As is my annual tradition around this time of year I’m taking a moment to review the year that’s come to a close and look back at what made it awesome, what I achieved and other glorious things, I’ve pulled together some highlights in photos to share with you too. Overall, it’s nice to say that this year has been fairly chilled for the first time in a long while, after everything went tits up about 3 years ago, I finally feel like I’ve got some kind of normality and stability back, although certainly not in the conventional sense.
I’m no good at remembering dates, so I’m going to just dump this into categories. 2015 was our second year of living in Brighton and living outside of London definitely gave us space and free money to be able to do more stuff. From time to time I do still miss aspects of London, but overall it’s been a healthy change for both me and Miz. Here we go with some of 2015’s awesomeness.
Put on gigs in Brighton and London
Me and Miz teamed up to host gigs in Brighton and London at the start of the year, we kicked off 2015 with a headline show with Creeper who are now signed to Roadrunner Records and regularly in the pages of Kerrang. I think we must have hosted about 15 shows across the year and many of them featured posted designed by me. It’s been a great experience seeing how gigs work from another angle and meeting so many interesting people in the process.
Went camping in the woods
I haven’t had too much experience of camping and the experience I did have was pretty terrible and stressful so it was a very big deal when Miz and some of our friends managed to convince me to go camping in some creepy old Yew tree forest over Summer Solstice this year. Although it was still a challenge I had an awesome, beautiful time and it’s something I will be doing again, with a little more bravery and a little more skill this time.
Third ever Festival experience
Not counting the one day I went to Leeds Festival in 2013 (I think) this year saw my third proper camping festival experience with us booking a last minute trip to return to the awesome Hevy Festival at Port Lympne, this festival is very special with it being a nice size and next door to a zoo. We went with two of our friends and made LOADS of new friends too, happening to camp among a group of fellow Northerners (half of which were from the down I grew up in which is weird) and it really showed me a bigger size to festivals, the people and the connections. Again, I’m braver and now happy to say that music festivals are something I can do and can love too.
Met some awesome people
See above, plus getting to spend some time with some heroes of mine too, namely Alex Box make up artist, creative genius and one of my fave bloggers (and now cosplayer) Megan from Briar Rose Blog. Meeting people like these two, our good friends, Miz and the lovely people at Hevy make me happy and inspire me to be better. Thank you.
Conquered my fear of cycling
Since a childhood accident that left my knee badly scarred I’ve always been afraid to get back on a bike. In Spring, me and Miz headed to Moors Valley near Bournemouth and hired bikes and had the most fun cycling through remote feeling woodlands together, I was not at all afraid and the experience was amazing. This also gave me the confidence to be happily cycling round Barcelona later in the year, as soon as we live somewhere where storing bikes isn’t an issue we’re going to get some. It’s a great way to get around, be outside and trick yourself into some exercise and I need all of those things.
Became even less fussy with food
I’ve always been fussy with food and in the past three years have made a big effort to be less fussy. Miz has helped LOADS and trying things like tapas have helped ease me into trying new things. I’m still not a fan of things with onions in (my major, major loathe in the food world) but I’ve eaten raw prawns, salads, various condiments that I previously thought I ate and generally just being less of a pain, I even managed to be vegetarian for a week and would have lasted longer if it wasn’t for fear of Miz not eating enough.
I think I’ve travelled more this year than I had in the past five years combined. We went to Barcelona twice, Amsterdam and various places across the UK (usually tagging along to Miz’s gigs) and we’re back to Barcelona early in January. Being freelance gave and not paying London living expenses gave us the flexibility to be able to travel and work at the same time and it’s been a complete joy. I’m sure this will continue in 2016 and is something we have some big plans for.
Tried to revive my blogging game
This is a weirder one. I had high hopes for the Tesco Beauty Sessions project I was involved with from the start of the year and even re-branded and redesigned my blog to prepare for the extra publicity I thought I’d get from that project, unfortunately it was a bit of a flop and now I’m not really sure where I stand with blogging and what I want it to be for me in the future, I’m still pondering. It’s been a difficult year for me in regards to blogging and I’ve thought about quitting many times. But that’s all for another blog post, maybe. At least I tried.
This seems like a bit of a lame one, but it’s given me a lot of happiness this year. I always liked watching others play video games and always tried myself but never really stuck with it as didn’t think I was very good. When I was introduced to the Borderlands series via a cosplayer (I’ve written a post about that) it got me excited again, me and Miz completed the game together and I’m still enjoying going back through all the DLCs and hidden bits and bobs. I’ve also made good headway in Fallout 4 and we’re playing Star Wars Battlefront, Little Big Planet 3 and Diablo 3 together. I can see gaming becoming a bigger thing in 2016 and something I want to incorporate into my blogging too. I love getting immersed into a game and feeling completely distracted from reality for a while.
Became more creative
For the past 10 years I’ve been complaining about having a lack of creative output, at college and school I loved escaping with an art project but as I’ve gotten older I didn’t feel like I had the time or didn’t see the point as it just created more STUFF in the house for no reason. However, now I see the therapeutic side of it and although what I do doesn’t make us money or anything it makes me feel good. I started learning dress making again, painting watercolours and doodling and I even made a patchwork quilt for Miz’s band’s artwork which was my greatest creative achievement this year, it took AGES and was really hardwork.
Made it to year two of being freelance
I can’t actually believe it’s been almost two full years of being full time self employed and it’s been ok. Yes, I’ve taken a substantial pay cut to what I could be making but having the flexibility with time and who we work with is far more important for my health and happiness than having money to buy random shit that really I don’t need. It’s been a rocky road, but what I’ve learnt the most is that when bad things happen it’s really not the end of the world, things always manage to work themselves out in the weirdest ways. I plan on continuing to be freelance into 2016 but am investigating some other ideas too which I’m excited to ponder further.
Planned for the future with Miz
I don’t want to say too much on this one, but we’ve got some exciting things on the horizon and it’s so wonderful to be with someone who inspires you to be brave, take chances and to do what you can to be happier. Watch this space.