Well, 2022 is swirling to an end – can you believe it?! I felt like I blinked in March and suddenly woke up on 28th December being asked ‘what are you doing for New Year’s?’ As a person, I tend to look to the future, to the year ahead. It’s far too easy to get stuck in the past, wondering what could have been. However, there is something to be said for looking at the year just gone in the spirit of new beginnings. The memories with friends, moments of celebrations, the highs and the lows. And boy oh boy, has 2022 been filled with memories and moments. So let’s take a look back! Hopefully this will inspire you to do the same.
- My fiancé and I brought in the new year in style with wallpaper paste and wood filler. Ever so glamorous, I know. If 2021 was the year we bought our project house, 2022 was when we started to make it liveable. We gutted this room from top to toe, learnt how to wallpaper and make murals, and ended up with the boho office of dreams. You know I wrote a post all about it.
- Then I swiftly moved into having an asthma attack. What’s a new year without an asthma attack? I am nothing if not consistent. Thanks, chest infection.
- Normally I am back on my feet a week after the attack, taking a few weeks after that to get to full capacity. But the post viral fatigue really took its toll on me this time. That’s something a lot of non-chronically ill folk don’t consider.
- When February came around, I made the incredibly tough yet ultimately right decision to stop working towards my Masters in English Literature. I had simply fallen out of love with the subject and academia was no longer my sole career focus. Plus balancing my health conditions, a full time job, blogging, and having a project house whilst also studying a Masters was proving just too much. I could feel my mental health starting to wobble, depression getting its claws back into me. Something had to give so I said goodbye to my MA. Still, I had a wonderful time doing it and I now get to put PGDip after my name.
- With the renovated office in our project house complete, we moved on to the next project in the house – the staircase. When we moved in, it was a grotty, tatty, carpeted mess. So we thought “hey! Let’s show off the wood underneath!” Don’t let Pinterest fool you – reworking a staircase is not an easy task. We had to use three different paint strippers, followed by chisels and hand-sanding before we even got the staining, painting, and varnishing. Okay, it still isn’t fully finished and tidy, but we do have a lovely staircase that brings us joy and no longer smells like cat pee.
- February also marked five months to the biggest event of the year (at least, in my diary) – my wedding! So as the late winter weather moved away, I started to grow plants on the kitchen windowsill that would turn into our wedding favours.
- Oh, I want to start more months like this. March opened with an arty trip to Bristol with my mum for her birthday. We visited Bristol Museum & Art Gallery to experience Grayson Perry’s Art Club, after watching the TV counterpart through the various lockdowns. I also got to take mum for her first Wagamamas and turned her into a true gyoza convert. Mission accomplished.
- March also held one of the highlights of my whole year. The arrival of Pearl, our rescue cat. We travelled three hours to collect her from Usk New Start Cat Rescue, a wonderful charity near where I grew up. Once we got home, Pearl spent the first hour hiding under the sofa before leaping onto our laps, curling up, and purring like the angel that she is. She is such a little serotonin booster and has genuinely made our lives all that better. Did you know she also has an Instagram?
- The cherry on top of the cake that is March? My wedding dress arrived and I got to try it on for the first time since it was purchased. I will be honest, all of these anxious thoughts came into my head in the days before my fitting appointment. What if I made the wrong choice? What if I don’t love it anymore? What if it doesn’t fit? Safe to say, all my anxieties fell away the moment I tried it back on.
April was a much slower month, and for that, I was grateful. I really got into the DIY aspects for the wedding, such as name places, tags, and confetti. I could give time and effort to the blog and creation in a way that felt so fulfilling. This month I could really find joy in normalcy. For example, my fiancé and I visited the Tall Trees Trail in the New Forest. We found some hours of peace and comfort amongst those trees and it helped to remind me that taking time to just be isn’t selfish – it’s important.
- If you are a blogger in Hampshire, there is one word on your lips come springtime. Wisteria. Yes, I am aware I am a stereotype but it is blimmin’ beautiful. My best friend Lucie and I made the most of springtime in Hampshire and paid a visit to those wisteria spots – and also Ashby’s in Winchester. It was one of those non-event days that has just kept in my brain as a moment of pure happiness.
- This year, I picked up tens of books but I rarely finished one. As someone who adores reading, that hurts, let me tell you that. However, I finished a book in May that has stayed with me as an example of excellent storytelling. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. It broke my heart into a million pieces and for that, I say ‘thank you’.
- In May, I also ended up in a show – The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in fact. With three weeks to go until curtain up, I was only meant to sit backstage with a score and sing the lines that needed support, a variation of soprano and alto lines. I ended up rehearsing, learning the dances, and getting put into costume! But the music, the songs, are just so beautiful. Singing them became a true highlight of the year.
- June is when we started our run of Hunchback! It was one of the most professional sounding shows I have ever been a part of. Unfortunately, I only got to perform in two of the shows because –
- I got COVID. For the second time. I originally thought it was show week exhaustion but after a sudden worsening of asthma overnight and calling a paramedic for the attack, it was revealed to be COVID. Hand on heart, I am so grateful to have had the COVID vaccines. This bout of COVID was the worst I have ever felt in my entire life, and that was with having three of the vaccines. I dread to think how I would have been without them. Whilst it subsided pretty quickly in the grand scheme of things – I was only coughing for two weeks – the fatigue and brain fog has followed me ever since.
- Thankfully, my experience with COVID was at the start of the month, and I was feeling a lot better by the end of June. Perfect timing, because it was my hen do! I had the most perfect weekend. I stayed in a house in Cardiff with my bridesmaids, followed by brunch with family and some friends meeting us for mini golf. My grandmother even joined us for mini golf – she played the whole round in heels and won us a free game! Then we had more friends join for a night out. It was the most high energy, laugh-out-loud, and least drama filled night out I have ever been on. Perfection.
- Oh, and outside of the blogosphere, I started my new job. It’s a temporary promotion whilst I cover a maternity post, but I was pretty chuffed to land it.
- All of a sudden, it arrived – the month of the wedding. However, let’s not get ahead of the game here. That was later on in the month. I also turned 26, picked up my wedding dress, completed all wedding DIY, and travelled down to Wales for said wedding.
- Now, I won’t bore you here with details of the wedding. I’ve already got a post all about that if you want to read about our folky, DIY-heavy, Scottish-Welsh wedding.
- After the wedding, a minimoon followed. My ~husband~ and I made a fort in the lounge, cuddled our cat, and watched films. Oh, and I finally went blonde and chopped all my hair off. We love to see it.
- In August, our wedding bubble ended. It didn’t pop and I didn’t get hit with any wedding blues, thankfully. I think this is because we had a honeymoon to look forward to.
- In terms of achievements, August landed a pretty big one for me. Here’s some background information for you. I enjoy singing. I enjoy singing as part of a group. I think I’m pretty good for someone with minimal training. But singing on my own? Terrifying. I hate it. Especially in front of people I admire. But this year? I did it. Well, with the help of my husband, I did. We were invited to perform at a local concert, and we chose to sing a duet from Beetlejuice: The Musical. I felt comfortable in the moments we sang together and so scared in the moments I sang on my own. But, I did it. It wasn’t awful. I faced my fear and survived.
- To close out summer, I had a rather sunflower heavy week. I finally got to experience the Van Gogh Experience, going with my mum and brother to the experience in Bristol. It was such a grounding and peaceful experience, and a must do for any Van Gogh fan. My husband also took me to a local sunflower field to say goodbye to summer (and to get those obligatory posts for the gram…)
- September is typically my favourite month of the year. The change in the seasons, the welcome air of starting again. But I started the academic year with a PCOS flare up. Great. I was sent into hospital for the pain and swelling but ended up getting referred for more tests and getting discharged. It took about two weeks for the symptoms and swelling to subside and for me to be able to walk normally again.
- The only good thing about having to stay sitting down because of pain medication and hormone induced brain fog, is that it’s a great time to play video games. I finished Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla whilst on bedrest, and it is one of the best video games I have ever played. I’m still working through all of the side quests and finding moments of incredible game building now!
- If September is my favourite month for the feeling of change, October is my favourite month for the weather. Falling leaves, rainy days, breaking out the coats – perfection.
- This year, we continued a little tradition my husband and I have with our friends Matt and Lucie. We went pumpkin picking! We visited Sunnyfields Farm for this, the same place that had the beautiful sunflower fields in the summer. It was an hour of childlike joy, choosing the best pumpkins and running around with a wheelbarrow. Plus, Matt and Lucie bought their puppy with them for one of his first excursions, and it was adorable to see him learn about the outside world.
- To close out October, we made massive headway with another renovation project – our hallway! Rory did most of the work as a surprise for me whilst I was away for the weekend, so I returned home to a tiled floor, with panels on the wall, and paint already up. After some grouting and final touch-ups, this is now my favourite room in the whole house.
- October also held the biggest professional moment of my blogger career so far. I shot my first paid campaign! (*Enter excited noises here.*) Westquay shopping centre reached out to me after seeing my work online, to see if I would be interested in shooting for their Christmas campaign. I spent a few days in non-Christmassy October creating Christmassy content at Westquay for them to use as advertisements. Let me get my ‘proud of myself’ stamp out for this moment.
- I only had one thing on my mind in November. Honeymoon. For the first half of the month, I was in full preparation mode. I was wearing in my Birkenstocks, stockpiling holiday clothes, gathering our dollars, updating every holiday based spreadsheet I have.
- Then came two weeks of pure honeymoon joy. We did so much in those two weeks in Florida, I couldn’t ever summarise it here if I wanted to. So, check out the first in my series of honeymoon posts if you want to know what we got up to in the Sunshine State.
- And then, the last month of the year. As soon as my feet touched ground back in the UK, I picked up a bronchial infection and had an asthma attack. What a way to see out the year! After two sets of nebulisers and some steroids, I was back on my feet in a week. During this time, my husband decided it would be a great moment to fracture his knee playing frisbee. So we were Team Out Of Action for the start of December!
- December was also the month I got to see a show I had been waiting seven months to see – the Barbican Centre’s adaptation of My Neighbour Totoro. Hands down, this was the best live theatre show I have ever seen. It managed to capture all of the joy of the film, whilst using the most innovative and charming puppetry and set pieces. I cried for the whole of the first act, tears of happiness and nostalgia.
- As I write this, we are now fully settled into the end of year activities. My husband and I celebrated Christmas with my family in Wales, and are now firmly in the throes of Twixmas. I don’t know what day it is, I ate Maltesers for breakfast, Wallace and Gromit is still on the TV. After years of cancelled and rearranged Christmases due to COVID and, well, life, it has been such a needed and welcomed end to the year.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading along with my year! Whilst the lows have been mostly health based, the highs have been far too many to count. Writing this post has made me feel both grateful and thankful, as well as introspective. Why don’t you try to write out your year in review? Even amongst the not-so-good moments, there is joy to be found. Maybe writing them out can help you find that, or just help you to look back on 2022. Let me know what your favourite moments of 2022 have been in the comments below.
Here’s to the New Year!