2017. I ended it wanting to close the lid on a year that held January to December together, if only by a thread, locking it up forever, a little like Pandora's box. Twenty Seventeen - what a year. The year political uncertainty hung over us in a big dark cloud, 365 days of weather that didn't quite match the season we were in, the year that everyone was in a bit of a funk. Let's just say I was glad to be crossing off the final few days of December as I reflected on the previous 52 weeks.
I didn't feel a pull to write about it, I didn't want to reminisce, yet Fraser kept dropping little hints here and there.
I gave in, with an outburst of "fine! FINE! I'll do it!" - He looked at me perplexed... I'll admit it had been playing on my mind, he had only mentioned it once, and it was an over reaction on my part. What can I say? I'm a highly strung individual at the best of times. I mulled it over, what could I write? How could I string together a piece that was somewhat positive when read? My monthly videos is where I would find inspiration I was sure.
Inspiration is what I found, and a whole lot more. In amongst the shaky footage of January, February and March were shots of laughter, memories captured in time forever. A trip to Paris, my best friend visiting Barcelona for the first time. 'clinking' of glasses in celebration, squeals of delight escaping my lips. April, May and June brought sunshine, adventures with Fraser, cat cuddles and wine. July, August and September the videos are higher quality - thanks to an incredible birthday present from Fray - a brand new camera. Suddenly those memories are crisp, focused and beautiful. The details of light, the look in my eyes, it's not just moments captured but feelings and sentiments. October, November and December bring me even more joy as I devour each second on screen. I'm more creative with my new tool, Fray appears more, he's behind the camera more too, helping to freeze snippets of time forever more.
After an hour and a half has passed, I've laughed and giggled, cried happy tears, gone through two mugs of tea and am completely flooded with gratitude. Gratitude for a beautiful year. A year like no other - yes there were tough times for everyone, but they fade into insignificance as I'm reminded of butterflies in my tummy at the airport, the biggest hugs as our bodies cling to each other in arrivals, the warmth of his arms holding me tight, the safe feeling of being home. Of both of us being home - wherever we may be.
My favourite moments of 2017.
Between Fraser and I we took 30 flights in 2017 to see each other. Airport hellos and goodbyes made up a large part of our year, but we wouldn't have it any other way.
In March we went to Paris, for 36 hours! We had such a great time and it's a trip we'll remember forever. We saw the Eiffel Tower - venturing up to the top, ate chips along the river, visited the Notre Dame and paid an extortionate amount for an omelette for lunch. You can read more about our trip to Paris here.
We chatted until the cows came home when Laura came to visit, went on a long coastal walk breathing in the sea air whilst putting the world to rights, had a takeaway, put facemasks on and went on a night out. It was something we had both wanted to do and looked forward to doing for so long. It was wonderful in every way possible.
The Camel Trail
I LOVED doing this bicycle ride, Fray was less enthusiastic. Something to do with me zooming off leaving just a cloud of dust in my wake. Joking aside, it was one of my favourite days of the year. We rented bikes, rode the trail, stopped and took photos, cycled a little more and rewarded ourselves with fish and chips at the other end before cycling back.
I had two big surprises for my twenty seventh birthday - the first a surprise party thrown for me by my lovely friends at work. I was dressed up as a fairy, taken out for dinner, drinks and a spot of dancing. The next morning, feeling a little worse for wear I arrived home, showered and I was tidying the flat when Fraser messaged. Could we facetime? Of course we could! As his face appeared on my screen, something wasn't quite right...he turned the camera around - he was at my gate!
A Picnic At The Beach.
Give me a 40'C day, and I will do anything to stay inside in the cool avoiding the sandy bays at all costs. However a chilly windy day? Let's go to the beach and have a picnic! I loved this Sunday in October ever so much. We ate tuna wraps, chocolate and drank orange juice breathing in the sea air on a lovely Sunday afternoon.
Fraser's Grandad and Great Uncle came to visit Barcelona in May, we had a brilliant time showing two Eighty something year olds around the city! They could drink us under the table, and whilst we were exhausted after the long weekend exploring all that Gaudi has to offer, they were both full of beans!
The End Of Year Staff Party.
Sometime at the beginning of the year, Adam and I , after a few glasses of vino, came up with the fabulous idea of throwing a secret staff party within the school. The teachers were told to meet outside the front door and to dress to impress. We decorated each classroom with a theme, there was a karaoke room, a games room, an awards room and even a photobooth/instagram room! One of the bathrooms at the school has a bath, so we filled it to the brim with ice and used it as a fridge. It was such a brilliant night, everyone felt like they could really let their hair down as we were in the privacy of a place we knew so well without the possibility of bumping into anyone we knew from outside of work. (Namely students and parents!)
Abbie came over to visit with Fraser in September, we had a brilliant time and went to Bear week in Sitges. Fraser had been the one to suggest it showing us a poster... Abbie and I were somewhat confused.
"You want to go to this?!" we chorused in unison.
"Hell yeah I do! YOU DON'T?!" he replied
"Well... yeah sure, it looks cool, I just didn't think it was your kind of thing Fray..." I said
"Pea, it's beer week! What's not to like?! Who doesn't like beer?!"
"Fraser it's BEAR week, not BEER week." We said laughing and decided to show him and our friend Dani exactly what Bear week was. Fraser couldn't quite believe his eyes, there were lot's of very big hairy men, leather harnesses and gags. I giggled the whole night long.
Taking a break from the old vino.
In June I decided to say adios to alcohol (<--- more on why there!) For six months I didn't drink a drop, and it felt good. In fact it felt more than good to wake up fresh faced with a clear head after a night out. It felt AMAZING being able to hop in my car and drive home at the end of an evening. Over Christmas and New Years I had a few glasses, but in all honesty I don't think I'll be drinking all to much in the year ahead - just to raise a glass of cava or champagne for celebrations.
Favourite Things of 2017
As you know, I'm not a hugely materlialistic person, I value memories and moments over things but there are a few products I'd like to mention, which have really changed things for me in 2017. Some of the products below are affiliate links.
By far the best gift anyone has ever given me. My Lumix GX 800 allows freedom for my creativity, it's never far from my side and I use it every single day - i don't know what I'd do without it now! Read more about my Camera Set Up here.
Say Yes To New Adventures.
This is my favourite piece of artwork I encountered in 2017, and it was a Christmas gift from the very talented Lucy of Leaf Lane Studio. It's ever so special as she painted it for me. I will definitely be saying yes to new adventures in 2018, having that reminder on my wall will make me say yes all the more! You can find a downloadable print of this gorgeous piece on Lucy's website LeafLaneStudio.com
Well... actually they're dog mats but my cats are in love with these, as am I. These pet mats machine washable and you can cut them to size, so we have several dotted around the flat in cat igloos and on shelves. The cat's adore them and instantly start grooving as soon as they're popped onto one. It's lovely, as getting the cats comfy places that are their own has been a struggle in the past.
One of my favourite teas of 2017 had to be The English Tea Shop's Lemon Grass Tea. A steaming mug of this, with a dollop of runny honey is every kind of wonderful.
I purchased two pairs of skechers in 2017 and they've really changed my day to day comfort. Having been born with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome I have problems with my joints, I've found that wearing these trainers has eased the pain in my ankles and knees as well as kept my feet toasty warm. I can walk for longer and I'm so much more comfortable all of the time.
My Red Coat.
Living in Barcelona, with its 300 days of sunshine, I could never really justify buying a warm waterproof coat. I have plenty of (very old) coats which I've made do for the month of two we have of winter. When I visit the UK though, I insantly freeze up. My joints lock in place and the pain from the cold is something else! I usually borrow Fraser's jumpers and a big waterproof coat of his, which on a small 5ft 3 elf, doesn't quite look right! If Im honest, I feel the cold a lot, so I do use a coat for four or five months fo the year here, and I'm in love with the coat Fray got me for Christmas. It's a three in one coat, meaning you can wear it with both layers - a waterproof warm jacket and the extra waterproof red anorak, or seperate and wear them sepearately - perfect for when it gets warmer. I adore this coat, it's full of deep pockets, the hood is ginormous meaning that when it rains theres no chance of rain drops falling on my glasses (something that drives me crazy) and best of all my joints are warm, happy and pain free.