My final monthly round up of the year, combined with an overall look back over 2018. Like many others I’m looking back over the past year at everything I’ve done, things I’ve achieved, and what I’ve enjoyed.
So I’ll start with December which of course is always a manic month with all the pre Christmas preparations, parties, work commitments and festive plans. My December began with a lovely stay at an air Bnb up in Morpeth called The Morpeth Apartment. It was such a gorgeous place to stay and in the perfect spot for exploring the Northumberland countryside and local towns.
I could have quite easily never left the apartment itself, but we did venture out into Morpeth town to the Sanderson Arcade, and Bar Luga for some cocktails. You can read my full review and see lots more pictures of the Morpeth Apartment here.
I feel like I really made the most of the Christmas fun in Newcastle this year, with lots of market visits and meeting up with friends for festive cocktails. Before I went to New York I also squeezed in a visit to the Enchanted Parks display at Saltwell Park for the first time.
New York was next on my calendar, and we spent the most amazing five days exploring the Big Apple, it was probably the highlight of my year. We spent two full days being tourists, doing all the sights and landmarks, before we slowed down a little and basically ate and drank our way around the various neighbourhoods.
I finally saw the Rockefeller tree lit up, which has been on my bucket list for ages, and we went to a New York Knicks game which is also something I’ve always wanted to do. So far I’ve written only one blog post on New York, which is focussed mainly on visiting New York at Christmas. I’ve got itineraries, restaurant suggestions, tips for first timers and all sorts to come so they’ll be up in the new year.
When I got back from New York I was fully ready for Christmas, and I received the most amazing Christmas hamper from Jet 2 and Jet 2 City breaks. It was full of all sorts of Christmassy things and souvenirs you can get at Christmas markets, so have a look through my post on it all and see if you fancy any of the markets next year. I’ve narrowed down my choices to two.
I finished work for Christmas the week before, and I was so ready for the break. For the first couple of days I was lazy, watched Christmas films, did some wrapping, and generally recuperated myself.
The weekend before Christmas we went on our annual Christmas day of fun trip out with my cousins and friends, this year to York in our most festive jumpers. Drinking mulled wine and hopping between pubs, as well as a quick sneak off to Betty’s to stock up on tea bags.
Throwing ourselves firmly into the festivities we were up early the next day this time to Edinburgh. It never disappoints and we had an amazing meal at Tigerlilys, did some shopping, and wandered the market drinking mulled cider.
From Christmas Eve, the last week has been a typical Christmas week, spent at home with walks round to the local pub where we actually had Christmas dinner this year, seeing family and friends, lots of food and lots of alcohol.
That pretty much sums up my December, so now for a quick look back at some of my highlights from the past year.
Highlights of 2018!
I’ve visited some amazing new places with work, some of them multiple times – Copenhagen, Tallinn, Hamburg, Keukenhof, Lithuania and Oslo. Sailing through the Oslo fjords, seeing Tallinn and Paris covered in snow, the Dutch bulb fields in spring, visiting Tivoli in the summer and experiencing Oktoberfest in Germany were my personal highlights from all the travel.
I feel like I really made the most of the short time I get to myself in these places when I’m there with work, and my confidence when traveling alone has definitely drastically improved.
Travel with work has been very much forefront of my year, and at times I’ve had to sacrifice my social life, my own plans and a number of other opportunities that came my way, due to either being away or so knackered I’ve needed weekends to do nothing. I think it’s important to get a balance and I’m hoping to do more of that in 2019.
Personally I have had some great trips too, Amsterdam with my uni friend Danielle, Rome for my parents 60th’s, Paris with my mum, and of course New York with Keiran.
I wish I’d been able to go on more personal trips abroad, especially in the summer but the summer we had in England was a pretty good one wasn’t it? Those couple of months with the heatwave, never ending BBQ’s, Love Island on our TV’s, and the World Cup atmosphere were pretty incredible.
We found ourselves going on spontaneous days out due to the fabulous weather, York and Edinburgh, but also the Lake District which was unrecognisable in 26 degree heat.
A girls trip to London over August bank holiday was a big highlight, we had been meaning to do it for years and finally did, complete with bottomless brunch, Tonight Josephine and a Sunday lunch in Twickenham.
I went to two festivals this year, Parklife where we saw Liam Gallagher – amazing, and Kendal Calling for Katie’s hen do where I actually camped and slept in a tent. Both great experiences and despite the blistering heat at one and the torrential rain at the other I loved them both.
I love spending time in Newcastle, this year probably more than ever. I supported my sister and her boyfriend run the Great North Run which was a great day, I’ve continued my love/hate relationship supporting Newcastle United, and spent a lot of time eating and drinking my way around the city.
When it comes to my blog despite some of the things I’ve had to turn down, it’s been a pretty cool year. I went on my first blog trip with other bloggers, massively pushing myself out my comfort zone. I went on a surprise trip to Cologne, and met some really lovely bloggers that I’m still in touch with now.
I’ve set some more clear boundaries on what I will and won’t share personally, including a personal instagram, and despite feeling at times like I’ve not really been consistent, I’ve managed to double both my visitors and views over the last year and it’s totally overwhelming how many people read what I have to say.
Despite being more selective on what I share, I wrote probably the most personal post I’ve ever done, on my experience of mental health, but it’s one I’m the most proud of.
I’ve also worked with some amazing brands, which for someone who isn’t a full time blogger I am pretty proud of too. The blogging industry comes under a lot of criticism, and I definitely don’t take for granted the opportunities I’m given. That said, there is a HUGE amount of work and effort that goes into this, even as a hobby. As always a huge thank you to everyone who supports, follows, reads, clicks ‘like’, shares and shows an interest in all this blog stuff, especially those who let me take pics of their food before they eat it ha!
I think its important to remember as we see everyones ‘year in review’, ‘best nine’ (here’s mine) and social media posts, there is often a lot going on behind the scenes that we don’t see. People, including myself, often share the positives which of course is absolutely fine, but nobody’s year is without obstacles, challenges, and low points. Some things, good and bad, are just personal.
I’ve seen those close to me buy houses, have babies, get engaged, get married, celebrate big birthdays, get promoted, get new jobs, overcome mental health problems, overcome physical health problems, celebrate little wins, and those things have made up some of the best times of my 2018. I can’t name them all as some are still a secret or it’s not my circumstance to share – but you know who you are.
We are staying in tonight, I’m officially over going out on New Year’s Eve and swapping it with the pub on New Year’s Day instead.
However you are spending your New Year’s Eve I hope you all have a great night, and wish you an amazing and happy 2019!
Happy New Year xxx