Evening lovelies,

In years gone by, when it came to Christmas, I always used to write a newsletter that I slipped into my Christmas cards.

Over the years I have kept in contact with a number of non close family and friends via letters and cards. Christmas was a key time to do this. I might not see people on a regular basis, but it didn’t mean I wanted them gone from my life! I liked keeping in touch. Sharing a ‘year in my life’ via newsletter helped to keep the paths of contact open. It kept everyone up to date with my manic family life and even if they didn’t see me from one year to the next, they knew in brief what was happening.

TImes have changed, now we have social media. People can easily keep in contact online and hand written letters don’t seem so relevant.

I, however, still want to reflect back on my year.

So, here it goes,  ONLINE with Honestly Fiona.

2017 is the year that ‘getting older’ hit home. Over the years my health has been up and down. I have a bad back from a car accident and I’m prone to voice loss, eczema and Labrynthitis when tired or under stress. With my busy up and down life, Its a surprise I’m not a spotty, silent weebly wobbly person most of the time! I believe my husband probably thinks I am.

This year I did have a long spell of Labrynthitis at the end of the summer term and was off work for an extensive time. This resulted in me being referred to the ENT department. I found out that I have ear damage in one ear, probably from my initial bout of Labrynthitis. Apparently, my brain has to work hard!  ( golly, do I know this! ) It has to try to balance one dodgy ear with one ok ear,  which then causes other issues like blurred vision and shakiness. When I get my extreme ‘bad spells’ it’s my over stressed brain shutting down saying it can’t cope! Worryingly, this could happen again. I must learn to not get stressed or tired which is easier said than done. I have been for ‘brain training’ sessions to try and help. I was hoping it might help my brain with more than just my balance, but think that is a lost cause.

Getting older also hit home at the loss of a close childhood family friend who was the same age as me. He died after a short illness from Cancer leaving a young family. It was heartbreaking knowing what he and they would miss out on and realising he won’t be there this Christmas to share it with his family.

It gave me time to reflect on life, so grab those moments, make memories, take photos, videos and be grateful for what you’ve got.

Although. . .at the moment we have a leaking shower which causes a huge strain on our household in the morning with men who need daily, quick washing. I’m grateful we have a bath although I’m often asked to run it to give ‘the men’ a few extra minutes in bed! Say it, I’m a mug with a capital M.

We also have a broken tumble dryer which causes problems for disorganised sweaty men who want to last minute wash and dry clothes in super fast time. I’m grateful for radiators, an airier and the fact I’m organised enough and have learnt to keep on top of the washing, well, most of the time. I’m sure you are impressed,  I’m striving to be the perfect domestic goddess!

I also have two adult boys who can’t drive. We live in an area with hopeless public transport and the men in my life often have to be taken and collected from places. I’m grateful I can drive, have a car and thankfully love being a runaround Mum. I’m also pondering if I’m a walkover!

As you can see I am grateful, but it’s an added stress or thing for me, a mum of two twenty something boys to do, and I know it probably shouldn’t be.

Maybe I am too much of a soft touch and must toughen up and learn to say “no”, I am after all in my mid fifties.

2017 was the year of the demise of Winston, at aged 3 and a half years old. He had a lovely rabbit life roaming the garden and doing his business everywhere. We still have a supersized bag of rabbit food left in the house and his hutch is still in the garden, so his existence still lives on in our home for now.

2017 was the year I also resurrected the role of Joice Heth, the oldest woman, in Barnum the musical. We last did the show with TOPS twenty years ago when I was svelt, youthful and way way younger than 160 years old. Now my face is etched with lines and my cumbersome rickety, ageing body makes being ‘ancient’ quite realistic. I performed the role so well that for the second time I was nominated for an award. Sadly, I wasn’t so good that I won, but the nomination was nice to receive.

2017 was also the year that Honestly Fiona’s technological skills surpassed themselves and she learnt to use IMovie. She has enjoyed rambling on about nothing of importance to camera and recording her musings and activities,  even if no one is interested in listening or watching them. I have a grand total of 29 followers on YouTube, so if you feel sorry for me then feel free to subscribe!

I continue to teach small children which is entertaining but exhausting. My husband continues to make films and dabble in performing professionally in the one man play ‘Tea With The Old Queen’, which is also entertaining but exhausting.

Son number one was away for six months singing on a six star cruise ship. He paid off some debts and met his girlfriend, but struggled with cruise ship life. He hated the minuscule size of cabin and bed, was not a fan of sharing a box room or the food and missed football and home comforts. He has not ruled out going back on a cruise, but would ask a few more questions if he did it again. Not all ships are apparently the same. He is currently playing the Beast in the pantomime Beauty and the Beast in East Grinstead.

Son number two is  in his second year of Musical Theatre training. He was performing at the Edinburgh Festival in the summer when he had to have emergency surgery to remove his appendix which they thought had ruptured. He sadly never finished the run of the show and we spent most of our entire Edinburgh visit at his hospital bedside.

He has just given up his weekend job at JD Sports to perform in Panto at Redhill where he is a mop holding pirate alongside a hairy biker! ( photo courtesy of Harlequin Theatre, Redhill)

In other 2017 news my son met his Southampton footballer hero Matthew Le Tissier.

I performed in the local Upstage dance show at Camberley Theatre.

We had a great Gig on the Green Weekend with friends.

I had a fun College reunion with wonderful friends I have known for 30 plus years.

We celebrated lots of friends very ‘special’ birthdays.

We went to Brighton for my birthday.

We went on holiday to Minorca and met up with my son on his cruise ship.

I had wonderfully relaxing Nirvana Spa days with friends.

I went to the New Forest Show with my lovely Mum and dad, who are amazing.

I had a Centre Parcs weekend with friends.

I had an amazing festive day in London with my best friend Sue.

I had Christmas party and Panto fun with my lovely work colleagues.

As 2017 comes to an end I want to thank all my family, friends and colleagues  for being there for me and my family. Thank you for the memories, giggles and fun.

If you are a follower of Honestly Fiona I thank you for following, watching and reading my posts. I know I am not as conscientious as some bloggers but I’m grateful for your support.

Here’s to 2018 fun, frolics and Honestly Fiona sighs. I will try harder.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and all of your lovely families.

Honestly Fiona xx