Might as well start this post with a cliché – HOW is it December already?! Honestly, it feels like 5 minutes ago that I sat down on my sofa, wearing my Christmas onesie, to watch a film whilst the turkey roasted away in the oven, and now here we are, 3 weeks away from doing it all over again. Life is whizzing by!
November has been a bit of a transitional month for me. From the outside all looks to remain the same, but inside of me there’s been a bit of a shift; it’s been a few weeks of hard-thinking. It was the month I finally realised that having a biological family is not going to happen for us (I haven’t ruled out adoption, but I’ll probably write more about that another time, once I find the words) and, honestly, that’s been something my brain and heart have both been struggling to digest. But, with the realisation that the life I have now may well be the one I’ll have forever if we have no little Penny or Ben’s running around the house, it’s started the embers in my belly burning to really start building a life with a different structure so as to never feel like I’ve missed out in any way. I want to get us financially stable, I want to one day buy a house we can call our own, I want to have adventures, I want to take this blog more seriously again, and I want to build a life that is so full that the empty spaces where little people should be become barely noticeable if they’re never filled.
So, what does this mean? Well, 2019 is going to be the year that I officially Get My Shit Together. Ben and I are really going to focus our attention on making a breakthrough with our money situation – I’ve basically got a whole plan of action for how to change our current spending behaviour and I’ve got a spreadsheet that I will be tracking all our expenditure and saving on. I’m raring to go and am hoping by the end of 2019 we will have made a big change. I’ve also got a meeting with a Financial Advisor booked in January to discuss opening a private pension because I’ve realised that the one I have through my job is going to leave me a very poor old lady indeed and I really need to start seriously planning for my retirement otherwise life is going to be extremely difficult.
As well as starting to focus more on building a secure future for ourselves, I also want 2019 to be the year I start taking this blog seriously again. I took some time out for my own peace of mind and although I’ve dipped in from time to time, I’ve not felt in the right frame of mind to give it the attention it needs, however I’ve spent the past month or so planning, planning, planning and I have a very definite future for A Penny For Them set in my mind. It’ll always remain lifestyle focussed (because, honestly, I have neither the knowledge or the interest required to make it fit into a niche) and I can guarantee it’ll always remain true to myself and my values. From time to time there might be a collaboration or a post I’ve been paid for, but I’ll never write about something just to earn a few pennies out of it – I turn down opportunities all the time because I don’t think they’re a good fit for me, and this will continue. However, there will be one change…
The A Penny For Them monthly newsletter! I wrote about this briefly the other day but for anyone that missed it: from January 2019 I’m launching a monthly newsletter which – if you sign up – will land in your email Inbox at the beginning (ish) of each month. The reason I wanted to do this is because I know how busy life is and it’s not always possible for people to log on to blogs they read – I’m always saving pages for later and then never getting round to them, so I completely understand how it is! But this seemed like the ideal solution – it’ll be a pretty chatty format and will include a whole range of things: stuff I’ve read online and think you should see too, discount codes I’ve found for websites, recipes I’ve been trying out, recommendations for books, films or products I’ve been loving… basically all the stuff you would chat about if you met up with friend for a coffee and to put the world to rights. It’s very much going to be a fluid thing with the content no doubt shifting and re-shaping every month depending on what’s been going on with me and what I want to tell you about, but I hope it’ll be something you all enjoy. I’ll still be doing monthly catch-up posts on here, but there will be some content in the newsletter that you won’t find here, so if you fancy having a look, sign up – you’ll make my day!
Now that little blurt of info is out of the way, what else has been going on with me?
Well, I’m exhausted. My leg is absolutely doing me in. I’m barely sleeping and when I do I have the sort of dreams you have when you’ve got a fever, meaning that when my alarm goes off to wake me for work I’m more tired than I was before I went to bed the night before! On a weekend, if Ben leaves me to my own devices I won’t wake up until gone 11am, so I think that shows I’m definitely running on empty. For anyone that’s interested, the update on my leg is that really there is no update. I had my pre-op assessment where they take your height, weight and blood pressure etc so they know your vitals for when they do surgery, but the surgeon I need only does 1 or 2 operations a week now so they’ve said I likely won’t be seen until Spring at the earliest. AT THE EARLIEST. At this point in time I don’t actually know how I’m going to make it that far because my leg is getting worse by the day and now the pain goes from my ankle to the base of my spine so I wonder if there’s possibly some nerve damage from it being left for so long. There’s nothing that can be done though, I just have to wait for my turn on the NHS waiting list and hope my body lasts the distance! Cross your fingers and send my leg strong vibes please!
November has seen a couple of little highlights and adventures though. My brother, Dad and I ventured down to Margate for an afternoon and evening as the comedian Stewart Francis was playing one of his farewell shows before he retires. All three of us are forever using terrible puns so he’s right up our street. The theatre we saw him in (Theatre Royal Margate) is so tiny though – it has less than 500 seats in it altogether and is so cute and old fashioned inside, it’s a great little space to visit and see a show! We got there a little early for a wander around the town but, being off season, almost everything was shut so we just wandered about aimlessly for a while. We did get to see an absolute beaut of a sunset over the beach though, so that was a definite highlight.
Ben and I also had a little date night as he had a voucher for dinner that his mum gave him for his birthday a few months ago. As we are on a money-saving drive for 2019 our regular little jaunts up to the City for a day or night out will have to be knocked on the head, so we made the most of it and it was a really lovely day. There’s something magical about London when it’s all lit up during the darker, colder months.
Now we’re officially in December my mind is well and truly focussed on Christmas (and the time off work!) I’m not actually that bothered about Christmas Day and find it a bit… meh. I suppose that’s a product of coming from a family that is a tiny bit broken; we haven’t spent the day together for so long that I can’t actually remember the last time – a decade perhaps. This year I will be spending the first part of the day at my brother’s house and then heading over to Ben’s family for a few hours in the evening. Other than that I think a lot of the time during the Christmas holidays will be spent doing various things around the house. I want to have a bit of a ‘spring clean’ so that we can go into 2019 with a clean slate and with the majority of my never-ending To Do list ticked off as complete.
And speaking of Christmas… I don’t want to brag but somebody (me) might have (definitely has) finished all their gift buying already. This is unheard of for me! Usually I’m still panicking midway through December, but for some reason I seem to have been really organised this year. It wasn’t even deliberate, I only realised I had finished when I took a look at my spreadsheet the other day (yes, I have a spreadsheet for everything in life!) and saw that I was all done and dusted. It feels very strange and I’m definitely worrying that I’ve missed something obvious and this is all going to come back and bite me in the butt very soon… I do still need to sort out my charity donations though; I do this every year rather than sending Christmas cards which I find a waste of money/time/paper. I’ll be donating to my usual places (Dogs Trust, Child Bereavement UK and Care Of Police Survivors), but this year I’m also going to donate some food items to the local Food Bank (find your local one here) and I’m going to buy some dog toys, blankets and food and drop them down to the local Dogs Trust rescue centre as it breaks my heart to think of all those pooches alone of Christmas Day without a family of their own. I might have to take Ben with me when I drop off the donation though otherwise there’s a good chance I’ll be coming home with a pup or two…
So that’s about it, I guess! November is done, December is here and soon enough we’ll be ripping open presents and stuffing ourselves full of brussel sprouts (YUM) and mince pies (YUK).
I’ve got a few new posts coming up in the next few weeks so keep checking back to see what the latest is, or if you follow me on social media, you’ll always see a note from me on there letting you know when I publish something new (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram).
Also, as I said, do please sign up to my newsletter; it’s going to be packed full of chatty content and things that I hope you’ll find interesting and useful (plus I’ll let you know of any posts I’ve published that month too, so hopefully you won’t miss out on anything that might take your fancy).
If you have any ideas for stuff you’d like to see in the newsletter please let me know; it’s not going to be a rigid thing set in stone, it’s going to bend and shape and adjust depending on what’s going on in the world and so feedback from you lot as to what you would like to see/read is always welcome!
Before I go, and despite it not yet being the end of the year, I just want to take a minute to thank you for being here. Every single page view, comment, ‘like’ and ‘share’ means the absolute world to me – I’m so, so grateful for each and every one of you. I’ll do a proper end-of-2018-start-of-2019 post in a few weeks time but for now, I just wanted to say thank you because sometimes I don’t think it’s said enough.
Have a great December everyone!