2018 – A Year in Photos

2018 – A Year in Photos

Another year over.

2018 has had its ups and downs like any other year, but I think it’s mostly been a positive year.

I Lost

Leo, fast asleep.

One evening in April, Leo (also known as “Boo”) unexpectedly passed away. He was around 13 years old. Back in September 2005, this bundle of fur came running up to me during a break at work and the rest, as they say, is history. Being part Maine Coon he was a large cat with a larger than life personality and he left a huge hole in my heart when he went.

I Found

Sugar hadn’t been at Shropshire Cat Rescue long when I found her during one of their open days. I fell in love instantly (just look at those big round eyes!) and adopted this cute, big bundle of fur. It hasn’t been easy… Sugar found her former home very stressful and in response she developed a habit of urinating where she shouldn’t, so there were a few “accidents” early on. However, she settled in here straight away and she’s now a very happy and relaxed cat.

I Saw


I love going to live shows and the highlight of this year was seeing Gary Barlow at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham a couple of days after my birthday and being in the second row (Gary reading my banner was a bonus too!). Other concerts included Kiefer Sutherland (I got to meet him before the gig!) and, just a couple of weeks ago, Def Leppard. I also saw the musicals An American in Paris and The Calendar Girls, as well as the live stage show of Horrible Histories Awful Egyptians (that one was with my niece & nephew!).

Michael Palin in Oswestry.

Other events I attended were Jason Donovan & His Midlife Crisis Tour, motorcycle racers McGuinness and Whitham On Tour, An Evening with Carl Fogarty, The Book Thief author Markus Zusak talking about his new book Bridge of Clay, and An Evening with Michael Palin. I hadn’t realised I’d been quite so busy!

I Explored

View from Criccieth Castle over the west beach and the Llŷn Peninsula beyond.

This summer Mum and I went back to the place where we spent my childhood holidays, Criccieth in North Wales. We did the things I’d always wanted to do all those summers ago… We visited Criccieth Castle and rode on the Ffestiniog Railway.

Ffestiniog Railway

Other trips included seeing the snowdrops at Stanton Lacey, visiting Acton Scott Historic Working Farm (another place I’d wanted to visit since I was a child), Ludlow Castle, Glansevern Hall Gardens, The Magic of Life Butterfly House, Cymer Abbey and Llangollen Railway (blog post still to come!), as well as London, Liverpool and Manchester.

I love having days out and trips away, but whilst it was lovely and sunny this past summer, some days it was just that bit too hot to go out exploring.

The Garden

With a late winter and 6 ft snow drifts crushing the heather in what should have been spring, followed by a very hot summer, I was surprised that the garden still flourished this year. One or two plants even hung on into late autumn.

The Blog

Bernard, the cover star of The Cat’s Whiskers!

I think my most successful 2018 blog post was the one about Shropshire Cat Rescue… after all, what would the internet be without cats?! The post certainly went down well with the volunteers at the charity and I’ve even been asked if I’d like to write an article for the next issue of their magazine (my photo of Bernard from their residential village made the front cover of the current issue of their magazine).

My Elrohir Leather traveller’s notebooks

I’m also pleased to know that my post about Elrohir Leather’s Traveller’s Notebooks has inspired at least one reader to order one. The covers are so beautifully crafted, they’re hard to resist!

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all the best for the new year!

See you next year!

Tagged , .

A forty-something year old blogger from the hills of Mid Wales.


  1. Jo says:

    So many good things have happened for you this year but it’s always tinged with sadness when we lose a dear furry friend. Wishing you all the very best for 2019.

  2. Kelly says:

    I enjoyed revisiting your high (and low) points throughout the year with these photos.

    And thank you for posting about the leather covers – I know I’m going to enjoy mine!

  3. jeanie says:

    Oh Nikki, a sad early part of the year, but so much joy after. Your Sugar is beautiful. (Lizzie sometimes thinks out of the box too, but she’s been good now since summer. I think the treat rewards when I catch her using the box — or put her in it and she does her thing — are working!)

    The train trip and holidays sound especially wonderful. And I have to say that the photo of Michael Palin is magnificent. I hope he’s seen that. It captures a side of him that isn’t “common” but intense, committed, fascinating. I keep going back to it, wondering what he was saying at that moment. Send it to him!

    Meanwhile, thanks for your visits to Marmelade Gypsy in 2018 and I wish you a wonderful New Year filled with more intriguing opportunities and great fun.

  4. Anca says:

    It’s heartbreaking to loose a beloved pet, but you’ll always have the memories of him. Sugar is such a pretty cat, it’s wonderful you took her. x
    Happy New Year!

  5. Jeanna says:

    I think you hit on some of your most memorable posts since I remember them and my memory is a bit soggy these days. I’m sorry you lost Leo but happy to hear how you rescued Sugar and how she found a place to call her forever home with you. You are making it difficult for me to resist getting a kitty.
    Those traveler’s notebooks have been in the back of my mind, now all I have to do is travel!
    Your photos are so professional.
    Happy New Year Nikki!

  6. When you can honestly say that despite the ups and downs of life, the year on the whole has been positive, that has to be a good sign surely! On reflection and using the same honesty scale, I would probably say the same of my year, although I haven’t read as much as I would have liked to and my reviews are still way too far behind for comfort!

    We are definitely going to be striving to make better use of our National Trust membership this year and seeing your picture of the Llyn Peninsula, makes a return trip there, a must do also, perhaps combining it with a visit to our friends in North Wales.

    Michael Palin is to the world of the traveller and explorer, what Attenborough is to a naturalist and I would love to catch one of his live stage shows. Live entertainment is always so much better than anything on screen and we are lucky enough to have been given a gift of tickets for a ‘Battle Proms’ picnic concert at Blenheim Palace in July, so I have my fingers well and truly crossed for nice weather.

    Notebooks are an absolute obsession of mine, so I always keep a look out for your stationery posts, as you get such great products to promote.

    Have a very Happy New Year and I hope that you will be sharing a few book reviews and recommendations in 2019 🙂

    Yvonne xx

  7. Hi Nikki-ann, such a nice surprise to find your comment on my blog. I’ve not posted anything in just over a year now, and I’ve not visited many blogs (other things taking up my time), but I am delighted to come over and say hi. I’m so sorry to read about Leo losing a beloved pet is always such a wrench. The rest of your year sounds productive and fun which is excellent. I suddenly realise how much I’ve missed all my blogging pals and really must try to find time to read more posts. xx

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