Its the cliché thing to say at the beginning of a new year, but 2018 really did fly by. Deconstructing the year just gone and appreciating the best parts of it is something that many of us like to do. So I thought I’d share my own highlights of 2018. This post is very much for my own benefit and one which I’ll look back on. It’s also full of recommendations and inspiration for ways in which to fill your own 2019.
The Years Best Books
Last year I made a resolution to read more. I made a conscious effort and did get through more books than the year before, but still got nowhere near what I would have read when I was younger. The only books I would really recommend out of those I read throughout 2018 are as follows:
The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman & Sophie Hannah thrillers. You can follow me on Goodreads for more in-depth reviews and to nosey at the ones I didn’t like quite so much.
Aqua Sana Spa Experiences | JANUARY, MAY, OCTOBER
At the beginning of 2018 I spoke about the importance of new year Spa stays. Throughout the year I visited Aqua Sana, Centre Parcs 3 times and have booked another luxury spa break for February (I’ll definitely be branching out and trying other spa’s this year too). As Winnie the Pooh so eloquently puts it: ‘doing nothing often leads to the very best of something’ and during 2018, time out proved invaluable to me.
A Week in Ikos Olivia, Halkidiki | APRIL
I took my second trip to Halkidiki, Greece this April. Although I can’t pretend I’ve experienced any of the Greek culture, the 5* Ikos resorts there are outstanding, and the Olivia is definitely the better of the two. An ultra-all-inclusive, with everything from meals in their five a la carte restaurants to activities and room service all covered. The Olivia has various bars, a private beach and the most friendly and attentive staff. If you’re looking for a place to unwind in the sun, this one is a (relatively) nearby paradise.
Time Spent in London | FEBRUARY, JUNE, DECEMBER
In February we travelled down to London for the day to do little more than eat and browse. Jamie had bought us (surprise) tickets for the London Zoo, but it was bitterly cold so we decided against the idea. We had a great day regardless and from it I can recommend a trip to the Ivy in Kensington (more on that here).
In June we kicked off a long weekend in London at Beyonce and Jay Z’s On The Run tour. There’s so much to do in the city that every time we visit for the day we find ourselves rushing around and still running out of time. Staying for a few nights made all of the difference and a refreshing change. Our trip was well rounded off eating Disney themed treats at the Kensington (more on that here).
Pumpkin Picking | OCTOBER
At the grand age of 23 I finally found myself at a pumpkin patch and wasn’t disappointed. Not only does Undley pumpkin patch make the experience into more of an event (think food stalls and activities for kids) there’s also something nice about shopping locally and picking straight from the patch itself.
Trips to The North Norfolk Coast | SUMMER & OCTOBER
Sunny days at the coast were a highlight of the early Summer. I love the coast, but its considerably less enjoyable when a trip means contending with miles of traffic, parking spot wars and screaming children. We were very lucky with the weather throughout a period of the early Summer, so it was throughout this time that Jamie and I made the most of Wells while kids were still at school.
The seals at Horsey beach tend to have their pups from October through to February. If you enjoy marine life, seal spotting is a wonderful (and free) way to appreciate these gorgeous animals in their natural environment. Walking along the beach and admiring the few little pups was worth the rather stressful road-trip that led us there.
Festive Trips | NOVEMBER, DECEMBER
Throughout the later months of 2018 we enjoyed looking out for the best Christmas decorations. The most festive places we visited were; Lavenham, which is small but beautifully decorated; Norwich, which hosts a tunnel of light alongside some other lovely festive features and will always feel like home; and London.
The Years Best Films
Jamie and I visited the cinema a lot throughout the year. We saw so many films but the following are my favourite of them all (in order of release).
Black Panther and Avengers Infinity War make the cut on the basis that I find Marvel movies more enjoyable to watch at the cinema. Both were full of drama and Black Panther has an impressive soundtrack.
Oceans 8 lands a spot for an impeccably well cast group of strong and diverse female leads.
Christopher Robin was one the most touching films I saw throughout the year, a true Disney classic brought to life: I was always going to love it.
Venom exceeded my expectations, despite the relationships within the film being a little too quick-paced for my liking. Tom Hardy made the movie for me and I’m constantly impressed by his ability to play any role convincingly.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald made this list because despite poor reviews, I thought this was far better than the first. I felt a stronger connection to Hogwarts and the Harry Potter films in this one, and the magical elements were more impressive.