On 26th March 2020, I wrote about my Top Experiences of 2019. I described ‘how a brief pause in a busy life allows us to reflect on things we love.‘
Back then, I didn’t know Covid19 would last for the rest of the year. It is now the 28th December and we are 280 days in. Life feels messy, uncertain and precariousness but if there is one lesson that 2020 has taught us, is that our greatest moments and most memorable experiences lie beyond the realm of routine and our comfort zones. 2020 was a write off for many of us, nevertheless here are the top 20 things that made this year a bit more bearable:
1) Alexander House & Utopia Spa – 2nd Jan 2020
A surprise Birthday weekend away at the suitably named “Alexander Hotel”. In 72 hours we hosted New Years, created the world’s most epic cheeseboard, saw Waitress the Musical, explored Chislehurst Caves, and accidentally fell asleep in a dimly lit spa.
2) A Medieval Feast – 21st Feb 2020
We were allowed to bash the tables and shout “Wench!” when we wanted service (as a waitress for over 10 years I promised I didn’t do this!). Looking back at this, I know I am blessed with the best colleagues in the world.
3) Berlin Sisterly Break – 26th Feb 2020
Berlin is one of the most international and tolerant cities in the world and it became one of my all-time favourite city breaks. You can read more about what we got up to here.
4) First Winter Bothy Weekend – 13th March 2020
Taking the overnight train from London, it felt like waking up in winter paradise. We walked past snow capped mountains and the stunning An Lochan Uaine, a turquoise coloured loch in pure wilderness and reachable only by foot. Read more about how we nearly froze to death here.
5) Made Redundant – 30th April 2020
Sometimes an event that feels so gut wrenchingly awful is a blessing in disguise. Without saying anymore, the above message I received from a customer was true to every word.
6) A new job at Enchanting Travels – 25th May 2020
I started a new role with Enchanting Travels in May 2020 with the most inspirational manager I’ve ever had in my career so far. Thank you to Alice N too who listens to my ramblings day in day out in our remote work role.
7) New Perspective – March 2020 onwards
I love London and the idea of living ‘out in the sticks’ was completely alien to me. I was locked down in Suffolk with Alex and Pam from March to July 2020 and I found a new perspective after this. I logged the highlights of each day on a spreadsheet here (PS the spreadsheet is ramblings and may not make sense!).
8) Sudbury – 6th July 2020
On the day lockdown was released in Summer 2020, Alex and I arranged a weekend away at The Mill Hotel in Bury St Edmunds. We had a hash-brown brunch, explored Lavenham and got terribly lost on the Melford Hall to Sudbury Three Mills walk.
9) Cornwall – 26th July 2020
I adore my parents and I missed them a lot when the pandemic was in full swing. With the release of lockdown, we had a wonderful week in Cornwall together where we explored castles, coast-lines and culinary Cornish delights (Scone-ya).
10) Eat Out Help Out – August 2020
Eat Out to Help Out became a hedonistic excuse to eat everything in London. In one month, I had steak, Lebanese, Polish, Indian and Korean. I finally made it to Duck & Waffle!
11) Great Glen Way – 4th September 2020
Stretching for 118km from coast to coast across the Highlands, Alex and I wild-camped, B&B-ed and trekked in torrential rainfall from Fort William to Inverness.
12) On the housing ladder – 22nd September 2020
In a year where we were both made redundant, I was so happy and proud when we bought our first home together in Suffolk.
13) Mystery Dining
With most of 2020 under lockdown, I still managed to sneak in 12 mystery dines across the year. From boutique cinemas to a succulent Gaucho steak, 2020 will be my 10 year anniversary of completing over 100 mystery dines in London/Sussex and Suffolk.
14) Gym Classes at Martlesham Leisure Centre – Oct 2020
I know the gym seems really mundane but it really helped to dispel ‘lockdown lethargy’. My statement after a gym class was “I feel so bendy that if I jumped off a cliff, I think I could land on my feet”. I think mental health intertwines with physical health and the chance to swim/spin/sweat in a class after working from home always made me happy.
15) Exploring a new County – Oct 2020
Living in Suffolk became an open book for more exploration. From weekends in Cambridge, Norwich and Lowestoft to discovering hidden footpaths where we live, we’ve discovered that it is a beautiful, safe and gentle county.
16) Teapot Project – 14 Nov 2020
Alex and I volunteered over 10 hours for The Teapot Project. Food waste is a topic that is close to my heart (yellow label connoisseur :D) and it was great volunteering for a food charity in the middle of the winter national lockdown.
17) Cookery – Nov 2020
With a lot of time on our hands, we were lucky enough to sample new SimplyCook recipes and explore some new ‘go to’ dishes for delicious dinners. I can highly recommend the Keralan Hake Curry on BBC Good Food.
18) Ollie’s First Birthday – 12th Dec 2020
2020 is one of the years where I’ve had the least amount of time with my family. Any dates together with my parents or sisters was time cherished.
19) Christmas in our first house together – 25th Dec 2020
Roast dinner, cosy socks and a surprise stocking from Pam! It was a warm, festive and quiet 1st Christmas in our new home.
20) Mr Bear
I love you more then I can tell :).
Let’s hope we can look back at 2020 and laugh, bring on 2021 for a new year of opportunity, experiences and the chance to travel again!