Do you like photos? If the answer is no then look away now!
This isn’t a health related post, but one that shares the highs and very few lows of 2018. I traveled, saw a lot of music and had generally, a very very good year.
So without further ado, I present to you, Sensible Shoes Year in Review.
I have almost no recollection of what happened in January. I can’t even remember how I saw in the New Year. I have a feeling I was asleep by about 9pm.
- And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (not as good as A Thousand Splendid Suns)
- Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (not as funny or as good as it was billed)
- Life to the Limit, my Autobiography, by Jenson Button (made me like him a little bit more).
A trip to Edinburgh to the zoo and to see the Chinese Zodiac Lanterns exhibition which I really enjoyed. The zoo….not so much. It was my second trip to the zoo and it was just as sad an experience as the first time. Animals in poor enclosures who look super sad. I like a good zoo where the animals are well kept and has a good conservation programme but not Edinburgh. Won’t be back.
I traveled to London to spend a few lovely days in Greenwich with my Sister. A lot of walking and shopping was done, and I visited the National Gallery to see my favourite painting of all time for the first time in a few years, Whistlejacket by George Stubbs.
At the end of February the UK experienced one of it’s worst snowfalls in years. Jack and I somehow managed to escape it by travelling to warmer climes…Iceland, where it was a whopping 12 degrees c. Iceland was a mixed experience for me. I feel like we were a good five years too late to really enjoy it. The country itself was spectacular, that can’t be denied. And we did see a wonderful display of the northern lights, but the whole thing was ruined by mass tourism (of which we felt terribly guilty to a be a part of) and it all felt like a massive tourist trap. The Blue Lagoon in particular was a huge waste of money and if you’re reading this and you’re going to Iceland, don’t bother with it. Instead, go to The Secret Lagoon. That was FANTASTIC.
I read only the God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and I can honestly say I hated this book more than I hated my holiday in Iceland. And that’s saying something.
Jack and I celebrated 6 years together at the end of the month. We celebrated by spending a long weekend in Edinburgh, staying in a fancy suite at Malmaison in Leith and seeing the wonderful Belle and Sebastian perform. We spent some time looking around at flats and realised that right now we can’t afford to buy what we want in the city, but we’re working on it.
I got more involved with charity and did a lot of print interviews for various national newspapers about my experience of arthritis as well as appearing on local radio. My colleagues jokingly asked for autographs and I obliged, sneaking them on to their desks when they weren’t looking.
I read Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes and thought it was a very, very well written book.
April can mean only one thing.
The London Marathon.
It happened. It was, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned just once or twice before, the single greatest achievement of my life. Jack, my sister Rachel, her boyfriend James and my best friend Max were all there cheering me on at different points along the route and I was an emotional wreck the entire day, raising over £1800 for Arthritis Research UK (now Versus Arthritis).
I read Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks and it will go down as one of the best books I’ve ever read (apart from the last section, which I felt was very rushed).
Jack turned the grand ol’ age of 27 and we spent some time out in Royal Deeside to celebrate. We traveled down to Glasgow where I met the amazing Rachel who started the interview for a special film she was making. On this trip we visited the Museum of the Moon in Queens Cross Mackintosh Church and that evening, along with Jacks sister Elizabeth, we saw a band do a full rendition of Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon, underneath the Moon, and it was incredible.
Mid-month I had a bit of an emotional breakdown and had to take some time away from work.
I was nearly 6 months in to my cosentyx journey and was still 100% psoriasis and inflammation free. I was suffering from recurring bouts of chronic sinusitis and a lip infection, but otherwise, all was good.
I read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t have any impact on me.
Not a lot happened this month I don’t think. My last full month in my 20s went by fairly uneventfully. I think we went to the beach a couple of times and that was it.
Oh, and Jack and I went to Glasgow with his Father who got us floor side seats for Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. That was kind of a big deal because Dark Side of the Moon is my favourite album of all time and to hear him singing Brain Damage bought me to tears.
My sinus infection reached breaking point and the doctor prescribed me numerous drugs to try and get me well.
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (This is not just the best book I read in 2018, but also possibly the best book I have ever read in my life)
- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (BRILLIANT)
- Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie. It was literally Murder on the Orient Express, but instead of on a train, on a boat.
I turned the big 3-0!
I saw in my 30s by going to Disneyland Paris with Mum, Jack, Rachel and James. We stayed at The Newport Bay Hotel and had one of the best holidays I’ve ever been on. My Mum qualified for the disabled green fast pass and as such we were able to get straight on all of the rides and met lots of characters. To end the holiday, Mum, Jack and I went in to Paris, my first visit, and I realised that one day wasn’t enough and vowed to go back.
At the end of the month Jack and I traveled down to Greenock to meet up with Rachel for a day of filming and interviewing. It was a long day but we had a great day.
- Howards End by E.M Forster (so boring)
- Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes (she’s my not so guilty pleasure)
Took my Mum to Glasgow for a few days as I had tickets for the European Championships and returned later in the month with her and my Sister to see Britney Spears. Jack and I saw Jersey Boys at the theatre and both became obsessed with Frankie Valli and also went to our second Craig Charles Funk and Soul House Party. I danced so much I became so sweaty you could wring my hair out. It was brilliant.
My mental health took a massive battering and I had to take more time away from work. For reasons I won’t go in to, my anxiety soared sky high and I was having more panic attacks than I knew how to deal with.
At the end of the month I took on my second run of the year, The Great Aberdeen 10k. It was far less great than the name suggested, but I got round in just about one piece in a time I was super chuffed with.
I also had my orthopedics appointment after two years of waiting, where I was given the green light for my toe straightening surgery.
I read Double Cross by Malorie Blackman, finally completing the great Noughts and Crosses series.
Jack and I traveled to Newcastle where I took part in my favourite running race, The Great North Run. I was so slow but it was a super weekend. I made the mistake of declaring publicly that I wanted to beat the time I set the previous year, and not only did I not beat it, I was slower than it. That’ll teach me to open my mouth!
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (great)
- The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi (terrible)
The things that were causing me to have panic attacks got worse and at the start of the month I took more time off work and was put back on medication to try and improve my anxiety.
I bought a pair of canvas Dr Martens and was ecstatic that they fit my feet!
My best pal Max came to stay with us from London and we went to Dundee to visit the new V&A museum (TERRIBLE) and had the loveliest weekend with him.
At the end of the month we drove to Glasgow after work, grabbing two calorific McDonalds meals each at Fofar and rushing down to the Hydro in time to see one of my musical heroes, David Byrne of Talking Heads. We had missed out on tickets when he performed in Glasgow earlier in the year and were unsure if it was worth going down after work etc etc but boy are we glad we went. It was, quite simply, perfect. The best gig I have ever seen. The best performance I have ever seen. It was honestly life changing in a way I don’t know how to explain.
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed (couldn’t put it down)
- Milkman by Anna Burns (couldn’t wait to burn it it was that bad)
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon (finished in 2 days, good, but simple)
On the 1st of November, we returned to Paris. We had booked it spur of the moment shorty before, after discussing how much we wanted to go back. We stayed in a great little hotel in St Georges. We explored Montmatre, had lunch in the cafe where Amelie was filmed (my fave), spent a day in Disney where I had my own disabled fast pass, saw as much of the city as we could and went to Versailles.
It was in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles where, after six and a half years Jack pulled out a stunning emerald and diamond ring and asked me to be his wife.
I said yeah, go on then.
We spent the rest of the holiday in a post engagement bubble and couldn’t stop smiling at the thought of being married.
Back down to earth with a bump a few weeks later when I had my last day at work on the 16th and became surprisingly emotional. Saying goodbye to BP before returning in the New Year to an unwanted corporate position. I had my foot surgery on the 19th and spent the rest of the month on the sofa, completely off my feet.
- If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura (Such a let down)
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (best Bronte book yet)
More resting but did get slightly more mobile as the weeks went by. At the start of the month I had my stitches removed and told that I was healing perfectly.
Mid month Jack and I took his artist Grandma, and Auntie Caroline out to The Netherlands on our annual trip. We stayed in Zaandam and took them to Zaanse Schans, Amsterdam and The Hague. I practiced my terrible Dutch and ate A LOT of food. It was tough for me on crutches, but I had my first experience of a being in a wheelchair and couldn’t get over how much easier it made life (sounds silly, I know). The trip just furthered our resolve to move to The NL and hopefully at the start of 2019 we’ll take the gang back to explore as they also fell in love with it.
Christmas came and we went to stay with Jacks family in Fife, where I pretended to eat his 18 month old nephews piggy fingers that had been up his nose and subsequently got a stinking cold. I regret nothing though cos he’s cute.
New Years Eve we had lunch with Jacks family, brother and nephew and watched Lord of The Rings Return of the King, which finished 5 minutes before midnight.
I read a lot in December:
- Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (superb)
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (meh)
- Atonement (It was ok to start with, but I particularly liked the final section and that upped it in my estimations)
- Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford (a real gem)
- Why the Dutch are Different by Ben Coates (insightful)
- The Colour Purple by Alice Walker (not quite what I was expecting)
- Giovannis Room by James Baldwin (second best book of the year)
- Breakfast at Tiffanys by Truman Capote (terrible).
So what does 2019 hold?
Not sure yet! I return to work in a few weeks and really don’t want to. Everybody said I would be bored off work by 7 weeks in and I am still enjoying every single moment of it! I’m hoping to have the right foot done as soon as possible.
No holidays booked as yet but we’ll be off to New York (where Jacks sister Catherine now lives), Washington DC and Toronto hopefully in Spring. Maybe Boston too now I think about it. My Mum will turn 60 later in the year and as such I’ll be taking her on holiday. Not sure where yet but I am open to suggestions! Needs to be relatively flat or have a superb public transport system. She is keen on St Petersburg but I think that might be a holiday step too far for just the two of us! We’ll be returning to The NL shortly
Wedding planning started off very well but when we realised just how much it could end up costing, it’s suddenly been scaled back. Will 2019 be the year that we marry? Probably. I’m pushing for Vegas but it’s unlikely to happen, But what we do know for sure is that our honeymoon will be Japan and South Korea.
The reason why the wedding has been scaled back? That move to Edinburgh is high on the list of things to do and to get done this year.
My only new years resolution is to eat more sweet potatoes. Oh, and probably neglect the blog less. This is my first non-health related post in a very long time so will be interested to see if this is something we want more or less of. Maybe start a youtube channel? Thoughts on this? Collectively Jack and I want to spend more time with Jacks nephew Lucas and his new brother or sister who will arrive in May, and spend more time away from Aberdeen generally.
2018 was a great year.
Here’s hoping 2019 is even better!