What The Heck Did I Do Last Year? | The 9 Events that Defined my 2023

January 31, 2024

Just where did last year go?! Here’s a roundup of events that defined my 2023, and what hopes I have for the future.

It’s not too late for this, right?

A lot can happen in a year. A whole lot of nothing can happen too! I know I didn’t blog much last year, and I can’t help but feel like I blinked and missed it, by some magic finding myself thrust through the door of 2024 — “here I come, ready or not!”

I definitely frittered away too much time curating to-do lists within lists and anxiously ruminating my existential crisis, but life certainly happened. There’s been a lot of crap, no doubt about that, but many glimmers of joy.

So, come to think of it, I did actually do “stuff”. I just needed to sit down for a moment to reflect on the last 12 months (and leave my phone be).

All things considered, 2023 could actually have been a landmark year for me.

9 Events That Defined My Year

1 – I Started a Jewellery Business

This time last year I officially launched my little business, Set Apart Jewellery. I decided all the enjoyment of sea glass collecting, learning how to metal stamp with hand tools and make up my own jewellery was something I wanted to make work. I spent endless hours and effort buying my resources, designing my own lovely packaging, alongside actually dreaming up and making my necklaces from scratch. Metal stamping is so satisfying to do and there’s something therapeutic in moulding silver wire around a unique piece of colourful glass. I’ve since neglected the business though, and I’m quite sad about it. I’m terrible at marketing my own makes and in avoidance of people I’ve shied away from craft fairs so I’ve struggled to find my way. I’m just hoping now that we’ve moved house and getting more and more settled, I’ll find my groove again.

2 – I Got My First Passport!

This was the year I finally applied for my first ever passport and I was hyped. Aged 41 and never been abroad — crazy, I know! I’ve only ever had the odd few nights in the UK but I’m intent on changing all that. It’s time for a proper hol. Ever high on the travel bucket list are Greek Islands, and seeing the tulips, windmills and Miffy museum of the Netherlands, but to be honest, I’m pretty game for anywhere.

3 – My Rabbits Died

I was devastated when, just two months apart, we lost both Toby and Freya. Toby was only 2, bless him, but he had e.cuniculi contracted from birth, a parasitic disease that targets the brain and is almost always a fatal diagnosis. Toby was always a very sneezy bun, and when little pee accidents on the carpet turned to complete renal failure, he passed away being cuddled at home. Then Freya died horribly. She was an 8 year old senior bun who managed to live very healthily, until one Saturday when I found her mid-seizure running about in the rain. We rushed her to the vet where she was given some meds, but I knew it was bad; to me it looked like the work of e.cuniculi again. By Sunday afternoon she’d died. It was horrific.

4 – I Went to Worship Academy

This was a week-long worship academy to improve my musical skills at multimedia company, UCB (United Christian Broadcasters) with Memphis,US based Visible Music College. A giant leap for me with my anxiety and health problems, it meant five days away from my family (gah!) but I had just the best time learning more about vocal health and singing techniques, music theory and song writing. It was socially really good for me too, just to come together with like minded people from all walks of life. Recording a song as a group was a brilliant experience (it got on the radio too!), and taking the lead in some songs on the end showcase was a big breakthrough for me. I came away much more confident in my vocal capabilities and realising how passionate I am about singing, especially in a worship capacity.

5 – We Got Gus!

We rehomed Gus in the August as a new companion for Freya, who of course we sadly lost the following month, leaving Gus as our sole rabbit. Unlike Toby and Freya who came from Pets at Home’s adoption arm, Gus came from a “proper” independent rescue centre who had him neutered and vaccinated ready to start his new life. He’s an absolute charmer. So confident and inquisitive, he’s likes to explore the whole house and sleep under our bed. And he has the most crazy, fluffy fur. A double-maned lion head it appears! We call Gus our little cloud.

6 – Our First Camping Trip & Festival

This was an event of firsts for our family – the first time venturing down to Big Church Festival and our first family camping trip! A five hour drive away (that managed to take almost ten), we spent a long May bank holiday weekend surviving freezing cold nights in a tent while baking in glorious sunny temperatures by day. I don’t think my Raynaud’s knew what was happening. But what an experience! So much good music (Tim and the Glory Boys were epic), the atmosphere buzzed with good vibes, all while pulling a wagon round vast estate grounds, carrying giant water bottles and a six year old living his best life.

7 – We Had a Lakeland Break

Amid the stress of an eviction notice (see number 9 for that banger), we booked a much needed weekend away to the Lake District in Cumbria. Staying in a hotel in Kendal, we spent our days hiking hills (a biggie for me!) exploring the touristy shops and the first time ever boating on Lake Windermere, which I found absolutely thrilling. Then I went and ripped the backside of my jeans open getting out of the boat — that was quite hilarious! I love the scenery in these parts and spending time in the Lakes with family never fails to boost the endorphins, so it was a good call before the back to school rush.

8 – I Became A Bargain Hunter

I also started my Bargainista Becky social, which is really just something I like doing. I like to think I’m naturally a savvy shopper so price comparing, shopping around and looking for extra value (ie. spotting a rip off and holding out for a discount) is second nature to me. There’s nothing I won’t price check before buying. If I’m in Tesco, do Aldi sell beans cheaper? If I’m about to buy rabbit food, is it cheaper to order it online somewhere or even order into store? Now when I’m snapping pics of good bargains I come across I’m sticking it on the gram.

9 – A Big House Move

Losing our home of ten years was definitely the biggest, most stressful part of the year. I think everything else in life was pushed back to least of importance when our landlord told us he was selling up and serving us our notice. We never planned to rent again after this house but with the rug pulled out from beneath us we didn’t have much time to figure out what we were doing. We looked to buy and rent, but neither avenue was particularly fruitful. Houses are still overvalued and overpriced, and regularly we couldn’t get on a list just to view a rental. They say it’s a buyer’s market; I say it’s neither. So here we are in our most expensive rented house ever. Moving house was a stress we could have done without but it’s a huge blessing – here we have space, peace and nature, but just to be in a warm, dry home is something I’m thanking Jesus for daily. He really came through. Our last house was riddled with damp and mould and wasn’t good for us anyway.

Earl Grey, please!

So What’s For 2024?

What goals do I have for this year?

More focus on my creative endeavours and a glow up!

I want to get back into my blogging, producing more personal posts and reviews again. And I really want to get back to my jewellery creating and work on some sort of strategy to increase my brand awareness.

This is also going to be the year to work on my self confidence by tackling what’s on the outside. I’m focussing on my hair removal methods by shifting away from epilating and waxing to IPL which I’m hopeful will ultimately improve my war on inflamed hair follicles. And without drawing attention to my biggest shame: cosmetic dental work. I’m hugely self conscious and have disliked my smile for so long, I just want it dealt with already.

Getting myself a car would be pretty sweet too!

So there we go. I don’t think I’m asking too much of this year am I?

As the ever important reader and friend of this space, what would you like to see more of from me?

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