2017 was a stressful year, I made some pretty big life decisions and also faced some of the hardest times of my life. With Charlie’s scare back in the Summer and losing two members of my extended family within a month of each other its not always been sunshine and smiles. Today instead of dwelling on the negatives I want to focus on the positive so I am sharing 17 of my highlights and favourite memories of 2017.
1 – In January I attended a mocktail masterclass at the newly opened Thaikun restaurant in Westquay watermark where I entered a competition for my cocktail to be included on their menu throughout the month of February. After harassing every person I have ever known I actually won the competition and bagged myself an orange card. I was so overwhelmed with how supportive everyone was and so grateful for my prize.
2 – For my birthday this year Gavin surprised me with a night stay in the Malmaison Oxford which is an old converted prison and was absolutely amazing. I was so blown away by his idea and we had the most incredible 2 days exploring a new city.
3 – Quitting my toxic job and facing all my fears at starting in a new workplace. Although my current day job is far from fulfilling, its a 9-5 which is something I have dreamed about since 2012, the money is alright and most importantly its taught me that I am capable of much more than I give myself credit. With this new mindset I am hoping 2018 is the year I can start the journey on my career or at least come up with some ideas.
4 – In June myself and my parents headed back to the O2 Academy in Oxford to watch Starsailor live. This is the second time I’ve seen them live, the first time in the exact same venue 3 years before. Silence is Easy is basically the soundtrack to my childhood as I remember we use to listen to this first whenever we went on a family road trip like to Cornwall or to visit my Grandma.
5 – This year we visited Budapest twice but on our first trip back in May, we went on the Budapest Eye. I know to 80% of people this will not seem like a big deal at all, but I am absolutely petrified of heights and this was quite a big deal for me. I didn’t exactly enjoy the experience as I spent the entire 5 minute ride convinced we were going to slide out of the side or the carriage would fall off mid spin, but I survived it and conquered one of my biggest anxieties.
6 – During Summer Charlie suffered through another water infection but this time it was more serious and we had to rush him to the out of hours surgery. I was absolutely heartbroken when we had to leave him overnight and for a later two days. When I went to pick up my poorly little soldier he had little patches shaved out his paws and neck and he was so sad. After close monitoring for several weeks and lots of scares we finally got the all clear and knew our little trooper was going to be ok.
7 – During the August bank holiday weekend we headed to Warsaw for a long weekend away. This was the first holiday we have been on together where we hadn’t done crazy amounts of research and we didn’t really know what we wanted to see or do we just went with the flow. Taking a more relaxed approach meant we could really take in our surroundings and really submerge ourself in the culture and enjoy our time together even more. I think this was possibly our favourite trip together to date so far.
8 – The yearly reunion with my Bedfords family. I don’t talk about my time at University much, it wasn’t the best time of my life like I imagined it would be and I actually really struggled. Halfway through I got my first bar job at a small little pub called Bedfords and the people I worked with for the next two years became my second family. Since leaving Southampton in 2014 it has become a yearly ritual for us to meet up for a reunion and a long overdue catchup. We have that kind of friendship where no matter how long you haven’t seen each other for – nothing’s changed.
9 – In October me and Gavin celebrated two years together with a long weekend in Amsterdam where we basically ate everything in site. The last two years have been some of the toughest and most stressful of my life but they have also been the most rewarding and have taught me a hell of a lot. I am so grateful to have met such a supportive, loving and patient man who puts up with all my craziness and doesn’t bat an eye lid. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for the both of us, we are definitely due some good luck.
10 – Also in October my Grandma and Aunt came to stay at my parents for a week and it was lovely to be able to see them both and have a proper catch up. It also gave Gavin a chance to meet my Grandma for the first time which will always be a cherished memory of mine. Unfortunately during the week they were visiting my Great Aunt Linda passed away but we took comfort from the fact that she was no longer in pain and that we could all be together at such a devastating time.
11 – One of my closest friends gave birth to the highly anticipated baby Spake in October this year and it was wonderful to be able to follow along this journey with her including her fabulous baby shower back in the Summer. Joshua is the most perfect little boy and it has been positively heartwarming to watch Alice and Arran take to parenting like a duck does to water. If you want to follow along with Joshua he has his own Instagram be sure to check it out for the most adorable baby spam.
12 – Watching the Nutcracker in Budapest in December is probably the most festive thing I have EVER done. I have wanted to see a ballet live my whole life and I actually bought my family and I tickets to the Little Mermaid ballet, however, my dad booked his car in for a service which completely over ran and we only managed to make the second half of the show. I was absolutely raging as you can imagine but luckily we had no such issues on our second attempt. The ballet itself was beautifully presented, the costumes were so extravagant and the staging was incredible. This definitely will not be the last ballet I watch.
13 – Three weeks before Christmas we made a very rash and last minute decision to move home. Our old flat had failed the new Fire Safety Regulations and quite frankly the piss poor management of the whole situation filled me with absolutely no hope whatsoever. We found the perfect little attic flat three doors away from our previous flat and frantically fought against the clock to get everything changed over and sorted out, paid off and packed and moved within 3 weeks. It was a ballache to say the least but we instantly felt comfortable and at home in our new place which are two things we never managed the year we were at Hannover House.
14 – Christmas this year was extra special because I got to spend Christmas day with both my family and with Gavin. The first year we were dating I was away with my family for Christmas and so we had our day at the end of the month when I got back. Then last year he spent Christmas day with his best friend and I spent it with my family. This was the first year we spent it all together and it was absolutely perfect.
15 – More recently my Mum interviewed – successfuly – for a senior management position and starts in January. My Mum is my biggest inspiration to me and has been my whole entire life. To see how she started compared to where she is now fills me with pride and admiration. I am so thankful to have such an incredible role model in my life and watching her achieve her goals is up there in my top 3 highlights of the year.
16 – 2017 was the year I finally kicked my dirty smoking habit after 13 long years. I still remember the first time I tried a cigarette for the first time, sat in the school field in a circle and someone passed it round and we all tried it. This was one of my first times hanging out with the ‘cool kids’ and I was dying to impress them, so I took a puff and coughed my heart out much to my despair as everyone round the circle laughed at me. I was determined to fit in with the cool gang after that so I started smoking as a way to fit in. I’m just glad I’ve finally managed to kick it after all these years of abusing my body.
17 – My blog is a my own little creative space that I have had for a few years now and it’s only in the last 6 months that I have managed to find my groove. I’ve never been interested in making my blog my job (I’m far too lazy for that) but instead I am focusing on documenting my life so I will always have something to look back on. I didn’t set myself any milestones to reach but I am ending the year in a much happier place with my blog, and now I have much more spare time to put into it, I plan to start posting more regularly. Plus, I’ve also met some incredible people through my blog and I hope to meet even more next year.
What are you favourite memories of 2017?