It’s hard to believe I’m saying it, but today is officially the last day of 2021.While it’s been a fly-by year, it feels like a lifetime ago that I looked back on 2020. So, as we say goodbye to the year, it’s time to look at 2021 in review.
Looking back on the year, actually quite a bit happened with nothing really happening if that makes sense. And as I sat down to write this post, I honestly found it quite difficult to think back on the year in general. It seems to be a long list of lockdowns, with fewer walks and definitely less productivity than 2020.
2021 In Review: Part 1
Well, as I said in my January 2021 post, there was a slight chance of optimism. I went into work believing that we were still on 4 days a week, however it was reduced down to 3. That was okay though, because it meant having a 4 day weekend! Just with nothing to do… TV wasn’t great, so we watched a load of old films. We binge-watched The Serpent, The Bay, Bridgerton… I watched It’s A Sin, and Dad and I watched that many Marvel films we only had Endgame left to watch! The rate of infection and number of deaths kept rising, so we dropped down to 2 days in the office each. I continued working on my Open University course, worked hard on Christmas With Katie, and played a lot of guitar. Dad’s birthday came, and with it was a takeaway from a restaurant that wasn’t great but was different. We went on multiple walks, and basically just spent a lot of time in the house pining after memories of the old normal. There was Maisey’s annual trip to the vets, and that was about it. As I say, there’s not much you can do in lockdown.
Apart from work, Open University, cooking, cleaning, watching rugby, and walking, we really didn’t do a lot in February 2021. We made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, visited a couple of National Trust places for walks, and continued much the way we had for the previous 11 months. The good news was Dad got his first vaccine, which meant anyone I was socialising with had officially had at least one dose. February saw me really struggle with lockdowns and not being able to do anything. Our local lockdown had been expected to lift on 5th February, however it was announced just a few days before that that this would not be the case. I reached breaking point, and genuinely needed all the help and support from friends, family, and you.
Looking back at March 2021, it was a busy month with not much happening if that makes sense? The month started with me working on improving my site speed. The first weekend in March didn’t have any rugby on. Instead, we visited Castle Ward (another National Trust place, recognised now around the world as Winterfell from Game of Thrones) for a long walk, ordered an Indian takeaway, watched Saturday Night Takeaway, and had a cheeseboard served on the cheeseboard I got Mum and Dad for their anniversary. A week later, and the Six Nations were back! I baked some scrumptious cranberry muffins, we had a cocktail afternoon, and watched Ulster playing rugby in the Pro14. On Mother’s Day, we watched Ireland play their Six Nations match, and got some fish and chips from a local takeaway! Then we watched the final episode of Bloodlands. The next week was busy enough in work, I got some gardening done on my day off, and the weekend came again with Super Saturday! Except the actual last match of the Six Nations came on 26th March. French Rugby decided the French rugby team did not break covid rules by going out for waffles before their match and catching covid. Major eyeroll happening on this end of the laptop folks! So after a busy day in work, I helped Dad and an upholsterer load Granny’s furniture onto a van in the snow to be reupholstered instead of buying new, and settled down to watch the end of the Six Nations 2021. Finally, the weekend was spent just playing guitar, watching films, and eating and drinking.
2021 In Review: Part 2
April 2021 started with us getting to be part of the virtual audience watching The Blame Game – a topical satirical news show talking about who’s to blame for different things going on in Northern Ireland. We actually had done this the week before, too, and somehow got tickets for week 3! I also had my first mini guitar lesson in over a year – it felt fab to finally get playing guitar properly again. Good Friday saw us doing very little, if anything, because we were finally allowed to meet in gardens! Mum and Dad got some new garden furniture that we put together, and then had a delicious steak dinner. Then Saturday explored Crom Estate since the stay home rule finally lifted. Sunday was be the usual Easter roast but served with the stuffed aubergine recipe I shared, and then we settled down to watch Line of Duty. I was off work on the Monday, with no plans, and then back into work on the Tuesday. I went to visit my cousin and her baby, and to be honest the rest of the month was a blur.
Well, in May 2021 we know I finally got my hair cut. Which was definitely one of the biggest highlights of the month. Pubs and restaurants reopened their doors in Northern Ireland at long last, and we were part of the last virtual audience for Have I Got News For You (the last virtual audience ever we hoped!). Rachel was home for a long weekend (again, the first time in a long time), and really I can’t remember much else about May. Sorry!
June 2021 started off with me spending nearly a full week in Edinburgh, visiting Rachel. We spent so much time on the beach in the sun that I genuinely felt I was on a foreign holiday! We had meals and drinks out, went on a shopping trip, and practically lived on the beach. Plus, I got to see one of my cousins for the first time since Christmas 2018! Oh and 2 of my friends got engaged, so I was sitting smiling for the two of them for about 3 weeks. The following week, back home, I went to Rowallane Gardens with Mum and Dad for a walk. Oh, and we finished the month by watching the remake of Lady and the Tramp. A good film, but I still prefer the original! Actually I was writing the next paragraph when I suddenly remembered, I also got a new car this month! Well, new to me. I traded in my red Seat Ibiza and a younger, Blue, Seat Ibiza. It was a financially smart move – it dropped my monthly payments by £50 a month, and my insurance dropped by about £200 for the year!
The Third Quarter of 2021
July 2021 started off with Granny’s 90th birthday. Restrictions had relaxed enough to allow a gathering of 20 of us in a public space, and so Granny had an absolute ball. Rachel was home for the few days either side of it, and we spent the time shopping, preparing, and eating and drinking. I finally got sorting my jewellery box out and finding pieces I forgot I owned. In the middle of it all, I somehow managed to break a very fine gold chain that had held a diamond I had been given as an 18th birthday present. And so the end of the month saw me head out to buy a new chain. Mum and I spent the last day of the month in Belfast going shopping and out for dinner, and I was honoured to be given a random act of kindness by the lovely cashier in Lush! I just wish I could remember their name, because they came chasing after me down the street when I left an item behind.
I know I started the first of August 2021 blogging and reading. In fact, I was devouring the Bridgerton books when given half a chance. Is there anything more frustrating than reading a book, loving it, and then seeing all the negative reviews of it on GoodReads? Just me? Okay, we’ll move along quickly. Well, I had 2 full weeks in work. It was quiet enough that first week, meaning we got samples sorted, filing finished, and generally felt like we had caught up on all those little tasks. I practiced guitar, went to my lesson, and generally didn’t sleep due to reading. We watched Lupin on Netflix, and I started to think properly about Blogmas. The following week was another full one in the office, however it was also the week Mum and Dad headed to Scotland. I was home alone at last!
I had my guitar lesson on the Wednesday night and was invited to their house for Sunday dinner. Friday night saw me out for dinner with Granny, before I had a stressful letter in the post. So Saturday morning saw me at the shops bright and early, unable to sleep with nerves. However by 10am everything was sorted, and I went into town for a brief nosey around the shops. But I won’t bore you with the ins and outs. Suffice to say I spent hours working on the blog, ended up having a couple of meals out, and enjoyed being home alone. When Mum and Dad came back, I took a few days off and we actually went on a tour of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Then the next day we had a Christening to go to, and finally Sunday was spent reading and blogging again. Finally, the last week was another full week of work, and the Bank Holiday weekend was spent around the house and getting sorted for the birthdays.
September started with a bit of a run-in with a brand who didn’t want to follow the law with regards to declaring ads or sponsorship… but we won’t go there. The first Wednesday saw me in work for a bit of a busy day. Between Brexit and covid, production was a little bit of a nightmare, and supply chains are still being affected in industries you would never expect. But I’ll not bore you with that. Let’s just say I was glad to have my furlough Thursday back again! It was well and truly needed that week. Mum’s car was in the garage, so Dad took it round while I dropped her to work and drove to collect him. My car finance issue still hadn’t been sorted, so I stayed at the dealership for an hour to try and come to some solution. Then it was round to Granny to do the weekly visit with food etc. From there, Dad and I returned home. I had stuff to print off after my guitar lesson on Wednesday night, and Dad needed to go up there anyway for some things. While there, we got a call to collect Mum’s car. Dropped it back to her office for her, drove to the shops to do a food shop, home for lunch after 2 o’clock, and then set to preparing dinner and freezing fresh herbs. It doesn’t sound a lot, but it was busy! So I was glad to be in work on Friday for a break. Then the weekend came, and we were ready for a good day by the rugby touchline. There’s nothing quite like a cool day by the touchline! But unfortunately the game was called off due to covid in the other team. So instead we spent the afternoon with Granny and enjoying the milder air. Sunday was then spent blogging, gardening, and working on all other things blog until it was time to watch Vigil. The following week was a short one in work. I had guitar on the Wednesday, and woke up on the Thursday as a 26 year old. Kind of scary if you ask me! We had coffee with one Granny, lunch with the other, and then headed into Belfast for a day of drinking and celebrating. It was good fun, and Friday saw us do a bit of shopping and a walk to clear the heads. When Saturday rolled around, we went shopping and for another walk, before out for dinner at a family friend’s house. It was a great meal, however once again too much alcohol was consumed! So Sunday we went with delicate heads to watch some rugby and have a pick-me-up pint or three at the rugby club. When I went into work the following week, it was to sober up I think! The rest of the month passed mostly without much. I went into Belfast for the day with Dad and his friend, we had a road trip to Newcastle, County Down, and I took myself to Fermanagh for a weekend to see my cousin and her baby. So September was a busy month!
The Final Stretch of 2021
October 2021 arrived. Furlough was over and I was back in the office full time. Like properly! Plus, I managed a full month without a breakdown over customers and orders. Which as anyone working within customer service would agree is quite an achievement given the problems at the minute. I had a hair cut this month, received and spent my Spend Local card, and had a good weekend in Fermanagh. There were also shopping trips, rugby afternoons, and guitar lessons, dotted in amongst the work-work and university work. I’ll be honest, it was busy and yet I currently couldn’t tell you a single thing that I did this month. You know one of those “woah where did the month go?” moments? I think I experienced that.
November was one of those months that started on a Monday and damn I love when that happens. It just feels right, y’know? So that first week was spent in work as always. I had Open Uni work to do, Blogmas to prep for, and guitar continued. The first weekend of November saw a slight panic rise in me regarding Christmas. Not that I did an awful lot about it! The next week was another busy one at work, but I had a half day on the Friday! With Mum away in Edinburgh for the weekend, it meant Dad and I were free to try and get some planning done for her birthday and Christmas. We also watched a few films and just generally plodded along. Although, I have to admit. We were slightly hungover on Saturday when attempting this. So a trip to the rugby club to see Ireland beat New Zealand on the TV was a great way to just unwind. When the next week came and we were busy in work, I couldn’t contain my excitement for my first Christmas show of the season! We saw A Christmas Carol at the Grand Opera House in Belfast after a meal out. Based on Dickens’ famous story, A Christmas Carol was brought to life with beautiful music by Alan Menken (Disney’s award-winning composer). For an amateur production presented by the Belfast Operatic Company, I loved it! Can we count that as my first opera seen? The rest of the weekend was then a shopping expedition and preparing for Blogmas. Back to work on the Monday for the last full week of November with pay day in the middle of it, we were beginning to get the festive vibes. Or at least I was. Mum was away again that weekend (the one just past) for her annual girls trip to the north coast. It didn’t happen last year because of circuit breakers and lockdowns, so it felt strange to have another tradition back. Plus, it meant Dad and I had an excuse to pull all the Christmas decorations out! Then we finished the weekend watching TV beside the Christmas tree and just began to feel those festive spirits rising.
And finally December came. Most of the month was taken up preparing for Christmas. The first weekend saw my cousin and his girlfriend come over for a visit. We celebrated Granny’s birthday with a takeaway at our house, I took my cousin on a tour of the north coast on the Saturday, and on the Sunday we took them for Sunday lunch at the rugby club. Another week of work followed, with my last guitar lesson of 2021 in the middle of it. We’re working on a new scale, and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it! That weekend I then had Open Uni work to do, meaning I didn’t get to Fermanagh to see my cousin for her 30th birthday. But I did manage to get my Christmas shopping finished that weekend! So that was at least something. The following week, Rachel arrived home for a few days. We were in Portrush for Mum’s birthday, and spent the Saturday afternoon at the rugby club. On the Sunday we heard the happy news that my eldest cousin had given birth to a healthy little girl! Then Rachel was off to the airport. Monday was normal in work, and Tuesday saw me leaving the office to get my booster vaccine. Then I was home to load the car and do the final packing! We were off to Scotland on the Wednesday morning, making a quick lunch stop in Glasgow for old times’ sake. We had our Christmas in Dundee where it actually snowed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!!! Then we arrived home Tuesday of this week and have been going full pelt since we got back. Even down to the fact that yesterday I ordered a new laptop, and am going to collect it this morning! Will this be the last blog post I write o n this laptop? Who knows… but the one I am on right now was my Christmas present to me in 2014 and it’s definitely about to give up on me. RIP little red, you served us well!
2021 In Summary
I think we can all agree, it was a busy year without much happening. Today, I am up and out once again. We have a laptop to collect, Granny to take to the hairdressers, calendars to buy, orchids to deliver, LFTs to source… the list is endless, and that’s all before lunch! I think this afternoon we’ll just be doing a brief bit of shopping, maybe stopping at the local pub for a drink, then home for a tasty dinner and a night in front of the TV. 2021 in review wasn’t a bad year, but I can’t exactly say I achieved a lot… Then again, the true test of that is my list of resolutions! Will we see how I got on with them?
2021 In Review: My Goals
Before we dive on in, I’ve decided to go with a traffic light system like last year 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? Let’s find out!
- Reduce consumption of coffee and sugar. 🧡
- Walk a minimum 5K steps a day🧡
- Drink 2 litres of water a day.❤️
- Sleep better.💚
- End the year debt free.🧡
- Have a 5% deposit saved for a house (to build on in 2022)❤️
- Read 18 books.💚
- Improve at guitar and learn finger picking!💚
- Make time for self care and self love.🧡
- Live in a tidy bedroom.🧡
- Get the DA for this blog to 30, and my new blog to 10.🧡
- Increase my Twitter followers to 12K🧡
- Get my blog following for this blog to 1000, and 100 for the new blog!🧡
- Earn enough through blogging to clear my credit card this year.🧡
So overall, I achieved:
– 2 not good/failed goals
– 9 half-done or semi completed goals
– 3 well done, completed goals!
To wind things up (because this post is super long!), 2021 in review 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. The year might not have been much different to last year, and many probably found it harder than last. But survive it we did. And I for one am hoping to see light at the end of the tunnel in 2022! Tomorrow sees a new day dawn. A new year. And with it all the endless possibilities that come with fresh starts. So whether you believe in “New Year New Me” or the fairness of fresh starts, let’s walk into 2022 determined to make the most of whatever it throws at us. So call back in the morning to check out my resolutions for 2022, and stay safe tonight whatever you get up to!