This post is a bit slap-dash, written at odd stages throughout the day in between the other bits and pieces that I had planned. I actually had the idea for this post yesterday after I saw this tweet, and while I could have probably
definitely written this post yesterday, I was having much too much fun, relaxing in my pyjamas, catching up with bloglovin and filling in some more of my travel scrapbook.
I have already written about the life lessons that 2016 has taught me, so now I want to look back at the memories and achievements that I have accomplished over the past 12 months. It’s a mammoth of a post, but hopefully it will inspire you to look back and reflect on your 2016 and make you feel more confident in yourself and your abilities as we move forward into the new year.
In January, me and David travelled to Bruges for a little mid-week getaway for his birthday. It was a wonderful trip, filled with chocolate, waffles and beer and I long to go back in the spring when it’s warm, the leave are growing and there is even more wildlife to admire. Here is my travel guide to this wonderful little city, if you are interested in making a visit!
January also saw me return back to university for my second term of second year, something that filled me with absolute dread. I was so convinced that I was going to drop out, I started applying for job roles. University has never been a great experience for me, but January was when I was at a particular low.
While at the time I didn’t think so, the two job roles that I had applied for that I really wanted had luckily both turned me down, stating lack of experience. With this reality, came the realisation that I had to stick with university (rather reluctantly), so I decided to fall head first into my studies and crack on with my assignments.
February also meant I got to return home from university for one week over half term and David took me out for a lovely afternoon tea in a rather posh restaurant. I was horrendously hung over the entire day and to get to this restaurant you had to travel through the glorious Devon countryside of windy roads and country lanes. Luckily, I survived the journey and the little cakes and finger sandwiches perked me up a treat.
Similar to February, March was spent reluctantly tackling university deadlines. In amongst the procrastination, I applied for summer jobs and would later get two of the roles that I had applied for. I also managed to secure myself some work experience over the summer, volunteering at the organisation that I had originally applied for a role within, in January.
For Easter weekend I returned home and spent a glorious few days in the sunshine with the boyfriend, exploring North Devons coastlines. Little did I know that the sh*t was about to hit the fan at my university house, as my housemate hadn’t paid her rent in two months. This led to a lot of arguments over WhatsApp and stress with letting agencies, something that was amplified due to the approaching April deadlines.
With the on-going drama between housemates and letting agencies, needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to returning back to university. The tension (and that’s putting it nicely!) inside the house got so bad, that after only 4 days of being back (I was meant to stay for two weeks), I had to get my boyfriend to come and pick me up, so he could move me out. This was a decision I didn’t take lightly and with deadlines, moving house and starting a new job all occurring at the beginning of April it was a stressful period of time. Luckily, I still managed to get my essays submitted on time and the transition of starting a new job was made simpler as it was working from home. While it may only be small in the grand scheme of things, the fact I was able to maintain my grades during this time is one of my biggest achievements of the year.
While April had a somewhat rocky start, the rest of April was relatively peaceful, simply working and revising for exams, broken up by a weekend away in Cardiff for mine and Davids three year anniversary. Staying in an Air BnB for the first time, we managed to have a good nosy around Cardiff centre, eat some good food and spend some quality time together.
One word. EXAMS. With three exams in less than a week, the beginning of May was boring, boring boring. I only returned back to university for one week and as I had moved out of my house, I was sleeping on my friends sofa. Mornings, afternoons and nights were spent tirelessly inhaling notes and hoping that something would just stick in my brain. The hard work eventually paid off and after my last exam, me and my friend from first year went out for a lovely meal and took our own ‘graduation’ photo together outside of the Cathedral.
After finishing exams I came home to discover that I had landed myself a summer job in the Post Office, a role I never believed I would even get an interview for! I was thrilled to be starting a new job that had far more sociable hours, which, after working so many years in the catering industry, was a real blessing.
Social wise I visited Veggie Fest in Bristol, celebrated Daves end of season football do and watched my first live football game at Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately, Plymouth lost so it was a pretty sad journey home and apparently saying ‘its only football’, doesn’t help!
In June, my new role at the Post Office started and lots of fun things started to happen. David and I attended a wedding, we spent many days in the sun rock pooling and bbq-ing as well as visiting the local wildlife park. We also managed to book a cheeky holiday and I got to watch Beyonce at the end of the month with my friend Jay, for absolutely free.
On the last day of June, I received my second-year university results and discovered I had obtained 68% overall. Considering the stress I went through, and the fact I almost dropped out, I couldn’t be more pleased with the result and it meant I had just under 3 months of university stress-free ahead of me.
July mainly consisted of work, however, we did manage to go on a last minute holiday to Murcia, Spain. It was the first time that I have been on holiday that consisted of absolutely nothing and for that reason, it was pretty damn perfect. We didn’t have any excursions or trips planned, we just stayed in our villa, visiting the local restaurants and going on the occasional bike ride. It was sheer bliss and I rediscovered my love of reading once again.
In addition to working, my volunteering began to take full swing. Travelling two hours there and two hours back, tested my patience a bit and while it wasn’t all it cracked up to be, I learnt a lot about myself, the field I want to go into as well as new skills and abilities.
As July was mainly filled with work, I wanted to strike a better work-life balance. I threw myself into as many plans as possible and tried to make the most of when the sun decided to make an appearance. I got to see lots of new places in Devon, Tarr Steps, Watersmeet and Abotsham Cliffs, and there was a fair few picnics too.
At the end of August, I turned 22 and to celebrate, David took me to out for a picnic to a beautiful placed called Whistle&Pound (see the picture for October). After that, the day took a turn for the worse and my birthday ended up with runny mascara and snotty noses. To distract ourselves, David took me for a drive and as we stopped, a herd of cows decided to pop over the horizon for a quick hello. It sounds daft, but the distraction they provided meant my birthday ended on a lovely note. This experience taught me that when things become all too much its best to take yourself out of the situation, sometimes the thing that cheers you up comes in the most unlikely of places!
The end of August/beginning of September was spent in London, where I was able to catch up with friends for a birthday meal and get some great bargains in London markets. Then, a few days later, Chloe, my friend from uni came to Devon for a visit so I showed her the best places North Devon has to offer.
Once Chloe had left, there were only a couple of weeks left before returning back to university to start my final year. With trying to fit in seeing as many people as possible, as well as all the goals I had listed for myself to be completed over the entire summer, those two weeks were a bit of a blur.
Moving day arrived, something I predicted would be traumatic (saying goodbye to David always leaves me running after the van, begging him to take me back home with him), yet was an extremely smooth process. I didn’t cry and I felt extremely calm with the prospect of going back to uni. After three years, I seemed to have mastered the art of getting back into the swing of university life and I was ready to begin with readings, work and volunteering.
For most of October, I tackled university like I was on auto-piolet. I can’t say I was particularly thrilled with being back at university, but it is by far my most stress-free year at university yet. My housemates are lovely, my course is interesting and I’d started volunteering as a peer mentor for two first year students. My friend who had graduated earlier on in the year came down for a catch-up and I was going on plenty of dinner dates with my other good friend, Chloe. I also started my ‘Wonderful Wednesday’ feature which made me appreciate the little things, take stock and reflect about all the wonderful things that fufil my life.
At the end of October, I returned back home for reading week. Filled with working at the Post Office, I didn’t get to see as many people as I’d have liked, however me and David spent a lovely autumnal day out together at a beautiful reservoir close to our town; Whistle&Pound. We also, for the first time in our entire relationship dressed up in matching fancy dress for Halloween and made the local paper’s top 10 best dressed!
Unfortunately, November was a bit of a disappointing month. After successfully applying for a placement at BBC Good Food in the summer, November was the month I temporarily moved to London for two weeks to complete it. It turned out to be not as exciting as I thought it would be and while I had no idea what to expect, I was disappointed that I didn’t receive more responsibility in my role. In addition, working in London when your a Devonshire gal was a bit of a shock to the system and the greyness of it all really confirmed my conviction that London is just not for me. While I think it is a beautiful city with fantastic opportunities, I just couldn’t picture myself living there.
Furthermore, working in London really put a strain on my relationship. Me and David have been in a long distance relationship for the entire time I have been at university and is something that we are actually quite good at. We have our systems in place to help us get through the waiting and we make sure we have time for each other. London, however only amplified the distance and made me question everything.
The day I returned back to university, from London, David travelled up from Devon to come and see me. Luckily, we were able to work through the tension and we ended up having a lovely couple of days together, spending some time at Broadstairs as well as doing a spot of Christmas shopping.
November taught me how difficult it can be to trust your own feelings and know which option is best, but I learnt that your feelings change on a daily basis so you’ve just got to take each day as it comes and not look too far ahead.
Finally we arrive at December, a month filled with a lot more happiness than its predecessor. Once David left, it was deadline time so while it was extremely boring, I managed to get a lot done while I was busy procrastinating. I started to really improve my blog, become more engaging and organise everything in a much more efficient way. (Oh for anyone wondering I did finish my deadlines on time, it just took me a bloody long time to do so!)
In addition, I started to take more photos, bake a lot more and do some reading too. Once I returned back home from university, I went straight back to work and busy days, continued into busy evenings as I had life admin to catch up on as well as the usual Christmas stuff of buying presents, wrapping presents and drinking far too much Eggnogg.
Once my last shift at the Post Office had finished I was in full on Christmas mode, spreading as much festive cheer to everyone around me. As it was my first Christmas off in four years I managed to do everything that I wanted to, eat, drink, watch crappy TV and play games with the family. It was pretty standard Christmas behavior, but it was pretty perfect.
Now, as I have looked back at the past 12 months (and if you are still reading, gold star for you!), it makes me so excited for the year ahead, which promises bigger and better things. I may not have completed a marathon or climbed a mountain but I am pretty pleased that I have been able to stay positive throughout the year and carried on, despite wanting to give up so.many.times.
Lets hope 2017 is filled with much more joy and if future me is reading this,I cant wait to see where you will be this time next year.
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