2016: A Reflective

I can’t believe we are so close to seeing in yet another year, it’s almost exactly 17 years since we saw in the Millennium which is really scary when you think about it.

2016 has well and truly been a brilliant year for me personally, I have to admit. I have done so much and been part of so many things for which I am so thankful. 2016, has also been a really bad year in so many ways, with so much hate being spread throughout the world and so many things happening which makes the future seem scary. We have also seen many celebrities pass away, like way too many celebrities, and so many of them are very young too and have been taken from us so early. A lot of philosophers have already said it but it looks like 2016 is going to be a significant time in history which will define so much of our futures, without going into too much depth here, it will be interesting to see what happens in the years to come.

Anyway, so this is a blog about my year in 2016. As you may know from previous blogs in the past I break down each month of the year and look back at the events which unfolded, so are you ready to travel back in time with me?

January

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A scenic shot taken with my new camera.

So January was a great start to the year, mainly because after many unsuccessful attempts to land a promotion at work, I finally landed the role which I always wanted, Emergency Dispatcher. This was the fourth time I had gone for the role, and it is a very competitive process, and after coming so close on the occasions before, this time around I managed to impress the interview board and landed the dream role which I always wanted. To this date, I am still very much enjoying my role and 2017 promises to bring some interesting changes too which I am very excited for.

In January, I also bought a new Nikon camera which inspired me to go out and take a load more photos. I am an avid photographer (as a hobby of course) and love taking photos of interesting things and scenes, and I hope that in 2017 I can continue to do more of this. I also saw the comedian Katherine Ryan on tour as part of her “Kathbum” comedy shows, which came to Reading in late January.

February

Eurovision: You Decide
Eurovision: You Decide was broadcast on BBC Four on the 26th Fenruary 2016.

February was interesting as the BBC were selecting their entrant for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in a National Final, a format not seen since 2010. They put on the show at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, London and I managed to be a part of the show by being in the audience. It showed a new fresh way of selecting the entrant to reperesent the UK, and all six songs on the night were a step up in terms of the songs which we saw from the UK in recent years in the contest. I actually visited London twice this month with also visiting London earlier in February, and going up to the top of the Shard building. It looks like it will be deja vu in 2017 though, as I will also be going to the National Final in London when it is being held in January 2017, and will also be going back up to the top of The Shard (this time at night) in March 2017.

March

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Our version of Carpool Karaoke.

March was a great month, not only did I get to see one of my childhood idols Mariah Carey when she came to London as part of her European tour, I also re-visited my childhood again when me and some friends went to Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey. Seeing Mariah Carey was amazing and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised as she still possesses the same vocal range from her younger years and she put on a great show at the O2 Arena in London.

Chessington was also a great day out and we picked a really good day to go as not only was it a glorious day but it was also very empty in terms of visitors, so we got to go on as many rides as possible. It was also a fantastic opportunity to see my friends and we also made our own version of the Carpool Karaoke which you can visit in full by clicking here.

April

Muse
Muse were fantastic live.

Spring was here once again in full swing, and I remember April having so many lovely sunny days. I went out cycling again as much as possible, and really enjoyed exploring some new cycling routes. I need to do more of this in 2017 I feel.

I also got to see the band Muse on their Drones tour which they brought to the O2 Arena in London on the 14th April. They were fantastic to see live, and The O2 was at full capacity when I went too.

May

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Jamala was the winner of the 61st Eurovision Song Contest.

As like every May before so, and every May in the future, May is basically just about one thing: Eurovision. I was lucky enough to go to my third Eurovision this year in Stockholm, Sweden and this time around I was there all week and went to every single show, including the Dress Rehearsals. I was so happy to be there and I had such an amazing time, meeting so many lovely people and having an absolute blast. Eurovision is always such a great time and is always pencilled in my diary, but sadly in 2017 I will be bowing out again (like I did in 2015) and will not be travelling to Kiev to be part of the show. I am hoping to be there in 2018 but right now I need to focus on other aspects of my life and moving out which is going to be a pinnacle for me in 2017. Anyway, being in Stockholm earlier this year was such a fantastic moment for me and will be something which I will always treasure and talk about for years to come. Where will the contest go to in May 2018?

Also in May, I travelled to Guernsey on a weird day trip which I won in a competition on a ferry. It actually turned out to be a great little day out, even if it was a long and tiring day in total, and of course my camera was there to capture a lot of the sights.

If you would like to revisit Stockholm, Sweden in May 2016 and relive Eurovision 2016 I put together a mini-film about my time there which is on YouTube and you can watch it by clicking this link.

June

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My friend Amy being absolutely covered head to toe in colour.

Well, June was a fantastic month. One of my best friends moved down from Scotland to London earlier this year and we saw a lot of each other which was great. This month, we took part in the Color Run being held at Wembley Stadium and we had such a blast. We got absolutely blasted with colour and we had such a laugh. We have agreed that we are going to do it all again next year as well, so stay tuned for the second instalment of this video on YouTube.

I also went to yet another concert in June, again travelling to Wembley Stadium to see Coldplay perform as part of their sold out world tour. I was so lucky to be right near the front and got some fantastic shots of Chris Martin and the band. They were fantastic and I have to consider myself to be a big fan of Coldplay, I have loved all of their recent music and I cannot wait for their new EP which is due out early next year.

July

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This was the only photo I took in July.

Umm, well I can’t actually remember what I did in July which kinda shows how uneventful it was. I remember that I did a lot of cycling and walking in the sun, as the sun was out in full swing. Apart from that though, I really can’t remember what I did in July. How bad is that? 

August

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Creamfields was such a great festival.

August was a lot more eventful than July, as I had a couple of visits to my best friend where we went for a couple of nice walks in the sun. I also signed up with David Lloyd so that I could start using their gyms and health centres throughout the UK, which I plan to use a lot more in 2017. 

The pinnacle moment of August was when I travelled up north to stay with a friend in Sheffield. From there, I visited Manchester and then went on to Daresbury (near Liverpool) to go to the Creamfields festival. Creamfields was an absolute blast, I love my dance music so I was very much in my element being there. There were loads of tents everywhere and all kinds of different dance music (there are different variations) and I had a really good time. It was just sad that at the same time, my power steering failed on my car, which even to this date nobody has been able to fix. This was a downer on the weekend away, but it will always be remembered as a great time away.

September

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OneRepublic were amazing and we got so close to them, front row!

In September, I was very lucky as my friend won tickets for the Apple Music Festival and asked me to go with her. I have been trying to win tickets to this festival every year since it first started and have never won, maybe in 2017 my luck will change? Anyway, the date we won for was the date when the band OneRepublic were performing, which was great as at the time they had released the song “Kids” which I was really loving listening to. You may remember that it was my most played song around the same time. So, off we went to London, into Camden to go to the Camden Roundhouse and see the band perform live. They were fantastic and I was so grateful that I had the opportunity to go, another memory that will live with me for a long time.

Also in September, the iPhone 7 was unveiled by Apple and it looked great, even if it was ditching the headphone port. It was also touted as being “splashproof” and that you coul use it in the shower, which I will be honest, I have tried a few times. 

October

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Bodiam Castle is a must for avid photographers like me.

Another fantastic month of the year, in October I got to see yet another band live in concert. The girl group All Saints have had a fantastic year, after reuniting and releasing a brand new album full of new material, they also went on a tour throughout the UK and when they stopped by in Bournemouth I was also there to see them perform and live out my nostalgia from when I loved them in the 1990’s. They all performed fantastically and put on a great show, I am really loving their recent album and as you may see in my upcoming blog, it may even be one of my most played albums of the year. 

As like every October, it was also Halloween time and so me and some of my work colleagues went up to Thorpe Park to go to one of their Fright Night events which was so much fun! I had never been to one before, despite wanting to, and I was not disappointed. The mazes were really scary at times, especially if you are at the front, and it sure reminded me how much I love being spooked and scared. We are planning on going to Tully’s Farm next year around the same time which apparently is even more scarier than the Fright Nights, so bring it on!

I also visited Bodiam Castle for a day out which is a scenic medieval castle in East Sussex. This was part of the National Trust days out which I got through my bank, not bad really for a free day out. Once again, my camera came out to capture it all!

November

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Sydney – a travel destination come true!

November was all about AUSTRALIA. Yes, my lifelong dream had come true and I visited Sydney in Australia for most of November. I had always said that this was my dream destination and it was great to go here just before my 30th birthday. There was so much covered in my time out there, so much packed in. From visiting Taronga Zoo to visiting where Home & Away was set, to visiting the Blue Mountains in Katoomba and then seeing the girl group TLC in concert whilst they were in the city, it was an amazing experience. The flight was very long, but I was actually surprised by how easy it turned out to be and I managed it OK. I am hoping that this won’t be the last time I visit Australia and I would love to go back and visit much more of the country, after all there is so much to see. This will be a few years down the line though. Don’t forget to check out my mini-film of my time in Sydney by clicking the link here.

Other November highlights included going out in Southampton for a night out which was really fun, and then spending the day at my best friends for her daughters 3rd birthday. We then went on a nature trail in the forest for a little birthday day out which was good fun. I also went to a fireworks display, but not that much of a great one. I am hoping next year to go to the fireworks display in Beaulieu neat Southampton which I hear is fantastic, watch this space!

December

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The Christmas Party at Stoneham Park was an amazing night out.

So here we are, December. This December I finally turned the age of 30, which I had reservations about initially but actually I am loving it now. You know what? Nothing has actually changed. I got treated to a fantastic day and night out by my bestie in London where we went to the West End and saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We then went out for a night out in Soho which I haven’t done in many years. It was great because I felt so loved, and it really showed to me how much my friends mean to me. They are my family.

Also in December, which I have recently discussed, me and my work mates went to Stoneham Park for a fantastic Christmas party. It was great and they had live dancers and put on such a fantastic show, all in the theme of Paris. We have talked about doing the same next year for a Christmas do, but in the New Year I will be changing teams so it will be interesting to see how this pans out. 

I also got to see the band Red Hot Chili Peppers when they came to play at the O2 Arena in London, they were fantastic. I saw so many bands and acts live this year which I hope will continue into 2017, I do love my music and concerts I have to say.

So there you have it, that is my year in a nutshell. Like I said earlier, despite some bad points, and a lot of negativity in the news, I have had a fantastic year and couldn’t have really asked for better. I just hope that this continues into next year, positivity is where it’s at.

2017

There will, of course, be a blog coming out on January 1st about how I think 2017 is going to pan out both for the world and for me personally. 2017 is going to be a stark contrast to 2016, but this was always going to be a plan. I wanted a fantastic 30th year, and I got it. Now it’s about growing up and embracing my 30’s and being the best person I can be.

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