One of my favourite things to do once the excitement of Christmas is fizzling away, and you enter that weird limbo period between Christmas and new year, where you have no idea what day of the week it is or what you are meant to be doing, is to sit down and reflect on the past year, all the highs and lows, my achievements and memories from the year. 

2018 has been a complete whirlwind, Ive had 2 different jobs and was just offered a promotion just before Christmas. I finally cracked on with my driving lessons after an awful experience and I am now so close to doing my test. I raised money for charity and travelled an awful lot too, both in the UK and abroad. Its been super hectic but I have filled it with lots of incredible moments and despite a few stressful challenges, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world, to quote Kelly Clarkson “what doest kill you makes you stronger”,  they have only made me stronger and more determined to succeed.

I usually enjoy January and the start of the year as its exciting, a fresh start, lots to plan and look forward to and January is my birthday month. This year my bestie took me out in London for a day of surprises which was amazing and we visited Sketch for the first time, I had been wanting to go here for so long and it was the perfect way to spend my birthday. We also watched the School of Rock the musical, It is one of my favourite films and I could not have loved the production any more. 

February was the first of many trips away with Dan. We visited the Austrian capital, Vienna, for a weekend of culture, classical music and feeling cold. This was Dans choice of location and I was never that fussed on the idea, however we had a fab weekend, learned and laughed a lot. I think Vienna is a great weekend city break location for couples! 

March came along and we had clearly got the holiday blues, and had decided to book two holidays, one for May and one for December. I had found amazing flight prices for Italy and Dan decided we would go to NYC just before Christmas. After all the holiday planning excitement, I had found out I go a new job, which I was over the moon about. I had been having a pretty rough time in a job that I wasn’t enjoying and finally got a job working in projects. This couldn’t have come at a better time as I was to work my notice period, then go to Italy for 2 weeks with Dan before starting my new job. 

April was the last few weeks spent working in the office that I had worked at for the past 4 years, with the same people. It was a really weird feeling, despite changing jobs over those 4 years, 3 times, I was about to fly the nest from the office I had grown up in, and learned a lot from, to work in a much bigger pond in London. However, I was super excited for a new challenge and change. At the end of the month I packed up my belongings and then went off interrailling around Italy.

This was a trip that has been on my ultimate travel bucket list for a long time, I have never been to Italy and have always wanted to go but there are so many places that I wanted to visit, so why not immerse myself fully, visiting the best of the best, eating my way round 1 city at a time. We flew out to Venice for a few days, had lots of pizza, pasta and gelato, and ticked a major bucket list item off….. riding a gondola! After Venice, we travelled to Milan, then Lake Como, then Florence, Pisa and ended in Rome. It was an incredible two weeks full of adventure, food and incredible memories, a trip I have always wanted to do with someone special and a trip I will never forget. I fell in love with Italy and cannot wait to go back. You can read more on the trip in this post here! 

After Italy I had to hit the ground running and start my new job, I absolutely loved the change of scenery and working in London, I found it a pleasant change and so inspiring, I got to spend more time with dan and all together it was a great change to my routine. 

Something I made sure of this year was adventure is everywhere, you don’t have to go abroad to enjoy adventures and see new places. When I wasn’t travelling abroad this year, I was booking weekends away to new places around the UK. We visited York for the first time, Stayed in Dorset for weekends along the coast and even crammed in 2 camping trips in the forest. 

Pretty much from May to September, I made sure we made the most of the incredible summer weather by planning as many adventures as possible. Buckingham palace, Kew Gardens, Durdle Door, Longleat, Notting-hill carnival, spa days, Portsmouth dockyard, Beaulie to name a few. 

Camping was a big part of my summer, I love the outdoors and rekindled my love for camping when I visited Canada last year, so made sure Dan and I fitted in a few camping trips this summer, we have started our camping collection now and I can’t wait for this to grow and for us to become pro campers next year. 

In June I attended Royal Ascott with some of my friends and Dan. It was the first time we had all gone to something like this and we had such a laugh. Took a picnic, and some bottles of bubbly to enjoy whilst pretending like we had a clue about horse racing. I thoroughly enjoyed the day, dressing up and having a great laugh, would definitely recommend this to anyone. 

After the summer, it felt like the second half of the year just flew by, first we had halloween, with our annual pumpkin patch and carving competition tradition, then fireworks with the Winchester bonfire and pub crawl tradition and before we knew it, it was Christmas time! The second half of the year is always my favourite, I love summer but there is really nothing like the cosy autumn and winter. 

Christmas is my favourite time of the year, and despite being on holiday for a lot of December, I still managed to cram in a few of my festive favourites, complete all my Christmas shopping a months in advance and start a new tradition! 

Dan and I visited winter wonderland again, one of my favourite things to do at the beginning of the festive period, this place really gets you feeling christmassy. We also attended the Christmas Home Show at Olympia London, we learned some great Christmas dinner tips and tricks and bought a few goodies too. 

Alice and I had our annual Christmas baking evening, and made mince pies and started a new tradition… Christmas wreath making, I had the best evening making my first ever Christmas wreath.

This year December was particularly special, Dan and I went on another trip that I have always wanted to do, visit New York City around Christmas time. This was by far one of my favourite holidays ever, the best city break ever and just a magical trip. We had a jam packed itinerary, weeks of planning and excitement lead to this incredible trip that I can’t wait to write about properly and share some of my favourite bits very soon. Not only was it an incredible trip, with so many fun parts, but I also found out that I had received a promotion, such amazing news and way to end the year after a lot of hard work! 

I didn’t really have much time for jet lag as with only a few days home before a winter wedding and the a trip to Paris with my Grace and my Family, it was GO GO GO! Grace and I surprised my little brother for his birthday waiting for him on the castle in Disneyney land, this was such a special moment, my little brother is one of my favourite people, he is adorable and makes me laugh so much, he always asks me to go on holiday with him, but there is only so much annual leave each year and with an endless bucket list of my own, i usually don’t have the time, so this trip was super special and seeing his surprised face was priceless! 

I had a wonderful Christmas at home with all my family spent over numerous days laughing, playing games, eating great food and just immersing myself into what Christmas is all about. I am very much excited for NYE, we throw a party each year and this years themes very fitting for me as it is Musicals, and I bloody love musicals! 

There has been so many great moments and experiences with my blog this year too, I relaunched my blog with a new design and went self hosted in March, and this helped me really get back into the whole blogging thing after a long break and writers block. ts been a year for the theatre reviews in 2018, I have seen so many shows this year such as the vault festival waterloo, Titanic the musical, Legally Blonde, Circa presents, The Lion King, Chicago, Wicked, La Traviata, and Dick Whittington. I also had the opportunity for lots of other fun events such as reviewing P&O new cruise show “astonishing”, cider tasting at the stable, New menu launch at revolutions, a spa day at the Eforea spa at the Hilton Hotel, Ageas Bowl. I have met loads of new blogger friend this year and just had another great year with the Southampton Blogger community. 

As I said at the beginning, 2018 has been a whirlwind, full of highs and lows, the highs definitely outweigh the lows and looking back makes me so happy. And I have learned a fair few things this year which have helped me hugely and also things I need to work on and take with me into next year….

  • Lifeis a marathon not a race, and people do things at their own pace. it is important to stay in your own lane, focus on yourself and not compare to others as you will get to where you need to be when you need to. 
  • Some people will try to bring you down and cause issues for you in life, cut people out where necessary and keep believing in yourself and what you do, as you are doing just fine, you will succeed in the end. 
  • You have to crack an egg to make an omelette 
  • Change is good – fresh scenery, new people, new ideas 
  • Time for yourself is VERY important, slow down a little and just relax, do not burn the candle at both ends!

I am usually sad that the year is ending and I am turning another year older, but this year I am super excited for a new year, a fresh start and lots of new challenges and adventures. I think 2019 is going to be another busy year and I can’t bloomin’ wait! 

Thank you for sticking around another year, reading my ramblings and for the support. I look forward to lots more adventures next year! 

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