A look back at 2018 and my plans for 2019

Wondering English Rose A British Travel & Lifestyle Blog

I started writing this post just before Christmas ready to publish on the 1st of January but thanks to the dreaded sick bug lurg that’s been making the rounds, it’s a little later than planned.  But better late than never, which is ironically, kind of one my goals for 2019 - to stop putting things off, and just jump in, either if the timings not quite right and things aren’t perfect, there’s no time like the present.  

So here I am publishing a week later than planned, a look back at the year that was 2018, and looking forward to another full year in 2019.

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. The holiday for me, has always been filled with mixed emotions and anxiety.  I’ve never liked the pressure to have the most amazing night out on NYE (often nights out planned for months are never as good as spontaneous ones), and also the extra pressure we put on ourselves to stop doing something in January, when generally it’s the most miserable month of the year, is a time we should be being kinder to ourselves. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t matter where you spend your NYE, it’s who you’re with that matters, and also that when a new year comes around, if you don’t want to change anything then don’t, and if you do, then make sure it’s doing MORE of something you love.

Despite being so sick during Chrimbo Limbo, we did have a lovely NYE with friends.  (We attended a 1920s Gatsby Night which turned out to be fab) and I did find some time to look back on all the cool things that happened in 2018. There were ups and downs like everyone, but all in all very grateful to have another year to be thankful for.

Wondering English Rose Travel blog 2018

2018 Highlights


The year definitely started on a high, as Glenn and I were lucky enough to take a one month trip to Bali during January and February.  It was an epic adventure, and so lovely to have some sunshine during the Winter months, especially when it was so cold here in the UK. We had an unbelievably cold winter -12 one day, with lots of snow days, so escaping to warmer climes for so long was incredible, and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity for longer trips.  I’d never visited Indonesia before, and I instantly fell in love with the place. We got to travel around and see different places (hoping to get a post together of all out favourite finds very soon), including Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, as well as mainland Bali.

One thing we wanted to do in 2018 was visit more UK places, as both of us had done quite a lot of traveling in our time, but we always managed to not explore as much as home, so we also took two gorgeous trips to the Dorset coast, Ramsgate and Margate.  We also made sure there were plenty of day trips during the Summer months, and made use of Glenn’s new Kayak purchase, discovering some beautiful water spots in Essex and Suffolk, not far from home. I also got a very lovely present over the summer, Betsy the Bike, which we took out on some gorgeous countryside rides (can’t wait for more of this in 2019).

Wondering English Rose 2018

Lastly there was a long weekend to Menorca in Spain where I’ve been going with my family for years, and Glenn had another amazing adventure, hiking in Nepal to Everest Base Camp, but that’s a whole other story for another day.  What an achievement for him though and very proud.


2018 was my first whole year working full time self employed and was most definitely a year of learning.  I’m a graphic designer and at the end of 2017 I decided to set up my own small design studio, helping businesses and brands with their design needs and creating content for social media.  I absolutely love what I do and find it both challenging and rewarding, but I definitely underestimated the stress levels! I’m a worrier and like so many of us, suffer with bad anxiety at times, but didn’t want these things to stop me from starting my business (something I’ve wanted to do since my 20s).  It’s been a lot of hard work, long days and nights, something that social media doesn’t show, (some people tend to think you just use an app to make a design or post a photo on Instagram, and that’s about all you do) but it’s definitely not the case. There’s way more thought, skill and process involved as well as hours of learning, keeping up with latest technology and design trends, as well as the day to day running of the business. I have been very lucky to work with and meet some amazing individuals and business this past year, and can’t wait to see where 2019 takes me and my little studio.

Wondering English Rose British Travel & Lifestyle Blog


One of the big things to happen in 2018 was the random yet amazing thing that is The La Las.  You maybe reading this and thinking what the heck are you talking about Em, but if you follow me over on Instagram you may have seen me post a few snaps and videos of the choir that I sing in, called The La Las.

Back in early March, some friends of mine and my sister Sarah, had been toying with the idea of starting a choir (for about three years I think) and they decided that 2018 was going to be the year they made it happen.  A fair few Facebook messages later, a venue was found for a weekly class and through another recommendation, we found our amazing and supportive teacher Kristina who has guided us and become a friend ever since. We’re a small group of women (all of whom are so inspirational and supportive) and since our first class back in April we’ve come so far.  The class is an outlet and singing is a great way to combat stress and anxiety plus we have a fair few laughs along the way which is therapy in itself. (I can highlt recommened taking it up if you have the opportunity!). We overcome our fear of singing in public, with a family and friends performance in November (raising £400 for charity), completed a flashmob as well as singing alongside some rather special residents as at a local residential home in Essex.

What started out as something small and unknown, has most definitley grown into something magical and I’m excited to see where 2019 takes us.  

Music has always been a huge part of my life.  I sang as a child and through my teens in various groups and performances, but when I got to my twenties, a few things knocked my confidence and I started suffering with anxiety which meant I no longer wanted to sing. Rediscovering something that brought me so much joy in the past has been amazing.  As we get older it’s so easy to forget the things that made us happy when we were younger. Hobbies and activities get forgotten about as adults, and it just goes to show that you should keep them up if you can and take some time away from day to day life (and time away from screens) to do something that makes you happy.  No matter how old you are. More of this in 2019 I say!


New Year, New Me?  (Yeah right…)

I’ve never liked the idea of resolutions, they always have a negative vibe about them.  We should be celebrating what makes us happy and unique, rather than highlighting the negatives.  So rather than set myself things I’m going to stop doing, I like to set a few goals for the year (some really small) that just set me on the right foot.  Here’s a few things I hope to achieve in 2019.

A more structured and organised work life

Working from home full time, most definitley has its positives, but as my business has become busier these past few months, it’s become a little more difficult to stick to a routine and not always constantly be on my phone answering emails or messages and I often feel like I never really switch off from it.  I guess it’s the nature of running a small business and the industry that I work in, but I hope to bring a little more structure in this year, with set working hours (that I stick to!) and also planning ahead, which has never really been my priority until now, but I’m two weeks in and feel I’ve achieved some small wins so far.  Will let you know if the new routine stands up for the next few months!

A furry friend?

Ok this one is a bit of an ongoing one, but I’ve been wanting a dog for a long time now (especially as I’m working from home) so I’m just putting this out into the universe that 2019 could possibly be the year we make this happen.  

More books

This is one I’ve carried on from 2018, and last year I had a goal to read more again.  Some months I read loads, and others, not as much, but that’s ok, as I still managed a fair few books (I really like non fiction, lifestyle and business books) and learnt loads along the way! Currently on the go is Profit First by Mike Michalowicz (heard so many good things about this) and I’ve got my eye on The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up my Marie Kondo having watched the show on Netflix.


Something I failed to do massively last year was exercise.  Working and growing my design business overtook everything and I kept putting off getting moving, which is something I want to prioritise in 2019.  A few years ago yoga was my go to, so hoping to pick this up again this year.


I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, and while it’s a great trait to have in some aspects of life, I’ve always found it difficult to manage when it comes to creativity.  Having a creative job that requires deadlines and coming up with ideas on demand doens’t always mix well with being a perfectionist, the time always runs away with me and I end up being really hard on myself because of it.  This year I plan to be more creative and less of a perfectionist! I also want to be influenced less by social media and what others are doing and find beautiful things that really reflect who I am and not worry about what everybody else is doing.

Trip planning

For the past few years we’ve been super lucky to have a big travel trip planned for January/February to warmer climes (Glenn and I both hate Winter) but this year due to work commitments, we’ve decided to plan some trips for later on in the year.  Will keep you posted with these but places on the list include Japan, the West Coast of Australia, Paris, Scotland and also Bali again. I don’t think we’ll quite make all those on the list this year (unless we win the lottery) but I’m excited to see where 2019 takes us.  Have you got any travel plans this year?

And of course, thank you

For another lovely year of your support, kind words and following. THANK YOU! x