I wrote one of these posts last year reflecting on 2016, and despite thinking that 2016 couldn’t top 2015, it did, which was pretty hard considering I got a new job, travelled the world for a month and bought a brand new apartment with Darryl. 2016 was the year we moved into our new home, I was offered a permanent contract in my job, we did plenty more travelling and I lost a fair bit of weight. But what about 2017, does it top 2016, or even 2015? I’d say so, but in different ways. 2017 has been a year of ups and downs, but thankfully, mostly ups. Here’s some of what went down.
January / April 2017
To be honest I didn’t have the best start to the year. I finished 2016 having lost weight and achieved my ‘dream body’ by completing The Body Coach’s 90 Day Plan, but as I went into 2017, I became completely obsessed with myself. Was I getting fat again? What should I eat? Should I eat at all? It got insane, to the point where I went to the doctors and was handed a card for a counselling helpline. As if I couldn’t get any lower, they then told me I needed to speak to somebody who specialised in eating disorders. January to April were probably the darkest months of my life so far. I don’t know how I got myself out of that place, but I’m so thankful that I did. I’m also thankful for the overwhelming response that I had following my very honest post about it all. Note: I have nothing against Joe or his plan, I just let myself get carried away with it. Looking back at my old posts, everything was so ‘fitness and food’ heavy. It’s draining to read it all back. Now, I’m a different person with a different mindset. I’m not as slim or as toned as I was, but I’m happy, and now I can see how much more important that is.
May 28th is mine and Darryl’s ‘anniversary’, and this year we hit six years. Six whole years! That’s pretty mad for two kids that met at school (well, a house party technically). To celebrate, Darryl organised our first trip of 2017 — a day in Amsterdam. We were hit by every kind of delay possible but we still managed to fly to another part of the world, spend all afternoon walking around a sizeable city and fly home again in under 24 hours. I’m pretty proud of that.
This was an emotional month, because the day after my stepmum Amy’s special birthday celebrations, both her and my dad packed up and moved to their new home in Scotland. I knew it was happening of course, but I don’t think it hit me into I was stood there in a zoo car park crying my eyes out knowing that it would most likely be months before I saw them. That said, I’m super happy for them in their new home and fully understand why they moved up to the highlands. Who wouldn’t if you have the chance!
Cue our second trip of the year — Mexico. This was our ‘big’ holiday of the year, and having wanted to go here for as long as I can remember, I was beside myself when we arrived in paradise. It was twelve whole days of ocean-front, pool-side, all-inclusive bliss. Somehow we managed to bag a room upgrade too, so shoutout to the Bahia Prinicpe Akumal Hotel for the most luxurious holiday yet (ps, this hotel review was my most viewed post of 2017!). You can read more about that holiday over several previous posts.
Not only did we travel, but I also got myself a new job — my dream job in fact. When I was getting into the full-time work life, people shut me down time and time again for not going to uni. I was told I’d never be able to work in social media, blogging, copywriting etc without a degree. This affected me to the point where I almost cancelled the interview because I was convinced I’d fail. And now here I am, working as a Marketing Exec for a company and industry that I’m ridiculously passionate about. I don’t know how I got to this point, but I’m so grateful that I did.
In August we flew to Rome for Darryl’s twenty-third birthday. Having only been back from Mexico six weeks and being fresh into a brand new job, admittedly this trip wasn’t the best timing, but it was so good to explore such a famous city and eat all the pasta and pizza. And I mean all. This was my first time visiting Italy and it was everything I hoped it’d be and more — forgetting the part where we were basically stranded in a random Italian train station at 10pm on a Sunday after being screwed over by the ‘airport transport’, but hey, that’s the moment I learned that sometimes it’s better just to bite the bullet and pay a bit more for a taxi. Italy, I’ll be back.
Originally I didn’t think we’d be able to make my cousin’s wedding in Poland, but I didn’t want to miss their special day so we made it work and flew out to Lublin in late September/early October. Lublin was just the most stunning little old town, which was ideal for a little four-day break. The weather was perfect, we got to spend a few days with family, I got to watch two of my favourite people tie the knot and I got to experience my very first Polish wedding. Apparently vodka shots every fifteen minutes and eight-plus courses is normal, and I was not complaining. Post wedding we took advantage of Poland’s mega cheap food and drink (£1.50 pints!?), and we got to spend an afternoon in a cat cafe which was both excellent and weird, so it was a pretty life changing trip in reflection.
September was also a tough month, because I lost my grandad. No words can explain how much everyone loved my grandad Syd, and the fact that people still say how much they loved his personality, his smile and his cheeky mannerisms is a beautiful reminder of how brilliant he was. I don’t usually write heart-felt posts, but this time I did, and I was amazed at the response it got. We miss him everyday, but I’m glad he’s at peace alongside my Grandpa. In addition to this my dad and stepmum also had to say goodbye to their cat, Dunston, who I’d grown up with. I hadn’t seen him since they’d moved, but of course I was heartbroken. A pet to us is an equal family member.
On a more positive note, my little blog was one of the top ten nominees for a feature in issue 15 of Blogosphere Magazine! It didn’t quite make the cut, but even being nominated was a huge shock for me. Up until then I didn’t really think that anyone beyond family read this blog…
On October 8th, we picked up our little furbaby Luna from the RSPCA Shelter here in Milton Keynes and I can hands down say that it’s the best decision we’ve made this year. I was worried at first as she wouldn’t settle and I thought we’d made a huge mistake bringing a cat into a little apartment, but soon enough she changed her tune and now I don’t know how we ever lived without her. To some she’s ‘just a cat’, but she’s everything to me. I have no desire to have children right now or anytime soon, but give me a fluffy cat and I’m the most motherly mushy person in the world. Who knew a tiny little animal could bring us so much happiness and laughter every day. Apart from when she has her post-toilet mental ten minutes and climbs curtains.
November was a fairly quiet month, but one stand-out event was my work’s annual conference/gala dinner. Working at the event from Friday through til Sunday was a bit daunting, but honestly, it was one of the best weekends of the year. On the Saturday I got to be a part of the team representing the company in front of about 500 guests, and the evening was the most incredible awards ceremony and gala dinner where we all got to swap the uniforms for the ball gowns and celebrate everyone’s hard work (with a fair few drinks, obvs). Thank God I found a photo of me and my ultimate sass-pot friend Kamso pre-slidey makeup dancing phase, because those photos should never make it to this blog! No amount of setting spray can hold a face until 4.30am, apparently.
Brace yourselves, December was a big month. Firstly, we decided to finish the year with one final trip to Inverness in Scotland to see my dad and stepmum in their new home. I hadn’t had a chance to go until this point, so spending a few days with them before Christmas was the perfect final getaway of 2017. My grandma was also there, so we all got to share some quality time and eat a ton of Christmas food, just to prepare ourselves (and our stomachs) for the big day — naturally. Scotland is such a beautiful place to visit and despite having been there many times as a child, I never ever get bored of it. Can you believe how nice their local beach is!? Blog post coming soon…
Then Christmas happened. I spent Christmas Eve with Darryl, mum, my nan, auntie and uncle, and cousin and his wife, and then Christmas Day was spent at home in my pajamas with Darryl, my mum and my furbaby. It was the slobbiest, most perfect day and I’m pretty chuffed that my first ever Christmas dinner was a success. The next few days were spent with Darryl’s family, and of course the food fest continued.
Fast-forward a few days to 29th December and I turned twenty-three. Darryl bless his heart planned the best birthday for me, which involved afternoon tea at the Montcalm Hotel near Marble Arch in London, shopping on Oxford Street, a trip up The Shard and dinner at one of Marco Pierre White’s restaurants. What an angel. I felt a bit weird about turning twenty-three (I know it’s not old but when you still feel like you’re 16, it seems it), so to have someone make the day so special was really lovely. There are a few photos of this day on Instagram by the way!
And there we have it, my 2017 — *mic drop*. I think it’s fair to say that it was a really good year for travel, in fact, probably the best since I started blogging. I never started this blog with the intention of it becoming a sort of part-time travel blog, but the more I blog the more I want to focus on photographing new places. I also held a poll recently and the votes steered directly towards a preference of travel-based content, so more of that in 2018, I hope! I’m also ending the year on close to 65,000 blog views having had my highest ever views this year of just over 24,000 — so cheers to that!
Happy New Year x