Happy New Year! 

As 2015 draws to a close with a “Happy New Year!” and 2016 begins with a promise never to drink that much again, it’s customary at this time of year to look back at what was, as well as looking forward to what will be.

As much as I am tempted to do this, I’m only going to touch on it all rather than dissecting 2015 month by month.

Work: I started the year in a job that I loved and earning decent money. I finished it better-qualified and unemployed. Go figure. Had you asked me at the start of the year how I thought work would pan out, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.

I’d have been very positive and upbeat about it, but I was also making hay while the sun shone. I certainly didn’t expect to end the year out of work, that’s for sure.

Home: Not much has changed on this front. The year began with a vague idea of moving at some point, reached a stage where I was ready to buy and then crashed when I couldn’t get a mortgage for a multitude of reasons.

I love where I live. It’s central, it fits my needs most of the time, but I miss living in a house rather than a flat, and I miss not having more space.

The year ended, incidentally, with a rent increase. Nicely timed!

Kids: My kids continue to amaze me, day-by-day and year-by-year. It’s shocking that I am now the proud father of three kids who are at an age where they are in senior school. Everybody says it, but time does fly with them.

The three eldest are all becoming very independent, and all three have their own sense of what is fair, what isn’t, and are all happy to be vocal about it too.

My son is nine, and though he is spoilt rotten by his sisters, and continues to be a mummy’s boy, he is one of the nicest kids around. If you can ever drag him away from whatever piece of technology he seems to be superglued to, you’ll find that out!

Happy New Year - Kids back to school

The kids on their return to school in September 2015 - possibly my favourite photo of the year!

In case I don’t say it enough, kids, I am immensely proud of each and every one of you. You’ve come through the various problems that a broken home brings, and you are all well-adjusted and polite members of society (for the most part).

Charisma, Aaliyah, Brooke and Chance, I love each and every one of you, but remember, I have a favourite child out of the four of you: Whoever is being the quietest and / or nicest at the time.

Lovelife: The sturdiest part of my life, and it has been for some time. I still don’t see enough of Mrs DannyUK, and I still can’t quite get used to how far apart we live, but it works, and it works well. It’s my second longest relationship, and if things go to plan, will be my longest and last one.

We went abroad for the first time as a couple, and despite my dislike of beach holidays, I look back at our few days in Lanzarote as one of my “happy places”.

To round off 2015, here's a photo of us at an anti-austerity march by mistake

Mrs DannyUK and I went for a stroll in London in 2015… straight through the anti-austerity march that we didn’t realise was happening at the time!

Stepkids: Although I still struggle internally with how to deal with my two stepkids (ie, they’re not mine, and their father is still involved in all aspects of their life, so they really don’t need a stepdad), I love seeing them when I visit.

They are completely different to my own four, yet when the six of them get together they seem to have a great time. My stepdaughter blows me away with how well she plays the flute, considering she’s still in the early stages of learning, and my stepson has an enthusiasm for stuff that astounds me.

Blog: Yes, the blog gets a mention to itself. It’s getting more views than ever, more shares than it has before and still keeps me entertained. When it stops being fun is when I will stop writing in it.

For me, though, it’s lovely to tinker with. I always like the idea of taking the blog more seriously, but I can’t. I wouldn’t want to blog all day, every day.

2015 saw the blog move hosts again, taking me to a third host in 2 years. I think I will be staying here. The blog is stable. Jo, who does the techy stuff, is only ever an email away, and we seem to have a fairly fluid professional relationship which is great for me. She is also the one responsible for the subheading “The Bearded Blogger”, which I think she may have put merely as something to fill a space, but I liked it and it has stuck!

As for 2016, there’re a few things pencilled in already. A trip to an abandoned tube station in late January for my birthday with Mrs DannyUK, a short holiday to Italy in the Autumn to watch my best friend get married, and another trip for me to Summer In The City, but this time with all three of my daughters rather than just the eldest.

January should (hopefully) see me get another professional qualification which (hopefully) will lead to a decent job sooner rather than later.

Summer will see my stepdaughter leave junior school and make her way to senior school, where I confidently predict she will fly and her self-confidence will grow massively.

Autumn will be the buckle-down year for Charisma as she starts Year 11 and begins taking her GCSE exams. Aaliyah will enter Year 10 and will start preparing for her GCSEs.

And me? Who knows. I will continue to love and be loved. I’ll be happy with what I’ve got but striving for more.

Hopefully, everything will come together and 2016 will be MY YEAR.

Or maybe I’ll win the lottery.

I might even figure out how to say the name of the year properly.  Is it Two thousand and sixteen or Twenty Sixteen? Either way, Happy New Year!

by DannyUK

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