New Year’s Eve 2021 Round Up

It’s time for the Bright Lights Big City New Year’s Eve 2021 Round Up!

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. 

This New Year’s Eve 2021 Round Up, is the sixth post I’ve done containing all my blog posts, highlights, and intentions for the year ahead.

Grab a brew, and take a whistle stop tour of Bright Lights Big City’s past year!

It’s 31 December and time to wish you a…

Happy New Year!

I hope you have…or had a lovely New Year’s Eve and first day of 2022 (depending on when you’re reading this!). Mine will be spent at home, hugging the sofa with a lot of good food. And, usually on New Year’s Day I head out for some fresh air with the dog.

In 2021 I suffered great personal loss and it’s really taken a lot of perseverance to navigate the year. I’ve not spoken about it online much purely because of how tricky I’ve found it and also because this is a space for travel and great food! There are some incredible bloggers out there that cover this topic. But, I think what I’m trying to say is that if you’ve found the past year particularly tricky, for whatever reason, I can relate. And, more importantly you’re not alone.

Thank You

After wishing you a Happy New Year I have to say a whopping THANK YOU for your support during 2021. Without you this blog doesn’t happen, and I’m thrilled I’ve been helping more of you to discover Hampshire and beyond.

It’s a real honour to know you’re all finding great things to do and eat from my suggestions. Your lovely messages and comments have lifted my spirits!

This community is growing, and new opportunities are presenting themselves that I’m so excited to be considered for.

Blog Progress

In 2020 this community, the visitors and unique views doubled and I had no idea if in 2021 I could make similar progress. It felt like a big goal but, it’s safe to say you’ve been so supportive and blown my expectations to pieces. The unique visitors have doubled for the second year in a row and the unique views improved by an additional two thirds! It’s overwhelming, I am so pleased that you’re finding my blog and posts useful.

New for 2021

In 2021 I took my ‘Things to do in Hampshire’ Friday feature on Instagram Stories and turning it into a regular post. This seems to have gone down well, and I’ll be keeping this going in 2022 but in a slightly different way.

In 2022 I want to keep expanding my Hampshire content, collaborating more and refining my photo editing skills and new darker Instagram feed.

Year in Review

The past twelve months have been many things, but dull certainly isn’t one of them! While last year’s word for the year was ‘realignment’ and I think for 2022 it’s going to be ‘growth’.

Here’s a look back at the highlights and posts in my New Year’s Eve 2021 Round Up… and a few hum dingers from the news too!

January 2021
Bex's February on Instagram 2021
  • We started the year in a National Lockdown and the pandemic was hitting new highs. Very scary highs.
  • Weird things to remind you of in about a year’s time:
    • While the supermarkets weren’t quite stripped, things were low again and you couldn’t guarantee everything would be available. And, honestly I did not think we’d still be here when we went into lock down in March 2020.
    • Bridgerton aka period costume Gossip Girl became everyone’s Netflix viewing and a lot of people got obsessed about the duke licking a spoon.
    • Thanks to Brexit and Kent becoming a big lorry car park, all our deliveries that should have arrived at Christmas came early January.
    • Bernie Sanders in mittens at Biden’s election became a meme. Oh yes and Lady Gaga, JLo and poet Amanda Gorman blew people’s minds with their performances.
    • Everyone started watching Sea Shanties on Tik Tok.
    • Some influencers went to Dubai, despite the restrictions. No, I’m not joking. You remember? Oh good because I still can’t wrap my head around it.
    • Cinema films are being released on subscription or pay as you go services. I really hope they re-release some so we can watch them on the big screen.
  • I had my first lockdown birthday, a strange day of nothing really planned but some self care. It was nice but it was very weird. If you’ve had a lockdown birthday and nearly all of us will have by now I’m sure you’ll agree it was pretty strange.
  • January also held some significant personal losses for me, my partner, our families and friends. I didn’t talk about it online but I’m marking it here and hopefully I’ll leave this in as it will be a whole year and I’m hoping my heart will have healed more by then.
February 2021
  • We were all still in lockdown. Vaccinations were in full swing. I mean what do I say about this stage. 🤷‍♀️
  • Weird things to remind you of in about a year’s time:
    • Most of the UK had snow, except us here on the coast that just got a light dusting.
    • Sports teams were still playing to empty stadiums. The Six Nations took place with no spectators and crowd sounds were broadcast over the speakers.
    • A feta tomato pasta recipe went viral on Tik Tok. Yes, I made it and it was delicious but too rich. I can think of better things to do with feta.
  • With a heady mix of lockdown and personal losses my friend introduced me to sea swimming. It really helped break me free from a low moment and it definitely has made lockdown weekends far more interesting. Although cold, doesn’t quite cover it. I wrote this fresh from a dip in the sea where bodies of water on the walk down to the shore were fully frozen!
March 2021
Bex's March on Instagram 2021
  • Lockdown was still in place but, on the 29 March it was Roadmap #RuleOf6Day. On this day two households and up to six people were able to meet outside.
  • Now my injuries have healed more I’m doing a lot more walking. Being outdoors is good for the soul and pretty much the only thing to do at the moment. That and more wild sea swimming, brrrggggh!
  • I met up with a friend to walk for the first time in I can’t remember. How great is that?! It’s made all the difference, a little bit of socialising outside. Fingers crossed everything keeps moving at a pace.
  • In need of a distraction, and partially influenced by Tik Tok, I bought myself roller skates and they arrived on the 20 March. I made a promise to myself to skate every day for the next year. (I made it 6 months, until I was sick!) It’s been an interesting hobby to start!
  • Oh, AND…
  • A container ship got stuck and blocked the Suez Canal which resulted in a lot of jokes about it looking like genitals and a lot of deliveries across the world being slowed down.
  • *THAT* Harry and Meghan Oprah interview was released.
April 2021
Bex's April on Instagram 2021
  • Lockdown partially eased on April 12 and I was walking a lot.
  • The rollerskating has been an insane journey. I LOVE IT!
  • I started ordering from local coffee roasters again, and I made a serious dent on my coffee roaster list. I’ve tried some incredible blends and single origins that are made locally.
  • I discovered local pizza slinger and takeaway Arty Stan – he made the most incredible pizzas from his garden!
May 2021
Bex's May on Instagram 2021
  • I had my first vaccine!
  • Colin VS Cuthbert, the war of the caterpillar cakes took place. I still and will always be #Colin4Life.
  • We ate out for the first time and sat outside at a restaurant. It was glorious.
  • I walked Thorney Island for the first time, just over the Hampshire Border – 9 miles of stunning coastline.
  • Eurovision went ahead and Ja Ja Ding Dong from the Netflix show made an appearance in the scoring. No points for the UK. Standard. But, my Mum came over to the house for the first time in over a year. What a milestone moment.
  • The Shed in Bordon opened, a huge street food and community hub with regular markets. I was invited to the soft opening and this was my first proper blogging event since the pandemic happened, it felt like another milestone moment.
  • We paid the Original Fry Up Material burger truck that travels across Hampshire a visit for an insanely good burger!
  • I went to my first roller skating meet up in Portsmouth – ridiculously nervous, lots of fun.
June 2021
Bex's June on Instagram 2021
  • The Government put back the next lockdown announcement to July 19 due to the new Delta variant establishing itself in the UK.
  • Hancock was caught breaking all kind of covid rules and cheating on his wife. Of course the internet responded with the most fast paced humour.
  • Birthday celebrations continued to be different. I celebrated my friend’s 30th/31st birthday, my godson’s 8th birthday and my friend’s daughter’s first birthday socially distanced in gardens. AMAZING. I can’t describe how good it was seeing people.
  • In June I took myself on a day tour of Winchester doing all the things I’ve never done and wanted to do. I went round five museums and two art exhibitions and did a walking tour of Winchester. I walked over 18k and was ready for bed at the end of the day!
July 2021
Bex's July on Instagram 2021
  • Lockdown restrictions were removed!
  • Things progressed a bit with the blog and I had by far the most invitations and opportunities I’ve ever had.
  • My blog statistics surpassed everything for 2020 – in half a year, I was gobsmacked!
  • 2000 of you kindly followed me on Instagram – this blew my mind. Hello community of fellow travel and food lovers.
  • Visited Stourhead in Somerset for the first time and lived my best Jane Austen life (the 2005 film was recorded there!).
  • The Tokyo 2020 Olympics went ahead and surfing and skating were in it for the very first time.
  • I went to my the Skate Park for the first time, had my first roller skating lesson and attended my first Roller Disco – the skating is coming along nicely!
August 2021
Bex's August on Instagram 2021
  • I had my second vaccine!
  • This month was a total write off for me. I had the worst flu for the entire month. Those super bugs did the rounds.
  • I went to my first big event at The Garden Society to see all their beautiful new outdoor event spaces. It was magical to see lots of people out enjoying themselves for the first time in over a year!
  • Sea swimming continued and I couldn’t believe how beautiful and warm the water was just down the road from my house.
  • In August I finally managed to make a reservation at Pulpo Negro in Alresford. It was incredible, everything from the food to the atmosphere was spot on.
  • This month I was also invited to try Three Cuts Burger in Southsea, a cracking Hampshire foodie discovery.
  • An evening at the open air theatre at Exbury Gardens was a gift from one of my best friends and it was truly a lovely evening. And, the first time I’d been with our close group of friends for a very long time.
  • The month was rounded off at Victorious Festival where I saw Royal Blood for the first time – it was epic!
September 2021
Bex's September on Instagram 2021
  • September was busy and I went to London for the first time since the pandemic. London was quiet. I’ve never seen the city like it. I spent time with my friend exploring the Bags exhibition at the V&A, trying Peggy Porschen, EL&N and lunching at Sketch. It was an awesome day.
  • I was invited to the Southampton Boat Show, attended an art class by Amy Harwood at John Lewis and visited Blue Jasmine for Thai food.
  • I went to the Resonance flower festival at Winchester Cathedral, an Autumn Equinox boat burning at Butser Hill and Gaia, the earth exhibition at Moors Valley Country Park.
  • Topping it all off, I had a week’s holiday in Polzeath, Cornwall, where I spent all week body boarding on the beach.
  • September saw the launch of the first competition giveaway through my blog and Instagram account.
  • The nation went into a fuel shortage and we weren’t able to travel for different reasons!
October 2021
Bex's October on Instagram 2021
  • I switched up the theme on my Instagram feed to something much darker and while I’ve not totally figured out what I’m doing, it feels more me! I’m loving creating images in addition to just capturing the moment. I want to develop my Instagram images and make some of the more beautiful and whimsical imagery that’s in my brain.
  • My first photo shoot was getting witchy in Burley in the New Forest. I also saw Pannage season for the first time in years! Pannage is when pigs are set loose each day in the forest. It’s to control the toxic acorns for the New Forest Ponies that roam the land.
  • Dinner at The Pig Hotel is always fabulous, even more when you’re at the new Pig in the South Downs. It was my first trip to the newly opened hotel and restaurant – and, as you’d expect it was amazing.
  • Party At The Mill threw an incredible pizza party to launch its new evening menu. I had further new experiences at Baja Mexicali in Whiteley and The Mansion at Coldeast when it opened too.
  • You might remember that the heads of state, presidents and prime ministers met up in Glasgow for the environmental meeting COP26 held over October and November.
November 2021
Bex's November on Instagram 2021
  • In November the Museum of the Moon art installation arrived in Chichester and it was amazing.
  • I also visited the Hampshire village of Wherwell for the first time.
  • London was calling and I put a Harry Potter day itinerary together for my boyfriend’s birthday. We had the best time. We’re both such big fans of the books and films which made it such a special day sharing the experience together.
  • I took a mini break to visit family for the first time in Essex and Suffolk and it had been two years since I’d seen them!
  • Portsmouth hosted a wonderful night of light and art installations around the city called We Shine.
  • You know I love Real Christmas Trees! I was invited back for the second year to pick a tree from J West Christmas Tree Supplier. It’s such a charming and welcoming place to get a Christmas tree and you know it’s been grown and cared for right.
December 2021
Bex's December on Instagram 2021
  • On the 20th December I managed to secure my booster vaccine – my third!
  • A Christmas and New Year out of lock down! Despite there being no official restrictions, I self-isolated to make sure I was able to visit family over the festive period. Those virus numbers were rising with the new Omicron variant.
  • My goal for December was to make it as festive as possible visiting markets, local hotels and country houses that were decorated for the season. I visited Hinton Ampner, Four Seasons Hotel (where I saw a real reindeer!), Beaulieu Motor Museum and the Artisan Collective Fair, Winchester and more.
  • No posts! December just got too crazy!

Here’s to 2022!

If you’ve made it here to the end of the New Year’s Eve 2021 Round Up, get yourself a well deserved drink and have a stretch. It’s a whopper of a post. You’ve earnt yourself that chocolate you’ve been given for Christmas and another cocktail.

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?

Have a Happy New Year!

Happy Reading ✌🏻

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