on YouTube during lockdown, I started something I've been wanting to do for a long time - Sign Language. I would still very much like to do a course in the new year, but I absolutely loved watching her videos every day and learning words, phrases and songs! The songs gave me something to aspire to each day and also taught me that while something may look impossible at first, if you keep going and break it down, it's actually very possible indeed! 


Luc and I ticked something off our list this past Summer for a project we've been working on for a long time. We've still got a ways to go, but it makes me incredibly happy that we're making progress, not to mention it makes me feel closer to Nanna and Grandad.


I' also have to mention how grateful I am for signing a contract with the school that we work at. We've been working with children for the last fourteen plus years and to be home, in the UK, and to be able to have a badge that makes working there official is not something I take for granted. 



So, we will remember 2020 for the education, knowledge, drive to do and be better that it provided us. We will remember 2020 for the strength, patience and compassion it taught us. 


And we will remember 2020 for bringing us Julie and the Phantoms. :p (See our Julie and the Phantoms fun over on our YouTube channel!)




 
Before we go we wanted to share some of the places we learnt about this year and supported and vow to continue supporting:


Kidscape. Kidscape provides resources and workshops for children and adults to help give them the tools to stand up to bullying and learn about their own self worth. We love all that they do to promote love and kindness. If you're a parent who needs advice please do go and check out what they offer, or if you feel like your child may benefit, please check them out too. 


Little Box of Books. We adore their initiative to bring more inclusive books to schools. We have absolutely loved getting to learn about new Authors this year, it has been one of our most favourite things, thanks to places like this. 


Choose Love. We've known about 'Choose Love' for a while, not just this year, and have purchased their clothing where the profits go to helping Refugees before, but this year we shopped their Choose Love shop which is amazing and gives you the chance to shop clothes, medicine, shelter, education and more for refugees living on camps, please do check it out if you can. 


The Stephen Lawrence Foundation. The Stephen Lawrence Foundation is a wonderful organization that strives to bring equality for all to the workplace and within society. It looks at providing training and support for those who need it. Furthermore, they look at building an inclusive community and teaching everyone respect, kindness and valuing our differences, through assemblies, workshops and more. 


LGBT Foundation. While this place isn't new to us, this year gave us a lot of time to pause and really take note and realise the importance of speaking up more and spreading the word of places that mean a lot to us, so please follow them on social media and visit their website to see more of what they do in supporting the LGBTQ community, creating safe spaces and being their through events, phone lines and more and help if you can. 



We truly thank you for all your love and support this year. It has been wonderful connecting and engaging with you and we thank you for the joy, laughs and conversations that always make us smile and inspire us. We wish you and your families nothing but love, health and happiness for the New Year and hope that 2021 brings you wonderful memories, dreams coming true and an abundance of love. 


All our love









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