2017 was a bit of a whirlwind year. Looking back at it, I remember the early months and then everything post August seems to have been one massive blur.
It’s also been a year that has contained many ups and downs. I’ve had some fab holidays, eaten at some really nice places and had the best time with the friends that I’ve made. But there’s also been some pretty rubbish moments; both due to the ongoing garbage fire that has been the news, and some bad times at work, which have meant that I was quite glad to see the back of this year. However, I did want to look over the highlights of last year, to get me in the zone for taking 2018 by the horns.
A Year in London
In August I marked surviving my first year living in London. I had my worries about living here, mostly focused around how expensive rent is, whether I would find nice housemates and whether the pace would cause me to burn-out spectacularly.
Fortunately, whilst it is a horrendously expensive place to live and warps your perceptions of the cost of everything (£500,000 for a 1-bed flat? Reasonable!), I have loved being here. I really landed on my feet finding housemates who have become actual, proper friends who have pushed me to say yes to more things than I would ever have before.
Living here also means you have access to numerous places for food, and this year has been an absolute treat when it comes to eating out (highlights include Gaucho, The Oxo Tower Brasserie, Dalloway Terrace for afternoon tea and The Modern Pantry). I’ve also been lucky enough to see loads of brilliant theatre, and I managed to get tickets to see Arcade Fire at a tiny boxing venue and a great nice watching one of my favourite bands.
Whilst I can understand that the cost of living here, and the perma-overdraft life can definitely take its toll, the idea of leaving feels pretty unbearable.
A Trip to Paris
As I mentioned, this year featured two pretty great holidays. The first was a crazily spontaneous trip to Paris for my 24th birthday. Lounging on the sofa with my housemates, I mentioned that I’d never been to Disney or Paris. Somehow within about 45 minutes we had Eurostar tickets, hotel and Disney passes booked.
Paris is a city I’ve had a bit of an obsession with since I was a teenager studying French at school; it just seemed the height of glamour; and watching numerous films and TV shows that featured it over the years didn’t do anything to dent that perception.
So, despite the rain and the slightly dodgy food in the Eiffel Tower restaurant, I was beyond thrilled to see this city with my own eyes. Ticking off the Champs Elyees, the Louvre, the aforementioned Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, I had a fantastic 24th. I then thoroughly enjoyed embracing my inner child at Disney. You can read more about the trip here.
A Trip to Las Vegas
I’m not going to go into too much details about this as I literally just wrote a post about it, but my trip to Las Vegas was a pretty late highlight of my year. Getting to travel ‘abroad abroad’ for the first time with friends and travelling to the US was pretty great. It also meant I could check off seeing the Grand Canyon from my bucket list.
Having Great Friends
When the going gets tough, having good people to turn to is really important, and this has really showed over the past 12 months. From the above amazing holidays with my lovely housemates; somehow attending a ball in Oxford with my work friends; picnics in Battersea with my school friends; catch-ups with my former work friends that literally lead me to lose my own voice. I feel very lucky to have them.
Work Work Work
Whilst work has been a little all over the place this year, and I’m currently a bit :internal screaming: about my future, there are definitely moments that I’m really proud of. Writing a document that has a real impact on shaping the future of my organisation; delivering a programme of music festivals over the summer; and finally discovering my backbone. I’m hoping 2018 will see some positive changes in this area.
Top Books I Read in 2017:
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, an incredible debut novel which explores the history of slavery and colonialism, beginning with two sisters Effia & Esi; one who is sold into slavery, and one who marries a slave-owner.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, a brilliant part-memoir/part passionate argument for a remodelling of the US justice system is a very important book.
How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis, I fell head-over-heels for Ellis’ memoir of a life in reading and attempting to find herself in novels.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, Green’s latest work is unlikely to convert anyone who isn’t already a fan, but I loved this painfully honest look at mental illness
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, a young adult novel will tackles issues that I’d never read about in fiction, The Hate U Give follows Starr as she grapples with the unlawful shooting of her friend by a police officer.
Between the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a blistering memoir of Coates experience of race-relations in the US
Special mentions also need to go to A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss and Wild Swans by Jung Chang
Top Films I Saw in 2017:
La La Land, I unashamedly loved this film. Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling are wonderful as the central couple, the music is great and whenever I watch it I get an old-school musical high.
Hidden Figures, a film that I think deserved more attention. Following three African-American women in particular who were integral to the space mission at NASA.
Dunkirk, I have never been more on edge when watching a film than I was watching this. Fantastic ensemble of performances, incredible score and generally great film-making
Baby Driver, Another film that I feel kind of bad about loving (especially due to recent revelations about Kevin Spacey), but I do. Ansel Elgort is great as the reluctant getaway driver, and the sound design and score is great.
Girls Trip, the best ‘chick flick’ I saw this year. A group of friends has become estranged, and when one is invited to New Orleans to be part of the Essence conference she sees it as the perfect opportunity to get everyone together again.
Paddington 2, just a super adorable, feel-good film.
Top Things I Saw on Stage in 2017:
Hamlet @ Almeida Theatre, a really beautiful production, led by a truly amazing performance by Andrew Scott
Angels in America @ National Theatre, a real event of theatre which I felt really honoured to see. A fantastic piece of theatrical history and its content remains important.
Jesus Christ Superstar @ Open Air Theatre, JCS is one of my favourite scores and getting to see it performed (twice) in the magical surroundings of Regent’s Park and featuring an excellent performance by Tyrone Huntley made this something very special.
Network @ National Theatre, one of the most unique stage productions I’ve ever seen, with a fantastic, timely plot.
Follies @ National Theatre, it was great to see a score that I’ve heard so many things about performed live. With stunning costumes and a painfully real plot, Follies was a very special night at the theatre
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