2021 – A Review

2021 – A Review

2021 very much felt like a continuation of 2020. The year ended in yet another lockdown here in Wales and so 2021 began in lockdown. Life felt a little more normal for me though; my new job meant I was working from the office rather than lazing about at home on furlough as I had done for much of 2020.


I continued my Supporting Small Businesses series, adding another 9 to the list (totalling 16 so far) – From candles to soaps, stationery (lots of stationery!) to pin badges, and more. I even tried to do much of my Christmas shopping through small businesses. I treated my niece and myself to wax melts from a small business I follow on Tiktok, I found some wax melts for my sister-in-law on Etsy and picked up a gingerbread latte chocolate bomb from a local Christmas craft market for a friend.

Supporting Small Businesses 2021

I’ve got more Supporting Small Businesses posts lined up. It’s so important to support small businesses in these uncertain times.

Out & About

I tried to get out and about with my camera as much as I could. For the first part of the year we were under “stay home” orders and then “stay local”, so for the first three months, I was limited to the area around the village (that seems so long ago!).

The pool behind Hopton Castle.
The pool behind Hopton Castle.

By April, we were allowed to get out and about properly. I was able to see some wonderful and interesting old buildings on my travels. The National Garden Scheme gardens were able to open too. I volunteer for our local area of the NGS – taking photos and helping out with social media. It was great to see the gardens open again and floods of visitors attending them.

Roses and Foxglove against a garden fence.

I’m hoping to get out with my camera sometime over the Christmas/New Year break, but the weather has been against me so far.

The Garden

Bee on a dahlia.

The garden flourished this year. The dahlias seemed to take over the garden, flowering over and over again. We had so many of them that we were cutting bunches of them for the kitchen window, as well as giving them to family and friends. Bees and butterflies were plentiful too. It was brilliant.


Nan & Grandad

We lost Nan in February at the age of 91. She followed Grandad, who we had lost a few months before. Lockdown restrictions meant I last saw Nan, with glass separating us, on Christmas Day 2020. It broke my heart to have lost precious time with both Nan and Grandad.


Once again, predictably, shows were postponed or cancelled during much of 2021. For my birthday in June, a friend, her daughter and I went to see Bon Jovi live at the cinema. It’s not quite the same as a proper live show, but at that point, we were very grateful to see them at all! All three of us sat in our masks, singing along, only pulling the masks down to munch on popcorn and sip on our drinks. A strange experience!

Hollywood Vampires cancelled their August 2021 shows in the UK, having already postponed them from September 2020. It was gutting, but understandable. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before they’re back.

My first live show of the year was comedian Jason Manford at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury back in September. The show had been postponed a couple of times already. Jason had two shows to do in Shrewsbury and so he ended up fitting them into one evening. Ours was the later show, but it was well worth the wait and the late night.

Rick Astley at Birmingham.
Rick Astley at Birmingham.

Rick Astley’s tour was postponed twice in 2020 and once again earlier this year. It finally went ahead and I got to see him on 2nd November 2021 in Birmingham. We had front row tickets and nobody in the seats around us, so we had an amazing view and plenty of room (which was great as it was my first concert in 18 months!).

My final show of the year was Gary Barlow on 10th December 2021 in Birmingham. Again, we had great seats and the show was incredible. The last show of the tour ended up being cancelled, so we were very lucky to see the show!

Gary Barlow at Birmingham.
Gary Barlow at Birmingham.

I’ve already had one show for 2022 postponed (Kiefer Sutherland), so who knows when the next one will be. I currently have tickets for Bryan Adams (May), Rhod Gilbert (June) and Sarah Millican (December), so I guess I’ll have to wait and see.


My friend Lisa got married on the weekend of my birthday in June and was kind enough to invite me, despite being very limited to the number she could have at the wedding due to covid restrictions. I booked a hotel and made a weekend of it. It was great to be able to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen for ages, as well as meet new people.

This year I also reconnected with an old friend who has been having a rough time. I have tried to provide a shoulder to lean on and generally just be “there”, despite there being a fair amount of land and sea between us. You know there are just some people with who you can strike up a conversation after a long time, but it feels like it was just yesterday you last spoke? That. Is there someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time but would like to? Pick up the phone or send them a message!

How has 2021 been for you?


  1. When I read this lovely post, I was amazed at just how much you have managed to pack into a year which has still been a long way from ‘normal’ for us all.

    With the demise of so many high street names, I hope that we might revert to becoming a nation of small shopkeepers, so keep those small business shout outs coming, as I believe they might just be the future!

    Quite a few of our friends are highly vulnerable, so we haven’t really got back to seeing them just yet. Hopefully next year will be a bit better for us all and then we can make some of those promised trips! In the future, I’m sure that people will look back on their wedding and special event photos from 2020/2021 and have some great stories to tell their children and grandchildren about life in the ‘Covid Years’!

    Hope you had a great Christmas and that the New Year is full of good things for you 🙂

  2. Kris P says:

    That’s a nice wrap-up, Nikki. I think you’ve done well getting out and about as opportunities presented themselves and your ongoing support for small local businesses is commendable. I’m sorry about the loss of your Nan. Best wishes for a better year in 2022!

  3. I patronize local businesses and small businesses from around the world.
    Unique products are what attracts me.
    Have no idea what 2022 will bring, but my seatbelt is on and tray table is up!
    Happy New Year!

  4. Kelly says:

    You still managed to have a fairly full year, despite Covid. I’m sorry about your loss early in the year… made more difficult by the restrictions.

    I enjoy your small business posts and have made several purchases as a result. Etsy has become my new favorite thing and is a great way to support small business owners!

    Wishing you all the best in the coming year!

  5. lisl says:

    Good that you have shared your year with us, Nikki. In spite of the sadness for you, your post felt very positive, and I wish you a more settled 2022

  6. Jo says:

    It’s been so hard losing loved ones during the pandemic, hard at any time, but especially so when restrictions have meant that we’ve missed precious time at their sides. A good round up of the year, you’ve still managed to do plenty in a year which is far from normal.

  7. Ann says:

    It was lovely to connect with you this year, Nikki!
    I turned 60 this year, and I wished it would have been in different circumstances. For some reason, I found 2021 an even harder nut to crack than 2020, but I’m trying to stay positive and hope that 2022 will be better!
    Wishing you and your loved ones all the best for the new year! xxx

  8. What a lovely round up of your year. You’ve really made the best of things. The fact that you saw Rick Astley , somehow makes me quite envious. 🙂 I am sorry for the loss of your Grandparents. xx

  9. I’m sorry about your grandparents. I think lockdown must have been hardest for older people, especially those like my mum who never really quite grasped what was going on. Young people have decades ahead to make up for it, the old don’t.

    Sorry to have latched on to the negative! A lovely post as others have said.

    • Nikki says:

      Nan never really knew what was going on and was so confused about it all. Don’t worry, I totally understand you latching onto the negative as I know you’ve had a tough time with your own loss recently. Take care.

  10. jeanie says:

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your Nan as well as your Granddad. It’s so hard to say goodbye at any time but all the more so when you can’t give a hug or hold a hand.

    I’ve enjoyed your series of shops and your wonderful field trips. Thanks for taking us to so many places. I’m glad the new job has you out — please stay safe as we continue our Covid crazy world! Happy New Year!

  11. Cleo says:

    How wonderful that you support and highlight those small businesses that way. I think more people should do that. That castle photo is just beautiful! Here’s hoping 2022 gradually improves, though it does appear as though it’s off to a rough start. Happy New Year!

  12. Angie says:

    Nikki – thanks for visiting my blog! We live near a small town, and I truly enjoy supporting the unique, local businesses. The picture of the roses and foxglove against the fence is stunning! I am sorry for your loss; in April, my Mother passed at the age of 92. She had a good life, but it is still hard to say goodbye. Apart from that, we have been blessed in many ways during 2021, and I look forward to what 2022 will bring! Happy New Year to you!

  13. Lauren says:

    Although 2021 was difficult much like 2020, but you managed to have fun and achieve things which is great. Really sorry for your loss. I hope 2022 is good to you and your family. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl

  14. Tilly says:

    Sorry to hear you lost your nan, it’s sad at the best of times but the last two years have made it harder because of the lack of opportunities to say goodbye properly.

    You did managed to pack a lot into 2021, I did very little, must try harder this year

    Wishing you a happy and healthy 2022

  15. Sounds like you definitely made the most of another tough year, Nikki! Restrictions have been a little less over the border here in the UK, so I was thankfully able to finally travel and see family on the south coast. Although sadly not able to visit my mum and stepdad in France. However I did enjoy my first live event in two years, which was to see the amazing Rend Collective play at the Birmingham O2. Here’s hoping 2022 will be an easier, happier and healthier year!

  16. Diana Studer says:

    My sister is in hospital for a few days. So hard to be Not Allowed To Visit.

    My sympathies on the loss of your grandparents – and the restrictions which made it impossible to see them.

  17. CherryPie says:

    Your photos are lovely, as always 🙂

    I am so sorry to hear about your grandparents. I can’t imagine how you feel not being able to share quality time with them before they passed away.

    I struggled with 2021, the various lockdowns and not being able to plan led to me becoming lethargic and despite my holidays the year seemed to pass me by. I have started 2022 with a positive attitude and intention to attend walks that my local walking groups have on offer. Meeting with others will lift my lethargic mood.

    I hope 2022 is a good year for you xx

  18. That was a lovely summary, Nikki. So sorry to hear about your grandparents – such difficult times. It was good that you were able to get to some performances (did you really take that fabulous shot of Gary Barlow?) Very impressed by your support for local businesses! Personally, I’m glad to see the back of 2021, despite some highlights such as my son and his long-time girlfriend getting married, which was simply wonderful. All the best to you for ’22!!

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