2017: A REVIEW OF MY YEAR

“It’s been a year of firsts, new experiences, self-progression and ultimately, one of happiness. And that’s all we can ever ask for.”

It’s the 1st January and that calls for a little review of my year…

At the end of every month I’ve started doing a round up of what I’ve been up to as a way of appreciating all of the things I’ve achieved.

It seems that we can often forget to take in what we’ve been doing (or am I the only one that happens to?) as we’re constantly moving onto the next thing and forgetting about the last – no matter how minor or major it may have been. But, as my December was filled with the pretty obvious; Christmas parties, over-indulgence and lots of present buying, I thought I’d mix it up a little and this time do a review of my year instead.

Truth be told, I wasn’t planning on doing a review of my year – not only because I haven’t even been blogging for a year yet, but also because I didn’t actually think I’d done that much. Typical! But, after seeing other bloggers take a look back, it gave me all kinds of happy!

So, let’s say I’ve been ‘inspired’ to do my own, and I’ve got to say, after a quick look through my camera roll, I realised 2017 has been much busier than I first thought.

It’s been a year of firsts, new experiences, self-progression and ultimately, one of happiness. And that’s all we can ever ask for. So, let’s take a look back at my highlights…

The launch of Madelaineblogs

The first half of my 2017 started off as a non-blogger. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, I had no plans to start a blog in 2017. So, from January through to May, Madelaineblogs didn’t exist and wasn’t even in the pipeline. Not half as many photos were taken and my spare time and evenings home from work were spent being far more lazy.

Despite always loving the thought of having my own blog (if other people can do it, why the hell can’t I?!), I’d never really progressed with taking it any further. This was partly due to the thought of what others I knew would think of it, although I’m pleased to say I soon overcame the stigma of blogging. In fact, taking the plunge and starting a blog didn’t really come to the forefront until Harry and I decided to buy a ‘proper’ camera. It was originally meant for our holidays, but my new found love for photography and documenting my life as it were soon became apparent, and alas, Madelaineblogs was born.

It’s been a steep learning curve, it’s taken a lot of hours of each and every day and it’s a tricky game of not comparing yourself to other bloggers out there, but I’m loving it. Yes, I don’t have a huge following as of yet, but I’m pretty happy with how much I’ve managed to achieve in the space of 6 months. In fact, I still find it pretty crazy to think that people want to spend their time reading my blog when there are so many others out there. So out of all my experiences in 2017, I think this has to be the ultimate highlight for me. It’s something I’ve done myself, worked hard on and I’m excited to see where it goes in 2018. So if you’re reading this now, thank you! It means the world.

Furry additions to the family

In 2017, my Gran sadly lost her lovely dog Flynn due to old age. It was very quick and unexpected, and as my Gran lives on her own, she soon decided she wanted another dog to keep her company. As we got Flynn from Dog’s Trust, we headed back there, where we soon found another furry friend in April; Annie. We didn’t know much about her background, other than coming from Ireland. All we knew was that she was extremely timid; too scared to walk through doors, too scared to be on a lead, in fact, she was scared of pretty much everything. However, after some time working with her, she now seems like a completely different dog. She’s super obedient, far more confident, loves cuddles and absolutely adores my Gran. She’s even gone on her first holiday to see the sea, which she loved! 

Soon after this, in May, Harry and I also had our own little furry addition to bring home; our kitten Socks. My friend from work had 2 kittens, one which sadly didn’t make it, and so there was just the one left waiting for a new home. We almost didn’t end up with her – it was purely because my friend was let down by someone else that we took the plunge to get a cat. And thank God we did. Despite being a little terror at times, she’s the best decision we’ve ever made and has brought so much love and happiness to the both of us. It’s changed the dynamics in the house, from it just being a home for the both of us, to being a home for our little family. Yes, I may be turning into a slight cat lady, but I’m embracing it!

Feeling French

In May, Harry and I took our first break away of the year, with a trip away to France! We wanted to make the most of our time away by seeing as many places as possible. We explored the Dordoigne and Aquitaine area which was absolutely beautiful. Think croissants every morning, strolls through windy streets full of beautiful houses, warm weather and lots of vineyards (which really means lots of wine). It was absolute bliss!

Exploring Croatia

Then in July, Harry and I enjoyed our main holiday of the year, with a 2 week trip away to Croatia. I’ve been wanting to go here for a few years as it’s always looked so beautiful, and I can categorically say it really was as beautiful as the pictures look. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and I’d quite like to go back right about…now. Think crystal clear blue sea, amazing food, insane views, and of course, lots of sun! As we had 2 weeks away, we made the most of our time and tried to explore as many different places as possible – and it’s so easy to do as travel in Croatia is so simple. 

Indulging. Lots!

This year has seen a little more indulgence (I blame Harry) as we’ve spent a few more trips out visiting different restaurants, bars and coffee shops – which has been right up my street. Think cute interiors, tasty drinks and delicious food. Some of the places we’ve visited this year include Marco Pierre White, The Wilderness, Zindiya, Bar Smultronstalle, Damascena, The Butchers Social and Caffiened, to name a few.

 Hen do at Edinburgh Fringe

August followed the trend of the summer, with another trip away – this time to celebrate my friend’s hen do in Edinburgh. We went at the time of the Edinburgh Fringe. This was the first time I’ve ever been and it did not disappoint. In fact, it’s one I definitely want to go back to as it was so fun with so much to go and see! It was a long weekend that was full of laughs, new memories and lots of fancy dress. What more could you want?!

A year of weddings

This year I also had my first (two) weddings to attend! Yes, that’s correct. I’ve never been to a wedding before – shock! One was in the summer for Harry’s cousin, and one was in Autumn for my friend at work. Both were quite different, but equally as lovely, and of course, both of the brides looked insane! Let’s see what weddings we have in 2018…

House Renovations

Harry bought our house a year and a half ago and since then, we’ve been busy turning it into a home. For the most part, this just meant buying furniture to our taste, and painting over the awful, bright colours which were apparent in almost every room.

This has of course meant a lot of our weekends in 2017 have been spent decorating, huffing and puffing, and building furniture. But, once this was all done, in October, we decided to up our renovation game and completely rip out the bathroom and start again. Although it seemed to take a while to do, it’s been so worth it and I’m pleased to say it’s almost all done. Just a lick of paint and I’ll be able to fully share how it looks with you all! 

A weekend in Wales

My family and I also had a little trip away in October, this time to Wales. My Gran came along (with Annie) and it was great to explore somewhere in the UK. Despite the weather, it was a lovely weekend away. Plus, it made me realise just how beautiful the UK really can be – and how beautiful our beaches are! It made me realise that we don’t always need to go abroad to have a break away – we have so much beauty in the UK to explore too. So much so, that in 2018, I’m going to make a conscious effort to explore more places right here – even ones on my doorstep. You can read all about our trip here

Attending my first blogger event

In December, I threw myself in at the deep end and went along to my first Birmingham bloggers event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. It was a fab evening meeting other bloggers in my area, and was a moment of realisation for me; going solo to events really isn’t that bad. In fact, I’d go as far as to say, I quite enjoyed it!

Looking back, it’s been a busy, well-travelled year and has been one of new challenges, new arrivals and new experiences, all of which have made my 2017 pretty special.

I’ve already set myself some new challenges and goals to achieve in 2018 before my 25th birthday. With more travel plans in the pipeline, even more ideas for my blog and the motivation to work even harder, I have a feeling 2018 could be another good one. Here’s hoping!

Happy New Year all!

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