2020 Rewind!

I still can't believe that 2020 is over. Despite everything that has happened, in my opinion, the year has gone really fast. I really am in shock that it's flown by, considering we've all been stuck inside for the majority of it. Looking back on the year, I feel like I've done so much and really made it count, even wear it was difficult. Adapting to the circumstances has been a must but I think I can successfully say, I've conquered 2020 and this year, more than ever. I loved seeing my 2019 rewind post and this year, more than ever, I wanted to take a look back at what will go down in history as the most unkind, unexpected year of the century. 

Click here to watch the vlog or see it below!

January started like any other month...well, except New Year's Day. Normally, I would spend New Year's Eve with my family but for the first time, I spent it with friends instead, and of course, my first with Luke. It was a little strange but it wasn't a big party, more of a relaxed get together. Personally, I prefer the party feel but hey ho. From there, I headed back to Wakefield to spend some time with family before starting my third and final year of my student midwife studies. 

I feel like I really made the most of spending time with friends at the start of the year, without even realising it wasn't going to be an option in the near future. I went to archery sessions 4 times a week, we went to the pub on a Saturday and of course, board game nights was a given! In between studying and concentrating on assessments, I also fully kept going with my extracurricular university commitments. I had committee meetings for the Archery Club, the Nursing and Midwifery Association and the Tell Us Now, Student as Change Agent's Project. I also really got involved in the Knit and Knatter Club and more specifically fed back on the Midwifery course going forward.

My relationship with Luke has never been the easiest and simplest relationship, I just don't think that's me. I'm not a super easy going, care free person so why would I expect me as a girlfriend to be any different. I always knew my relationship was going to be serious and quick. It was never a stopping ground, I planned to date with a purpose. Having Luke in my life, has made me so happy. I've wanted someone to share life with and be by my side and that's what I've found. 

Birthday celebrations? Oh yes, I remember going out with friends for meals! I love restaurants and that's the one thing I've really missed over lockdown. We did manage to squeeze in a few at the start of the year. Lauren's birthday meal was one of them and I absolutely fell in love with the desserts (and food) at the Slug and Lettuce. 

To end our first module of the academic year, we had an incredible cohort celebration day. It was so lovely and really nice to have the opportunity to have a relaxed session, catered to our tastes, despite at the time, feeling like it was a strange thing to do. Bea and I ended up doing out undergraduate research project presentation, as a little bit of a practice run before a couple of conferences, and one of the girls who organised the day made us some gorgeous flowers which were beautiful and I loved the makeshift vase which I will forever keep as a keepsake. Of course, we had a scrumpscious fuddle lunch too with so many treats!

Valentine's Day was the first big celebration and I loved every minute of it. It was my first ever Valentine's Day with a date and I had to celebrate. Luke and I got dressed up and went for tea at Bill's. It was his first time and I hadn't been for a while, but it was as incredible as I remember...especially the brownie. 

I defintely made the most of my last few weeks of theory. In between writing my first year 3 assessment piece, I had two concerts, with both James Blunt and The Script, I absolutely loved them both, but I was exhausted with the late nights and working pattern. Luke and I enjoyed the weekends together, and also made a trip to Wakefield for probably the last ever Rhubarb Ball

Then placement started! I ended up doing a couple of slightly shorter shifts to fit in some other extracurricular activities. On my first Friday, I left early to head to the inaugural Sustainability Award, where I won 2 prizes (one personal and one for the society). The following week was another busy one, with 3 12.5 hour shifts, a trip to Leeds to attend a 2 day RCM conference and then a 2 day trip to London. 

The RCM Conference was amazing. Unfortunately, due to being in Italy, Bea couldn't actually attend in the end, so I presented alone, but loved talking to others and hearing other presentations. I also managed to cram in a meal out with Katherine before heading back to Nottingham. In London, I had my interview for the SNTA "Student Midwife of the Year" and then enjoyed the London sights, before heading out for tea and enjoyed another West End show, of The Prince of Egypt. I loved the show but I was absolutely knackered because of my full on week. It was exhausting and I'm sure because of that, I not only fell asleep during it but also couldn't enjoy it in full. I stayed the night with my cousin Emma, and ended up developing a really bad cough. Of course, this was when everything was somewhat kicking off with Covid-19. It was really rampant in Italy at the time, and getting closer to the UK by the day. 

I ended up deciding not to go to placement and had a week of isolating in Nottingham, before heading back to Wakefield just in time for Mother's Day. It was nice to celebrate something positive one more time before lockdown hit the day after. It was also nice to be able to stay goodbye to Luke after not seeing him for 2 weeks, and then what would be another 5 months! 

The start of lockdown went really well. With no socialising externally, we made a family commitment to spend time together on a Saturday night. Dress up (or just don’t wear pyjamas), and a more formal meal, board games and a film! It was also the start of online learning and the stress of filling free time with a ridiculous number of countless hours working through the Fetal Monitoring e-learning package. Spending my first ever anniversary separated was also not the planned way to celebrate. I never would have imagined we'd spend the day apart but that's what happened. 

I enjoyed being at home, chilling in the lounge and going for walks around the farm. However, it was also incredibly hard, because I don't particularly get on with my mum's husband and with constant clashing, I felt very much alone. In the end, I made the decision that for my own mental health and well-being I needed to get out of there, so before Easter, I ended up moving to Wales to live with my dad and his girlfriend. 

It was bliss having my own space, no one telling me what to do and having fast/quick internet 24/7. Despite getting my first ever wasp stings (getting stung not once...but twice!) Easter Sunday was filed with lots of treats. I made the most of my time out of practice, painting my nails regularly and enjoying using all the colours I had! Plus, we welcomed a new addition to the family with the arrival of my precious niece, my little Fox. 

I also came at the best time because the spring garden was absolutely beautiful with blooming flowers and pretty colours everywhere. It was beautiful weather and scenery everywhere. Of course, we made the most of it, with lots of sunbathing, reading, barbeques and hot tub nights. 

Online learning was a bit of a learning curve as the next module officially started. I slowly got used to working from home. I made my “desk” anywhere and everywhere (sofa, bed, dining room etc) and I tried to get ready...at least every other day! I actually absolutely loved online learning. It was nice to have a little more time to relax and go for walks with family. I enjoyed being able to work independently and to my own schedule. I did feel very much left and forgotten by the staff but I didn't mind, given the module type were were undergoing. 

My extracurricular activities still continued as well. I had meetings regularly, started isolation programmes for all my societies and also signed up to additional learning with charities like Beyond Bea and Mummy's Star. Plus, attended lots of online conferences, presented virtually and celebrated the International Day of the Midwife. I even won an award at the IDM and underwent hypnobirthing training to qualify as a teacher! 

I may have gone a little crazy at some points...I dyed my hair blue! I also became obsessed with knitting baby hats. I think I made 7 in a few days. I even craved going for walks and had to convince my dad to come with me half the time; canal walks became our new thing. Despite being in lockdown, Wales felt very normal because there isn't much to do there anyway. 

The next big celebration over lockdown was my birthday. Celebrating in full lockdown in Wales, I didn't have much hope but I ended up having an amazing time and being so busy. I woke up and had a super lazy morning in bed, watching television, before enjoying a lovely picnic lunch outside and going on a two hour countryside walk. The ice lolly on the way back defintely made it worth it! We then opened presents in the garden and got the surprise of a lifetime. With a trip to M+S earlier in the week, we had all my favourites for tea with a 3 course meal, before doing an online escape room with Sam and Vicki! I also hit £100 on my birthday fundraiser for Mummy's Star as it was Cancer and Pregnancy Awareness Week. 

With Father's Day a couple of days later, it was really nice to spend the day together, as it had been a while. I absolutely loved having so much quality time with dad over lockdown, especially after his health scare at the start of the year. It also worked well in terms of him not being able to drive, as I could be his little taxi. 

Towards the end of full lockdown, I had a few online interviews. One for the Nottingham Advantage Award Prize, sponsored by Save the Children for Collaboration, in which I was awarded the “Highly Commended” and a job interview for Chesterfield, after applying for my first ever job! A little trip to the lake, in between finalising my portfolio, was a great break and officially submitting my last ever undergraduate assessment was such a breath of fresh air. 

Masks became the new normal when going out and to the shops, but lockdown rules relaxed by July and I could finally see family. First, on the list was my second oldest sister and her newborn baby, followed a few week's later with a trip to see my oldest sister and her family. I went for a full week and had lots of fun plans together. 

I was then reunited with my boyfriend for the first time in over 4 months for a few days, before heading to Wakefield to see my family up there for a few days. Then I returned to Wales to finish university, before having a lovely visit from Luke up there. Again, we had some really busy days together, and had a wonderful day trip to Conwy

My last few days in Wales were so lovely. I really made the most of my last week before starting placement by relaxing, wearing make-up and going on lots of walks. I even wore my tie dye top that I made with the kids which was so much fun! 

It was then time to head back to Nottingham and start a long 5 month placement block. I absolutely loved being back in the hospitals, despite being a little nervous about the long gap. I can't lie, I did make some initial minor mistakes, but it quickly came back to me. Shift work isn't fun, but I actually had a relatively decent shift pattern so Luke and I managed to do lots of activities together, to make up for lost time: Highfields, Peak District, West Midlands Safari Park and simply being together. 

It wasn't long till the last day of our Raleigh Park contract was coming to and end. The girls and I all went out the night before to celebrate and then everyone packed and went their separate ways. I really struggled to find someone to live with or an affordable place to move into, so I ended up renting a room off a cohort friend on a short term basis. It was truly awful and I hated every second of it. I would spend the bare minimum amount of time there and by the time I moved out, 6 weeks later, I'd spent £600 on 9 nights, crying the majority of the time. 

Luckily, I did find a new home and I moved into it in the middle of October. I've really made it a home and if you followed the blog in November, you will have seen it completely taken over by room reveal posts! In between the two moves, I managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Wales (the last one before another lockdown), plus a trip to Yorkshire due to house renovations and needing to pack for the move. 

Halloween celebrations were a little lacklustre for obvious reasons but I still decorated. Luke and I made cupcakes, carved pumpkins and went on a lovely autumnal walk to celebrate. We didn't quite get round to watching a film but did watch some television. 

Finally, time for Christmas. I bought mostly new decorations because in a new house and I didn't have too many prior. We also did lots of walks as a couple and then met up with some friends when rules allowed: Sam, Vicki and Harriet/David. I had my last two assessments as a student midwife and passed with flying colours, I finished my last few shifts with such a range of experiences and I celebrated qualifying with the cohort: both online and at the Christmas at Wollaton event. I still can’t believe I applied for two jobs, had two interviews and got two offers! 

As a student, the lockdown rules didn't affect my Christmas plans as such, as I was still allowed to go home to be with family. I headed to my mums the day after the celebration events finished and loaded the car with all the presents to give out on Christmas Day. With a chilled few days at home, it was lovely to relax on the farm with family. Of course, we had to get ready for Christmas and then celebrated with everyone on the 25th but kept it small and casual the rest of the time, as per the law. It was actually lovely to get together on Christmas Day. I didn't know how much I needed it until it happened. I was sad to have missed out on a proper family New Year's Eve party last year so was really looking forward to it this year, but it wasn't quite meant to be. 

Done! Time for a new year. I was trying to summarise the main parts, but this year is one I want to remember despite everything. Let's be positive...what was the highlight of your 2020? Mine was finishing my student midwife journey and getting two dream job offers