I absolutely feel as though I have had two years in one this twelve months just gone. The first six months were in stark contrast to the last, as I moved from the cosy comforts of my university city in Kent back to my homeland of Norfolk, then took the plunge and moved in with my boyfriend into what is now affectionately referred to as 'the London cabin'.
It's been full of ancient townhouses with cling film covered windows and wonky floors, hiking up the hill to university with a bag weighed down with library books. Following the M&S worker around the shop of a Friday night and nabbing everything he labelled with a yellow 'reduced' sticker. Climbing onto the roof to look across at my beautiful 'coming of age' city before leaving it forever. Stealing quiet hours in Richmond Park with a happy dog, happy heart... and muddy boots! Pitching up in the sand dunes and lazily watching the sun cross the sky with warm skin and a good book. Not needing to check the underground map anymore. Staying up late playing Portal 2 with my brother. Playing grown up in interviews. Having a cat curled around my feet. Making Christmas gifts and then buying more anyway.
All in all, 2014 has been the year of figuring out what makes me go to sleep at the end of each day having felt a sense of purpose. Sounds so simple in a sentence doesn't it?!
Here's a special moment from each month to reflect on the year, then I'm up and out with a bottle of cava in each hand and a predicted sore head tomorrow.
Happy New Year!
(In rows from left to right and top to bottom)
Heading into London after the madness of Christmas shopping to find a sombre city, slick with rain and shellshocked sales staff. A look into Liberty's to play 'guess the price' and churros eating in Camden was a welcome break from the 10,000 word essays I had to do in this month!
FINALLY getting to see my lifelong buddy from home in Leeds. I was essay free and somehow managed to wangle two glasses of free rose on the train up North. Result! We stomped up hills (a novelty for one born on the flatlands of Norfolk), ate lots of Pasta and danced to 70's pop music, fuelled by vodka lemonades and too many packets of space raiders.
During my Eighteenth Century Studies I was lucky enough to be surrounded by academics who constantly inspired and intimidated me in equal portions! There is something truly idyllic about drinking tea with a heavy tome in front of you, making notes on the performance of gender in 1765. A blissful 24 hours in Paris ensued, with stimulating discussion and macaron breaks during the 'Alternative Enlightenments' conference. Oh, and the evening reception at the British Embassy, with REAL suited waiters carrying REAL silver platters with REAL champagne. I may have stalked them a bit...
Oh, essays strike again. This beautiful bluebell patch covered the floor on the most blissful route up to university. Sun dappled trees, lunch box packed, birds sweetly singing, ahhhh. And then I locked myself in an office for 9 hours, setting my own ransom at 800 words a day. The bittersweet life of a Masters student!
Back in Norwich for Easter with a suitcase full of books. Perhaps as a procrastination tool, I registered my blog! This is my Mum waiting patiently for me after nipping out of St. Andrews Hall to get out more money to spend at the Lulu Vintage Fair! Nothing like a pair of vintage sunglasses and 80's sequinned dresses to get you through yet another essay!
As my university friend's put away their books for the final time, I took a teeny tiny break and spent one too many hours sat lazily next to the river, laughing and eating M&S salads. This little bird fell into the stream and after a while, was strong enough to fly off to his mama again.
Floaty ring in tow, we trekked up the stream in Canterbury and set off on a lazy voyage down the river. Swerving the odd punter and fisherman, the water felt fresh and warm, as little fish swam under our floats and we revelled in the beauty of the day.
August was the month of being torn between the indoors and out, half tethered to my laptop and daily word count, and the call of the sunshine outside. Most people lamented the two weeks of rain we had - I didn't! That rain helped me keep my dissertation in check. I did manage to bake some lovely Beetroot and Avocado Brownies in between proof reading! After enough Jane Austen to last a lifetime, I was done. Dissertation bound with fancy gold lettering and sent off to be marked, I spent the last week in Edinburgh absorbing the fringe. Bliss!
The heat clung on to Autumn, as I ate all the BBQ food I didn't have during summer, cycled through farms, walked on the beach and saw as many friends as possible before the big move. The Thornage Hall Fete was a happy afternoon spent with my family, buying crafts and watching the worst dog show in the world (imagine dog scrapping galore).
October saw jobs applied to, jobs rejected from, interview outfits painstakingly put together and then escaping from it all during an impromptu trip to Ireland. Coffees were drunk, morning eggs eaten, boots worn down from walking, dogs fussed over, and folk songs sung during long car trips across the Antrim Coast. The sea air blew away my blues and sent me back to London a happy bee!
After academic study seemed like a long ago dream, I went back to Canterbury to graduate with a Masters! The weekend was bliss, after walking the cobbles I'd frequented so many times before and carefully trotting down the Canterbury Cathedral aisle, scroll in hand and board hat skewed on my head. A bittersweet parting!
Christmas crept up on me this year, well and truly. The Fox and Furrow turned into Snug, and I was once again happily tapping away at my laptop by the end of the month. My tiny kitchen became covered in wax as I made these Scented Soy Wax Candles as Christmas presents, and I was surprised by a beautifully festive skate at Hampton Court Palace before heading back to Norfolk for Christmas.
If you could pick your favourite memory from 2014, what would it be?