You guys probably don't remember me.. I've been away for just over a year now! Wuuuuuuut?!? To explain, I took a very unexpected, prolonged blogging break.. for no good reason. At the end of 2012, I learnt some very important life lessons, but I learnt them the hard way.. which resulted in some pretty unfavorable consequences. Without dwelling too much on the past, this meant my blog had to take a back seat whilst I sorted myself out. A year later, I'm making a comeback and I literally could not be more excited! You may have noticed my newly designed layout and header, do you like it? I have high hopes for sleep.wake.hope this year and it's safe to say you'll be seeing a lot more of me.
I'd also like to thank everyone who has stuck around this year. Thank you for all the emails, tweets and comments. Although I may have been lazy with replies, all messages were acknowledged and appreciated as always.
(Katy and I)
So, what have I been up to throughout 2013? Firstly in December/January, I welcomed a very special person back into my life. Katy and I were inseparable throughout school and she is the kind of friend everyone should have. I'm actually getting emotional thinking about our friendship because it is something I truly treasure. For a couple of years, we stopped talking due to a really silly fallout, but putting our differences aside, we are again, inseparable and I really couldn't be more grateful for all of the precious memories we share.
Also in January, I took up a full time position as a foreign exchange sales cashier at a new store opening near to where I live. Therefore, I was sent off for 6-8 weeks of training in Oxford, meaning living in a Premier Inn on my own for nearly 2 months. NOT fun.
Next, excuse the unflattering picture, but I finally had my right eye operated on to prevent it from being so lazy! A squint operation is something I've always been familiar with, having lazy eyes from birth, and at some point I will probably have to go through it again. I'm not going into detail because honestly, it grosses me out, but i'm grateful that my eyes are back to normal(ish).
(Me and Nick)
In May, I was very lucky and welcomed another very special person into my life. I began dating Nick who I'd met through Katy and her work friends. He was and still is a true gentleman. Like the kind who will carry your bags for you and bring you breakfast in bed. He makes me feel brave and strong, like I can achieve anything if I set my mind to it, and if it wasn't for him, I don't think I would have had the confidence to make a return to my blog. He has also started his own which you can read here.
(Sunset Picnic, Weston-Super-Mare, Wookey Hole)
Summer provided an opportunity to travel, explore and revel in time spent with friends. Nick and I visited some his family the New Forest, which was really beautiful and gave us the chance to go to Bournemouth for the day. We then took a day trip to Wookey Hole, which I had never been to before, explored the caves and played crazy golf. Spent a long weekend in Falmouth with his brother and barbecued on the beach. Traveled with friends to the beach at Weston-Super-Mare, built sandcastles and shared ice lollies. Spent the evenings searching forests and fields for geocaches (to find out more, go to Nicks blog).. the list goes on.. but those were the highlights :)
(Me at Wookey Hole, Me and Katy munching frozen yogurt)
As the summer progressed, I also had to make a big, life-changing decision.Originally, I was planning to begin studying fashion buying at De Monfort University in Leicester, but after settling into my job and meeting new friends, the appeal seriously wore off. It took a lot of thinking, but I finally came to the conclusion to go back into education because I wanted to make something bigger of myself rather than working in retail positions all my life. However, I settled on studying Marketing Communications at the University of the West of England, which is roughly half an hour from my family home. Due to the last minute decision, I had to go through clearing, which is a total nightmare!!! I also had to find somewhere to live term-time.. although my family live nearby, it's not quite close enough to justify the commuting time and expenses. Plus, moving out gives you more opportunities to socialise and really learn independence. If anyone finds themselves in the same boat I was with regards to the big uni debate, don't hesitate to drop me an email because I know exactly what it's like.
(Grace, Ermira, Me, Joe, Jordan, Nicole)
On the 13th September, I moved into a six bed flat with other university students. Living independently for the first time definitely takes time to adjust to, but in the mean time, I had a fun filled freshers week and embarked on beginning my course. During freshers, I also celebrated my 20th birthday which did get slightly overlooked due to other obvious events, but I did spend the day relaxing with Nick and enjoying home cooked food with my family.
With regards to my job, I dropped to part time hours before finally leaving in November. I think having a part time job throughout uni is really useful, but you have to allow yourself time to settle into your new lifestyle and surroundings first. For me, it all got a bit too much and I started suffering from anxiety, so I had to "suck the poison out of my life" and start giving myself a break. This also meant getting rid of my poor old beaten up car.. Living right in the City Centre of Bristol makes using public transport quite easy for me, plus my car had been broken into once already and it wasn't worth the risk of keeping.
(Ermira and I on Halloween, Typical student tea, Nicole and I)
As the Autumn slipped into Winter, we sadly faced another break in, but this time it was our flat. I was very lucky and nothing of mine was taken or damaged, but the thought of a total stranger intruding is quite sickening.
But! We picked ourselves up and partied on.
(Me and Nick, Me and Katy, Me and Gary)
In November, Nick and I went on holiday for a week to Centre Parcs with Katy and her boyfriend, Gary. If you've been to Centre Parcs before, you'll know it's absolutely lovely. We went swimming in the Subtropical Paradise pool everyday and enjoyed the white water rapids and plunge pool. Because we went near Christmas, we were also treated to the most breathtaking firework display over the lake and Christmas decorations could be found throughout the forest. The pancake house was a huge hit after working up an appetite on our bikes and we also tried geocaching - Centre Parcs edition. The whole week was a definite highlight in my year.
With every high comes a low, and on the way back from Centre Parcs, I stopped in to visit an unwell relative who sadly passed away in my company. This was so so upsetting, as any death is, but I'm grateful to have spent that short time with her before it happened, I hadn't seen her for almost ten years!
Finally, for the most wonderful time of the year! Nick and I invested in our first ever Christmas tree and spent the festive season visiting friends and family. We did exchange gifts and completely spoilt each other aswell as being spoilt by each of our families and ate far too much, as you do at Christmas. However, I think my favourite part of Christmas this year has been spending it at home.. just relaxing with my family, playing the occasional game of monopoly and risk. That's what Christmas is really all about isn't it? I also had a wonderful New Year, welcoming it in singing and dancing with close friends.
2013 was a juggled year of ups and downs. I've heard a lot of positivity regarding the year, but i'm actually glad it's behind me. Don't get me wrong, I'm so grateful for the new relationships I've established and the opportunity to start university. What I have learnt is to face adversary with a optimistic attitude and make the best out of bad situations. Here's to a new start!
Dedicated to Caroline, Rest in Peace.
P.S My Mum has also ventured into the world of blogging! The diary of a homemaker, hop on over to be inspired If you leave a comment, you'll make her day :)