2018 in little squares

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So this is the last day of 2018 they say. It’s been quite a ride I could say, sort of a roller coaster, though luckily it’s been kind to us overall, we definitely can’t complain.

Looking through my Instagram feed, it’s interesting to remember so many things that have happened throughout the year, and I only got a glimpse as this is how those little squares work, they offer just a glimpse of someone’s life, including my own. However, it was still a nice journey back in time scrolling through the photos, so I’ve selected some of them just to have a review of 2018 and to make up for my absence around here.

Cirque du Soleil at Royal Albert Hall - London
January brought us this amazing show I’ve never dreamed of seeing live
Horniman Museum and Gardens - photo taken in 2018
February was about museums: Horniman, London Transport and Dover Transport Museum
Snow in London
And it snowed! Streets of London were actually covered in snow!
View from Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth
In March we visited Portsmouth and went up the Spinnaker Tower. We saw this ferry. Soon after we decided to visit the Isle of Wight for the summer, camping for 10 days.

March was also the month in which we planned and booked 10 camping trips. 3 of them were in a basic heated pod (in April and May), 7 of them in our tent (from June to August). A total of around 21 nights. And somehow we were extremely lucky. We managed to actually go on each and every trip, as cold or doctor’s appointments were somehow happening between the trips!

In April, during half term, the grandparents visited us and we all went on a steam train ride.
Also in April we got to admire London from the London Eye.

April was also about going to the seaside in Brighton, going to the theatre with friends for “Tiddler” live on stage, visiting Tunbridge Wells for the first time and then Tonbridge Castle.

Golden Cap in Dorset
The first camping trip of the year was in April at Golden Cap in Dorset and discovering Durdle Door and Lyme Regis and Seaton Tramway (Devon)
In May we explored Oxfordshire and after that, Norfolk, at Pinecones Camping, and Sandringham Estate
May could be declared the “squisjy squashy” month as the kids loved this Beach Park Snettisham and asked for over a month to go back because “we love squishy squashy!”
When June came, we were so ready for the sea! Started by taking the kids to Whitstable and then to Hastings
Then we went camping in a tent at New Romney and I found the house of my dreams
While in the area, we also went to Dungeness by the old steam train. A few days later we were camping, also in a tent, in Canterbury.
Camping with kids in the UK
July came, with a heatwave, but in a tent, all was way more bearable! camping at Sandwich Lakes and Horam Manor, each over the weekend; that’s how we discovered Deal Castle and Eastbourne
And then, the day the school ended, we embarked on a ferry and went on Isle of Wight!
This must have been the best holiday we ever had as a family: 10 days, us 4 in a tent, exploring an amazing island and its beaches, no rain until the last day.
Isle of Wight with children
The kids are already planning the 2019 summer holiday. On Isle of Wight, of course!
This was our longest trip in a tent, 9 nights, and we were worried the kids might get tired of the inflatable mattress and lack of toys; we were so wrong! They were so so happy!
Our last 2 camping trips in a tent were in August. One of them being close to Bristol.
So we also visited Bath, as we heard it’s the most beautiful city in the UK.

And a major art project was ongoing then: “Minerva’s Owls of Bath 2018 is a major public art sculpture trail featuring a giant flock of over 80 individually decorated, super-sized owl sculptures displayed across the World Heritage city of Bath.”

August also included a visit to Battersea Zoo, Swanley Park and Mayfield Lavender.

September was quite emotional as the kids were going back to (pre)school, so right before the school started, we visited the Postal Museum
SeaLife and then London Transport Museum
October brought us the half term and a visit from the grandparents, so we went to central London, to Bekonscot Model Village and Hastings (photo)
And we had as much fun as possible despite the weather.
November was full speed ahead: we were moving houses, I was having pre-op assesment, the kids were both sick with different colds from week to week. Once settled, we were fine.
Battersea Cats&Dogs London
So in December we had the Advent Calendar with different activities every day, from donating items to animal shelter (photo taken at Battersea Dogs and Cats)
Santa's Grotto at Polhill Center
Going to Winter Wonderland, donating toys and visiting Father Christmas at Polhill Center
Gingerbread City at V&A Museum in London
The last 4 days of the year were a bit hectic too: theatre, Hamleys and Covent Garden one day, Gingerbread City the next day (see post here), Godstone Farm the following, and today we chilled.

What wasn’t captured in these photos posted on my Instagram feed? The struggle we put up to find a new flat to rent. The work my husband did transforming an old van into a motorhome (still work-in-progress). My kids turning 5 and 3. My son finishing Reception and starting Year 1 and my daughter starting preschool. The ice cream we ate (tons of it!). The friends and family we spent time with. The lessons I learned about listening to and being myself more. The sleepless nights. The challenges we faced as parents trying to do our best every day. The minimalist way of living we started to aim for. The painful hysteroscopy and Mirena coil failure. The tears and the laughter. The ups and downs. Life, as it is. And that’s not because I was hiding anything. But no feed presents real life, it would be impossible. Every feed presents just moments, simple pieces of a huge puzzle we might never get to see. Just keep that in mind when you admire someone’s feed on social media.


  • Luke

    Ah, so you did build a Gingerbread house too I was hoping you would! Busy busy busy year of travel adventures and a whole series of tent camping! whoa… I had no idea, that’s great! Even 4 nights of the Isle of Wight trip were camping! Where did you stay for the other nights? One time in future camping (especially out on the Isle of Wight…) you should check the starry sky from the camp area. Perhaps a sight of star filled sky will greet you! It is bound to excite wonder and curiosity in all! I was wondering what happened to the project of building a caravan – so it seems it is still going to happen – cool! And yes, another post with great pictures by the way πŸ˜‰

    • raluca

      Thank you, I am glad you like the photos πŸ˜‰ Yes, we had a gingerbread house and somehow, not sure how, we still have it :)) Beautifully decorated, so maybe this is why the kids don’t even ask to eat it? Maybe! As for the motorhome, we still dream of it, so hopefully it will happen soon. It’s going slowly when the weather is not on your side, and when it is, you only work a day a week, but there’s no rush πŸ˜‰ As for Isle of Wight, I should have said “us 4 in a tent”, because I was referring to the four of us, staying together in the same tent for 10 days πŸ˜‰ My son kept asking to see the stars and sky at night, but it was getting properly dark pretty late, as it was July. But we will definitely check the sky on the next occasion πŸ˜‰

  • Amelia

    Enjoyed the review of 2018 – beautiful areas you covered. Loved seeing the children explore. You are also so right about Instagram feeds capturing moments and taking a step back over comparison. Life is not an Instagram feed. It is lovely to capture moments but yes they are moments and life is more than that. Great you ended on that reminder.

    • raluca

      Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed the little squares and yes, it’s so easy to get spiraling downwards in this social media era, comparing and forgetting the fact that no one’s life is what it seems in the public photos.

  • Debbie

    I just loved your wrap-up in little squares! I thought the little blue house was delightful and the holiday summer shots looked like a lot of fun. I also saw the Owls in bath while we were holidaying from Australia last year and wrote a post about them as they appealed to me so much πŸ™‚

    • raluca

      Thank you so much, Debbie! I simply love the little blue house, I find it to be perfect! And such a small world! You’ve been to Bath all the way from Australia, just when the owls were there! They were amazing, weren’t they? I’m just sorry we didn’t manage to see ALL of them πŸ˜‰ We had a blast looking for them around the city!

  • Ellen Best

    You packed loads of fun and learning into a year. Your pictures are lovely as are your family. Such wonderful experiences making memories forever. People see what we show them and sometimes to re cap but acknoweedge the tough bit too feels more ‘real’ Great post hope the motorhome comes to fruition soon. But it tastes so much better when you bake your own cake and wait … when its cooled filled iced and ready you appreciate it more. X 😊

    • raluca

      Thank you so much for your kind words 😊 We too hope the motorhome is ready soon but it’s a long process, and as you very well said, I am sure we will enjoy it even more in the end πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait to go travelling with it, and share all about our adventures here!

  • Gloria

    What beautiful memories you have in these photos. Isn’t camping so much fun! So healthy for children I always think. Mine always loved camping. I really like the pic of your ‘dream home’. I’d love it too. My second favourite is the one of Santa by the fireside. Fabulous! All great photos.

    • raluca

      Thank you so much for such kid words, Gloria! And yes, camping is wonderful, I would go camping with my family for the whole summer if I could, and I know for sure the kids wouldn’t mind! Even now they still ask us “when are we going camping, it’s been so long since our last camping trip!” :))

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