I’ve been spending lots of time thinking about how I’m going to spend my 2014, what I would like to do differently and how grateful I already am for what I’ve got to come in the new year. That’s all well and good but then I realised that I’ve completely overlooked my fantastic 2013 that I’ve just experienced.

Here are just some of the amazing memories and occasions that have made my 2013 my best year yet:

Pete asked me out on a date

Me and Pete had been friends for a while but for some reason we’d never looked at each other as anything more, well, Pete had but I always just saw him as Pete from Portsmouth (being from Southampton that was kind of a turn off!). My sister had come out to visit me in Dubai and we all went on a brunch and then on my friends yacht (how life has changed). She’s a really great judge of character and the first thing she said to me after meeting Pete was ‘I think you should go out with him’, she didn’t say why but she obviously saw what I can’t believe I didn’t see back then! She must have planted the seed in Pete’s head too as he asked me out on a date that evening. I said no of course, you can’t be too keen can you? Plus I was kind of dating someone else. I’m so happy that he didn’t give up then and asked me out again when we were on my flatmate at the time Laura’s birthday yacht party a couple of weeks later. I said yes and the rest is history!

I jumped out of a plane!

As our unofficial first date ( I’ll go into our four-part first date later) we decided to do a skydive together! When most people do skydives in Dubai they do it over the Palm Jumeirah for the view but as it was summer and for weather reasons we did it in the desert. I can’t describe the feeling any better than it’s like going upside down on a roller coaster and waiting to be pulled back into the seat … but never being pulled back in! Apart from feeling sick when the parachute went up and having to ask the guy whether I should be sick down my top or try to aim away (embarrassing) it was the most incredible feeling. I think sharing that with Pete was what really made me fall for him, so much so that 2 days later we made it official and about a week after that we said ‘I love you’.

skydive

It gets my adrenalin going just looking at this picture!

I went freelance 

I had been working for a language centre teaching English as a foreign language to locals of all ages. I loved the teaching but the hours were so long and the salary really wasn’t worth the bratty and spoilt students I had to teach. I had been freelancing part time as an Autism therapist to two amazing little boys, Theo and Suhil as well as copywriting for a multi media ad agency. When one of the mothers asked if I’d consider more hours I considered it the kick up the butt I needed to quit my job and go at it alone! I managed my own time, I was able to implement more in depth therapy programs for the boys and I was able to really focus on what I loved – writing!

Two of my best beautiful best friends fell pregnant

2013 has really been a year of babies! Not only did two of my cousins give birth to beautiful little girls but my two best ever friends shared their fantastic news! First of all my oldest friend Paige who is already mother to my amazing little godson Elijah told us that she was expecting again. She gave birth to the gorgeous Nevaeh (Heaven spelt backwards) in November. Elijah and Nevaeh

Is that not the most amazing picture you’ve ever seen!?

If the news of one baby to be wasn’t enough my other beautiful friend Marti announced the news that she would also be expecting a lovely little girl! She already has the cutie Marley and is expecting her little lady in less than a month!

Marley moo and bump

Staring his little sister out!

I moved in with Pete

I had never lived with a boy before and even though Pete was sharing with his flatmate and we were kind of confined to sleeping, eating, and … other things in his bedroom, it was a massive step for me and the easiest transition ever!

We found out we were having a little Rabbit

The best news that I have ever had! The pending arrival of our little treasure and the start of a fantastic journey from bump to baby for me!

He popped the question – I said yes

The day that we did our skydive we decided we should get a group of friends together for a relaxing holiday away. It ended up being me and Pete on our own in the Maldives which couldn’t have been more perfect as he asked me to marry him! We knew that we were pregnant and had discussed getting married to stay in Dubai but when we decided to move back to the UK I honestly didn’t think he would consider asking me to marry him, not just yet anyway. It was a magical moment, sunset, champaign and our private water bungalow! Not bad for our first holiday together that we booked when we were just friends!

Wedding proposalCheck out that view!

I said yesI couldn’t drink it of course

the ringThe ring <3

We moved home to the UK

The decision was easy in the end. With Pete’s son Rhys at home and a family who would probably disown me if I decided to have my baby abroad and away from them, we were set to go back to the UK. It was the best decision we have ever made and there isn’t a day that’s gone by that I regret it. Not that I didn’t love Dubai, I had the time of my life and made some of the most amazing friends, but being back in the UK with our family just feels right! The cold weather hasn’t even gotten to us yet!

We found cosy cottage (coma cottage)

I absolutely love our little cottage by the sea. Nicknamed coma cottage and cosy cottage for its ability to make you want to snuggle up and sleep as soon as you sit down it is just lovely. Now it’s not perfect and at the end of 2014 we will be looking for somewhere a bit more kiddy practical but for now, with it’s wood fireplace, chic features and stunning closeness to the sea, it is perfect!

My dad sold his car garage

This has been an awesome year for my parents too. My dad has owned a car sales business since before I was born but the last 8 years he has been trying to move on from it. Him and my mum had dreams of a relaxing lifestyle, jetting off on holiday when they fancy it and being able to spend more quality time together as a family. The only problem is that it was just never the right time! After numerous planning permissions being denied, a number of last minute ‘back-outs’ from potential buyers and a lot of stress, the big man upstairs finally decided that it was time and dad signed the papers! Mum and dad celebrated with a two week trip round Florida and I cannot wait to see what 2014 will bring them!

I gained a wonderful new family

Not only have I come back to the UK with a fiancé and bouncing bubba in my tum but I have been welcomed into an amazing new family to add to my already beautiful bunch! I now have gorgeous little step son to be who I have bonded with so amazingly (sometimes he even prefers Jessie cuddles to daddy cuddles which I know me and Pete both see the strength of). I have also gained a mother and father in law, two beautiful sister in laws and a load of aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews and the rest!

My family and friends have grown in strength, health and happiness

2013 has been such a healthy and strong year for us all. My nieces and nephews continue to amaze me with their amazing little personalities. There’s Reece (Rhys and  Reece – confusing I know) who turns 4 at the end of this month and loves nothing more than telling his little sister ‘Sisi let’s cuddle, let’s hold hands’ he’s such a little softy but with the rugby tots and boxing he’s learning to be tough too!. Then theres Sienna, turned 2 in September and knows exactly what she wants. ‘Reecies annoying me’ is her favourite saying at the moment, and the bottom lip is permanently pouted but she has the mind of madam and an imagination of an artist.

So those are just some of the highlights from my fantastic 2013. It’s brought a tear to my eye reminiscing and I feel so grateful to have been blessed with such a wonderful year with some amazing people!

xxx