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

My Year in Review: 2018, the Third Quarter | Not Dressed As Lamb

Here’s my third quarterly review of the year: I have no idea where the time has gone. I mean, the next one will be (dare I say it) after Christmas?!

My last year in review post for April to June focused on how we still hadn’t yet moved house, despite waiting for what seemed like absolutely aaaaaaages. We finally moved soon after that post went out, and now the last three months have totally FLOWN by.

But before I get into anything about July to September I must mention what’s new today: the Saturday Share link up has moved from Friday to Thursday and has itself a new name. In a bid to make my work/life balance a bit easier things have changed a lot around here (check out that new logo and all my new colours!) – so as well as the Monday link up moving to Tuesday, the Saturday Share link up is now on a Thursday and simply called the #ShareAllLinkUp (because it’s the time and place to share all and sundry).

I will just say that, like Tuesday’s post, the Share All link up post will normally be published at 3pm. I made the decision to update and change schedules so last minute on Monday (just this week) that I’m behind due to the rebranding that I put into action straight away instead of keeping it for the Christmas break. Oops, there’s the C word again…!

Without further ado I’ll get on with what I’m here to talk about: the third quarter of 2018 – July, August and September. What a crazy few months they’ve been…

My year in review so far: Life

The house move

To be fair there’s really only one main thing that’s happened these last few months: our house move! As I mentioned it finally happened mid-July and oh BOY was it worth the wait (and the time, and the stress, and the money…)! Moving house has been the absolute best thing EVER. We have no idea why we didn’t think of it sooner; we were in our previous house for 14 years and yet it took someone else – my mum – to make the suggestion to move after we were moaning so much about how cramped we’d become.

Yes it was stressful, it was BLOODY HARD WORK, it made me cry on several occasions, but it was all worth it. We’ve gone from a too-small-for-us cottage to an open plan new build in a town that we really, really love. We’re only five minutes from the town centre but our garden looks out onto trees and we have fields and cows only 10 minutes in the other direction. We have cafes and restaurants, lovely pubs, and street fairs. Things happen in this town, unlike the last town we lived in. It’s still very much a rural market town, but we love it.

We’ve not needed to do any decorating at all because the house was totally finished of course being a new build, but the DIY jobs and unpacking have been going on forever. I didn’t think it would be this much work, but in a new build there’s no storage: shelves, curtain poles, toilet roll holders, sheds, cupboards, etc. all need to go up before you can finish unpacking. We’ve been practically living at Ikea, I think the meet-and-greet peeps recognise us every time we go in (thankfully a new Ikea opened in May and it’s down the road from us #lifemade).

We’re nearly there. There are boxes still be unpacked, but we’re about to order our wardrobes and will finally get the rest of our things hung and stored away where they’re meant to go, not in cardboard boxes any more…! I can’t wait for us to get the rest of our house purchases put where they’re meant to finally go.

My Year in Review: 2018, the Third Quarter | Not Dressed As Lamb

The rest: football, birthdays, weddings and hot weather

England DIDN’T win the World Cup after all, what a bummer. But the world cup final was the day before we moved, so I can’t imagine what it would have been like to try and get the rest of everything packed and the house cleaned if England HAD been playing to win the whole tournament…!

I also had my 46th birthday and celebrated with the family. It feels good to be back to an even number (yep, I have a weird thing about being an odd number, it makes me uncomfortable! I’m also one of those people who can’t have the volume on the TV or car radio on an odd number. Doooon’t ask me why, I just hate it).

Keith and I went to a friend’s evening wedding reception in September, and after spending so long in dirty clothes for moving and housework it was nice to get dressed up for once. The selfie we took that evening (see the main picture) makes Keith looks like his yacht was parked outside… what is it about an open white shirt and dark blue jacket that makes a man looks like he’s super wealthy?! It wasn’t that long ago that his cut his long hair off and trimmed his beard much shorter… ironically one of our nieces said, “Oh good, he no longer looks like he’s homeless” 😉

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And finally: THAT summer. Ahhh, the Summer of 2018. The one that started at the end of April less than three weeks after the endless snowfall and lasted, well, right into October. We shall longingly remember the endless days and nights of not wearing jackets or cardigans. We shall remember the numerous gin and tonics and glasses of Pimms. We shall remember the eating outside time and time again and the countless barbeques. We shall remember the scorched, brown grass that didn’t go back to green for ages, and when it finally did it looked downright weird. We shall also remember the heat when we moved house and how we had to work our butts off and drip with sweat whilst cleaning the old place…

Ahh, the Summer of 2018. Adios, my sweltering, gorgeous friend. (Hello, Arctic chill this weekend.)


My year in review so far: Career

Cutting back

Due to the house move I really had to cut back on how much work I took on. I didn’t attend any events but I did, however, take on a few new campaigns to start at the end of the summer. I’m feeling the pressure now as they’ve all become due (what seems like) this week, and I’m up to my eyeballs in work! Thank goodness I sorted out my schedule otherwise I’d be in even more of a pickle than I already am. I have a new office space in one of the bedrooms, and it’s still a work in progress but I’m looking forward to decorating/styling it properly and getting a gorgeous sofabed in there. It’ll be just right for comfy elevenses with a biccy and a cuppa…!

July saw my 7th blogiversary on the same day as my birthday. Seven years is a long time, I’m finally starting to feel like I have my act together (though after the last couple of weeks maybe not, lol).

Awards – and judging

Two great bits of news: I’ve been shortlisted in the women’s fashion blog category at the Vuelio Awards, and I’m going to the awards in London at the end of November with my work wife What Lizzy Loves (Keith can’t make it sadly). I’ve got my gown already… can I beat my previous awards events dresses?! Every time I think I can’t but you lot tell me otherwise. We shall see (clue: vintage again)!

And finally – I’ve been announced as the (blogger) fashion judge for the 2019 UK Blog Awards – I won two years in a row and thought it was time to get involved in some other way. I have a feeling it’s going to be A LOT of work but I’m so excited. You’ve only got a few days left to enter yourself or someone else: entries close on Sunday (28 October). PLEASE get entering, we need as much diversity as possible, and due to a change in the way voting will take place you WON’T need a huge following to have a change. We’re looking for quality, not follower numbers.

The good news is, anyone found to have been buying follows or engagement on Instagram will be disqualified (UKBA19 is using Social Chain’s new LikeWise tool). I’m very proud to be part of an organisation that considers this fraud: no naming and shaming, just instant disqualification. We WILL stamp out fakery!


My year in review so far: Health

The detox retreat

Two things happened health-wise for me this last quarter: First, I attended a detox retreat in North Devon last month and had the MOST incredible time. One of the best experiences of my life (definitely top 5), I actually made the work changes this week as a result of not being able to keep up the good work from the retreat. All my good habits have been slipping I’m ashamed to say! But now I’ve reorganised what I’m doing work-wise and when, so I’ll get this week out the way and restart once I’m all caught up… the good habits are still waiting in the wings, they’re just waiting patiently in a box at the moment. I’m DETERMINED to get my work/life balance in order and want to feel strong and healthy come Christmas time.

(That’s THREE mentions of the C-word, so sorry.)

(More) post-op results

Secondly, I also had my second post-op MRI scan to check out what my abdominal cyst has been up to. I had the operation in January to remove it but it could only be drained (too complicated to remove it altogether and not, at that stage, totally necessary). I had one follow up MRI before the summer which showed it was effectively still there, but not blown up to grapefruit size again thank goodness. So the scan I had a couple of weeks ago really was THE one to see whether there had been much change. I received a letter from the specialist just this morning (what timing!): the cyst has reduced in size slightly, so as long as I feel well I don’t need to go in and see him. I’ll simply have another MRI scan in six months’ time to see if it’s still behaving itself.

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One amazing thing to note is that with all the crazy-ass exercise I did on the detox retreat, not once did I get a problem with my leg; it didn’t hurt me in any way at all. [If you’re confused as to why I had a cyst removed from my abdomen but it was leg pain that was the problem, you can read what happened in this post.] It was such a relief to exercise with no pain up the back of my leg, to do squats and to walk and to do yoga without even thinking about the horrible, dull ache behind my knee.

Keep your fingers crossed for me and the cyst’s continued decline…!

My Year in Review: 2018, the Third Quarter | Not Dressed As Lamb


My year in review so far: Loved ones

We had some lovely news in our family: I became a great aunt for the third time! Another niece became a mum and gave birth to a gorgeous raven-haired baby girl in September. I’m preparing the furry mints for my handbag and living with 12 cats as we speak.*

*obligatory great aunt accessories, no?!

The best bit? Riley is still good. Really good. So good, in fact, that when I took him for his monthly checkup to the vet in August, she said that the tumour had barely changed since she first discovered it in February. Therefore we could leave the next appointment for three months (apart from taking him in for anything that was causing us concern of course). But he eats well, he absolutely LOVES his (albeit very slow) walks, he sleeps the rest of the time (when he’s not demanding attention, of course). I can’t BEGIN to tell you how happy that made us… and yes, a few happy tears were shed that evening after the vet appointment.

The boy has also been going crazy for his new garden. The old garden was really a backyard with just patio and gravel; the new garden has plenty of grass for him to roam around on. He regularly sleeps out on the grass, and the hot summer has meant endless days with the patio doors open for him to come in and out. Best decision ever to move… I rest my case.

And finally, Keith and I are good, enjoying our new home like you wouldn’t believe. We’re closer to my parents now we’ve moved (not the intention at all, it was just that we got to know the town that they moved to last year, and fell in love with it too) – it all just feels so right. It’s like we’ve been here forever, and we don’t miss the old house at all.

I’m not sure what the rest of the year will bring – lots of blog work I hope, a great Christmas run up and the rest of our boxes getting unpacked – and I wish you all the best for the rest of the year too.

(FOUR C-word mentions. Kill me now.)




A Final Medical Diagnosis, Two Years On
My Year in Review: 2018, The Second Quarter

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… COME JOIN THE LINK UP PARTY!

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  1. 6 November 2018 / 5:29 am


    You forgot about your blog update–which looks fabulous by the way! I’ve been meaning to come and tell you this in some capacity–twitter, email, Insta, but this post is as good as any! Congratulations. I think it looks GREAT!

    Love, Annie

    • catherine
      9 November 2018 / 11:53 am

      Maybe I did the blog update before this post Ann – I can’t remember now!! Anyway thank you, it’s had such a positive response so I’m pleased as punch x

  2. 30 October 2018 / 4:11 pm

    I love all your photos, Catherine! But I still can’t believe that we have something else in common……..
    I’ve got a thing about odd numbers too!!! When I’m altering the volume on the TV, I have to have it on an even number otherwise I feel weird lol. Perhaps we’ve got a bit of OCD??
    Suzy xx

    • catherine
      31 October 2018 / 11:50 pm

      Ughhhhhhhh odd numbers on the TV volume makes me really uncomfortable, Suzy – if Keith changes it up or down and leaves it at 29 I’ll glare at him till he changes it, lol 😉

  3. 30 October 2018 / 7:25 am

    So glad the move has gone well! It’s really turning out to be a great year that’s for sure! It can only end on a high and here’s hoping this all carries on through to next year!

    Sarah 🙂
    Saloca in Wonderland

    • catherine
      31 October 2018 / 11:51 pm

      Aww Sarah that’s really nice of you to say, thank you so much 😀

  4. 29 October 2018 / 12:55 am

    Looks like that you have had a very good and fun year. Very nice. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.

    • catherine
      29 October 2018 / 10:02 am

      We did, thank you Patrick!

  5. 28 October 2018 / 2:15 pm

    I had to laugh when I read “only one thing has happened” Heehee Yes one mahoosive thing Catherine! Moving house is always far more work than we ever anticipate but boy have you guys done a beautiful job of it. Unsurprisingly you have immpeccible taste and of course we share a love of MCM. I can’t wait to see more interior shots as you settle into your new home. xxx

    • catherine
      29 October 2018 / 10:02 am

      Yep, pretty mahoosive MT!! Don’t worry, plans are in place to get it photographed and featured x 😉

  6. 28 October 2018 / 11:29 am

    Sounds like you had a very good year. I love the picture of you two. o)


    • catherine
      29 October 2018 / 10:03 am

      thank yo so much Anna x

  7. 27 October 2018 / 9:57 pm

    You had a quite busy quarter. And the holiday quarter is busy to start with. Congrats on 7 years of blogging. I am now blogging 4.5 years now and love it. Now a question regarding your dog. Can’t the vet remove the tumor? My cat had breast cancer three times. Whenever we found a tumor we had it removed. She had the first one in 2008, another one in 2011, and than in 2014. She is now 17.5 years old.

    • catherine
      27 October 2018 / 11:56 pm

      Thanks Nicole – I wrote about this at the time… in theory yes, it could be removed but due to where it is and his age (13 going on 14) there’s no guarantee he’d pull through the operation. So we’d be putting him at risk when the tumour may remain reasonably manageable – and that’s exactly what seems to be the case. He’s mostly at life expectancy and we weren’t prepared to risk losing him immediately when he could go on happily and pain-free for a while. He’s so happy as he is, all the time he’s not suffering we love having him with us. The vet said she personally wouldn’t do it if it were her dog… the fact that it hasn’t really grown means we’re happy we made the right decision 🙂 xx

  8. 27 October 2018 / 1:56 pm

    Your husband is so handsome! He looks like a movie star! That is such good news about Riley.

    • catherine
      29 October 2018 / 10:03 am

      Aww thanks Amy… yes he certainly scrubs up well!! x 😉

  9. 27 October 2018 / 7:56 am

    So many positive changes in your life Catherine. I am happy for you. Many of them you have worked for yourself, but health and family, those are gifts. Enjoy them! Love, Lieske

    • catherine
      29 October 2018 / 10:04 am

      You’re so right, Lieske – I couldn’t be more grateful about my post-op results and Riley being well (and loving his new surroundings!) makes us so happy 🙂

  10. 27 October 2018 / 1:23 am

    Sounds like you’ve had a very eventful year, and things are on the up! Hope the happiness continues through the end of this year and into the next!
    Cheryl Shops

    • catherine
      29 October 2018 / 10:04 am

      Awww Cheryl that’s so nice of you to say, thank you x

  11. 26 October 2018 / 3:11 pm

    Best I can tell you’ve been having a bang up year. Lots of fun changes and things look great!

    • catherine
      26 October 2018 / 3:27 pm

      Yes definitely bang up, Lisa!!!! 😉 thanks so much x

  12. 26 October 2018 / 1:27 pm

    It must have been really tough to move and maintain this blog. Blogging take up soooo much time. Congrats on the new house. It must be great to be all moved in.

    • catherine
      29 October 2018 / 10:06 am

      As it’s my full time job it’s the same as anyone else with a job and move, Julie… the good news is that I dictate my own hours, so it’s sort of easier in that sense! To be honest the heat did us in, we weren’t able to enjoy the glorious summer we had – we had to spend it indoors packing most of the time!!! 🙁

      But yes, it’s wonderful to be in, we’re so happy x

  13. 26 October 2018 / 11:54 am

    Well done on the move – isn’t it funny how the obvious answer is right under your nose but it takes someone else to see it?

    I’ve been getting my health back. I’ve had to rest my voice since my treatment, so no summer school teaching for me this year. And sadly not much socialising either. But I have been focussing on my art work, plus I visited the Outer Hebrides in early summer. I’ve never seen such white sand and turquoise water – was that really the north-west of Scotland!

    • catherine
      29 October 2018 / 10:07 am

      I keep saying to my mum about her suggestion, Emerald – we really do have her to thank! It was perfect timing as well.

      Lovely to hear you’ve been focusing on your art – Scotland must have been BEAUTIFUL this summer!!

  14. 26 October 2018 / 8:21 am

    A busy year so far for you Catherine! All with great results. Here’s to a great rest of the year xx

    • catherine
      26 October 2018 / 11:44 am

      Thank you Laurie – yes it’s been a bit crazy! Hopefully I can back into a good routine now…

    • catherine
      26 October 2018 / 11:44 am

      Martina thank you!

  15. 26 October 2018 / 7:49 am

    I’m so pleased the move has gone so well for you. It is inspiring me to finally get on with it. I suspect it will still be 2020 before we can finally make it happen, but you’ve made me so excited with the idea. I’m so pleased you are making positive changes that suit you xx

    • catherine
      26 October 2018 / 11:46 am

      It was definitely all the blood sweat and tears Maria – though we have said “We’re never moving EVER again”!!! I’m sure that won’t be the case, but at the moment that’s how it feels 😉

  16. 26 October 2018 / 7:37 am

    What a beautiful photo of the two of you! Let s enjoy next quarter!

    • catherine
      26 October 2018 / 11:46 am

      Aww thank you Nancy!

  17. 26 October 2018 / 4:41 am

    On reflection, you achieved a lot, been and done a lot and your achievements are quite remarkable

    • catherine
      26 October 2018 / 11:47 am

      Oh wow thank you Anna – it’s been reasonably straightforward work-wise which is lucky, considering what we’ve gone through with the house…!

  18. Nailil
    26 October 2018 / 2:59 am

    I hope you had a very happy birthday.

    Xx, Nailil

    • catherine
      26 October 2018 / 11:47 am

      I did, thank you Nailil! x

  19. 25 October 2018 / 11:28 pm

    If you and the hubs were any cuter it would be a crime!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • catherine
      26 October 2018 / 11:47 am

      Ohhhhhhhhh bless you Cathe, thank you 😀

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