Looking back on previous posts from New Years’ Eve, 2015 almost feels like a disappointment. There’s no pictures of far-flung deserts and mountains this year—I haven’t been abroad with work for so long that British Airways sent me a nice letter, telling me I’d been demoted to a mere peasant in their eyes and could no longer abuse the facilities of the business class lounge.

We did manage four days in Vienna, and whilst it went some way to broadening the family’s geographic and cultural horizons, it mostly consisted of us improving our understanding of how to sleep in high temperatures, and whether it is possible to live on a diet of schnitzel alone.

The family on a carriage ride around Vienna

But although our adventures have been small, they have been fun. And although the year has not been bursting with excitement, it has been a comfortable one and a good one.

Joseph climbing a tree in the New Forest

The summer also saw Joseph’s eighth birthday, and Alicia’s second. Joseph is now in year 4 at school, ever more obsessed with videogames and ever more difficult to drag away from the television, but a wonderful child nonetheless.

Unfortunately his birthday coincides with each season of the Great British Bake-Off, which this year caused his birthday cake to be somewhat more structural than previous years. Not exactly the neatest thing I have ever produced, but well-received anyway.

My Minecraft-themed cake for Joseph’s 8th birthday

Alicia is just starting to talk using understandable words, so her Spanish is at about my level already. We joined her for her party up in Sheffield, where I roughly remembered how to make balloon animals, and Joseph nearly took out a group of small children along with the piñata.

Joseph at Alicia’s birthday

The autumn dropped a bombshell of drama in a friend’s life. Between constant worrying about her, and my largely attempting to fix the problem by regularly applying roast dinner and cake, I suspect I am in danger of simultaneously turning into both my mother and my mother-in-law, and I’m not sure which prospect is scarier.

Nevertheless, we made it through to the end of the year—to Christmas and to my Grandparents’ 60th anniversary, and were surrounded by our family once more. This year we stayed home in Bournemouth rather than making our traditional Christmas Eve trip to Guildford, meaning that for the first time Joseph could leave out mince pies for Santa and open his presents under the tree on Christmas morning. Apparently the in-laws intend to make up for our absence over Christmas by coming down to help me redecorate the house in January…

(Most of) The family together at Christmas

A happy new year to you all; I hope 2016 brings you all you want and all you need.