This Time Last Year...

 Prompted by one of those social media messages inviting you to look back at your memories it made me very conscious of how very much things have changed in just one year.

This time last year I was dining at Jinli in Chinatown with the very wonderful Gok Wan, excited and proud about being nominated for a food writing award in the Golden Chopsticks Awards. The awards were postponed, then I think they must have been cancelled. I'll never know whether I would have won. Probably not but a girl can dream.

madmumof7 and Gok Wan

I spent a weekend in Brighton with my daughter Maya and my friend Claire staying in a fairly bizarre Air BNB and drinking many cocktails to celebrate Maya's birthday. This year Maya reproduced one of our cocktails for us to drink at home. Sadly due to Lockdown 2.0 Claire couldn't join us.

Women standing on Brighton beach

I took the children to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, bustling and busy, as a guest of the Zippo's Circus family. We admired ice sculptures, marvelled at the view across London from the Big Wheel, drank hot chocolate and from the Christmas market my teenage daughter bought novelty face masks- the sort you used to see only tourists wearing in London. I asked her when she would ever wear them. Little did I know....

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland from big wheel

As a Flea Ents staff member I joined a group of bloggers at an outdoor archery event I organised up in Worcester, led by Jon Hunt from the university there.  I had so many other events in the pipeline for members of the network including a meal at River Cottage and water sports like zorbing and paddle boarding. Fingers crossed we can pick up where we left off soon.

Jon Hunt from University of Worcester at archery range

This time last year one of my best friends was alive. More than that -  he was larger than life. He died in a tragic and stupid incident and we still miss him every single day. We often wonder what he would have made of all this COVID-19 stuff.

This time last year we had never heard of coronavirus, never used the phrases "social distancing" or"self-isolating" and I for one could not imagine a lockdown in the UK, never mind across the globe.

We re-watched a load of pandemic movies during the first lockdown and marvelled at how fiction became reality in the blink of an eye.

I'm thankful I went to see my mum in Cyprus at the very start of this year and cannot think too hard about when I might see her in person again. 

madmumof7 with mum and son in Cyprus

I'm hoping faster tests or tests at airports will ease travel restrictions in the not too distant future. In the meantime, thank goodness for technology.

On the positive side, this time last year I was overstretched and overwhelmed and permanently exhausted. I've enjoyed extra time with my immediate family this year and even had time to restart an old hobby, crochet. I'm not very good but the children seem to appreciate my efforts, having fun choosing yarn for me to make them blankets with.

I do believe that largely you need to look forward and so as we approach Christmas and the new year I remain hopefully that we will at some point return to much of the good stuff of the past whilst retaining some of the positive changes I've made this year. So fingers crossed for a cocktail and crochet sesh with my mum soon, and dinner in the Venetian palace I've booked with friends in the not too distant future.