That’s a wrap, folks! 2021 has slipped through our fingers quicker than a tub of Celebrations we vowed we wouldn’t touch till Christmas Day, all Bountys aside, and what a lively 12 months it’s been.
We’ve had personal highlights and pop culture drama aplenty, including parish council memes, Bernie and his travelling mittens, Adele’s hotly anticipated new album, the Euros, Taylor’s version of events, the Friends reunion, masks, no masks and back to masks again but we can all agree, it’s been a whole lot brighter than the year who shall not be named.
Before we unleash the sequins, pop the bolly and start feeling 2022 – let that be your official reminder to film your NYE reel & Tik Tok to the soundtrack of Taylor Swift’s 22 mashup – we’re taking a fond look back at the team’s best bits from this year: the memes, the precious mems and the mega babes we couldn’t have done this year without.
Coming in hot at number one without a shadow of a doubt is my sister’s wedding! After having to postpone her dream day due to covid restrictions last year (standard), it felt surreal to finally celebrate together. It was a magical winter wedding – the sun was beaming down all day and I just remember feeling like my heart could burst for her. She looked blissfully happy and of course, she made the most stunning bride I’ve ever seen. Watching her and my darling dad walk down the aisle was the happiest moment of my life. After their husband and wife first dance, loads of confetti came down over everyone on the dancefloor and that feeling will stay with me forever. After a rocky year, everyone being back together again in one room for such a special occasion was the icing on the cake! What a wedding, what a couple <3
The Euros – for the feel-good vibes it gave the nation in the summer of ‘21. You couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the energy of football season and I often found myself shouting “it’s coming home” for no apparent reason to anyone who’d listen. It was one of those events that just brought everyone together and what could be more top 5 material than that.
The year of staycations (take two) – I think I’ve become rather fond of holiday from home ya know. We’ve had some great staycations this year with my absolute favourite being our trip to Norfolk to stay in a little converted train carriage. I love being amongst nature and greenery and that place is a haven for it. Chucking some logs on the fire in the evening and moving at a glacial pace for the weekend was endlessly good for the soul. We also managed to have a bougie night’s stay at The Pig in the South Downs and escaped to the Cotswolds for a few nights so as holidays go, that’s not too shabby for a year when travel was still up in the air.
My Zoella angels – I’ve cried several times thinking about how lost I would have been without them this year. We know the ins and outs of each other’s lives, the good, the bad, the ups and the downs and they’ve helped me more than they’ll ever know this year. We’ve all had our own personal hardships throughout 2021 but going to work is always a joy when you know these wonderful women are in your corner every step of the way. Calling them colleagues just sounds wrong because at this point, they know too much haha, there’s no going back now. LOVE YAS.
Jackie Weaver – the national treasure that she is! Well, it wouldn’t be a top 5 without a viral phenomenon would it now and that chaotic parish council meeting is the gift that keeps on giving. Whenever I’m faced with difficult times or shouty men, I ask myself what would Jackie do? Give that woman a Netflix docuseries for crying out loud.
Moving house was something I knew was inevitable towards the end of 2020 but I had SO much anxiety about actually making it happen and all the unknown of who I would live with and where, especially because I loved my old flat so much. I’m v proud and grateful that I found it within my past self to actually make the move happen though because oh my god it has just been the most transformational thing for my mental health and almost every amazing memory I’ve had this year has been a result of the new people I’ve met and loved getting to know. We’re planning to renew our tenancy in April and I can’t wait to create so many more memories with the special girls I spend every day with.
Red Taylor’s Version- would it even be a top 5 without mentioning this MASTERPIECE?! In the year that I got a Taylor inspired tattoo, the re-release of Red was just pure magic and experiencing all the feels of All Too Well again and with the new verses was exactly what I needed to get me through the autumn season, just in time to start listing to Christmas Tree Farm! I’m manifesting being able to write in my 2022 top 5 that I’ve seen Taylor live in concert next year and let me tell you I will SOB.
Can I write about my work colleagues here? Because I absolutely am going to. I started working for Team Zoella in 2020 and it was a pretty turbulent year (as we all know) to start a new job and get to know everyone properly – or at least attempt to – via Zoom. 2021 in comparison has been a complete breath of fresh air since we headed back to the office in September and to genuinely look forward to going into work and catching up with this wonderful group of women every week is truly a dream. They’re all bloody brilliant in so many ways and the emotional support they provide me is also second to none! Get yourself work besties who know the ins and outs of your entire life!
I wasn’t confident that I would be going abroad this year but escaping to Portugal at the end of September was truly such a tonic and I’m 10/10 grateful that it was possible. I didn’t realise how much I’d missed stepping off a plane and feeling the heat hit your skin and UGHH I would just like to relive it again ASAP. We didn’t choose Portugal for any particular reason other than lovely weather and it was not on the red list (lol) but I genuinely loved it and would really like to visit again because it was so beautiful- lack of vegan options aside!
In the words of Lizzie McGuire, my birthday weekend was what dreamssss were made of. My 2020 birthday was a very sad affair and so I tried to manage my expectations for this year but I tell you what, good friends always come through and have your back and I should have known I could rely on them to make it a great time. I spent it covered in glitter, wearing great outfits (if I do say so myself), drinking lots of tequila, eating brunches galore and wondering what I did to deserve such a transformative year. 24 is going pretty great so far!
My House – My biggest achievement/excitement for the year has to be the house my partner Harry and I bought right at the end of 2020. We moved from our one-bedroom basement flat to the new house in between Christmas and New Year 2020 and I have to say it was THE DREAM. Being able to actually WFH in different rooms was fantastic for the first few months and then being able to host all my family and friends when we were eventually allowed has been wonderful. I’ve loved getting bits and bobs when I’m out and this year was my first year decorating properly for Christmas as I never usually bothered in my old flat! Obviously, houses are an ongoing project so there is tons to do next year, but I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made in 2021.
Attending Weddings – I’d say my most fun days out this year had to be weddings! I think because so many were cancelled and re-arranged I knew it was such a source of pain for so many couples and the ones that did end up going ahead felt like true normality! The first was a friend’s in July and felt like one of the first to be allowed an actual dance floor gasp! I remember it feeling like COVID didn’t exist which was such a relief after the previous 18 months!
Becoming a Formula 1 fan – This year I REALLY got into Formula 1 after being a bit of a fringe fan for so long (I blame the drive to survive Netflix series) and I have to say it’s been such a joy! Race weekends started quickly becoming my favourite and Harry is also a big fan so it was great watching a sport we both adored. I bought him tickets for the Silverstone Grand Prix in July and went with my sister and brother in law. We stayed so close to the track in these fun shepherds huts and the weekend itself was an absolute scorcher. I didn’t go on any abroad holidays this year but this weekend and the whole F1 season was such an adventure, ending exactly how I wanted it to for anyone curious #SuperMax!
Trips down to Cornwall – My parents moved to Cornwall at the end of 2020 so being able to visit them so often in arguably one of the most beautiful places in the country was a dream. As soon as lockdowns were over and the sun started to come out we came down for a week in May and it was simply glorious! I know a lot of people have rediscovered lots of the UK that they’d been neglecting over flying off to somewhere warm in Europe so Cornwall was inevitably heaving, there’s so much to see and do and enjoy down here! I’m down again for Christmas and can’t wait to go for a sea walk on the 25th!
Lifestyle changes I’ve made – It got to the point at the end of the summer where I just couldn’t deal with how unfit and sluggish I constantly felt. I contacted a friend who is also a lifestyle/nutrition/wellness coach to start forming some better habits and I feel SO much better. I look after what I’m eating so much more, drink a ton of water and I even joined the gym and I have to say it’s made me a lot happier. Being able to get to Christmas and feel a lot happier with my body was something I never thought I could do and I’m amazed how quickly I started to feel like my old self again after being a slob throughout so many lockdowns. Probably a bit of a weird thing to talk about but when I look back on the year it’s definitely brought me a lot of joy!
Staycations – This year I went on some truly lovely staycations with friends and family, I had a trip to Broadstairs and Margate, to Dernwood Camping and Hastings most recently in the year. Not being able to go abroad (well could but unfortunately not for me this year) has made me appreciate all the wonderful things we can do in England. Although we don’t have the lovely heat that hits you when you step off a plane (that is the best feeling, we do have some lovely beaches and places to see, a whole lot of countryside and lovely English old towns with so much character. I think moving forward, I’ll try and do a UK staycation every year and one abroad, I’d love to visit Edinburgh one day so maybe that will be next on my list!
Back to (somewhat) Normality – After spending the majority of 2020 shielding due to living with someone who was at high risk, the vaccination programme for me was really fundamental to me having any kind of normality again and something I truly am forever grateful for. Yes, vaccines don’t mean we can wave goodbye to covid, unfortunately, but it makes life for people like me a lot easier. Being able to go to a pub again with friends, or out for food felt super special but also so normal, like I hadn’t just spent a year unable to do these things. That was a big moment for me this year so it had to make it into my top 5.
My Birthday Babyyyy! – So my birthday in 2020 was so lovely and I was lucky that I am born in June so by the time my birthday came round I was able to meet 5 others outside (sounds strange saying that now ha). However, my birthday this year was bloody spectacular! My friends and family made so much effort and I felt truly so loved. I had a birthday brunch at Oeuf cafe, followed by the most delicious meal at The Salt Room (if you are Brighton based or visiting and love seafood, you need to go). One of my closest friends Amna surprised me with a meal at Park Chinois in Mayfair which was absolutely divine, with live music and really tasty food, particularly their dim sum! I also spent a weekend with some other friends in London celebrating mine and my fave twins birthdays (we are born 3 days apart), so all in all I was like the Queen and had a birthday week, will be doing that every year I think.
Team Zoella – I know a few of us have mentioned this, but I really don’t think I would have gotten through the last 18 months without this wonderful team of people around me. Working with these gals is like working with friends, I don’t think I could even class them as just colleagues, we have so many laughs together, we cry together, we act like crazy people together when the 3pm slump hits in the office and the caffeine or sugar we’ve all just inhaled hits haha! They are all such amazing human beings in their own right and getting back into an office with them all this year really was a true highlight, although we can’t be together now (WFH hits again) I can’t wait already until we all get the go-ahead again to go back to the office! For now I shall appreciate seeing all their lovely faces on the old zoooomy.
Spending another Christmas and Birthday with my Mumzy – I don’t speak too often about my personal stuff on here and actually, this is number 1 of my highlights but I didn’t want to start off too soppy for my top 5. My Mum has been unwell for the past 18 months with terminal cancer, it’s a real emotional rollercoaster and it really puts life into perspective when you go through something like this. Every Birthday and Christmas we get to spend with her again feels like a true blessing, it’s her 50th birthday this year and a milestone we feel so grateful to be able to celebrate together.
My top moment of the year without a doubt is becoming a mother to my little girl. It definitely took me a little while to adjust but after the first few months of many tears, painful recovery and sleepless nights, things have been getting better and better and despite still not being the best sleeper in the world I honestly couldn’t love her any more. She’s a wonder, so fun and incredibly determined already, I wake up every day feeling incredibly lucky to be her mum.
After a two year design and construction process my family and I finally moved into our home, it’s probably my biggest personal achievement to date and I feel incredibly proud of all of the hard work my husband and I put into making our dream a reality. It was a long old rollercoaster of a journey to get us to walking through the front door and calling it home, there were many tears and long nights to make it happen but it was so worth it.
Joining Zoella full time was definitely a highlight of the year for me. Although I’ve worked with the team and Zoe for years and I’ve always been a part of the Zoella business, it was really nice to make it official and join as the new MD post my maternity leave in September. Juggling motherhood and this new role has been much smoother than i had pictured and I feel really lucky to have such an amazing support system both at home and the brilliant team at work.
I feel like TV shows have been really strong this year and especially during my maternity leave I devoured a lot of seasons far too quickly. Some front runners include; Sex Education, Selling Sunset, Dexter, Bridgeton, Emily in Paris, It’s a Sin, The Crown and the Undoing. Told you there was a lot! The end of the year is also coming in hot with the new Sex and the City show ‘And Just Like That’ coming to our screens which I’m sure I will LOVE.
Cornwall! I’ve been really fortunate to spend a lot of time in Cornwall given that’s where my husband’s family are from so we naturally try and spend as much time there as we can but during my maternity leave we really made the most of it and had a lot of extended stays there this year. I think like the rest of the country I fell in love with it even more than ever, the wide sandy beaches, clear waters and home from home feeling was just what we needed after being pushed apart by the pandemic for far too long.