2020 for Ali and Stu in review

As we approach the final week, of without a doubt the craziest year ever, I’ve decided to take a look back at my favourite bits of 2020.

So, the year began with Stu’s “not so surprise” 30th birthday celebrations. Despite my best attempts to keep my plans for his birthday a secret, I failed miserably with his signed card from his Idol Todorov arriving a mere three months early and my Facebook messages to his friends for his suprise birthday event syncing up with HIS iPad.

Thankfully, Stu still had a lovely day, appreciated my effort and could now relax that there was no chance of me ever being able to cheat on him as the world’s worst liar.

In February the celebrations continued with a belated birthday trip to Budapest. Here, the lovely Four Seasons team spoilt us rotten, we discovered the gorgeous sights the stunning city had to offer and even found a new favourite Costa!

Now, March was where things started to go a little bit crazy. After a shock Boris announcement, Stu and I, like the rest of the country went into lockdown and were forced to work from home.

With our little Burnett office officially set up, we enjoyed lunch time walks, leisurely commutes to the lounge and understanding “slightly “ more what each other actually did for a job.

Sadly, being stay at home workmates was to be short lived, as April came around and I stopped working for the first time in over a decade to start my furlough life. With hours to fill and literally no where to go, I kept myself busy with YouTube workouts, meditation apps, LinkedIn learning and a LOT of baking.

April also saw us celebrate our family’s first lockdown birthday for Dad. His usual birthday walk and bbq were swapped for the first of MANY zoom call quizzes, along with a Spurs card I made (much to Stu’s disapproval!)

As May came around so did the sun with a much needed mood lift from the VE Day celebrations. With a lot of time on my hands I decided to make my own British themed bunting, all set for a socially distanced street party with our lovely neighbours. Munching on party food, listening to cheesy music and talking to people not via screens, we finally enjoyed some normality and for a day almost forgot about the C word.

In June we jumped for joy as Boris said not only could we meet others for walks but groups of six could gather in each others gardens! This news came just in time for me and my mums birthday so we enjoyed two very special BBQs, a lovely birthday walk and on the actual day a super sushi takeaway.

When we got to July things were really brightening up as I returned to work and was reunited with all my colleagues I’d missed so much – even if I couldn’t recognise half of them thanks to their new lockdown hairdos and bodies.

July also saw us celebrate what was meant to be our wedding day. On the day I was thrilled to finally get my hair done after five months of Stu fringe cuts and working my way through ALOT of dry shampoo in an attempt to cover my roots. With my new hair and a special new everything5pound dress, we then had the most romantic evening in the restaurant where Stu proposed, Sant Yago before walking by our wedding hotel, the Queens and Portsmouth Cathedral.

August was a month of EATING as the government introduced Eat out to Help Out, where we indulged in cheap eats and even ventured back out to the capital for another hair do, courtesy of a competition win. The BBQs also continued for Lauren’s birthday and pretty much every weekend as Stu became more confident as a Pitmaster.

September saw us swap our cancelled Barcelona holiday for an equally fun staycation. Starting the week on the Isle of Wight we explored the Needles and my beloved donkey Sanctuary, before returning home to get set for a trip the beautiful Brighton. The end of the week was spent in Bath, where Stu learnt about the Romans whilst I enjoyed the many Instagram spots, completed with an idyllic visit to the Ivy.

As October arrived we continued to make use of our holiday allowance with a sensational spa trip for me and my bestie Ben and the beginning of our bedroom renovation for Stu. Halloween was haunting for all the wrong reasons as Boris announced we were going into ANOTHER lockdown. Hearing this Stu and I decided to make the most of our last night of freedom and went for a belissimo meal at our beloved Nicolinos.

Another lockdown underway, November was the month of walking and running as Lauren and I braved the Bignor hill trek and I introduced Stu to the joy of morning running (still not sure he’s convinced!) November also saw us celebrate one year of living together without killing each other (just) and look back at how we’d transformed our house into a home.

Which brings us to now, when after a brief taste of freedom we are back into a tier 4 lockdown facing our first Christmas just as two. Now I’m not going to lie this year has seen lots of ups, downs, tantrums and tears…but as I look back I can see that this year has been really the most special of all of my 32 years on this planet. I’ve not only learnt I can survive when things I thought “I needed” are taken away but discovered how I lucky I am to have the things that can’t be taken away by government restrictions… calls with my mum, a safe cosy home and my soulmate by my side.

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