As we limp towards the end of the year, stockpiling on mince pies and drowning in egg nog, I like to reflect on the last 12 months. This is a look back over my personal challenges, activities and achievements. Because frankly, without this annual round up, I would have forgotten pretty much everything I’ve done since 2014.
Reading my annual review posts from the last two years makes me feel grateful for the relative calm of 2018 (2016 really was a shit storm, wasn’t it!?).
Let me start with a few Best Ofs:
The votes for the ‘best of’ in several categories have now been counted* and verified and I can confirm the winners are:
*judging panel of one
- Show of the year: Strictly. Runner up – Bodyguard
- Trend of the year: Joint winners – pleats, midi skirts and animal print. Runner up (late entry) – hiker boots
- Event of the year: Ibiza Revival
- Twat of the year: Donald Trump (again). Runner up – Sean Walsh
- Fad of the year: Fortnite (hoping it’s a fad)
- Clusterfuck of the year: Brexit
- Photo of the year: this one (taken by me at Blenheim Palace)
And now for my personal highs and lows. Let’s break it down.
I’ll start with a failure, a term I’m not shy to use, as without these little misfires I wouldn’t know what I know and wouldn’t be where I am.
2017 was all about the gym, which I fell out of love with quickly. God, those machines are monotonous. Too much time to think. The gaps between visits grew, as did my BMI. Rather than pay through the nose for one session a fortnight and the accompanying guilt, I cancelled my membership.
In May I found something new. I may look back on this post in a year’s time and regret writing this, but I think I’m going to stick at it.
Once, sometimes twice a week, donning my lycra, I join 20 sweating, malcoordinated 40 and 50 somethings in a dance-fit class. It takes such concentration not to step on my own feet, while learning the routine and remembering to breathe, that I have no time to think about laundry, work, kids or anything else. It’s the most positive I’ve felt about exercise for as long as I can remember.
My mission in 2018 was to raise my seratonin levels by finding my ‘happy place’. I chose laughter and singing. Live shows by Joe Lycett, Katherine Ryan and the No Such Thing As a Fish podcast team brought the laughter. The singing was with a community choir – which I wrote about in this post.
Another highlight was Ibiza Revival at Hatfield House for my friend Claire’s birthday. We drank prosecco, ate crisps and danced like nutters to all our favourite dance anthems, played by an incredible live orchestra. The evening will be memorable for two reasons. First, we met the conductor while trying to get out of the grounds and drunkenly fawned all over the poor man. Secondly, Claire was dancing so hard she broke her ankle.
But show of the year goes to Justin Timberlake at the O2. Turns out I’m rather in love with JT. Don’t think he noticed me among the other 18,999 of his closest friends. I took the boys with me – it was their first concert. I’m not sure what they’ll remember more vividly: JT’s amazing performance or mum’s embarrassing dancing.
Talking of seratonin, I took a one day nutrition course in December. While I found the content a bit too GCSE Biology for me, the need to eat more complex carbohydrates and cut down on sugar and saturated fat does seem to have seeped through. I haven’t had a Pringle for two weeks (which is a PB), have cut down on bread and swapped white rice for brown.
I joined a book club and have found joy in numerous novels. The best of the year was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, as recommended by my mum. I brought it to the book club and it received unanimous praise. If you enjoy rich character studies, you must read this book.
Two failures in this category: I thought I might take up the piano. My friend kindly offered me a free lesson, I borrowed a huge keyboard from my sister, and now it sits in the ‘music room’ (ha!) all forlorn.
I also thought I’d become a crochet grandmaster. That’s a thing right? Bought loads of books, needles and yarn. Nope. A bit like my knitting skills, turns out I can only crochet baby sized blankets in wobbly lines.
Our Turkish Easter holiday seems like a distant memory. A girls’ weekend in Bruges was over too soon. Our adults only city break in Berlin was historical, fascinating and thought provoking; and Spain was HOT.
My recruitment work was the usual pattern of feast or famine. I had quiet quarters and crises of confidence, followed by too much work to handle. The year has ended positively and I’m now waiting for all those lovely invoices to be paid.
The most exciting partnerships on the blog this year were the Age Well Revolution campaign for Neal’s Yard Remedies:
And more recently working with Vauxhall to review their Grandland X. What a ride!
My hopes for 2019
- Brexit won’t happen and we can all just pretend there was never a referendum.
- Trump is impeached and Michelle Obama runs for President.
- America wakes up to and starts acting on global warming.
- Lies, hate and trolling on the internet are called out and become unacceptable.
- Oh, and world peace, obvs.
Thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet. I do mainly write for fun, and to vent, but being able to share this with you is amazing. I wish you all the best for 2019. May the new year bring you health, happiness and prosperity and may all your dreams come true.
Much love, Vx