2017 In Review!


I almost can’t believe that it is New Years Eve tomorrow! Where did the time go? 2017 has been a full on rollercoaster ride; filled with twists and turns, slow rises and speeding downfalls, screaming and cheering. But we made it!

I came into this year at a house party I was hosting in my final year student house in Winchester. Singing David Bowie’s Heroes and popping bottles of Bucks Fizz while the London fireworks exploded on my TV screen. Things became a lot crazier after that. Being in my final year of University, I had a boatload of assignments and final projects knock me flying into a world of loss and fear over where I would be at the end of the year. I didn’t expect to have moved back to my parents’ house, single, and unsure of where life will lead me…But I don’t regret how it’s gone either? Thousands of doors have opened for me and I can’t wait to check them out as 2018 rolls in!

SO! Let’s get on with it then shall we? Here are some of my 2017 shoutouts:

My Degree:

This year I graduated from The University of Winchester with a 2:1 degree in Creative Writing! There were many tears and tantrums shed over the past 3 years it’s taken to complete this but there have been some AMAZING memories too. I’ve met some of my best friends (who also happen to have blogs I think you should check out 😉 Patsy – Writing at Dusk, Chloe-Mai – C0lourfultears, and Amber – Harlequin Writer) all of whom I don’t think I could get rid of even if I tried! I’ve had some hilarious nights out (and perhaps a few that were slightly less hilarious *cue nervous laughter*) but all in all, I got my degree and I honestly can’t express how proud I am of that!

My Blog – Parchment and Pencils:

I started this blog in March with a post about Post-University Life because of an assignment I had. The blog was then pushed aside while I finished my degree and tried to find my feet. Welcome To The Real World came around in July when I quit my job at Sainsbury’s and needed to panic write until I could find something new. From there, it’s been a bumpy road but I’m proud that I’ve stuck with it (even if it’s not been as regular as I would like!) For 2018 I have great plans for this blog. I’m going to be redesigning tomorrow ready for the new year as in January, I have decided to challenge myself to write a new post EVERY SINGLE DAY! I want this blog to show more of who I am. Over the next month, you’ll learn more about me, my writing process, my travels, the future, book/film/tv/make up reviews, tags, dreams, photography, and SO MUCH MORE! I’m really excited for you all to see what I have planned for you and I hope you’ll follow me on this adventure!

stats map
Check out where I got my views from this year… No surprises that most come from the UK!

To give you something to read for the time being, these were my top 5 most popular blog posts this year:

Learning To Write Again – 7th October 2017
NaNoWriMo Prep and The Great First Novel Debate! – 31st October 2017
A Letter To Harry Potter – 1st August 2017
The Pros and Cons of a Creative Writing Degree – 22nd July 2017
I Can’t Breathe – 24th October 2017


I can’t lie. This has been an incredibly bad year for reading for me as I’ve been too busy or too stressed to focus on something new. Most of my reading has been old favourites that it doesn’t matter too much if I lose focus because I already know what happens. I started MANY new books but most weren’t finished. This makes me pretty sad but at the same time, I know it’s been a crazy year so I can’t let that get to me. Here are a couple of the new books I read this year though…


Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

This is probably my favourite book I read this year. I picked it up after a dissertation breakdown led to a teary trip to Waterstones in an attempt to remind myself why I’m writing.  I chose it because the story I was writing at the time had royalty and a fair bit of death, so naturally, the crown dripping with blood caught my eye! It was the first book in a LONG TIME that I picked up and didn’t put down till I finished. It helped me get out of my writing rut and inspired a lot of my final assignments. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as absorbed in its sequels, but it doesn’t change how I feel about this first book.


Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

After much begging from friends, I decided to read the first Vampire Academy book and surprisingly I loved it. I honestly thought I had outgrown the teen vampire craze (she says after having spent the past few months OBSESSING over Vampire Diaries) I think it kinda stemmed down to me spending my year with old comforts. Even though I hadn’t read VA before, it’s a lot like the Twilight’s and Morganville Vampires I loved growing up so it felt just as easy to read.

TV Shows:

Netflix has been on a role this year! You’ll have to bare with me in this list as I have A LOT of shoutouts! (I’ll only write about 2 old shows and 2 new shows otherwise we will be here forever!)



I’ve been trying to work out why as it got closer to Christmas I’ve literally be CRAVING watching Merlin again until it came up on my news feed that I started watching it this time last year so I’ve clearly associated it in my brain! Netherless, even though this show ended years ago, I’m so glad I gave it a go but I truly LOVE IT! The bromance between Arthur and Merlin gave me life. I was sucked into every plot line and the character development was brilliant. I actually learnt a lot from this show about characters in my own writing.

Gilmore GirlsGilmore_Girls_season_1_box_set

With everyone talking about ‘A Year In The Life’ at the end of 2016, I decided to watch the original Gilmore Girls series as I wasn’t interested before when it was actually on TV. While everyone can admit that older Rory sucked a bit, I still pretty much adored her all throughout the original series. The only complaint I have about this show is that it’s totally made me want to be a single mum with 1 daughter and I haven’t been able to convince myself that it’s not as fun as Rory and Lorelai made it look! I’ve bought myself Lauren Graham’s (Lorelai) book on Kindle so look out for that review in the new year!

jane-the-virgin-series-dvdJane The Virgin

OH. MY. GOD. Natalie sat down to tidy her room, but something wasn’t right. She had finished Gilmore Girls and was lacking some background noise so she clicked on Netflix’s next recommended show. “I won’t pay that much attention.” She said. BUT SHE WAS WRONG! If you haven’t watched Jane The Virgin because you think it’s some silly little chic flik, then you need to get right onto Netflix now, grab some popcorn and prepare to gasp, cry, laugh, scream in anger, and go through all of these emotions and more in the space of 10 minutes. This show has some AMAZING twists that you will NEVER see coming!



Based on the Archie Comic’s which began in the 1940’s, Riverdale is a show new to Netflix this year. Don’t be fooled by its high school drama appearance, Riverdale has twists and turns, shocking murders, suicides, and surprisingly advance detective work for a group of teens. There are characters you will love, characters you’ll hate, and best of all, characters you’ll LOVE TO HATE. I would definitely join in with the rest of the country in watching this show so that we can all try and guess the mystery people together. It sure leads to some brilliant debates!

Anything else?

I do also want to talk about a couple of other favourite items from makeup, to games, and songs but I already have separate blog posts planned for next year with that so you’re just going to have to wait in that aspect. 2017 has also been a pretty shoddy year for travel as I’ve been too busy/poor to go anywhere (thankfully this is changing MASSIVELY in 2018!)

I’m going to say goodbye now to 2017 but I hope I’ll see you all in the new year where you’ll join me as I post every day in January introducing you to a shiny new blog!

Make sure to follow so that you’re alerted to each post coming through. To do this, you can either click the “Follow Via Email” button at the top of the bar on the right hand side, the ‘follow’ button at the end of the screen.  Or you can follow my other social media accounts here:

Twitter: @NP_Brittain

Facebook: @Natalie.P.Brittain

Instagram: N.P.Brittain

…Or if you’re feeling REALLY lovely, then you can follow them ALL!

Much love everyone! See you in 2018!

Natalie x

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