2019 Year In Review

Right, let's start this post of the right way, firstly hello and happy new year! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a wonderful new year however you chose to celebrate them. 
 I took a little break from blogging as you may have noticed to make way for the chaos of working in retail at Christmas and to make time to actually buy people presents, whilst trying to be a little more organised (I’d like to say I was but sitting wrapping presents on Christmas Eve would say otherwise).

I’d like to say I’ve had a well-rested break but in all honesty, I feel like I haven’t had one at all. Regardless of that however Christmas this year, just like last was lovely and that’s enough for me. 
The warm glow of Christmas and the cosy contentment that surrounds it is something I look forward to every year. It’s always quiet but filled with happiness and laughter. 
I spent the day this year enjoying a divine Christmas dinner, drinking wine and opening presents all to end it cosied up watching Bohemian Rhapsody in the evening. 
Not like every Christmas this year, it felt like the right duration, not rushed nor short just right. 

 With the departing of Christmas however, meant that the next station call was the new year a time of year that always brings about a great deal of reflection and honestly a lot of mixed emotions. The new year for me always feels quite heavy so let’s get real for a moment. Hand on heart this has been one of the hardest years I’ve had to get through.

For the first time this year, I didn’t feel like listing each and every single one of my achievements in a blog post and show-horsing just how amazing or incredible my year was because let’s just be real it wasn’t. Instead, I wanted just acknowledge that to even reach the point of writing this post is an achievement in itself, I got here in one piece and for me, that is enough.

However, I do always enjoy sitting down to write one whole piece to mark the end of the year, a moment of reflection to look back on the year whilst putting it into perspective, so I didn’t want to disregard that idea fully. Instead, I wanted to simply look back on the things that bought me contentment during the year such as some of my favourite films, albums and television releases, many of which I have previously included within monthly favourite blog posts throughout the year, however, I just liked the idea of creating a sort of bumper blog post to delve a little into why they are my favourites of the year. I'm also taking a look back on some of the resolutions I made last year and looking to the resolutions for this one, not so much goals but small and manageable changes I can make to both myself and my lifestyle. Much like last years year in review just minus a few less personal achievements this year.

 Okay here we go, let’s start with:


Harry Styles : Fine Line

I’m starting with this one because it’s as much as a surprise to me as it is to you in how much I actually adore this album. I’ve always been intrigued and in awe over Harry styles in general who isn’t? I still remember falling in love with him after his X-Factor audition but found myself losing interest during all the one direction hysteria, soz 1D fans. Then comes the release of his first solo album I thought oh okay, I think I like this. Truth be told I loved his first album but it didn’t hit me as much as this one. It was either something about the songs or the alignment with the time of the year that really resonated with me on this one, not to mention the aesthetic that surrounds him this release. I found myself listening on the way to work and the way home, in the bath in the morning getting ready to go out, you name it. I even made my mum listen on Christmas Day. 

 Album favourites: Adore you, Sunflower, Golden 

 Foals : Everything not saved will be lost PT1&2 

 Foals gave us not one album this year but two for that alone I’m eternally grateful, as fans having a band give us not only what we want but also what we need is kinda everything. Following both album releases they also gave us a raucous tour to follow (an incredible band to see live if you haven’t already- one I managed to catch in the summer) they will always and forever remain my favourite band. Anyway, less gushing, both albums released this year each gave something a little different. A different mood, feel, sound and aesthetic. Personally, for me the first album was my favourite of the two it gave a more dancy, upbeat approach with the second being more heavier, angrier and at times more slow. What I loved about both however was the fact they both fell perfectly in time with the seasons, both managing to give a real sense of a story and a journey from start to finish.

 Album favourites: In degrees, on the luna, the runner, like lightning, into the surf.

 The Chemical Brothers: No Geography

Initially, I'll admit when I first heard the tracks on this album, I wasn't taken completely aback, I actually found myself skipping tracks during workouts. It wasn't until I actually sat down and gave it a chance I fell completely and utterly in love with it. I’ve always had a real place in my heart for the chemical brothers, getting into them the more I worked out (they provide a great workout playlist and getting ready playlist) but for me, this album just ended up being on repeat. I caught their set on the TV at Glastonbury (turning over from The Killers, I know bad indie fan) but found myself absolutely mesmerized by their set. From the lights, their music, the atmosphere, truly, truly jealous of anyone who managed to see their set at Glastonbury. This album really made me fall for them big time.

Album Favourites: Got to keep on, Catch me I'm falling, No Geography

Mark Ronson : Late night feelings

Funnily enough, Mark Ronson, somehow made it into my top listened to artists of the year. Which in some ways makes sense given I listened to this album a lot during the summer. Honestly I kind of listened expecting to not be so fully into it, but in fact found myself really liking each and every single track. I find Ronson's music a bit like that kinda like that, he makes tracks impossible to dislike giving them some sort of dazzle and personality. He knows the voices to work with to make the songs and really I've never disliked a song he's made or produced.
A lot of these albums are as much of a surprise to me as they may be to you, but I definitely found myself this year listening to music for me, not sticking to no aesthetic or style of music and just listening to what I liked and enjoyed and this album just happened to be one of them. 

  Album favourites: Late night feelings, Don't leave me lonely, Nothing breaks like a heart, True Blue

Friendly Fires : Inflorescent 

Okay I know I included this one in my last monthly favourites post but how could I not include it in my favourites of this year?? I've eagerly awaited the return of them for a while with them being one of my favourite bands. This album was 100% worth the wait. For me when bands disappear for a while I find myself wondering if they will return the same, or change up their sound choice which sometimes can work for the better or for the worse (not naming any names here) but for me this album was flawless, everything I wanted and expected from them. I love the dance direction they've taken, definitely very up my street and perfectly released in time for the summer, another album I had on repeat throughout.

Album Favourites: Can't wait forever, Silhouettes, Run the Wild Flowers, Heaven Let Me In, Offline (may as well of listed the whole album) 

 Other highlights include: Hot Chip a bath full of ecstasy, Temples: Hot Motion 

Cinematic highlights 

 Once upon a time in Hollywood

Admittedly upon going to the cinema to see this, I had no idea what it was about nor what the story was based on simply that the film had Leonardo Dicaprio in it and Margo Robbie so for me I was sold enough on that fact. However, the film is so much more complex and thought-provoking than initially thought. I found myself after the film researching into the story it follows and found myself listening to interviews with Tarantino himself and podcast talking about the film. It's certainly a film you need to see more than once to fully grasp it or at least to understand Tarentions aesthetic but once you do its genius. Definitely, one I didn't expect to like but did. Thanks to Jay I’ve found a new love for Tarantino films this year. 

 Avengers : End Game 

 Probably one of the most eagerly awaited films I’ve ever waited for especially within a franchise and given the ending of the film before (infinity war). I went to the cinema, 3D glasses in tow and found myself completely and utterly blew away and then some. Say what you want about cinema dying but I won't forget the reaction in the audience to watching this film something you really step back and think about as well as be grateful for in a franchise the love and admiration for these films.
 I don’t think even now I could have fully prepared myself mentally before going into watching End Game. Still a cinema highlight for me, for many years to come. If only to see Tom Holland appear back alive on the big screen...

 Spider-Man : Far from home 

 Equally as eagerly awaited as Endgame honestly this one was of my films of the year for obvious reasons. (*cough* Tom Holland*) no but really I was super excited for the next instalment in Peter Parker’s journey again another film with so many twists and turns, heartbreaks and heartfelt moments. I won’t spoil it if you haven’t already seen it but I love this film for the development of relationships and peters personality, personally not my favourite over Spider-Man: Homecoming but still an excellent addition to the franchise and now? I have to wait until 2021 to find out the fate of Peter Parker

 The King

 A little bit of a late entry to the year but this was a film I thoughtfully, thoughtfully enjoyed. After falling pretty hard for GOT this year (More on that later) I realised one of my almost guilty pleasures in film and television is a good old fashioned battle, bizarre as that sounds I’ve realised I quite enjoy history, war-based films, no I don’t know who I am and what that sentence was either. I think a lot of love has come from fantasy inspired series, Game of Thrones being one and Harry Potter another but fantasy is where a lot of my interest lies. Highlights of this film for me had to be Robert Pattinson's entrance to the film and the anticipation of waiting for the battle of course not neglecting the fact that Timothee Chalamet was absolutely flawless in this role, oh and I thoughtfully enjoyed the bowl hair cuts all round. 

 Star Wars : Rise of the Skywalker

 Hand on heart I loved this film. It’s felt so long waited for and huge in being that this is the last in the skywalker franchise. Again not one I will spoil in case those of you haven’t seen it but this film for me really pieces together a lot of missing parts from the others, ties it all together nicely and gives us a film to hold deep in our hearts. Yes, there are lots of flaws in this film and yes there are things I wish had or hadn’t of happened but still for me I loved it for many reasons. Call me a major geek but the lightsaber choreography and the connection with Kylo and Rey had me on the edge of my seat practically screaming, big Reylo fan over here. 

 Other highlights include: Extremely Wicked Shockingly Evil and Vile, Bohemian Rhapsody

Tv moments

 Sex education 

 This series feels like an age ago given which would be right given that the release was during the beginning of last year. This series was one I wasn’t massively interested in watching, from a distance it didn’t seem like my cup of tea, how wrong I was. This series was honestly one of my biggest tv highlights for me. It made me laugh a lot and it made me cry a lot and my god was it completely up my street. I fell head over heels for the characters and the character development and found myself loving each and every story each episode followed. For young people, in fact, for every generation, this series is such a huge eye-opener and conversation provoker just listening to Girls Talk podcast made me realise that and just how important it is to have a show so open in approaching almost taboo topics, so so important especially for those younger having a tv show like this one is golden. I'm now eagerly awaiting the arrival of Season 2.

 Game of Thrones

 This year as you’ll already know (so I won't go into too much detail) I fell so heavily head over heels for GOT I was gripped from the very first episode. I spent a lot of my days and my evenings for a while watching it, it became quite the obsession I have to say, something I looked forward to watching. I’m so glad I decided to watch it when I did in order to be around the hype of last season, which was, in my opinion, incredible, personally, I loved the ending (don’t @ me) the fact that my favourite character never got killed was enough for me. Also another series I'm eagerly awaiting the return of it to Now Tv so I can binge it all again for many years to come.


 I got into pose a little later than intended but I’m oh so glad I did. I’ve spoken about this recently so again I won’t delve into it too much but pose is a show I strongly urge you to watch if you haven’t done so already. Again it’s a show so incredibly important and current and just completely outrageous whether you watch it for the storyline, the characters, the music or the blooming fabulous clothes it’s 100% worth your time. It was a favourite this year because so often I find it hard to find a balance between light and heavy-hearted watches and this one is the perfect balance of both, something right up my street I’m so glad I came across it, definitely worth a watch if you haven't already oh and the first season has Evan Peters so no complaints from me.

 Big Little Lies

The second season of this I binged in about a week I’ve been hooked on it since day one. The thing I love about it the most is the way in which it’s filmed, the cinematic approach for me really creates and builds the story. This season I was literally screaming at the tv in between crying my eyes out. The storyline is so incredibly important and compelling I was glued to my screen throughout. To have a show so driven by strong-minded women is so hugely important and relevant and so worth your time.

 Other highlights include: Mindhunter, Stranger Things, Glow and The Umbrella Academy

New Years Resolutions

Eat more vegan/vegetarian/ plant-based options

I used to be vegetarian for many years when I was younger a dare set to me by my sister to give up meat- kinda took it a little too far but with the right intentions. Long story short at the time Quorn, or plant-based options was far and few I found myself craving something more when looking at the same fake chicken slices, or Quorn mince. As a family, we also used to have a lot of bbq's in the summer and for a while I felt like I wanted to the meat again, losing sight of why I made the decision to not eat meat in the first place. At the time I was young and eating meat again just felt like the right thing to do, a privilege as such. However, now I find myself seeing that meat isn’t always necessary. Nowadays we are spoilt with the number of options accessible to us. I think for that reason as well as climate change, lowering our meat intake should be something present in our mind. I’m not talking cutting out meat altogether though that is a goal in the long run. For now, the idea of substituting meat items for other plant-based options is a good start, for example swapping pork mince for Quorn mince in lasagne or beef burgers for vegetarian ones. Last year I already cut cows milk out of my diet and now opt for plant-based options available to me and honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve done. If it’s doing good for me as well as the environment, that’s good enough for me. 

 Switching to sustainable options 

 Another one in relation to the environment I suppose is to swap some of my day to day routines and make them more sustainable where I can. One of the first things I’m working on at the moment is changing from cotton pads to reusable ones to take off my makeup, something that I know I go through so many of to be able to stop the waste that right now isn’t necessary would be great. Another thing I would also love to look at this year is switching to a more sustainable option during my period, something I’ve always been intrigued to try and again something that right now is creating unnecessary waste. All small but significant changes. 

 Be on time / more organised 

 This one is a huge one for me, something that plays a part in my life every day or at least something that has become more of an issue to me as of late (pardon the pun). I am such a last-minute person, I’m always making myself late, in a rush and quite ultimately stressed out. I’ve always suffered from anxiety as you are probably aware and I have a slight bit of OCD. So really you could say it’s that to blame which it mostly is however sometimes I do create the obstacles myself or at least do things to stress myself out further. For example, getting ready for an event or packing to go over to my boyfriends you can guarantee I’ll be there 5 minutes before I go out the door quite frankly pissing about. It’s almost got me into trouble a good few times too, missing trains, being late for work or almost missing appointments quite honestly I’d love to be one of those people who are early, organised and sat eagerly awaiting the next train. So I’m trying with all my might already this year to wave goodbye to my old ways and make way for a new year, new me (honestly wish me luck)

 To be less hard on myself 

 This one is especially important when it comes down to my exercising habits. Last year as you know I got fully into my fitness and my desire to work out something I’m still enjoying and continuing into the new year however I found myself towards the end of last year beating myself up on days where I felt deflated or exhausted and yet forced myself to work out. Losing 20-30 mins a day doesn’t matter if you can’t find time to work out one day there’s always tomorrow. I want to maintain exercise as something I still enjoy and want to do not something that becomes a chore or a force of habit.

 To read

 Yes again. Really feels like 5 minutes since I set this one last year but I really do need to start taking some time in the evenings to sit and read. I actually managed one book last year which really is an achievement for me. But into the new year, I would like to take some time for me, to switch off and find solitude in a book. I actually got quite a few books for Christmas so I need to actually push myself into reading them, a good as reason as any. 

 To learn to drive 

 This is one of those either huge resolutions that sit on my list for years on end or one of those huge I did it moments. I started learning years ago when I had money and no time to learn, then later in life I had time but no money. Now I like to think I can almost stretch to both so all I can say for this one is stay tuned to find out.

 To try to love me, for me

I actually, read a mantra for my star sign the other day that read “I will live authenticity to who I really am instead of who others want me to be”. For me that really rang true I have found myself for so long trying to box myself into this perfect perception of who I am to try and get people to see and like me the way I want them to see me which comes down to the way I view myself. I have so many hang-ups so many things that hold me back for me I feel like it’s time to let them go, to stop them from holding me back. To love me, for me, to stop trying to be someone I’m not, to allow people to accept me for who I am, flaws and all.

What's your opinion?

@paige rhianne_