Sunday 31 December 2017

Madhouse diaries : A Look Back at 2017

2017 is drawing to a close so it's time for the traditional look back over the past twelve months to remember what the Madhouse Family got up to.

January saw us going on several geocaching adventures - we started the year with our finds total in the 190s and finished at 226, which is not a huge amount but there are very few local ones still to find. I did create 17 caches of our own though, so it's been fun seeing everyone find those, even if it does take a lot of work repairing and replacing caches when they get trashed or stolen. 

February saw National Bagel Day which gave us a great excuse for some foodie fun and we set our first ever travelbugs free - the first one has travelled 6,402km and gone through Switzerland, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Alsace and the second has clocked up 8,728km and passed through Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany before heading Stateside and continuing its journey in Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. 

In March, I headed to Stavanger in Norway on a work trip and spent lots of time visiting partner schools, seeing how teachers there teach critical literacy and working on a common project for our school. (I'll be heading back there for another week straight after the Christmas holidays.) We managed to fit in a few adventures there, courtesy of our Norwegian hosts, including climbing a (small) mountain called Dalsnuten then having a barbecue in the snow (!) and discovering the history of the Bunad, the traditional Norwegian dress, in a local museum.

In April, we visited our local zoo with the Madhouse grandparents and got up very close to the bears (with just a pane of glass between us !). I shared some more of our Norwegian discoveries -  Hå Gamle Prestegard (an old vicarage and lighthouse) and the World War II bunkers and tunnels. Back home, we took advantage of an unseasonably warm day to go paddling in the sea and found a fabulous geocache full of plastic Kinder egg containers stuffed with treasures !

 May saw the creation of a fabulous unicorn-themed jewellery box using Gel-A-Peel and I took a trip down memory lane, recreating a retro-style school dinner fudge tart.

June brought an inflatable fun and gamers day, a vintage vehicle rally and the festival of the sea to town. We also managed to pack in a school day-trip to London, a walk along the beach which uncovered one of the wrecks of the Operation Dynamo boats that sunk during the evacuation of Dunkirk and a walk along the white cliffs and beach of the Cap Blanc Nez near Calais.

In July, we popped down to see the in-laws in Brittany and visited some local villages, Hanvec and Le Faou, took part in a Little Ships Urban Orienteering challenge around Dunkirk and had some family fun at the Sailing Tour de France village.

In August, we took the Tsum Tsums Channel-hopping with us, went to the Airbourne air show in Eastbourne, explored Meneham, the Breton village in the rocks and had an unforgettable experience with a wild dolphin in the harbour of Brest. We also had a fortnight in Fethiye in Turkey but I still haven't got round to blogging about it !

In September we visited an olde-worlde town called Locronan in Brittany (well, we actually visited in August but I didn't get around to blogging about it until September !) and created a giant geocache in Dunkirk to drop off some of our over-sized travelbugs.

In October, we had lots of Halloween fun, making gruesome witch's finger biscuits, visiting a spooked-up zoo and I blogged about our ride on the Téléphérique (cable car) in Brest which, amazingly, is part of the bus network !

November was a busy month at work but we started getting into the Christmas spirit, making Christmas tree cupcakes.

And December has been a festive whirlwind, with a trip to Bruges Christmas market where we saw the Sterrenstoet nativity parade, the magical Parade de Noël in Dunkirk, the Christmas decorations in Dunkirk  and lots more festive fun, including a free skating rink that the kids have been making the most of during the run up to Christmas !

Phew, I'm exhausted just looking back at the blogposts ! I wonder what new adventures this new year will bring - I already know we have a fortnight in Bulgaria planned in the summer and a week in Norway in January for work, but I'm sure there will be lots of fun closer to home too.

What were your 2017 highlights?


  1. looks a great year - love the unicorn box

  2. What a busy eventful year you had! Lots of lovely memories. delicious recipes, great books and crafts. Here's to another year of family adventures!

    1. It's always nice to look back - I'd forgotten half of it !


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