My Year in Review: 2018, the First Quarter (Career, Health, Family, Life Generally)

My year in review \ winter wear \ winter dressing \ camel wrap coat \ camel fedora hat \ wide leg crop Prince of Wales check trousers \ heritage check pants \ taupe flatform lace-ups | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Happy Easter! Just this morning I said to Keith how it’s amazing that the first quarter of 2018 has almost gone already. So much has happened in three months I thought I’d do a quick review of my year so far.

Before I start I will ‘fess up and say that the idea for this post has been TOTALLY stolen from the lovely Liz of What Lizzy Loves who has just published a post about her story so far and reflections on 2018 – I wasn’t sure what to write/share for today’s post and her post gave me the idea to do my own version. I even write with her permission to do so… to ask is always the best way.

So far I haven’t really noticed it’s a bank holiday apart from the (nice) fact that Keith’s home. In fact he’ll be home from work all next week as well, which he didn’t actually tell me until yesterday morning (husbands, eh?). It’s his birthday on Tuesday and I thought he couldn’t get the day off work, let alone the whole week, so we’ll have to think of something to do when the weather is predicted to be wet and cold. Pub lunch in the warm with Riley at our feet is probably going to be the way we go!

Easter Sunday is doubling up as the monthly birthday party in our family – since my nieces started having partners and kids the family has grown exponentially, and nearly EVERYONE seems to have a birthday in the spring. Last year we started a new, very practical tradition in the family whereby we simply have one party a month for everyone with a birthday in that month, rather than a mini gathering/party for each person. We have six birthdays to celebrate this Sunday (it would be seven if my nephew wasn’t away at uni), so a large birthday cake AS WELL as Easter eggs is on the menu.

Or there had BETTER be eggs, I should say! πŸ˜‰

So onto what’s happened so far in 2018 – oh, how life can change so quickly…


My year in review so far: Home

One of the most significant things that’s happened already this year is the fact that we went from thinking about moving house (actually it was my mum’s suggestion) to putting our house on the market to finding our perfect home all in the space of a few months. The house went on the market a week ago and although we’re working on a few little DIY jobs still, it’s now spotless and ready for viewing. We have a couple of viewings lined up for next week and we’re really, really hoping to sell it as quickly as possible. We’ve been in this house for 14 years and have practically gutted every room – here are a couple of before and afters (it’s amazing to think we saw the potential this house had when you look at the super icky before pictures)!

The living room before and after:

Living room makeover before and after - mid century style \ modern interiors | Not Dressed As Lamb blog

and the kitchen before and after:

Kitchen makeover before and after - White gloss doors with oak flooring and worktops \ fresh modern kitchen \ interior | Not Dressed As Lamb blog

I’d forgotten JUST how horrific the house was when we moved in!!! We’re actually really proud of the work we’ve done but it’s definitely time to move on. We only intended to do it up over the course of two or three years, then sell… turns out we loved the house a lot more than we thought we would. But we need an extra bedroom, a bigger garden, more space generally, and to be in a town with more going for it. So we’ve seen a new build that we absolutely love – we just need to get an offer on ours before we can put in an offer on the new one.

If you know of anyone who’s looking for a two bed terraced cottage in mid-Devon, let me know…!

Quick question: Would any of you be interested in the occasional post about interiors at all? It’s something I’ve never done on the blog but am thinking of doing, especially as we’ll be moving. Let me know your thoughts.

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My year in review so far: Career

After the crazy year that was 2017, one of my goals for 2018 was to work less and charge more. After writing last year about knowing your worth and not underselling yourself, it was time I started to take my own advice and not take on too much and for too little. I have been saying no to loads of paid jobs (and of course to unpaid ones as well!) if they’re not willing to pay me my full rates (no more discounts, I think I’ve worked long and hard enough on this blog not to offer lower rates any more). Although my workload is still heavy, it’s manageable. I’ve already either just completed, or am about to complete, campaigns for Marks & Spencer Beauty, Specsavers and Clairol this year. That averages out to about one a month, which, when you add in smaller jobs like Instagram posts, is a very sensible amount of sponsored work to take on. Let’s hope this year continues as it has started.

The tax year ends on 5 April and I’m pleased to say that it’s been the best year by a long, long way for my career – I’ve finally not only surpassed was I was earning in my last job as a sales and marketing manager but I’ve almost doubled it. It’s meant we can move at LAST because the extra income has made a huge difference to how big a mortgage we can get. To say I’m proud of what Keith and I have achieved in six and a half years (as my photographer and all-round supporter of the blog it’s his baby as much as mine!) is a huge understatement.

I also finally migrated from Blogger to WordPress and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. It didn’t take long to get used to WordPress’s interface at all, it was 99.9% hassle-free (if you’re thinking of migrating don’t do it yourself, get an expert to do it – it doesn’t have to be expensive!) and there are so many better features and options. It was the best £95* I ever spent on the blog.

*this was a sale price for pipdig’s migration service – it’s usually £145 but it’s on sale AGAIN for £95 (at the time of writing) so buy now and migrate at a time that suits you!

Finally I was SO pleased and proud to have been shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards for a fourth year in a row. The awards night is on 20 April and I’ve yet to work out what to wear – normally I have it all sorted by now! I have absolutely no expectations about winning for a second time – I really can’t see that happening – so maybe that’s why I’m more relaxed about what to wear… I’m not expecting to have to find a potential “winner’s dress” this year. I might go vintage again. Any ideas, anyone?


My year in review so far: Health

This was one of the big things that happened: my operation. On 15 January I had keyhole surgery to remove a cyst in my pelvic region that had been pressing on nerves connected to my leg and causing severe leg pain for two years. My recovery was really swift and everything seemed fantastic for several weeks, but I will now admit that something’s not right with my leg. For the past couple of weeks I get a really tight leg – as if the muscle at the back have seized up – first thing in the morning. If I’m not careful when I stretch myself awake I can pull the muscles and get what feels like severe cramp (I did do it one time and oh my GOD the agony), and it takes a while for my leg to relax. So it’s not the same pain that I had before, but it’s definitely not right.

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Post operation recovery | Not Dressed As Lamb

Now that we’ve mostly finished working on the house I’m going to phone the hospital and book an appointment to see the specialist about it; I will get a check-up appointment arranged for me anyway in due course as part of the recovery but I need to get this checked out as soon as possible. Just as I thought it was all sorted…! #ScowlingFaceEmoji

Exercise: Hmmmm. As soon as I was able after the operation I started to exercise once more, then for some reason it all dropped off again. I hadn’t yet got myself back into it as a habit within my routine before my leg started playing up. I only have myself to blame – this is something that needs to change ASAP!


My year in review so far: Loved ones

This is the bit I don’t like writing about, though things are looking brighter considering… Keith and the rest of the family are fine thankfully, but last month Riley was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in his rear end and we were absolutely devastated. The vet couldn’t give us an exact time of how long he had – she estimated a few months – but we had to prepare for it being just a few weeks. Then again he might last a year, there’s never any way of knowing. It all depended on how fast the tumour was growing, which we couldn’t tell until his first monthly checkup which he had this week.

Riley the lurcher - saluki/border collie cross

I’m pleased to say it hasn’t really grown that much bigger, so it seems it may have been slowly growing over time rather than being a fast-growing, invasive tumour. He’s on regular painkillers which seem to be helping him a lot – as the vet said, he’s an old boy and the usual aches and pains that we all get as we age may well have been eased by the painkillers (how wonderful for him)! He’s as well as can be expected under the circumstances and we’re simply making the most of all the time we have with him. We’re desperate to move in time for Riley to see and enjoy the new house and garden, we just hope we still have him by the time it happens. We don’t have grass in our garden and seeing how much he loves roaming around gardens with grass made us realise we wanted a bigger outdoor space for him.

Crazy the lengths we go to for our pets, isn’t it?



P.S. Notice how I didn’t talk about the snow?! Some things make me too cross to even mention!!!!!

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So all that’s left to say is – I’ve shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it’s time to share yours… LET’S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!

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Thank you for joining the #SaturdayShareLinkUp! Designed to allow you to share anything you like on ANY topic, it goes live every Friday at around 8-9pm UK time and will stay open for a week. You can share blog posts or Instagram posts, old posts or new posts, and link up as many as you like.

PLEASE be kind and leave a link somewhere on your post, and share your post using the hashtag #SaturdayShareLinkUp – if you tweet your link with the hashtag and tag me in @notlamb I’ll even retweet it to my followers for you πŸ™‚


  1. 29 April 2018 / 1:08 pm

    Wow! Amazing Transformation in your house. I landed to your blog from Google’s Organic Result as i searched “Best Bloggers”. Most of the bloggers are not so cool but your blogging and writting skill is awesome.

  2. Hilary
    6 April 2018 / 3:42 pm

    I wish the best for Riley. I have had dogs since getting married 30 years ago and my life would be missing something wonderful without them. My floors would be perfect but there is no love in hardwood floors is there?! All the best.

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 10:24 pm

      Hehe I know what you mean about the floors, Hilary – Riley just leaves his hair everywhere… I think I hoover about twice a day!!!! Wouldn’t have it any other way though πŸ˜‰

      and thank you xxxxxx

  3. 3 April 2018 / 9:23 am

    Gosh, what a year so far Catherine! I’m so excited for your impending house move and delighted that work is going so brilliantly for you. I’m also glad that your op went well and that you finally git the answers you needed. And…Riley. Well, you know how we all feel about him. Lots of love and here’s to the next quarter xxxxx

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 10:23 pm

      Thank you Liz, you too have had lots going on! Thanks for the inspo for writing the post (and saying yes to me pinching your idea)!! x

  4. 2 April 2018 / 9:17 am

    I love what you did with the house, what an amazing transformation! Fingers crossed that Riley is with you for a good while yet.

    Emma xxx

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 10:22 pm

      Thanks Emma, I hope he is too… I just want him to still be with us when we move and then spend his last days happy and roaming round a big grassy garden. If that happens then everything will be absolutely perfect, never mind what else life throws at us. xx

  5. 1 April 2018 / 3:30 am

    Ah what is it about your year that’s brought a stinging tear to my eye! Perhaps that you’ve had so many emotional charges? I don’t know, I do know I’ve felt them. In my mind (probably not yours) I feel these are all good things & only serve to make you & Keith stronger.
    Naturally it’s easier looking in from the outside. Something tells me things are going to get pretty awesome next year! xx

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 10:21 pm

      Oh MT you too have had a turbulent year so far – I’m only moving 20 minutes away… you’ve crossed an ocean!!!!!! Thank you hon, it’s lovely having my support network of you fabulous ladies to rely on. xx

  6. 1 April 2018 / 2:32 am

    Hoping that your leg issues disappear and you did an amazing job on your house. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful Easter.

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:33 pm

      thanks so much Patrick! x

  7. 31 March 2018 / 3:53 pm

    Oh Catherine, how horrible that you have leg issues AGAIN. Just when you think it is all over, it starts again. I can so feel your despair.
    As for your house… I saw the first (before) photo and thought β€œoh my God, is this her interior? I cannot believe it!” Hahaha. Then you showed the after. I adore it. I could live there easily. Unfortunately I have no plans to emigrate to England, so I won’t buy it off you. Would have loved to, but no. Do I wan to see more interior photos? Yes, please, but just your interior photos. I am nosy.
    And Riley is sweet. Yes we do go to great lengths for our pets. For sure.

    It always surprised me that you were still on Blogger and not on WordPress. You always had such good tips for bloggers. There is one thing not exactly right and that is the comment box. I have to fill in all the details like Name each time I visit.

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:33 pm

      Haha I’m mortified you thought those were the after pictures, Greetje!!!!!! ;-P

      Of course I’ll only be featuring my own home when we move in, and so many people have said yes to interiors posts I’ll definitely be doing them every now and then.

      Moving to WP seemed like such a massive upheaval and a huge undertaking so I’m sooooo glad I found out someone [pipdig] could do it for me, and very, very reasonably as well! As for the comments box, usually that sort of stuff is to do with your cache or cookies or something? It’s not a setting that I can change… I know that I have that with some blogs and not others – they remember my details then one day they don’t because I’ve cleared the cache or something. But I’m not an expert on stuff like that so I will admit I don’t REALLY know what I’m talking about, I might have the name wrong!!

  8. 31 March 2018 / 2:30 pm

    You did a wonderful job on your house and yes would love to see what you do with your new abode. Finally working out how easy it is to link up. And doing it….

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:28 pm

      So glad you’re linking up, Hilda! and thank you, expect an interiors post every now and then in the next few months x

  9. 31 March 2018 / 2:24 pm

    Oh my gosh, yes, I’d love to see home interior posts. I love how your remodeled your home. The new design is gorgeous and such an amazing transformation.

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:27 pm

      That’s so nice of you to say, thanks Amy!! x

  10. 31 March 2018 / 2:04 pm

    Crikey you’ve already had an amazingly busy start to the year – also loving the house pics!! Happy Easter! xx

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:27 pm

      So busy I don’t know where the year has gone, Sara! thanks hon x

  11. Kelly Glen
    31 March 2018 / 11:58 am

    You have certainly had a busy few months already this year. Your transformation of your house is amazing and I would definitely like to see some interior posts on your blog. I hope everything will be ok with your leg.

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:26 pm

      thanks so much Kelly!! there will def be interiors posts soon! x

  12. 31 March 2018 / 11:34 am

    So sorry to hear about Riley, such a beautiful name. We just got a dog last year -actually she is moping in the corner because I am blogging instead of showering her with my attention πŸ™‚ So naturally I do not think at all you are doing anthing out of the ordinary every pet owner would not do.

    Our dog Kelly has totally changed our life and we take her needs into consideration when making decisions. πŸ™‚

    So best of luck for everything dear Catherine. And with such loving owners I am sure Riley is as happy as can be. Keeping my fingers crossed for you guys.

    Happy Easter. Sabina

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:26 pm

      I know what’s it’s like having a mopey dog in the corner because he’s not receiving any attention…!! πŸ˜‰

      thank you Sabina, we’re so looking forward to him having more space x

  13. Linda
    31 March 2018 / 8:20 am

    Always enjoy your posts and Would love to have your thoughts on interiors.
    Hope you get to the problem with your leg and glad Riley is doing well. Enjoy Easter


    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:24 pm

      thanks Linda – the consensus seems to be YES for interiors posts so expect them now and then in the next few months! x

  14. 31 March 2018 / 7:08 am

    Love the before and after pictures of your house Catherine.
    You are so clever with your blog.
    I am sorry to hear about your leg – no doctor but I do know that whenever I start doing sports on a regular basis – even if it’s a daily 3km run or longer walk, then many aches and pains seem to solve themselves…
    Winter with lots of snow here in Zurich was tough but now things have warmed up it’s so much nicer to go out again. in any case really hope your leg feels better soon.

    Have a wonderful Easter xxx

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:23 pm

      thanks Yvonne – I’ve been so out of routine with being so busy lately that every day I think “hmm I didn’t exercise AGAIN”… I’ve only myself to blame as I said!!!!! I need a kick up the bum big time, you are absolutely right of course x

  15. 30 March 2018 / 10:47 pm

    Hello to my fellow Uk south westerners! I’m so excited about your move, sending love and luck!
    I hope you sort out your leg soon, perhaps it justs needs some physio? i hope so…
    love Ashley x

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:17 pm

      thank you Ashley my lovely – I’m so excited about the house move too… you’ll have to come visit!!!

  16. 30 March 2018 / 10:29 pm

    Wow! You certainly have had so much going on in every way imaginable! I wish you good luck with selling your house! I’m so impressed with your blog every single time I read it and I love linking up! Also, so very sorry about your sweet doggie! Sending you lots of good wishes for the remainder of the year!

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:04 pm

      Aww thank you so much Suzanne, that means so much!! xxxxxxx

  17. jodie filogomo
    30 March 2018 / 9:49 pm

    The transformation of your house is incredible, Catherine!! I might not even believe it was the same place except that you’re an honest woman!! LOL!!
    And how wonderful to hear that things are looking up on all fronts!!

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:02 pm

      Thanks Jodie – I have to admit even *I* find it hard to believe it’s the same place…!

  18. 30 March 2018 / 9:48 pm

    Congratulations on your nominee! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! Happy Easter. Pub lunch sounds good to me!

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 3:01 pm

      thanks so much Nancy! x

  19. 30 March 2018 / 9:47 pm

    You’ve DEFINITELY had a whirlwind of a 2018, and it looks set to continue as it started! I’m overjoyed to hear the Riley news, and he looks so content in the photo πŸ™‚ Wow, you and Keith have really added a lot of value to that house; it is so different and so GORGEOUS! I’m sure it will sell quickly… it is spring, and that is when everyone gets itchy feet and wants to move. I can’t wait until you’re settled into the new digs. xxx

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:55 pm

      Isn’t it a lovely photo of him Lisa… he’s still the same Riley you know and love but with some added zest, bless him!! πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for the lovely comments, we are sooooo excited about the move and giving Riley a big grassy space to sniff and wander around x

  20. 30 March 2018 / 9:42 pm

    Wow you did an amazing job on the house. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed for you, that you’re able to sell it quickly. I would definitely love to see some interior post. I also only just realize you moved from Bloggers to WordPress, i always thought you were on WordPress already. Show you how much I know!!
    Have a nice Easter Catherine. xx

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:53 pm

      Thank you Anna, good to hear you’d like to see some interiors posts! x

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