From October to the end of December I was a bit of a busy bee. For starters, I spent an entire weekend watching the new phenomenal Netflix series The Crown; a remarkable telling of the first few years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign in the 1950’s. To be quite honest, I could have written an entire blog post on how much I loved the show, from the most realistic characterisations of the royals and prominent government figures I have ever seen in any other re-telling (producers didn’t hold back from showing Churchill as the misogynistic, rude, pig-headed man he was in real life), to the beautiful interior locations standing in for Kensington and Buckingham Palace. Not to mention the acting (Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret became a quick fan favourite).
When I wasn’t watching a TV show I became more confident in my baking. I decided to make a triple chocolate cake for my Dad’s birthday; it was devoured by my family within 24 hours so I must have done something right! I made 2 simple chocolate sponges, whipped up a dark chocolate frosting to spread in the middle of the two and covered it in a dark chocolate ganache (and topped it off with loads of Maltesers, because they’re my dad’s favourite!). I’ve also recently been experimenting with cheesecakes, baking them with sponge mixes such as carrot cake and chocolate. I’ve never been a fan of cold, biscuity cheesecakes but eating them hot out of the oven, as a sort of cake, was delicious. I’m hoping to bake more in the new year, possibly experimenting with herbs and plants in biscuits and small puddings (after I’ve eaten the hundreds of chocolates I’ve acquired over the holidays!).
I experienced my first leg of freelance work, leading a team of videographers in filming a business event. It was an event consisting of stall holders, a fashion show/catwalk, award giving and performances. It was scary that I had this huge responsibility on my shoulders to lead a team, ensure the equipment existed and was available at the time, get everyone to the location, film as much as possible with little problem and all of this without the support of the lecturers and University that I have been used to for the past three years. I definitely enjoyed the experience and it was great to feel busy once again since I finished my course in May, but I’m not sure freelance work of this kind is the kind of thing I want to do for a living. I’m not sure I like being my own boss! (Maybe in thirty years time when I have a heck of a lot more experience and confidence, but not right now!). We’ve still got the edit to complete so maybe I’ll feel a lot better once I see a finished product.
So after going to Dublin for five days in September and travelling for filming I was running low on money and needed to find a part time job quickly to be able to buy gifts for Christmas. I was so lucky to land myself some work at a local pudding shop. The owners (a sweet old couple named Mr and Mrs Bridges) needed someone to wash up the dishes and give a helping hand when they needed it. They were so steeped under with orders for Christmas puddings (they provided batches to the local pubs as well as fulfilling online orders) that I was very quickly bumped up from washer-upper to baking assistant within my first shift! Before I knew it I was gift wrapping, finishing off puddings, filling pots with mixture and even making toffee sauces! I’ve never felt more integral to the smooth running of something before; they had ever met me before but they gave me a lot of responsibility and believed in my efficiency, which probably sounds a little silly but it made me feel incredibly special and important to the company. They have a break all of January but they want me back in February and even want my help selling their products at local events in the new year which I’m looking forward to.
Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year. The tinsel, the lights, the music, the colours, EVERYTHING is so jolly and exciting! This year I realised for the first time that I enjoy giving presents a lot more than I like receiving them; obviously I love being given a gift but I have nearly everything I need as I’m older so I mostly just get chocolates, clothes and bath ‘stuff’. However, buying things I know people are going to love unwrapping makes me so happy. I got my parents a ChromeCast this year; for context, I’d introduced them to Netflix in the Summer and my dad has loved being able to watch old Westerns on his laptop, and my mum keeps seeing TV shows that she’d love to watch but can’t because she hates how small the laptop screen is, so now they can watch whatever they want on the television. And the “YES!!” I heard from my little brother when he opened his Deadpool Xbox One game was very satisfying. I did get some great presents as well though. I now have a keyboard for my iPad so I can now type blogposts with a lot less frustration! I’m already half way through The Victoria Letters, a book telling the life of Queen Victoria up until the birth of her first child, via her letters and journal entries. It’s so fascinating to read in her own words how she felt and what she thought about the events surrounding her in the first few years of being Queen. It also ties in with the ITV drama of her life that aired a few months ago, confirming which bits were true to her life and which parts were exaggerated/didn’t happen at all (I really recommend this book if you enjoyed the series or are interested in the intimate domestic life of the real Queen). I have to say, I was also pleased to find new (festive!) socks from Santa too.
So as this year comes to an end (and after everything that’s happened in the world, it really couldn’t come soon enough to be honest) I look to 2017 with a lot of hope. I don’t have a plan; I want to be happy most of all in whatever I end up doing. I want to at least be on the right path towards moving into a city and working somewhere I look forward to going to everyday. I want to worry less and take more chances. And I want to surround myself with positive people. If I can achieve even some of this in 2017, then it will be a successful year.
Happy New Year everyone (and thank you so much if you managed to get to the end of this post!).