31 December 2016

The Highlights of 2016

Happy New Year Everyone!
It's so crazy; another year has been and gone just like that. It only seems like a week ago since I was writing up a list of my 2016 resolutions and getting ready to start my second semester at Uni. It amazes me how naive I was this time last year; I thought that everything was going to be perfect but then David Bowie died and things have just gone on a downward spiral from that point forward. We left the EU, George Michael passed away, Freddo's have gone up in price again and Donald Trump is the new president of the USA; if you wanted a summary of how rubbish this year has been, then there you have it. 

I'll be honest with you now, when I sat down to plan this blog post to make sure I covered all the lovely things that happened to me this year, I really struggled. It's been an incredibly hard year for me; I've lost family members, friends and really struggled to come to terms with my mental health. In a nutshell, 2016 has been a shambles and it's a year I will be happy to say goodbye too tonight with a cocktail in my hand. 

So there, I've had a small rant about how rubbish 2016 has been. I don't know anyone who's loved this year, I think everyone has been down and with the amount of people we have lost, it's no wonder. What I'm going to try and do today is cover all the good things that have happened this year, and it's these things that we should be thankful for as they've been the little rays of sunshine in the darkest of times. Please don't be expecting this post to be a long one, because I'm highly doubtful that it will be, but if you'd like to see some of the good things that have happened this year, then please do continue reading. 

I'm going to start with one of the first things I can remember happening this year, and that is going to see the Rocky Horror Show with Liv. This is one of those days that will stay in my memory forever; the manic search for a costume on the night of the show, doing our hair and make up and doing the time warp with the whole theatre. I have never experienced an atmosphere in a theatre like I did that night, but it's something I would willingly experience again. I never thought I'd ever go and see Rocky Horror; Mum had raved about it for years but it just didn't seem the type of show for me. I couldn't have been more wrong. I absolutely loved everything about it, especially everyone being dressed up and going into the pub after the show which was full of people dressed up as characters from the show. I really want to go and watch it again, it was too much fun. 

Most of my happiest memories of 2016 have been spent with Liv, and the fondest memory I have is going to the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool to see a play and Ian McKellen being sat behind us. It was the most surreal thing; he is the last person you expect to come and sit behind you in a theatre, let alone a little theatre like the Everyman. I'm still not over it. After that show, Liv and I went back to my flat, got extremely drunk, sang High School Musical on karaoke and then ordered a pizza at 3am. Perfect. 

Although I've not had that many nights out this year, due to the social anxiety situation, the ones that I have managed to attend have been pretty awesome. I've met so many new people, all whilst drinking alcohol and singing along to Whitney Houston. What could be better?
One of my goals for 2017 is definitely to build up my confidence and go on more nights out, I figured that the only way I'm going to get over my fears and anxiety is by combating the thing I'm most frightened of. Wish me luck!

Can someone please explain to me how I'm already half way through my second year of Uni?! If you would have asked me this time last year if I thought I would've passed first year, I would have laughed at you and told you that I was going to drop out. But here I am a year later, still writing and still hoping to be able to throw my cap into the air in 2018. I somehow managed to pass my first year with a very high 2:1 which made me even more determined to work hard in the second year. 
In order to celebrate the end of exams and writing for the first year, the Uni gang and I headed to Chester Zoo for a writers day out. It was definitely one of my favourite days of the year and something I would like to do again; the weather was so nice, we got to do lots of fun things and I got a toy penguin! As you know, this year I've lost a lot of friends, but having such wonderful friends at University really makes up for the people who have exited my life in 2016. They make me so happy. 

One of the many perks of my friends living around the country for University is the fact I get to go on adventures to go and see them. 2016 saw me take two trips to Wolverhampton to go and see Kathryn. However the second trip sticks in my mind the most as I got to share it with Liv and Charlotte; we went down to surprise and support Kathryn who was doing her final Musical Theatre showcase. It was such an adventure and I loved being able to explore Wolverhampton; it's surprisingly a really nice place. Watching Kathryn perform, I felt like such a proud Mum, and when we surprised her with flowers at the end of the night her reaction was priceless. I can't wait to go and visit more new places in 2017; Wolverhampton, Durham and London are definitely on my list. 

Just a few days after we returned from Wolverhampton, I turned 19. This was both a lovely time in my life and a very hard time in my life. At this point in the year, my mental health was at its worst and I struggled to leave the house, but my Birthday was one of those things that made me smile. It was so nice to spend the day with my family and friends, but it made me realise how many people have disappeared from my life since I started University, and how many people have replaced them. 

Another highlight of the year for me was going on day trips with Liv and Rach. We literally come as a three and I couldn't ask for two better girls to call my best friends. They've been extremely supportive towards me this year, I really don't think I'd be where I am right now if it wasn't for their love, kindness and understanding. I'm such a lucky gal! 
In July, on the hottest day of the year, we took a trip to the Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire and headed under the sea to go and spend some time with the fishes. It was so tranquil walking round and watching the fish as they swam around in their tanks; so peaceful and free. This trip also saw me make friends with a stingray called Sid who kept swimming over my head and saying hello to me. Okay, I know you're laughing at that last bit but I'm not joking, he was literally saying hello. 

One of the best parts of the year was going on our annual holiday to Cornwall. I love that place more and more every time I visit and I think it will always make it into my highlights post. This year was my favourite holiday we've ever had; we visited so many new places such as Lands End and Boscastle and I really enjoyed taking photos on my new camera. There's something about sitting on a beach listening to the waves crash against the rocks and watching as the sky paints the most beautiful picture as the sun sets. That was really poetic wasn't it?!
Boardmasters was another wonderful thing that happened this year, and although we didn't go to the music festival, the surfing festival was just as good. Cornish cider, music and surfing; could you really want anything else?
I can't wait to go back to Cornwall in 2017 and be able to chill out for a whole two weeks! 

There hasn't been a photo of Buster on this blog post and it'd be horrible for me to leave him out. So here he is being his happy little self. I promise this photo does have some relevance to this post; I took this at a Bichon Frise meet up that the whole family attended a few months ago. It was so fun to meet so many little Bichons, be able to speak to their owners and watch Buster make lots of new friends. I'm a little bit obsessed with going to these meet ups and I can't wait to go to lots more in the New Year. 

And finally, the thing you've all been waiting for. Would it really be a 2016 highlights post if I didn't mention my Halloween trip to Disneyland Paris?
Every time I go to Disneyland Paris, I am guaranteed to have a wonderful trip and make so many magical memories. But this trip was something else, this trip meant something else. If I were to tell you that I'd been on holiday with twenty people I'd never met before, you'd think I was crazy or you'd try to talk me out of it. But it was the best decision I made in 2016. I gained so much confidence, travelled to another country for the first time on my own and made so many wonderful new friends. I look at how lonely I was at the start of this year and now look at how loved I feel by such a beautiful group of people, it warms my heart. I haven't been this happy in such a long time, and with these lovely people surrounding me, I think 2017 is going to be a good year. Or at least I'm hopeful.  
My dreams came true when I met Marie, Peter Pan, Snow White and Mickey Mouse; characters I have wanted to meet for such a long time. Halloween 2016 was the time when dreams came true and I can't wait to return to make more magical memories. 

So, they are just some of the bigger things and events that happened during 2016, but some smaller things happened too and I'd just like to dedicate this little paragraph to them. I got myself a new job which I absolutely love and have learnt how important it is that you work with people who you get along with. I've become closer to my family and re-kindled my love for reading as well as completely given my room a makeover. I've overcome my fears of both travelling and the dentist as well as becoming more independent and learning how to look after myself. And to top it all off, I had an absolute blast watching both The Vamps and Jess Glynne in concert! 

Overall, although it's been a shambles of a year, it gives me hope that 2017 is going to be a little bit brighter. I'm so thankful that I'm still alive, healthy and that my family are too. Surely that's the only thing that matters after all. If you're not feeling hopeful about the New Year, you've got to think about the changes that you want to see and then go out and make them. If there's one thing I've learned this year, if you want something then you've got to go out and get it. 
As you're reading this I'm probably going to be getting ready to go out and welcome in what will hopefully be a year of happiness, love and magic. 

Lots of Love,


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