Sunday, 31 December 2017

A Year in Review // Seventeen Highlights of 2017

So, it's been a while to say the least. In August I fully intended to come back from my trip to LA and Florida and write up a travel diary but I guess life happened and then I was swept into the craziness that is third year of university and before I knew it it was December and I hadn't written anything in months.

I think it was a combination of both feeling like I didn't have time and also not really wanting to write which led to this hiatus but I didn't want to miss the little tradition I've had over the past couple of years of writing up my highlights of the year. And so here I am, back and raring to write right now.

2017 has been a year and a half. Incredible and exciting but also a frustrating and trying year in equal measure. Like everything in life it seems, it's been full of highs and lows. But the highs have definitely outweighed the lows and they have included these seventeen things...


1 // Going to Lapland, Finland - I started off 2017 in the best way possible; going on holiday to Lapland with my Mum and two of my family friends. It was an absolute dream and I'm desperate to go back as soon as I can. If you want to read more about it, you can find my travel diary here.

2 // My twentieth birthday - My birthday this year really was perfect. I had my hair blow dried in the morning (an essential to any birthday!), had brunch with my Mum and Grandma and then hopped on the train to Exeter where my closest friends and I ordered Deliveroo for dinner and then went out to our SU. That was such a fun night out and it was completely the right balance between being chilled but also having a celebration. Special shout out to my friend Nathan for making the effort that night to come out even though he was on crutches from a hockey injury!

3 // Going on my first proper date - If you've read my blog a lot this year then you'll know that this first dating experience didn't exactly end well, but I'm genuinely so proud of myself for trying dating out a bit this year. It's actually kind of terrifying to put yourself out there and up for rejection but I really feel like I'm learning that the best things in life often happen when you take a bit of a risk, and for me giving a guy your number is *definitely* a risk. I actually had such an incredible time on my first date which resulted from said giving a guy my number, and there have definitely been highs and lows in dating, but overall it's been such a good experience for me.

4 // Getting a first in my 7,000 word history project - In the Spring term of second year I had to do essentially a mini history dissertation. It was an almost entirely independent task which I could do on any part of history I wanted (within reason - there needed to be a big enough source base) and I wrote mine on African-American women's involvement in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. I poured blood, sweat and tears into this project and to have it all pay off when I got a first really meant the world to me. Academic achievement really drives me and it's so nice when hard work pays off, so this was a definite highlight of the year.

5 // Seeing Ed Sheeran live - This has been on my bucket list for years and I finally got to tick it off. Ed Sheeran is one of my favourite artists and getting to see him in Newcastle with an incredible view of the stage and with my best friend by my side was just incredible. A particular highlight was him playing Barcelona which isn't part of his Divide Tour set list but is one of my favourite songs from the album and has a special place in mine and Lish's hearts as Barcelona was where we went on our girls' holiday after A Levels.

6 // Going to a live recording of Ctrl Alt Delete Podcast - I've followed Emma Gannon's work and blog for a few years now and have loved listening to her amazing podcast ever since she started making it (if you haven't ever listened to it stop what you're doing and download an episode right now!). With that in mind, I was so excited to go and see her record an episode live in Waterstones on Tottenham Court Road. The episode was with the wonderful Gemma Cairney and after the interview (which was just great) I got to meet Emma briefly and it was *so* lovely. Just the best thing ever when you meet someone in real life and they are just as they come across online - Ellie and I left that evening on such a high; it was super inspiring.

7 // Meeting Meg Fee - Speaking of how great it is when you meet someone in real life and they're just as fab as they come across online (pretty good segway there if I do say so myself!), during my Easter holidays last year I got to meet Meg Fee. Meg is my favourite 'blogger' and her talent with words is indescribable. I've read her blog for years now and have found her words such a comfort so it was incredible to get to meet her in a pub in London with some other amazing ladies and to find that she is just as lovely in person. I am beyond excited for her first book to be published this May and to hopefully get to meet her again.

8 // Going to Poltimore Festival - I wrote about it at the time, but this day really stands out to me as one of the happiest days of the year. Poltimore Festival is a small but beautiful festival in Exeter's countryside and I went this year with four of my best friends. Summer exams were over, the sun was shining, the music was great and it was just a perfect day. I can't wait for next year's one!

9 // Paris - In June I went to Paris (my Dad currently lives about an hour outside Paris) with my sister Meg and her boyfriend to celebrate Meg's birthday. We were only there for a couple of nights but it was lovely to spend quality time together and to get to spend time in Paris again.

10 // Starting a podcast - Again, this is a project that's been on the backburner while uni has taken over our lives but this year Ellie and I started a podcast called The Time of Our Lives. It's all about uni and us trying to debunk the myth that uni is this perfect time and instead just talk about our experiences frankly and honestly. I'm hoping we'll pick this back up in the new year because we have so many ideas for it but I'm so proud of us for trying this new thing and getting it up and running.

11 // Wimbledon 2017 - If you know me at all, you'll know that for the past two years I have worked at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and that I absolutely adore it. From the atmosphere, to the people I work with who have become some of my closest friends, to the experiences I've been lucky enough to have there, it really is the dream summer job. And this year totally lived up to those expectations - let's be honest, Federer hi-fiving me after winning the men's singles tournament is not just a 2017 highlight but probably going to be a life highlight.

12 // Sicily - Sarah and I went for a long weekend in Sicily over the Summer (which you can read about here) and it was such a lovely few days. Take me anywhere in Italy and it's almost guaranteed to be a highlight for me. Palermo was stunning and I loved every minute.

13 // Ramsgate - Myself and most of my friendship group from sixth form went to Ramsgate in Kent for a few days in the Summer and had the *best* time. Although I love travelling abroad sometimes you can't beat an Air Bnb in an English seaside town with your best friends. We cooked, we drank, we laughed, we had a murder mystery party - it was such a fun few days and I love those girls to absolute pieces.

14 // LA & Florida - I never got round to writing about this like I said but this was really the trip of a lifetime for me. Myself, Ellie and Soph went to LA for a week followed by a week in Florida and it was such a highlight. Before this holiday I'd never been outside of Europe and it was amazing to get to go to the US for the first time with two of the nicest people. Soph actually vlogged a lot of the trip so if you're interested in watching those vlogs you can find them here.

15 // Women of the World Festival - This year at Exeter I've joined Razz Magazine, which means that I get to write for the students' online arts and lifestyle blog. In October I was lucky enough to be given a press pass to the Women of the World Festival which came to Exeter in exchange for a review. You can read that review here but it was so amazing to get to spend the weekend listening to the most interesting panels on all kinds of topics ranging from women and mental health, women in politics and consent. WOW is an incredible festival enabling a platform for some of the most important questions in our society to be talked about and I'd highly recommend it if you have a chance to go to one near you.

16 // Living in my third year house - I couldn't write this post without talking about my third year university house. The three boys I live with and Ellie are four of the best people I know (don't let it go to your heads if you're reading this boys) and living with them is (mostly) the absolute best. I can't believe that I'm in my final year of university but because I am I feel like I'm really appreciating every minute and, although it's not been the easiest of terms, it has been the most fun one so far and it wouldn't be the same without these four - I'm going to miss living with them so much when we all leave Exeter at the end of this academic year.

17 // Making new friends - This was my final highlight of last year too and I didn't really expect to be writing it again this year. Because I have such amazing friends already I'm always a little surprised when I make new great ones. But it's amazing how you can make room for new friends and so I've done just that this year and it's been such a pleasure to get to know some new people who have each taught me something about what it is to be a friend. Good friends really are the best, aren't they?

So there you have it. What a year it's been! Wishing you all the happiness in the world for the New Year and let's hope 2018 will be a good one!