I know many people that don’t ‘get the point’ of celebrating a new year. But to me, I see it as a fresh new chapter. A chance to make more memories, learn from the past, and start off on an exciting journey.
At the end of each year, I take time to look back and appreciate the experiences I’ve had and reflect on what has passed.
Not only does this help me to find gratitude in all that has happened, but it allows me the opportunity to close that chapter and start anew.
Admittedly, not all years are ground-breakingly great, but there is something to learn from each of them, and though we may not see it while we’re on the road, when we take time to look at the journey taken we can surprise ourselves at what we actually achieved.
Here’s what happened in my 2017, and my honest review of how it all went.
At the beginning of 2017, I went to a career therapy session with Dr Barbara Mariposa. Not many people know this, as I didn’t feel it was necessary at the time to share the experience.
I was feeling lost at work, and I needed to get back to understanding what I wanted out of my career and how this ultimately aligned with my personal values.
Suffice to say it was eye-opening, and it’s only now that I look back and realise how much that session has helped me to analyse my choices and ensure I’m making the right decisions for myself.
In January my partner had an operation on his kidney.
This experience was for obvious reasons very difficult, but even more so because the operation took place in Norwich, which meant I couldn’t be by his side constantly.
Watching someone you love in pain and discomfort is upsetting, but it was also hard due to the financial strain of being off work while ill.
It’s not something many people will be open about, but sick pay is totally shit, and we had to pull together to make sure that we stayed positive.
Looking back now I can’t believe how positive we remained.
Support and love in tough times are the most important, and I certainly learned a lesson in what a strong mental attitude can achieve.
I’m very lucky in my life that I have a close family who love doing things together.
It’s the one thing that I cherish, and always wish I could bottle the memories so I can relive the days again and again. In March, I visited The Shard along with my little brother, my cousin and our partners.
The view was of course incredible. You’re so high everywhere looks like a little ant village.
A London foodie day out
My partner and I LOVE food, therefore for his birthday, it seemed only fitting for us to go to London and indulge in all the delights that Spitalfields Market could provide.
I’m not joking when I say we tried almost EVERYTHING. We shared fresh stone baked pizza’s, Greek kebabs, Dutch pancakes, giant cupcakes and then an incredible Raclette at Androuet. And of course, we spent a heavy amount of time in Vagabond wines!
At the beginning of June, my partner and I moved in together for the first time.
It was so exciting, and to be honest, it feels like we’ve been living together for a lot longer than we have.
We’ve slowly been making the place our own, but I can’t explain how incredible it feels to be under one roof together rather than constantly trying to live between two different places.
Myself and my cousin seem to have started a tradition whereby every few months we meet-up and go for afternoon tea.
It started in my local tea rooms, but now it seems we’ve begun a tour of London’s afternoon teas.
In June, we went to the Ritz. Which while incredibly stunning, I can say officially say, is not the best I’ve ever had. If it’s on your bucket list then by all means go to tick it off, but if you want tastier food and more of it, there are many others that I would choose from.
After seeing Coldplay the year before with my friend Jess, I just had to go with my partner and share the experience. Once again, they truly delivered and my Coldplay crush continues. Now to try and meet Chris Martin before I turn 30!
A little op
It’s not exactly a show reel piece, but I feel it’s a significant experience that taught me the importance of smear tests and exactly why all women should be attending them.
In early July, I had a smear test that came back with some abnormal results. Consequently, this meant that I had to have a minor operation.
It was scary as I had never had an operation before, and when a doctor is telling you about the effects and making you aware of what could happen, it really dawns on you. Quite frankly, it was scary, and I’m not ashamed to admit that.
I’m completely fine now and am still able to have children, but it is something that truly clarified the importance of these check-ups.
Visiting my Dad in Canada and being there for his 60th birthday was a real adventure.
We were doing something pretty much every day as there is so much to do in the area. I don’t even think we scratched the surface of what British Columbia has to offer. But we’ll be back.
Of course, aside from the epic views and activities, the best parts were having family dinners together, playing cards by the open fire and just spending some quality time together. As you can see from the photos, I just couldn’t stop smiling for the entire time we were there.
The book gets published
Since joining the digital marketing industry, I realised how little guidance there was for those joining it. So I began planning a book in January designed for those wanting to enter the industry and get an honest insight.
In August, it was officially published and released on to Amazon.
I still can’t quite believe it.
Yes, it was bloody hard work, especially when you constantly face the dread of the blank page. But now I have the experience I feel motivated to write more.
Alwalton Spa and dinner date
This was such a simple day off for myself and my partner, but it meant so much.
We were both having such a manic time at work, that we really needed to rest and have some fun together.
We booked in a massage at the Alwalton Spa in Peterborough and then went for a delicious dinner at The Mad Turk in Stamford.
When life is hectic, it’s so important to book time in together and make sure you’re spending quality time with each other. Something we’ve both learned that means we both feel loved and respected.
The Stamford Georgian Festival
As a massive history nerd, I get very excited when the Stamford Georgian Festival begins.
The entire town is thrown back in time. With lots of events on to mark the epic era, and many Georgian enthusiasts walking around the streets in traditional dress.
As well as just walking around and enjoying the all the spectacles, I went along to a gin evening with the Gin Whore – a one-woman comedy show. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend if you’re both a lover of gin and intrigued by dramatic history facts.
Continuing our afternoon tea tour, my cousin and I visited The Sanderson Hotel for their Mad Hatters afternoon tea.
It was by far the most fun and inventive I have been to yet, and each piece was deliciously tasty. Definitely one to add to your list.
Aqua Sana Sherwood
My partner completely spoilt me for my birthday, and part of my week of treats was a trip to the new Aqua Sana Spa at Sherwood Forest.
They’ve spent a crazy amount of money refurbishing it, and I can see how.
If you love a spa experience then I would highly recommend this. The new tree house sauna and meditation room were two of my favourite experiences.
As both my partner and I believe experiences are more important than things, we wanted to gift his daughter with a trip to Legoland for Christmas.
It was an amazing trip, and we all had so much fun.
If you have young children I would highly recommend, and if you love Lego as much as we do then there’s even activities for the big kids.
While I know this may all look and sound incredible, I’m not going to lie – 2017 was hard work. It was exactly that – work, work, work. I put a lot of energy and effort into my full-time job and I ended up feeling exhausted. Was it worth it?
Nothing is worth putting your health at risk when it is not rewarding you in the right way.
While there were some great moments that I experienced with my colleagues, unfortunately that thing that I had been working hard all year for, never came to fruition. So I ended up disappointed and frustrated.
Do I regret any of it?
While you can get annoyed and angry about situations, what’s the point? – It’s a waste of time and energy.
I’m a strong believer that there are lessons to be learned from every situation, and what we have to do is take on the experience and grow from it.
I hope that my fun experiences have given you something to add to your ‘fun bucket’ in 2018, and my hardships have given a little food for thought.