A review of 2018

29th December 2018

Last year I found it incredibly difficult to write my yearly review blog post.

2017 was a pretty terrible year for me. I felt broken and completely lost. I was so disconnected from life and my confidence took a massive knock.

This year? Well, this year is completely different. I’ve been so excited to write my yearly review this time around because I’m in a much better place than I was 12 months ago.

So, without further ado, here are my 2018 highlights…

Becoming self-employed

When I quit my job at the end of 2017 I told everyone that I was going to give myself a bit of a break to take care of myself and then find a new job. But I knew that what I really wanted was to try my hand at being self-employed.

I’d spent over a year daydreaming at work, thinking about what it would be like to be self-employed. Every day I would listen to podcasts featuring people who had quit their job to start their own businesses, and I kept thinking to myself “I could do that!”

And so I did! I started my own little business, offering my web development services.

Working for myself has been a real challenge. At times it’s been really hard and not having a regular income has been scary. However, it’s also been incredible and I feel so proud of myself for all that I have achieved this year.

My web development skills have improved so much and I’d had the opportunity to work with my dream clients on some really exciting projects.

I’m so excited to see what my business has in store for me in 2018!


After a very unsuccessful 6 weeks of CBT in 2017 my therapist recommended I try going to counselling.

Counselling changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic but it really did. It helped me to stop dwelling on the past and to focus on the positives. My entire mindset has changed and I feel like a much happier person.

I worried that when I finished my sessions that things would go back to the way they were, but we’re almost 6 months on and I haven’t relapsed. I’m not saying my life is perfect, but I am able to pick myself up and deal with things better than I had done in the past.

I wrote a whole post comparing my experience of CBT to counselling which you can read here.


Music is a huge part of my life and I love going to concerts.

2018 was an amazing year for concerts. It all kicked off in June when we went to see The Rolling Stones. As a huge fan of classic British Rock music, The Rolling Stones have always been on my list of must-see bands. So when they announced that they were going on tour I knew I had to get tickets.

It wasn’t easy getting my hands on some tickets, nor was it cheap, but I’m so glad I did because it was hands down the best concert I’ve ever been to. They sounded absolutely incredible, and I had so much fun dancing and singing along all evening.

Not only did I see The Rolling Stones that evening but I also saw Richard Ashcroft from The Verve who was the supporting act. Bittersweet Symphony is one of my favourite songs so getting to hear it live was a lovely bonus.

Just over a week after The Rolling Stones we went to see Billy Joel, and our last concert of the year was Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) in October.


In July, Tyrone and I went on a Baltic cruise. We spent two weeks sailing around North Europe visiting 7 counties including Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Germany and Denmark.

I’d been eyeing up this itinerary for well over a year, but in true Holly fashion, I booked it just a few weeks before we were due to set sail.

It was our first time going on a cruise that sailed from the UK and we needed to somehow get to Newcastle to embark. I decided to drive, even though I had never driven that far before. Although I was apprehensive about the drive, I actually really enjoyed it and fond it to be a lot less stressful than flying.

It was a very tiring holiday with lots of time spent exploring new cities, but it was so much fun and I honestly loved every minute of it. I just love waking up somewhere new every day!

I haven’t actually finished my blog series on this cruise yet, but I promise to get it finished early next year!


I will never forget the summer of 2018, and not just because of the cruise and the concerts we went to.

The weather was absolutely incredible! It was hot for weeks and weeks on end, which isn’t normal here in the UK. I spent many days out in the garden working on my laptop. And when it got too hot I’d jump in the car and head to the beach for a paddle in the sea.

I consumed a lot of sangria and we had three barbecues. Yes, THREE! It must have been hot. 😂

One of my favourite memories from this summer is spontaneously driving to the beach one evening with Tyrone to watch the sunset. It was such a beautiful evening and even as the sunset I still felt warm. It was perfect!

And of course, England did pretty well in the World Cup! Even Tyrone who isn’t a big football fan got into the spirit and watched all of the matches with me.

To wrap up such a wonderful season, my uncle got married on September 1st. It was such a lovely day, the weather was perfect and I got to see a lot of my family who I hadn’t seen in a while.

Disneyland Paris

As if visiting 7 countries wasn’t enough for one year, in November I added another one to my list; France!

My friend, Becky, and I spend spent 4 days in Disneyland Paris and we stayed at one of the Disney hotels; Sequoia Lodge. The parks were all decorated for Christmas and it was all so magical and festive. I normally really struggle with my mental health throughout autumn and winter, so having this trip to look forward to made it more bearable.

We had so much fun on the rides as well as watching the shows and parades. Best of all I got to tick off a bucket list item while I was there; riding Space Mountain (or Hyperspace Mountain, as it’s now called!).

You can read all about our trip here.

Home renovations

While our house is still very much a work in progress, we have had some major work carried out on it this year.

We had all of our windows and doors replaced, and a new boiler installed. I almost lost my mind having workmen in our house for a week but it was well worth it because the new windows and doors look amazing, and our new combi boiler is life changing! Not having to wait for the water to warm up every morning is an everyday luxury.

We also managed to finish decorating the master bedroom and my office. Apart from hiring someone to plaster the ceilings (to cover the Artex) for us, we did most of the decorating work ourselves. It was hard work but I’m so pleased with the way they’ve turned out.

We still need to add the finishing touches to these rooms but as soon as that’s done I’ll share the before and after pictures here on the blog.

How was 2018 for you? Let me know in the comments what your highlights were!

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  1. It seems like a very busy year and very exciting too, with those holidays. I’m happy for you. xx

  2. Amy

    Happy New Year, Holly! Glad to hear it’s been such an amazing one for you. I’m so happy to hear that being self-employed is working so well for you, and so proud of you for being brave enough to give it a go. As for the counselling, it’s great that it’s helped you so much and I really enjoyed your post where you compared CBT and counselling.

    I really want to go to Disneyland Paris! I keep seeing deals for this year for both Paris and the US, but I’ve never been on a plane so I’d definitely be aiming for Paris first. Baby steps! Glad you had a good time!

    Hope 2019 is just as good!

  3. Cat

    Wow, you had a productive and eventful year! I’m glad 2018 was a good one for you! Starting your own business and being self employed sounds so challenging, and I’m really happy that’s worked out for you. I hope business continues to go well this year!

    That’s also great to hear that counselling helped so much, and that you’re still doing well without the sessions. The concerts you went to and the trips you went on all sound fun too. 8 countries in a year is a lot!

    Aahh that sounds so nice to spend your summer at the beach and having barbecues. I think I spent most of mine indoors because it was the best way to beat the heat, haha. I wish there was a beach near me!

    I’m looking forward to seeing more about your house renovations! I’m really into home improvements right now, haha. We haven’t done any renovations, but I’m still working on decorating and reorganizing.

    Happy new year! I hope 2019 will be a great year for you!

  4. Happy New Year, Holly! I’m so glad to hear that 2018 was a lot better for you than 2017. I also hope that 2019 is an even better year for you. You certainly did a lot last year and it looked amazing. 8 countries in one year? Yaaasss, girl! That travelling bug definitely bit you. I hope you get to visit more countries this year! I’m also glad to hear that counselling has changed your life – it’s something I’ve been thinking about doing but I haven’t had the courage, but your words about how it’s helped you is definitely pushing me to look into it again 🙂 I hope the rest of your home renovations go smoothly for you!