2016 is a strong contender for one of the best years of my life. 2016 is the year that I have felt more content than ever and I truly feel so happy to have the life I do.
Joe and I started the year by visiting my Grandparents, something the whole of my family do every New Year’s Day. Although I have always visited with all of my family, it is even more special now that I do not get to see my older brother and his family so often. It is nice to have a catch up and see all the children. Later in January, Joe and I visited our first wedding fayre. We have not booked anything as of yet, we need to decide on a date before we can prepare anything else, although it was great to see everything laid out in front of us and to get a better idea of what we wanted for our own day.
February was a very exciting month! First of all, Joe and I won “Couple of the Year” at the Slimming World group we go to.
A couple of days later we then bought and collected our official engagement ring. When we first got engaged, we decided to get a cheap ring due to me losing weight and we were both students at the time so money was tight. Collecting our official ring was very exciting. It is a rose gold band with a morganite stone in the middle with two diamonds either side, something a little different but I love pink so it’s perfect.
The next day I went to, my now sister in law, Claire’s hen do in a really gorgeous country house in the midlands. It was quite a long journey from where I came from although it was so worth it, the house was gorgeous, the rooms were amazing and I had the most amazing facial in the evening. It was also great to meet all of Claire’s close friends and family before the wedding as it made for a much more enjoyable day being able to mingle between the families.
For Joe’s birthday, I bought him a turtle feeding experience at Birmingham’s Sea Life Centre. I had chosen this experience so we could make a day out of it and grab some lunch and have a nice trip out, which since living together we don’t often do. We had a great time feeding this gorgeous turtle and learning all out marine conservation and how the other animals in the tank feed also.
We decided to use this experience to celebrate two years since getting together. It crazy how time flies! I have had the most amazing two, nearly three years, with Joe and I am so excited to see what the future brings.
March was the month that my Uncle and my Brother got married, respectively! It was amazing being able to experience this and it made me get so excited for my own wedding.
The end of March also saw both Joe and I become vegan, this is something we spoke about a lot and I always said “I could never cut out cheese, it’s just too good” but then we watched Cowspiracy and from that moment on I decided that was it, I just couldn’t eat dairy anymore. When we got home that night, we threw out everything containing animal products and started fresh. It has been quite a long process and it has taken a long time to find nice alternatives to food I once loved but I feel like I am getting there and I feel much healthier everyday.
These two months were VERY quiet for me. It was the end of my University year so I spent a lot of time preparing for my exams and working hard revising for them and once they were over I was job hunting. It was extremely hard finding a job over this period, and I did not manage to find one all summer. Whilst this meant that I didn’t have a steady income over summer, it also meant that I could get back into blogging and it really gave me the chance to put my all into it and work out exactly where I wanted my blog to go.
June is the home of mine and my Mum’s birthday! At the start of the month, Joe, my Mum, my younger brother and I decided to go and play a local escape the room game. We had never taken part in one before but my brother wanted to do this for his birthday so of course we said yes. It was so much fun and I would definitely go back and do another one! My Mum and I spent years playing these kinds of games on the internet so it was so much fun to play one in real life.
Later in the month, My Mum, My cousin, My sister in law and I completed a 5k mud run. This is something I am very proud of an you can read all about it here. We then spent the day having a small buffet back at my house and ate amazing cake and generally had a lot of fun with the family.
We got our garden renovated in June, this was amazing and just what we needed. Our previous garden was a lot of work to maintain and it was difficult to keep on top of so we got the grass taken out and had it paved over and now Linc has somewhere less muddy to play. We also had a real issue with flooding in our previous garden so we needed appropriate draining putting in to ensure the house didn’t flood over the winter.
I got my first year University results at the end of June and I had gained a first in two out of six of my modules and a 2:1 in the rest! I was very happy with this and it pushed me to work even harder in my second year of University.
In July I rekindled an old friendship with someone from Sixth Form called Anna. We hadn’t seen each other for a couple of years but she had moved near to where I was living and since we had both finished the University year, we decided it was the perfect time to meet up. We spent the hot summer days in my back garden tanning with Linc and it was a lovely start to the summer.
Anna and I decided to join our local gym this summer and it was great. We started off by going swimming then for a couple of months we went to the gym. We ended up going nearly every weekday over July and August although money was a little tight going into September so I decided to stop going. I would love to get back into it but it is quite expensive, so maybe one day soon!
During August I entered a competition to go to a Masterclass with Nyx, Lou Teasdale and Nicola Schuller. They are both very popular make up artists and have worked with so many famous people so I felt like it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Needless to say, I won a place on this masterclass and went to spend the day talking all things makeup. It was an amazing experience and something I will never forget. I gained some valuable advice and Lou and Nicola were beyond lovely.
It was my Nephew Noah’s first birthday in August and we went down to the midlands to spend the weekend with my Brother and Sister in law to celebrate. We had a lovely weekend with the family and it was great to have another opportunity to get together.
At the start of September, Joe and I decided to take a day trip down to London. I managed to get some tickets in the summer sale for £40 altogether, both ways, so it was a steal. We had a lovely day seeing the sights although I made the mistake of thinking we would want to be there for a full day, we did not, it was way too busy and stressful. Then on top of that our train had been delayed for hours and we ended up having to get a coach most of the way home. Regardless of the fact that we didn’t get home until 3am, it was still a lovely day out and we had a great time.
September was also the month that my Mum got a gorgeous little kitten called Dexter. He is so cute and playful and I love spending time with him.
My favourite month of the year is October! I love Halloween and it was the perfect time to crack out Linc’s Halloween jumper, I think he loved it.
October was the month for testing out vegan shortbread recipes. I found one that was great and I cannot wait to experiment with it more! You can find that recipe here.
For Bonfire Night, Joe, my mum and I were invited to spend the weekend with my brother’s family in the Midlands. We went for the weekend and had an amazing time catching up and seeing their children again. You can read all about my weekend in Shrewsbury here. We also made some sock snowmen to get the kids into the Christmas spirit and they loved it!
Linc’s Birthday was in November so of course I had to dedicate a blog post to him, you can read that here.
I managed to find myself a job in November! I am working part time in a local supermarket and so far so good. It is only a temporary Christmas job although hopefully I will be kept on.
The most wonderful time of the year! I love December and all thing’s Christmas so I was truly in my element this month. Generally, with University, all of my deadlines come in December and of course I did not prepare accordingly. Not only that but I also booked a holiday for around a week in December so I really had no time for anything so unfortunately blogging went on the back burner. I decided to take December off from blogging entirely and just enjoy my time with my family, which I did, although next year I am going to plan a little better to be able to put up content without feeling so overwhelmed by the amount I have to do.
First of all I want to talk about my blogging anniversary. This came up in December which means I have had my blog for a whole year, I cannot say I was very good at posting consistently until June, but I still started it. I am so proud of how far my blog has come in just a year and I am so excited for everything that will come over the next year.
December also gave me the opportunity to meet up with two old friends from High School that I haven’t seen for around 4 years. It was really nice to see them both and I am very excited to spend some more time with them in the New Year.
So to celebrate my 21st and my Mum’s 50th, which both came around this year, we decided to book a trip away to New York. It has always been my Mum’s dream holiday although I was never fussed but I can honestly say it was the single best holiday I have ever been on. It was so much fun and I had a lovely time with my Mum and it has made me desperate to visit again. I could not recommend going to New York enough!
Whilst in New York, my Mum surprised me with tickets to my favourite musical, Wicked. I have seen Wicked so many times so my Mum thought it would only be right to go and see it on Broadway whilst we were there. It was an amazing show with amazing cast and I am so thankful to my Mum that she managed to get the tickets for us.
Then came Christmas Day. I had the most amazing Christmas with all of my family around me and I received some lovely gifts. I also cooked mine and Joe’s main meal on Christmas Day so my Dad didn’t feel so pressured. It turned out amazingly! It was so delicious. A post will be coming up within the next week containing the recipe for my Christmas Day main as well as what I got for Christmas.
Then came Boxing Day. Joe and I decided to venture into town to have a look at the sales and of course I wanted to make the yearly trip to Lush’s half price sale. We got to town and to my surprise, people were queuing to get into Lush! I was shocked but it was so then they kept the store orderly and only had 10-15 people in at a time. We decided not to wait around and went and looked elsewhere first and we both picked up some shoes from Office, we grabbed some lunch then headed back to Lush where we waited in the queue. It was worth it, I managed to get my hands on lots of goodies which with feature on an upcoming Boxing Day Sale Haul post. Over the next couple of days I visited various family members and checked out the sales in various other towns and generally just had an amazing Christmas period with my loved ones.
Finally, Joe and I headed into Manchester town between Christmas and New Year and went to an amazing diner called V Rev. I had the most amazing Mac N Cheese burger with Pizza fries. Whether you are vegan or not, you should definitely check this place out, it is amazing and they have an awesome bakery attached!
Looking back over 2016 as a whole, it has been a whirlwind. It feels like yesterday that it was January yet here we are in a new year. I have had a great year which has seen my confidence improve, I have spent a lot more time with my loved ones and I have made more time to see my friends which I struggle to do. I have also done a lot more things with Joe out of the house which I have loved and now that I have a job, hopefully we can spend some more time doing fun activities.
1) I am becoming increasingly aware of how fast my life is flying by, it makes me want to spend as much time as possible with my friends and family so a goal for this year is to allow that time.
2) Read. I realised last week that in 2016 I did not read one book, it is the first year of my life that I have not read a book so that is going to change in 2017. I have already started on a new book and I need to make some more time for reading and relaxing.
3) Save save save. This year I have felt more stressed about money than I ever have done before. Due to the fact that I was struggling with my mental health I did have to leave my part time job earlier this year but now that I feel like I am getting on top of it a bit more, I am finding going to work easier and I am earning money again so I want to put money away and hopefully by the end of this year I will be out of my overdraft!
4) Spending time with friends and family. I touched on this briefly in my reflections and 2016 has been the year where I have spent an increasing amount of time with my friends and family although I do want that to improve further. I love spending time with my family so why wouldn’t I do it more?
5) Work on myself. Again, 2016 has really been the year that has helped me grow and feel more content as a person. This is the happiest I have been for a long time and I want that to continue into 2017.
6) Make sure I am more consistent with blogging. I have been pretty consistent between June-November although I want my routine with blogging to get better, I do not necessarily want to set a schedule but 3 posts a week is what I am aiming for.