Monday 31 December 2018

Madhouse diaries : A Look Back at 2018

So here we are, at the end of 2018, looking ahead to 2019 and wondering what will be going on in the next twelve months. Well, the main thing is, we made it - phew ! I've been completely offline for the last week or so, as I've been catching up with the family and just recharging my batteries. 2018 could be summed up in just one event, when Madhouse Daddy passed away in March, completely suddenly and unexpectedly. Next year will be another shock to the system as Sophie is moving across the Channel and going to college in Hastings. Our family unit is shrinking rapidly !

So, what did we get up to this year?

In January, I went to Norway on a work trip and, in between numerous school visits and conferences, we got to check out the mountainous region of Gjesdal municipality, visited a tiny church and beaches in Jaeren and discovered Stavanger in the snow. We walked along Hafrsfjord, saw the Swords in the Stone and even got to eat Norwegian waffles.

In February, we caught up with lots of reviews, trying out My Fairy Garden Unicorn Garden, L.O.L. Surprise Confetti Pop and Glam Goo, much to the kids' delight.

In March, we made our own Easter eggs and had some frosty half-term fun. Things took an unexpected turn for the worse when Madhouse Daddy passed away, after having a heart attack.

April saw Pierre and Juliette testing various recipes for edible slime and all of us trying to come to terms with life without Madhouse Daddy We made Poutine-style Chicken & Potatoes, Lamb Tagine and Slow Cooker Beef MaffĂ©.

In May, we set out to enjoy the warmer weather, gardening and going skateboarding, and I made some delicious Cinnamon Roll Apple Tarts. We had fun with Nail-a-Peel 3d Nail Technology and tried Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Barbacoa Beef Burritos.

June was the month of school trips, including a day trip to London where I checked out Covent Garden in Bloom. We grew crystals and dug for gemstones in some National Geographic Science Kits and made Blueberry & Coconut Crumble Squares.

In July, we had lots of fun, going to Plopsaland theme park in Belgium on the train for Pierre's birthday and beating the heat with Bunch o' Balloons. We also got closer to nature with some My Living World Kits, with Pierre trying the Pocket Microscope, Triop World and Ant World.

In August, Pierre got to review a brand new scooter, had fun with Zuru's new X-shot blasters and we had a trip to see the grandparents in Hastings, checking out the wildlife at the park, the Old Town and North's Seat.

September gave us the last chance for making memories before going back to school, so we enjoyed a windy walk on Hastings Pier and had a day out on the buses, visiting Battle and Bexhill.

October saw us celebrating Halloween, going trick or treating and reviewing Feisty Pets soft toys. We also went back to Hastings, visiting Hastings Museum and Summerfields Wood. We scoffed Lancashire Hotpot, Pineapple & Coconut Dream Cake and Fruity Oat Crumble.

November was a quiet month on the blog because we had no internet access for two weeks - aggghhh ! It gave me a chance to catch up on some of my reading though, so there were lots of book reviews and we munched on some Peanut Butter Cookies.

And finally, December was all about family, catching up with relatives on both sides of the Channel. We had lots of fun with festive reviews, including the What's That Smell? party game, some festive picture books, a cracking festive puzzle from Ravensburger and the Very Merry Christmas Game.

So, what will 2019 bring? Well, I don't know really ! I'm still working on the paperwork to finally get Madhouse Daddy's life insurance from work to pay out (nine months on so hopefully it'll be sorted soon) but we're doing OK anyway. Sophie has her final exams at school in June (fingers crossed !) and is applying to go to college in Hastings after the summer. We have plans to go to Alaska during the summer but before I can book the flights, I have to renew our passports. I did finally get my French nationality through, so whatever happens with Brexit, we'll be OK. And apart from that, I don't really know. My main goal, as usual, is to make sure the Madhouse kids have smiles on their faces as often as possible !

Here's to 2019 being a great year for us all ! :)


  1. I am sure you will manage to put smiles on their faces.
    I am pleased to read you are still seeing positives and as a family are getting there inch by inch, anything but easy.
    How terrible you have to wait so long for you insurance money.
    Glad you have your French nationality sorted.
    Nice that your children are spreading their wings but that brings its own worries.
    Happy New Year to you and yours

    1. Thanks Elaine - I don't think parents ever stop worrying, however old the kids are ! :)

  2. Happy new year, Cheryl! I missed seeing your daily posts, but knew you were busy with the family. What a pain you have to wait for so long to get the insurance payment. Great that you had your French nationality sorted out. It will be sad without Sophie next year, but she'll be just across the channel, and you'll probably see her often.
    You're a wonderful mother, who stays strong for her children and makes sure they have lots of positive experiences.

    1. We've just applied for British passports and it's all starting again - aaaggghhh ! lol Ah well, once it's done, it's done for ten years !Here's to 2019 being a happier year for all of us :)

  3. Happy new year to you all, you have had a busy year last year and I hope the positivty continues. I am glad that at lond last the insurance pay out for you as it should bring a bit of peace of mind. I am sure your children will continue to smile after all how can they fail with a mum like you.

    1. Awww thanks Carol - we'll get there in the end. Happy New Year to you too :)

  4. Happy new year cheryl. Hope you have a wonderful year this year and that you keep putting smiles on the kids faces

  5. Love looking back - love looking forward


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