Saturday, 29 December 2018

2018 - My Highlights and lost toe nails

I always feel a bit glum after Christmas and in to January. I can't help but have a sense of under achievement for the year that is ending and the dark, cold aftermath of the new year after the sparkly excitement of Christmas just leaves me feeling completely flat. So I decided to properly look back on 2018 and to remind myself of the fun and lovely things I got up to, so I can look forward to 2019 and all the excursions and excitement that could bring as well.

So 2018 didn't really see much to report until March when I started a new job. I do tend to change jobs every few years. I just can't seem to settle anywhere for too long. Once I know what I'm doing, the frustration starts to set in, frustration that yet another organisation is run in a way that I can't seem to just accept. It really is a case of "it's me, not you". In March I left a job which I wasn't sad to leave but the nicest people I have ever worked with. I felt really cared for there.. but you know onwards.. I've been in my new job 9 months now (I work in human resources in you're wondering) and at last I'm past that horrible unsettling new person period. This job is different for me in that I get to go out and about to other sites quite a bit. This has taken me totally out of my comfort zone, having to find and turn up to different sites and work with people I haven't met before and sometimes quite unfriendly (insert hostile) groups. But I've done it and I have to give myself a little pat on the back despite driving in to nearly every site the wrong way/parking in the wrong areas and waiting patiently and unnecessarily in my little car on a weighbridge (which is meant for HGV lorries) whilst the blokes in the office watched me on the CCTV..

May saw the 2nd biggest exciting opportunity from my blog to happen (after the Good Housekeeping feature, yes I'm still banging on about that!). I was invited to spend a couple of days at the beautiful Gainsborough Bath Spa hotel with Dove. This two day summer revived retreat was part of Dove's promotion of their new gradual tan body moisturiser. Along with a small group of other lovely bloggers, we were indulged with afternoon tea, cocktail making, dinner, spa treatment and morning yoga. These things don't happen to me normally so I was beside myself that I was invited and got to re-meet some fab bloggers I had met before and also make new blogging friends. It was a real pinch me moment and I made sure I appreciated every single second. If nothing like that ever happens again, I will always remember it.
The thermal spa at the Gainsborough Bath Spa
May also saw a sisters 3 day trip to Dubai. We had such fun, laughed a lot and got to enjoy the Dubai sunshine. May is a great time to go if you're considering it. The weather is perfect, very warm but not the crazy 45c + of August.

All my trips abroad came one after the other in 2018, which was great at the time but not for the rest of the year! June was our family holiday and this year we went back to Lanzarote and I did a full review here. Everything was perfect about this holiday.. except the weather! This was the first holiday I've been on when the weather has been disappointing.  And that was about the time that the UK summer heatwave kicked off. We did have a handful of nice days and thank goodness for our nightly Love Island catch ups.
Towards the end of June was the event that I had been aiming for and training for since January - the charity hike along the Jurassic Coast for Cancer Research UK. This was a 21 mile hike with a group of 11 other fab ladies. I mean lets call it 25 miles because the car park was quite far from the start point!
This was the hardest, most challenging, emotional, exhilarating, rewarding thing I have ever done. The picture below doesn't fully do justice to the hills (I would call them mountains) that we had to scale. This was more than a walk. There were times when we had to crawl up the hills, such was the steepness. Our walking poles were our absolute best friends. You could not do this walk without poles. The group of girls I did this hike with are my sisters' childhood friends but they have taken me in to their group and we now have this bond of something as equally as amazing and horrific that we all did!
I properly sobbed when I finished. That night I kept dreaming I was falling off cliff edges. But it was all worth it. To date I've lost 3 toe nails. Our group as a whole about 20 nails. And as a group we raised £3,500. Which we are all, very rightly, proud of.
Seeing the "hill" ahead of us was frightening!

The Swindon girls
In July I needed to start walking properly again as I jetted off to Seville for 3 days. Oh what a stunner of a city Seville is. This is a less busy, easier to get around Barcelona. My review here goes in to more detail. I will go back to Seville, it totally got my heart and re-ignited my love for flamenco (watching not dancing..) and also made me want to explore other Spanish city breaks.
The Real Alcazar 
August was the month my daughter turned 21. Even before her 21st year she has done so much, left home, bought her own house, excelled in her job, become mummy to 2 (really naughty) cats, learnt how to cook a roast and homemade lasagna, embraced hinching.. 
For me, my daughter turning 21 was the next chapter in her becoming a fully self sufficient adult and me having to tick off another parent milestone.
A good year travel wise and I hope 2019 is the same. Our group of girls have already booked a lush villa in Dubrovnik for a mass 40ths celebration (I'm just about in there as I'll be in my last year of my 40s!). Hopefully all toe nails will have grown back by then!

I'm looking forward to seeing what else pans out in 2019. Thank you again to all of you who still take the time to dip in to read my ramblings. I do really appreciate it and hope I've enabled you with some good purchases and helped you avoid some wastes of time.

Happy new year everyone.


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