Last year, I wrote a list of things I wanted to do with the boys throughout the year. Most of the ideas were for multi-day outings so I wouldn’t waste my weekend wondering what to do. I pinned the list to my family’s bulletin board in the kitchen, and every time I had an unexpected free day, I looked through it, looking for ideas. I have 50 things on my list and I’m really proud to have done almost all of them!
I always love lists. I’m one of those people who needs a list to do everything. I write lists about everything. Even if it’s just a daily to-do list of all the chores and activities you do each day. If you don’t write a list, you’ll end up wandering around aimlessly and getting nothing done, but if you make a list, you’ll turn into a highly productive ninja who can do everything quickly.
It works on a day-to-day level, but it also works on a big level. I like to list all my big ambitions, goals, and ideas for the year.
Over Christmas, Sam and I shared a bottle of Prosecco and wrote a list of everything we wanted to do in 2020. Sam didn’t join in with my love of lists, but once he got into them he had a lot of fun.
#1. Buy a paddleboard and go paddleboarding
We spend a lot of our summers at the beach, so I’m hoping to get a paddle board this summer. We have a caravan a short walk from Abersock Beach on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales, which is absolutely beautiful. It’s beautiful early in the morning when the water is calm, and it’s also lovely to go paddleboarding in the late summer evenings as the sun sets.
I remember sitting on the beach last summer. I was seven months pregnant and felt like a whale. As the boys were building sand castles nearby, this beautiful mother of two appeared on top of the dunes with a bunch of athletic kids and two paddleboards. Out on the water, the mothers rowed while the children sat in front and behind or swam together. It looked like so much fun that I vowed to do it again next summer!
^ Great spot for paddle boarding in Abersock
#2. Go swimming more
Along with paddleboarding, I want to go swimming more. I don’t just want to swim for fitness, I want to swim for fun with my kids. To participate in paddleboarding, boys also need to be strong and confident swimmers!
#3. Have more beach BBQs in the summer
I did this once last summer and it was the most magical night. I promised I would do it again, but I couldn’t!
We grabbed a disposable BBQ, a pack of sausages, and some hot dog rolls and headed to the beach to cook dinner on the sand as the sun set and the waves gently lapped onto the beach.
Sure, we had some sandy sausage and grainy bread, but it was still very tasty.
I plan on buying small BBQ supplies to take with me to the beach, so I don’t always use disposables.
#4. Go camping at least once
Originally I had always wanted to go camping, but Sam stopped me and reminded me that camping with three young kids is not that easy. But I don’t mind because camping is so much fun and I think the kids will enjoy it too.
^We went camping together when George was little
#5. Read more
I love reading, but it’s actually not the only thing I love. I love going to bed early, changing into new bed sheets, lighting candles, drinking tea, relaxing in bed and reading a book. I want to do this more!
#6. Go to Disneyland Paris
Yeah, here’s the big problem. Our big family trip this year is going to Disneyland Paris!
#7. Go to Center Parcs
I’m 32 years old and a family travel blogger from the UK, but I’ve never been to Center Parcs yet. Come on, Monica, sort it out.
^These two love going to Center Parcs!
#8. Run a 10K
This is the only thing on the list that I’m not sure whether to write about. I love the feeling after running. Endorphin high… And there’s a sense of relief that you won’t have to repeat the same thing for a few days when you get home. I hate running, but it’s a great way to exercise when you have kids.
#9. Make damson gin
We have a damson tree in our garden, and thousands of damsons come to visit us every year. And every year I choose them and say let’s make something. And every year, we leave the squirrels alone to drop on the grass while we watch them come and collect them and scurry off to their hideouts.
I like watching squirrels come and catch it, but you know what I like more? Gin. I like gin even more now.
So, this year is finally the year to do something with the damsons!
#10. Plant some flowers in the garden
While you’re in the garden, clean up your garden! For the past few years, I’ve been concentrating on my house and haven’t done anything about the garden, so I want to make it beautiful in 2020. I don’t have much time to maintain the garden and I’m on the go a lot so I need to be able to leave everything out for a week or two without it dying so I don’t go crazy.
I don’t know anything about gardening, so if you know of any interesting gardening YouTubers or bloggers, please let me know!
#11. Re-open The Blogger Course
As some of you may know, I run an electronic course on blogging called “The Blogger Course.” I closed my blog last year to refresh myself, but during that time I became a bit disillusioned with blogging. I didn’t want to be another blogger offering e-courses teaching people how to build their dream life as a blogger. There are a lot of people who give terrible advice like this, and a lot of people who actually teach about blogging and make a living from e-courses instead of blogging.
anyway. It all started when my best friend said this to me. “But you’re not one of those people, so why does it matter?” I finally have the motivation to restart my blogger course!
#12. Finish our house
The house is almost finished! After a year of construction work, it is almost complete, but there are some finishing touches. The kitchen floor is still drying, so you won’t be able to lay the kitchen tiles, finish the woodwork, or decorate it properly. But it won’t take long!
^ Adding a bedroom has created a beautiful space
#13. Take 5 glamping trips
We went on four glamping trips last summer and loved it. Honestly, these are some of my favorite memories of 2019 and I hope to have more like them.
↑I want to stay in a hobbit house!
#14. Write 200 blog posts on The Travel Hack
In my last blog post about New Year’s resolutions and goals, I mentioned that I wanted to increase my page views to 5 million. That would put you closer to about 10 million page views per year. The best way to increase page views is to create great blog posts that people want to read. That’s what I have to do. In 2019, I wrote 75 articles, but I plan to increase that to 200 in 2020.
#15. Make 50 mini videos
I’ve made a few mini-videos so far this year, but I’ve set a goal of 50 videos to make sure I keep making them throughout the year. I love doing it and watching a one minute video brings back so many great memories.
I will mainly be posting on IGTV, so please take a look if you are interested.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by The Travel Hack (@thetravelhack) on January 15, 2020 at 1:22 PM PST
#16. Become an organisation ninja
Actually, I’m getting pretty good at organizing.
I used to be one of those scruffy, disorganized, messy people who just weren’t organized at all.
However, after having three children and starting to work and travel, I found it hard to leave the house without becoming more organized. I read a lot of books, watched a lot of YouTube videos, and did a lot of trial and error to get it all together.
And some days I’m an organized ninja who gets through the day like a super mom or super blogger. It feels good! But there are days when I’m not at all organized and everything goes wrong, so my goal is to be an organized ninja at least 80% of the time!
I’ll be sharing more of my organization hacks throughout the year!
#17. Ride my bike
Hey, what could be better than riding a bike on a sunny day? With the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, that wonderful feeling of flying! I love riding my bike.
I have an Urban Iki baby seat attached to the back of the bike, so when Alba is old enough to ride, I get off!
#18. Grow my hair
If you see me wondering if I should cut my hair short, just say no!
I don’t know why you would do that. When your hair reaches shoulder length, you feel an overwhelming urge to cut it. Please don’t let me do it again!
I’ve had long hair all my life, and long hair feels like me. I would like it back.
#19. Plan for Christmas early
As for Christmas 2019, I was confused. I was hesitant to book too much because I’m pregnant and don’t know what kind of baby will be coming into our lives in October. There were so many things I wanted to do with my kids, but I couldn’t make reservations in time, so I’m planning to book early this year!
You can go to Santa’s Grotto at Chirk Castle, so I would definitely like to go there. The lanterns at Chester Zoo are amazing and I would love to take them there again.
#20. Hire a campervan
And finally, in 2020, I would like to rent a camper and go on a big family road trip.
You may remember last summer we explored the idea of buying a campervan. I’d still like to have one, but realistically I wouldn’t be able to use it enough to make it worth it, so I’d probably just hire one. If you like it, you can hire it two or three times a year and it still makes more financial sense than buying.
And my final “goal” for 2020 is to absorb all of Alba’s newborn gorgeousness and the gorgeous boy phase that George and Joseph are. All three of them make me so happy and I just want to enjoy this wonderful phase of my life.