What A Year 2015 Has Been

Sunday, 3 January 2016

The older I get, the quicker time goes. I feel like 2015 has taught me how precious time really is and to be totally honest, 2015 has been the best year yet. Hand on heart I've met the best people and made the most incredible memories during the past 12 months and feel as though I've established myself as a person. By that I don't mean that I've got my shit together (far from it - I'm unemployed and I've got no money), but I just know what I want, what and who is important and I've got a rough idea of how to achieve what I want from life in the near future. Saying I've had the best year of my life isn't me boasting about how fabulous I think I am, because I don't think that by any means, but I think it's always good to celebrate your achievements and set goals for things that didn't quite work out as planned. You learn from your mistakes and I think a little yearly review works nicely as a roundup, especially to look back on when I enter 2017 to see what's changed and how far I've come - fingers crossed. I'm proud of what I've achieved and who I've become this year and there's certainly no shame in admitting that. I entered 2015 with three of my best friends in Amsterdam. We treated ourselves to a mini city break and had the funnest few days gallivanting around the city, seeing in the new year on a boat. After a very drunk and hilarious taxi ride home we did all the touristy stuff and I headed back to Uni a few days into January. The second term of University saw a lot of work and an intense news week as part of my course. Abby, Kate and I booked travelling which was super exciting and life turned into one big countdown until September. I turned 21 at the end of January and had a fab time celebrating with family and friends. I went for a gorgeous meal at Browns and saw Billy Elliot in London with my parents and sister which was probably one of my favourite things all year. We rarely get to spend time together just the four of us anymore so whenever we do, it's always special. The beginning of February was also celebration-worthy as I landed a spot as a contributing writer for Elite Daily which was a huge achievement for me. It made me relieve some of the pressure I put on myself and made me realise that you can achieve things with hard work and perseverance.

The rest of February was pretty work-heavy and boring from what I remember and Abby, Georgia and I spent Valentine's Day eating copious amounts of food and watching trashy films and TV. March was pretty much the same and I was working towards my Shorthand exam. The NCTJ qualification was part of our course and I'd worked my socks off since the previous October. Once again I proved to myself that hard work pays off as I passed my 100WPM exam and shortly after celebrated my mum's birthday at home with the rest of my family. April consisted of Easter Break but that didn't mean play time - it meant going back to work at home to get some money together while juggling my dissertation. May was very intense and stressful as I had deadlines AND got University results back. Abby, Kate and I did go for a little rehab getaway in Leeds one weekend which was a great stress-buster and we also enjoyed Sports Ball which is always great fun. In June we officially finished University and went to our last ever Ocean. It's a weekly social event we attended for two years with Dance which consists of a massive bar crawl in fancy dress, ending up at the grubbiest but funnest club called Ocean. It was ridiculously emotional and we all bawled our eyes out together while Take That - Greatest Day played in the background. University finishing also meant Last Day of Term so we all did that together and got drunk one last time to celebrate the past three years, and did the same at Grad Ball. While June was a lot of fun and we all went out all the time after all the stress was over, it was also incredibly nerve-wrecking getting results back. I'd never worked as hard on something as I did on my dissertation feature and I was desperately hoping for a high grade. I focused on male domestic violence and it became a topic that I was very passionate about. I got a First and I cried. It meant the world to me that my hard work had been recognised and whether I got a First overall or not, I was just delighted to have been awarded a First for my feature.

I also moved home for good in June which was a massive adjustment. I felt sad for days and it was really strange accepting the fact I'd never be at Uni in Nottingham again. It had become my second home and I loved the place and the people so much. But that's life - one door closes and another one opens. I went back to work at home and saved for travelling, so although I wasn't doing as much as I'd have liked to - July was a pretty incredible month. I started going out with my boyfriend who I'd been friends with for a while and things went from good to great. I went to see Ed Sheeran with Abby and Kate and then Kate and I went to EDC with Emily which was all in the space of the same weekend. It was one of my favourite weekends of summer because it was so much fun. We had absolutely no worries in the world and it was amazing to spend so much time with my friends. Our friendship group also spent the weekend in Leeds celebrating Abby's 21st birthday which again, was so much fun and so nice to be all together again. From what I remember (this is why I'm pledging to keep a journal this year so I don't have to rely on my memory which can be questionable at times), August was a pretty uneventful one. However, I did go to my boyfriend's auntie's wedding which was a pretty big step as I met the rest of his lovely family. We had an amazing weekend and it made me remember how much I love a wedding. September was a countdown at work until travelling and my boyfriend and I went away to Clacton for a long weekend with another couple from Uni - Alice and Alex. We had such a chilled few days by the seaside and it's always cute to do double couple things. September was super busy and super exciting as my sister got engaged. It still sounds weird writing it as it's one of those moments you dream of - your big sister's wedding. She's getting married on Saturday 4th August 2018 and I'm being bridesmaid which is super exciting. I also had my last day at work before going travelling with two of my best friends from Uni - Abby and Kate.

We jetted off for three months and went to Thailand where we started in Bangkok and island hopped around Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi and Phuket before flying to Singapore. We then travelled up the East Coast of Australia before travelling around the North and South islands in New Zealand and spending 5 days in Fiji before a whirlwind 24 hours in Hong Kong before flying back to London for Christmas. I had the most incredible time and it was hands down the best experience of my life. I'd strongly encourage anyone considering travelling to seriously just get out there and see the world. It's such a beautiful place and makes you appreciate life and your loved ones so much more. I did more in 3 months than I've done in 21 years and it's made me even more determined to see more of the world. I jumped 14,000ft out of a plane over the Whitsundays, zipwired over the world's first bungy site in New Zealand, elephant trekked, scuba dived, snorkelled on the Great Barrier Reef, held a koala, did The Challenge in Koh Phangan, held a monkey, drove a 4x4 on Fraser Island -  the world's largest sand island, sailed on the Whitsundays, did caving and tubing 60m underground in natural caves, dug my own natural hot pool and went horse riding along the beach in Fiji. Those are just the standout moments - there was so much more inbetween but I'm sure you understand what I'm trying to say. It was the most incredible end to an already amazing year and to top it off I spent Christmas and New Year with my family, friends and boyfriend. I've achieved so much in the space of 12 months which just goes to show that you're in control of your own life. If you want to do something, take the necessary steps to make it happen. It's not going to happen overnight but if your heart is set on something, don't give up until you've achieved it. Everything I've been lucky enough to experience and achieve in 2015 I've essentially made happen myself and that's something I'm not afraid to celebrate. I'm proud of how far I've come and the person I've become. My life is far from perfect but I certainly know what I want from 2016. With that in mind, I'd like to set myself some resolutions. It doesn't matter if some of them fizzle out halfway through, but it's nice to set yourself goals and see what you can achieve within the space of a year. It all depends on priorities and what's important to you. Here's what I'd like to focus on in 2016:

  • Lose between half a stone and a stone
    Whoever said you lose weight while travelling is a liar. Or doesn't eat. I put on about half a stone in 3 months which isn't bad, but combined with Christmas indulgence means I've got some extra skin I'd like to shed through healthy eating and exercise.
  • Drink more water
    I'm so bad at remembering to drink and can easily go until lunchtime completely drink-free. I know I'll benefit from drinking more water so I'm making a conscious effort to be a good girl and drink at least two litres every single day.
  • Learn about history
    I loved Geography at school which sadly means my history knowledge is severely lacking. It's actually very embarrassing how little I know about British history. So much so that I've put a British History for Dummies book on my birthday list.
  • Get a job with my degree I enjoy
    I'm going back to my old job part-time while I look for something journalism-related. I'd like to explore social media and PR so I'm open to options, but I'm looking forward to putting my degree to good use and getting a job I enjoy.
  • Be financially stable
    Travelling stripped me of every penny I owned. And then some. Having money again means I'll be able to pay people back and finally get back on my feet again. I've always been a poor student/poor traveller and it's time to earn an annual salary.
  • Start saving
    Once I've paid my debts and started chipping away at my overdraft, I'm going to start saving. Whether that's for a house or a holiday is yet to be decided, but at some point I'm going to want to move out and I'll definitely want a holiday.
  • Go on holiday
    Leading on from the last point it may be a little contradictory but we all have things we like to spend money on. Whether it's our hair, nails or a season ticket, my thing is holidays. I like to travel and it's never a bad decision to treat yourself.
  • Keep my bedroom tidier
    I was lucky enough to come home from travelling and move into my sister's old room which is full of glossy white Ikea furniture. I also have the desk of my dreams (Ikea Malm Desk - yep, it's the makeup drawer one) and I'm determined to keep it tidy.
  • Grow my Mac lipstick collection
    Not all resolutions have to be adult and boring, do they? I've always liked Mac but I've recently fallen head over heels for their matte lipsticks. I only currently own Yash (personal fave), Velvet Teddy and Ruby Woo but that will change this year. Whirl is my next victim.
  • Be more grateful
    We're all guilty of taking things for granted sometimes and the other day highlighted this for me. I was moaning about my smashed iPhone screen while people's homes were being flooded. I'm going to make an effort to count my lucky stars more often.
I've loved 2015 and in all honesty, 2016 has a lot to live up. The next few months are very daunting as I'm fully committing to adult life and being a big girl after running away from real life for a few months, but it's also very exciting. Here's to a happy and healthy new year!


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