It’s time for the Bright Lights Big City New Year’s Eve 2020 Round Up!
Well, 2020 wasn’t what we all thought it was going to be, was it?
My last post of the year is always a retrospective. It gives you the opportunity to look over my posts and spot anything you might have missed and want to read.
There’s something quite cathartic about looking over the last year. And, since I started this blog late 2016, it’s become one of my favourite things to do. It also helps me to look forward to the year ahead and think about what I want to achieve.
BUT, this year does not feel the same. For many, if not all, it’s been a TOTAL GIT of a year.
This New Year’s Eve 2020 Round Up, is the fifth post I’ve done containing all my blog posts, highlights, and intentions for the year ahead.
Before you start, please note the New Year’s Eve 2020 Round Up is by far the longest post I write each year. None of my other posts are this lengthy, promise.
Make sure you’ve got a cup of tea and some snacks because short this is not!
It’s the 31 December and time to wish you a…
Happy New Year!
Pop those bubbles, eat that mince pie and don your most sparkly of sequins and enjoy staying ‘IN-IN’.
This year we are all free from the inevitable ‘What are you doing for NYE?’ question, the invites and the pressure to have a ‘Great Gatsby’ style party.
As a self-confessed ‘New Years Eve Hater’, the only festive time I don’t particularly enjoy, I must confess I find this a relief.
While it’s not ideal, and I certainly will miss friends and family. I think we can all agree it’s better to be at home, safe and hope for a better year ahead.
Hope is a powerful feeling and one that I’ve earmarked a lot of for 2021. This year, I’ll be wishing my friends and family a Hopeful and Happy New Year because I think we all need a good dose of both.
Despite it being the weirdest year in my living memory, this blog has made progress I am proud of…
In 2020 I joined a support network for my blog which has led to new friends, new intentions and new purpose. It also allowed me to define my blog’s niche and learn which was one of my main goals for 2020.
My approach has changed and I went from almost giving up, to having a plan and enjoying blogging again. I still have a long way to go but, I’ve made great strides.
Defining my blog’s identity and my new approach has doubled not only my unique views but, also my visitors to the website and Instagram community.
DOUBLED IN A YEAR! This blog is actually turning into a community and I am so chuffed. I can’t wait to show you more of Hampshire’s best travel spots and places to eat in 2021.
THANK YOU for all of your lovely comments and support during 2020. It means the world when you take time to stop and take time out of your day to share with me.
It’s funny really as before I wrote the New Year’s Eve 2020 Round Up I had no idea that all three of those things had doubled. It’s made me so incredibly thankful, and given me a lot to look forward to in 2021.
New for 2021
In 2021 I’ll be taking my ‘Things to do in Hampshire’ Friday feature on Instagram Stories and turning it into a regular post too.
I’ve got lots of other ideas and this is the first of many I’ll be working on. Since I’ve switched things up on the blog I’ve been brimming with ideas and things I want to achieve.
But before I get started on that, it’s time to look at 2020…
Year in Review
While reflecting writing the New Year’s Eve 2020 Round Up I came to the conclusion that it’s been a year of realignment for me. I’m keeping the same intentions for 2021, as I couldn’t really fulfil my hopes for 2020.
My intentions for 2021 will also be about learning and continuing to work out what makes me happy and building my life around those things. It’s so simple but happiness is my number one priority and for a while I forgot that. Also, who knows what 2021 has in store for us, I’m not making too many plans or commitments that might just easily set myself up for failure.
Here’s a look back at the highlights and posts in my New Year’s Eve 2020 Round Up…
- This year I spent my Birthday taking Henry, my partner, around Oxford showing him the sights and where I used to go to Oxford Brookes University. It was a wonderful trip and I discovered so many changes to the city since living there.
- We saw Easy Life at The Brook and Bombay Bicycle Club at the 1875. They were the smallest settings to see two big bands in – it was an incredible experience. I booked John Mayer, Tash Sultana and quite a few other gigs without any clue we’d never be going to any of them!
- I took my Mum on a ‘Bloggers Day Out’ where we went to cafes and spots I wanted to take photos and review. She loved it and really got into the swing of things.
- I worked with Southampton Harbour Hotel and had a beautiful day of pampering. I’d love to work with more hotels – it’s definitely one to add to my list of things to achieve in 2021, if possible.
- The Coronavirus Pandemic first hit major headlines and we thought at the time it would not reach us. Oh how little we knew!
- Beach Box Cafe Cornwall January 31, 2020
- A spa day at Southampton Harbour Hotel January 29, 2020
- Breakfast at Society Cafe, BristolJanuary 27, 2020
- Dinner at El Tico in Jersey January 26, 2020
- Locke’s Coffee & Grub in Jersey January 24, 2020
- Breakfast, brunch and coffee at Nude Food, Jersey January 23, 2020
- Faulkner Fisheries – the best seafood in Jersey January 22, 2020
- King Arthur’s Round Table in The Great Hall, Winchester January 20, 2020
- The Winter Garden at Mottisfont in Romsey January 17, 2020
- Christmas at Mottisfont in Romsey January 9, 2020
- Chihuly Art Exhibition at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens January 2, 2020
- HAPPY NEW YEAR & NEW DECADE! IT’S 2020! January 1, 2020
- I discovered Bottomless Tacos at Bonita’s and enjoyed seeing how many tacos I could eat!
- I visited The National Army Museum in Chelsea for the first time and love their modern exhibitions.
- February brought lots of blog opportunities…
- Another opportunity to work with Southampton Harbour Hotel and spent an enjoyable evening with the lovely team from Temple Spa.
- I also worked with Outside-In Foodcourt in Portsmouth and tried all the new food vendors which I loved. By the end of the afternoon I rolled out the doors!
- Concern started to grow around Coronavirus as the UK started to get cases.
- The Shore Restaurant, Penzance February 27, 2020
- New Street Food at Outside-In Portsmouth February 25, 2020
- Temple Spa Facials at Southampton Harbour Hotel February 24, 2020
- St. Michael’s Mount, Cornwall February 21, 2020
- Stargazing at Trerice, Cornwall February 19, 2020
- Bottomless Tacos at Bonita’s in Portsmouth February 17, 2020
- The Liberty Lounge launches in Portsmouth February 13, 2020
- Friday night burgers at Croxton’s Kitchen & Tap House in Portsmouth February 12, 2020
- Creating Sustainable Artwork with North Cornwall Beach Art February 10, 2020
- Dinner at Bristol’s Honest Burger February 7, 2020
- The National Army Museum in Chelsea, London February 5, 2020
- A historic lunch at Titanic Hotel, Belfast February 3, 2020
- Fish and chips from Hayle’s in Polzeath February 1, 2020
- At the beginning of March on one of my trips to the supermarket I remember buying a few extra essentials as the shelves were bare. I think that’s when I first started to worry. It was like it had snowed but ten times worse. I’d never seen such a big supermarket so bare.
- The UK went into lockdown due to COVID-19 at the end of March, a pandemic which totally defined the year and probably years to come.
- The first major national lockdown was implemented by the UK Government and across the world. Weirdly, we were one of the last countries to go into lockdown.
- I made my last few trips out to Shire Hall Historic Courthouse, Chawton House and Jane Austen’s House Museum just before the lock down was enforced.
- I began working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, life started to change for everyone a lot. But, within a week I was put on furlough. I have no words for this time. Weird, uncertain and strange just don’t cover it.
- Five top food shows on Netflix in 2020 March 26, 2020
- 10 TV shows to watch for travel inspiration in 2020 March 24, 2020
- Top UK Travel Bloggers 2020 March 23, 2020
- Top ways to keep the wanderlust at bay March 21, 2020
- How to Experience Museums from Home March 17, 2020
- Breakfast on the Beach at Kismet Cabana in Jersey March 16, 2020
- Hampshire’s Chawton House and New Exhibition ‘Man Up!’ March 12, 2020
- Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorset March 10, 2020
- Lunch at The Hut Behind the Hedge March 4, 2020
- Finding healthy habit motivation at Whiteley Shopping Centre March 2, 2020
- Everyone struggled to buy pasta, flour and toilet roll. Banana bread became everyone’s speciality bake.
- There was so much going on that blogging had to take a back seat. I needed time to get my head around everything that was happening.
- Embracing walking and exercise really helped and I managed to work out every day in the month. But, it didn’t fix all the anxiety and not knowing and endless daily Government updates. I honestly felt like we’d fallen into a Hollywood film like The Hunger Games. Everything felt very surreal.
- Breakfast by the river at The Longholme, Bedford April 10, 2020
- Brunch at Home Coffee, Southsea April 8, 2020
- Spring style from Lighthouse clothing April 6, 2020
- #BlackLivesMatter – There were protests across the world. Like most people want to help and support in any way possible. I learnt a lot but, I’m still learning, and I think we’re all on a long journey to fight for equality and deconstruct privilege.
- All my hard work exercising took a bit of a back seat. I tore two ligaments in my ankle on the first May Bank Holiday and ended up in A&E during a global pandemic. That was an experience that’s for sure. I definitely didn’t want to go to hospital during a global pandemic ever again. Nope. No thank you!
- We made home made pizza and margaritas and sat in the garden and watched two US astronauts achieve a world first by travelling to the International Space Station and back aboard a spacecraft built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. It felt very weird that the world was in lockdown yet people were being launched off the planet!
- The Original Buff May 30, 2020
- The Ultimate Day Out for a Jane Austen Fan May 28, 2020
- The A to Z of things to do in Hampshire May 26, 2020
- A guide to artisan UK Flour Mills currently delivering May 18, 2020
- Osprey Sojourn 80 Convertible Wheeled Travel Backpack May 15, 2020
- Jane Austen’s House Museum, Chawton Village May 14, 2020
By June, when I was documenting these posts for this New Year’s Eve 2020 Round Up, I knew that this year was going to shift from thriving to surviving. I took the pressure off and that massively helped my outlook. It didn’t cure my anxiety but it sure did help.
- Lockdown eased, in some ways but not others for the first time in a couple of months.
- I bought a paddling pool to cool off during the heatwave that happened. Promptly one day later the weather turned and storms lasted a week. Typical. 😂
- Ankle recovery was in full swing during June. I stuck to a regular walking and exercise plan but found it was two steps forward and one step back.
- My first trip, that wasn’t the supermarket or local park, was to Winchester. It was a short visit but, I enjoyed a visit to one of my favourite cafes where we bought a takeaway for a picnic in the Cathedral grounds and had our first ice cream of the summer. It felt so strange to be out but also a bit of a relief to enjoy some time outside of the four walls we’d been in for a few months.
- As you can tell from the handful of posts I wrote, I struggled during this time. But, I gave myself some space and allowed myself time to adjust.
- Long Sleeve dryrobe June 26, 2020
- 10 Hampshire Coffee Roasters June 19, 2020
- 10 Hampshire Vineyard Tours June 18, 2020
- What do you want to take forward from lockdown? June 16, 2020
- On the 4 July lots of pubs and restaurants could reopen and it all got a little manic. I decided not to go out, I didn’t feel the need to do that. Instead we discovered a new Mexican restaurant in Winchester and got a take away to enjoy at home.
- Mi Cocina quickly became a favourite with us venturing for Mexican treats whenever we were able to. If you’ve not tried it yet, I can highly recommend it if you like Mexican food or want to try something new!
- We also went on a long walk through the Winchester countryside for my Mum’s Birthday and got a take away to enjoy.
- I discovered a few new walks over lockdown when we were allowed to travel further than our immediate local area.
- The Grange, Alresford July 31, 2020
- Rio-Vitalise CBD Smoothies on Southsea Beach July 29, 2020
- Wolvesey Castle, Winchester July 27, 2020
- Walk around Wickham Water Meadows July 24, 2020
- Winchester City Mill July 22, 2020
- Flat Whites Coffee in Winchester July 20, 2020
- Ruby’s Bar in Padstow July 17, 2020
- Cafe Fresco, Southsea July 15, 2020
- Coastal Remedy, Southsea July 14, 2020
- The Yard at Chilton Candover, Alresford July 13, 2020
- The Pig in the New Forest July 10, 2020
- The Coffee Cabin on Southsea Common July 9, 2020
- A Pint of Padstow, Padstow Brewing Company July 8, 2020
- Mi Cocina Mexican Food, Winchester July 7, 2020
- 5 Hampshire Distillery Tours July 6, 2020
- Hunter Gatherer, Portsmouth July 5, 2020
- The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out offer started, at the same time we were all told to keep our weight down to put less strain on the NHS! I found it a little contradictory, and I still didn’t really want to go out, so I didn’t. We didn’t make the most of it, I think we used it twice and it was circumstantial rather than planned.
- Unfortunately our Bank Holiday Weekend plans got cancelled thanks to a burglar coming onto our property checking it out for a robbery! Scary times. Frustrating times. Angry times. My plans for the weekend were cancelled.
- As I had made more of a decision to focus on travel and food last year, I wasn’t really sure how to navigate this on my blog. I decided to focus on catching up on my back log of posts as well as what people could do in Hampshire and their local areas. This is when I started ‘Five Things to do in Hampshire’ every Friday on Instagram Stories.
- Wetsuits for all? August 31, 2020
- Pizza at The Greyhound on the Test August 31, 2020
- Where to find Street Art in Portsmouth August 28, 2020
- Porters Wine & Charcuterie in Southampton August 26, 2020
- Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist August 24, 2020
- Paradise Pizza in Polzeath August 21, 2020
- The Bee Hive Online Shop August 19, 2020
- 12 Things to ‘Know Before You Go’ – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter August 17, 2020
- Walk the Winchester Water Meadows August 14, 2020
- Vanilla Ice Cream in Polzeath August 12, 2020
- Body Boarding in Cornwall August 10, 2020
- A Guide to Sunflower Fields in Hampshire August 7, 2020
- The Rock Pizza Co. August 5, 2020
- Pick Your Own Sunflowers at Hollam Nurseries August 3, 2020
- A week was spent on holiday in Cornwall and I ticked so many things off my bucket list. I’ve no idea how I managed to get a holiday in 2020 but, I was over the moon to get away. It was very well socially distanced, and we stayed in the holiday home of one of our family.
- Other trips included a visit to Hastings and St Leonards on Sea to visit a friend and explore – including a visit to a small, socially distanced art show. And, I went to Hastings Castle for the first time, which offers amazing views of the coast.
- Further pandemic restrictions were put in place as cases rose again, it was predicted they would last for about six months, lots of cities and counties were put into local lockdowns.
- A guide to Pumpkin Picking in Hampshire September 28, 2020
- Helms Grill Co. September 25, 2020
- Carnewas aka The Bedruthan Steps September 21, 2020
- Ride the Train from St Erth to St Ives September 15, 2020
- Trerice House, Newquay September 11, 2020
- Kynance Cove in Cornwall September 7, 2020
- The Street Bakeshop, Old Basing September 4, 2020
- Taco Tuesday at Mi Cocina, Winchester September 1, 2020
- I was invited by my new friends at Mi Cocina to try out their new Sunday lunch offering ahead of it going live to the public. I’ll forever be grateful for the friends and opportunities blogging brings. It was a slice of normality in a dark time.
- On the 31 October it was announced by the Government that from 4 November England was in another full lock down.
- Halloween was effectively cancelled as Trick or Treaters were encouraged to stay at home for their own safety. But, I still embraced the season with my annual pumpkin display and trips to Pick Your Own Pumpkin Farms.
- Boscastle and the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic October 30, 2020
- Prawn on the Farm in Padstow October 28, 2020
- The Zig Zag Path in Selborne October 26, 2020
- Nava Coffee in Ringwood October 23, 2020
- Framptons Cafe, Bar & Kitchen in Ringwood October 21, 2020
- 10 Zero Waste Shops in Hampshire October 19, 2020
- Proudfoot & Co – British Drinks Innovators in Winchester October 16, 2020
- The Old Garage Bottle Shop & Delicatessen in Truro October 14, 2020
- Pick Your Own Pumpkins at Sunnyfields Farm October 12, 2020
- Da Bara Bakery, Truro October 9, 2020
- The Minack Theatre in Porthcurno October 7, 2020
- 5 Spooky Places to Visit in Hampshire October 5, 2020
- 5 Hampshire Halloween Experiences in 2020 October 1, 2020
- England went into a full lock down again!
- Biden won the USA presidential election and we saw the Vice President became a black woman for the first time…EVER! A historic and giant step forward for global politics.
- This was the first year I think in my entire life that I didn’t go to a fireworks display on the 5 November. Did you get some for at home?
- On the blog I started releasing my very first gift guides to help people navigate shopping online and locally for Christmas. Apart from having to re-write them to accommodate the lock down situation, this was a first for me and Bright Lights Big City. It was really nice to be able to support local business and my favourite brands, experiences and food and drink, especially during a global pandemic.
- I went to explore Netley Abbey, Titchfield Abbey and Holly Hill Nature Reserve while we were still able to.
- As everyone thought things were starting to get back to normal, I was invited to try the new Kala Thai restaurant in Bournemouth and managed to squeeze in a visit.
- It was announced that the first COVID-19 vaccine had been made and would be mass produced. A glimmer of hope and, fingers crossed, the beginning of the end of the pandemic’s power over the world.
- Netley Abbey in Southampton November 30, 2020
- Hampshire Christmas Wreath Making Kits 2020 November 26, 2020
- How to get that Festive Feeling in 2020 November 23, 2020
- Hampshire Independent Gift Guide Christmas 2020 November 21, 2020
- 5 Ways to Navigate Lockdown Two November 16, 2020
- The #KitForYourTrip Christmas Gift Guide 2020 November 10, 2020
- Hampshire Travel Christmas Gift Guide 2020 November 9, 2020
- Kala Thai in Bournemouth November 5, 2020
- Hampshire Food and Drink Christmas Gift Guide 2020 November 4, 2020
- Where to get real Christmas trees in Hampshire 2020 November 2, 202
- The UK came out of lockdown again and then just before Christmas my area, Hampshire went from a Tier 2 into a Tier 3 and then on Boxing Day we went into a Tier 4. By the 29 December it was announced even more places would go into Tier 4 and possibly a Tier 5 would be introduced.
- Christmas was restricted and I stayed with my partner Henry and my Mum for the festive season.
- In between lockdowns I swiftly made my Christmas preparations. And, I managed to squeeze in a visit to make a wreath and get a Christmas tree from a local Hampshire Business – J West Christmas Tree Farm in Titchfield, Hampshire.
- Winchester’s Nutcracker Trail 2020 December 23, 2020
- The Winchester Christmas Lights 2020 December 23, 2020
- Latin Food At Home in Portsmouth December 22, 2020
- Festive Chocolates from Bonham’s Bonbons December 21, 2020
- Christmas Wreath Making at Charlotte’s Crafty Cottage in Titchfield December 15, 2020
- J West Christmas Trees in Titchfield December 12, 2020
- How to Make Winter Spiced Poached Pears December 4, 2020
- Titchfield Abbey December 2, 2020
Here’s to the back 2020!
If you’ve made it here to the end of the New Year’s Eve 2020 Round Up, get yourself a well deserved drink and have a stretch. It’s a beast of a post and if we were in houses at Hogwarts you’d have easily learnt 10 points for Gryffindor!
Well that’s my 2020 all wrapped up. What a year it’s been, very different to what I thought it would be.
Writing the New Year’s Eve 2020 Round Up was kind of tricky this year and really not comparable with other years. Sometimes it felt like I’ve been writing a news report.
If you want to catch up with the previous round up posts for each year, you’ll find them in the links below…
What have you been up to over the past year? I’d love to know, and read your posts. If you do a similar New Year’s Eve 2020 Round Up or have something you’d really like to share, pop a link in the comments section so I can give it a read.