Year in Review: 2020

Well, this year sucked!

I don’t know if you heard, but there was a major pandemic this year that shut down any semblance of normality and put a major damper on my plans to travel and experience all that England has to offer. Still, the more I reflect on it, I’ve decided that 2020 wasn’t a total write-off; quite a lot actually happened this year!


  • London! Mid-January, my boyfriend and I took a 3-day trip to London. We did a walking/tube sightseeing tour of the city, and I was (and still am!) totally blown away with how many iconic landmarks, museums, and historical sites there are in such close quarters! As much as we saw during our time in London, I feel like we just scratched the surface, and I’d love to go back and see more of what the city has to offer.
  • WrestleQueendom 3, a wrestling show put on by bad-ass feminist wrestling company Eve Wrestling, was part of our London trip. We actually got to go to quite a few wrestling shows at the beginning of 2020, which was awesome! I miss it.


  • Birmingham! We traveled to Birmingham for my birthday in February. Initially we had planned to go to York, but we’d heard that they had a few cases of this crazy new virus, so maybe let’s not go there right now… Instead we took the train to Birmingham for the weekend, where we ate copious amounts of Tim Horton’s, wandered around the Bull Ring, explored the city’s amazing gallery and museum, and had some of the best pizza I’ve ever had!
  • Movies at the cinema! Nottingham is home to several cinemas, including a couple of excellent independent ones. We saw Birds of Prey and Parasite on a “movie crawl” day that took us across the city by tram.
  • Light the Night Nottingham is a night where various venues across the city are illuminated with light installations or projections, including Old Market Square and Robin Hood’s courtyard near Nottingham Castle.
  • We went to quite a few hockey games in Nottingham over the 2019-2020 season, supporting the Nottingham Panthers. At least 2 games in February, including a game on Valentine’s Day!
  • The Dead South Live! at Rock City. The Dead South is an amazing Canadian folk-bluegrass band that toured the UK in early 2020. They put on a hell of a show, that I got to go to with my boyfriend and his sister at the end of the month.


  • Wrestling Resurgence: Over The Top Rumble at the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery. Not only was this an awesome wrestling show at a super cool venue, I got the chance to watch one of my favourite indie wrestlers, Jayde, and to meet her after the show!
  • Dungeons and Dragons. I went to an one-shot D&D event at the Geek Retreat in Nottingham, and met the people that has become my regular campaign group. This was maybe a week before covid shut down the world, so I feel very lucky that I attended. Nine months later and we’re still playing together online.
  • This li’l thing you may have heard of called CORONAVIRUS happened! I was put on furlough when the world shut down at the end of the month.


Thanks to the National Lockdown, April was all about finding things to do at home!

  • Lots of video games, especially designing interiors on The Sims 3
  • Lots of movie marathons, including watching all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I hadn’t actually seen a lot of the Marvel films until that point, so it was really cool to watch them all, and back to back at that!
  • April kicked off weekly horror movie watches with my best friend in Canada. Every Saturday, we’d pick a scary movie, pour ourselves some drinks, call each other, and watch/chat over a new horror movie.
  • Crafting! Soap making, sewing face masks, bullet journaling, and playing with clay.


  • One of the most exciting things that I did in May was DIY dye my hair purple! Which was pretty cool but also just says a lot about how little I got up to in May.
  • I also got to contribute to my good friend’s blog, The Mindful Rambler, with a think-piece/media analysis about one of my favourite TV shows of all time, Mad Men. If you want to check it out, click here. It analyzes the depiction of east vs west coast culture in the turbulent 1960s, and was a blast to research and write.


  • Exploring the city with my camera. As the summer weather started to hit (and June had some incredible weather), I would go out walking: in cemeteries, around the castle area, or through the empty Lace Market. Lots of photography this month!
  • Social justice protests were on the forefront of our cultural conscious. Even halfway across the world, there were lots of tangible markers of the justified unrest surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.


  • Canada Day Party! On July 1st, I hung my large Canada Flag outside the door of our flat, and shortly after a handwritten note popped through our mail slot: We are having a Canada Day Party out on the lawn if you would like to join us! It turns out one of the women who lives in the building is a Canadian expat who invited other residents of the building to assemble for a socially distanced picnic. I got to meet more of my neighbours, and chat all things Canada.
  • Back to work! July saw restaurants and pubs opening up again after over 3 months of lockdown! Honestly, I wasn’t the most excited about returning to that job, but it was nice to see my coworkers again. We also got to have a taste-testing “party” for the new menu they were producing so hey, I guess everything has an upside! I also got to give my 2 weeks notice, because…
  • We left Nottingham! My boyfriend got accepted into a Masters programme at the University of Sheffield, so at the end of the month we packed up and moved out!


  • Lincoln! Between the end of our lease in Notts and our new lease in Sheffield, we spent the month of August in Lincoln. It was the first city that I visited when I arrived in England, and it was equally as magical upon revisiting as it was the first time I went. It’s an absolutely beautiful historic city, and I was so lucky to be able to spend some time walking around the city soaking up the atmosphere, drinking iced coffee, and taking some cute photos! I also got the chance to visit The Collection Museum, detailing an archaeological history of the city.
  • Road Trip! I got lucky enough to tag along on a trip around bits of Lincolnshire. We went for a walk at Hubbard’s Hills, then into the nearby town of Louth. It’s a town known for its markets and independent shops, so we spent an afternoon checking out all the cool shops and winding streets. We piled back in the car and continued on to England’s east coast, around the Mablethorpe area. I love the seaside, so walking through the nature reserve that led to the ocean and standing in the ebb of the incoming tide was just about perfection to me.


  • Sheffield! Technically we moved in at the very end of August, but Sheffield was definitely a ~September moment~ and the first few weeks of the month were spent exploring as much of the city as we could before work started for me, and uni started for my boyfriend. One such adventures was hiking up to Skye’s Edge to get some amazing views of the city that we now called home.
  • I started a new job! Shortly after arriving in Sheffield, I got a job bartending at a pub.
  • Climbing became a part of my routine again. I’d gone for a climb at the end of July in Nottingham, but this month was when I started checking out different gyms in Sheffield and working a weekly bouldering session in to my schedule.


  • Lots of cemetery wandering! I’m lucky to live super close to the Sheffield General Cemetery, so it’s an easy spot for me to go exploring and taking pictures.
  • I got a side-shave. As we’ve established, major hair changes constitute a monthly highlight, and October was when I decided to fully embrace the gothy aesthetic I’ve dabbled in all my life and shave off half of my hair!
  • All things Halloween. Because 2020 was, I think we can agree, something of a shit year, I poured a lot of time and effort into making Halloween feel special: I handmade decorations for my flat, watched lots of scary movies and TV shows, made special themed drinks, got to decorate the pub, and just generally tried to celebrate Halloween a little bit every day all month. I think this effort was hugely successful, because the whole of October felt very special.
  • Halloween Night! My boyfriend and I had the special drinks as mentioned above, listened to Halloween-themed music at home, then walked through town to Terrace Goods, a spectacular restaurant with a special themed drinks menu for the night. I got one of the best poutines I’ve ever had (??!) and some amazing cocktails.


  • Kicking off the month with Lockdown 2.0 – I’m furloughed again, and much of exploring Sheffield is halted as pubs, shops, museums, and just about everything else shuts down. Damn it.
  • Remembrance Day/Armistice Day. I always go a bit “history nerd” in November, which usually entails me falling down a rabbit hole of reading about the world wars. This year in particular I spent a lot of time researching and writing about the local history surrounding the WW2. This included visiting the Mi Amigo war memorial in Endcliffe Park, and walking the Sheffield Blitz Trail.


  • Walking through Endcliffe Park for the Tree Amigos Christmas Tree Farm, and the Botanical Gardens for their collection of pines and conifers. The squirrels at the Botanical gardens have no concept of social distancing.
  • Writing Christmas cards for my friends and family back home. While I text my friends regularly, there’s still something special about taking the time to write a card for them, and to find one yourself in the mail in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
  • Visiting the Christmas lights display at Town Hall, and seeing the city decked out for the holidays.
  • Christmas! Cooking dinner, having my boyfriend’s family ’round to visit, watching festive films, and exchanging gifts. Christmas was hard this year because it’s tough being an expat over the holidays under the best of circumstances, but it was still a pretty great day!

And that’s it! 2020 ended with a bit of a whimper, and as I write this, it’s January and England is back in National Lockdown (3.0!). Some things never change, even if the year does.


  1. Love this year in review, Ann! It sounds like you really made the most of it despite the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic. It was such a joy to collab with you on the Mad Men post – definitely one of the highlights of the year for me and The Mindful Rambler. You’re amazing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s