A Love Letter to… 2018

a love letter to...

 

Dear 2018

I’ve been doing this letter for a few years now, and if nothing else, it’s a good excuse to actually pull my finger out and blog. I probably write this post in the same frame of mind every year, with the start of a brand new year approaching, I feel motivated to give myself a kick up the bum and actually provide this blog with some content. We’ll see how long that lasts!

I’ve been thinking about this past 12 months a lot, and it’s been a pretty OK year. I’ve done lots of fun things, and nothing disastrous has happened (no broken limbs this year), but equally, nothing truly momentous has happened. I feel as though I’ve been resting on my laurels a bit, in all honesty; maybe kind of waiting for something to happen, but in my 36 years on the planet, if I’ve learnt nothing else (I’ve actually learnt a lot of things), I at least know that good things don’t actually come to those who wait, they come to those who go out and make them happen. So that’s going to be my mantra for the year, especially when it comes to writing. I’m going to try and make something happen in 2019!

2018 was the year I went vegan. As I write this, I’ve been vegan for a whole 364 days, as I took part in Veganuary at the beginning of the year. I have written a little bit about it before, and as we go forward, I’m hoping to actually blog some of the amazing food that I eat, both at home and out and about.

I’ve spent another year, on and off, going along to Mark Kermode’s regular monthly event at the BFI Southbank – this has been my third year, and though I haven’t made it to as many as in the past, I’ve been lucky enough to see the likes of Michael Caine, Hugh Grant, Mike Leigh, Josie Lawrence, Steve McQueen and Rami Malek, amongst others.

I’ve been abroad twice, (which is kind of a big deal for me, someone who doesn’t travel that much) to two countries that I have never visited before. The first was a press trip for the magazine I work for, to a beautiful hotel in the Austrian Alps, and then over Christmas, my friend Hannah and I went to Portugal, for an all-inclusive five days in the sun. It certainly made for a different kind of Christmas, and I’m missing the blue skies already!

I went to a Dodge Brothers concert, to a J.R.R. Tolkien exhibition in Oxford, went to Scaresville (a truly epic haunted village Halloween event), visited Audley End, I went to YALC, I had all my hair cut off (and regretted it). I went to see The West Wing Weekly being recorded as the show went on tour, at Union Chapel, and absolutely loved every single minute of it. If I had to pick a highlight of the year, that might be it. I survived the Beast from the East and all the annoying snow it brought, and the heatwave of 2018, and all the annoying high temperatures it brought (never happy, except in spring and autumn).

I gained a new baby niece, taking the nibling total to 456 (or something like that). I got to spend time with my friends and family, though never as much as I would like. I started my driving lessons again, in the hope that one day soon I’ll be able to take and pass a test, and be able to spend more time with the people I love, due to not having to rely on stupid public transport.

I worried, worried, and worried some more about the state of the world, and despaired at the actions of the people who are supposed to know what they are doing. We’re now staring down the barrel of the truly godawful prospect of Brexit in March, and who knows what’s going to happen then? I’ve realised that all I can really do is concentrate on me and what I can do, both for myself, and for those who are worse off than me, and hope that things don’t turn out as badly as we’re all expecting them.

What a cheery way to end this look back at the year! Farewell 2018, thanks for the memories.

A Love Letter to… is an ongoing series (that I tend to update once a year.)

A love letter to… 2017

A Love Letter to...

Dear 2017

Well now. You’ve kicked my arse. Seriously, whether it’s because it was a tough year, or simply because I am just getting older, I’ve never felt as tired at the end of a year as I did with you.

Between a broken limb, a number of hospital visits for other family members, work stress, and a phone down a toilet, it really has been quite the twelve months. (I know you may think it silly to put the loss of a phone in such a list, but it really was quite the inconvenience.)

With the rough, however, there has been, of course, plenty of smooth, and I’ve had some really good times. There were no new family members this year, for the first time in five years (I think). But 2018 will see our number grow again, and in the meantime, all the young members of the family continue to be truly amazing.

In other events, I went on holiday to Dorset with Hannah, and finally visited Gold Hill. I visited Cambridge for the first time, and then went back two more times. I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour for the second time, and visited Lavenham, a stunning little village about half an hour from where I live (a wonderfully Instagrammable place). I finally got the chance to go to the Olympic Stadium, and see a night of the Para Athletics championship. I went to two weddings, one was to celebrate with an old school friend, and the other with a work friend. And I went to Disneyland Paris! I had to do it with a broken wrist, but did it I did (?) and I had a lovely time.

Work was tough, probably harder than it’s ever been, with ever more to do and what feels like an ever decreasing amount of time in which to do it. But life would be boring without a challenge, and I’m looking forward to a brand new year to get stuck into. In amongst all the hard work, my job took me back to Manchester and Glasgow, two cities that I like but would like the chance to explore outside of work, and also on a work outing to try some archery. I was terrible at it, of course, but it was good fun. I even went along to a beer festival with my colleagues, despite a) not liking beer, and b) not liking socialising that much. It was good fun!

Once again, I spent much of my year visiting London for various different events, most notably my monthly engagement at the BFI Southbank taking in Mark Kermode’s regular event. It’s been another amazing year of guests, with the likes of Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine and Toby Jones. Yep, Toby Jones. I was also lucky enough to go along to a different event to see THE TOM HANKS talking about his book, which was amazing and surreal.

So aside from some truly awful moments, both personally and on a global level, there was much to be celebrated in this year of years. I have a feeling that 2018 might be more of the same, but I’m willing to give it the same chance I gave you, 2017. Thanks for the memories…

Love Jane

A Love Letter to… is an ongoing series (that I tend to update once a year.)

A love letter to… 2016

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Dear 2016,

It’s been a year since I wrote to your predecessor, and though series on this blog don’t usually last long, I’m pleased that we are here once again, with me writing to you on your last day.

What to say about you as a year? I think everyone agrees that you’ve been eventful at best, disastrous at worst. On a global level, there’s no doubt that you’ve been probably one of the worst of my 34 years on the planet. Right-wing politics has taken a stranglehold on the world, leading to two of the worst decisions (in my opinion) that mankind could have made: Brexit and Trump. The people who support these decisions do not tend to hold views that are in sync with my own, and so I find myself in a position where the things I hold true are not being represented at a political level. But I believe that there are enough good people in the world that hopefully one day we’ll look back on you, 2016, as an anomaly.

But while political storms raged across the world, it’s important to remember the good things that happened on a personal level. I became a great-aunt! I can say in all honesty that my niece’s daughter Peggie is one of my favourite people, and I am so looking forward to watching her grow up. She’s lucky enough to have a middle name that matches my first name (I double checked, it was for me), and while I don’t get to see her quite as much as I would like, any time spent with her is wonderful.

Peggie was (technically) the only new addition to the family, which is odd for a family that grows as quickly as mine. A wedding in October brought the official tally for new additions to two, as Peggie’s mum and dad married in Spain. But Paul has been a part of the family for so long that it was a technicality!

In terms of work, I feel as though you were a good year. I don’t work for a company that has an official structure for promotion. But I like to think that I have been rewarded for my hard work in more ways than one, and I think I’ve finally reached a point where, when someone asks me what I do, I know what to say. I work in marketing!

A love letter to a year on this blog would not be complete without the mentioning of two certain radio presenters. My love for Wittertainment is steadfast, and you, 2016, have brought me some extra friends because of it! Mark Kermode has been in residence, once a month, at the BFI, and I have been to ten of the eleven shows (#superfan). I have been lucky enough to do this with my Wittertainment friend Chloe, who I have known for a while, and Liz and Goldy, two fellow Kermode acolytes. I’m so lucky that I get to spend time with these wonderful women who are helping to set the world alight in different ways.

The other Wittertainer has been a part of my year as well; I met Simon Mayo at YALC in July, where he was promoting his wonderful YA novel Blame. He’s such a gent, it strikes me that this kind of thing isn’t necessarily his favourite way to spend time, but he’s generous and chatty and I love that I have met him in person three years in a row now.

What else has happened? I went to Iceland; my first time on a plane in many years, and though it was only a short trip, it was amazing, and I’d love to return. I visited Glasgow for the first time (another plane trip), though that was for work and I got to see very little of the city. October saw two weddings; the aforementioned Spanish wedding of my niece and new nephew-in-law (another plane trip!), and my university friends Montanna and Ryan in Surrey. Yet again, I went to my friend’s caravan in Camber Sands for the weekend with my best friends, and had a lovely time.

Oh, and I moved! You were the year for a new beginning, 2016, as my friend Hannah and I had to vacate the chilly flat that we were renting, so we found somewhere new, and it’s lovely. It has a name (as well as a number, we’re not that posh), and it’s warmer, cosier, and just generally lovlier than where we were before. I still struggle with the age-old problem of keeping my bedroom tidy, and I no longer have a bath (woe is me), but I love it here.

All that’s left to wonder is what your successor has in store. All good things, I hope. Though with that inauguration and that exit looming, who knows? Let’s just try and make it a good one.

Smell ya later, 2016

Love Jane

A love letter to… is an ongoing series that hasn’t really been ongoing since this time last year, and only has a paltry four entries. So it’s not really a series at all. 

A love letter to… 2015

EST. 2015

Dear 2015,

Well, what a funny old year it has been. I dropped a line to your predecessor this time last year, and I thought it would be a nice tradition to continue.

You’ve not been a great year for blogging. I’ve always had an up and down relationship with this strange hobby, but this is the first year it has taken a real back seat to real life. This is mainly due to the fact that I just haven’t had the time, but also because for a while, I fell out of love with blogging a bit. We’ll see how things develop, but I finally feel excited again about things at Is That You Darling.

Personally, you were something of a milestone year, as I officially moved out of home. I went to university as a mature student, and when that was over I wasn’t in a position to move out, but finally, at the grand old age of 32, I managed it! I now live with my friend Hannah in a tiny little flat near Colchester, and aside from the fact that it’s almost unbearably cold in the winter, I love it, and I’m happy to have finally ticked off a major box in the adult column.

I’ve had a lot of fun with you, 2015. As with last year, though I might have spent too much money on clothes, I’ve been trying to concentrate on making memories, and I have some special ones to cherish. I saw Ward Thomas (again), and visited a town called Ugley. I went to Scotland for the first time, visiting Edinburgh to see Radio 2 broadcast live (a dream come true). I went on yet another caravan holiday with my best friends, and had the usual amazing time. I went to my first book launch, and was in the same esteemed company as Stanley Tucci for a couple of hours. I went to see The Proclaimers (!), I went back to Hyde Park for Radio 2’s Festival in a Day and saw, amongst other people, Bryan Adams, The Corrs and, yes, of course, Ward Thomas and The Shires once more.

I’ve gained a couple of new members of the family too, in the form of a new niece and nephew. I’ve seen my family much less than I used to when I lived at home, which has taken some getting used to, but I guess it just makes the times I do see them all the more special. It would help if I could drive, as my new home isn’t *that* far away from most of them, but I can’t. Hopefully that will change in the coming year, however!

And, even though this letter is already too long, I can’t finish it without a mention of my continuing interest in the work of Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode. You were the first year in many that saw a live broadcast of Wittertainment, but as I was working, I was spared the disappointment of applying for tickets and inevitably failing to get them! I did, however, see Simon Mayo during my aforementioned Edinburgh trip, and I finally managed to see a Dodge Brothers gig, in Camden, with my Wittertainment friend Chloe. And miraculously, you were a year in which the good doctors released a book, which I was lucky enough to review, and when I headed along to the accompanying tour date in London, Mark and Simon were very kind to know who I was based on my review. When I headed along to the second London date, I ended up on stage, which was amazing and surreal, and resulted in my receiving a t-shirt that says ‘I’ve been seen by the Movie Doctors.’ All in all, quite an amazing turn of events!

All in all, 2015, I’d say you’ve been an up-and-down kind of a year. Some very exciting things have happened alongside some real contemplative moments, and while I know I’m lucky in many ways, I won’t look back on you as the best year of my life. So thanks for the memories, and I hope 2016 is even better!

Love Jane

A Love Letter to… is an ongoing series (that admittedly could do with a few more entries!)