18 Things from 2018

Is 18 things from 2018 a bold claim? I’m pretty sure I can do it – there’s 12 months in the year so one thing about each month and then I’m sure there’ll be some extra additions I can squeeze in. So here we go…it’s definitely a long one so you might want to grab a drink and make sure you’re sitting in a comfy chair.

  1. We had an unofficial honeymoon at the lovely Flowery Dell Lodges. With the dog. It’s just the way we roll now – turns out it’s not that easy getting a big yellow dog looked after so he tends to come along with us wherever we go. Luckily he’s pretty chill and enjoys a sleep-in as much as we do so he’s not a bad holiday companion as it goes…
  2. We also had a fancy-dancy overnight stay at Rockliffe Hall that my parents bought for us as a wedding present. The room was bigger than the entire bottom floor of our house, there was a cocktail that cost £100 (no we didn’t try it) and an afternoon tea (also a wedding present) that very nearly tipped me over the edge into actual barfing – but there was no way that I was not going to eat every last crumb…
  3. I went to my second classical concert – that was a totally different experience from the first one – and decided that I would like to see more. I’ve still to follow that one up so watch this space…
  4. Hair – all change! I basically went from super long – short – even shorter – and then added in a cheeky fringe. I think some people I work with are still getting over it. “You cut all your hair…” *astonished face*

5. The Beast from the East happened in 2018! Who could forget it?! I worked 10 hour days getting out all the messages about school closures, changes to bin collections, updates about the weather and so much more out into the big wide world. In a strange way, I absolutely loved it and it really did feel like I was part of something that was way bigger than us. The power of social media was well and truly in evidence and there was a real buzz to being part of it!

6. I started weightlifting and absolutely fell in love with it! For 3 months I felt like a superhero as each time I would go and be that little bit better with technique and lift that little bit more weight. My biggest achievement was dragging a 52 kilo sledge down the road in sweltering heat. I stopped going because I was having some real struggles at work and all I wanted to do was go home. In hindsight that’s the time that I really should have continued with it as I think it might have helped me through those days quicker, but hindsight is always a beautiful thing. I’m in that weird place now where I think about going back…but it’s been such a long time and would it be weird…? I’m still deciding.

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7. I guess now would be a good time to talk about work. It was well and truly a year of change and I think I’m really only now coming out the other side. Under the guise of a review I was moved from one section of the team to another. A new job title, a new supervisor and new tasks that frankly terrified me as I had no practical or theoretical experience for how to do them. At the beginning I really struggled. The people I was with were so different and it took me a good couple of months to accept that it was going to be okay. I now find myself working on things that I’m truly proud of and our team dynamic works really well together! Every day is a learning curve and it’s what keeps it interesting. The photo below has been my biggest project to date and is just one tiny section of some MASSIVE hoardings that I’ve been part of making happen. It’s love…

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8. One of my colleagues at work died this year. It threw me way more than I ever imagined it would as we weren’t particularly close. I think it had a lot to do with how quickly it happened, that she was only 41, that she was such a large presence in the team and when she wasn’t there any more it was very strange and somehow…still. I also felt a big responsibility for two of my younger colleagues who were experiencing death at work for the first time. It was a lot to carry and I’m not afraid to admit that it broke me – several times at home I found myself crying for the loss and even now, at the oddest of times, I find myself thinking about her.

As a side note to this, let me tell you about my big yellow dog. Throughout all of this, he was by my side like a shadow. The day that I cried on the stairs he came and sat beside me, leaning all his weight into me and gently nuzzling me with his nose. It made me laugh and cry all at the same time and genuinely made me stop to realise how intelligent he really is. We might call him dopey but he definitely knew that something was going on and that I needed protecting that day. What a dude, eh?

9. Let’s lift this up a bit shall we? Let’s talk holidays! After a long 5 year wait we finally made it back to our beloved France. We got the big yellow dog his own passport and he came with us to the land of wonderful wine, pastries and endless skies. I fell in love all over again and am basically counting down the days until we go back. Oh France, you will always have my heart.

10. I went to FriendsFest and still can’t believe that I got to peek inside those iconic sets! It was an absolutely brilliant couple of days, with two fab friends, and we basically laughed until we cried for most of those two days. Honestly, my face was aching when I got home!

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11. I celebrated 25 years of friendship with one of my favourite faces and got my very first tattoo! It’s fair to say I was absolutely bricking it. Which must be followed up by – it really didn’t hurt as much as I imagined it would and I absolutely love it! I might already be thinking about my second one…

12. Another 25 year celebration happened and we had a little reunion for it! In 1993 I started Cleveland College of Art and Design (as it then was) and it truthfully changed my life. I left behind a group of controlling friends and for the first time met people who were genuinely happy for me to just be, well, myself. It was a revelation and it started my journey towards becoming the self that I am now. It couldn’t have happened without these girls and it was lovely to all get together again!

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13. While we’re talking numbers…my parents celebrated 50 years of marriage! 50 golden years! It was an absolutely lovely weekend – all the family got together for a meal, my dad treated my mam to the most wonderful day with surprise after surprise and I got hourly updates from them both. It was adorable and absolutely bloody lovely. They shall always remain my biggest inspiration and it’s not hard to see why.

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14. As well as the snowy Beast we also had the most GLORIOUS summer! It started in May and basically lasted until October. Day after day of endless sunshine, blue skies and hot hot hot temperatures! I flipping loved it! I was outside at every opportunity and never wanted to go back inside. Coupled with football *almost* coming home, it was truly a summer to remember! I’m secretly hoping for another freezing Beast to come in 2019 as it might mean that we have another summer like that – the dream!

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15. Twenty eighteen has been a super sociable year. I’ve been out a lot. Like a lot! From family celebrations out-out in Newcastle, to theatre shows, the summer of sun, festive shows and so much more, my diary has been full and I’ve well and truly embraced every moment. I’m not going to lie, the festive fun very nearly tipped me over the edge into sheer exhaustion but it was worth absolutely every minute of it! I have grand plans for hibernation in January and February but we’ll see how that goes…the first invite and I’ll be all like, okay, when are we going?!

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16. I’ve taken heaps of photos. Discovered the Polaroid app that is my new favourite and basically fell in love with Instagram all over again, while rapidly falling out of love with Facebook. Dave and I are starting a photography course in January to learn how to use our camera and I’m excited to put my phone down and learn more about the big camera! Photos will surely follow…

17. And so we reach the end. Christmas has been and gone and the New Year is rapidly approaching. We had the loveliest of times with our family for Christmas. My Pops gave my dinner a solid 7 out of 10 (never gives anyone a higher score so I’m calling that praise!), we spent Boxing Day laid out on the sofa eating all the snacks and watching all of the TV and the odd few days of work have been mixed in with the odd few days off.

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18…into 19. 2019! Wow. If it goes by as quickly as this past year my head might just spin right off! I’m looking forward to it – keen to see what it will bring. There’s lots of changes ahead, particularly with Dave and his work and we don’t really know entirely what’s going to happen. But whatever it does bring, as long as I have more time with my loves then I’ll be one happy soul.

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If you’ve read this far, I thank you. I hope 2018 was good to you – if it wasn’t I hope you made it through. A new year means a new start, slate-wiping territory. Start over, start afresh, or stay the same – whatever you want to do I urge you to do it.

Best wishes for the new year, see you again soon.

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