2015: A Reflective

So it’s time to look back at the events of 2015, I can’t believe we are about to celebrate another year. Have you had a good 2015? Here is my look back on what I got up to.

January

2015-01-05 14.07.16Crash! Bang! Wallop! A new year had begun, and I had said to myself that 2015 was the year that I would lose weight. I wasn’t wrong, but it certainly didn’t start off as plain sailing as I had possibly hoped. Due to inspiration given at work, I had heard of the LighterLife diet. Basically, the diet consisted of fasting for two days of every week, with the other five days eating normal food (although this should still be healthy normal food). So there I was, buying every LighterLife product under the sun in order to lose the weight. I think you guys can guess what happened next, well, nothing basically. I had given up on LighterLife by the time February had begun, mainly because I wasn’t seeing any results and just ended up seeing massive holes in my bank balance. I wouldn’t recommend the LighterLife diet to anyone, if I am honest. They charge high amounts of money for products which taste like cardboard, and (as I later found out) there are much better and productive ways to lose the weight.

I went on to lose three stone later in the year, more on this later, but it turns out that you can’t just sit on your butt and expect things to happen to you, you have to go out there and make it happen.

February

IMG_0230

So, in February I went and visited New York. This was the first time I had visited New York since I last went back in 2006, which again was in February time. When I last visited in February time, I don’t remember the weather being as cold as it was this time around. Literally every day the mercury did not get past 0 degrees celsius and needless to say I was freezing my head off. I still had an amazing time, New York is an amazing city with a vast history and many sights to see. This was also the perfect opportunity to go and see the musical “Jersey Boys” on Broadway which was a fantastic experience. I got to take many fantastic camera shots, much like the picture you see above, and I also got to go to Central Park for the first time which looked stunningly beautiful, even under snow. I will visit New York again, sometime in my lifetime, but the next time will be during the Summer months for sure.

March

2015-03-12 15.48.14

Well, March. March 2015 was not a great time by any means. My Nan had gone into intensive care for the whole month (including much of April) and not only that, but my dog had a cancer scare. I just remember March as being very bleak and depressing, despite the spring time arriving and the great weather beginning. Luckily, both my Nan and my dog have survived, my dog didn’t have cancer and my Nan is still recovering but is in a much better place than earlier this year. If there is one thing I have learnt this year is that life can be challenging at times, and hard. It took me a while to see that you can overcome this and use bad experiences as fuel for pushing yourself further. I will talk about this later, but basically, March 2015 was not a great time by any means and although we all know in life there are no guarantees, we have to make the most of what we have in the here and now. The picture above was a day after my dog had his operation, I like this picture a lot as he is still smiling and enjoying himself, despite being in a lot of pain.

April

2015-04-26 21.33.05

In April, things started to look better. My Nan was still in hospital for all of this month, but had been transferred from the ICU to a rehab unit later in the month. There was definitely light at the end of a dark tunnel, and not only that, but Eurovision (like the biggest event of the year in my life) was gearing up. In April, I had the chance to see two Eurovision themed concerts. There was the Eurovision 60th Anniversary concert at the Hammersmith Apollo, filmed by the BBC, as well as the London Preview Party at the Café De Paris in late April, featuring many performers from the 2015 event. I had taken a decision to not attend the actual Eurovision Song Contest shows, to be held in Vienna, so for me these events were like the next big thing. I managed to get right near the front at both events, even featuring on TV in some shots at the Eurovision 60th concert. Let me tell you though, seeing myself on TV was not a good experience, I had seen how big I had become and I knew that I had to do something about that now, which leads to…

May

2015-05-20 12.21.27

May. May was a great month for a number of reasons. I wasn’t in the best state at this time, because of events leading up to this time, and work not going so well. Luckily for me, I was handed the biggest lifeline so far. At work, they were advertising a Cycle To Work scheme. I used to love cycling as a kid, and for months had been tempted by the idea of buying a bike, but was put off by thoughts of “would I use it?”, “what if I am no good at it?” etc. I decided to take the plunge, I know the scheme is “Cycle To Work” but basically as long as you are using it often enough, then you would not be breaking any rules. I have to say though, I am so glad I went for it and entered the scheme. I got a fantastic looking road bike, a helmet, a lock and some lights, and I was ready to go. I had to wait until I got some better pedals (basically my feet are too big for everything – size 12!) but when they came from Amazon, I was ready to take on the world. I was in my element, I was comfortable, and little by little I got better and cycling more distances every time I ventured out.

In May, I also went and visited my friend living in Scotland, along with her family, and also my Mum and Brother who live up that way. After what had happened for the previous months, the time away was brilliant, and helped me to see a way forward. I was sad that I didn’t get to go to Eurovision, but I had pledged to be there the following year, along with a healthier and happier me. You may have seen from some of my recent blogs, that I am nearly half way there, and for me, 2016 is going to be the year where I will make this happen, whatever it takes.

May also saw my Nan return home, I will always remember the smile she had on returning home. Things were most certainly looking up, until…

June

2015-06-09 21.10.51

We come on to June, the month where I spent half the month in bed. Yes, this was the month I had a bout of Campylobacter (yes I had to google the spelling). The month started off great, I got to see Take That live at the O2, which was fantastic, I was right at the front in the fan zone (how on earth did I get that?). As you can see from the above shot, I got some fantastic shots of the band too. Things then went downhill later in the month, when I was really ill with the worst stomach pains and cramps, and dare I say it, diarrhoea. I know this isn’t exactly the best read, but it happened, and it was awful, and gave me a massive head start in the weight loss that I had wanted so badly, losing 1 stone just by being ill. It pushed me to want to keep maintaining that though, I didn’t want to go back up and would do anything I could to keep the weight off. As you can imagine, I now feel that by being ill, it was a great chance for me to take that and move forward. I had kept it up all throughout the year and I am in a much better position now.

Also in this month, I got to see Kylie Minogue at the Hyde Park show, although I was right at the back so wasn’t the best position to be in. The only thing I remember from being there though, was I wanted to go home, I really wasn’t well (despite lying to myself that I was) and even though I loved seeing Kylie, I would much rather have been at home in bed. Uh-Oh, won’t be doing that again!

July

2015-07-13 16.04.30

So, July. The only thing I remember about July is that despite being at the height of Summer, the weather was rubbish. I just remember it being semi-hot but like no sign of the sun anywhere, it was a weird month for weather. I think the picture above kinda proves that point. This picture was taken in London on a day out before going to see Wicked: The Musical live in the West End with a friend. The weird picture, as you may be asking yourselves, is of the Traffic Light Tree. Yes, this weird concoction is found in the heart of London if you search hard enough.

In July, we also saw the birth of Apple Music. Apple Music has completely revitalised my iTunes library and I love the fact that you can add any music you want and change the tags to how you see fit to match your library, this is what Spotify was missing for me. Going forward, the way we listen to music and have music in our lives will be a completely different ball game, especially with the charts now including music streams, which was started this Summer too.

August

DCIM100GOPRO

August was more like it, the sunny skies were out again. I was cycling near enough every day that I was off work, along with going to the gym more. I had lost a load of weight, probably the most during this month. Looking through my Health data for this year on my iPhone, I could see a dip of about 1 stone 5pounds, just in this month alone. I must have been doing a good job! I also bought a smoothie maker to make some delicious fruit juices, and I remember changing some of the things I ate which were healthier for me. I loved going cycling in the Summer, and still do despite writing this in December, I remember I was cycling distances of an average 10 mile mark every time that I ventured out, and things were great.

September

21151232354_2508e9efd2_o

Ok, I am not going to lie. I think September was the most boring month of the year. I just don’t really remember much about it, I was still cycling and going to the gym. The only thing I can remember to tell you is that this was also the month we had the Super Moon and a Lunar Eclipse, all at the same time. I remember finishing early from work on a night shift, and came home to do some moon hunting. I took a load of rubbish photos, which we won’t discuss, but the needle in the hay stack was this photo, how amazing is that? I am very proud that I managed to get this shot of a very rare moment.

October

2015-10-12 14.02.19

October was a good month, I went on a long road trip up to Scotland which was a load of fun. I travelled around through the Highlands up to and around Inverness and Elgin. Whilst I was up there I also saw my friend Amy again and her family and we got up to many antics. I also caught up with my Mum again and it was really nice to get away for a bit. I love going for road trips, I love the appeal of getting in to my car and driving, not knowing where I will end up, or even if there is a destination in mind it can be good to take diversions and see different things. I do a lot of driving to get to work and so I don’t tend to use my car much when I am not working, mainly because I go through so much fuel. In the New Year, I want to travel a lot more in my car and see more of the country that I live in.

In October, I also won at bingo for the first time ever, I had also reached the 3 stone mark in my weight loss, and also started swimming again which I have loved getting back into.

November

2015-11-21 22.05.12So, we go on to November. The nights were well and truly coming in, with Sunset beginning at times like 4pm and Sunrise beginning at like 8am. The Winter was on the way, and some could argue that this is always a bleak time in anyone’s year. Not for me though, during November I went and saw a couple of concerts which was brilliant. I saw Marina & The Diamonds (pictured) at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth and CHVRCHES at the Alexandra Palace in London. Both acts have released new albums throughout 2015 and so it was great to see them perform live, showcasing some of their new music. I do love my music, and I think I can admit to being a bit of a concert junkie. Seeing different gigs and concerts brings the music to life, and sometimes makes me like music that I had previously disregarded as not being so great. I am happy to say that already in 2016 I have planned to see 9 different concerts, gigs, events and a comedy show. It’s going to be action packed!

December

2015-12-01 21.02.16
So here we are, December. December has been fun, it started off with a bang as I went up to London and stayed in a hotel near the O2 to see my uptime idol Madonna live at the Arena. Madonna was amazing and completely lived up to my expectations and I managed to get some fantastic shots as well. The very next night I saw Disclosure at the Alexandra Palace, having only been there a few nights prior when I went to see CHRVCHES in November.

I also turned the grand old age of 29, and am now officially in my 30th year. I have already written a blog on this and what I wish to achieve in the forthcoming year, and you will see from my upcoming blog that I already have a lot to fulfil. I was initially rather sad and depressed at turning 30 but after giving it a lot of thought, I am ready to embrace it and so I am no longer afraid for next December when the day comes. I fully intend on making it a big celebration and have already thought of a couple of ideas to make this happen.

We also celebrated Christmas, which, well I didn’t, but it was nice seeing people at work having a good time. I had purposely said in my head that I didn’t want to do Christmas this year, but I realise now that this was wrong, and that actually I love Christmas far too much to just give it up. Therefore, I pledge, that next year I will be going all out for Christmas no matter where I am, what I am doing and what is going on with my life.

So there you have it, that was my 2015. 2015 will be remembered as the year that was hard but actually, has made me see the light. You could kind of look at it as a year that tested me and what I am made of, maybe this is what a I needed in order to move forward and become a respectable thirty-something next year. I am glad that this year will be over soon, but also by writing this blog, I have realised that I actually did so many great things this year and I should be proud rather than dis-heartened. Join me in a couple of days time when I publish my blog on what I am expecting in 2016, both personally and in life generally. Thanks for reading.

I leave you with this, this is my 2015 (up to 10th December) in seconds…