Well, what a year it's been ! I always like to take a moment at the end of the year to look back at some of the highlights of the year - the main reason for starting a blog was to keep a record of our special moments to share with family who live far away, so all the important stuff is on here !
January bought a big storm to Dunkirk which left sand dunes on the prom and washed up dead fish, starfish (which we put back in the sea because they were still alive) and sea urchins. We also went on an urban art-spotting escapade in Hastings, including finding a Banksy on the beach wall. The After Eights Challenge was good for a giggle too !
February was a great month for baking, when I pulled off a rather impressive-looking polka dot Swiss roll (if I say so myself !). We had a race against the weather under extremely menacing skies on the Digue des Alliés, the jetty that will soon be featuring in Chistopher Nolan's Dunkirk film later in the year, and rain didn't manage to stop play for the riot of colour that is Dunkirk carnival.
In March, we called in to the circus zoo with the visiting Madhouse grandparents and even got to stroke the zebras. We installed an Irish Fairy Door which was the start of a magical, enchanted journey and the Madhouse kids made me a fabulous cake for Mother's Day.
April brought another fun cookery challenge : creating a Corgi Cake to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday and Persil encouraged us to get messy. We also found a cool Angry Birds playpark, went for a nature walk along the canals (and ran away when it got boring !) and got up close to the animals at the zoo.
In May, a school trip to Canterbury gave us the chance to find some of the town's hidden gems. Dunkirk started getting a facelift to step back into wartime for Christopher Nolan's film. We went geocaching at the Platier D'Oye nature reserve and discovered the historical and natural treasures on the beach at Oye Plage.
June kicked off the summer fun with the Festijeunes kids' festival (whose highlights were water-gun paint art and pony riding for Pierre), we made a miniature easel for our fairy (out of a couple of pegs) and we got all patriotic with a fruity Union Jack cake.
In July, Pierre fell in love with the hilarious game Seagull Splat, we went bug-hunting, Juliette got her braces off, we went to a medieval fun day and had fun at the Festipark Extreme Sports festival. We also had a fun but slightly spooky visit to Smugglers Adventure in St Clement's Caves in Hastings.
August is always the month we go on holiday - this year to Lanzarote, where the highlights included a submarine safari, Timanfaya volcanic national park and a huge cactus garden. We also made a cool owl-shaped cake and went squirrel-hunting in Alexandra Park in Hastings.
September was back to school but the fun continued nevertheless, with an inflatable sports day in the town square, a display of VW Beetles along the prom and a kite festival at the beach. Pierre also adopted some pet snails !
In October, there was a spooky theme at the zoo, we made a scary graveyard cheesecake with After Eights and Pierre transformed a pizza box into a vampire Minion. We visited a multi-era military camp reenactment and an agricultural fair.
November was a time for setting free our geocaching travelbugs from Lanzarote and we also had fun with the Googly Eyes game. A baking fail turned into some delicious double choc cookie cups.
And finally, December brought festive delights in Dunkirk and Brest and a Father Christmas parade. There were also festive nibbles aplenty, including chocolate mendiants aka reindeer poo, Snowflake Dream Triple Layer Chocolates and an indulgent Macabella Cheesecake.
The ultimate moment of the year (and indeed her entire life so far apparently !) for Sophie was staking out Harry Styles' hotel for an entire month until she finally got to meet him and take a photo with him. Harry was in town filming for Dunkirk so the fans were out in force - I never thought she'd manage it to be honest, so hats off to her for perseverance and sheer willpower ! (You can find out all about it on Sophie's bilingual blog.)
It's time to say goodbye to 2016 - I wonder what 2017 will bring !