The lessons I learned in 2016


2016 has been such a difficult year for many of us, myself included, and in some ways I am relieved to see the back of it. In other ways, I am actually quite sad that the months have flown so fast, that my children have grown in the blink of an eye, and that we will never have that time again.

New Year is always a time for reflection, to look back on the highs and lows, and I think it’s so important that, even in what has undoubtedly been a tough year, we still look for the positives and take from it what we can. This year I have found that there is a lesson to be learned in every hardship, that anything is possible with a little self belief, and that with the right people beside you, you will never feel alone. In that way 2016 has taught me so much.

1. Reach for the stars.

When I first started my blog 18 months ago, it was simply a way of clawing back a little “me” time, giving me somewhere to channel all of the weird and wonderful thoughts in my head, and a way of sharing our five little doves with those who have supported us along the way. At the start of 2016 I never thought for one minute that I would be ending the year in the top 250 of UK parent bloggers, that I would have made it as a finalist in the MumsNet 2016 blog awards, been given so many wonderful opportunities as a family, had my work published in various magazines, or that I would be earning a living doing something I love.

As someone who has never wanted to be anything other than a Mother or a writer, I genuinely feel like the luckiest person in the world to be combining the two. With my blog going from strength to strength, a children’s book coming out in the new year, and slowly but surely penning my way through my first novel, I have found a real determination to make a success of our lives, to give my children everything I can possibly offer them, and to wake up every single morning with fire in my belly and the knowledge that the sky really is the limit.

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2. Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have.

I have made no secret of the fact that life with Megan can be quite tough at times, and this year was not without its difficulties. Despite the fact that I carried her inside of me for nine long months, gave birth to her and cared for her, every minute of every day for the last three and a half years, it has taken me a long time to really get to know my daughter. With having Lewis and Eva, I had assumed that I knew everything there was to know about being a parent, and yet it turns out that I knew very little about being a parent to a child such as Megan.

It has been an on-going battle to learn to understand how her mind works, the motives behind her emotional outbursts, the reasons for her melt downs, and the realisation that the things which make her different are the same things which make her special. This year I finally realised that Megan is exactly the person she is supposed to be, and in that way she has made me the person I am supposed to be. Seeing the world through her eyes is a real privilege and one which I hold on to, even on the bad days.

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3. Things change.

This year has taught me that nothing stays the same and that, no matter what you do to try and prevent it, things will always change. More specifically, people change, and those who stood beside you through the good times aren’t necessarily still standing beside you through the hard times.

I learned that everyone who comes into your life will teach you something, be that good or bad, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will stick around. People will surprise you with their capacity to change, in the same way that they will surprise you with their capacity to change you. Whatever the reason for someone coming into, or out of, my life, I have realised how incredibly lucky I am to have so many wonderful people, old friends and new, standing beside me through the good, and the bad.

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4. You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.

One of the most important lessons I have learned this year is that life is too short to sweat the small stuff. I have spent thirty six years of my life worrying that I’m not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not good enough, and after a horrendous twelve months of health worries, both of my own and for those I love, I realise now that none of those things matter. In the wake of my test results last month, when we were fully prepared to accept the very worst, I simply woke up and stopped caring. It was almost as though somebody had flicked a switch and all of a sudden I could breathe again, I could see more clearly, and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, who, and what, truly mattered to me.

I have wasted far too many years trying to make other people happy, allowing negative attitudes and opinions to affect my own, failing to recognise jealousy and unkindness, and suffocating in my own pessimism. And now, with what feels very much like a second chance, I am determined to make 2017 the year that I face my fears, worry less, laugh more, believe in miracles, and to accept that I am doing the very best I can, and that’s okay.

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5. It’s okay to be happy.

I have spent the last decade fighting an internal battle of wanting to move forward, but being too afraid to let go. For such a long time I was terrified that if I dared to claw my way out of the dark hole I was in, to detach myself from all of those negative feelings and emotions that I associated with Joseph, it would mean that I would forget him. I clung to my grief in a way that, even through what should have been the happiest times of my life, I still focused solely on the negatives, perpetuating that endless cycle of misery, always living with one foot in the past, never allowing myself to be truly happy for fear of betraying Josephs memory.

This year, with what should have been Joseph’s tenth birthday, where we celebrated his life amongst family and friends, I suddenly realised that his legacy was not one of sadness, but one, very much deserving, of happiness. Although losing him was the hardest, most painful experience of my life, I am so proud of the way in which his tiny footprints left such a huge imprint on the lives of many and the countless ways in which he enriched our lives.

And although I cannot change what happened, nor erase all of that sadness from my memory, when I think of him I want to focus on the positives, on those long summer days when he kicked in my tummy, that very first moment when he was placed in my arms, his shock of dark hair, those beautiful rosebud lips and the most perfect little fingers and toes. And I’m finally ready to be happy; that he chose us, that he changed our entire world, and that he made me who I am.

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6. There is always something to be grateful for.

It would be impossible to hide away from the fact that 2016 has seen such an extraordinary amount of tragedy in the world, even more so than any other year I can remember. And it would be very easy to focus solely on that, to rant about the curse of 2016, to reel off the list of celebrity deaths, the devastating situation in the far east, the terrorist attacks throughout Europe and the cruel, senseless crimes carried out on our doorsteps. As much as there are days when I want to turn off the news, lock the doors, hold my children tight and tell myself that none of this is happening, I think one of the biggest lessons I have learned this year is that despite all of this, there is always something to be grateful for.

2016 has been filled with so much love and laughter in our home, it has given us two fantastic holidays, weekends away, countless days out and memories made. We have shared birthdays, parties, new experiences and opportunities, moments that we’ll never forget, and a whole lot of nothing in between .

I’ve watched my little doves grow into the most beautiful, talented, fierce individuals who have made me laugh, cry, and so unbelievably proud, a thousand times over. 2016 took us on a roller coaster of emotions, worry, uncertainty, and far too much heartache, and yet, for every tough day, there was always my husband to come home to, four precious children to hold in my arms, to tuck up into bed each night, and to know, without fail, that I am the luckiest Mummy in all the world.

And that’s what it’s all about.

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Happy New Year to you all, I hope that 2017 brings you everything you wish for. xxx

 

 

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269 Comments

  1. January 2, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    Loved reading this post. We’ve had a very hard year too with my eldest being diagnosed with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. Watching her attempt to take her life twice has been categorically the worst thing that has ever happened to me. But together we’ve got through it and will continue into 2017. Sounds like you and I have both learn some valuable (and uncannily similar!) life lessons this past year. Wishing all of your Little Doves a happy and healthy 2017. Xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 2, 2017 / 8:54 pm

      Thank you Suzanne, what a year you have had. As we’ve spoken about before, I’ve been down the same path as your daughter and my heart goes out to you at how difficult it must be as a mother. I hope that 2017 is kinder to you and your family, sending you much love and happiness for the year ahead. xxx

  2. January 2, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    I love that you say motherhood is about raising the child you have not the child you thought you have. My son is different to me in so many ways and I should celebrate that more, not make him more like me

    • Laura Dove
      January 2, 2017 / 8:56 pm

      It has taken me such a long time to come to that conclusion Mellissa, I questioned why Megan was so different for three long years before I learned to celebrate her differences. Happy new year to you. xx

  3. January 2, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    I loved everything about this post, but mostly I loved number 2. So very true. So very very true. It’s a lesson that I think even now I struggle to accept at times, especially when Number One’s anxiety gets in the way of her doing something, but it is oh so incredibly important. As is the point about the difficult days being the ones when our children need the most love. Happy New Year x

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 11:17 am

      Thank you. I’m so glad that others can relate to this, I think having a child that is “different” is very hard to accept and I think I will always struggle through the bad days. I just tell myself that it is so much easier to accept her as she is, than spend our lives trying to change her into something she isn’t? Plus on those good days, it reminds me that she is the most wonderful little girl and I wouldn’t want to change her, not for the world. xxx

  4. January 2, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    What a lovely post – some great reflections but what I love most is your positivity – this is what keeps you going – and it sounds like you’ve been really successful with your blog which is amazing – well done you! Keep up the great work!

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 11:14 am

      Thank you so much. I have always been such a pessimist, being positive doesn’t come naturally to me but I am trying so hard to change my mindset. Happy new year. xxx

  5. January 2, 2017 / 10:01 pm

    This is lovely Laura, your words have made me think about how much I have to be grateful for too. You should be so proud of everything you’ve achieved so far with lots to look forward to this year too! It was so lovely to meet you at Blogfest, hopefully our paths will cross again and you’ll be able to take advantage of the free bar next time! 🙂
    Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2017 x

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 11:13 am

      Ahh thank you Charlie, it was a pleasure to meet you, I hope to see you again at some point this year…..with alcohol for sure! It was Davina’s speech at blogfest that really stayed with me, about being grateful, it has really changed the way that I look at life. For all of the sadness and hard times, I have been so incredibly lucky. Happy new year to you and your beautiful family. xxx

  6. January 2, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    This is such a beautiful post. I’m liking the pictures as well esp the ones of the girls they are stunning. We all have so much in life to be grateful for we just need to slow down and appreciate it!

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 11:11 am

      Thank you Kris. I think it’s all about slowing down and being grateful, Ive been blinkered for far too long. 2017 will be a good year I’m sure! xx

  7. January 2, 2017 / 11:18 pm

    I love the quote on the photo of Megan: The children who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving of ways. I have to remind myself that this is true of teenagers too!

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 11:11 am

      Haha yes! I’m sure the same goes for teenagers too! xx

  8. January 3, 2017 / 12:04 am

    You completely deserve every bit of success you get and I am not surprised that your blog is ranked so highly nor that it reached the final of Mumsnet. You should be very proud of yourself well done x

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 11:08 am

      Thank you so much. I’m really proud of what I achieved last year, I’m hoping that 2017 is kind to us all. Happy New year lovely lady. xxx

  9. January 3, 2017 / 8:26 am

    Amazing post lovely and I love your positivity and honesty – never too old to have a dream or goal and can’t live a positive life with a negative mind – love! Love also your acceptance of who you are now – it’s amazing to reach that point and I do thunk blogging helps us to reach this. You’ve had an amazing year and are doing so well – I’m so inspired by you lovely xx here’s hoping you have an amazing 2017 #DreamTeam

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 11:06 am

      Thank you so much Helen. It’s amazing what a rough year can do for you in terms of opening up your eyes to what really matters. I agree, blogging has really helped to find acceptance and give me the confidence to find my voice. I think I’ve been so blinkered to so many things, to toxic friendships and negativity, I feel as though a weight has been lifted somehow! Happy New Year to you, I hope that it’s a wonderful one! xxx

  10. January 3, 2017 / 9:11 am

    This is a great post, with some fantastic mantras I think everyone could learn from. Happy New Year #dreamteam

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 11:00 am

      Thank you Rach, Happy new year to you too! xx

  11. January 3, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Just popping back to say I too have a ‘firecracker’ daughter but I just keep telling myself it will be a good thing for her to be such a determined character in later life ( just not so good when you’re her mother!!) 🙂 #dreamteam

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 11:00 am

      Haha yes! Me and Gaz always say god help her husband, she is going to be THE most strong willed lady, I can’t even imagine how we will survive her teenage years!! Wine maybe, lots of it…. xx

  12. January 3, 2017 / 10:26 am

    This is such a lovely post and describes where I was a few years ago when I lost my sister. It gave me a kick up the bum and showed me that life is for living, not to sweat the small stuff and to leave behind the things that make you unhappy. Lets hope 2017 is even better (I have a firecracker son so know where you are coming from)

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 10:59 am

      Oh Kara that must have been utterly heartbreaking. Hard times definitely give us a huge wake up call about what’s important, I feel that I have changed so much this last year and really opened my eyes to what’s important. I hope that 2017 is kind to you and your family. xxx

  13. Mackenzie Glanville
    January 3, 2017 / 11:40 am

    Quite simply this post is beyond beautiful!

    It had me in tears of sadness and inspiration. Joseph must just be so proud of you! You area mazing and I feel blessed to have found your blog xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 12:19 pm

      Thank you so much Mac, I have drawn so much positivity and inspiration from your blog this year, I can’t even begin to tell you how much that has helped me. Here’s to 2017, I wish for us both to have a wonderful year. xxx

      • Mackenzie Glanville
        January 5, 2017 / 8:54 am

        I have a good feeling it will be a great year for us! Just popping back from #stayclassymama

  14. January 3, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    You have had some challenges and overcome them, well done, I have also been through the mil, suffered a stroke, almost ten years ago, but am making slow progress

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 12:16 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that. I hope that you continue to make progress and 2017 is kind to you and your family. xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 3, 2017 / 5:25 pm

      Thank you so much. Happy new year to you. xxx

  15. January 3, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    What an absolutely positive inspirational post Laura. It’s funny but a lot of what you mention especially about accepting who and how you are really struck a cord with me, a few years ago I had the same realisation one morning I woke up and stopped caring and my life has been so much better since. I hope 2017 is a successful happy year for you full of wonderful memories. Thank you for linking up with #TuesdayTreasures

    • Laura Dove
      January 12, 2017 / 12:24 pm

      Thank you so much. I think we all have that moment where you just open your eyes to the world, for some it takes longer than others. Adopting a positive attitude and by simply being grateful, it can make a huge difference to your life. Happy new year to you. xxx

  16. Steven
    January 3, 2017 / 7:10 pm

    Great post. I think 2017 will be a great year for you and your family!

    • Laura Dove
      January 12, 2017 / 12:23 pm

      Thank you Steven, I wish the same for you. xx

  17. January 3, 2017 / 8:00 pm

    Hapy New Year to you too, 2016 was a very mixed emotion kind of year for most of us. I am looking forward to reading the children’s booka nd hopefully your novel.
    Thanks for sharing your lessons

  18. January 3, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    This is a great post. Congratulations on everything you have achieved over the last year, you should be very proud of yourself. I agree when you have health issues suddenly it puts other ‘small’ things into perspective. I don’t have the time or energy to worry about the little things anymore. You also realise how important it is to be positive, it’s OK to have a little bit of ‘miserable’ time but then I find something I am thankful for.

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:24 pm

      Thank you Lisa. I agree, just because I plan to be more positive doesn’t mean that I wont feel sorry for myself from time to time or have days when it’s a struggle, but it’s about putting it into perspective and reminding ourselves that in the grand scheme of things, this is just one day and tomorrow may be easier. Happy New Year to you. xxx

  19. January 3, 2017 / 10:06 pm

    I love this and agree there is always something to be grateful for! Your post has made me evaluate my parenting and also where I stand with my loss. i too cling to my grief as a connection to poppy and feel guilt to be too happy… x

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:23 pm

      I think many bereaved parents do the same Mary, sadly with stillbirth all we have is the sadness of their loss, it’s so hard to let go of that and accept that we have found happiness again. I will always miss Joseph, and always feel devastated that we didn’t get to keep him, but I also think that his memory should be a happy one, sadness and tears doesn’t do him justice? Happy New Year to you all Mary, I hope that 2017 is kind to you and yours. xxx

  20. January 4, 2017 / 9:29 am

    Such a well written post and full of motherhood wisdom. You can only write like this from experience and ‘having been there’. All great life lessons and at probably twice your age I think I’m still learning many of them!
    Happy New Year #Sharewithme

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:20 pm

      Aww Fiona thank you so much. I feel as though it has taken me a long time to learn some of these lessons, allowing myself to be happy was well overdue, but it’s better late than never. Life is pretty amazing, here’s to 2017. Happy New Year. xxx

  21. January 4, 2017 / 10:44 am

    All of these things are so so true! You have been through so much and are such a strong woman Laura! 🙂 As always, a beautiful post which made very emotional. I love this about you! Amazing news about your children’s book and your novel! Writing a book (probably non-fiction) is my dream too.. slowly but surely I’ll start to make things happen! Thank you for sharing 🙂 #UKBloggerClub

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:18 pm

      Thank you so much Sara. Writing a book is tough going, especially when you’re juggling so much already, but I’ve promised myself I’ll get it done by 40, only three years to go!! Happy new year lovely lady. xxx

  22. January 4, 2017 / 10:58 am

    Ooops! #BloggerClubUK rather!

  23. January 4, 2017 / 12:02 pm

    What a lovely uplifting post hon and I couldn’t agree more- reach for those stars! xxx

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:18 pm

      Thank you Talya. It was so lovely to meet you last year, I’m hoping to see more of you this year. xxx

  24. January 4, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    You’re amazing Laura you know I love you and your blog – this post captures everything that your blog is all about. 2017 is going to be your year! xxx #bloggerclubuj

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:17 pm

      Thanks lovely. You have been such a good friend to me over the last few months, here’s to 2017 and making memories. xxx

  25. January 4, 2017 / 3:36 pm

    I always do enjoy reading your posts. I find it humbling when someone shares something so personal and honest with their readers. 2016 has been quite a year.

    Glad for you that you are allowing yourself to be happy.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:17 pm

      Thank you so much. I think it’s definitely time to be happy, I have so many wonderful reasons to smile each day. Happy new year to you. xx

  26. January 4, 2017 / 3:40 pm

    This post is both motivational and inspirational. You seem to have learned a lot in a short space of time.

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:16 pm

      Thank you, I have learned so much! Happy new year! xx

  27. January 4, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    Oh this is just an amazing post, what wonderful things to realise. I totally agree with you, the positivity for me is so important – I find it so easy to be negative and I really need to try to be positive but once I am, and I find those things that have made me smile and remember what I have to be grateful for I feel so much better for it! I hope you have a wonderful 2017!

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:16 pm

      Thank you Jenni. Being negative comes very naturally to me, I’d love to be a naturally optimistic person. I’m hopeful that I can fake it til I make it!! Happy 2017 to you! xx

  28. January 4, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    This is such a beautiful and inspiring post. I love reading your posts and I love the way you tackle stuff head on. You deserve every ounce of happiness and I hope 2017 is good to you #dreamteam

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:15 pm

      Thank you Michelle, that’s so lovely of you. Happy new year to you. xxx

  29. Lisa - FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com
    January 4, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    Wow, those are some profound life lessons! They really resonate with me. I’m happy I’ve taken the time to read your post and grateful you chose to share these personal lessons. Thank you. #TuesdayTreasures

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:15 pm

      Thank you Lisa. Happy new year to you, let’s make 2017 a good one. xx

  30. January 4, 2017 / 9:47 pm

    It’s such a moving post and it’s a truly inspirational. Everything you have written is so true and spot on. You so deserve every success and I hope 2017 is a blessed year for you!

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:13 pm

      Thank you so much. Happy new year to you. xxx

  31. January 4, 2017 / 10:20 pm

    These are fab lessons. I think its important to celebrate our kids as they are and not as we planned them to be. Also being positive and happy is so so important no matter what our trials or circumstances in life.

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:13 pm

      You’re so right. Having a positive mindset makes such a difference! xx

  32. January 4, 2017 / 11:13 pm

    What a wonderfully uplifting post. It’s so nice to read about positives

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:13 pm

      Thank you, happy new year! xx

  33. January 5, 2017 / 10:03 am

    So much wisdom in this post — i wish for you the power to see that if you can wirte it, you can live it! Health, Happiness and Prosperity for you and your lovely family. It’s time… xoxo

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:13 pm

      Thank you Lisa, I hope for that too. Happy new year lovely. xxx

  34. January 5, 2017 / 10:56 am

    Happy new year! I loved everything about this post. I can’t wait to read your childrens book and good luck with your new novel. I definitely need to try out some of these lessons for myself. Particularly ‘You can’t have a positive life with a negative mind’. My negative voice comes out a little too much. I hope you have a really lovely year. x

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:10 pm

      Happy new year Chloe! Thank you so much, I have been hugely guilty of being far too negative for too long, 2017 is the year I finally look for the positives – and there are so many to be found! xxx

  35. January 5, 2017 / 11:11 am

    This is so lovely, what a rollercoaster of a year you have had. Your blog has done amazing this year, you write so beautifully and you very much deserved all the success you have achieved, your blog is one of my favourites. Being a mum and writer is obviously what you were made for as you write so beautifully and your children always look so happy. I wish you every success with your book and I hope that this year is a better year for you xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:10 pm

      Thank you so much, that’s such a lovely thing to say. I hope that 2017 is a wonderful year for you and your family. xxx

  36. January 5, 2017 / 1:48 pm

    Happy New Year! And what a truly inspirational, uplifting post you have here! I feel happier just having read it! I loved the comment about Megan being just who she is supposed to be and how you are adapting who you are so that you can care for her. Our children change us in ways we never thought possible and that is one of the wonderful things about parenting – we think we are nurturing our children, but they are also teaching us too. I hope 2017 is a good one for you! #BrillBlogPosts

    • Laura Dove
      January 5, 2017 / 7:09 pm

      Thank you Lucy! Happy new year to you too! I completely agree, I’m a big believer in the idea that we all become the person we are meant to be through whatever life throws at us. We may not always understand it, but we can always learn from it. I hope that 2017 is a wonderful year for all of us, god knows we all deserve a break after last year! xxx

  37. January 5, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    What a year! This post is lovely and inspiring, some really powerful things to have learnt. Thanks for sharing x #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 9:37 am

      Ahh thank you so much. Happy new year to you! xx

  38. January 6, 2017 / 8:20 am

    A great perspective on the good things of the year rather than the less positive. Well done with your blog progress too! #stayclassymama

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 9:37 am

      Thank you Rhian, happy new year! xx

  39. Helen
    January 6, 2017 / 9:26 am

    Beautiful words with stunning photos to match. I think a lot of us could take away from your own lessons from 2016 – a lot to think about 🙂 #thatfridaylinky

    Helen x

    http://www.treasureeverymoment.co.uk/

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 9:36 am

      Thank you Helen. 2016 really did teach me so much! Happy new year to you. x

  40. January 6, 2017 / 10:21 am

    Such a lovely post and so beautifully written as always. I love your attitude. Like, REALLY love it! Hope 2017 is a good one for you all. #ThatFridayLinky

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 7:51 pm

      Ahh thank you so much. Happy New Year to you. xxx

  41. January 6, 2017 / 10:40 am

    Love this – you’ve raised my spirits today. I had a similar ‘word with myself’ over the festive period as 2016 and even the start of 2017 has not been easy but I’ve started a happy jar so we don’t lose sight of all the good this year, as there really is plenty of that too. Lots of love to you all and hope to meet again this year 🙂 x Thanks, as always for sharing your words on #sharewithme

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 7:51 pm

      Ahh thanks lovely. I love the idea of a happy jar, it’s something I meant to do last year but will definitely do this year, I just need a jar!! We should definitely meet up this year, it would be lovely to have a proper natter and let the kids run wild. xxx

  42. January 6, 2017 / 10:47 am

    Laura, this is the most beautiful, most profound thing I have possibly ever read. I especially like no.2, as well as no. 6 and well, all of it really! Even those who haven’t had the same experiences as you can truly relate because of your openness in your writing. It’s been a hell of a year, a few years actually, and I for one am wrung out, but reading your positivity is so motivating and helps to put a much better spin on everything. #TuesdayTreasures

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 7:50 pm

      Thank you so much Cal, your lovely comment has brightened a very rainy dull day. I think we can all relate to struggling at times, either with day to day life or particular events and tragedies we face, finding the positives amongst all of that is so important, I never really knew just how much it would help me until now. I’m sure there will be points over the next 12 months when I find myself struggling, but these four beautiful children of mine will always keep me smiling. Happy New Year to you and yours. xxx

  43. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons
    January 6, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    Happy New Year! This is such a wonderful, positive post – I’m a huge believer in the power of gratitude. I struggle sometimes with getting stuck in a depressive rut, but focusing on the positives (and there are always some) has really helped me to change my outlook on things. You know how much I loved your post about your relationship with Megan too – I think it’s unusual for parents to say those kind of thoughts out loud, but it’s helped me a lot to read posts like that and realise that I’m not alone, and to come to accept my high needs child for the fabulous person he is. Thanks so much for joining us again at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 7:47 pm

      Happy New Year Katy!! I am so similar, I get stuck in a rut and it’s very hard to drag yourself out of it. It sounds cheesy but listening to Davina (of all people!) at BlogOn has changed my entire outlook on life this year. Her “attitude of gratitude” really resonated with me and I am finding it so helpful to find the positives, even when I once thought there were none. 2017 is going to be a wonderful year for you and your family, I can’t wait to hear all about it. xxx

  44. January 6, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    This was such a powerful post to read and I can relate to so much of it. I hope 2017 is a wonderful, happy year for you and your family. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 7:45 pm

      Thank you Emily. Happy New Year to you, Nige and the kids. xxx

  45. January 6, 2017 / 1:55 pm

    It sounds like 2016 was a learning curve, but you’ve still managed to put a positive spin on things. Here’s to 2017 x #thelistlinky

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 7:45 pm

      Thanks lovely. Happy new year to you, 2017 is going to be an amazing year for you! xxx

  46. January 6, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    This is a beautiful post. From your words to the photos with quotes. Gorgeous. Life certainly is one rollercoaster. #ThatFridayLinky

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 7:45 pm

      Thank you so much Helena. Happy new year to you. xxx

      • January 7, 2017 / 6:56 pm

        You’re welcome. #fortheloveofBLOG

  47. January 6, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    What a wonderful post Laura. I’m sorry it wasn’t all good but it seems like you have made the best of it. I hope 2017 is amazing for you and your family. Thank you for hosting with Claire and I this week on #fortheloveofBLOG x

    • Laura Dove
      January 6, 2017 / 7:45 pm

      Ahh thank you Fi, and thank you so much for having me!! I hope that 2017 is a good one for you and yours. xxx

  48. Kimberly - Media Mummy
    January 6, 2017 / 8:39 pm

    Laura – I need to stop reading your blog because it makes me sob like a baby every time! I don’t mean it, obviously. But the way you write with such clarity, and honesty, and emotion is amazing.
    I love this. Number 5 especially.
    Kx

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 9:06 pm

      Aww Kimberly, thank you so much. I’m sorry that I made you cry but your comment put a huge smile on my face. Happy new year to you. xxx

  49. January 6, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    This was such a lovely post and you write so beautifully.
    I shed a few tears whilst reading, you write with so much honesty, love and emotion – I hope you and your family have a brilliant 2017.
    I’ve definitely come away from this with a few life lessons to bear in mind, thank you.
    Lucy
    X X

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 9:05 pm

      Aww Lucy, thank you so much. Wishing you a wonderful 2017, I hope that this year is a little kinder to all of us. xxx

  50. January 7, 2017 / 2:13 am

    This post has so much beauty. All your points are so relevant. Sometimes it’s hard to let your children be their own little people, and not try to mold them into the little people you want them to be.

    I wish you all the best in 2017 – I admire your honestly and positivity, and your willingness to move forward into a better place for you and your family.

    #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 9:05 pm

      Thank you Jessica. I hope that 2017 teaches me some equally important lessons, happy new year to you! xx

  51. Daddy Poppins
    January 7, 2017 / 8:30 am

    This is my first time on your blog and it’s great. Your piece really resonates with me (being a 37 year old sahd with aspirations to write and be a dad). Im only blogging for 4 months so far but swing your growth after 18 is inspiring. I totally agree ‘don’t sweat the little things’ best of luck in 2017. Wishing you every success

    #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 9:04 pm

      Thank you so much! I hope that 2017 sees your blog grow from strength to strength. I think as long as you blog because you love to write, you really can’t go wrong. Wishing you a wonderful 2017! xx

  52. January 7, 2017 / 8:36 am

    What s great positive post. Its easy to gwt bogged down by negativity and all the bad things going on around is bit looks like you have a great attitude to be grateful and have a positive mindset which is what I aim to do too. And what a fab year you had with your blog too. Wishing you an amazing 2017 #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 9:02 pm

      Thank you Fran, it’s not always easy to stay positive but I’m going to try really hard this year! Happy new year to you and yours. xxx

  53. January 7, 2017 / 8:45 am

    What a lovely and inspirational post – wishing you all the best for 2017 #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 9:01 pm

      Thank you. Happy new year to you! xx

  54. January 7, 2017 / 9:07 am

    Love this post and your blog too! You deserve some recognition for your fantastic writing so well done of the award nominations. Wishing you a wonderful 2017.

    #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 9:01 pm

      Thank you so much Cathryn, wishing you a wonderful 2017 too. xx

  55. January 7, 2017 / 9:17 am

    Laura, this is a lovely, thoughtful and reflective post. I don’t get across to your blog as often as I’d like but whenever I pop across it’s like a ‘warm hug’. I love your little pebbles header and your ‘heart on your sleeve writing style. I’m glad you can see all the positives in your life and have much to look forward to in 2017 with your lovely family. Your blessings litter your Instagram feed and have made me smile this year. #Fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 9:01 pm

      Aww Jane, that is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about my blog. That’s just made my day. Happy new year to you, I hope that 2017 is kind to you and yours. xxx

  56. January 7, 2017 / 9:38 am

    What a lovely post – I am trying to make 2017 a more positive year as well, having found the end of 2016 quite difficult. Good luck with all of your goals! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 9:00 pm

      Thank you Emma. I hope that 2017 is kind to you and yours. xx

  57. January 7, 2017 / 9:47 am

    Happy New Year lovely. This is a wonderful post and very inspiring. I wish you and your family all the best for 2017. #fortheloveofBLOG

    Nadia xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 9:00 pm

      Aww thank you Nadia. Happy new year to you all. xxx

  58. January 7, 2017 / 9:48 am

    So good to start the year with such perspective and positivity. I think it can be difficult when our children aren’t exactly what we imagined them would be. I still have no idea how I have a child who really isn’t that bothered with books! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      Thank you Laura. That’s so funny, I think we are always going to be surprised by our children! xx

  59. January 7, 2017 / 10:44 am

    #fortheloveofblog
    what a beautiful amazingly inspiring post, you have done amazing well done, really need to take some lessons from you
    thank you xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      Thank you Lorna. Happy new year to you. xxx

  60. January 7, 2017 / 10:50 am

    Laura, every time I read your post I have to hold my breath and stop myself from crying. This is such a beautiful post. Again very well written. You have over come a lot of things anyone could imagine. It is an extraordinary year you have had! Well done for all our accomplishments and hope that 2017 will bring everything that you wish too also. I am so excited about our new adventures, especially your children’s book coming out, and your first novel too. How exciting! Bring on 2017! 🙂 Must love, Su xxx

    Thank you for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      Aww Su, thank you so much. You have been so utterly lovely and supportive, it was amazing to meet you last year. I’m sure that 2017 is going to be a great year for both of us. xxx

  61. January 7, 2017 / 11:04 am

    This is a lovely post. When there’s bad things going on it is really hard sometimes to forget the good bits. I think letting go of the trivial stuff is a great new year’s resolution. #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:35 pm

      Thank you Sarah. Don’t sweat the small stuff is my motto for this year, 2017 is going to be a great year! xxx

  62. January 7, 2017 / 12:59 pm

    I totally agree that there is always something to be grateful for. Even on the darkest days there is light.

    #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:34 pm

      Absolutely, wishing you a wonderful 2017. xxx

  63. January 7, 2017 / 2:11 pm

    Some wonderful learns. You’re absolutely right about the positive mind set; in fact looking at the little things to be grateful for has really helped me with that. It’s also so nice to hear you’ve reached such a good place personally. Hope you have a wonderful 2017! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:34 pm

      Thank you, I feel as though I have finally made my peace with myself, it’s taken a long time!! Happy new year. xxx

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:33 pm

      Absolutely! xx

  64. January 7, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    I love this. So beautifully written as always, and so true #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:33 pm

      Thanks lovely. Here’s to 2017. xxx

  65. January 7, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    Loved reading your post. I think it’s great that you can find a lesson from hardships and look for the positive. It’s so important to celebrate the good things! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:32 pm

      Thank you Emma. It’s not always easy to find the positives, I naturally look for the negatives, but I’m hoping to fake it til I make it! Happy new year to you. xx

  66. January 7, 2017 / 4:24 pm

    Well done on a truly powerful post. *wipes the tears from my eyes* I particularly loved ‘The children who need the most love ask for it in the most unloving of ways’. So very very true.
    Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy 2107
    #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:32 pm

      Ahh Suzanna, thank you so much. Happy new year to you and yours. xxx

  67. January 7, 2017 / 4:51 pm

    ‘Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have.’ I had a goosebumps when I was reading it. You are really amazing MUM
    #sharewithme

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:31 pm

      Thank you so much. On the days when we feel like the most terrible parents, its important to remember that we are doing the best we can. Happy new year to you. xxxx

  68. Nige
    January 7, 2017 / 5:29 pm

    A beautiful post but thought provoking and full of positive energy for 2017 one of main reasons I love your posts is the passion and love for your children leaps off the page at me you have a wonderful writing style that drags the reader in and doesn’t let go and that’s only possible when a person has a love of the written word. I hope 2017 brings you everything for your family and yourself super post Laura x Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:31 pm

      Thank you so much Nige. Your comments always leave me feeling as though I can take on the world, thank you so very much. Happy new year to you and your beautiful family, I look forward to linking up each week. xxx

  69. January 7, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    This is such a beautiful post. And your positivity is inspirational. I too, didn’t have a very good 2016 but I am determined 2017 will go exactly as I plan. Even though we have only had a week of 2017 it has been hard, but I am only looking at things in a positive way and not allowing any negativity anywhere in my life. I have been struggling a bit today so thank you for reminding me to stay positive.
    #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:30 pm

      Thank you Sam. Distancing yourself from negativity is a great place to start. I realised that I needed to let go of toxic friendships, and a negative mindset, but I’m determined that 2017 will be a good one. I’m sorry you are struggling, keep going Mama. xxx

  70. January 7, 2017 / 7:52 pm

    It’s refreshing to read such a positive post about 2016 amidst all the doom and gloom out there on the internet. I’m sure we all had our struggles this past year – the same as any year – but as you said, there is always something to be grateful for. Here’s to an even better 2017 – I’m sure it will be a memorable one for you and your family. And congratulations on the children’s book! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:29 pm

      Thank you. I think many people have been swept away with the whole “curse of 2016” idea and over looked some of the amazing things that did happen last year. Every year is going to bring sadness and loss, sadly that’s the world we live in, but looking for the positives is so important. Here’s to 2017, let’s make it a good one! xxx

  71. January 7, 2017 / 7:52 pm

    I lost my dad in 2016 and I found it very difficult to cope. But after some reflection I am determined to make this year a great one and make him proud of me.
    I wish you a year of positive things and happiness x
    #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:28 pm

      Oh Ali, I am so sorry to hear that lovely. That must be so hard for all of you. I think sometimes just faking positivity is enough, until one day you realise you aren’t even pretending any more. Much love to you. xxx

  72. January 7, 2017 / 8:02 pm

    This is a really beautiful post, it just shows there’s always something to be thankful for! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      Thank you Louise, there really is! Happy new year to you! xx

  73. January 7, 2017 / 8:08 pm

    This is one of the reasons I started blogging, it allows you to take stock, reflect on the bad times and appreciate the good things that happen to us. Well done on all your achievements and good luck for all your plans.
    #FortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      Thanks Helen, I completely agree. Its great to look back on how far you have come. xxx

  74. January 7, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    This is such a beautiful post, it really resonated with me in many ways. Thank you so much for sharing x #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:10 pm

      Thank you Claire. Happy new year to you. xxx

  75. January 7, 2017 / 8:48 pm

    Life is truly amazing. It’s definitely worth shouting about! I admire everything You are doing. You amazing lady. Have a very happy 2017 😀 #sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:10 pm

      Thank you Karen, that means a lot to me. Happy new year to you and your lovely family. xx

  76. January 7, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    I love this Laura! You are a shining star and you’ve done amazing with your blog and your writing. Your honestly through your posts has helped so many people and I love the honesty you shared with your relationship with Megan. It’d definitely a time for you to leave the negative parts of your life behind and just take all the good bits and people with you into 2017. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for you and your family. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:10 pm

      Ahh Laura, thank you so much. You have been so lovely and supportive this year, I’m sure that with such fab people in my life 2017 can only be a good one. Fingers crossed we will get to meet this year, I cant wait to give you a huge hug!!! Oh and drink cocktails….lots of them! xxx

      • January 16, 2017 / 9:28 pm

        We will definitely meet this year for a big squeeze! Cocktails will be on the menu too, eek! x #KCACOLS

  77. January 7, 2017 / 9:21 pm

    What a heartwarming post. I’m sorry to hear you had such a tough 2016. I really hope that 2017 is a better one, and I’ve no doubt with your positive attitude and honesty that comes through in your post that you will. All the very best x

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:08 pm

      Thank you Emma. I think looking for the positives is the best place we can start, here’s to a wonderful 2017 for us all! xxx

  78. January 7, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    This post brought a tear to my eye…beautifully written and heartfelt. You have clearly had a year of ups and downs, I hope 2017 brings you everything you dream of #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:08 pm

      Thank you Nicola, what a year it was! Wishing you a wonderful 2017 too, happy new year lovely. xxx

  79. January 7, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post. I don’t know if it’s my pregnancy hormones but it’s made me incredibly emotional reading it. You’ve written such an inspiring and hopeful post which hits so many notes with me, I really hope you all the best for 2017. No doubt it’s going to be wonderfully fantastic for you and your little doves! #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:08 pm

      Aww thank you, pregnancy hormones are always to blame! I’m hoping that 2017 is a wonderful year, it sounds like you have an amazing year to come with a new baby too! Good luck! xxx

  80. January 7, 2017 / 10:36 pm

    Such a beautiful and inspiring post… I love the idea of reflecting back onnlessons learnt to improve the coming year. Nice and refreshing take on things! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:05 pm

      Thank you Lucy. Happy new year to you! xxx

  81. January 7, 2017 / 11:10 pm

    That quote about the children who need the most love really hits me hard as my son is desperately hard to look after and over the Christmas holidays he has literally pushed me to the brink. He has severe learning disabilities so the world looks very different through his eyes. Great post and good luck for all you wish for in 2017 xx #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:05 pm

      Thank you Alice. It’s so true isn’t it? Out of all of my children, Megan is the one who pushes me away the most and yet out of the four, she needs the most love. I hope that 2017 is kind to you and your family. xxx

  82. January 8, 2017 / 1:16 am

    Such a touching tribute to two of your children, Joseph & Megan. It reminds me how adaptable we have learn to be as parents. All the best with your novel and children’s book. I will keep an eye out for it, I love kid’s books. #KCACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 8:04 pm

      Thank you. We’ve come a long way this last 12 months. I’m not sure the novel will ever be finished, it’s a slow process, but this time next year Id like to think I’m a little closer! xx

  83. Mackenzie Glanville
    January 8, 2017 / 1:40 am

    And I am back again from #fortheloveofblog

    Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 7:51 pm

      Thanks Mac, a very grey and rainy weekend, but lovely none the less. Hope you’ve had a good one. .xxx

  84. January 8, 2017 / 1:53 am

    You right so beautifully Laura it doesn’t surprise me that your blog has become so successful. Good for you. In terms of your year – it sounds like you’ve been on a rollercoaster. And for everything else that you have been through I can honestly say that you are an inspiration. To have such a positive outlook on life is amazing. Thank you for sharing this and reminding us all of what’s really important. #fortheloveofBLOG xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 7:50 pm

      Ahh thank you so much Jaki, that’s so lovely of you to say. 2016 was a real rollercoaster, but I am taking from it what I can, and optimistic that 2017 will be kinder to us all. Happy New Year Lovely. xxx

  85. January 8, 2017 / 3:15 am

    Lots of lessons learnt for you in 2016 and you have put them all in to words so perfectly. I know how you feel about not wanting to listen to the news and hide away, I’ve felt that way too after all the bad things that have happened. You are right that we need to focus on the positives and be thankful for what we have. I hope you have a wonderful 2017 xx #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 7:49 pm

      Thank you, I think focusing on the positives is the best way to get through hard times. I hope that 2017 is kind to all of us. xxx

  86. January 8, 2017 / 6:48 am

    What a beautiful, reflective post. You should be so proud of what you achieved. I’m with you on the positive mindset – and on the way I view myself. I no longer care what people think 🙂 Your thoughts about Joseph are very moving. Good luck for 2017 x #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 7:49 pm

      Thank you Michelle. I think no longer caring what others think comes with age, I feel the older I get the less I care what others think of me. Happy new year to you. xxx

  87. January 8, 2017 / 7:07 am

    What a lovely reflective post. I like New Year for the fact you can have a mental refresh,reflect on the last 12 months and then move onto the next 12 months a head. I didn’t know you had a children’s book coming out, sign me up for a copy 🙂 #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 7:48 pm

      Aww thanks lovely. New Year is a great time for being reflective, I’m feeling super positive this year and hoping to see you at BlogOn? xxx

  88. January 8, 2017 / 8:06 am

    I had no idea you had a childrens book and a novel on the go – I am so excited for you – keep us posted on these please! Lovely post and I can definitely relate about the negative mindset, I am feeling a lot more positive these days and it really does make a difference. Happ New Year #stayclassymama

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 7:47 pm

      Thank you Sarah. I’m juggling a lot of balls in the air at the moment!! I’ll be the first to shout about it when it’s finally in print! Happy new year to you! xxx

  89. January 8, 2017 / 11:47 am

    Sending more love your way from #FabFridayPost xo

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 7:46 pm

      And more love right back at you! xx

  90. January 8, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    Love this list and it’s all so true. Everyone should keep them in mind for 2017 and I especially like the point about there always being something to be grateful for #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 7:46 pm

      Thank you. Being grateful makes such a difference in life, I think if there’s only one thing I could take from 2016 it would be that. xx

  91. January 8, 2017 / 5:46 pm

    These are some wonderful things to learn. I had some of my own health scares in 2016. Like you, I realized that it’s far better to savor the moments we’re in than worrying to death about things that can’t be changed TODAY. Hence, why I started a NEW blog based around that theme.

    Congrats on a wonderful year and all of your accomplishments with your blog. I can see why you got your rewards.

    #KCACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 7:45 pm

      Thank you Crystal. I think health scares can really open your eyes to what matters. Although 2016 was tough Ive realised that there is no point worrying about the things we cannot change. Happy new year to you. xxx

  92. January 8, 2017 / 7:18 pm

    such a beautiful post. and so true on so many levels. I’ve really enjoyed reading your psots over the last 8 months or so of learning about the different bloggers. you’ve come so far in such a short space of time. im really pleased you’ve found happiness xx #FTLOB

    • Laura Dove
      January 8, 2017 / 7:45 pm

      Thank you Emma, that’s so lovely of you. I’m really enjoying blogging at the moment, it started as a hobby and now I have found there is a whole world of opportunity out there! Here’s to 2017, the sky is the limit! xxx

  93. January 8, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    Visiting again – this time from #EatSleepBlogRT. I’ll queue you up for a RT later tonight. I still love this post.

  94. January 8, 2017 / 8:02 pm

    Just a quick trip back, I so love this post, and you are one truly amazing lady! Lots of love and hugs to you and your family. I too have a daughter who tests me to my utter limit, she’s charting her own course in life, I hope I am a good enough mother to guide her. #fortheloveofBLOG

  95. January 8, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    I love the sentiment in this Laura. It’s really beautifully written and heartfelt. It sounds as though 2016 was a challenging year for you, yet you have drawn so many positives here. There are lots of lessons here that we can all learn from. Your fifth point is very poignant and one where you have clearly suffered tremendously, yet you make such a valid point about being afraid to let go of something for fear of what that may entail. There is so much to learn from this and you show incredible bravery. I hope your year is full of all the love and positivity that you wish for. x #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 9, 2017 / 12:37 pm

      Thank you so much Nicky. Wishing you a wonderful year too. xxx

  96. January 8, 2017 / 9:48 pm

    What a gorgeous post full of hope and positive thoughts for the future. 2016 has been a bit of a strange year, but I completely agree about feeling to grateful for having the ones we love to come home to every night. Beautiful writing, I can’t wait to find out more about you children’s book. Thank you for linking up to the #DreamTeam xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 9, 2017 / 12:34 pm

      Thanks lovely, it’s been a real rollercoaster hasn’t it? I’m hopeful that 2017 will be a good year, positive thinking and all that!! As soon as I have news on the book I shall be shouting it from the rooftops! xx

  97. January 8, 2017 / 10:20 pm

    This is such a fantastic and beautiful read. Good luck for 2017 and everything it throws at you #brillblogposts

    • Laura Dove
      January 9, 2017 / 12:34 pm

      Thank you Michelle. I hope you have a wonderful year. xx

  98. January 9, 2017 / 9:09 am

    Some great life lessons there! I hope you have a great 2017! #marvmondays

    • Laura Dove
      January 9, 2017 / 12:33 pm

      Thanks Donna, and you too! xx

  99. January 9, 2017 / 9:26 am

    That’s just a lovely inspiring post – well done! Like you say sometimes the hardest thing is to realise and accept how good life can actually be and to just embrace the good bits rather than dedicating so much energy to the things that aren’t so good. There’s good things everywhere if you take the time to notice them! Have a lovely year. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 9, 2017 / 12:33 pm

      Thank you James. You are so right, I feel as though I’ve been walking around with my eyes closed for such a long time! Happy new year to you. xxx

  100. January 9, 2017 / 10:27 am

    Every word of this is perfect! Just brilliant, you are a very wise, inspirational woman and I hope to be as positive as you this following year! I simply wish I had half your strength Xx
    #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 9, 2017 / 12:33 pm

      Aww thank you so much. I don’t feel strong most of the time, but sometimes looking back is a great way of seeing how far you have come. I hope that 2017 is kind to us all. xxx

  101. January 9, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    What an uplighting & heart felt post! Your blog is doing so well. I love your photos on Instagram lately they are little pieces of art. You made beautiful quotes out of them here. If you’d like to link them to my quote linky Candid Cuddles, it’s a lovely little community for sharing quotes. It opens Monday evenings at 7pm. I’m excited for your children’s book coming out! All the best to you for 2017. Thanks so much for joining us at #BloggerClubUK x

    • Laura Dove
      January 9, 2017 / 7:33 pm

      Oh I would love to join in with that Becky, I’ll take a look now! Thank you for your lovely comments, I’ve been trying so hard with my photography, my husband is the best teacher, don’t tell him I said that though! I hope that 2017 is a wonderful year for you too. xxx

      • January 16, 2017 / 10:36 am

        I’m so glad you were able to join us at #candidcuddles I hope you can pop back again sometime! xx

  102. January 9, 2017 / 2:21 pm

    I’ve already told you how wonderfulI think this post is, and how brilliant you are, but it doesn’t do any harm to reiterate it. Calling over from #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 9, 2017 / 7:31 pm

      Aww thank you, your lovely comments have made a miserable rainy day much brighter. xxx

  103. January 9, 2017 / 7:10 pm

    These are such lovely points. I really loved #2 “Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have” .. Some are definitely more challenging than others. It’s a real eye-opener. Great post! #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 9, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      Thank you, Meggy has opened my eyes to so much over the last three years, she’s a special little girl! xx

  104. January 9, 2017 / 7:13 pm

    There are some great messages here, and so much inspiration. You are doing so well, and the year has only just begun! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 9, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      Thank you, here’s to a great year! xx

  105. January 9, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    #eatsleepblogrt wow you just wrote 7 of my posts in one. I think you are heading to a first book – love it Hun and fully agree, especially about being happy and grateful

    • Laura Dove
      January 10, 2017 / 5:27 pm

      Aww thank you. I think it’s always therapeutic to look back on how far we’ve come. 2016 was such a difficult year but wow it taught us a lot! xx

  106. January 9, 2017 / 10:45 pm

    this is such a lovely post. thought provoking and positive. #fortheloveofblog

    • Laura Dove
      January 10, 2017 / 5:26 pm

      Thanks Shaney. xxx

  107. January 9, 2017 / 11:25 pm

    Beautiful, honest and heartfelt! 2017 is going to be amazing for you and I look forward to reading more! x

    Kat

    • Laura Dove
      January 10, 2017 / 5:25 pm

      Thanks Kat, you should do it, it will be lovely to look back at this time next year! xx

  108. January 10, 2017 / 8:08 pm

    Lovely post 🙂 it’s really easy to get caught up in the bad and overthink things rather than just living in the moment and being happy for what we have. I’m terrible for that! It’s great that you’re focusing on the good now 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

  109. January 10, 2017 / 10:53 pm

    Lovely positive look back. It’s so important to focus on the positives when looking back at a year, it’s so easy for the negatives to overshadow the good if you let them.
    I hope you have a wonderful 2017!

    • Laura Dove
      January 12, 2017 / 12:22 pm

      Thank you so much. I hope that 2017 is kind to you all. xx

  110. January 11, 2017 / 12:08 am

    What a lovely post. Positivity and turning things around is so important for recognising what’s important in life. #sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      January 11, 2017 / 7:13 pm

      Thank you. I’m naturally very pessimistic so it has taken some time to reach a point where I can look for the positives, but it gets easier the more I try! xx

  111. January 11, 2017 / 5:07 am

    Even with school days long behind us there are always lessons to be learned. Being able to learn the lessons, both good and bad is a wonderful thing. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 11, 2017 / 7:12 pm

      Very true, I think as long as there is a lesson in there somewhere, we can’t regret anything! xx

  112. January 11, 2017 / 11:58 am

    I made the mistake of reading this at my desk in work and it brought me to tears with your gentle and beautiful earnst writing style that always finds its way into my heart. Reading about your positivity makes me feel it too, dark places are hard to crawl out from but knowing there is an uphill makes it all the easier. I wish you lots of happiness for this hear lovely #TheListLinky xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 11, 2017 / 7:03 pm

      Oh Jade that is such a lovely thing to say, thank you so much. I’m sorry I made you cry though! 2016 saw some very dark places for my family and I, but clinging to the positives is sometimes the only thing that gets you through. I hope that 2017 is kind to all of us, happy new year lovely lady. xxx

  113. January 11, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    I think 2016 was a hard and testing year for everyone, I had a crash at 28 weeks to then have Ben in NICU, suffering from PND and two risks of redundancies all in 12 months. However, I am still here smiling which I think is down to my loving family and my blog.
    I hope this year is a lot kinder to us all. your post was so well written and you know exactly how to go on this year and make it a little bit better for yourself.
    I look forward to reading more of your fab posts! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 11, 2017 / 7:02 pm

      Oh gosh what a year!! I think finding something to be grateful for, and to smile about, is so important. My youngest three were all in NICU so I can relate to how awful that must have been, I hope that 2017 is kind to you and your family too. xxx

  114. Susie at This Is Me Now
    January 11, 2017 / 5:48 pm

    This is such a lovely heartfelt post. I’ve only recently found your blog but I will definitely make it one of my regulars. You write so wonderfully. I hope 2017 is kinder to you but reading this you have lots to be thankful for from last year. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 11, 2017 / 6:51 pm

      Ahh thank you so much Susie. That’s so lovely of you and I shall be having a read of yours later this evening when the children are in bed. Here’s to 2017, may it be as wonderful as we can make it. xx

  115. January 11, 2017 / 5:51 pm

    Oh Laura, this is such a beautiful post – you’ve had a wonderful year and Joseph must be so proud of you. I love reading your posts and they so often fill me with emotion, and this one is no different – just gorgeously written. Thanks for co-hosting #fortheloveofblog xxx

    • Laura Dove
      January 11, 2017 / 6:50 pm

      Aww thank you lovely, I feel the same about yours! 2016 was such a good year in so many ways, even through all of the hard times I was so lucky to have my beautiful family. It makes a huge difference to be grateful doesn’t it? I hope that 2017 is wonderful for you and your family, and that I finally get to meet you this year! xxx

  116. January 12, 2017 / 2:48 pm

    This is such a lovely, uplifting post. I love the fact that you talk about having a positive mindset. I totally get the reaching for the stars bit too; the part about writing resonated with me too as finally I started sharing my fiction in 2017 (I’m also Baby Anon/Secret Life of The Baby 😉 ) as well as other writing. You sound like you had a thoughtful, important 2016 and I wish you much joy and good fortune in 2017 #sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      January 13, 2017 / 6:07 pm

      Thank you. Ahh a fellow writer, it’s something I definitely want to find the time to work on this year, it’s just difficult to fit around life!! Wishing you a happy 2016 too, and thank you for reading. xx

  117. January 12, 2017 / 9:53 pm

    A lovely post Laura and I’m sure 2017 is going to be fab for you all. Am totally with you on number 6 and also with number 1 as long as I can do the S club actions and have a little dance too. And your book is going to be stunning. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo x

    • Laura Dove
      January 13, 2017 / 6:02 pm

      Thank you. That made me laugh, I did love the S Club song and dance!! I’m hoping that 2017 is a wonderful year all round, here’s hoping. xx

  118. January 13, 2017 / 2:01 am

    What a great way to reflect on the year. I love your point about how mindset is so important. I’m finding that too in my life. Happy new year!

    • Laura Dove
      January 13, 2017 / 6:01 pm

      Thank you Angela. It’s definitely important to have a positive mindset, I’m finding my approach to life is very different since I adopted that view. Happy new year to you! xx

  119. January 13, 2017 / 10:28 am

    A lovely post. The words that stood out for me were “Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have.” So true and so wise.
    Happy 2017
    #sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      January 13, 2017 / 5:57 pm

      Thank you Suzie. It has taken me a long time to learn these lessons. Happy new year to you. xx

  120. January 13, 2017 / 11:59 am

    What an inspirational post – I absolutely loved reading it and found myself nodding along – especially to the one about children. This year is the year I accept my daughter for who she is rather then who I wish she would be – and I think we will all be so much happier! #sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      January 13, 2017 / 5:56 pm

      Thank you so much Cherry. I think finding acceptance definitely helps you to be happy! xx

  121. January 13, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    I truly loved this Laura and felt as if you were talking right to me! Such wise words – ones that I will remember. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    • Laura Dove
      January 13, 2017 / 5:54 pm

      Thank you Sharon. 2016 taught me so much, I’m hoping to learn even more this coming year. I shall be back linking on sunday! xx

  122. January 13, 2017 / 8:07 pm

    What a lovely positive post I wish you love and happiness in 2017 #DreamandSparkle

    • Laura Dove
      January 15, 2017 / 4:44 pm

      Thank you, and you too. xx

  123. January 14, 2017 / 12:47 am

    This is so lovely & beautiful, Laura! I hope all your dreams come true for 2017. xx #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 15, 2017 / 4:42 pm

      Thanks lovely, and yours too. xxx

  124. January 14, 2017 / 12:58 am

    Totally agree with you that you can’t live a positive life with a negative mind! Well done with your blogging it sounds like your doing brilliant 🙂 #sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      January 15, 2017 / 4:42 pm

      Thank you Jade. Being positive makes such a difference doesn’t it? xx

  125. January 14, 2017 / 7:08 am

    Wow what a beautiful account of what you’ve learnt from the year gone by. It was really nice reading it. You’re amazing at writing down how things really feel. It’s a true skill. Love what you say about things changing. That’s something our children will always teach us. Always enjoy your blogs. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      January 15, 2017 / 4:42 pm

      Thank you Sunita, that’s really lovely of you to say so. I think things will always change, it’s just about learning to accept change and find a way to keep going? Happy new year lovely. xx

  126. January 14, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    I think its really important to learn every single year so that we can move forward. From sharing your story you have ensured Joseph will never be forgotten and he will always be celebrated. #DreamandSparkle

    • Laura Dove
      January 15, 2017 / 4:40 pm

      Thank you Kat. That’s the main thing for me, ensuring that I share Joseph with as many people as possible so that he will always be remembered, thank you for hosting. xxx

  127. January 14, 2017 / 11:16 pm

    Oh Laura, what great lessons you have taken from 2016, a crazy, difficult, surprising and amazing year all rolled into one. I love the way you see the world and they way you want to see it. I can relate to so much that you say about last year, life and the lessons we learn. It sounds like 2017 is going to be a fantastic year for you and your family and I cant wait to watch it unfold 🙂 Happy new year and thanks for linking up with us last year on #MarvMondays. Emily

    • Laura Dove
      January 15, 2017 / 4:38 pm

      Thanks lovely, 2016 really was a crazy year wasn’t it? I hope that 2017 is everything you want it to be, and I hope to see you again this year! xxx

  128. January 15, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    Such a beautiful post and I really could relate to your feelings about Megan. I feel the same way about Pie – in even more stark contrast since the arrival of Pudding. Everyday I learn a little more about how his mind works and how best to handle the torrent of emotional outbursts. The rest of your lessons learnt look like you are all set for a fabulous 2017 and I look forward to hearing all about it #eatsleepblogrt

    • Laura Dove
      January 15, 2017 / 4:35 pm

      Thank you. I completely agree that when you have another child to compare with, you realise just how “different” your child is. I think that’s what I found the hardest, I had two other children who had been nothing at all like Megan, so I struggled to accept her for who she was. Now that I have, it has made such a huge difference in the way that I see things, she is actually even more special than I realised. xxx

  129. January 15, 2017 / 9:44 pm

    Really lovely post. Best of luck with the books! Sounds like 2017 will be a good one! #KACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      January 16, 2017 / 9:49 am

      Thank you. I hope so! And for you too! xx

  130. January 18, 2017 / 8:27 am

    Love this post and beautifully written as always. Completely agree with you on number 2 – I need to try and remember that more! #ForTheLoveOfBlog

    • Laura Dove
      January 18, 2017 / 6:05 pm

      Thank you Maria. I hope that 2017 is kind to you. xxx

  131. January 18, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    Love this post Laura. You have had such a tough 12 months, yet look at it from such a positive point of view ! I have a feeling 2017 is going to be amazing for you, your blog and your family. I am looking forward to seeing you go from strength to strength and cheering you along the way xxx

    • Laura Dove
      January 19, 2017 / 5:34 pm

      Thank you Yvonne, I really hope so. And for you too. xxx

  132. January 19, 2017 / 9:00 am

    Oh Laura your writing always brings a tear to my eye! Beautiful. It sounds like you have a very exciting year planned in 2017! Thanks for the reminder about parenting Monjey has entered a stage of very testing times and it’s not how I imagined it as all… but you are totally right and I will try and look at it in a different way. Stopping by from #sharingthebloglove xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 19, 2017 / 5:33 pm

      Thanks lovely, I don’t think any of us are prepared for just how difficult parenting is, or just life in general really! It’s all a learning curve isn’t it? xx

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