Well let’s be honest, that was another very strange year we just had! Like last year I was debating whether or not to actually write this post but it’s become an annual thing I like doing. Yes, the year hasn’t been ideal. Far from it in fact! But it’s still enjoyable to look back at the last 12 months. By doing this, I’ve realised the year has been better than last year at least.
- 1 2021: A Look Back At Another Strange Year
- 1.1 January – Moving to Kingston
- 1.2 February – Lockdown Life In A New Town
- 1.3 March – Lockdown Birthday
- 1.4 April / May – Out of London Job
- 1.5 June – Weekend in London
- 1.6 July – A Trip to Sheffield & York
- 1.7 August – Relaxing Break at Congham Hall
- 1.8 September – Working in Nottingham
- 1.9 October – A Trip to Wales
- 1.10 November – Traverse Conference
- 1.11 December – Food Poisoning & Covid
- 2 What’s Planned in 2022?
2021: A Look Back At Another Strange Year
January – Moving to Kingston
The year started with a big change for me. After living in Watford for several years and quite loving the area, it was time to move on. My original pre-covid plans, were to head up north and have a trial few months in Manchester. I had work up there in 2020 that ended up getting cancelled thanks to covid which meant I ended up staying in Watford.
During the first lockdown I had reconnected with an old friend and we quickly realised there was still a spark between us. By January I was leaving Watford to move to Kingston so we could rent a flat together. We had only been seeing each other for 4 months at this point but living together was a way to avoid any more separations due to covid restrictions.
February – Lockdown Life In A New Town
I would like to say I was out exploring the new area in January and February but the UK had entered into its third lockdown so that wasn’t possible. I could take walks along the river which was lovely but that was about it.
March – Lockdown Birthday
I was actually lucky in 2020 and just managed to avoid a lockdown birthday. In 2021, I was not as lucky. Something my sister in law was too happy about! But I had a new flat with a boyfriend I was now allowed to spend the day with, being in the same household as me, so it was all good.
Actually, I agreed to work on my actual birthday. Something most people were shocked about but as someone who has never been able to work from home, I enjoyed the idea of being able to see my colleagues (from afar) and being somewhat social on my birthday.
April / May – Out of London Job
In April we were still not allowed to go to hotels for pleasure. So when I got offered a job that was based just outside of London and qualified for work paid hotel stays I happily accepted it. It had been over a year since I’d stayed in a hotel and it was weirdly nice being back. I had an excuse to get the travel wine glass out and do nothing but sit on a bed watching TV. With the restrictions even the hotel restaurant was takeaway only so I had an excuse to eat pizza in bed.
June – Weekend in London
Lucky for me, hotels opened back up again in time for my boyfriend’s birthday. Since we were a ‘covid relationship’, we had barely done anything together. Before we moved in together, most of our dates had been zoom calls. During the 9 months we had been together we had talked about all the things we both liked, that we wanted to be able to start doing together.
With restrictions easing, his birthday gave the perfect excuse to finally start doing these things. Since we had waited so long I just wanted to fit in as much as I could so I booked a hotel in central London so we could make the most out of the weekend.
It felt so good to be a tourist again! We went to pubs and taprooms, ate out in Chinatown, had afternoon tea and enjoyed the hotel spa. It was so great finally being able to do these things again.
July – A Trip to Sheffield & York
In July I was finally on a ‘proper’ trip. Going abroad still wasn’t an option but covid is a great excuse to see more of your home country. I had heard a lot of great things about York so booked a few days there.
Having friends in Sheffield, the trip to York was a great excuse to see a friend for her birthday. It was a brief visit but it was so good to see friends again that I hadn’t been able to see in so long! Plus, this meant an excuse to go to my favourite beer shop in Sheffield, Beer Central.
After Sheffield it was off to York and it was so nice feeling like a traveller again. Staying in a hotel, going out exploring, finding cute bars and restaurants. It was almost like old times. I say almost because things still needed to be booked in advance which kind of took the spontaneity out of the trip. I’m a girl who prefers to ‘wing it’ so planning every aspect of a trip was weird but totally worth it to be out exploring again!
August – Relaxing Break at Congham Hall
This was actually the first thing I booked when starting to think about UK staycations. I was just scrolling through Twitter and came across a review that looked interesting. The pictures looked incredible and the spa wasn’t too far away and they were having an amazing summer deal that was too good to pass up.
After everything that had been going on with this pandemic it was so nice to spend a week at a gorgeous spa. I felt so relaxed after my trip. Plus the food on site was absolutely amazing. I went home well fed and very happy.
September – Working in Nottingham
In September it was time for another out of London job. I had never been to Nottingham before so I was excited at the chance to spend 7 weeks in a new city. Nottingham had never been on my radar as somewhere in the UK that I needed to visit but as it turns out is a great city. Especially if you love craft beer as much as me!
We had even been treated to a really nice hotel for the job. Perfect when you’ll be spending so much time there! I especially loved taking advantage of the hotel spa.
October – A Trip to Wales
The day after the Nottingham job finished I left England for the first time in 2021. My best friend lives in South Wales and it had been a year since I’d been able to cross the border and visit her so I was keen to return. We chilled out in her village for a few days, took walks and visited a new castle.
Then it was off to Bridgend to see where my Welshie boyfriend grew up. While we spent most of the time with his dad, we still got out to explore Bridgend. I loved how there was a castle in a residential area. Honestly, you can’t get more Welsh than a castle surrounded by homes! What was great as well, is there is a small brewery in Bridgend and a new craft beer shop selling local beers so I’m happy for it to be somewhere I return to.
November – Traverse Conference
In early 2020 I pre-bought an early bird ticket for a bloggers conference called Traverse. With the pandemic the event was cancelled and all tickets went to the Traverse 21 conference. I didn’t want to commit to the event by buying plane tickets or booking a hotel but I wasn’t ready to say I wasn’t going. These conferences are always amazing and I really did want to go. Unfortunately, with a job I couldn’t do from home I just couldn’t risk having to isolate at home after the event should the country be suddenly taken off the green list. It was the only chance I had to leave the country in 2021 and it sadly didn’t happen.
December – Food Poisoning & Covid
My year really didn’t end on a high. By December I really wasn’t going out much unless it was shopping or work. With the omicron variant being much more contagious, I really didn’t want to take too many risks. I did, however, go out for birthday drinks in Wimbledon one evening. Beforehand I went out for dinner and the next morning was struck with food poisoning. Thanks to TV I always thought food poisoning was short term but no, no it is not. It can last weeks and mine certainly did.
I had to cancel some of my shifts due to food poisoning, which as a freelancer, means not getting paid so not something I want to do often. Once better I returned to work only to go and catch covid. The omicron variant was doing the rounds at work and after avoiding covid for so long, it finally got me. Once again I found myself having to cancel shifts. In December I ended up losing out on 6 shifts. That was £1,700+ I expected to earn, suddenly gone! Not the way I wanted to end the year!
However, staying positive, I didn’t get too sick. It was just like having a minor cold. And for once the government did me a favour. I thought Christmas was going to be cancelled for me because of the isolation and suddenly it was announced that the isolation period was being cut from 10 days to 7. That meant my ‘release’ day was Christmas Eve and I could actually leave the house for Christmas.
What’s Planned in 2022?
This is usually my favourite part of the end of year / start of the next. When I think about all the things I could do and places I could visit. I usually have one or two trips already planned by this point. However, that has not been the case again this year.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom! While 2021 saw me staying put on my little island, 2022 will most likely be the year I start traveling abroad again. Something has to seriously go wrong to stop me! *touch wood!*
Obviously now I have a partner to discuss trips with who has a less flexible schedule than I do. But he is able to take a sabbatical next year so that means spending 4 weeks in the United States at the end of 2022. I’m also hoping to be able to leave the country over Easter. I guess it’s going to be another wait and see year as to what actually happens.
As always, thank you to everyone who reads and supports this blog. It was really tough having to stay put and not travel abroad but hopefully things will chance soon. I can’t wait to see what 2022 holds for Curious Claire!