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!