A Blogger Looks Back At The Year 2013

Was it really this time last year when I sat down and sketched out my first blog post after realising that this was the year my youngest start school and I would finally have a little bit of time for myself.
As I have said before I never dreamed that within 12 months I would be regularly popping into London for events, and chatting with people who started off as Avatars and are now real life friends I can hug.
Scrolling through my photographs showed me what a whirlwind of a year it has been, as a blogger, as a mum and as the Abba-loving, bleach-blonde, cake-devouring, church-going, curry-eating individual my friends and family know and hopefully love!
 - I thought I'd share some of those pictures here whilst wishing all my readers, bloggers, friends and family a very Happy New Year - thank you for supporting, encouraging and tolerating me and ensuring Madmumof7 is raring to go in 2014. Mwah!

Peugeot 206cc convertible

In January we traded in our giant 9-seater minibus for a Ford Galaxy and this Peugeot 206cc. I always wanted but never dreamed I would drive a convertible. I call it my mind-life crisis car and I love it!

It smells bad at the moment - apparently a gingerbread latte is in fact the worst thing to spill on car carpet. Any tips for odour removal gratefully received!

Cyprus beach bar , anniversary, http://www.madmumof7.com
Madmumof7 and DH in Cyprus
I travelled not once but twice to Cyprus where my Mum lives near Paphos. The first time I went with my Dear Husband to celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary and then later to surprise my mum, I accompanied DS#2 but didn't tell Mum I was going.

 I will always treasure the memory of her face as she spotted me walking through the arrivals door!

Madmumof7 and Mum
Thanks to Tesco Clubcard scheme which has allowed me to exchange my points for a free flight I am flying out again in 2014 so expect more photos of giant pork chops on the blog!

Britmums Live 2013 http://www.madmumof7.com
new friend Carolynn
from Mummy Endeavours
at Britmums Live 2013
 I went to Britmums Live 2013. It was exhausting, emotional, entertaining, educational and a huge milestone in my Blogging career. I realised the power that bloggers wield, how influential we could be and how much responsibility comes with that power.

Britmums 2013, Harry Poter, Warner Bros, Hedwig http://www.madmumof7.com
I met Hedwig!
I connected with Brands for the first time and for the first time thought maybe, there really was a career to be made from the writing I love so much.

I was brave enough to step out of my comfort zone - I am loud and appear confident but underneath I am terrified  of rejection (like most people I guess) and after blogging from Starbucks I was adopted by Jaime Oliver and Victoria Welton who even made room for me at their blogger's dinner on the Friday night. Ladies, I remain indebted to you.

I already have my ticket for Britmums 2014 thanks to my sponsor Simply Coastal - can't wait to make more fab memories and hopefully more fab friends.

Kirsty Allsopp, Britmums Live 2013, http://www.madmumof7.comAt Britmums Live 2013 I was close enough to Kirsty Allsopp to lick her - I didn't of course.  At other blogger events during the year I enjoyed afternoon tea with Baby Spice,  chatted about parenting with Myleene Klass and got Christmas dinner cookery tips from Neil Nugent  - Morrison's Head chef who features on their TV adverts!

The children dressed up as Smurfs for a film showing, had the run of Hamley's toy shop for a Cabbage Patch Kids event, enjoyed a day out at Hatton Farm World,  reviewed The Croods on DVD and made lots of fun meals with ingredients we were sent by various companies to review.

I was particularly proud to have been chosen as a Butlins Ambassador. We didn't actually fulfil the criteria on the application form - originally they wanted families with far less children. But I was brave and stood up at the Britmum's Live 2013 "working with brands" session and asked the Butlin's representative if there was any way they would bend the rules for a bigger family. He said they would accept an application and lo and behold we made the cut! We are taking 6 of our 7 children to the Butlins Wave hotel in Bognor in May and we are all super-excited about checking out
Butlins, Bognor, http://www.madmumof7.com
all the amazing facilities!

In other news my DS#2 passed his CBT and got great AS level results, I started working as a social network consultant for Nic, a local nail technician and helped a number of local businesses launch new profiles on various social networks.

I got spray tanned, made a competitive Christmas cake (judging tonight!), moved DS#1 from one flat to a new home, took in two more cats in need of a new home, had a chimney fire which made the local press, helped lead a number of church services and led my first ever church house group, reviewed books, cake, biscuits, potatoes, bread, an epilator and much much more, finally saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Mamma Mia on stage AND went self-employed for the first time in my life! Phew!

Best of all throughout all this I enjoyed laughs, long afternoons of tea-drinking and lovely evenings with amazing friends, without whom I would be lost. From the CCTV crew to the Blyton set I love you all. And a special shout out to Claire and Jane who must wish I had never ever heard of blogging! Thankyou girls - bring on the New Year, we must be due a "breakfast meeting".
Madmumof7, Jane and Claire- my partners in crime.

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