2017. A good year.

I wasn’t quite sure how best to follow my last post, hence the recent hiatus in writing. I was reflecting on this last week while browsing through pictures on my ‘phone and it struck me that while that one awful event did cast a long shadow over elements of last year, on the whole I had a really rather good 2017.

Looking at these pictures filled me with such happiness, love and gratitude for all the amazing people in my life and the fantastic opportunities that have come my way. And while I know my friends sometimes laugh at my desire to ‘snap’ everything, looking back over pictures of the year I was so pleased that I’d captured so many great moments.

So to counterbalance the sobriety of my last post, this is a lighthearted recap of 2017; the unadulterated best bits!

January

Mr S and I started the year with our traditional, rather chilly, New Year’s Day walk, followed by cups of tea in the Breakfast Club to warm up afterwards.

January also saw a reunion of my hens. We went to see Kinky Boots, danced to awful music and drank many, many cocktails.

February

In February I went on a weekend trip to Brussels with my wonderful Abbeville Road girls. We enjoyed sightseeing, great art, strong beer and most importantly, lots of quality time together chatting and generally putting the world to rights.

I also started the year with PBs in both my half marathon (1:47:08) and 10km (48:08) as part of the Victoria Park race series.

March

In March I went on a residential leadership course with Clore, where I learned more about myself in a week than I had done in years prior and met some of the most inspiring and supportive people I’ve ever known.

I also marched with these amazing ladies to raise money for the Royal Marsden hospital.

April

In April I went to Chicago for a work trip and had the opportunity to catch up with my favourite snail running buddy who now lives State side. We went running, bowling, spent time at the Art Institute of Chicago (one of my favourite places) and he introduced me to margaritas!

April also saw a trip to Tate Britain for the David Hockney show and to the top of Tate Modern for a view of London with some of our wonderful pals who were visiting from Manchester…

…and we went to Sheffield to meet my friend Kathryn’s little girl, Rose, for the first time.

May

In May I went to Wembley with these great guys…

and we celebrated my father-in-law’s wedding in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.

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June

June saw us in New York and Philadelphia for a friend’s wedding, as well as plenty of sightseeing, art galleries and the mandatory bagel or two!

Back in the UK, June was also the month of my sister’s baby shower and when I met beautiful baby Leo, the son of my family friend and running inspiration, Jess.

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And it was the month R cycled the first leg of the Tour de Yorkshire while I manned the support team with these great guys.

July

In July I ran away to Portugal with my polo girls to celebrate a 30th birthday and to enjoy some sun, inflatables and general nonsense.

And from Portugal to the Peaks for a fabulous family getaway.

August

August marked the arrival of a new member of our family, baby Frankie, as well as the birth of my friend Lucy’s son Arthur.


It saw me in the Wilderness (well at Wilderness festival at least) for my first ever festival.


As well as bouncing off giant inflatables at the Olympic pool in Stratford.


I enjoying Raphael and time well spent in Oxford with my pal Georgina. We went on a visit to the seaside and enjoyed a visit from these chaps.

September

In September I went on my first ever vegan cookery course, walked in the Malvern hills with my wonderful friends and even braved some outdoor swimming.


Mr S and I also celebrated our wedding anniversary and my 32nd birthday at Lake Como with lots of hiking and even more Prosecco!


September also saw us back in Oxford for the wedding of these fabulous folks.

 

October

In October I enjoyed some time in Stoke with my favourite boys, and headed out to Frankfurt for the book fair.

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I did yoga at the top of the Shard with my fabulous pal Sophie, and we also enjoyed the Om Yoga show, London Veg Fest and Birmingham half marathon together!


October also saw a beautiful autumnal trip to Kew with these beautiful girls.

November

In November Mr S and I watched the fireworks in Clissold Park and went walking in Epping Forest.

We visited my sister-in-law and family in Leeds and enjoyed a beautiful stroll in Roundhay Park.

I ran a study day with my Clore team at Alexander Palace, a pop-up life drawing class at the Museum’s Association Conference in Manchester and went on an introduction to art therapy course in Angel.

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I was reunited with my home girls for a pampering day of face masks, nail varnish and lots of hot tub action, and met another wonderful addition to our family, baby Alexander.

December

In December I celebrated Christmas…on several occasions.

We went to the theatre to see the Ferryman with mum and dad and I saw the Modigliani show at Tate Modern, Dali/Duchamp at the RA and Graphic Design at the Wellcome.

We went walking in Yorkshire, spent lots of time with our wonderful families and played many, many boardgames!

And then the year ended, with fireworks and fabulous friends on a rooftop in Clapham Junction.

So all in all, a pretty amazing 12 months. 2018 has a lot to live up to!

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Tuscan adventures and new beginnings

I realise that it has been quite a while since my last post, for which I have the (fairly reasonable?) excuse of a wedding and honeymoon. Twelve months almost to the day that we got engaged, R and I tied the knot in Tuscany last month, surrounded by our closest friends and family, on what was genuinely the happiest and most fantastically fun day of my life.

img_6216From swimming laps with my bridesmaids before breakfast and racing across the pool on inflatable pizza slices with my pals (I had to burn off the nervous energy somehow!), to exchanging our vows in a beautiful hill-top town hall and dancing the night away in a Tuscan castle, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day.

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I can’t tell you how grateful we both felt to have so many of our wonderful friends and family members fly out to Italy to share the day with us. While I have always acknowledged how amazing the people in our lives are, having them all there together – and seeing new friendships form between our respective friends and relatives – filled me with so much happiness and gratitude; I really do feel so amazingly privileged that we are able to share our lives with such incredible people.

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After the wedding – and following a few days de-compressing with our families – R and I spent two weeks travelling around Italy. It’s amazing how taking a step out of your everyday routine really shifts your perception and allows you the time and headspace to reflect on where you are in your life, and to appreciate all that you have. It was so wonderful taking time to talk about everything and nothing – discussing our life plans, politics, art, our future together and our career goals – rather than simply worrying about what meetings or deadlines we had coming up at work or who was cooking dinner that evening (the usual topics of conversation in our everyday lives!).

Our lifestyle took on a whole different pattern too: we were getting plenty of sleep, spending all of our waking hours outside, walking, cycling and swimming – in the sea, in pools and in lakes – dining out on good food and eating when we were hungry, rather than when we were bored or tired. We read book after book, appreciated amazing art works  and architecture and took the time to pause and notice the little things in the world around us.

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And after what felt like a terribly indulgent couple of weeks I returned to the UK feeling healthier and better than I have done for a long while.

As you can imagine, coming back to London has been quite the fall back to earth, and despite an active holiday, rising early for my pre-work yoga and getting back into my running routine has taken a bit of a push. No matter how much you love it, London life is not serene by any stretch of the imagination and it is amazing how exhausting just commuting while surrounded by hundreds of people can be!

While we are falling back into many elements of our pre-wedding day-to-day routine, there are some habits from the holiday that I’m trying to maintain and some feelings that were stirred up from the trip that I don’t want to let go.

Post-wedding I’m taking the time to pay attention to the little things in the world around me – the way the light passes through the clouds, the autumnal freshness to the air, the changing colour of the leaves, the shapes and colours of the city, the little alleyways and interesting architectural features high-up on buildings that are so easily missed.

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I’ve continued to read fervently, burying my head in a book on my commute and in little cafes during those lunch breaks when I don’t go running.

Having allowed myself to eat freely and mindfully during the honeymoon – enjoying good and nutritious food, including a lot of bread and pasta (something I would have considered sacrilege pre-wedding!) and resultantly eating to satiety rather than over-eating – I’ve adjusted my eating habits since I’ve returned home. I’ve taken to eating slightly more at breakfast, as we did on our honeymoon, and to keeping an afternoon snack on hand to stop me from getting over-hungry come 7pm and devouring too much at dinner.

Finally having had the time for my mind to wander and whirr, to be filled with history and art, political ideas and literature, I’m looking at opportunities for further study. Be it via an ever increasing reading list that I’m creating for myself, evenings in the British Library or lengthy conversations with my academic friends, I’m starting, once again, to feed that little intellectual sprite that sits on my shoulder and makes noises about a PhD.

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So as one chapter of my life has come to an end, and as I ride out the inevitable dip that comes post-wedding-and-wonderful-honeymoon, a whole new and exciting chapter is beginning, and I’m embarking on it as a Mrs with the best man in the world at my side.

More soon.

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