My Year In Review: 2018

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Let me start by saying that I know that these sort of round up posts can be a little bit self indulgent, but I hope you’ll all bear with me. This blog has evolved into many things over the years, but it started life as my little online diary, and that element won’t ever change. I love putting posts like this one together, but even more, I love coming back and re-reading them year after year - it’s so special to have all of those memories documented somewhere. And so, let’s take a look back at 2018 shall we? No one year is without it’s challenging moments, but I can honestly say that 2018 has been a wonderful one, filled with many happy memories and a lot of personal growth. I feel like I’ll be going into 2019 happier than I’ve ever been, and for that reason, I’ll remember this year as a very special one.

Travel

summer holiday in new york

So let’s start with travel, one of my favourite pastimes, and something I was lucky enough to do a lot of this year! In 2018 I finally got to some places that have been on my list for ages, and revisited some old faves, like Barcelona and New York, too.

I ticked off two new countries (Belgium and Poland), but the highlight was without a doubt our road trip along the West Coast of America. The whole holiday felt like an absolute dream come true, and as I sit here writing this, I’m grinning at the memories of driving along Big Sur, exploring some amazing cities, and even spotting sea otters swimming in the wild.

As well as some great trips abroad, I also enjoyed some lovely weekends exploring here in the UK this year. Sam and I had a couple of trips over to Anglesey to visit his parents and relax by the sea, and we spent the dreamiest weekend ever at Another Place, The Lake, in the Lake District. I also squeezed in some lovely weekends visiting my BFFs in Chester and Norfolk (the latter felt like a proper holiday seeing as we spent the weekend on the beach during that lovely heatwave…).

I feel so lucky that two of our trips this year were enjoyed with my family - I know for some people holidaying with their parents and sibling would be a nightmare, but we all get on so well, and I feel very grateful for the new memories we got to make together in fun places this year.

Work

I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a whirlwind journey work-wise in 2018! This time last year was my first week doing my current job, so this year has been all about getting to grips with that and really getting into the flow, which was definitely a shock to the system after doing the same job for 3 and a half years.

However, I’ve absolutely loved it, and I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved in the past 12 months. I’ve learned so much about business and myself, taken on extra responsibilities, had the opportunity to lead a brilliant team, and even launched 2 brand new stores from scratch. It’s safe to say that after a very busy year, I’m really looking forward to some time off at Christmas!

career and business podcasts

Also coming in under the work category is This North Works, a careers project I launched back in September. It's something I'd been working on in the background for a long time, so finally getting it out there into the world was amazing, and I was totally overwhelmed by the reception. The podcast hit number 3 in the iTunes careers charts, and I've had the opportunity to speak to some amazing people and even presented at Northern Power Futures. I can't wait to see what This North Works evolves into in the new year!

Blogging

This year has felt like a bit of an odd one for blogging, with many declaring the industry dead, and a few personal creative blocks, but it’s safe to say that I feel like I’m ending the year on a high.

48 hours in Barcelona

I’ve had the opportunity to work with some brilliant brands this year, have been on two amazing trips with the lovely Jet2, and even launched my first e-course. Most importantly though, I’ve had some really wonderful conversations with you lot in my comments or DMs or on email - it never fails to make me grin from ear to ear when one of you gets in touch.

2018 was also the year that I finally made an investment in my little blog and started working with a creative business coach. We’ve only had a couple of sessions so far, but it has already made a huge difference to my confidence and I’m so excited to share some of the stuff we’ve been working on in the new year.

Home

We will have lived in our house for 3 years come February, but I would say that this year was the year it really started to feel like home. A big part of that was getting our kitchen done (would you guys like to see a before and after post in the new year?) - it’s the biggest room in our house, so finally having it looking how we want it to has made a huge difference. It’s been finished for over 2 months now, and I still catch myself feeling giddy whenever I first come through the door.

how to survive a kitchen renovation

We’ve also done some little bits elsewhere in the house that have made it feel a bit more homely - painting our front door, hanging prints, and investing in some new bits of furniture. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s ours, and I have thoroughly enjoyed spending more time here during 2018.

Finally, we gave our garden a little bit of a makeover, which meant that we got to enjoy spending lots of time out there during the heatwave. I’m already excited about the return of spring and the excuse to have a BBQ every weekend…

Personal

I probably say this every year, but I feel like I’ve really learned so much about myself in 2018. I don’t know if it’s just a by-product of getting older, but I feel more confident, more content, and more secure in my own ambitions and abilities than ever before.

I feel like this year I’ve finally realised the importance of slowing down and making more time for the simple things in life. A lot of my twenties has been spent chasing my tail and trying to keep up with everyone, but this year I spent a lot of time really thinking about what I want from life, and taking the necessary steps to make that happen. I’m excited to see how I can build on that further in 2019.

And most importantly, my relationships with my loved ones have felt even stronger than ever this year. Sam and I have really prioritised spending time with our families which has brought us so much joy, and I got to spend lots of quality time with my friends too. Prioritising the right people and really nurturing those important relationships is definitely something I want to do even more of next year.

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Phew, writing all that down has made me realise just how great 2018 has been. I’m feeling very grateful for all of the lessons learned and the happy memories made, and I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store! What has been your highlight of 2018?