2020 In Review

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Well the year is coming to a close, and to be honest I’m looking forward to a new year. Aren’t we all? Comparing the first half of the year to the second, I think today is the perfect day to look at 2020 in review.

Before we start with the review though, I’ll just give you a little update on what we’re doing tonight since today is New Year’s Eve.

Nothing. We are doing nothing. Except watching TV and following lockdown rules! So I might work on some 2021 content.

But before we can get to my 2021 posts, let’s have that 2020 in Review!

Monthly Recap – 2020 In Review

January started out with a day of productivity. We took down the decorations at our house, did a little bit of shopping in the sales, and had a family meal out at the local pub. Then it was back to work and back to reality – Open Uni work to do, the usual 9-5, and I had arranged to start back to guitar lessons so I desperately needed to squeeze in extra practises! The first week back to work was manic – not the slow ease back in we had hoped for or expected, but instead it was super busy, the couriers were causing their usual problems, and by the end of the week I honestly just wanted to curl up and sleep for a month. But instead I was out for dinner with Mum and Granny! A weekend of guitar, blogging, uni work, and a family walk then led into another busy week of work, but this time I was ready for it. I learnt a new song on guitar, taught my teacher a Taylor Swift song on the guitar (All Too Well), and then it was my half day from work. That weekend then was more walks, a trip to the pub to watch a rugby match, and then Sunday was Dad’s birthday so we were out for lunch at the rugby club. And finally the last 2 weeks were more just working, guitar, watching TV, going for walks, and generally just making sure I actually sleep enough to function!

Looking back on February, it wasn’t the busiest of months. Mum went to Edinburgh for a weekend, and over that time I watched a few films, and we had a couple of Dad’s friends over for dinner. Between work, the rugby starting back, Open Uni work, guitar, and just generally trying to stay sane, I didn’t do a lot that month.  Maybe that’s why I found it a long month? Who knows. So apart from those few days in the first 2 weeks, I really didn’t do much.  Whoops!

At the start of March, we took a walk to get the cobwebs blown away, even with the constant storms. It was freezing, and we ended up getting caught in a hail storm, but it was good to get out even just for a while. We went to Granny’s for dinner, and I started my books for the month and practised guitar.  The following week was straightforward enough for during the week – the usual work, guitar, uni work, that kinda thing. Then on Friday, okay there was the dentist in the morning, but that was the weekend Mum and Dad were in Edinburgh for the rugby and to welcome Rachel back from the Philippeans. That weekend I went to a Whiskey Tasting event in the rugby club, had a hair appointment very early the next morning, a day out with Granny, and then a Sunday of blasting through all the housework that needed done, some reading, a lot of guitar, and a return to knitting, all before back to work for another week. That was the week that things started to move here in the UK, and the weekend before St Patrick’s Day was when things began to feel real. Granny’s holiday got cancelled, she came up for a while on Saturday, and then we went for a walk in the forest park on Sunday. Ireland enforced the closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants, and we were expecting a call for a full lockdown. The week in work was spent trying to sort out making sure customers got what they needed, and then Italy and Spain closed down, and the UK was getting more and more serious. At that point, we put a stop to my guitar lessons, and it was assumed that choir wasn’t going to go ahead. When Boris’ statement was shown on Monday 23rd? Well, we went into work on Tuesday to tidy up loose ends, and that was us furloughed for the foreseeable. I worked back through the old posts on here to tidy them up and fix broken links and the likes, practised guitar, joined in with exercise classes on YouTube, and just generally read and played games. Oh! And Rachel came home because she needed her car for working in Edinburgh.

So as we were saying, April was a strange month. We took part in a couple of pub quizzes over Zoom, continued our “pub” chats with Granny over FaceTime on a Saturday, and Rachel and I continued doing the PE With Joe classes when we could. We watched several films over the month, but couldn’t say we’ve spent more time in front of the TV. The garden was weeded and tidied, and we even managed to have a couple of barbecues in the sun. I read a lot, listened to my audiobooks more, my bedroom got tidied and decluttered, and delivered some essential shopping things to family and family friends who were shielding. Easter was a strange weekend purely because we’re so used to it being a bigger family affair, but instead on Good Friday was took part in the pub quiz, had a barbecue, and just stayed in the sun in the garden as much as we could. Easter Saturday came around and we had our pub Skype session, watched a film on Netflix, and Rachel organised an easter egg hunt for us in the garden. So then on Easter Sunday we had our lamb dinner, took a walk, and not much else again, and Rachel travelled back to Edinburgh on the 18th.

I think it’s safe to say that May flew by without an awful lot happening.  We redecorated the two bedrooms upstairs, had a few barbecues, went on walks, and took part in a few quizzes and bingo nights online.  Dad and I finished watching The Last Kingdom, and we all binge-watched the Jeffrey Epstein documentary on Netflix.  To be honest I’ve no idea what we did in May – the days were all beginning to blend into one! I set myself some goals for the month, and we had weekly projects to work on. Then a heatwave hit and it became harder and harder to do things inside without feeling like you were wasting the closest thing you would get to a summer holiday this year. However, May was the month I reached both my twitter follower goals for the year and WordPress blog followers for the year too! So that was exciting. Even if that’s a bit of a spoiler for the end of this post…

June started with me hosting a family Bingo night over Zoom, where we got seeing some faces we hadn’t seen in years never mind months! Well, that was on the 4th – before that my new furniture arrived for my bedroom, so after spending a day in the garden topping up the tan, Dad and I set to building my new desk and storage units. The following week saw not much happening. I was working on a jigsaw and on figuring out Pinterest. We had a barbecue at Granny’s, and then the following week saw me spend a lot of time working on Pinterest and my blog. When Mum finished work on the Friday, we both went to a small boutique Mum loves and I managed to get some new clothes in the sale! Saturday saw us head up the coastal road to Portrush for a walk on the beach for the first time in months. I then got home on time for a “Night At The Races” on Zoom with my friends, and on Sunday (Father’s Day) we just sat in an made use of the sound bar I got Dad this year by watching the remake of Dumbo before having a Chinese takeaway for dinner. The last 10 days of the month were spent on blog admin, painting another bedroom, and a wall at Granny’s, and just generally trying to sort out my sleeping pattern again before I head back to work – a bit of a fail if I do say so myself. Oh! And I reached 11,000 Twitter followers! But if you were to ask me what my highlight of the month was I would have to say it was booking a hair appointment for 9th July!

The Wednesday that started July saw us at the vets with Maisie who it turns out had a growth on a blood vessel. The next day was Granny’s birthday – picnic at hers. Friday I did a food shop, Mum went car browsing, and we had drinks and dinner at The Speckled Hen – our local pub – the first day they reopened. That Saturday, a few family members came over from Scotland for a few days, so the morning was spent cooking before collecting them from the airport and heading to Granny’s for dinner. We had our Sunday lunch back at The Speckled Hen, where again the rules were followed exactly. As our time slot for the table was up before we finished our drinks, we were moved to a table outside where we hid in a tent from the wind and the rain – it was a good laugh! Monday was my first day back to work since 24th March. To be honest, I was exhausted, and wasn’t really in the mood when I arrived home to a house of guests. Tuesday was back to work again, followed by dinner at Granny’s. Wednesday saw me and Mum head out for some shopping in the morning before we drove back up to the airport again to say our goodbyes. Thursday? Well, originally Thursday was the highlight of the month. I finally got my hair cut! And not only that, but I spent the afternoon with Paul and Lucy! We met some of Lucy’s friends for lunch/coffee, then the three of us went to a park for a nice walk and a catch up. We headed up to the north coast for a couple of nights away in a hotel in Ballycastle, went on plenty of walks along the coast, had a few drinks in the sun, and just got our heads cleared. The following work week, I worked Tuesday and Wednesday, so when Mum and I were both off on the Thursday we decided to take a walk along the local river, parking at a lesser known car park and heading in the opposite direction to the majority of the people there. Maisey went in on the Friday for an operation to remove the lump on her side, and really was not a happy cat when we got her home. That weekend, we made our first return to the rugby club for Quins on the Green! The next Friday morning came, and my car was going in for its second service – don’t start me on that though, I’m still bitter at the cost of it! As we waited for the call to say we could collect the car, Dad got a call from his friend who’s been teaching me guitar, asking if we wanted to come around for coffee. Naturally we said yes and hopped in the car, and stayed there until it was time to collect my car again. Oh! I can’t remember what day, but I made my first ever affiliate sale in July!

August was a good month all in all. The month started with NINE of my Blogmas Ebooks being sold! Nine!! We took a walk through Stranmillis that first weekend, and I attended the Pick Me Up Picnic being hosted by Cathy to raise money for Marie Curie and Cancer Fund For Children. The following Saturday we finally had glorious weather again, so I was able to follow the rules of my Home Holiday post – so much so I read 200 pages of a book in one sitting! I probably would’ve finished it if I had stayed off my phone… And then Sunday we went to Belfast Harlequins Rugby Club for Sunday lunch! The following week was more work (well, for two days), and then preparing for the barbecue I have been waiting for since lockdown was finally lifted enough to allow it to happen! So on Saturday evening we headed out to the hall for a night of food, drink, and music. The following week, Rachel came home for a family wedding, so we went for a spray tan, and had a good evening at our cousin’s wedding. It was great to see some of the family we haven’t seen for months! The rest of the weekend was spent then catching up on sleep and practising guitar.

Well September started with Mum and Dad over in Edinburgh to visit Rachel. That was also the week I worked full time – the first time since the week of St Patrick’s day back in March which is kinda scary! But that week saw me out for dinner at my granny’s, working full time, baking some Christmas goodies so I could get a Blogmas post written, and just generally working on either my blog or my guitar. The following week saw me celebrate my birthday, over which I had a quarter-life crisis that I finally think I am over, and we tried a new restaurant in a nearby town, before finishing the week with a walk along the beach down in Newcastle, County Down. After that, the following week I went down for a day trip to Fermanagh to visit my cousin – except it turned into an overnight stay which was really nice! I got to spend time with her and her 6 month old baby for a change, and can’t wait until restrictions lift again enough for me to go back down. Friday was then Rachel’s birthday. So while she celebrated in Edinburgh, we had a barbecue in the back garden and had a drink for her. Saturday we were finally allowed to go watch some live sport at the local rugby club. We were socially distanced from everyone else, got to watch our team win, and even managed to catch some last-of-the-summer rays of sun! All before heading up to the north coast again on Sunday for more walks along the beach. The last full week of September saw me mainly just in work or working on my laptop, and again we spent Saturday at the local rugby club for another match.

Okay is it bad I don’t really remember the start of October? Between work, visiting the grannies, and general housekeeping, the beginning of October flew by! Then on 14th October, our politicians in Stormont announced a circuit breaker lockdown. Schools were to close for an extra week at half term, and all hospitality, close contact services, and many entertainment places were to shut up shop for 4 weeks. So I managed to book a hair appointment for the next day before they were once again forced to close. And then that night we went to our local pub for a last draught pint for a while. The following week, I was in work Monday to Wednesday, and then began my 7 day break from work, during which time I went to a pumpkin patch with Rachel, and basically spent a lot of time working on my Open University work and my blog.

So if you remember back to the beginning of November 2020, then you’ll hopefully remember that on 1st November I published my collection of short stories – Calm By The Christmas Tree (ad)! If you’d like some more information on how I self published my own book, check out my post here. But that day was spent actually in Belfast city centre, for the first time since last December, getting Christmas presents bought ahead of the big day! I was then in work and working on Open University work for the next three days, and then I stayed up most of the night following the US election results coming in. To be honest, Dad and I developed a bit of an addiction to CNN – so much so I still kinda miss it! But yes, while following the election news, I ended up spending 4 days in a row Christmas present shopping. The weekend ended with catching up on our favourite TV shows, and watching the one-off episode Ant and Dec did in the lead up to I’m A Celebrity starting up again! Side note for any readers outside the UK – this show truly is a sign that Christmas is coming and if you’ve never watched it before you need to find it on YouTube or something! The following week I was actually working 4 days in the week, and took myself off shopping on the 5th day! Actually, November saw me start back to working 4 days a week which was a bit of a shock to the system – a moment of “what do you mean I can’t have a lie in 4 days a week??” But it felt so good to finally feel I was on top of the workload again so you won’t find me complaining! But between work, Blogmas prep, a secret project going on in the background, and working on my Open University coursework, I basically slept, ate, and made time to go Christmas shopping. I had a Zoom catch up with Paul and Lucy, and attempted to tidy and clean my room in advance of getting the Christmas decorations out on Saturday 28th November! Yes I know we were late to the Christmas party this year… And then with restrictions being brought back in again in Northern Ireland – stricter than we’ve had for the past 6 weeks even though we were meant to only have a 4 week circuit breaker and now have another 2 weeks minimum – we had a mad dash to the shops to make sure everything was sorted for Christmas and the birthdays.

Finally December came, and with it came Blogmas. I was off work for 2 weeks, during which time I prepared for one granny’s birthday, and ensured the other was ready for Christmas. I took a roadtrip to Fermanagh to meet up with my cousin for her birthday, and then basically spent the month eating, drinking, and pretending the outside world didn’t exist. We managed a meal out for Mum’s birthday, and I had a night out on Zoom with friends which was a nice catch up. Our office drinks on the last Friday in the office went down well, and Christmas came and went in the blink of an eye!

So now that we’ve had a look back at the monthly round ups of 2020 In Review, let’s get down to the fun part – looking back at last years’ resolutions!

2020 In Review: My Goals

Before we dive on in, I’ve decided to go with a traffic light system to rate how well I achieved each goal. Red is a fail, amber/orange is a “did okay”, and green is achieved! How many do you reckon I achieved?

Health

  • Less soda/fizzy drinks 🧡
  • Drink more water🧡
  • Drink less coffee❤️
  • Start walking more❤️
  • Eat healthier🧡
  • Track my habits🧡
  • Meditate more💚
  • Get more sleep💚

Money

  • Finish the year with a clear credit card❤️
  • Have more savings (Help to buy ISA!)❤️
  • Be financially stable❤️
  • Spend less on others – I realise this sounds wrong, but I tend to go overboard with presents every now and again, so I need to try and stop this.🧡

Self

  • Read 18 books💚
  • Use my phone less🧡
  • Journal daily🧡
  • Improve at Guitar💚
  • Keep my room tidy🧡
  • Be more self confident🧡
  • Make decisions💚
  • Travel more❤️

Blogging

  • Reach 10,500 followers on Twitter💚
  • Reach 800 blog followers💚
  • Post weekly🧡
  • Remember to promote my blog posts!💚

So overall, I achieved:
❤️ – 6 not good/failed goals
🧡 – 10 half-done or semi completed goals
💚 – 8 well done, completed goals!

To wind things up (because this post is super long!), overall 2020 was an okay year. But to end, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year. May it be filled with health, happiness and prosperity for you. We got through probably one of the toughest years many of us will face. Tomorrow morning will see a new year begin, with new opportunities and everything that comes along with them. So remember to call back in the morning to check out my resolutions for 2021, and stay safe tonight whatever you get up to!

3 thoughts on “2020 In Review

  1. thedoubtingthomas

    Fair play to you for such a precise and detailed look back at 2020 – you must have the best memory or been writing things down as you went along! Nice to know a little more about you, not just the blogger but the person behind it. Hope 2021 is another successful one for you!

  2. brittshedhappens

    Congratulations on all the goals that you did accomplish. Given all the restrictions you were facing, it looks like you did a pretty good job! It’s weird to look back and realize that just a year ago we were getting excited for 2020 and all that we believed we would tackle throughout the year… We had NO IDEA!

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