Thank you, 2018

Readers of the blog will know that 2018 was The Year of Smart, my first attempt at utilising the concept of a yearly theme to help maintain direction and focus on productivity. The good news is it went well..! The theme worked as intended and helped provide overarching guidance and had many good benefits over using a simple list of annual goals as I have done in the past. The theme really helped in providing the space to adjust course and make good decisions as the year progressed; whenever there was a key activity or action the year of smart was always on my mind to provide steer. I even remember Victoria asking me in the car showroom is the new car was in compliance with the year of smart (it was, as far as I was concerned!). There are a number of things that I'm planning on adjusting in 2019 but the good news is the a theme will remain - more on that in another post.

Rochester Castle

Rochester Castle

Back to 2018 and having thought about this a little it’s actually quite difficult to list the outputs, the theme touched on many things, almost providing input behind the scene. Below are some of the more significant areas that the theme had an impact on throughout the year.

  • We made the decision to focus on improving our financial stability. We now have clear budgeting, minimal credit, rainy day money and all our banking in one system. This is big! It certainly took some work to get it to where it is and I'm very happy with how everything sits. The subreddit r/UKPersonalFinance has been a fantastic resource on making improvements, there is a wealth of good UK-Specific advice on finances here.
  • We both made the decision to accept new jobs. Massive! For me it's been a challenging few months acclimatising to a new organisation but since joining I have managed to reduce my levels of stress and no longer feel like work is consuming my existence. I have a great opportunity with plenty of work in the pipeline at Colliers and am looking forward to making change, you can read about my new job here. Victoria also found a new opportunity in her field of work and it settling in well, I'm very excited and incredibly proud of her.
  • A bit if a splurge, but the decision to buy a new car has allowed us to travel to and from Cornwall more efficiently and safely than before. Our trek to the West Country is no longer the arduous journey that it once was and writing this I still can’t quite believe how much of an improvement this has made. Yes, the car is a bit of a shiny toy that goes scary fast but it has a proper purpose (and four doors).
  • Lastly and most importantly, wedding planning took front and centre in 2018 and as I write this post there are only 99 days to go - exciting! Victoria has done an unbelievably good job at organising everything from table decorations to the DJ, she even excelled in managing to find what I can only describe as the most adorable place to stay in all of Medway (which I’ll reveal later in 2019!). She has done such a good job that I have demoted myself to the role of Chairman, only weighing in and approving when necessary... That's not completely true, I have done a little bit of helping, booking the Honeymoon (which was surprisingly difficult) and organising the Singapore Fling Weekend and associated engagement photographs among other duties.

All in all a great and very exciting year. below are some of my un-blogged highlights below..

Network at the National Theatre

Network at The National Theatre

Network at The National Theatre

Our first taste of theatre at The National, this was absolutely incredible. It was a bit of a treat because it wasn't the cheapest of things but Victoria and I enjoyed every moment, so much so that we saw another three productions later in the year (Julie, The Lehman Trilogy and Home, I'm Darling).

Our Singapore Fling

Singapore Botanical Gardens

Singapore Botanical Gardens

This was a bit of a treat... We went to Singapore for a long weekend, stayed again at the beautiful Marina Bay Sands and spent some time enjoying the city. The main purpose of the trip was to get some photographs for our engagement since we were too excited at the time to take any (apart from one photo taken by an oblivious russian tourist). The photos were taken by Alvin and Michelle at Awesome Memories, we absolutely love the pictures and they don't show how INCREDIBLY hot it was at the time!

Lomas’ Stag do in Bournemouth

Bournemouth (this was the only blog-safe photograph)

Bournemouth (this was the only blog-safe photograph)

This was my first proper stag do and having never been to bournemouth before it felt like we had landed in the UK equivalent of Prague - There were stag parties EVERYWHERE. Being a bit of an outsider to the group I soon earned rapport since I was the only person on the bus that bought cold beer, I further excelled by walking head first into a lamp post while trying to be funny. Not a weekend I or any of the others will forget any time soon, I'll save the rest of the details for another time.

James’ Stag do in Nottingham

BrewDog Nottingham

BrewDog Nottingham

Nottingham is a pretty fun city, we visited and drank a lot the year prior ahead of our first Tough Mudder. A weekend of Gin, Golf, Gaming, Gambling, Girls (in hooters) and of course... Gay Pride! We all had a great time and the even got some BrewDog hours in too! The gin caves were a personal highlight.

Fireworks at Medway Yacht Club

Medway Yacht Club

Medway Yacht Club

Not a huge event but it was nice to just be at home and with good company. We had some drinks, food and watched the bonfire and fireworks from the comfort of a bench on the Yacht Club patio. The fireworks were a little more crazy than usual with a few stray ones which added to the excitement!

Christmas in Cornwall

Boscastle, Cornwall

Boscastle, Cornwall

What more do I need to say? We love being in Cornwall, love seeing our family in Cornwall and generally just love everything to do with Cornwall. We had a great time in Charlestown and Harrowbarrow and even got the chance to visit the beautiful Boscastle.