Love Wins, 2020

I feel as though 2020 has stolen my ability to think, let alone any talent I had transcribing words to a page in any semblance of logic or reason.

January began on a cold, blustery beach in Suffolk, swiftly followed by the sharp end to another year of memories and a sense of questioning ‘what now?’

‘What now’ turned out to be six weeks spent between Warwickshire, Wales and London; creativity on speed, my 2019 round up video, an interview on one of my favourite podcasts, my first wedding of the year at Dewsall Court and then… and then… the slight murmurs of a virus that had taken hold in Asia. 

It was as though I’d ingested rocket fuel to immediately crash and burn in the desert with not even a slight mirage to speak of. I watched the press conference with Jesse each evening and the day the schools were closed was a blessing, not a surprise.

I utilised that energy towards homework videos on the Sony rather than my iPhone, daily vlogs with mini me, weekly Instagram ‘Lives’ with friends, endless bottles of Prosecco and hours spent assuring my couples that I’d be there for them on whichever date they were finally allowed to say their vows. There’s a part of me that doesn’t shy from chaos; it provides a purpose. However, chaos born from devastation is a different story and the energy for work ultimately fizzled. 

Late Spring and Summer provided sunshine and lunch dates playing frisbee and football in the park with J. It was the longest period of time we’ve spent with each other since he was born and his 3 week return to school before the Summer holidays was bittersweet. 

In a twist of fate – as so often comes when you least expect it – one of those school days enabled me time to spend a morning at a Leicestershire restaurant named The White Swan. I was hired to document their new seasonal menu for a man I’d bored/enthralled with various conversations about Anthony Bourdain and gym life.

Fast forward a few months (because that would be a novel), and we’re sat on the couch watching Elf with our two boys, now with two restaurants to try and keep afloat during a global pandemic but the most incredible team. No drama or bells or whistles he’s my best friend. From a year of horrendous loss for so many I often feel guilty to have been awarded so much. 

I wasn’t sure whether to complete the annual ‘Best Of’ series that has been the norm for almost a decade. And yet the most appropriate motto for my 2020 is love wins. I’ve witnessed weddings with minimal guests, I’ve been the only guest, I’ve worked entire days masked, I’ve seen bumps become babies, I’ve given out countless ‘air hugs’ from a distance and I’m proud to share the below. 

*It feels ridiculous to have to say this, but all of these weddings were held in accordance with the government regulations at the time.*