How is it now 2022 when my brain is still in March of 2020? To answer that, time is strange and living through a pandemic is simultaneously the quickest and longest experience of my life.
If I am acknowledging that we have reached the end of 2021 (and the dawning of a new year), then I simply must adhere to my blogging nature, and offer you an end of year favourites. I love reading other people’s monthly or yearly favourites, whether that be lifestyle based, favourite books, or top places they’ve travelled. I feel like it’s a welcoming yet personal glimpse into someone’s life, into someone’s year. So, let me offer you a welcome yet personal glimpse into my life, into my year! Here’s my end of year favourites for 2021.
Oh boy, this has not been a stylish year for me. With working from home and moving house, I have been living in pyjama bottoms, leggings, big t-shirts, jumpers, and the occasional black tee for on-screen meetings. Even coming back into the office hasn’t knocked my style journey back on track. I’ve been relying on the same old pair of mom jeans, a black turtleneck, pleated blue midi skirt, and one check midi dress in rotation. Whoops, I seem to have created the world’s most teeny capsule wardrobe.
Even though I have been as predictable on the style front as our government is inept, there has been one piece that has set my little heart on fire. It’s not my most worn, but it certainly is my favourite. I’m talking about the Raphaella jumpsuit from Joanie. Normally, jumpsuits aren’t my thing. They are camel-toe inducing, hard to take on and off, cutting on the arms, and make me feel like a sausage-coming out of its skin. But this jumpsuit is fantastic. It has enough room around the stomach for you to eat Christmas dinner and stay comfortable; it has pockets, yes POCKETS, deep enough to hold your phone and more; the top has room enough for the girls to feel supported but not squashed; and it is just the most flattering cut. Plus, as someone who loves a wearable maximalism for everyday, the print hits all the good spots. Despite not really having anywhere to go to show off the jumpsuit (got to stay COVID safe), I’ve found myself pulling it out to work from home if my day needs a bit of pizazz. BAM!
Books & Literature
Does anyone else go through spurts of reading? In April, June, and October of this year, I did not stop devouring books. And yet for the rest of the year – what even is a book? However, in those few months of reading joy, every book I picked up was fantastic. Four and five stars all round! I’ll get to my favourite book of the year in a moment, but I have to let you know my runner ups – Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, and Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo. All very different books, all well worth a read. However, my favourite book of the year? Circe by Madeline Miller.
Like almost every person in the UK, I went through a phase in my childhood of wanting to know everything about Greek history and myths (I’m going to blame the Horrible Histories book series for this). So of course an adaptation of Greek myths in a fiction novel is right up my alley. Before reading the novel, I hadn’t heard of Circe the enchantress – or more likely, I don’t remember any books really delving into her story before. But here, the novel is so beautifully written, adds heart and layers to the stories we already know, and has given a powerful voice to an important character who is so often forgotten. Compelling, magnificent, historic. Pick it up.
Beauty & Skincare
Another year goes by in which The Body Shop has a complete clutch over my skincare routine. What can I say? If you are after a sustainable skincare brand, they’ve got you. This month, I attended my first ever blogger event and it was with The Body Shop! They invited me and some other local content creators to the Winchester store to explore their Christmas range and gift offerings. Whilst I did leave with a wonderful goody bag, my favourite The Body Shop product of the year – nay, favourite product of the year – is one I purchased myself: their Kindness & Pears Body Butter. Ughhh, the scent is divine. It’s sweet and fruit without being sickly, and the shea butter just locks in all of the moisture in my skin. It’s perfect after a proper self-care bath moment; you know, a bath filled with salts and bubbles, that is so hot that you feel a little woozy when you get out. Hot bath, PJs, Kindness & Pears body butter – a perfect mix.
It took me approximately 0.3 seconds to choose my favourite experience from this year. And that experience was getting my wedding dress! At the time of posting, I am 203 days away from my wedding day and I am baffled at how quickly it is creeping up. Back in October when I had my first bridal appointment, I was convinced I would be leaving the shop with nothing, and the same would happen for every shop I went to until I would just have to find a random white dress and go with it. But that was not the case. Of course I found the one, and it just so happened to be the first dress in the first and only bridal shop I went to – Timeless Elegance in Cardiff.
I tried on a few more in the appointment just to be sure, but I kept coming back to that same dress. I went shopping with my mum, my nan, and my maid of honour, and the decision was unanimous. Whilst wearing the dress for the second time, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and started crying warm, happy tears. I felt beautiful, well and truly ethereal and gorgeous and all the positive superlatives the world over. My apologies, there’ll be no photos of the dress here – my fiancé and family read this blog so I am staying tight lipped. I’ll have a few more appointments for accessories and fittings but I just can’t wait for the day I can wear it and marry the love of my life.
I bought a house. Well, we, my fiancé and I, bought a house. I did consider putting this down as my favourite experience of 2021 but that would be quite the lie; I found the experience of buying a house to be hellish. Getting a mortgage? Difficult. Putting in an offer? Stressful. Talking to solicitors? Painful. The waiting? Anxiety-inducing. Liaising with the sellers? If you get horrible ones like we did, it can be upsetting. Getting the keys is meant to be a joyous and remarkable experience, but for us, opening the door to a house that was full of mouldy food, cat pee, and fleas was an unexpected nightmare.
However, with a lot of elbow grease, help from my parents, in-laws, and friends, the house went from unlivable to filthy. Filthy to messy. Messy to liveable. And now? It feels like our home. Each room is usable and clean, whether battered or not our style. But we knew this would be the case as the house is a project house. Our first project is complete – the living room is now hygge-central, full of deep colours, plants, and books. And now we are working on our second project – the spare room-office situation! Today, we are stripping the wallpaper, buying some new carpet, and getting ready to stick up some new wallpaper ready for painting. This is the moment I have been the most excited for; getting stuck in with the DIY. What a great way to ring in the new year – laughing and painting the walls of the home that you own with the person you are going to marry.
And with that, 2021 draws to a close and we’re in the first day of 2022! I’m currently enjoying that twixmas period between Christmas and returning to work, and am making the most of having the option to balance sitting on the sofa eating Christmas chocolates, doing a deep clean of the house because I have time, or writing lists upon lists of what I plan to do in 2022. Hey, you can put the girl on a holiday, but you can’t take the organisation out of the girl.
To my fellow bloggers – if you’ve written about your end of year faves, pop the link in the comments – I’d love to read them! And to my readers, let me know what you have loved this year in the comments too. Let’s share some favourites whilst we go into 2022. Happy New Year folks. May you have a blessed 2022!