By now, most people will have either given up on those hastily-made resolutions or doubled down on gymming, dieting and giving alcohol the boot after an indulgent festive period. I am neither – I’ve only written down two goals for the coming year which are hardly breakable at this point but I’ve yet to pull on my running shoes. I’m trying to be better to myself this month, mostly because of the sheer volume of white wine consumed over Christmas, so daily yoga practice, a mostly vegetarian diet and a break from the Pinot Grigio have been my healthiest habits of 2019 so far.
Those resolutions, or goals as I prefer to see them, are achievable and not outrageous. The first is to read 24 books this year, doubling down on my effort of 12 in 2018. I’m currently through book two, Chris’ cheerful recommendation of 1984 which is making this miserable Brexit-y January that little bit more cheerful. The second is to travel, a simple goal to achieve really. After a rather manic year of job changes and uncertainty, Chris and I only took one holiday last year. However it was to New York, our dream destination, and it was every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be. I plan to (finally) put together a few blog posts on the subject soon. So this year, I want to see more of the world – explore new places and visit familiar haunts. My current wishlist, funds permitting, would be Paris, Copenhagen, a trip around the Highlands and Islands and somewhere far flung like Vietnam. To be honest, the last one is just because Chris and I loved the ‘Somebody Feed Phil’ episode on it so much – it’s on Netflix and it’s a great show.
But I somewhat took myself by surprise this January and on total whim, fuelled by a seed planted on Boxing Day somewhat saturated in wine, I booked flights to Tampa to hang out with my aunt and uncle for some winter sunshine. It feels so out of character for me to travel alone, especially across the Atlantic, but it’s an adventure I can’t wait to take. Perhaps my third goal is to be a little more adventurous. Either way, I can’t wait to explore Florida and if you have any recommendations, please send them my way.
Suddenly, 2019 has started with an explosion of excitement, but before I get carried away, I wanted to reflect on the year just past. I try to post an annual round up of my year, mainly for myself rather than anything else, but blog writing has been slow here for the last few months and a top ten recipe round up would seem rather feeble. So instead I’m going to look back on the best moments of the year to remind myself that 2018 was rather special.
We started off the year with our traditional meal of roast beef, fluffy yorkies and two types of gravy since Chris and I can never agree on the right consistency. But I hit the cheeseboard hard in the evening, as I embarked on Veganuary as a project for work the following day. It was tough at times, especially staring at the chocolate stash that had accumulated over Christmas. But I did it, losing a few unexpected pounds in the process and with a new found respect for vegans. We also had our first snow of the year, and I got to make ‘dachshund through the snow’ jokes whilst walking my wee pal Dexter.
In February we travelled to London for a short break, enjoying an extortionate round of drinks at Sketch, eating brunch across the city and seeing Hamilton roughly 18 months after I first bought the tickets. Naturally we were in the nosebleed seats, but it was probably the best show I have ever seen. I think a new batch of tickets just went out on Ticketmaster and I’d highly recommend you grab some.
March and April merged together in a mix of coffees and brunches at some new favourite spots in Glasgow with my best friends and travelling to meet a new baby in our group. It still baffles me that we are old enough now to have married friends who are popping out gorgeous little ones. I saw Rae Morris with my Dad, which was a Christmas gift, and we inched our way to the top of the queue to meet her and take a photograph. She’s a gorgeous singer.
Then it was time for the London Marathon, with Team Pease ready to cheer my Dad over the finish line for the second year running. It was scorching that day, which was great for us in the beer garden but tough for poor Dad running in the heat. It was still a great day, and I even helped with the fundraising, donating over £100 from a work bake sale for Meningitis Research Foundation.
May was possibly my favourite month of the whole year. I’m a total true crime nerd and one of my favourite podcasts My Favorite Murder came to the UK to do a series of live shows. So my bestie Victoria and I travelled to Manchester for one show, taking in plenty of cocktails and ice cream, then back to Glasgow to watch it again with Chris. It was a total highlight, made even better by the fact both shows were uploaded online so I can relive the memories whenever I want.
Our big trip to New York happened at the end of May and it was probably the best holiday I’ve ever been on. We stayed at Arlo Soho and our tiny room with it’s unbelievably comfy bed became our home for a week. We rowed on the lake in Central Park, took in the view from the Rock and Empire State Building, rode out to the Statue of Liberty, took in the sombre 9/11 museum and ate so many wonderful meals. I’ll never forget that trip, it was just magical.
We returned to a summer heatwave and enjoyed plenty of drinks on our balcony in June. We celebrated my parents 30th wedding anniversary with a small garden party and plenty of games and laughs. We met our new ‘dog-daughter’ Jess, an adorable rascal of a Springer Spaniel and I was nominated for an award for a story I wrote about refugees being gifted repaired second hand bikes to help them get around their new homes.
In July I got to lounge in Monica’s apartment at Friends Fest in Glasgow, which was great fun and we celebrated Chris’ 30th birthday with steaks, doughnuts and massively overpriced helium balloons. I celebrated my 28th birthday and Chris took me to Six by Nico which I had been dying to try ever since we moved here. We ate churros and gelato and wandered round the Botanic Gardens. It was a magical day.
In August my grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and I got to see one half of my Aussie cousins who travelled over, along with my aunt and uncle. There were more celebrations at our friend Emma’s engagement party and Chris and I marked four years together with free prosecco and our pal Davy as our third wheel.
The Shine Ball, organised by my Dad’s catering company took place in Aberdeen in September, so Chris and I enjoyed a weekend away back in our old stomping ground with plenty of fizz and an unbelievable ten course meal all for a great cause, SAMH. I then completed my biggest running challenge to date, The Great Scottish Run 10k, which I achieved with a personal best.
October was filled with highs and lows, a lot of good friends waved goodbye to STV including Chris as they embarked on new careers. My friend Caroline held her baby shower which was great fun, although I never want to eat cold baby food ever again. Dad and I saw Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly at King Tuts which was amazing and we watched Chris’ Dad take on a driving course in a Lamborghini followed by a fabulous pub lunch in chilly Edinburgh.
We had a great time at the start of November with a late Halloween party, with Chris and I dressed up as Dolores and Teddy from Westworld, then I started Christmas shopping unseasonably early with my little sister on a wee day out at Braehead. I ended up on a random night out after a girls night in, dancing in a thick jumper and jeans with messy hair and not giving a damn. I realised white wine and mini golf don’t mix when we went on a double date for my best friend’s birthday – I was shockingly bad. But it was one of the funniest nights out I’ve had in a long time. A personal highlight of the year for me was being unexpectedly asked to be a bridesmaid, which shocked me so much I burst into fat happy tears and didn’t really stop for days afterwards.
And so to December. The tree went up on the 1st as usual and we binge watched every Christmas film on Netflix and Now TV. I ran an emotional Santa Fun Run with my Dad, convinced I couldn’t do it but surprising myself with an excellent time thanks to his encouragement. My friend had her little baby boy, who is just the cutest wee thing and I chopped my hair off to a shoulder length bob. I had an excellent Christmas at home surrounded by my family and meeting my aunt and uncle’s adorable new pups Paddy and Bella. We rounded off the year with a trip to Edinburgh’s Christmas Market and a delicious Italian feast at Civerinos, which is practically tradition. Finally we saw in the bells with our friends from Aberdeen and their little sausage dog, glasses of whisky raised high.
And so back to the beginning. I’m currently surrounded by online orders trying to find Florida-appropriate clothes last minute and feeling a little guilty I haven’t done any yoga today. But I have 347 days to be lean, well-read and well-travelled. For now, I’m just going to reminisce about 2018 for just a little longer.