Another year, another yearly reflections post. Can you honestly believe that we’re done with 2018 already? This has without a doubt been the quickest year I have ever experienced. It feels like Christmas 2017 was only a month ago, Easter was last week and Summer ended only a mere few days ago. But just like that, 12 months have been and gone and in the middle of my state of bewilderment and disbelief at how fast it’s gone, I’ve had time to sit down and reflect on my year and how actually, 2018 wasn’t too bloody bad at all.
I remember 2017 was supposed to be “my year” (like we say to ourselves every single damn year) but it turned out to be absolutely crap. So I went into 2018 with next to no expectations. I didn’t make any resolutions, instead opting to set myself small, achievable monthly goals and I definitely didn’t have any big plans for this year. And I think that’s probably where I went right. If you’ve got no expectations then you’ve got no way of being disappointed with the result.
I went into this year with the mindset that I was going to think more positively, focus on myself and my self-care, do what felt right to me and express gratitude every day. I think I did pretty damn well with all of that and kept it up for more or less the entire year (possibly with the exception of a handful of rubbish days!) So although it might not have been the most dramatic or glamorous year, it certainly had plenty of positives and looking back, 2018 was actually a really bloody good year for the most part! So here’s some of my highlights!
Donington Park Formula 1 Museum (June)
Sadly, this museum closed down in November and we didn’t get a chance to visit one last time but I’m grateful for all the days out we’ve had there, the last one being in June this year! I have fond memories here and it was any Formula 1 lovers dream!
Derren Brown: Underground (July)
I was lucky enough to see the master of psychological illusion, Derren Brown live in Southend this year with my boyfriend, his sister and his work friend. This show was more or less a round up of his best work and although I’d seen all the illusions before, it was something else seeing them live on stage!
DTM Brands Hatch (August)
Probably my stand out highlight from 2018 was going to see the DTM at Brands Hatch. I’m aware that if you’re not into Motorsport you won’t have a clue what I’m talking about so I’ll keep it short but I’ve loved the DTM for a while now and the whole weekend was just perfect; the weather was great, there was intimate autograph sessions with all the drivers, the views of the circuit was amazing and it was a really special weekend that I won’t forget!
Sam & Jason’s Wedding (August)
I’ve not been to a wedding for literally 10 years or so before this year but my boyfriend’s cousin got married in August and their wedding was a really sweet, small affair in Devon. It was a long drive but we stayed in this incredibly weird (but amazing) guest house and the wedding itself was lovely.
Severn Valley Railway Steam Gala (March and September)
The trip in September was ruined by me being horribly ill but our March visit to the Severn Valley Railway was absolutely amazing. We were there during the second wave of the Beast from the East and honestly, it was like a Winter wonderland!
British Truck Racing and Firework Display (November)
We headed back to Brands Hatch in November to watch the massive firework display and the British Truck Racing finale. Although neither of us are interested in truck racing in the slightest, it was a fun day and good to watch something new. The fireworks were spectacular too!
I started driving again (November)
My anxiety knocked my driving confidence completely. And I haven’t stepped foot in the drivers seat of a car in years. This November, I got insured on one of my parents cars (the slower one!) and have started practicing driving again. It still makes me nervous and I’m still working on it, one road at a time. But the fact is, I got back in and that’s a huge step for me.
Yoga Retreat (November)
Now although the Yoga retreat I went on wasn’t what I was expecting, I still took a lot of positives from it so I’d definitely still consider it a highlight of the year. I got to meet the lovely Bexa from Hello Bexa and it was great to spend some time with her! The food at the retreat was outstanding, I met some lovely women from all different backgrounds and it was really nice to get away for a few days. I wrote more about what I learnt from it here.
Paradise Wildlife Park (November)
I’ve been to Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire dozens of times but this time, I was invited to go on a review visit! And it felt amazing going back to a place that I already love but as a reviewer instead! My boyfriend and I visited there mid November and I always thoroughly enjoy it!
Blogging & Business
I released my eBook: In October this year, I finally released an eBook I had been thinking and contemplating about for months! My Beginners Guide to Blogging eBook is available to purchase here and although it’s certainly not making me a millionaire, I’m just so grateful for each and every sale and I really hope it’s helping people.
I turned my blog into a business: Although I’ve been self-employed for a good 4 years or so – firstly through my small online book touring business (which closed in August) and then through my blog – this has been the year that I’ve really knuckled down and turned my little space on the internet into my little business on the internet. I’ve seen a rise in almost everything; income, stats, following and opportunities.
I was offered my biggest blogging opportunity yet: Which brings me nicely onto this next point, I was offered my biggest opportunity yet! In January, my boyfriend and I have been offered a stay in the Brooklands Hotel, with a suite, 3 course meal and use of their spa facilities. I never in a million years thought I would be offered anything like that, so obviously I’m absolutely thrilled and so excited!
I’ve worked with a bunch of amazing brands: I’ve always loved working with brands on my blog and this year has been no different. Some of the stand outs for me this year have been: Leesa, The Book People, Tesco Photo, Funky Pigeon, First Class Watches, Living DNA and Old English Co.
I created Starlight Bloggers Facebook group: At the beginning of November I created a brand new, supportive and inclusive bloggers Facebook group, Starlight Bloggers! I wanted a safe space for bloggers of all niches to join and be able to share their posts and ask for advice and we’re almost at 100 members! Come join us!
TV, Films & Games
It has been a banging year for TV and films and thankfully, I’ve been noting down everything I’ve watched in my bullet journal! Not all of these movies and shows were released this year but I’ve certainly managed to get through a good amount of amazing films and TV shows. Some of the standout ones this year have been:
- The Haunting of Hill House: Probably the best thing I watched on Netflix all year.
- Life & Death Row: The Mass Execution: Probably the best documentary series I’ve ever watched in my life. I watched this fairly on in the year and it’s still with me now.
- Stacey Dooley: Face to Face with ISIS: Stacey has smashed it with her documentaries this year!
- Strictly Come Dancing: Which brings me nicely onto this next one! I’ve absolutely loved this years Strictly because I was a fan of so many of the contestants!
- Santa Clarita Diet: It just gets weirder and weirder… but I loved it!
- Dark: I was blown away by this German series on Netflix. Don’t let the subtitles put you off, this was definitely one of my stand-out shows I watched this year.
- Good Girls: This was one of the most binge-worthy series I watched this year!
- Ozark: Good God, Ozark was good. They really knocked it out of the park with season 2.
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: I had to mention this because I really thought I’d hate this film but it turns out I was just as smitten as everyone else!
- Bohemian Rhapsody: Arguably the film of the decade. Carl and I were completely blown away by this film. An absolute must-see.
- Spyro Reignited Trilogy: Despite the fact I still play the original Spyro games so these games themselves weren’t anything new, I’ve been waiting all year for this!
- Red Dead Redemption 2: This game is out of this world!
- Manifest: I loved this show from the get-go. If you’ve been watching, let me know!
What an incredible year you had! It still amazes me how you manage to juggle so much and still write amazing posts for us all. Here’s to 2019!
Abi | https://whatabigailsays.co.uk/
Awh thank you so much!
[…] I’m yet to go to a Formula 1 Grand Prix (although I did go to my first DTM race last year, which I mentioned here) and Austria would be my first choice because the track is in such a beautiful […]
Such an impressive year you’ve had – you should be proud of your achievements and what a great space you’ve created on your blog. I completely get you on the driving thing – from one nervous driver to another, you’ve got this! Small victories are the best method! Good luck xxx
Thank you! 😌
It certainly sounds like you had a fab year and have done some great things.
I’d love to do a yoga retreat.
Thank you 😌
Oh wow you have done loads! Xx
What a fab year you’ve had and I really cannot wait to see what happens this year! 🙂
Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip
I’m loving reading posts like this right now. It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves about the things we didn’t do or stuff that didn’t happen. It’s nice to take a moment to appreciate all of the good stuff and celebrate achievements. 2018 sounds like it was such a great year for you, I hope 2019 is even better!! x
Totally, there’s always good stuff even if you have to look for it 😌
I watched Good Girls and Strictly Come Dancing too and really liked them. Congrats on all the blogging opportunities this year and getting to stay in the Hotel. Hope that you will have a fab time! Well done on the driving!
Thank you 😌
You’ve done so many amazing things! I hope you create some lovely memories in 2019 too x
Thank you x
Lots of nice memories for you to look back on and no doubt lots to look forward to. Happy New Year x
Thank you – happy new year x
This is such a lovely blog post and I loved reading it. I love how you started 2018 and the way you layed 2018 out. I’m wishing you all the best of luck for 2019
Thanks Jack 😌
This is such a fab post Jenny, I loved reading about all your highlights from this year! You had done so many amazing things, well done for facing your driving fear, that is really inspirational. I’m so glad we experienced the yoga retreat together even if it wasn’t what we expected. Wow, the Brooklands Hotel opportunity sounds brilliant, I can’t wait to read your post! Congrats on all your success and I hope 2019 is another awesome year for you. Thank you for all the continued love and support <3 xxx
Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com
Thank you 😌 I’d love to meet up again in 2019 and have more non weird yoga adventures 😂😂
Looks like you’ve had a lovely year with so many fun days out! I have loved reading so many of your blog posts, you are such a supportive blogger and I’m so glad that I came across you this year <3 I love being apart of the Facebook group too, everyone is so lovely. Hope you have a wonderful start to the new year and I look forward to all of your blog posts to come!
Thank you! 😌
I love the Starlight bloggers group so thank you for creating that! It sounds like you have had a good year, congrats on turning your blog into a business!”
So glad you like it! I’ll be getting back into it more in the New Year 😌
I didn’t know you had started a blogging group! I’ll have to join it as its my goal for 2019 to join more blogging related things!
Yay! I’d love to have you 😌
I’m so happy to hear that 2018 was kind to you! So amazing to read about all that you’ve accomplished, both personally & professionally. I’m excited for 2019, and I’m sure you’ll find even more happiness <3 xx
Thank you, I hope so 😌
Such a year right? Congratulations! It seems that you’ve worked hard on making it the best!
I didn’t know you had a facebook group, just joined! And I totally agree with “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, I loved the books but thought the movie would be bad but it wasn’t really, perfect relaxing afternoon movie! Wish you a good 2019!
Thank you and welcome to the group! 😌
It sounds like you’ve had a great year! I love that you’ve done a reflections post. It’s really nice. We should all reflect on our year. I’ll have to think about what mine would be if I wrote one. 🤔
I can totally relate to being a nervous driver. I am too! I’ve lived in NYC for 13 years & during my early years here, I accidentally let my license expire. Ugh. I’m the worst! I need to get that license again!
That’s so cool that you’ll get to stay at that hotel! Sounds awesome. A spa weekend would be incredible.
I like that you included TV! I love tv! I started Ozark but still in the first season. Got to get back to it!
Happy New Year!
Hope you get back into Ozark! Season 2 is brilliant!
I will! My brother & I have Friday night TV/Pizza night and it’s one of our shows in rotation. So I can’t watch it until we put it back in rotation, which will probably be soon since one of our shows finished. 😊
Looks like you have had a fantastic year!! I enjoyed reading yours and Bexa’s yoga retreats xx
Thank you 😌
Aaah 2018 seems like such a good year for you! I’ve been wanting to go on a yoga retreat or a spa break ever since you mentioned that you went with Bexa, as I feel like I really need to switch off every now and then! Here’s to a lovely 2019!
I’d just recommend doing ALL the research before you choose one – that’s where I failed a bit! Thank you, you too!
New follower here! You’ve had a full year!
Sure have 😌 Thank you!
Enjoyed your year in review. Great idea
Thank you 😌
I loved reading this and will definitely be joining your group over on Facebook!
Yay! Look forward to welcoming you 😌
Sounds like a great year. I hope you have a lovely 2019 X
Thank you 😌
That’s really awesome that you’re working on driving again – I haven’t driven a car in almost a decade and now I want to get my license and become more independent so I’m sure once I find someone to “teach” me or just ride along while I practice, I’ll get to a better comfort level with it as well. It sure is anxiety-producing, isn’t it? >_<
Overall, it sounds like you had a pretty good year and I hope the one to come is even better. 🙂
I hope so too 😌 driving can defiantly be anxiety inducing even if you’ve done it before and passed your test.
Woow, such a lovely year Jenny! I’m soo jealous you went to the Formula 1 Museum! I only found out about it recently and then found out it closed… Such a shame! Also soo jealous that you went to Brands for DTM! I heard it was amazing. Brands is definitely a circuit on my list to go, unfortunately, it’s a bit far for me. I’m soo proud of what you’ve achieved this year. Also I didn’t realise you set up a Facebook group, that’s great, I’ve just joined.
Gemma | https://anoceanglimmer.wordpress.com/
It’s such a huge shame it closed down. It was one of my favourite things to do in the entire year! Brands is an amazing track, definitely get yourself there at some point if you can and grab a hotel nearby if it’s far. The DTM was SO good! And welcome to the Facebook group 😌
Sounds like you’ve had a great year! Well done you on all the success you’ve had with your blog this year, I can’t wait to read your post when you’ve been on that hotel stay with your boyfriend! I haven’t been on the Severn Valley Railway in years, I used to go there on a trip every year with my play scheme in the summer holidays, I need to go again soon! Good luck for 2019 lovely!
Jess // foundationsandfairytales.wordpress.com
Awh really?! I’ve only been going the last few years but I’ve fallen in love – such a cute and relaxing weekend away!
I loved how you separated this list into different categories and I love how far you’ve come both personally and professionally. Your work ethic and blog inspires me so much and I can’t wait to see how much great stuff is coming for you in 2019. Here’s to another great year ✨
Awh thank you so much I really appreciate that! xxx
You’ve done so much this year, there are so many highlights! It’s so great to read and find out more about what others have been up to, I love posts like this as it inspires me to want to do more myself. Thanks for sharing (:
Thank you 😌 I agree I love these sort of posts too!
what a wonderful year you’ve had! i’m so proud to be reading this. that’s amazing that you’ve started to drive again. i fully understand how terrifying it can be, since there’s a lot you can’t control but the freedom from it is really nice. i really can’t wait to see how your blog continues to grow in 2019. so glad i found it this year xx
mich / simplymich.com
Thanks so much 😘😘
This was such a great idea. I feel like I should document my year too. Such a nice way to reflect.
You should, it’s really nice to look back 😌
Sounds like you’ve had an amazing year and I hope 2019 is just as good for you!
Melanie || http://www.melaniewithanie.com x
Thanks Melanie 😌
sounds like you’ve had a really good year and managed to achieve a lot x
Thank you x
You’ve had an amazing year my darling! I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!
Love, Amie ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan
Thank you! 😘😘
I can’t believe how fast the year has gone! x
Me neither x
I can’t believe how fast 2018 has gone! It doesn’t feel like two minutes ago we were all complaining about how slow January was going and now we’re almost at New Years. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, I think it’s always nice to do posts like this and look back at all of the highlights of the year 🙂 xx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
I know right! I still remember all the “January the 87th” tweets like it was yesterday 😂😂
I adore Stacey Dooley’s documentaries, she is such a fab person. I also loved All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Haunting of Hill House. Great post darling! 💜
With love, Alisha Valerie x | http://www.alishavalerie.com
Thank you 😌 I love all of Stacey’s documentaries but the ISIS ones were something else xxx
So glad I found you and starlight bloggers group, clearly the best supportive and inclusive group, I’m forever grateful. Roll on 2019 and all the fun that will bring xx
I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it and found it supportive 😚 Can’t wait to pick it back up again properly in the New Year! xxx