Goodbye 2018 hello 2019

Goodbye 2018 hello 2019

30th December 2018 34 By Rachael Stray

As we get ready to say goodbye 2018 and hello 2019 I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back on this year.

So many of you enjoyed my goodbye 2017 and hello 2018 post I thought I’d do the same for this year.

Goodbye 2018 hello 2019 – a look back on the last 12 months

Well what a difference a year makes – so much has changed for me and the hubby since this time last year.

I feel like I have made some real progress personally, professionally and in a blogging capacity too!

In the New Year I left my new job at the charity for another comms and Public Relations role swapping Newcastle for Durham. Steve also had another new job.

I made some great friends and learnt a lot in my role in Durham and even got the opportunity to travel to Cape Town for a conference which was amazing.

However, a role came up which I felt was better suited to me which I took on in July – I promise this is my last new job for a very very long time!

In January I also traded good old Fifi the Fiat in for a new car with mod cons and five doors – lovely. Chloe the Clio is a dream to drive and I love her.

Chloe the Clio

Chloe the Clio

Back in February Steve and I found out we were successful in the Great North Run ballot so the half marathon training began which you can read all about here.

A before and after my first run

A before and after my first run

On Sunday September 9 we got our running gear on and we actually did it – we took on the Great North Run and I am so proud of myself and I raised funds to help fight diabetes too.

Thank you to everyone who supported me and donated too. You can read all about my Great North experience here.


Steve and I with our medals

In February I decided to try to up the romance stakes for Valentine’s Day by penning a poem for Steve as well as creating 12 months of dates to share together. You can read all about our Valentine’s Day here.

For Steve’s birthday in April we had our very first glamping trip to the wonderful Hesleyside Huts in Northumberland which I would 100% recommend.

Bracken Hut

Bracken Hut

I also baked my very first cake from scratch myself which went down a treat – my recipe for my milk chocolate genache cake is here. I then went on to bake a few more cakes too.

Milk chocolate genache cake

Milk chocolate genache cake

Although I didn’t win I was absolutely honoured to be nominated in the Best Pal category of the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2018. Big thank you to everyone who voted for me.

In March the Beast from the East struck and I thought I’d never make it to South Africa for a work conference.

The snow in the front garden

Thankfully our amazing neighbours helped to dig us out and I made my flight! Cape Town was amazing.

The hubby and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary back in June with a lovely spa break at Slaley Hall which you can catch up with here. This then resulted in another trip back to enjoy Afternoon Tea which you can drool over here. 

Another selfie

Another selfie

We had such a fun summer with lots of days out including beautiful Bamburgh, the renovated Spanish CityFriendsFest and Newcastle for the Quayside Market.

At the end of August I decided to take the plunge and say goodbye and hello self-hosted I will definitely write a post about my experience of going self-hosted with my blog.

I celebrated my one year blogiversary and the things I’ve learnt after 12 months of blogging.

In November I celebrated my 30th birthday and as part of this I created a 30 things to do before I’m 30 bucket list which I worked on throughout 2018. You can read my final update on how I got on here.


Me with my 30 balloons

Two of my best friends and I turned 30 at the latter half of the year so naturally we decided to celebrate in style. For Joanne’s birthday we enjoyed a bottomless Prosecco Afternoon Tea at Hudson as well as a night out at Central Oven and Shaker.

The three of us booked in for a much-needed break with the pamper party package at South Causey Inn which also included another gorgeous Afternoon Tea. 


The girls and I in our hot tub

Steve whisked me away for a long weekend in Edinburgh for my actual birthday before we returned to the North East to enjoy a lovely family meal at our local Italian restaurant.

The following weekend I enjoyed some tasty treats and tapas in Durham with friends before we had a girly night in at my house which was lovely.

I was fortunate enough to attend some brilliant blogging events this year including a photography masterclass, summer soirée and money saving workshops.

I also received some tasty treats and products to review too including the selfie bag, delicious donuts and brownies and photo blocks.*

That brings us to December and I kicked off the festivities with a wreath making workshop with the lovely Naomi who owns House of Botanics.

My Christmas wreath hanging proudly on our front door

My Christmas wreath hanging proudly on our front door

We finally started to feel festive once we’d bought Terrence the tree and decorated our home ready for Christmas which you can catch up with here.

What am I looking forward to in 2019?

I’m hoping to continue to progress with my blog and hopefully get new opportunities to collaborate with other brilliant bloggers and companies – building on the hard work I have put in to date.

My family and friends are so important to me so I am looking forward to celebrating more of my friends turning 30 and watching their little ones grow too.

Steve and I feel very settled now in our home, our jobs and our home but there is still so much of the North East he has yet to experience so I’m sure there will be more days out being shared on the blog.

What were the best bits of 2018 for you? What are you looking forward to in 2019? Let me know in the comments below.

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