January 3, 2020

Ta-ra 2019!

2019 is over!  Gone, Vamoosh, Done!  The year seemed to be the fastest year yet, and literally flew right by us all in the blink of an eye.  It’s been a goodun with lots of lovely family time and some amazing experiences to add under our belts, which I am forever grateful for.   With that being said, I thought I would reflect back on our times, both good and bad from the last 12 months.


Firstly, I am forever grateful to have seen another healthy 12 months pass us by.  However, I have had a serious battle with my ongoing headaches which I finally got diagnosed in March 2019 with medication overuse headaches.  It basically means that overtime, I have used medication for my headaches, which has left me with…well, continual daily headaches.  My neurologist prescribed me with some medication which thankfully works, leaving me with headache free days with the odd headache a couple of times a month.

By the beginning of summer 2019, I was pretty much headache free and able to tackle everyday tasks in a whole new light!   Wow, the feeling of not being in continual pain was exhilarating!  What a positive!  But I enter 2020 with what now is a four day headache…lets just hope its a virus that will pass.

When it comes to my own mental health, it took a nose dive during the end of October due to stress.  I was consumed.  Honestly, I have not experienced that amount of anxiety in such a long time, and I felt sad, low and relyed on family to support me, who which I am so grateful for.  Thankfully I pushed through (which I thank the distraction of Christmas for) and I now need to face new beginnings in 2020.

Birthdays and schooling

2019 also saw all three kids turning 1 year older which it such a blessing.  Baby K turned 2 with a Disney Cars Cake and lovely celebrations with family.  Missy turned 5 and celebrated with all her friends at a disco party…of course.  And Mr B turned 9 playing football with his pals. I love any celebration and love making a big fuss, with lots of love, cake and family time.

Another big milestone for the kiddos is school!  Mr B entered Year 5, Missy into Year one and Baby K now attends play school once a week.  He is really enjoying it, and it also gives me the opportunity to get the house cleaned and get some work done.  I instantly miss him though and love picking him up for him to tell me about his day.  Soon, he’ll receive 15 hours free funding after he turns 3, so he’ll be going even more.

Baby K and I enjoying reading Tractor Ted Digger Time

Baby K and I enjoying reading Tractor Ted Digger Time

Holidays and visiting new places

We were also lucky enough to experience a couple of family holidays.  I adore going on holiday, whether it be a short family break in the UK, or even overseas.  These experiences are to treasure, and for us, spending our savings on holidays is what we love to do.  Material items come and go, but memories will last forever.

Firstly, we had a big family holiday to Centre Parks in February 2019.  There was 14 of us in total and this was our second time to Sherwood Forest Centre Parcs.  We love it here, and love the experiences on offer for us all, not just for the kids.  It’s also a great way for the kids to push the boundaries and try new things.  This time around, Mr B got to experience quad biking, and Missy loved horse riding around the lake.

B in the indoor climbing wall at centre parks

Read all about why we love it at Centre Parcs and my hints and tips on what to pack!

We also spent a long weekend in Blackpool during May half term, where we stayed in our favourite  seafront hotel, took on the rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and spent the day at Coral island.  I have to say, I love Blackpool, despite the bad press it receives.  It’s got something for all, and if you visit knowing it’s a typical british seaside resort with lots of bright lights and penny machines, it won’t disappoint.

W and Baby K enjoying the toddler carousel

Another seaside town we enjoy visiting is Weston Super Mare.  We have some of our best friends who live here, so in the summer holidays we also took a long weekend visit, spending time on the seafront and eating fish and chips.

Sky View observation wheel at weston super mare beach

I also visited Chester which is beautiful and got to spend two nights away with the girls (my Mom and sisters!)  celebrating a special birthday.

Finally, in September 2019 we were so fortunate to visit Walt Disney World for 2 weeks.  We surprised the kids the day before we flew, and it literally is memories I will treasure forever.  We actually vlogged our whole trip, and I watch it back with tears in my eyes.  Disney is so full of magic, and I am forever grateful that we are in a position to save up for such a magical and incredible holiday.

Meeting Goofy in Future World at Epcot

What else has happened?

2019 has also brought the kids a new cousin on Matt’s side which was wonderful news.  I also had two best friends give birth to their first and second babies, adding to the growing brood of our crazy clan.  Spending time with friends has been of a high priorly, particularly as some of my best friends live far away.  We therefore scheduled in time together where we’ve had some of the best weekends, eating, drinking and letting the kids become the best of friends just as we are.

Matt and I also celebrated 10 whole years of marriage! We married in August 2009, after 6 years of togetherness.  To celebrate, what did we do?  We went to a theme park of course, with the kids in tow and enjoyed many a ride on Thomas the Tank and Bertie the Bus – we wouldn’t have it any other way!  We did go home to scallops, beef wellington and prosecco though 😉

Flower print summer dress primary

2019 has also brought to my attention even more so, being grateful for the people around me – family and friends who mean so much and offer support where and when they can.  It has made me realise many a thing the last few months, making me broaden my horizons when it comes to gratitude and being thankful. I 100% will be taking this with me into 2020 and remember how bloody lucky I am.

Overall, 2019 was a great year and I look back on it with happiness, always and forever grateful for the opportunities, experiences and time spend with family.

So what does 2020 bring?  Well, to put it simply, I want to write more, read more and start up running again.  I also go into 2020 as a full time blogger.  I now feel so lucky to be a writer and bringing up the kiddos at the same time.

2020, it’s happening!

Thanks for reading xxx


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Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.

I really wanted a concrete place to share my love for travel, in particular Disney and offer my readers a chance to gain some knowledge around what we love to do as a family of 5.

I share our family adventures which include days out, travel advice and tips, holiday reviews, restaurant visits and of course, our love for Disney, including Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World.

Life is about creating memories, and here we are sharing them with you




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