Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of 2011

At the end of each year (or probably more accurately, near beginning of the new year by the time I can get around to doing so), I like to scrapbook about the good, the bad, and the ugly events that shaped the year.

As scrapbooking alludes me at the moment, I'd like to journal about it digitally so I can come back to it later... so here goes:

My family came over to visit from Australia, spending Xmas 2010 and New Year 2011 with us.

Our great apartment in Strasbourg, right in the middle of the city.

Exploring the Christmas markets in Strasbourg.

The travel we got to do through the Frenchman's work: Bordeaux and Lyon (contributing to make the Little Sausage one of the most well travelled foetuses ever). 

Moving to Brighton and discovering an unexpectedly cool city.

The Little Sausage was born in June in Brighton.

Baby weight coming of within a month...

De-cluttering and getting rid of unused stuff - we've got a bit of a way to go, but slowly getting rid of excess stuff and donating it to charity. I'm not into useless stuff anymore and hate having it filling up the little room we have. I've gone minimalist, contrary to my upbringing and the rest of my family.

Celebrating a "Jedi Baptism" in France with the Frenchman's friends and family. Two parties, lots of gifts, and a lovely time spent welcoming the Little Sausage to the fold.

Starting a market stall, and although it was a bad location, the experience was interesting and something I can say I did.

After finally doing something about it, my skin has probably not looked this good in many years.

Discovering the delights of the BabyLiss Big Hair - laugh you may, but my hair looks good and I'm no longer leaving the house with wet hair.

A good haul of presents this year: I got everything I wanted and asked for and am grateful to have spent it with people I love, a roof over my head, and good food on my plate.

The BAD:
The constant moving: Nice - Strasbourg - Brighton.

The mouse problem in Strasbourg: hearing hundreds of tiny scratchy feet above your head at night and finding little mouse poos in the kitchen was not my idea of fun.

Staying with a friend in Brighton during the last two weeks of pregnancy while waiting for the keys to our new apartment.

Finding out our great apartment in Brighton had not so great neighbours. One smokes pot constantly (which wafts into our apartment), and the other likes loud music. Enough said.

The lack of snow, or the generally warm winter so far (apparently the second warmest winter on record for the UK). *insert sad face*

No Christmas tree or much in the way of decoration. Since our apartment is so small and the decorations are in storage, we sadly decided to leave the decorating for this year. 

... still a bit too chubby - must work on that.

Childcare allowances here in the UK are virtually non-existent and it is not worth Mothers returning to work. They even reported this on the news and said that working mothers would be the hardest hit during the recession and the high unemployment levels. Full-time work is not possible for me because of this and defeats the purpose of us moving to the UK (among other things). See point below regarding me working part-time.

The just plain UGLY:
Ringing in the new year (2011) with food poisoning thanks to the horrible overcharging and crap-serving restaurant in Nice we went to on New Years Eve. That was definitely not morning sickness.

Being so far away from the Frenchman (from December 2010 until June) while he spent an exhaustive 13 hours on an overnight train to be with me on weekends (or me to him).

The horrendous UK moving company that managed not only to over charge us but hold our things to ransom, damaging most of it in return. Knowing that we had a (literally) newborn baby and that we were sitting on camping chairs in an empty apartment, they delayed delivery by more than two weeks on top on the delays we had already experienced. Most stressful experience of the year!

Discovering that UK retail employers aren't as open to employing mothers as they claim... I said I could only work weekends, as the Frenchman got special permission to get weekends off so I could work. They readily agreed that this was perfectly fine with them, and then subsequently made a fuss when I was not able to be flexible with working during the week. Hence, I am no longer employed because of this.

I am making an effort to look at the positives, so I hate to leave this post with a huge list of negatives. I need to find something happy to leave you with. So, below are pictures of the Jedi Baptism for your enjoyment...

* faces blurred to protect the identity of the others in the photo.

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