In true tradition, I’m ending another year of blogging, writing and posting over here with my annual What Olivia Did in… post. I’m definitely someone that has the tendency to get overwhelmed at this time of year, but this year has felt a little calmer than usual and it’s been so lovely to reflect on an incredibly busy and exciting year, taking stock and remembering some of the unbelievable pinch-me moments the last twelve months have bought- and like Lizzy said, I highly recommend everyone doing something similar. It’s so, so easy to forget the little moments in life, and although this year may have brought some bigger trips and bucket-list ticks which leave me feeling incredibly fortunate, it was looking through my battered 2018 diary and seeing the pub quizzes, Sunday roasts and first-time-in-the-garden-this-year moments that really bought back the colour to a rainbow of memories.
And, as wanky as it probably sounds- I often have moments where I do think ‘why me? How did I manage to DO THIS?’ LIKE HOW. I really do (and often feel incredibly undeserving, if we’re being honest and not at all pessimistic), but it also means I understand the total enormity of the kind of things I’m fortunate enough to get to do- and although I work hard, still appreciate every single moment and trip and experience, and know I’ll never take it for granted at all (I just must remember to keep saying yes, you won’t remember when you don’t, Liv). Plus, although the internet is brilliant at only shining light on the good, positive and success- like every year, it hasn’t been all roses. Seeing family members poorly is one of the hardest things imaginable, and although it’s not always something I feel happy or comfortable sharing on such a platform- getting through life’s bumps with a small but perfectly formed (and endlessly special) family in tow always helps balance the more difficult things each year brings.
But it’s been a YEAR. A year of endlessly wonderful connections, relationships, friendships new and old and people that continue to make my little world go around. With each new year it’ll always be the people- from the podcast listeners (!), community over on The Insecure Girls’ Club, to the friends I message at godforsaken hours with stupid memes that couldn’t possibly wait until the morning- that continue to be the biggest success I have. It’s you, dear reader- and although I’ll avoid a smoke-up-me-own-backside style speech, thank you. The good company you keep- be it online, or otherwise, is better than any resolution you can make, and next year I’m truly sticking by the #newyearsameme trend. It’s going to be a big one- and I’m sure this time next year there may be a bit of a common theme going on (EEEEEEK) but for now, I thought I’d highlight some of my favourite things over the last year and recap on the wild ride that was 2018…
The year began with a mixture of musical sing-alongs at a Dirty Dancing screening at the Prince Charles (a recurring theme of the year) and a handful of belated-festive adventures. With a trip to Glasgow and Gleneagles on the cards- Joe and I had a couple of days in the beautiful north, before heading even further so with an unforgettable trip to Finland with Origins too. It was hands down one of the most special moments of my life, and lying under the stars watching the Northern Lights isn’t something I’ll ever forget. I also did a couple of theatre trips, seeing Stuart Lee and… Aladdin (two brilliant men in very different fields) and started trying on wedding dresses too- eek!
February brought the launch of mine and Charlotte’s podcast, The Fringe of It! AH! Like a lot of things in life, we approached it with little expectation and after an unbelievable response, hit number ONE ON THE ITUNES CHART on our first day of release. I’m so proud of us for launching it this year, and now on our 36th episode, can’t wait to see where else it goes. This month my lil baby brother George also turned 21 (which gave me equal parts surreal/proud/exciting feels) and we got a pretty white blast from the Beast from the East, which made for a very chilly 28 days indeed.
The dress hunt continued in March- and ended with more travel in a month than I think I could have ever expected. With my first proper trip to L.A in March with Superga and Alexa Chung (I know), I got home for a day before jetting off for 10 days in New Zealand which was one of the most incredible trips I’ve been on. Exploring the south of the country with the most hilarious and warm group of people made for the most special couple of weeks and I’m still thinking about the road-trips, terrible singing and Cookie Time now…
A month of lovely events! This month I saw one of my oldest work pals get married in Leeds in my second ever friend wedding, as well as head to the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards for a swanky soiree indeed. The Insecure Girls’ Club also became a twinkle in my eye after a series of events (more on this one day), and I also paid a little work trip to Paris with Joe and Wilderness with one of my favourite skincare brands, Fresh- which felt like the biggest treat to see in Spring to.
I like to think of May as the month I went to a LOT of gigs. 2008 Liv would be exceptionally proud, and this month I got to see Florence at the Royal Festival Hall, The Rolling Stones with Papa P, James Bay and Miles Kane too- crikey! It was also the month of the Royal Wedding (which was also the bookmark for a pretty long hot summer) and lots of garden centre visits, friends in the garden and just enjoying the weather- in good true British form. I also got to revisit beautiful Berlin with both Omega (!) and Viktor & Rolf, as well as head to Italy with the lovely people at Daisy and some of my favourite blogging ladies too.
More than just my birthday month (just), in June I went to Field Day for the first time in yonks, and although I knew about one person playing- loved spending it with some of my best friends in the sunshine. Joe and I also went to Edinburgh for a couple of days for work, before coming home to celebrate my birthday with afternoon tea and a party at ours- which, naturally, involved lots of singing, pizza and pancakes the morning after. I also asked some of my most cherished friends to be bridesmaids, hosted a wedding event with Chanel and Zoe Taylor (still not over this) and headed to the coast not once but twice, and had one of the loveliest sumer evenings in Whitstable with Joe and Maggie.
July was the first month that Joe and I had even gone on a beachy/pool holiday together, and spent a couple of days in beautiful Mykonos after a few weeks of the best world cup madness. We also saw Joe’s sister Molly graduate (#PROUD) and celebrated with Domino’s and singing Vindaloo until we couldn’t any more (literally, it was the night England went out </3). I also had another month of pure musical joy- seeing Steps in Greenwich with my best pal Gemma and then seeing Mamma Mia 2 for the first time- which, I really don’t think I have to go into. Joe and I also went to Calvi with ba&sh, and then ended the month photographing a pals wedding near home too.
GAL GOT ANOTHER TATTOO! I also went to one of the most beautiful weddings with some of my favourite people, cried endlessly and almost got my own version of the wedding blues afterwards because it was so lovely (melodramatic? Me? Never). Charlotte and I also did another live event to end our first season of The Fringe of It and I GOT THE DRESS. Which was incredibly exciting indeed. I did a couple of wonderful shoots with Lauren and Brides magazine, as well as a gorgeous trip to the country with Jo Malone and Belmond too. We wrapped the month up with a holiday in Bordeaux with Joe’s family to see his lovely aunt, and it couldn’t have been the nicest send off to summer.
September started with a trip to Portmeirion to film with Acuvue, before coming back and catching the Arctic Monkeys at the O2- which was always going to be a treat. I also saw Cilla the musical (I am 60 and proud) and headed to Devon with Liz Earle for some quality time by the sea with some brill ladies. Finally, on a particularly uneventful sick day I also accidentally ended up launching The Insecure Girls’ Club early- something that actually now couldn’t have come at a better time and was one of my absolute highlights of the year. The community since has been unbelievable, and I’m so proud for helping to create this little something and truly feel like I’m putting myself to good use online (in the least big headed way possible, of course).
Another busy month of travel- October began with a family trip to Ibiza, before heading home and ticking off the windy city for the first time, before extending the trip to L.A with Carrie and having the most fun few days- including seeing Arctic Monkeys yet again, but this time at the Hollywood Bowl which may be one of the most special concerts I’ve been to. Getting back, it was straight onto Dublin, celebrating Molly’s 21st with dancing, a drag show and a LOT of singing Freed from Desire which I am absolutely still doing. Joe and I ended the month with our first whistle stop visit to Bristol- another place I hope to go back to in 2019 too!
This month I got back behind the lens for the first time in years, photographing the gorgeous First Aid Kit girls at their Brixton gig, before heading up to Manchester to do some more filming for The Insecure Girls’ Club. I also had a fun day of bridesmaids dress shopping as well as a couple of nights at the gorgeous Kimpton Hotel- before seeing ol’ Flozza yet again at the O2- absolutely not a fangirl.
As well as getting our tree on the 1st (not wasting a minute here, pals) December started by hosting a surprise birthday for my wonderful mums 50th and then heading down to Ramsgate for a few days of celebrating. It was definitely one of my favourite weeks of the year with my family, and was the perfect tonic to a hugely packed and work filled November. The week after included a visit to New York which was a total dream, followed by catching up with some of my best friends before Christmas, giving notice for marriage (#grownup) and then hosting our first ever Christmas day- for 13. I’m still not sure how we pulled that one off, but WE ONLY BLOODY DID IT! Tonight we’re handing the NYE hosting baton to my best friend and her boyfriend and I couldn’t be more excited to ring in the New Year with pasta, pals and lots of boogying too.
If you’re still reading this far after nearly 2000 words, thank you. And if you’ve simply skimmed to this point- still thank you- that was a lot of words. I couldn’t do this without you all reading (or skimming) along here- you’re the bloody best.
Have a happy, healthy and relaxed New Year- I hope it’s filled with plenty of musicals (not for you Daisy), happy memories and brilliant brilliant company. Take it at your own pace and know that doing it your way is the best, and only way to do it- you got this, you wonderful bunch.