2015 the year of the Smash Book and Acceptance

memory jar 2014

This is my memory jar which I started at the beginning of 2014. I wanted to have something to look back on at the end of the year and I’m looking forward to remembering all the lovely things we did on the 31st when we open it and take a look at the year gone by.

The biggest discovery for me to come out of 2014, a kind of lightbulb moment, was the realisation that I am on countdown to FIFTY! How the heck did that come about? I swear I was 20 something last time I checked.


That is big. That is the first number I am heading towards to actually confuse me (how did that happen so quick?), to instil fear in my heart (I am not ready to be 50, how should someone who is 50 be?) and to make me dwell on my life up until now.

My first thought was, be thankful you are alive, well and healthy top to toe as many don’t have the good fortune to reach this age and many others do arrive at 50 but with lots of problems to sort out.

If I recap my life so far


My 10’s were a happy childhood and learning. The acceptance of brothers and realising I was no longer the centre of my parents universe.

marianne school

My teens were accepting that sometimes married couples split. I watched my own parents divorce, take on new partners and I fell in love for the first time myself and started to learn about love and couples and relationships.

megan and tom lake garda 96

My 20’s were about learning to be a mother and accepting that it is a life changing moment. I was now responsible for two little people, not just their diets and growth but their happiness and emotional well being. Judging by the relationship we have today I don’t think I did too badly but there were lots of times I doubted myself.


My 30’s were fabulous, I was surrounded by a circle of great friends many of whom are still part of my life thanks to Facebook. I was comfortable with me but at 38 my life collapsed. My husband left me and I made the most difficult decision of my life so far, to move back to the UK and start over. It was hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but today I am grateful for taking that decision as I am the happiest I have ever been.

Marianne Whooley and twins

My 40’s were an enormous learning curve. Being dumped so unceremoniously is a massive knock to your confidence, being dumped for a woman half your age is enough to make you a hermit for the rest of your life but surrounded by my family I took baby steps. Found a job, a home, a school and then college for Megan. I fell in love EXACTLY when I wasn’t looking for it (they always say it happens that way don’t they?) We decided to try for children, we lost a baby girl in the second trimester, 21+5 and my heart was broken all over again but, when I was ready to try again, I gave it one last shot.

Twin girls, July 2008. Married March 2013. Happy Ever After. Well up until now most definitely yes.

path in the trees shorne country park

I have made mistakes this past decade. I tried to put them right but I couldn’t. I accept that sometimes you cannot make things right. I accept that I am not perfect, that I am still learning like everyone else. I apologise to everyone I ever upset.

This past decade for me has meant looking very deeply inside. I have torn myself apart, loathed myself. I have tried to change myself to be what others think I should be but I fail to keep up the appearance so 2015 will be all about accepting me for what I am and who I am. Learning to appreciate what I am good at and learning to accept that sometimes, I make a right hash of things but that’s ok too IF you learn from it.

sunlight through trees

I’m going to stop trying to be liked by everyone. If you like me that’s good, if you don’t, that’s ok too. I accept that I am not everyone’s cup of tea and I can’t try to be either.

I want 2015 to focus on my family, I’m going to drop the veggie plot which I have proved to be quite hopeless at and use that time to skip in the garden with the girls, or play in the Wendy house before they grow out of it. I’ve realised just how quickly time passes by and before I know it the girls will be teens and won’t want to play anymore. I want to get out to Italy too.

I would also love to take the girls to Lapland to see Santa, here’s a great Lapland holiday review from my good friend Kate who was lucky enough to go recently

shorne country park

Well, 50 it will be and 50 here I come. I accept it’s on it’s way but I’ve cottoned on a year early so I have one year left in my forties and I intend to make the very most of it.

2015 The year of the Smash Book

smash book 2015

Instead of a jar this year I’m making a Smash Book, a sort of scrap book with a bit of everything in it. I can write, list, glue, add and take away as I go through the year. An exploration into me, what do I really like? What do I really want to see? Sometimes in this busy life it’s easy to be taken along with what everyone else wants and lose sight of your own desires. This is me. I accept me or that will be my mission over the next 12 months.

I’m also going to #EmbraceHappy along with Karin Joyce and many other like minded women, you don’t have to be a blogger, just on Facebook, take a look at the group here, it’s supportive and positive, not at all pushy so if you want to join in do and if you want to take a look then that’s ok too.

Happy 2015 everyone, here’s to an extra special year.



  1. December 29, 2014 / 4:23 PM

    Wow what a great post – and a great idea to put together a Smash Book.
    Obviously, not happy to read about your heartbreak, but so glad you’ve been able to become a stronger, happier person xxx

    • December 29, 2014 / 7:15 PM

      Thanks Donna, the heartbreak was a long time ago and all behind me now. 2014 has been good to us in many ways but I do feel on the cusp of so much…
      I am ready for 2015 and another happy year ahead.

  2. December 29, 2014 / 4:39 PM

    I know what you mean about the fear of fifty and how no other age before this has caused such anxiety. I felt just the same, didn’t like that birthday either but, six months on, nothing much has changed so I am trying to forget the number and just live my life.
    Hope you have a very happy year, Mari x

    • December 29, 2014 / 7:17 PM

      I remember you mentioning it and your words along with Anya’s kind of sparked off my awareness. It Is Coming.
      But as you say just a number, another birthday, another year ahead, my aim is now to make them as best as I possibly can.

  3. Rachael Buzzel
    December 29, 2014 / 4:39 PM

    What a great post Mari and acceptance is a fantastic word. I think many of us have trouble accepting ourselves as we are.
    I love your memory jar and I bet when you open it it’ll bring a lot of smiles. Loving the idea of a smash book too.
    I definitely want to make 2015 the year I think more positively and be thankful for the good things in my life.
    Looking forward to sharing your journey over at the #EmbraceHappy page. Here’s to 2015! x

    • December 29, 2014 / 7:33 PM

      Absolutely yes – here’s to 2015 and I love being part of #EmbraceHappy.
      Here’s to your thinking positive and having lots of fun next year xx

  4. December 29, 2014 / 5:42 PM

    A wonderful post. Like you I have had some heartbreak along the way, but even with that I wouldn’t change a thing as it led me to here and here is good. My OH is heading in on 50 too – doesn’t seem quite so old now it is on the horizon! Happy 2015 xxx

    • December 29, 2014 / 7:19 PM

      Thanks Sonya, I wonder if your OH feels the same or are men not so bothered about the passage of time?
      Reflecting on the past, the challenges we have faced do make us stronger and more aware of how fragile life can be. Have a wonderful 2015 yourself lovely xxx

  5. December 29, 2014 / 5:44 PM

    Oh you have had some tough times, I’m sorry. However you are an awesome lady who I have great respect for and I know you will make 2015 wonderful.

    • December 29, 2014 / 7:22 PM

      Tough times yes I’ve had some but I also have lots and lots of wonderful memories, maybe I chose to share the toughest this time as it is the end of the year and we are approaching a new one.
      I would like to let others know that when bad things happen, yes it’s tough but you can get over it and carry on to much more happiness.
      Have a wonderful 2015 too xx

  6. December 29, 2014 / 5:57 PM

    Ah lovely Mari, I love this positive step into the new year. I am a great believer that you can improve your mood and in turn life but simply thinking more positively.
    And I turn 40 in March… not sure how I feel about that yet!

    • December 29, 2014 / 7:24 PM

      Pffft! Forty, you’ll sail through it. I’ve had some brilliant life changing moments in my forties – I learnt to blog for starters :)
      I am going to embrace 50 with arms wide open. Promise
      Happy new year lovely Annie xx

  7. December 29, 2014 / 6:32 PM


    What a wonderful and heart-warming post! I love your word and your Smash Book plan! That will tell the story of 2015 so well. Genius idea!! Mean my dear! May 2015 be utterly awesome for you.

    Karin xx

    • December 29, 2014 / 7:26 PM

      Thank you.
      And thank you for all YOUR inspiration and our hangouts and our friendship and our sharing of the good and the bad. for your trust in me, for your faith in me and for your kicks up the backside when I need them.
      Have a wonderful 2015 and very, very best of luck to #EmbraceHappy

  8. December 29, 2014 / 6:34 PM

    Love the ‘Acceptance’ – it’s such a hard thing to do, isn’t it? I’m trying to work out how to get across to the girls my idea of being the you that you are and not the you others want you to be, though I think maybe it’s something that does have to come with years.

    Good luck with accepting 50. It doesn’t sound too big to me anymore, but then I’m not knocking on its door right now.

    • December 29, 2014 / 7:31 PM

      Thanks for the good luck message :D I’m tackling 50 head on, like a rugby player going in to a scrum.

      As for be the you, you are. I think it’s an ongoing learning. Even now that the twins are six I encourage them to be themselves. I can see when they are trying to be someone else, sometimes they role play princesses which is fun to watch and a huge eye opener which allows me to understand a lot about what is in their hearts.

  9. December 29, 2014 / 8:20 PM

    A lovley run through of your life so far and I can’t believe for a moment that anyone does not like you Mari, you are genuinely one of the most warm and welcoming women I’ve ever met. The smash book idea looks great, have fun creating. Mich x

    • January 2, 2015 / 5:36 PM

      Thank you Michelle.
      The girls were so interested in my Smash Book, I’ve had to make them a scrapbook each so they can join in too :)

  10. December 29, 2014 / 9:36 PM

    every decade will have it’s ups and downs, that can not be avoided, but mari you are going to be the most excellent example of being 50 that is for SURE! X

    • January 2, 2015 / 5:37 PM

      Thanks HPMcQ, I hope so, I always look to people I admire that are older than me and say, ‘If they can do it, then so can I’

  11. December 30, 2014 / 6:11 AM

    I wish you a wonderful year full of embrace happy moments and acceptance xxx

    • January 2, 2015 / 5:38 PM

      Thank you lovely Becky – right back atcha xx

  12. December 30, 2014 / 10:56 AM

    How the devil are you 50 Mari, that’s madness?!
    This process of reflection and change, is something I really must do more of this year. I love the idea of the SmashBook, definitely something I could use too.

    • January 2, 2015 / 5:39 PM

      I’ve always been one for querying myself and asking questions – sometimes too many.
      Countdown to 50 hopefully will be fun rather than a deepening depression, that’s my plan :)

  13. December 30, 2014 / 11:11 AM

    Oh Mari, what a sad but lovely post.I have a smash book board on Pinterest as I’m doing the same but on a much cheaper budget.I look forward to seeing how yours turns out.

    • January 2, 2015 / 5:40 PM

      I discovered Smash Book on Pinterest, I will check out and follow your board Aly as I’m a bit in the dark here

  14. December 30, 2014 / 7:30 PM

    Great post and I love the word acceptance. You certainly look amazing for almost 50 too ;-) Can’t wait to see how your Smash Book turns out – first time I’ve heard of them actually!

  15. January 1, 2015 / 9:01 PM

    Such a thought-provoking post Mari, but I must start by saying you cannot possibly pass for 50. It must be a typo.

    I think acceptance is a really tough lesson, and for me this year I really tried to make peace with the fact that I sometimes make mistakes, and I don’t always have the opportunity to fix them, and I need to leave that in the past, rather than dwelling and brooding. And the flip side is that most other people make mistakes too, and aren’t attacking you as much as just muddling through as best they can – as the lovely Ruth at Geek Mummy likes to say, “Never attribute to malice something that could be explained by stupidity” – that’s going to be big motto for me this year.

    • January 2, 2015 / 5:48 PM

      Ha ha, 50 it is Sally, I can’t deny that one I’m afraid.

      I love Ruth’s motto! I’m going to write it in my Smash Book.

      We live and we learn Sally and like you say we all make mistakes. Some are harder to pass by but sooner or later we have to move on. Wishing you the very best of luck in 2015, can’t wait to see what you get up to.

  16. January 2, 2015 / 6:11 PM

    I’m intrigued by your Smash book – I’ll have to check these out as I’m the same age as you Mari so maybe it’s something that I should do too. I’m sorry that you went through such an awful time when your husband left and then with your baby. I really admire your strength and positivity and I’m glad that you’ve decided to accept yourself for who you are because you’re lovely xx

  17. January 4, 2015 / 3:38 PM

    Great word, and I can’t wait to see your finished smash book xx

  18. January 4, 2015 / 6:27 PM

    I really LIKE you Mari, always look to you as a wise and wonderful person to know. I loved this post, it was great to find out more about you and I hope we see each other again in 2015, best thing ever was looking out of my caravan window at Camp Bestival and seeing you appear!

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