Well, well well, 2019 what a year you have been. It’s been one of those years that looking back on, seems endless because I’ve somehow managed to do so much. I’ve loved every second of this year, and cherish it even more looking back on it!
I’ve really struggled to condense it into one lil post, so it’s a long post, with short bits in it. Compromise eh?
I’ve collated a month by month view of the final year of this decade!
New Year’s Day
Every New Year’s day we go for a walk, but this year we went to Cromer to see the Bacon’s by the sea. We strolled by the coast, freezing our tits off and ate drank and were merry.
Emma’s baby shower
After meeting Dan’s family in December 2018 I was invited to his sister’s baby shower. My first ever baby shower. It was a great afternoon and really lovely to be apart of a special time for Emma.
Millie was born!
Arriving right on time, Millie Ava Height was born on February 3rd 2019. It was such a honour to go to the hospital with Dan and his parents and meet Millie for the first time. She was tiny and so so beautiful. It was a magical day. It was also her Dad’s Matt’s birthday, but as we keep telling him, that will probably be forgotten about now.
Moving my Aunty in her new house
After weeks of trying to find the right house, my Aunty and I noticed a new listing in a small village nearby. She looked round it the following week and in February we moved her in. Downsizing from my Nan’s three bedroom country house to a two bed terrace was quite a squeeze. There was barely any room to stand or move once all the boxes were in, but we began unpacking and spent several hours ensuring that Aunty Linda had somewhere to sit and had mugs and the kettle to make tea. All the essentials eh? After our handy work there was room to move, sit and it looked relatively like a house again, rather than a child’s play den. We had fish and chips and rather like leaving your child at University for the first time, we left her to settle into her new home.
HP Formal Hall
Franky invited me to a Harry Potter Formal Hall at her college at Cambridge University. Considering Franky had never read or seen HP at this point (I mean, who is she???) I was whispering here and there what everything meant. Cambridge is very Hogwarts without even trying especially as the hall resembles the Great Hall already with long thin tables seated with hundreds of students.
It was amazing. Hogwarts letters sat at our place at the table, along with a wand and snitch, then there was a re-enactment of some of the best scenes from HP AND real owls flew over the table as Owl Post had arrived. I loved it and very grateful that my gal Franky invited me.
Cardiff with the girls
Franky and I took the four hour train to Cardiff to visit Becca and Tim in their new (ish by this point) flat. It was SO good to be reunited. Friday night we went to watch a feminist version of The Taming of the Shrew with the gender roles reversed (women playing men) and it was amazing, Becca and I obviously loved it. On arrival women and men were separated for women to be right at the front on the floor, to be in their rightful position – at the front. You get the picture?
B & T took us around their fave spots in Cardiff and it was so lush (said in Stacey’s accent). Loved it, we were very sad to leave.
In March I was promoted to a Editor of Architecture Magazine. I was thrilled. It meant more responsibility, more progression and a new opportunity to develop my skills as a writer and editor. It also meant a pay rise, which I was very grateful for being part-time at the time.
Weekend in London
Dan and I spent a few days in London, playing crazy golf, exploring the sites and going up the Shard. We’d extended our weekend stay in London by two days so I could have a meeting with the production company about my TV Series. As Dan and I usually only got a day or two at weekends together, the quality time together was lush.
We also went to see My Dad Wrote a Porno, the recording of the episode for HBO. Dan introduced me to the podcast and we both found it hilarious, and absolutely loved the show.
Paris for my birthday
This was rather special and a definite highlight of my whole year. Dan and I booked Paris over my birthday weekend and it was a hilarious, bread and wine filled weekend. We had the best time and neither of us wanted to come home. Dan made my birthday extremely special with balloons, wine and flowers in the room when we arrived and a gorgeous dinner in a traditional French restaurant in the evening. Loved every second.
Easter at Lisa’s
Over Easter Dan and I took a trip up North to his sister’s and brother in law’s with the rest of his family. It was great spending time with them all, having a few too many gins and lots and lots of baby cuddles and running around after Harrison.
Visiting the Bacon’s by the sea
On a surprisingly summery day, the fam and I went to Norfolk to visit Uncle Trevor and Aunty Karen by the beach. We tried some crazy golf, which was even crazier with us all playing, and it turns out the females can play golf quite well! According to my Uncle. That is quite well, when they didn’t try very hard and wanted to finish to go and get some fizz and donuts.
Women’s prize for fiction event
I’ve been invited to some really exciting events over the past year through the production company I’ve been working with, but my favourite was The Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist event. Sponsored by Natwest, Fremantle and Bailey’s the night was filled with shots of different types of Bailey’s, chat with lots of amazing writers, and huge cut out of the shortlisted books.
These events have been great for networking and taking advice from other writer’s as well as just sharing the usual, “yeah it’s hard to make this work isn’t it?”, kind of conversations.
Josh’s birthday weekend in London
For Josh’s 20th birthday, the four of us spent the weekend in London together. We went on the London Eye, explored some of the sights and watched Waitress (one of my brother’s and mine favourite musicals). It was such a good weekend!
We also discovered a new gem of a restaurant, VIVI. Still not sure how we’re saying that though (roman numerals or the word eh?). Either way, WOW. Beautiful interiors, amazing food and excellent cocktails. We had so many cocktails that my Mum and Dan skipped down the street arm in arm to the taxi before we headed out for more drinks at my Mum’s request. Yes that’s right, my Mum requested we stayed out longer and drank more. Who is she?
Night out in Leeds
Considering this is my year in review, it’s worth mentioning that my wonderful gal Ellie bought her own house this year. That’s right. What a strong independent woman. *Alexa play Beyonce*
Finally, we found a weekend so I could go up and visit Ellie’s first new house and have some celebratory drinks in Leeds, a short train journey away.
I love all the time I get to spend with Ellie and it was very surreal visiting her in her own home. So cool.
Finally, my family and I visited Warner Brother’s Studios to live out our Harry Potter dreams. As super fans, it was amazing to finally visit and see all the props, costumes and visual effects used throughout the films. It’s also just magical to see the books in real life and walk down Diagon Alley. Just dreamy. The new Gringotts exhibition is SO worth a visit, if you haven’t seen it already!
Weekend in Skegness
Dan and I took a trip to the seaside to stay with his parents and visit gorgeous Harrison. We took walks along the front, played games – who knew hiding under a duvet could be so entertaining? – and relaxed by the sea (when we weren’t chasing after Harrison).
Michael Buble with Rae
Basically, everyone kept talking about seeing Michael Buble soon. I got quite jealous, thought I’d have a look for tickets and they had some for the Thursday night at the O2. So Rae and I throwing all caution to the wind as you do for Michael Buble, bought tickets. Absolutely amazing evening! Loved every second of it. If you think he’s good recorded, live is just something else!
Weekend in Norfolk
Every year Mum, Josh and I love to spend a weekend by the coast at our favourite hotel in Blakeney, one of our favourite spots in the world. It’s always such a relaxing weekend, being by the sea, reading in the lookout lounge with views scanning the estuary. We had a very relaxing break and explored our usual spots in North Norfolk.
Krakow with Ellie
I have loved my travels this year and both Ellie and I adored Krakow. It’s a beautiful city and we had a ball visiting the local landmarks, exploring the square and going on a pub crawl. We also visited Auschwitz as we were so close to the camps, we didn’t want to miss the chance to pay our respects. It was a moving and surreal experience, but one we were really touched by.
It was brilliant to spend the weekend with Ellie, as always.
A handful of my uni pals and I reunited in York over the summer, to catch up on the latest and do what we apparently did best as students, drink our way through the city. It was pretty warm day (for the North) so we even had cocktails outside on loungers, because, well, why not? Loved seeing them all, but it was slightly surreal to all be back in York together. Hardly felt like anything had changed.
I was honoured to attend my gal’s graduation. It was a great ceremony and a lot of the day consisted of Franky’s Dad showing me the photos he’d taken of Cambridge the past few days. I was extremely proud (as always) of Franky and she also won an award for her excellent teaching on her placement. Legend.
The gals and I met up in London on the day of the pride parade, so after a bit of lunch we got involved. Walking through the streets, watching all the floats, following it round to a ridiculously busy Leicester Square, was so fun and such a great event to be a part of. Loved seeing them both, this was our last reunion as a trio before Franky headed back to Gib. V sad times.
On Mum’s birthday we took a trip to the Varsity Hotel & Spa in Cambridge. Dan and I had a couples massage (lol), though thankfully, as originally Mum and Dan had been taken into the same room together even though they were having different treatments. Awkward. But Mum went to have her facial, and then spent the rest of the day telling us how plump her face felt. After our treatments, we headed to Six for some lunch and the rooftop terrace for a cheeky birthday bev.
Brighton with Rae & Lauren
Rae, Lauren and I took a weekend trip to beautiful Brighton. There was lots of drinks, great food, and endless chat as we tried to update each other about the past few months in three days. I had a gorgeous time with these gorgeous gals.
Moving in with Dan
After a few months of trying to decide what to do next, move out and rent in a shared house, or rent together, we very quickly found and moved into our first nest together. Without a doubt this is the best decision I’ve made this year; I’ve absolutely loved living with Dan and while there’s been a few bumps in the road going from seeing each other every weekend or every other weekend to every day, it’s been incredible. There’s no one I’d rather be sharing my wacky life with.
It was both hard and sad to move out of Mum’s again (as I moved out at 18 for uni, but was back and forth over the summer’s at uni) as there is nothing I love more in the world than my Mum, and Josh is alright too (joking Josh), but I think it was the right time and it’s been really exciting. Somehow they manage without me.
Boston and Cape Cod with the family
The Bacon’s tour of America continued! This year we travelled across Massachusetts to Boston and Cape Cod as well as Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard. We had an amazing time together, exploring Boston, going on a whale tour (and actually seeing whales), driving down to the coast and relaxing by the beach in Cape Cod (bar the terrifying beach that had sharks swimming in the water, which we walked on and walked straight back off).
It was great to go exploring the US again with two of my favourite people.
Dan and I went to Rotherham to celebrate our nephew Harrison’s third birthday. There was an enormous inflatable slide in the garden with strict height guidelines, which of course, we all ignored. It was a lovely weekend filled with cuddles, walks with Millie in the pram and going round and round the slide. Absolutely adored it and him!
Isobel’s birthday picnic
My cousin’s little girl Isobel also turned two at the beginning of August, and we had a birthday picnic at Rutland Water. I love it when we get all the family together and I can’t believe that Isobel is two already, where does the time go??
Croatia with Dan
For Dan’s birthday I booked flights to Croatia, a country we’d both wanted to visit and it exceeded our expectations. It’s a picture perfect, postcard country with a very rich and often dark history. Dubrovnik was our favourite city of the two we visited. It was a great way to end the summer.
Finally, the family and I got to go and see Hamilton! No surprise, we absolutely loved it and ended up in Chiquitos afterwards for cocktails and dinner. Jamie, my cousin, had been dying to see the show (haven’t we all) but he wasn’t kidding, throughout the performance I could hear a faint voice singing along. Bless him. It was SO worth it; I want to watch it again already.
I completed my Masters
Probably my biggest achievement of the year, I completed my Masters. I’d written 20,000 words before I’d even begun my dissertation – that was just in the first six months of essays, postgrads are tough! For my dissertation I then wrote 15,000 words of a young adult fantasy novel I’ve been cooking up for many many years. It was really tough but rewarding writing such a long piece of fiction, but I’m hoping I can finish the novel in 2020.
Dan took me to The Ivy Brasserie in Cambridge to celebrate finishing my Masters in Creative Writing. It was a fancy lil evening, but don’t be fooled. In true style I finished my postgrad degree like this:
London for Dan’s birthday
For Dan’s 26th Birthday (yes that’s right folks, four years till he is thirty) we spent the day eating and drinking our way across London. In the evening I then booked us tickets to see The Book of Mormon after weeks of Dan playing the soundtrack wherever we went. It’s absolutely hilarious, just perhaps don’t take your mother/conservative family member? But it’s absolute genius.
Rae’s birthday afternoon tea
After much deliberation over how to celebrate for Rae’s birthday, we decided to visit Rae and have an afternoon tea. Now Rae doesn’t do things by halves, look at that balloon display for instance, all made by her fair hands.
But she’d made macaroons, iced biscuits with our names on, sandwiches, cakes, gin cocktails, you name it, Rae made it. It was so lovely and special to celebrate with Rae on her birthday and also visit her ridiculously stylish new flat. I will be visiting lots in 2020, hope you know that Rae.
Meeting each other’s friends
We’ve had a few weekends away travelling up and down and into other countries to meet each other’s friends and spend a bit of time with our favourite people. It’s been really fun, we’ve both loved meeting each other’s friends. It just feels very grown up?? But the best thing is you get double the amount of nights out, trips and drinks as you now have double the amount of people to do all those things with. Dreams.
My cousin is pregnant again!
After much teasing at Isobel’s second birthday party that Stacey and Ian had made an excellent first child and should make another soon, they already had! But didn’t tell us! Sneaky.
That’s right, more babies on the way! Baby Rutherford is arriving in March 2020 and I am thrilled for Stacey, Ian and Isobel. Very excited to meet him/her very soon!
I was extremely proud to attend Dan’s graduation with him and his parents at Cambridge. He received his MPhil which he’d worked tirelessly for and I could not be more proud of him. It was a really moving and traditional graduation with some of the ceremony dating back hundreds of years. It was great to share that moment with him, even if it did all end with us all crying. Proud girlfriend moment.
Training for a half marathon
I trained, I came, and I couldn’t conquer because it was cancelled at the last minute. Great.
Yet, I absolutely loved/hated the experience of training and preparing both mentally and physically for this challenge, considering it was something that when I signed up for it, I wasn’t sure I was capable of it.
I’ve signed up for another race (to finally complete the distance) in March and I can’t wait to finally earn the medal, rather than just be handed it. I cry.
Christina Aguilera & Manchester
Such a good few days! Christina Aguilera was obviously incredible, her voice is unreal. She sang all her golden oldies as well as her new stuff that Ellie and I didn’t know (oops). We loved it and it was great to have a mid-week break to Manchester to drink and dance with my bestie.
Cardiff to see Becca and Tim
Dan and I drove down to Cardiff to see Becca and Tim for a festive lil weekend. It was great to spend some quality time with them both, exploring Winter Wonderland and the Christmas markets, even if we did get lost and search around like lost children looking for their parents. Throw in some drinks, dancing and lots of cheese and that’s a great weekend right there.
New Year, New Career and all that eh? At the end of January I start my new job in Marketing at Cambridge University Press. It’s closer to home and a new challenge, which I am unbelievably excited for.
Got a merit in my Masters
Thank holy shirtballs, I got my Masters and got a Merit too! The icing on top of the cake really. So relieved and pleased, can finally start applying for PhD’s eh?
Both my Christmas dos turned out to be on the same day, two hours apart. First I was in London for the production company’s christmas lunch, which as always was amazing. It’s such an inspiring environment to be surrounded by writers, producers, directors and actors discussing the work their making or trying to get made. I always learn so much from the events and I can tell you that I will work my ass off in 2020 to get my ideas going somewhere.
Then I went to Peterborough for drinks with my work crew. So many drinks in fact that the night ended at O’Neills on very drunken karaoke, before Jade and I sobered up (I really didn’t feel drunk at all considering I’d been drinking for 10 hours) sending people home in taxis and decided actually we’d danced enough and it was time to leave. Loved catching up with everyone outside of work, even if the whole night involved a lot of “Jess, why are you leaving? You can’t leave! Why don’t you stay?”
Sue Ryder Christmas campaign
After writing a blog about losing loved ones at Christmas, Sue Ryder approached me to evolve that piece into their Christmas Campaign. I’m always keen to help Sue Ruder, considering how much they’ve helped my family, so I jumped at the chance. I’m also super relieved that people read my blog and that my words can – even to just one person – make a difference.
Weekend in York
For the second year running, Dan and I took a little festive December weekend away, this year to York. We explored my favourite uni spots and mainly tried to stay as warm as possible. It was such a relaxing weekend, loved getting away from it all.
Christmas with the family
Christmas as always is a chance to spend more time with my family and friends. I’ve loved seeing everyone, catching up with my cousins, Aunty’s & Uncle’s and spending time with Dan’s family and playing with our niece and nephew. It’s just been a lovely Christmas break and I’ve loved being able to unwind and see people I love.