Just Another Review of 2018

I have been sat here for the past hour or so attempting to transcribe an hour long bloody focus group – as dissertation calls and all that, yet to be honest it has only resulted in a hell of a lot of procrastination through watching every ‘full face of Glossier’ review on YouTube whilst contemplating why I was not blessed with smooth, perfect skin and browsing through the Instagram explore page for a ridiculous length of time. Then ~absolute brainwave~ it occurred to me that I have still not written that obligatory blog post on 2018 and so better late then never, I am jumping on the band wagon and giving you another annual round up. So despite being slightly delayed for lack of motivation after eating, drinking and sleeping to my hearts content over Christmas and having been trying to focus on this pesky research methodology so far this year, I am finally summing up and revisiting some of the amazing highlights of this past year. Plus, one of my most important resolutions this year is to try and move to the beat of my own drum a bit more, you know, try not to get swept up in focusing on doing something because others are or stressing myself out because some people might be achieving greatness in some way that I feel I am not. This is the year of focusing on myself and my achievements, my own pace and my abilities. So quite selfishly, five days into the year, you are getting yet another (sorry, I know you are sick of them now) post on my 2018.

So to make things run a bit quicker and because for some reason I have hit a bit of a blank in noting down every single thing I have done this year, I am going to take this month by month by the photos on my phone and just hoping that by the time I reach December, you are still with me…

 

January

2018 started at home in North Wales with family, friends and a new haircut. You know, new year new me and everything. I made a promise to myself that I would get my blog looking super this year and do all I can in-between my studies to keep up with some regular posts.

February

I turned 20 last February and not gonna lie, can’t remember much of it all. Yet the highlight from February that I do remember was our annual London Fashion Week Festival visit. It has become a somewhat tradition for me and Emma and every year we roam around the festival admiring what everyone else is wearing, taking Insta-worthy pictures and debate over buying some expensive things we don’t need before changing our minds and heading to Oxford Circus to fulfil our shopping desires.

 

March

March was a busy one. Essays were piling up but I was being taken to see Dreamgirls in London so it was going to have to wait! On route it wasnonly right to stop off for an incredibly overpriced cocktail (never again) and an obligatory toilet picture in Sketch and I am not being dramatic, the toilets smelt bloody amazing – I mean, it is no surprise when the entire staircase is laced with bloody Diptyque candles. It was insane. Although, the toilet pods themselves did just feel like you were in a slightly bigger and cleaner plane toilet. 10/10 weeing experience though, best wee of 2018 for sure.

Lectures and seminars continued and stress was starting to build up, then before I knew it, March was coming to an end and Easter break was starting. This meant I was heading back home for a long weekend and spending some quality time with the ‘rents. With an overnight stay in Liverpool for a friends wedding, we partied on and had the excuse of donning some fancy smancy attire.

 

April

Things were sort of warming up in April weren’t they? Especially since March had decided to be bloody freezing, it was finally ‘light-jacket weather’. April consisted of a few cute little days out since any other day I was working, writing in the library or in uni, and so I was always glad of a little escape when I could. Mine and Andrei’s quick trip to Bath was definitely a highlight, it rained all bloody day but it was so incredibly cute there and it just meant that it was a great place to find a nice restaurant to pig out and drink. I always think that living in Oxford the past few years has been the perfect situation in terms of location because of course, London is practically down the road but so is beautiful Bath and Bristol in the other direction. By down the road I obviously do mean a short train ride away but still, it could not be more perfect.

April also always sees the return of Coachella and unfortunately, between a couple of issues like erm, lets think, lack of a huge amount of money, influencer status and an ever increasing list of responsibilities, we just couldn’t make it there this year. *Sigh* So of course, in honour of my housemate, Remy and her 21st birthday, we brought ‘Remchella’ to our little student house and dingy back garden.

May

Oh May, it is always a good month. It is the month of finishing for a long-ass summer break and when all my worries just seem to slip away. So, followed by some celebratory rooftop cocktails to congratulate ourselves on surviving second year and finally being able to enjoy the glorious weather we were getting, I was off as eager as ever with Andrei in tow for our first summer getaway to Milan. The Italian city was incredible and everything I expected it to be and I will be returning eventually when I need a good shop. As for our day trip to Lake Como, well it was a blissful one and as much as Andrei will always like to play it cool, even he thought it was beautiful.  You can also read all about our Milan experience here.

 

June

June. Well this was the big one. The one I had been waiting and saving for all year, it was finally here. We were finally off the Singapore and Bali!!!! We left at the end of June and so, I was practically buzzing with excitement and pre-travel jitters for the entire month followed by a jam-packed couple of weeks of working. My mum, dad and Grandma came to visit just before I left and gave me a few more words of encouragement towards my ever increasing stress towards the holiday (don’t ask me why, I’m a control freak and it was pretty daunting)

So we touched down in Singapore after my first ever experience of long-haul flying, I had not slept the entire flight and I felt disgusting but I was here. Finally. We only had two nights in Singapore before moving on to Bali, but I honestly have never been to somewhere so incredibly amazing. I am so sad that it is so far away because I just want to go back already. It is just like no other place, it is so cosmopolitan and modern but also so green, traditional and clean. We managed to pack in exploring Little India, Suntec City (because a gal has gotta shop no matter where she is), its amazing Botanical Gardens and of course, the insane and magnificent Garden’s By the Bay. I honestly cannot say I have ever witnessed something so amazing as the Marina Bay Sands hotel, its bars and its shopping centre fit with a bloody canal and three story Louis Vitton. It really is a magical place and there was so much we did not get to experience and I will 100% be back.

 

July

Singapore was ticked off the list and we were then on to Bali. This was really one to tick off my mental bucket-list. We spent two weeks there in July and hopped from Seminyak, to Gili Trawangan and then to Ubud, or as I like to call it, ‘Cheaper Ibiza’, to the ‘Island of Mushrooms’ and then on to ‘Cultural Bali’. This is just a genuine observation, I absolutely loved every single place we visited. I actually wanted to write an entire travel guide to Bali and I think I probably still will one day but when I came round to writing it after returning back to the UK, Bali was hit with its awful abundance of earthquakes and Gili T in particular was really affected by the disaster. It just did not seem like an appropriate time to be writing away about my amazing time on the island when its locals and most recent tourists had just faced some terrifying times, whilst its inhabitants still were and most likely still are struggling from the aftermath. So at least in this review of my year I have a more suitable opportunity to briefly sum up my experience of Bali.

Seminyak –  Amazing beach clubs and the most affordable prices, hence the whole ‘Cheaper Ibiza’ label I have given it. Its such an approachable and welcoming place for all ages though and through the help of its locals, you are always made to feel right at home whether it be a day by the pool, or with a local driver or just a short taxi drive in the crazy infamous BlueBird taxis. The food is incredible, the boutiques and interior shop windows are some of the most aesthetically pleasing I have ever seen and they do brunch like no other. I think a mixture of Australian influence is what has made Seminyak what it is today but it does really work.

Gili Trawangan – This island was an experience to say the least. We probably had the best and worst day of our holiday during our two full days here. Simply because it was halfway through the holiday, we were both getting travel bugs and sunstroke was hitting us big time. So when we first arrived, a mixture of all that along with the culture shock of being on essentially a remote island in the middle of the sea where the only form of transport is bike or horse was a bit of a, you know, yikes moment. Lighting was limited at night and the island actually seemed quiet at first therefore, our first impressions were not great. Hours later however, we were sat amongst the party eating dinner and just could not wait to have a dance. The next day however, we hired bikes for the day and zoomed around the island to really appreciate the sheer beauty of the surroundings. We found a little quiet cove for a sunbathe and enjoyed the perfect blue sea opposite us. As the sun started to set we were on a mission to get that perfect sunset shot that Gili T is so renowned for and we probably hopped on every swing on the island, we even got some snaps in the sea with some horses which was literally the cherry on top, followed by another evening joining the party, eventually Gili T really did impress.

Ubud – The last destination was our real opportunity to relax in Bali and enjoy some of its culture. I tried more local food, we treated ourselves to a proper resort rather than another Air BnB and we got to see Bali in its traditional setting away from some of its Western influences. It seemed like the ideal way to finish our holiday and it really was.

 

August

Back to the UK meant back to reality and back to working. Not that I complained, I was in need of some dollar after my travels and with a last minute trip booked to Prague in September, it was time to save and quickly. Not that I didn’t enjoy a couple of indulgent days roaming around Oxford in the sun though.

Oh and of course, how could I forget. Me and my best friends moved into our final year house and made our lil tiny student house a home.

 

September

Hello Prague, I am here. We had arrived in our Air BnB with its eerie wall-art that included a clown coat rack, two young school girls that felt like they were staring into our souls and a family in the park with no faces…yeah, me and Andrei hardly slept that holiday. Still, we were comfortable and had everything we needed for a week in the city. I mean a week in Prague was just a dream. The weather was incredible, an added bonus towards our final glimpse of summer and there was just so much to do. With the beauty of a week to fit everything in, we took it slow and just saw where our days took us. It was honestly the most relaxing holiday I have ever had even though we were out and about every day. We brunched, we walked, we shopped and we explored – oh and we drank. A lot. £1.20 for a glass of wine people! I’m just saying.

You can find an entire summary of Prague here.

 

October

Feeling incredibly at home in our new house, October meant it was time for a party. First, we had Bre’s 90’s themed birthday party which we clearly all forgot about and made into a Clueless themed party since apparently no one else actually lived in the 90’s. The height of our creativity, clearly. Nevertheless, it was a night. We then had further celebrations in the form of a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – minus the tea and replaced with a hell of a lot of prosecco and gin. Then to finish October off, I got myself a £3 wig and some £1 white hairspray and decided that I was Cruella de Vil for the evening. Safe to say I shall not be dying my hair black any time soon.

 

November

November was a month of achievements. My brother graduated and I was full of pride, prosecco and cake all day. Then me and my gal finally got our Team Leader sign off at work, the best recognition to get as I enter my fifth year at Topshop. My part-time job has served me well whilst I have been in education and although I cannot wait to leave after graduation and pursue all my future goals, I’ll be sad to leave my work family in the Oxford store.

 

December

The penultimate semester of university is over. Only 1 left to go. I am terrified.

Oh well, it is Christmas and so I have sat back, relaxed and enjoyed a well earned break before the most stressful couple of months of my life begin.

All in all, a friggen fabulous year.

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