2018 Review in Pictures

I should’ve probably written this post on 1st January, but I was busy finishing off my greenhouse and since then I’ve been back at work and feeling somewhat tired. It’s amazing how quickly you get out of the habit of getting up early and doing proper adult things. Every January when I go back to work I struggle to keep my head above water because I’m so tired and suffering from the January blues. I always manage though, and soon we’ll be through January. February’s not much better, in my humble opinion, but its saving grace is that it’s closer to Spring and you can finally see that the days are getting longer. The end of Winter is in sight!

I downloaded the top nine app which makes you a collage of your nine most liked photos on Instagram.

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I like all these photos (as, apparently do the people who follow me on Instagram) but I didn’t feel that it represented my year as I remember it. Of course, I only started my blog and the accompanying Instagram account (greengirlgardener for anyone who’d like to follow me) in July so it’s not representative of the whole year, but there’s not one gardening photo on there and that was a massive part of my 2018. I also realise that I need to be careful not to use a photo I’ve already posted as my featured blog picture because that’s how I’ve ended up with the same photo twice. 

Anyway, I thought I’d look back on my year and try to select my personal favourite pictures, and maybe you’ll find them interesting.

We managed to keep our fur babies healthy and happy in 2018 – this really isn’t a chore because they are just so delightful. I couldn’t not include my favourite pics of the gorgeous twosome from this past year.

How do I choose my favourite pictures from the garden? Honestly my phone is full of pics of plants and garden paraphernalia! I’ll try to narrow it down.

This is what really sparked my enthusiasm for the garden when we had the jungle chopped down and I could really see what we had to play with!

It inspired me to create our bistro.

I soon added other features to give character to our space.

My wheelbarrow planter.

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My planter which was made by my Dad for my birthday which I love.

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My raised beds ready for growing fruit and veg in the summer.

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More recently my greenhouse which I’m really excited about.

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The garden gave me so much pleasure this year. I can’t possibly show you everything that I planted or managed to nurture, so I’ll try to narrow it down to a few of my favourite photos.

When the cats were kittens it was impossible for me to crochet because they would run off with my yarn, but this year, now that they’re the ripe old age of three, I rediscovered my love for hooking and I also resubscribed to Little Box of Crochet. Here are some of my makes.

I also met Amanda, the owner of Little Box of Crochet at the Grand Sale Event.

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I went on three holidays. Lanzarote at Easter with hubby’s side of the family.

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Sandybrook Country Park near Ashbourne with some of my best and oldest (in time, not age!) friends for May Bank Holiday.

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And Mexico in November with hubby.

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2018 saw the last of my school year turn 40. My birthday is at the beginning of the academic year so I turned 40 in 2017, but my best friend celebrated her milestone birthday in style in 2018. We went to London, saw Les Miserables in the West End and had afternoon tea at the Dorchester.

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I don’t even like tea, but I was in the Dorchester and I was drinking tea whether I liked it or not! I look thin in this photo – might print it out and stick it to the fridge to motivate my New Year diet!

This is really not in chronological order because this happened in February. It’s just in the order that it’s fallng out of my head! We finally knocked our teeny tiny kitchen through to the dining room to create a big kitchen diner. It’s the best thing we’ve done to the house – we no longer fall over each other when we’re trying to cook, and we no longer risk going up in a puff of smoke like we did using our old dodgy cooker!

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Hubby and I went to Thorpe Park with two of my work friends (one of whom made a rollercoaster fwiend – sorry, in joke!) Until I went to Orlando for the first time in 2016 I’d never been to a proper big theme park. I used to go to a local theme park when I was a kid, people can’t believe that I’ve never been to Alton Towers! I loved Thorpe Park. It was so much fun.

My youngest brother got married in August and I gained another sister-in-law. It was an amazing day and really made me appreciate time with family.

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Oh, almost forgot! I got a promotion and became an Account Manager. I’ve tried to embrace my new role and am enjoying the learning process. It’s not always easy, and I’m spending a lot of time outside of my comfort zone, but I’m relishing the challenge and am determined to succeed and prove myself. That reminds me, I must ask for new business cards!

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I think that’s the major events of 2018 covered. So, what’s to come in 2019? If all goes according to plan, then I’ll travel to Orlando and Spain. I’ll return to Sandybrook with the girls. It’s highly likely that I’ll visit the south of Italy with work. I’ll visit the Hippodrome to see Peter Pan and the Alexandra Theatre to see Thriller Live. I’ll pay an extortionate parking fee at the NEC when I visit Gardeners’ World Live with my best friend. There are tentative plans to go to Kew Gardens, do pub quizzes, visit Tallinn and to remedy my not having been to Alton Towers. I’ll take part in my first CAL (crochet-along) with thousands of people around the world when I follow attic24’s sweet pea blanket pattern. I’m planning to decorate the downstairs loo, redo the bathroom and obviously there will be exploits in the garden. I did briefly toy with the idea of a huge PVC igloo on the lawn today when I was daydreaming (and imagining myself to have won the lottery) but I’ll satisfy my gardening dreams by beautifying my greenhouse and growing my own fruit and veg this year.

I hope you all have plans for 2019, whether big or small. Life’s for living!

 

 

 

Green Girl Gardener gets a promotion

I have been waiting to write this post for ages, but I couldn’t because my news hadn’t been announced at work until this week.

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This still from Friends perfectly illustrates how I’ve felt for the past few weeks, not being able to share my exciting news properly. This is the moment when Rachel arrives home after being promoted to assistant buyer at Bloomingdales but Monica and Phoebe start to have a disagreement and exit the apartment, leaving Rachel to celebrate her promotion on her own.

I’ve worked for the same company for sixteen years and whilst I’ve had a few new responsibilities added to my job description over the years, I was essentially doing the same job as I turned forty that I was doing when I started with the company at twenty five. I talked to you before about how I loved being forty and how reaching the big four oh gave me a confidence that I hadn’t had before, but it also made me realise that I needed to step it up at work if I wanted to fulfil my potential and progress in my career. So, over the past year I have worked really hard and applied myself in a way that I had never done previously. I didn’t know how to before, but it all seemed to click into place in my head, and it’s paid off and I have been promoted to Account Manager.

The hard work starts now, but I’m excited to get going in my new role and I’m determined to make a success of it.

On the day I was given the good news, I decided to go and treat myself to some goodies to celebrate, from the little craft shop in Notcutts.

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The panda is a stitch counter and the little green octopus is a tiny pair of snips that I can attach to my project bag so I always have them handy when I need them. I’m going to use one of the coasters on my desk at work as a reminder of the elation I felt at having my hard work recognised.

Last night I attended my first work event since my promotion and although I don’t have new business cards yet, it felt amazing to be able to introduce myself as an Account Manager to people that I met during the evening, and to share my news with a few customers and contacts who also attended the event.

The event was the NASS (National Association of Steel Service Centres) annual dinner held at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

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My company is one of the sponsors of the dinner (although not Liberty as shown on the invite) every year and hosts a table. I was lucky enough to be invited this year by the lovely Karen who organises the event which meant I got to meet and chat with a couple of people that I’ve never met before.

It’s a black tie event, so I treated myself to a new LBD from Next.

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Excuse the loo roll in the background. I took this in my hotel room as I was leaving for pre-dinner drinks.

The hotel was the Best Western Manor hotel. I’ve stayed here a couple of times for work events and it’s a nice hotel. Comfortable rooms, good breakfast and WiFi that actually works.

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My new Therapy bag was the perfect accessory to the LBD and I used my new purse which was a birthday present from my sister-in-law.

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Allegedly it’s bad luck to gift an empty purse, so my sister-in-law had put a shiny pound coin in it, and it really came in handy because there were Breast Cancer Care pin badges on sale at the entrance to the venue so I bought one.

Every year the NASS president nominates a charity to sponsor, and Breast Cancer Care is one close to his heart. He spoke passionately about the work the charity does and how appreciative he is, and guests were invited to donate to the charity. People did give generously and more than £3500 was raised. One lucky benefactor was picked out of the hat to win a magnum of champers.

I didn’t win, but I can console myself with the memory of this bottle of Moët which my Dad bought me to congratulate me on my promotion. We all enjoyed this on my birthday night out.

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The dinner itself was scrummy. Having had experience of organising events on a large scale, I know how hard it is to get great quality in mass catering and also to please all, but everybody I spoke to thoroughly enjoyed their meal. We had four courses starting with mild tomato soup flavoured with tarragon followed by an amazing hot pastry parcel filled with Boursin, leeks and mushroom. The main was fillet of beef which was cooked perfectly for me. I know some people like beef to be bloody but if I’m going to have a steak I prefer it not to be running round my plate. Dessert was a pastry tart filled with vanilla custard cream and seasonal fruits.

I so wish I’d taken some photos of the food to show you because the presentation was beautiful, but I was too busy chatting away to the guy next to me about travel and festivals and a little bit of steel stuff and enjoying the yummy flavours to whip my phone out.

One thing that was on the table that I can show you a photo of was the table gift given by the company NLMK.

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Wireless headphones. I shouldn’t really praise them because they’re from a competitor, but what a great table gift! I must remember this for next time I’m asked to come up with ideas for customer gifts.

Anyway, after being coerced into staying up until 2am by my colleagues at the risk of turning into a pumpkin, and then going to work this morning, I’m yearning for my bed so I’ll apologise for any sleep deprivation induced spelling or grammatical errors and make my way up the apples and pears to my slumber chamber.

Have a great weekend!