Well hello my Amigo’s! Isn’t this a welcome bolt out of the blue, an actual new blog post!
My apologies for the lack of content of recent weeks. Blame working in retail over the festive period for absorbing all my physical and mental energy. With 2019 rearing it’s head and beaconing us into the last 12 months of this decade, I thought I would look back over the last year.
It’s been an interesting and eventful for year that’s for sure. So let’s start with January and what that brought…
After growing my brunette hair long over the last 4 years or so, I concluded that the dry and split ends needed to go, so I decided to go for a graduated bob. Basically shorter at the back and longer lengths around the front of my face. I’ve had this hair style back in 2012/13 and then grew it out. And I’ve gone fall circle again. I’ve since gone a bit shorter over the year and have settled on growing it a bit longer so I can tie it up.
I’ve had the ‘I want long hair again’ moments at times this year, but generally I’ve preferred having shorter hair as it’s quicker to dry and style and keeps it’s shape better. Before I just had straggley hair. Not a good look.
I do get long hair envy at times when I see long haired gals, but overall I’m content with my shorter do. Let’s see what 2019 may bring for my barnet!
On the work front January marked 5 years in what was my current job role as an Branch Operations Assistant for John Lewis. It is the longest I’ve held one particular role for (I’ve held other retail roles for a few years at a time). I had planned on staying in the role for the foreseeable future at the time, but the forthcoming months had other ideas!
Not a lot to report for February other than celebrating St Valentine’s Day and taking early Spring walks in the surrounding country side, enjoying the fresh outdoor air and the early welcome of Daffodils.
The 1st of March brought snow. Traditionally when I was growing up, if snow was to fall it was normally in December/January, now the weather systems are getting out of sync and it snow’s in March. I used to think March was Spring Time, time for sunnier days, but alas not so.
One highlight of March was having the opportunity to meet Sir Tony Robinson, he of BlackAdder and Time Team fame. I’ve become a great fan of old school British Comedies featuring such icons as Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Rik Mayall, Ade Edmonson, John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson. BlackAdder has become one of my favourite comedy shows of all time and it was such luck that Tony (Baldrick) was holding a talk at the Portsmouth Comic Con that month.
I had previously read Tony’s auto biography with much pleasure and was thrilled to learn that he had connections to Chichester, from performing at the Festival Theatre when he was a young actor and through his archeology with Time Team. We mentioned to him after the talk that Dan and myself were from Chichester and he said to send his love to Chichester. Such an enimatic and down to earth guy.
With April come’s my birthday in the middle of the month. I never know what to do on my birthdays, I normally end up doing something low key with my mum, dad, sister and husband. This year I didn’t really do anything on my actual birthday (call me indecisive) but as I had that week booked as annual leave, myself and Dan visited Arundel Castle on a lovely Spring day and had a really enjoyable day out. You can read my blog post on our day out here…
Another highlight for April was Louis Cole aka Fun for Louis, his Youtube channel, begun a three week bicycle trek from London to North Africa. Cycling the whole route (other than a necessary boat crossings). Louis cycled this with a group of companions, posting live data of his journey on a tracking site.
Since watching Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman motorbike across the world a decade earlier, I have become really interested in normal people completing long treks in difficult terrain/conditions. I love the fact they have resilience to keep going.
Louis would do live streaming at times as he was cycling, so I could see where he was going and his current locations. One event that will stick with me as one of the best videos on Youtube is when Louis decided to cycle all night on his own through rural Spanish towns to make up time for a mishap earlier in the day.
Louis had planned a route for the team to follow that day, but after some time, they decided it was too difficult to navigate with rocky passages, that they had to turn back and admit defeat for that part of the journey. Louis then felt duty bound to make up the miles lost and trekked for a number of hours in the cold and unfamilar terratity until he became too tired and found refuge in a hotel in the early hours of the morning. What followed with the live stream was Louis stopping for some food in a local rural pub, complete with his cycle helmet on and with selfie stick attached to hold his phone so he could live stream in front of him. Much to the amusement of the locals. Louis was asking people who were watching the video how to order food in Spanish which was quite entertaining. Louis then set off, still live streaming into the dark unlit roads towards another town some miles away. Louis was chatting through out this, playing music on his portable speaker for motivation and wondering what exactly he was doing! I really felt for him and admired his commitment to rectify his earlier misendeavours, even if some would say he was a bit mad to do this on his own in the middle of the night! Watch the live streamed video below…
From then on I was daily checking on Louis’s progress, hoping he made it to his daily destinations and was happy for him that he made it on time with the team to their final desintation in North Africa.
So away from treks across Europe, their was a particular low light for April. One morning at the end of April I was at work, sitting at my desk, working on creating an events calendar, when I was told my sister was downstairs at the customer collection desk, I was told she was looking upset and my mind then raced to a number of fearful possibilities. I raced down and found my sister, she explained that our mum was being taken to the local hospital as it was suspected she has suffered a stroke.
Now from what I’m aware there was not warning signs this was on the cards. Completely out of the blue. I was then not particularly educated on Strokes (not that I am much now, but I now know a bit more) so I didn’t know what to expect. My sister and myself arrived at the hospital and waited with worry and nerves at A&E for mum to arrive in the ambulance. She arrived about 15 minutes later in a stretcher, conscious but seeming very confused and scared.
My Dad had gone round to be with mum whilst they waited for the ambulance, which was a very lovely thing to do, seeing as they divorced about 30 years ago. The four of us (Sister, Dad, Dan and myself) were taken to the family room. Mum was to have a scan to see what was happening in her head and we just had to wait anxiously. I honestly thought the worst at that point, but kept my fears to myself as not wanting to cause any further stress.
Mum was later that day taken to a ward for stroke suffers as it was confirmed she had suffered a large bleed in her head on her brain. I’ve since learnt there are three types of stokes, a TA, which is small and most people recover quickly and well, a second, which is a bleed outside the brain and the third which is a bleed on the brain. Mum had the third one, which can have the most severe effects.
Mum remained conscious throughout this ordeal and kept trying to tell us something, but as her speech was largely effected she couldn’t clearly say what she was trying to say. We thought she may have left the oven on or maybe something something else that needed turning off. The following day we managed to work out that she had made Dan a meal and it was in the oven (she had managed to turn the oven off) and wanted to ensure Dan got it as she didn’t want it to go to waste! Bless my mum 🙂
She then spent a further three weeks in hospital, where I visited her pretty much every day after work and on days off. She showed great signs of progress of recovery, much to the doctors and nurses and fellow paitents astoundment. I really admire and respect her for her attitude to get better. Some could of got knocked back and struggled, and not saying my mum didn’t (she has got other health complications) but she really did herself proud in hospital and since to get as back to normal as possible.
After three months, mum was told the bleed had gone. The best outcome! There’s an increased possibility it could happen again, but I don’t want to cross that bridge unless I have to.
It was a stressful time for us all, and as a result for me I decided my current job role stresses were not condusive to my mental health and I asked to step down to a Selling Assistant role. Luckily I had a colleague hold the role full time, whilst I was doing a charity secondment, so when I stepped down, she applied for the role permanetly and has been doing it ever since. I’m not bitter at all, I’m glad she’s doing the job as she was the person I would of picked to do it and I know I can pass on the role with no regrets.
Sometimes you think admitting defeat makes you less of a person, but actually it can make you more of a person to stand up and admit that somethings not right and you want to make a change for your own peace of mind. It was a stressful time for me, I had a month off work with stress and took a once weekly CBT course for a month to help. But I feel now looking back, though it was a hard period of the last 12 months, moving away from my current job role was for the best.
May continued with helping my mum on the road to some sort of recovery so not a lot else more to say.
One stand out from May was Dan being contacted whilst visiting my mum in hospital to be asked to talk about having Aspergers on Sky’s morning news show the next morning. Not wanting to miss this opportunity Dan got up super early that morning to head to their London studios to be live on air. The boy did good, which you can watch below…
June is a special month for Dan and myself as it’s our anniversary month of both when we got together and when we got married. This year marked our 17th year anniversary of being together and 4 years of being married. As Dan and myself love visiting Bournemouth, so he booked a long weekend stay at a lovely hotel over looking the coast. It was a lovely get away in the summer sunshine. Check out my blog post on our visit here…
July was an uneventful month as when I looked back to find any key dates nothing came up. Good to have some quiter months to balance out the busier months!
A key date in August is Dan’s birthday. Dan turned the grand age of 40 this year and to celebrate, I created a Mad Hatters Tea Party for him and my family in my mums garden.
I spent a few weeks leafing up to it, planning and organising all the props I’d need and food and drink. It was small affair, but I know Dan likens himself to Mad Hatter, so I thought a themed afternoon tea would hopefully be a nice touch. The weather was warm and sunny and made for a lovely afternoon. You can read my blog post on it here…
Dan also celebrated his birthday with his family and friends at a local pub later that week, so he had a twice the celebrations!
September was when I moved to the shopfloor full time at work. When I first started with John Lewis back in 2012, I worked on the shop floor, so I was familiar with the set up and processes and stock. It just took some time to get used to the new longer hours and being back on my feet all day! I love working as a team and sharing the working load which I didn’t have the luxury of having in my previous role as it was just me doing it. So far, so good.
September also brought seeing Dave Gorman peform his show that he was touring with in Portsmouth. I love Dave Gorman’s series on Dave as well as his earleir shows on Channel 4. I love that he talks about normal every day stuff and brings it full circle at the end of the show. And that he makes all the slides for his shows. 100’s of them, it appears so seamless! A true Power Point pro!
Another highlight was visiting Arundel with my mum. It was great that she was able to walk around and enjoy a day out since her stoke. Her speech is still affected, some words she can’t quite say at times. She know’s what she wants to say, but she can’t at times say them as I would automatically do. There are times when we talk and she’s fine, which is again credit to her.
September for me was really the month of getting out and about as I attended my first vintage kilo event. I’d seen one advertised on Facebook and thought it sounded interesting as I was getting more and more into vintage fashion. Rather than repeat myself here, I will leave a link to a previous post about it here…
And finally for September I went to Friends Fest in Brighton. I had seen on Facebook in 2017 that it was touring the UK, but I didn’t make enough effort to go. This year I decided I would go as I thought it wouldn’t be back again after 2017. Again, I did a blog post on the event, which you can read here…
The main highlight for October for me was going to my second Preloved Kilo vintage sale in Brighton. Being that I had been to one before I knew what the set up was now, so I knew the area’s I wanted to see. I came away with some more vintage bags which you can purchase on my Depop shop here…depop.com/abbiechicvintage
I’m planning to go to another one in January 2019 and will keep you posted on that.
Another month and another two vintage kilo sales. Both in Portsmouth, but at different locations. One was with Worth the Weight and one with Preloved Kilo. Both are awesome, but I was impressed with the WTW one as they had more handbags (yay!) and branded items. But both I love.
I also went up to London to spend the night and day there as Dan was attending a course there. I hadn’t planned to go, but I wanted to see Dan and take a visit round London whilst I had the chance. So I took the train up there on my own (only a two hour journey but for someone like me who is a home bird and hates going too far for too long from home this was something of an accomplishment for me) and got slightly lost in the centre of London on a busy Saturday night, before finding Dan at the hotel.
The following morning as Dan was on his course, I visited the British Museum which was close by. It’s a great museum full of so much well history and all for free! I then shopped down Oxford Street and Regents Street before meeting Dan at the end of his course. I’m not a huge fan of London if I’m honest as it’s too big and busy for me, but a brief stay I can manage.
Then we come to December. Full of anti climax to Christmas in my opinion. Christmas begins in September for me as I work in retail, so when the big day does roll around I’m ready for the New Year. That said I do love Christmas, it’s just a 3 month build up to one day that’s over in the blink of an eye.
Dan and myself did have a weekend in Bournemouth this month which was nice, even if it did rain! We wanted to visit their Winter Wonderland with all their lit up Christmas trees. And we’ve never been to stay in Bournemouth at Christmas before despite being to Bournemouth over 15 times now.
Now that I’ve looked back on 2018 I’m now looking foward to 2019. I have no real aspirations other than wishing for good health and happiness for myself and my loved ones and that Brexit isn’t going to be the undoing of our country. I feel that will be one challenge for 2019 to overcome.
I hope to return to a better blogging regime as well as I’ve been a bit of a lousey blogger this year. Next August will be 4 years of blogging and I want to have a bit more to show for it. So here’s to 2019!
Wishing you a wonderful New Year. Thanks so much for your support. *Blows a kiss*
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