Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Goodbye 2017... Hello 2018

This time of year is all about reflection and looking forward, so I thought it was only right for my first blog post of 2018 to do just that. I’ve spent the last few days flicking through my diary and my photos, remembering the good times and the bad. It’s been a funny old year and to be honest, I’m not really sure how I feel about it being over. But I thought I would chat you through each month of 2017 to begin with, and then let you know what my hopes and goals are for the year ahead.

Waiting for my bladder operation

Taking Jack his 2nd Birthday present

Some lovely flowers and a balloon from a friend

Alice in Wonderland tea party for Emma's birthday

Seeing Sing with Charlie and her family


January 2017

During January I felt rather flat, which isn’t that unusual really, as the first month of the New Year is always a bit of a difficult one. I started the year by going into hospital to have a small operation on my bladder, so I had to spend a few weeks recovering from the anaesthetic and waiting for the pain to die down. Despite that though, I did manage to take my Godson, Jack, his 2nd birthday present round a couple of days after my surgery, even if I wasn’t able to stay for the party. There were more celebrations later in the month with an Alice in Wonderland style tea party for Emma’s birthday and a family meal out to celebrate Richard, Emma and Callum’s birthdays, which all fall within a couple of weeks of each other. I had a cinema trip with my friend Charlie and her family to see Sing, which we all really loved (especially singing along to all the songs!) Although I was feeling quite low and very tired, I managed to get a First in one of my university portfolios and also started looking at electric wheelchairs. I spent my free time binge watching Silent Witness and The A Word.

New shoes for work experience

Fighting off a cough/cold/virus

A trip to La La Land on Valentine's Day

A surprise tea party for Mum's birthday


Brightening the place up with tulips

Meeting my friend Sarah and her little boy Charlie at a garden centre


February 2017

February started with some work experience at Trinity Mirror. It was hard work and my health really suffered, but the team were lovely and made me feel very welcome. Typically, it left me feeling quite unwell with a cough, cold and breathing problems, so I had to take a bit of time away from Uni. While I was recuperating I wrote some letters to penpals, snuggled in front of the fire and caught up on some of Zoella’s vlogs. As I started to feel a little better, my Dad and I began looking at Motability cars and I was able to test-drive the Ford Kuga and Skoda Yeti. I was particularly taken with the Kuga, but unfortunately it was a bit out of my price range. I had another cinema trip, this time with my Dad, to see La La Land, which we both enjoyed. My Mum had a big birthday on the 19th, so we all threw her a surprise tea party, which was fab! We also took her out to breakfast and went out for a family meal, so lots of celebrations. Towards the end of the month it was nice to be able to go to a garden centre and meet my friend Sarah, with her little boy, Charlie, and also have a bridesmaid dress fitting for Katrina’s wedding. Throughout the month, watching a lot of The Simpsons kept my spirits up.

Ordered my new Motability car

Time for Daffodils

Bekkah's birthday meal she couldn't come to

Bekkah turned 18!

Bekkah's 18th Birthday cake

Blossom on the trees

Caffe Nero date with the Uni girls

Cinema trip to see Beauty and the Beast

Waiting in hospital for my injections

My new wheelchair arrived


March 2017

I had a bit of a mental health blip in March with my mood dropping and getting nasty thoughts. So I tried to find some nice things to focus on, which started with putting a deposit down on my electric wheelchair and ordering my Motability car – a bright yellow Ford EcoSport! We all celebrated my sister, Bekkah’s, 18th birthday, although she wasn’t well enough to join us for her birthday meal so we had to make it up to her when she was back on top form. I had a bit of stress around the middle of the month when I had to go for my ESA assessment. They were running an hour late, which was hard, but thankfully the lady I saw was really nice and only had to run some of the assessment before saying she had enough information. My monthly cinema trip (completely unplanned, but it was how it was working out!) was to see Beauty and the Beast with my friend Kayleigh, and oh my goodness was it a good film! Towards the end of the month I was back in hospital to have injections in my abdomen and neck/skull, followed by pulsed radio frequency in my occipital nerves. They left me numb down my right side for quite a while, which was quite scary. But watching lots of episodes of The Coroner helped a lot, along with my new electric wheelchair arriving.

Seeing baby animals at Finkley Down Farm

Toasting Richard and Lisa's New Home

An Easter Basket for Charlie's first Easter

Happy Easter!

Easter baking with Mum

Reviewing The Beefeater with Dad

Festival Place Fashion Event


April 2017

On the first day of April I visited Finkley Down Farm with my Mum, David and Emma, where we saw lots of baby animals – so cute! It was an exciting time for Richard and Lisa, who were finally able to move into their new house, just down the road from us. With my right arm still a bit numb, my Law exam on the 7th was rather interesting, but thankfully I was able to use my laptop. The following day, my Mum and Dad flew to Malta for a short break. It was strange without them, but they had a lovely time. While they were away, I met up with my friend Sarah, and gave Charlie his Easter basket. It seemed to go down well, especially when he tried to eat the basket! I didn’t have a cinema trip this month, but my friend Becky came over and we watched Bridget Jones’ Baby. Mum and I did some Easter baking and I also had my friend Charlie over with her little ones, Izzi and Joe. We did an Easter Egg Hunt, arts and crafts, had an indoor picnic and watched Tangled, one of my favourite Disney movies. April was another month of health problems, as I came down with a horrible virus and completely lost my voice, so ended up on antibiotics. But I managed a couple of blog related trips – reviewing The Beefeater and the Festival Place Fashion Event. The big news of the month though was Lisa announcing she was pregnant!

At The May Fair

Drinks with Sam and Helen

Aldi alcoholic ice lollies

Peony season

End of year meal and drinks with the Uni girls

Spending three weeks in the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Stanmore


May 2017

May was the start of a relapse with my mental health, although it started off well. I tested out my new electric wheelchair by going to our local May Fayre, which was good fun, even if it did pour with rain! We had our last News Week of second year at university and then the girls and I went for an end of year meal and drinks to The Slug and Lettuce, which was great fun. I also helped my best friend, Sarah, celebrate her 30th birthday with a garden party. But the majority of May was taken up with my stay at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Stanmore. It’s so hard to explain what the experience was like, as it had huge positives but also massive lows. I met some amazing people on the ward, who I intend to stay friends with for many years to come. I also met some brilliant medical staff and had time to really focus on my health, finding little ways to manage it better. But my three weeks there also opened up some old wounds, leaving me feeling pretty broken by the time I left, and I sunk into a pretty deep depression.

Picked up a book my psychologist suggested

Enjoying the sunshine by the lake at the back of the hospital

We made Lisa a pregnancy box

Colouring at the Safe Haven kept me sane

My new Motability car arrived

Costa date with Sam and Helen

Costa date with Lilli

Sunflowers


June 2017

I found June incredibly difficult being in the midst of a mental health crisis. I spent a lot of time at our local Mental Health Safe Haven, crying, talking and colouring to try and manage my thoughts and feelings. I also saw my local gastroenterologist and we started to discuss the idea of tube feeding, which was a difficult conversation to have. As the month went on, I gradually began to manage my mental health in a better way and was put on the waiting list for group Psychotherapy. We had our first BBQ of the season and I picked up my new Motability car. I managed to meet up with my friends, Sam and Helen, for a relaxed Costa, which was nice, and we also celebrated my Dad’s birthday with a meal at Frankie and Benny's. As I was quite unwell for a lot of the month, I spent a lot of time curled up on the sofa watching episodes of Vera and Broadchurch, which definitely helped to keep me slightly sane!

Meeting Lydia in Windsor

Bubblegum ice cream by the river

In front of Windsor Castle

Sam's Hen Do

Tea at The Ritz

Took my Mum for tea at The Ritz

Went to The Vyne with Dad and Richard

Champneys with Katrina

Hot chocolates with Mum

Peggy Porschen with Richard and Lisa

Went to a tea room with Lilli

Cinema date with Emma


July 2017

Thankfully by the beginning of July I was starting to feel a little better after what I can only describe as a pretty hellish month with my mental health. I came back to blogging after not feeling able to post since I came out of hospital, and am so glad I did. I tried to fill my month with special times with friends and family, and it really helped to lift me back to a more manageable place. I met up for a Costa with my friend Lilli, went to Windsor for the first time to meet my friend Lydia, had a day at The Vyne with my Dad and brother and had a cinema date with my sister-in-law, Emma. My friend Sam had her Hen Do, which I was able to go to part of, I took my Mum for tea at The Ritz as a special birthday present, had a spa day at Champneys with my friend Katrina as an alternative Hen Do and had a day in London with Richard and Lisa, finally visiting Borough Market and Peggy Porschen! My local Recovery College put on a mental health crisis-planning group, which I decided to go to and found extremely helpful. But despite doing better with my mental health, I was still feeling very anxious and wasn’t sleeping very well. I was also having a lot of problems with migraines and back pain, so when I was resting I enjoyed watching The Loch with my Dad.

Lisa and Richard ready for Clare and Cam's wedding

Nails done ready for bridesmaid duty

We flew to Ireland

I was a bridesmaid for Katrina

A glass of fizz on our boat trip

Looking round Dublin

Sam's Wedding

Work experience at Happiful

Spent the day with Charlie, Izzi and Joe


August 2017

August was mainly dominated by our family holiday to Ireland, which was definitely a whirlwind and went way too fast. We were only there for less than a week but managed to fit in me being a bridesmaid for one of my closest friends, Katrina, a boat trip from the hotel to Athlone, visiting the oldest pub in Ireland, getting soaked on our first night in Dublin, sightseeing down Grafton Street and a tour of the Guinness Brewery. I really wasn’t ready to come home and would love to see more of Ireland at some point. For the rest of the month I tried to get some rest, but life just wasn’t having any of it! We went to watch my sister’s boyfriend, Callum, do an indoor skydive, I filmed a wedding for my friends Sam and Martin, had a chilled out day with Charlie, Izzi and Joe, had some rather unpleasant tests in hospital and finished the month with my work experience at Happiful.

Richard graduated as a paramedic

A walk with the dogs, Dad and Rosiie

Bloggers Breakfast

The view at Whipsnade Zoo

The giraffes at Whipsnade

Richard and Lisa's pregnancy photos

Another week with Happiful

Macmillan Coffee Morning at Happiful


September 2017

After such a crazy few months, I really tried to take things a bit more slowly in September. I started the month with my three-month review at Stanmore, which brought back mixed feelings but it was lovely to see everyone again. I managed to fit in a couple of blog activities, which included a nice walk/wheel around a local country park to take some photos of the dogs and a Bloggers Breakfast for the opening of The Lexicon in Bracknell. I also had a lovely trip to Whipsnade Zoo with my parents and loved seeing the baby hippo, as well as getting a slobbery kiss from a giraffe! There were also a couple of firsts in September – I ran my first meeting of the community mental health group I’ve set up and I also started in my third (and final) year at university. Unfortunately I was also having a lot of digestive problems this month, as well as problems with my chest/heart. But my addiction to Doctor Foster gave me plenty to watch while I was resting!

West Green Flowers

My birthday trip to West Green

Unicorn birthday cake

Out for a meal at Prezzo

Birthday lunch with the Uni girls

Having a Costa before my hospital appointment in Kent

Emma and I made a nappy cake

Writing my literature review

Lisa's Baby Shower cake

My first byline in a national magazine

We went on a scarecrow hunt!

Pumpkin carving with Emma

We made Richard and New Dad Survival Kit

Another of my articles in a magazine


October 2017

October was the month I turned 29 – the last year of my 20’s! I spent the day at a local National Trust place with my Mum and Dad, having lunch in the cafĂ© and looking around the beautiful gardens. Later in the month we also celebrated with a family meal at Prezzo and I had a birthday lunch with my Uni girls. Despite the blogger event I’d organised not going ahead, a few of us were able to go for a drink and it was so lovely to meet some new people. I had more tests, this time having to go all the way down to a hospital in Kent, which was quite a trek. And my little Jaffa cat also had to go into the vets to be sedated and have his teeth looked at – thankfully he didn’t have to have any taken out though. Towards the end of the month we celebrated with Lisa’s baby shower, which had been months in the planning. Emma and I made her a nappy cake and we had a brilliant afternoon playing games and eating yummy food. For Halloween, Emma and I carved some (Disney themed) pumpkins and watched one of our favourite ‘scary’ movies – Hotel Transylvania. I also watched Hocus Pocus for the first time and couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it sooner!

Toasting marshmallows

Poor Alfie had a bad month

Alfie after his surgery

Reviewing The Bull for my blog

Christmas Costa with the Uni girls

A trip to King's College Hospital

Alfie making a good recovery

Welcoming Noah Henry into the world

Noah meeting his Aunties


November 2017

At the beginning of November I was finally able to see my POTs specialist after waiting nearly two years. Thankfully it was a really helpful appointment and he referred me to some new specialists and organised a few more tests. Some of us enjoyed watching our local firework display on Bonfire Night, followed by coming back to ours for dinner and toasting marshmallows over candles. November was also a pretty worrying month with Alfie being rushed to the vets for emergency abdominal surgery to remove a tennis ball he had decided to eat. It took a lot of recovering from, but thankfully he was soon on the mend. The best part of the month was welcoming my first nephew, Noah Henry, into the world. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see much of him due to coming down with yet another virus, so I had to make the most of all the photos everyone else was taking of him. But I was able to review The Bull in Bracknell, have a Christmas Costa with my Uni friends, Emma and Amber, and go to our local Christmas Market. As I wasn’t very well for a lot of the month, I spent a lot of time curled up on the sofa watching Brogan Tate’s vlogs, as well as The Secret Life of 4 and 5 Year Olds, Miranda and I’m a Celebrity.

Black Forest Hot Chocolate with Mum

Getting through our final News Week at Uni

Filming at a Christmas Tree Festival

Writing my Christmas cards

A Christmassy Day with Charlie, Izzi and Joe

The Outdoor Nativity

A little bit of snow

Festive Meal with some Uni girls

Alfie developed a problem with his eye

Christmas Day

A trip to the Panto


December 2017

I finished 2017 with quite a difficult month if I’m honest because I spent most of it with a horrible virus, which then turned into a chest infection. So I spent a lot of time on antibiotics, which made me feel pretty rubbish. Despite that, December was actually a pretty busy month (perhaps that’s why I didn’t get better for so long!) We had our last News Week ever at university, which just feels so crazy after doing them so much over the last three years. I saw a lot of friends throughout the month – I had another day with Charlie, Izzi and Joe doing lovely Christmassy things, a Christmas meal with a couple of the Uni girls, a day with my friend Helen and Godson Jack, seeing Ferdinand at the cinema with Lilli and catching up with my friend Sarah and her little boy Charlie. I was also able to take part in some of the things going on at our local church – the Christingle service, the Open Air Nativity, Crib Services and Christmas Day. We bought our real Christmas trees, went for a drive to see the Christmas lights, had an extended family get-together and went to the pantomime as a family. I saw in the New Year with family and friends, having nice food and playing games.

So, what about 2018?

2017 seemed to fly by in a heartbeat, so it almost feels strange to already be talking about new hopes and goals for 2018! I’m not usually one to make New Year’s Resolutions – I’ve tried it in the past and end up feeling bad about myself because I get to October and feel like I’ve achieved nothing. Last year I did my Happiness Project (which I still need to finish posting about, so you never know, I might get the rest of my posts and videos up this year!) and that worked a lot better for me. I think because there wasn’t the same pressure and it was lots of little tasks I could do throughout each month. But I won’t be doing another one this year because I feel like I want something different.

There are a few things I’d like to try and improve on this year – going to bed earlier, reading more books and more regularly, getting back on track with my physiotherapy exercises, planning my meals for the week, spending more quality time with friends and family and going to more places. So I will be focusing on these goals over the next twelve months to try and make life better and more rewarding.

What I would really like to do this year, as I turn 30 in October, is to compile a ‘30 Before 30’ list of big and little things I would like to do for my 30th birthday. However, I think trying to cram in thirty things before October is probably a bit of a push and I don’t want it to feel like a chore. So I think I might change it to ‘30 around 30’ instead! Once I’ve got it all together I will definitely share it with you, and hope to update you as I tick things off.


How has your year been? I’d love to hear what you have been up to over 2017. And please comment with your hopes and goals for 2018 too!


2 comments:

  1. What a great post and a year you have had! Can't wait to see your content in 2018!
    Charlotte-Nichole
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Charlotte I'm so glad you liked it! I hope you continue to enjoy my posts in 2018 :) xx

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