2021 - a year in reflection

2021: A Reflection

Well, I don’t think any of us saw 2021 turning out quite the way it did, especially after the sh*tshow that was 2020. That said, while it has certainly had its challenges, 2021 has been a much more positive year for me. I love writing these blog posts each year as it really gives me an opportunity to reflect and consider what it is I want to achieve next year. I hope it does the same for you! 2021 actually started out with a four month lockdown, which wasn’t ideal considering I would be turning 30, and had hoped for exciting things to happen after a rough 2020. That said, the year has gone from strength to strength, and I’m ending the year feeling pretty content. As always, let’s review how I got on with my 2021 goals, shall we?

  • Find a new career pathway (and ideally a promotion) that makes me happy. It makes me feel very happy to say I’ve smashed this one out of the park. This time a year ago I was pretty miserable in a role where I didn’t feel valued at all, albeit gaining valuable experience with Nestle as my client. I was offered a new job with a tasty new salary in June which meant travelling to London every other week, but I quickly discovered it wasn’t for me. Roll forward a couple of months and an appropriately timed DM on LinkedIn, and I took a chance on a new company. I now work remotely, I’m content and challenged, and so far really happy in my job for the first time in a while!
  • Finally move out of Cheltenham – I have plans, but hopefully Covid will be on board in 2021! Well no, not quite. I had plans to move to Australia literally just before Covid, but the pandemic had other plans. I left London last summer to move back to my hometown of Cheltenham, and have kinda managed to stay.
  • Embrace turning 30 (eek!) I’m not quite sure I have ever embraced it to be truthful! I still can’t quite believe I’m 30, and it certainly wasn’t the day I had planned, but I’m trying to make the best of life by travelling and doing fun things where I’ve been able to after lockdown and the restrictions.
  • Move somewhere where it’s easy to make new friends and meet new people.
  • Travel further afield. Smashed this one this year, and my god, how good it has felt! This year, I visited Cyprus for a solo trip to the sun for a week while I was in between jobs, Malta for a wonderful holiday, and also Lithuania for a solo city break. I had planned to visit Lille and Brussels for New Year, but sadly with the new restrictions, that’s off the cards for now.
  • Keep up my fitness and get to a body shape I’ve not reached before. Despite the gyms being closed for a large portion of this year, I got very into home workouts and was doing a lot of kettlebell activities. I felt the strongest I’ve felt in a long time at the beginning of the year, and was in good shape. If I’m honest though, towards the end of the year I’ve felt a little more ‘doughy’. This is mainly linked to spending so much time sat at a desk, so I’m looking forward to setting myself new goals for 2022.
  • Continue to show gratitude for everything I’m lucky to have. This is definitely still a work in progress, but this year I think I’ve felt more grateful for the people and things I have more than I ever have before.
  • Spend more time working to improve my blog and social media channels. My blog has had its most successful year yet, which is something I’m immensely proud of. This is even despite not having as much time to focus on it as I’d have liked. I’d love a full revamp next year, so watch this space. On socials, I’ve seen a slow steady growth, and would love to get more experimental next year.
  • Begin my own business venture. This didn’t take quite the turn I had hoped, but I have been very entrepreneurial this year and long may it continue! At the start of the year, I had also started experimenting with some lino printing to sell on Etsy, and I’d love to pick this up again in the new year.
  • Stop being so reflective, and look ahead to the future more. This is definitely still a work in progress, but I’m trying!
  • Don’t be afraid to let people go who are no longer serving me; recognise things are transient. This too is something I need to be more comfortable with. I’ve seen another couple of people go this year, but it really isn’t necessarily a bad thing. ‘Friends are either for a reason, a season, or a lifetime’.
  • Reduce my screen time and focus on being more productive through reading. Hmm well I’ve not quite reduced my screen time, but I’d definitely say the time I spend on a screen is more productive these days. It’s less aimless scrolling, and more working or building on my blog and socials. On holiday, I definitely reignited my love for reading, and I’d love to continue this in 2022.

Here are a few lessons and highlights along the way.

January

The start of 2021 was pretty bleak to be honest. The UK was entered into a fresh lockdown, that didn’t see an end for a few months. It made everything hard to plan, and felt tough. I felt insecure, and unsure of what was next. I worked out a lot, worked, and tried my best to muddle through, finding joy in the small things like coffees, jigsaws, and croissants. I also met somebody who has quickly become very important in my life!

Highlights of 2021

  • Becoming stronger despite the gyms being closed and doing lots of home workouts
  • Exploring lots of the local area and the Cotswold countryside
  • Learning how to lino print, and the prospect of turning it into a small business
  • Meeting someone special!

February

Lockdown rolled into February, with my 30th fast approaching. I took part in blogging events with new people virtually, and even pitched my very own client which was a little nerve-racking! I went on plenty of lockdown walks, and received some lovely PR gifts thanks to my socials. Relationships deepened, and I treated myself to my dream birthday present ahead of my 30th!

Highlights of 2021

  • Taking part in a cool virtual travel blogging event to do some Korean calligraphy
  • Engaging with my Instagram audience
  • Taking long walks and enjoying the small things in life through lockdown
  • Getting to know somebody new

March

March – the month I turned 30. I won’t lie, I had been dreading this. Society tells you you should have achieved X, Y, and Z by 30, but because I’d been living around and in Vancouver, I wasn’t quite there. At the end of the day, who cares? I’ll get there in my own time. My day wasn’t quite how I had planned, but it was special nonetheless. Life plodded on through another month in lockdown, and I did what I could to keep occupied.

Highlights of 2021

  • Turning 30
  • Working on some exciting partnerships through Instagram, including one with Discover Hong Kong
  • Buying the bag of my dreams!
  • Watching spring slowly come into season

April

April means spring, and things started to look up, particularly in the sense of restrictions easing. I continued to keep my fitness up, with my family and boyfriend keeping my spirits up. Pubs finally opened up, which meant that once again, a little fun was allowed. I went on spring walks, travelled outside of Cheltenham into the Cotswolds, and enjoyed dining out in restaurants once again. I love this time of year as the weather gets better, the sun begins to shine again, and I even went on my first trip away in a long, long time!

Highlights of 2021

  • Going on springtime walks through Cheltenham, the Cotswolds, and beyond
  • Drinks in the sunshine in the park while waiting for the pubs to reopen
  • Finally enjoying a drink in the pub once again!
  • Staying at my boyfriend’s for a week, cooking, and watching shows
  • Going out for dinner once again
  • Finally leaving the county and going on a mini break to Dorset!

May

What month starts better than being away for the weekend with excellent company? Well, May! This really did mark the beginning of a turning point in my year, where things really began to look up for me. Dorset was wonderful, and I loved exploring somewhere new. With the weather picking up, it meant spending a lot more times outside exploring too. I was also invited on a PR visit to beautiful Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire.

Highlights of 2021

  • Exploring Dorset including Chesil Beach and West Bay
  • Going for long walks in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds in the spring sunshine
  • Making the most of pubs and restaurants now that they reopened once again
  • Visiting beautiful Croome in Worcestershire, and a luxurious PR visit to Stanbrook Abbey
  • Having more exciting PR opportunities through my blog

June

June means one thing – summer! It was undoubtedly one of my favourite months of this year. The weather was beautiful, perfect for walks. I was also offered another job with a much better salary, which was very welcome news! I went to my friend’s baby shower, and went for some lovely day trips in the Cotswolds including Daylesford Farm. I visited restaurants and went for a lovely spa break in the Peak District.

Highlights of 2021

  • Enjoying the beautiful weather and walking in the countryside
  • Celebrating a new job!
  • Finally getting my Covid vaccine – what a ride
  • Getting out and about in the Cotswolds
  • Dinner at Pasture in Bristol, one of my favourite steak restaurants
  • A wonderful spa break at Ensana Buxton Crescent in the Peak District
  • Cheering on England in the Euros!
  • Starting my new job, managing content marketing for Superdrug

July

July bought summer spirit and Euro fever, as well as some beautiful weather. I love summer, and was determined to make the most of it this year. I visited London for work, ticked off a bucket list restaurant, and saw a friend from Vancouver. I celebrated my boyfriend’s 30th birthday, visited London again, went to a wedding, and met my friend’s newborn baby, Isla.

Highlights of 2021

  • Visiting the fabulous Sexy Fish for a business lunch with a client. Can’t recommend it enough!
  • Catching up with an old pal from Vancouver
  • Going clay pigeon shooting for the first time
  • Enjoying the summer sunshine with barbecues and pub gardens
  • Celebrating my boyfriend’s 30th birthday

August

Another lovely segment of summer. August was filled with dinners out, pub gardens, and adventures exploring the outdoors. I met my friend’s baby, Isla, for the first time, and visited Birmingham and Bristol for days out. I was back in London for work, and enjoyed a gentle stroll through Hyde Park as my commute. Surprisingly enough, I also sought a new job and secured my current role which has been a wonderful move.

Highlights of 2021

  • Celebrating my brother’s birthday at Kibou with Japanese food
  • Enjoying lazy summer evenings in pub gardens
  • Catching up with friends in the garden
  • Visiting Digbeth in Birmingham for food and drinks
  • Exploring London around days in the office
  • Spending lazy days in Bristol, just eating and drinking our way around the city
  • Finding a new flat for a short rental in Cheltenham!

September

The most exciting month of the year so far! I actually made it out of the country. It was a month of firsts, and pretty full on – first holiday abroad since 2020, first day in my new job, and first month in my flat. Exciting times. I finally gained independence in my own home again, and absolutely loved being able to see the world again with a relaxing break in beautiful, sunny Cyprus.

Highlights of 2021

  • I had a week’s holiday at a 5* hotel in Paphos, Cyprus while in between jobs
  • I started my new job, which is going really well so far
  • Going for a lovely Sunday roast at the beautiful Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter
  • Celebrating moving into my new flat with a little housewarming evening
  • Heading to St Ives for a lovely weekend with my family

October

I love October, and it’s such a pretty month for watching the seasons change. For me, autumn meant settling into my new flat and getting used to my new job too. Life was spent at the gym and brunching with family. The highlight for me was a wonderful trip to beautiful Malta with my boyfriend – it’s such a magical place and we explored a lot of the island. I can’t recommend it enough! My dad also came over to visit from Canada.

Highlights of 2021

  • Brunching in Cheltenham with family and friends
  • The most amazing holiday to Malta, including a visit to the beautiful Blue Lagoon
  • Enjoying the autumn sights of Cheltenham
  • Partnering with Sudeley Castle for a visit to the beautiful castle and grounds
  • Having a tasty roast dinner at the Kings Arms in Prestbury with my Dad

November

November was a pretty full on month, albeit busy and productive! I had several trips to London, both for business and pleasure, and saw a good friend a few times. I had an exciting partnership with a brand, and also managed to squeeze in a solo trip to Lithuania. It was great to explore a new city in a new country just before tightened restrictions came in for the UK once again. This has been a great few months of exploring!

Highlights of 2021

  • Visiting Farnham in Surrey for the first time to meet my new colleagues
  • Seeing a good friend from London and going for drinks and to see Gloucester Rugby
  • Going to London for the weekend and having unlimited steak at a restaurant
  • Undertaking an exciting partnership with Jaques of London
  • Taking a solo trip to Vilnius in Lithuania for the Christmas markets

December

December – a slow yet festive month. Work slowly began to wind down, and festive meet ups began. I felt well and truly in need of a break, and I’m sure everyone else did too! Despite being ill at the start of the month, December was a great opportunity for me to catch up with friends for festive drinks and get out and about into the Cotswolds and beyond. It also marked the start of something very exciting…

Highlights of 2021

  • Going for festive drinks with friends
  • Christmas meals out in restaurants
  • Long festive walks in the Cotswolds, including beautiful Broadway
  • Spending quality time with family
  • Having an offer accepted on a house in time for Christmas!

2022

And so here a few things to aim for in 2022:

  • Keep working hard at my career and aim for the next level.
  • Complete more trainings and certifications for work.
  • Pursue my own independent work and see how it could grow.
  • Learn what I want from my personal life.
  • Continue to travel to new cities and places.
  • Work on building a home.
  • Extend my social network.
  • Work on overhauling my blog, hosting, and so on.
  • Grow my social following.
  • Work on a healthier diet alongside a regular gym routine.
  • Show gratitude for everything I’m lucky enough to have.

The Happiest of New Years to all my amazing readers! How was your 2021? What were your highs and lows? What are you hoping to achieve in 2022?

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3 Comments

  1. What a thorough review of 2021! Mine will be up in early January, but I still say that, overall, 2021 has been an upgrade from 2020. Despite the pandemic, you still managed to travel (and out of country), which is extraordinary! Celebrating 30 is a big deal, and I’m told that your 30s will be even better than your 20s…I have less than two years before I hit the big 3-0, but I’ll look forward to it! Wishing you a festive holiday season and wonderful 2022 year!

    1. Thanks so much, Rebecca! I love writing these posts as it really gives me a chance to reflect. Thank you for your kind comments, and I look forward to reading your review! Happy holidays 🙂

  2. I love these types of posts too as it really gives you a chance to look back and realise how far you’ve come, as well as revisit some fun memories. Sounds like you had a pretty amazing year overall! The lockdown was really tough, but after that it felt like a pretty good year overall. That’s impressive that you managed to get away 3 times considering all the restrictions! Hope you have a fantastic 2022 x

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