What I did in 2013 mega long post

So I read Leonie Dawson’s review of the year and it inspired me to do my own review.

Because this was a big year for me.


At the start of 2013 I had a five week old baby.

This is what my day looked like, in terms of breastfeeding alone:


That was an easy day. Often, I had to go over onto the other side of the page.

It has been probably the hardest year of my life with a lot of change going on.

Cuddling up to mother

I’m a huge fan of Leonie’s planners, and I filled mine in for 2013 as I was determined to have a full, fun year and achieve a lot despite – and because of – having a new baby in my life.

I’ve never done a post like this before. But sometimes it’s really nice to look back and be proud of what you did.

This post is more for me more than anyone else, when I feel that I’ve achieved nothing and progress is glacially slow, I can remind myself that it’s okay and that I done good.

To be honest, even managing to finish this post was extremely difficult.

And when you’ve taken an hour to two hours every night putting a baby to sleep for the last 365 days and are working the ‘4 hour work week’ not because you’re relaxing in a hammock but because you only get about 4 uninterrupted hours a week to work on your own stuff, sometimes you need to feel good about what you’ve managed to do. OKAY?!!!

So, anyway… this is what I achieved in 2013, in no particular order.

(p.s. If you don’t like long posts listing the positive achievements in someone’s life then look away now. I know I’m incredibly lucky, and I’m grateful for it every day. And obviously, some of this is about my parenting stuff and implies absolutely no judgement on anyone who does things differently. And I don’t talk about the hard bits because I choose to focus my mind on the good stuff. So there.).

I survived life with a newborn

I got up every day after a night of no sleep and managed to build back a semblance of a life.

I did it day by day. And the next day. And the next.

With heavy use of reward stickers and the Story of Mum Gold Star Reward Chart.

(I haven’t had an uninterrupted night’s sleep since he was born.

In November 2012.

Just saying.)

I did a baby parenting course at my local children’s centre

…and made friends with some local mums.

The course was free, with free food(!) and they gave us stickers for turning up. Yeah!

I took up Yoga

Doretta teaches at my local Virgin Active gym. I’d done some pilates with her when I was pregnant and enjoyed being called a ‘pregnant goddess’.

I needed to do something to help me physically regain my strength after the ravages of childbirth and all that. Her classes are fab, and I’ve done it most Saturdays all year. It’s a one and a half hour class, so there’s really time to get into it. And the mental/relaxation aspect of yoga has been really great too, especially in the early days when I’d had no sleep and was so exhausted, to lie on the floor and rest for five minutes was absolute heaven.

She played this one day, and I bought the CD. It’s part of my soundtrack to the year.

I got the hang of breastfeeding

It was painful. Very painful at first. And early on, it was almost constant. We had cluster feedings, which meant that between about 5pm and 1am it was pretty much constant feeding. And during the rest of the day I might get about an hour in between feeds, which themselves lasted for 30-60 minutes.

I went to the NCT breastfeeding cafe and said “is this normal?”. They said yes. Blogs like Kellymom helped.

I started off making logs of the timings, and after about a month I just gave up and went with the flow.

It got easier, much easier.

I’m glad I was able to do it.

This book is AWESOME, by the way:

I implemented elimination communication

It’s been a huge success.

Andrea Olson’s book is amazing. I highly recommend it if you’re intrigued by this whole thing.

Got the hang of cloth nappies

Who needs television when you can watch the washing machine?

I co-wrote a 5000 word new preface to the new edition of Reclaiming The F Word, which launched later that year!

It was mostly done whilst breastfeeding my baby, which as I already said, took many hours each day.

Reclaiming The F Word: Feminism Today

I did some meditations

Turns out that the yoga teacher does meditations in her home, which is just down the road from me. I managed to do a few sessions, and enjoyed it.

I completed the London section of the Thames Path

From the Thames Barrier to Hampton Court, in stages of about 6 miles a time, over the course of the year.

At the start, with Sam aged about 3.5 months

At the end of the London Section, at Hampton Court

We had some Games Nights

Auntie Rachel, Andrew & Sam playing Bohnanza

Not enough though… need to work on this next year!

We traveled to Rachel and Martins wedding reception in our home town in March

…and attended the evening do with Sam – only for hour before he needed to go to bed, but nevertheless! We made it!

I did some learning

I did B School, Nap It Out and Autoresponder Madness. I also renewed my membership with Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Biz and Life Academy.

This is me doing Nap it Out, during which I completed my hiking guides (which were about 40,000 words in total and 200 pages…!)

I maintained the little book of Sam.

This was basically my memory book of Sam’s first year.

Sam journal page

Sam Journal pages

Went up north

Climbed up Mam Tor.

Did a baby massage class.

Did baby swimming classes

This was so much fun.

Finally put up ‘the art cluster’

To make my home more ‘me’

Had lots of visits from family

I wonder what would happen if I pulled this?

Sam with Grandma and Grandad

Visited the Tate twice

Tate Britain, and Tate Modern, to see Klee.

Had intended to go more often, but failed. Need to work on this next year!

Went back up North for an anniversary and birthday party

Had a fantastic photo shoot

In May, from my friend Stephanos

#family #kids #moment #sacred #capture #canon #london

Put my coast to coast zine on the kindle

Details here

A Coast to Coast Journal

Did a term of baby sensory

Implemented baby led weaning

Total convert. It’s awesome.

Completed my London Hiker hiking guides

Details here

Took Sam to the Lake District!

Climbed two new Wainwright fells

Did regular weekly posts on London Hiker for about 6 months

& sent out a weekly email.

Took Sam to meet my fellow Free Range Humans

Amazing friends I’d met through doing one of Marianne Cantwell‘s courses.

Photo by Jessy Paston

Did some painting

Did four guest posts

This relates to my London Hiker website.

I did posts for Baby routes, Tiny Buddha, the PlanetD, and London Bloggers.

Got Sam used to the creche

There’s one in the gym, and he now goes for an hour about three times a week, so I can work.

Took Sam on the train by myself…

Went to Worcester and Clearwell Castle for a wedding weekend

Decided to take extended maternity leave

Made decision to leave work and go self employed


Too big to sum up here.

Visited childrens centres play times

Started the New Mama Welcome Pack

Secret project...

This is my new BIG PROJECT!!

See details here.

I’m so excited about this and am working with 60+ women on developing this fantastic gift for a new mama.

Visited the Isle of Wight

Sam's first sight of the beach and sea

Eating a breadstick

So bright on St Boniface Down, that I'm getting lens flares

Dipping boots in the water

Went back to work to sort out my files

Made some handmade books, and sold them at my local pub’s Christmas Fair

Hand made journals from vintage/recycled paper & materials

For sale on Folksy

Ran a giveaway on London Hiker

Increased my subscribers to London Hiker

Screenshot from 2013-12-29 11:38:33

From 48 to 234.

Mastered wraps and carriers

Heading back home on the Northern Line

Highly recommend the Manduca.

Forget the Baby Bjorn.

Made some videos about gifts for new mums

Went to Selvedge Winter Fair

Taught Sam some sign language

He knows ‘milk’ and ‘more’. We are teaching him ‘potty’ and ‘finished’.

Celebrated Sam’s birthday

Blowing bubbles

Attempt at family portrait #42651b

Started having regular play dates

…with a few friends

Things on my list of things to do in 2013 that I managed to do

  • Go to the Lakes
  • Write guides for London Hiker
  • Finish preface for Reclaiming The F Word
  • Learn baby massage
  • Do a walk with Sam
  • {Mortgage related financial goal}
  • Drink smoothies regularly
  • Climb a new Wainwright fell
  • Meet with my friend Helen
  • Play games (did, but not enough!)
  • Get four massages
  • Walk the Thames Path (finished the London section)
  • Do some ‘fearless painting
  • Try veggie black pudding
  • Do BSchool
  • Do meditation with Doretta
  • Maintain the baby journal/scrapbook
  • Try samphire
  • Get a regular haircut
  • Do exercise class once a week
  • Left work
  • Published London Hiker product
  • Go up north at least twice
  • Do a course/learning

Things on my list I didn’t get to do:

  • Go to Brighton
  • Visit the Tate four times (only went twice)
  • Publish another e-product (started one though)
  • Have a foot massage
  • Paint a canvas for the house (I realised I could use some of my ‘fearless’ paintings for this purpose, so maybe this is half done…)
  • Go to the Lush spa
  • Have afternoon tea
  • Eat at a raw food restaurant
  • Go for a hike on my own
  • Try four new book binding techniques

My word for the year was FUN.

I wanted to really REALLY enjoy this first year of life with my baby.

Yes, it’s been probably the hardest year of my life. But I think I managed it.

Catherine tries some yoga

Sam at Deen City Farm


6 months in

Now I have a toddler.

It’s scary.


Check out Leonie’s planners here if you like setting yearly goals and LOVE writing lists of things to do! I highly recommended them. And they’re an absolute bargain.

(p.s. Links to the planners in this post are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you extra, but if you buy, I get 50%.)

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