And so another year passes us by. I’d be lying if I said ‘every year just gets better and better’. As much as I wish that were true, it isn’t always the case. I had such an amazing year in 2013 that I knew it would be a hard year to top. Yet, as I look back on 2014, as tricky as it was, it was still a dam good year with so many more ups than downs. I faced a few unexpected challenges this year, such as a sudden return from Australia, a rather long period of unemployment, and a few health issues (now all sorted by the way), but I also had some truly wonderful experiences, as well as some very unexpected but very welcome ones too. Here are my 2014 highlights …
Australia Day in Melbourne
Back in January, the 26th to be precise, the Beard and I were living in Melbourne, it was a scorcher of 35 degrees and it was Australia Day. For us this meant a day spent on Tourquay Beach with our Aussie friends. There was about 15 of us, all listening to the countdown of the top 100 songs of 2013, whilst munching on burgers and a few of us even took part in a record breaking challenge set up by Havaianas (the flip flop company, or ‘thongs’ as they say Down Under). I’ll always cherish that day as it was one of our last big days in Australia and we got to hang out with some wonderful people whom we had met travelling.
On Valentines day this year, as the Beard and I were enjoying the last stop of our eight month Australian tour, I was swooped off to Sydney Harbour for a romantic picnic. It was here the Beard proposed to me. Despite us having openly talked about marriage and getting engaged at some point, it was a complete surprise and easily one of the best days of my life. It also made going home all the more exciting as we had such wonderful news to celebrate with our families. After he had popped the question, we enjoyed some wine by the Opera House, followed by Pizza in Kings Cross and finished off with Pints in a Pub and some bad dancing in a dodgy bar near the hostel. Read the full story here
Meeting Baby Harry
Just four days later, I was flying into Heathrow airport to be reunited with my Sisters, both of whom I hadn’t seen in almost a year. My Sister Jen had just had a Baby in the December and this was the first time I got to meet my nephew. It’s an odd feeling to miss someone you have never met, but that’s how I felt about Baby Harry as soon as he was born, and it was a major factor in my decision to come home. As the Beard and I came through the airport there they were waiting for us. There were lots of tears and it was not only amazing to meet the little fella but to see both my Sisters again too. I got to hold Baby Harry for the first time later than night as I fed him his bottle and it was a wonderful feeling.
The Cosmo Blog Awards Nomination
Returning from travels without a job meant I had all the time in the world to work on my blog, to plan and develop good content and ultimately pour my heart and soul into it. I was basically blogging full time (without the full time wage bit). When I did eventually return to my job in the June, blogging had become such a habit, and such a need, that I continued to work hard on it and publish posts on a regular basis. The result was not only a teeny tiny little following from you guys but enough votes to get me nominated for a Cosmo Blog Award under Best Lifestyle Blog. It was such an amazing moment when I found out I was nominated, I felt immensely proud, but most of all incredibly grateful to those who voted.
I used to think of myself as a hardcore festival goer, yet I realised this summer that it had been two years since my last festival. I knew I couldn’t afford to go to a camping festival this year, so I was chuffed when a friend bagged me tickets to Wireless. I went with my mate Kate and we had a proper girly day. We drank Prosseco on my balcony in the afternoon, catching up and giggling like a pair of school girls. Then at 4pm we headed to the festival and caught some great performances (Kanye obviously NOT being one of them). Whilst the music was great, and the drinks were flowing, it was the atmosphere and the fun I had with Kate that made the day so special and one of my 2014 highlights! We laughed all day, danced in the sun and had a lot of fun attempting to heckle Kanye West.
In mid-September the Beard and I flew to Dublin to visit my friend Claire and her fiancé Noel as well as our friend Alice. It was an amazing weekend and it was the first time I had caught up with that bunch in two years (not to mention the Beards first time in Ireland). Surprisingly, it was an active weekend of walking, hiking and enjoying the outdoors and the gorgeous Irish countryside. Not so surprisingly it was also a weekend of lots of boozing in small Irish country pubs, which lead to THIS happening. It was a great little break away from the city life and I would love to make it an annual thing.
The Cosmo Blog Awards
By early October, the time had come for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards. Attending this event was such a huge deal for me and so I went all out; I booked the day off work, bought myself a new dress, got pampered at my local salon (and thus the fringe was born). I met up with a fellow blogger first and we eagerly made our way to the OXO tower where the event was being held. It was amazing to be sipping cosmos and rubbing shoulders with so many bloggers I follow and admire. I may not have won my category, but being nominated was enough for me and being able to attend the event felt like a prize in itself. Check out my vlog here.
Late October brought on a whole new experience, that experience being LAS VEGAS BABY! You may remember back in April I made a 30Before30 list and number 25 was to go to Vegas. Although I fully planned to do it, never in a million years did I expect to go THIS YEAR! But a great deal came up, and with the Beard and I missing our backpacking days we decided ‘What the hell, let’s go mad’. And so the two of us (and about twelve other people) flew to Vegas for seven incredible, hilarious, hectic nights, watch my full vlog here. We gambled, we drank, we ate, we partied, we basically did all the things you do in Vegas (bar getting married) and we even went to ….
The Grand Canyon
There’s not really much I can write about this bit. There are no words. It’s beautiful (plus I still have my official Grand Canyon blog post to write up, so sort of saving all the words I can for that). Six of us took a helicopter over this stunning part of America and our jaws dropped. I think that day is definitely on par with getting engaged as the best day of my year. If your ever in that part of the world, you cannot leave without visiting the Grand Canyon.
Getting engaged …. Again
Due to the fact that we were about to leave Australia and therefore had no money (we were basically two very poor backpackers) there was no ring at my proposal at Sydney Harbour. Not that he needed one, it was the question he asked that I cared about and the setting was pretty darn romantic. I didn’t care about a ring, my answer was yes! The plan was to get a ring at a later date. First we had to get ourselves home, get jobs, find somewhere to live and get back to on track. And then just last week – December 16th to be exact – the beard surprised me with an engagement ring (okay, so I may have dropped MASSIVE hints what with Christmas coming up). There I was washing the dishes when he waltzed into the kitchen and pulled out a little box. And yes there were more tears. And yes, I loved the ring, phew! It’s such a beautiful and delicate ring, and as someone who just cannot pull off ‘mad bling’ it was exactly my taste (always a good sign!)
And those are my 2014 highlights. When I originally began writing this post I was planned to go into great detail about why this year wasn’t as good as the previous one. Then I thought, why focus on the negative? Even now as I read this post back I can’t believe how much of an amazing year it has been. I have done so much this year, and I’ve achieved so much; I gained a Fiancé, a nephew, an award nomination, I’ve traveled to four different countries this year (including three different continents!) and most importantly I’ve had such an amazing times with my amazing family and friends. I am very very lucky. Here’s to another fantastic 12 months *clinks her mug of tea* Happy New Year and I hope 2015 brings everything you hope for.