31 December 2018

A 2018 highlight reel

A 2018 highlight reel

As 2018 draws to a close (I'm hoping I get this up before the clocks strike midnight!), I thought there was no better time to look back over the year and think about all the positives. I totally did my insta stories 2018 highlights a week or so ago, and it got me thinking about the big and little things that made this year a good one. Although there were some downs and struggles, this year was one of the better ones in recent times for me, and I want to be able to look back over all the things that helped me feel this way.

Home and work

A 2018 highlight reel

A 2018 highlight reel

I'm splitting this up into sections, and thought there would be no better place to start than the core parts of my life: home and work.

After a year and a half at our old house, my boyfriend and I moved in to our current home in April. Everything was incredibly rushed - we signed the contract for the house two days before moving in! - but we got there in the end. This house so far has been a much happier place for us. It's filled with light and is only a four minute walk away from my job. 

Some minor milestones in the house have been things that absolutely deserve a place on my highlight reel. I hung our first wall decor (a picture of me as a child my grandma painted); we now own three plants (RIP flamingo plant), and we've got a big ol' tree all lit up in the front room.

We also brought the pets with us. Little Frank (a roborovski hammy), Sid (a Russian dwarf hammy) and Ted the bunny. Over summer we bunny proofed the garden to give Ted the run of it and he's so much happier now. 

At work I got my first ever promotion of my entire life! In June I was made an Assistant Editor at the publishing company I work for and I couldn't be happier. My job's been a massive part of my happiness this year and I honestly love it. I got to travel to Wales for the first time with it, and there's more travelling on the cards for 2019.


A 2018 highlight reel

A 2018 highlight reel

A 2018 highlight reel

A 2018 highlight reel

Relationships for me covers a whole host of things: friends, family and love. I kick started January with an end-of-the-month trip to visit my sister and it was exactly what I needed to get rid of the January blues. We face-masked and shopped and napped together, and it's always what I need to perk me up.

February saw the most beautiful pink sky on the morning of Valentines Day. This is the first year that my boyfriend and I haven't forced ourselves out for an overpriced meal for two. We got the M&S dine in deal (for a tenner it's so worth it), drunk some wine, watched a movie and snuggled. It was ten times better than the last few years, and I just loved making it more 'us'.

My best friend and I made some incredible memories. From doing weird sheet masks, to (very) regular Yo Sushi dates, our friendship became stronger than ever. And our Christmas bonanza weekend? Well, an hour long drive to the most glorious garden centre, followed by buying matching PJs, watching four Christmas movies and doing crafts? It will definitely be featuring in 2019.

And finally, in October my boyfriend and I celebrated our 6-year anniversary. I'm not sure where the time has gone(?!), and it makes me feel a little old, but we did things our way again this year with a meal out somewhere new and some sofa cuddles back home. The absolute dream.


A 2018 highlight reel

A 2018 highlight reel

A 2018 highlight reel

A 2018 highlight reel

As you may have guessed, I did a whole lot of baking this year, and pushed myself way out of my comfort zone. I baked hot cross buns and mince pies completely from scratch for the first time and they were even edible! I also got stuck into festive baking both at Christmastime and Halloween and loved absolutely embracing it this year. I bake as part of my self-care, and it's something that I'm really proud of improving as the year went on.

Another massive hobby that I got 100% stuck into in 2019 was bullet journalling. My sister and I bought our journals together and I've stuck to it ever since. I've got calendar spreads and bookshelves to track what I'm reading; monthly habit trackers are now a thing and I've even started doing themed months for each weekly spread! I'm so excited to set everything up for 2019 (I definitely should have already started), but wow this is one of my favourite things to do now.


A 2018 highlight reel

In May I passed my driving test (on the second attempt), and I was so proud. It meant no more money being spent on driving lessons - thank god - and I'd finally caught up with my little sister. In July I got insured on my boyfriend's car and now I'm a fully qualified driver with so much more independence than I had this time last year. 

A 2018 highlight reel

A 2018 highlight reel

June saw me hit 24, and I'm actually pretty okay with how the first six months of this has gone. My boyfriend took me down to my sister's for the weekend as a surprise for my birthday and it's honestly the best present he could have given me. We also hosted our first ever party: a barbecue to celebrate my dad's and my birthdays, and it felt so incredible to have lots of family over in the new house.

I celebrated on 17th June with my first 5K as an adult, and I'm beyond proud to say that I raised just over £900 for the Bone Cancer Research Trust by doing it. This was an incredible sum and I'm so grateful to everyone who donated, and the race has me genuinely overcome with emotion to think of the difference that money could make to a truly worthy cause.

A 2018 highlight reel

July was time for a mini-break to Devon with my boyfriend's family. This was our only holiday this year, and whilst it was a fab three days' away, we're definitely planning on doing some more holidaying next year.

A 2018 highlight reel

August meant it was time for my sister's 22nd birthday. We took a trip to Leamington Spa, where we used to live together for a little while. We went to our favourite takeout place, did some shopping and drank some genuinely tasty juices. I'll always have a soft spot for Leam in my heart and going back was something I'm so glad we did.

I got to be the proudest sister in September when she graduated. We took a trip down to Plymouth and had a glorious night out to celebrate all her hard work! I totally welled up during the graduation ceremony and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

October saw my sister move in briefly and move back out again, but in that time we carved pumpkins, baked, sorted out my life and I loved every moment of it.

November was the hardest month of the year for me, but I joined the gym, rediscovering a long-forgotten love for exercise. It's something I'm going to continue with in 2019, and I really needed this when I started.

A 2018 highlight reel

December was the most family-orientated month for me. On the 8th, we all headed down to celebrate my Grandma's 80th birthday (doesn't she look incredible?!). I saw family I hadn't seen in years and got to the alcohol first, aka I didn't have to drive home - mwhahaha.

I spent a whole lot of time with my boyfriend's family over Christmas. but also made time to head home to see both my mum and dad and spend quality time with them.

So that's my big roundup - if you've gotten down to this point, I salute you. I'm not sure how 2019 could top 2018, but I'm hoping that everything's coming up Milhouse.

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  1. Hallo, Hallo Steph,

    I am delighted to be able to add commentary to your blog tonight!! I am so thankful I could reach out to you via DMs and help you solve this mystery of the missing comment fields!!

    What I truly *loved!* about this post is how open & honest you were about your past year - something I'm trying to be equally transparent about as I edit/finish writing the last of my posts for [2018] -- they are all clogged into queue as I had that naughty virus for 3wks!! :O Trying to get them turned round by the 1st/2nd and then move straight into New Year posts!!

    The way you've combined journalling key life moments & memories with your photography is beautiful! It felt like I was able to time travel back with you, seeing what you saw and get a proper sense of what your 2018 felt like to you as you lived it!

    I love finding bookish art installments - the book arch was a lovely way to begin!! I'm a ham-ham girl myself, I sadly lost all of mine over the years, but I want to eventually re-adopt a little guy as I miss having them round. I still remember fondly how protective my Tux (cat) is towards my last hamster - she would safeguard him whenever he was in his travelling ball! We had four cats at the time but only one was really primal towards him - she would walk beside the ball, place her paw on the ball if the other cat came too close and even sat in sentry sometimes by his cage! She never did anything but show him love and kindness which was really sweet of her! He also loved organic veg - if you gave him ANYTHING else, he's throw it at you in the cage!! lol Gosh I miss his personality! Ooh and get this? He preferred *cold weather* and lived under a draft from the a/c! Even the Vet was perplexed but said "if it makes him happy",... he was also a keen traveller, loved road treks and was just a sweet little guy.

    Is there a picture of your house rabbit? OOh I need to sort this out - I learnt about house rabbits over the past few years, and I nearly thought we could adopt one but our two cats are 13 & 14 and they advised its too late to introduce a rabbit. (sad smiles) Maybe one day.

    Your grandmother's painting is lovely! What a talent!!

    Part One

  2. I would love to find a friend who loves sushi in the future! Esp as I was finding out on Shark Tank there is a new movement for vegan sushi (site is known as Beyond Sushi) - I try to eat healthy and I miss being 100% veg/vegan as I had to slide back into being an omni for awhile -- but for me the best bits of sushi were the cooked versions anyway. If they are now going to re-heighten the sushi into vegan plates, I think I'm going to swoon!

    This is one reason I love Asian stationery - you can find such clever & cute characters, including those who love their sushi!

    I personally love baking myself! I used to get a rotation of cookbooks for review - I would tweet updates as I cooked and I would blog about the recipes I enjoyed cooking. I have a few that are languishing in my backlogue and since my primary focus is erasing my backlogue, I'm planning my menus and how I want to talk/blog/tweet about those cookbooks this year! Plus, Mum surprised me in Summer with the audiobook "Whiskey in my Teacup" by Reese Witherspoon which I can't wait to listen too! Its on CD too - one of my firsts!

    If you search my blog look for #TheBookishFoodie or on Twitter, as they should still pop up!! :)

    I'd love to deepen my craft into baking but at the moment I live in the wrong environment - you can't control the temperatures well enough to get anything to rise properly so my baking is more simplistic than complex. One day though? I even want to have my own starter(s) and I want to get into breads!! :)

    I didn't get on the bullet journalling bandwagon but I have a new journal for 2019 which is tied into my redirection back into my writerly life - that is coming up in the first half of January, as it is a new path back into writing as Nanowrimo this past November was an #epicfail.

    Congratulations on your drivers license! I know it takes longer in the UK to get it - I learnt at fourteen, had a learners at 15 and had the main one by 16. I love driving - the open road is a pretty exciting place to be!!

    I keep trying to find an indoor walking path - environmental allergies are my worst triggers and I would love to lose a few stones. Honestly my health/wellness was shot in 2018 - 10 months of angst and I'd like to go into the new year with a chance to rectify some of what ails me whilst I look forward to living 'elsewhere' to where I can breathe easier and not be as burdened by what affects me. Here's to better health & continued exercise!

    I love the SMILE on your grandmother -- such a clever snap!!


    Thanks for giving me a window into your life for 2018! I am so thankful I can add comments now - you'll find me a regular reader whose stopping by to add notes as we move into January! May you have a wicked brilliant New Year's Day - as its 730p here, so its already 2019 for you!! Sending you lots of joyful thoughts and continue to know you have an awesome approach to blogging. Just be you - you shine a positive light on following your own instincts and this blog gives a lot of joy to be read!!]

    Part Two

    (ooh it posts just after the clock struck twelve for you!!)

  3. Happy New Year! Looks like you have some really nice memories from the past year, so I hope 2019 is just as good for you! Plus, your Grandma doesn't look anywhere near her age!!! :) Tania Michele xx

  4. happy new year! I hope you have an amazing 2019. The Rice Krispie pumpkins are so cute by the way!



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