Yep, smidge late to the boat, and not to sound too Julie Andrews but here’s a few of my favourite things from 2017. Before you ask, they are not brown paper packages tied up with string as Pinterest as that now is Julie, it’s still just sad.
So let’s ave it:
Taking a Road Trip around California, Arizona and Nevada
It was as cool as it sounds, need I really say more? Um yeah, but I still will – sorry – it was by far two of the best weeks of my life exploring the US with my family. Now you might be thinking seriously you expect us to believe two weeks with your Mum and brother was cool? And you’d be right tbh. We danced in Vegas casinos in full day light with no alcohol inducement at all, we listened to Shania Twain for 80% of the journey and ABBA for the rest, we ate buffet until we couldn’t move, my Mum lost me at the Grand Canyon… in the dark and had a full on panic attack – much worse than losing Josh in Tesco and getting the lady at the desk to call him over the speaker, true story – and abused the magic of earlier TV show release dates and watched many episodes of Bull. Fam goals.
My Mum turned 50 and had a party to celebrate.
Bit awkward if you’re reading this and expected to be invited as we had a great time, we went out for lunch with my Nan and Aunty, before having a gathering of some family and friends at Cote Brasserie for a meal and ridiculous amounts of champagne and prosecco, which we started before we even left. If that doesn’t tell you it was a good night, imma leave you with this, we waited for the taxi home in Cathedral square on a bench with Mum’s head in her big 5 balloon and her best friend’s head in the 0 balloon. It looked like they’d partied to hard, and it was quite impressive for a woman who’s tipsy after one drink. She also thought her head was in the 0 balloon, I was proud to say the least.
Being asked to be a part of a national video for Sue Ryder
Now Sue Ryder do ask my family a lot if we’re willing to help out with projects, as we have done quite a few in the past that involved telling our experience at Thorpe Hall Hospice to campaign for mainly the new hospice. But this was a quite a big deal to be asked to be in the national video, and I get for some people it seems a bit evasive like gal you really wanna tell everyone about the worst time of your life? Tbh yeah I do if it makes one person less frightened of having to go into a hospice, or less afraid of their children, partners, loved ones going to see them in a hospice. I’ve never liked the word hospice, sounds like a place where nuns tend to sick people in a giant hall with beds running parallel up the room. It sounds cold, sad, you’d expect a bit of damp, a lady with a bit of hair on her upper lip who hasn’t cried since 1940 when her cat died. It’s not like that in the slightest, it was my second home and I could talk about it until time stopped, and I still wouldn’t have enough time to say everything or express my gratitude. So if I ever can help, then I will. So you might be thinking, um, hun where’s the video then? Well it hasn’t been put online yet for several reasons, but Sue Ryder will be using it as and when everything has been sorted. So get your tissues ready as honestly I’m in it and yet I cry every single time I watch it, hearing the stories of the other two families.
Visiting the ‘Friends’ set in LA
Guys, my butt sat where their butts sat, I’ve had my peak in life and it’s all downhill from there. I have and always will love Friends, even though I’m still waiting to magically transform into Jennifer Aniston, but one day it will happen, you’ll see.
Visiting Harry Potter World at Universal Studios
Yes it’s a tad weird walking around Hogsmede and gazing on the fake snow with the back drop of clear blue skies and 30 degree temperatures, as HP is too English for that, give me the rain and a faux fur coat any day. But I’ve loved Harry Potter forever, and would frequently cry as a child, well, teenager, well, last week when I remember that none of it is real. I don’t think I realised how much I loved it until I actually let out a little weepy tear in Olivanders as our female Olivander looked around for which wand to give this little girl. I’m still mad she didn’t pick me, but it was the 6 year olds birthday or something. JK Rowling is my hero though, bit surreal that whole world came from one woman’s imagination.
Meeting my Cousin’s Baby, Isobel Grace
Yep, prepare for the cuteness, my cousin Stacey – who has been my idol since forever back when she wore Bench tees and took me to a Girls Aloud concert – gave birth to a baby girl this summer with her wonderful husband Ian. I’m biased but I think you’d agree she is absolutely gorgeous, unsurprisingly as they both are, but my days what a beautiful girl. She’s gonna break hearts, good luck Ian.
Many a day trip with Friends
I’ve had so many lovely days out this year visiting new places, or taking my friends to visit places I’d been before. Franky and I spent most of summer term adventuring around, avoiding all responsibilities as per, and went to Helmsley for ice cream, before heading to Scarborough for a walk along the front. And tbh we can have fun in the library cafe so when we actually go places it’s pretty dreamy. Ellie showed me around Leeds for some cocktails at a sky bar and shopping as clearly Leeds is perf for that. Becca and I went to Bury in the summer, and to this date I had the best thai food I have ever had at the Giggling Squid. I’m salivating at remembering it. We also went to Wells with Lucy, then Becca and I did a walk in Malham cove during Autumn term as well. I went out to Seville to see Beth, showed Franky around Cambridge with Becca, went to London to visit Rae and her swanky new flat in Euston, went to London to visit Martha and see a play. To name but a few dreamy days.
My Family spending October half term in York
My fam hired a barn conversion for 5 days to spend their half term with me. It gave me a much needed break from university, and my sometimes isolating student flat. I felt so refreshed after spending a relaxing week with them, walking the dogs, taking my friends for afternoon tea – as we can hardly afford a scone let alone a full afternoon tea – and just had tons of laughs, mainly at my highly entertaining dogs. I’m very lucky to be so close with my family and have two people who are weirder versions of myself to always be around.
Watching more plays and musicals in London
Now I haven’t broken my record from 2014 yet, where from Jan-April I saw a play every two weeks with my fam, yes it was the actual dream. BUT I have seen some toking plays and musicals this year, my favourites were: Anatomy of a Suicide by Alice Birch, which I saw at the Royal Court with Martha in the summer. It’s a powerful dark piece which I wrote more on previously. I LOVED Mosquitos at the National Theatre, unsurprisingly Olivia Coleman was amazing. I also went to watch it alone, and that is one of my favourite things to do as you can sit and watch other people in the audience and have your own solitary experience of the plays without any other distractions. My family and I went to see Stockard Channing in Apologia – don’t worry I said it wrong too – and with its powerhouse cast it didn’t disappoint we laughed from start to finish, 10/10 would recommend. My fave musical I saw this year was hands down Dream Girls with Amber Riley, as damn can she sing, I had many a goosebump induced tear. Not to sound too Kylie but wow, wow, wow.
Watching the sunset and then waking up on Malibu Beach
Pipe down about this holiday already I know, but pls let me first say walking up Malibu beach was just magical. We had an organic dinner on the pier, then saw Dolphins swimming from the pier, and watched the sunset before strolling back to our beach apartment. It felt like we were real Californian’s, not just pasty English people reddening with every lil bit of sunshine.
Visiting the Grand Canyon
YOU THOUGHT IT WAS OVER DIDN’T YOU? But one more. If you saw the sunset after running round the canyon you’d understand, visiting the canyon is one of the best moments of my life. ever. without a shadow of a doubt.
Having wonderful family and friends
Every year brings new friends, losing or reconnecting with old friends and new challenges for your loved ones. This year has been no different, and I’ve been reminded of how brave and inspired I am by the wonderful people in my life.