2019: A Year in Review

And just like that another year has passed. It doesn’t seem all that long ago since I was bringing in 2019 and yet at the same time some of things I have achieved this year feel like a lifetime ago. I always feel that rounding up my year in a blog post does show a sign of age, it’s sort of like one of those family newsletter’s your mum send out in Christmas cards. But then again, social media has basically already done that for us as we watch each others lifetimes in real time. But what I do know, is there’s nothing wrong with stopping and rewinding back to see just how far you’ve come over the past 365 days.

At the beginning of 2019 I promised myself I would jot down every moment in which I felt happy, grateful, proud and above all else just enjoying life. Whist some things were planned, some were most definitely not. But I know there is one thing I can be certain about, this past year has definitely brought about a lot of good, a lot of happiness and a lot of adventure, and it looked a little something like this…

Bringing in the New Year

I started 2019 in Morzine, France. It was my first ski holiday and although very aprehensive about how it would turn out and whether I would even enjoy it, it was in fact one of the most incredible holidays I have been on to date. 7 flat out days of skiiing, admiring the most incredible scenary with a lovely bunch of friends – what more could I ask for. Skiing completely charmed me and I’d encourage everyone to try it out, but read my First Time Skier’s Guide first for a little heads up and helpful tips.

Spending valuable time with loved ones

After the intense ski holiday came the bruises and aching muscles which most defintiely called for a MONTH of relaxation and unwinding. Starting with a blissful weekend back home walking around the Peak District, followed by Henry and I taking up pilates – honestly the best gym class I go too. And a beautiful birthday spa weekend with the bestie. This was my first time visiting a Center Parcs location and Woburn Forest was a haven of peace even though it’s just an hour away from bustling London.

Exploring a new city

I think my favourite trip of the year has to be my city break to Prague with my sister in March. If you’re an admirer of a city steeped in history, crammed with charm, speckled with orange roof tops, brimming with stunning architecture and beer – oh so much beer – then Czech Republic’s capital should be high on your to-do list.

Trying something new

For Christmas 2017 I bought Henry the Go Below Ultimate Extreme Adventure and in June we finally found the time to get away for the weekend. I’m all for adrenline filled adventures but this, this was something else. Peering into the void and clinging on for dear life we journeyed into the deepest publicly accessible point in the UK through an abandoned slate mine, set within the mountains of Snowdonia. I soon realised this was not for the faint-hearted. But despite being faced with tackling and terrifying challenges along route it was an incredible feeling to overcome those fears along the way.

When the unexpected happened

Remember me mentioning some things were defintely not planned. Well this was the biggest of them all. In the middle of July along came Shep! Unplanned, unexpected and very inpromptu! Henry being Henry brought Shep home without any real thought about the responsiblity and change this fluffy bundle of joy would bring to our life. What did I think at the time? Oh hell, what has he done! What do I think now? I couldn’t love something more. And well the past 5 months might have been the biggest learning curve from all parties, but he’s a charming, mischevous little friend who just wants to be loved.

Biggest achievement of them all

Each year, or at least every other year, I try and do something new and take on a new challenge. In the past I’ve thrown myself out of planes and also tied myself to the top of a plane. But this year I decided to take on something that always felt like it got the better of me. Running. I started back in March and headed out 2/3 times a week for gentle runs relying on my inhaler and regualarly stopping for breathe. A few weeks in I completed a 7k, then a 10k and then 7 months down the line I smashed Cardiff half marathon! With no intention at the start to even consider complete something like a half marathon, the feeling after crossing that finish line was so overwhleming! Seeing and feeling the progress I made over those months felt so rewarding and it was so nice to have something to work towards and push myself to do.

Seeing more of the UK

After visiting Cornwall for the first time 3 years ago it only felt right to head on back for Henry’s 25th birthday, plus it was the perfect excuse to take Shep on his first holiday. Staying in the most beautiful country cottage and only 15 minutes from beach was our idea of heaven. We spent the long weekend walking the coastal paths, watching henry surf, eating too many pasties and relaxing in front of the fire.

Only a week later we took a weekend trip to Bath to meet up with my bestie. Filled with way to many cocktails, a slippery ice-skating accident on Henry’s half and lots of festive treats it was the perfect break and perfect city to explore. You know how some cities just ooze personality, Bath is one of those.

This year I was definitely reminded of the joys of UK travel. There’s so much to see in your own neck of the woods you’ve just got to get out and find it for yourself.

Other successes (and failures)

Amongst the choas that my life brings there also had to be an abundance of successes and failures. 4 tyres burst on me in 6 weeks, I stopped working weekends, I then left that job and took on a whole new role doing admin and accounting. I had a uni reunion with all my girls smahing the hardest escape room with just under a minute to go! The Stephanie trawler boat won the 2019 Brixham Trawler Race – one hell of a weekend with Henrys family. After nearly 2 years of being hidden away I got my camera back out to shoot photographs for my sisters gym and personal training business. I went to my dance class reunion which was so heart-warming. My sister finally visited me in Wales for the May bank holiday and we had the best weekend filled with way to much cider but the perfect dosage of vitamin sea. And we ended our 2019 by placing an offer on our dream home, but lets not get excited about that one just yet.

2019 you have been overwhelming. I have no idea what 2020 will bring or where it will take me. But for now, I’m off to drive back up north for Christmas and indulge in all things festive. See you next year.

Love, AR