Without a doubt, 2016 has been a strange year internationally and it’s definitely passed its influence onto everyone else. There’s a really strange vibe as this year closes, people are worried and many wanting to break away to help their well-being. Who can blame us really with a rich idiot becoming the most powerful man on Earth and a rather major fuck up when it comes to Brexit, plus the fact that there’s a whole bunch of people who don’t seem to see that these things are dangerous, which is equally worrying. Pile on top of that the number of heroes and icons we lots this year, the number of bombs dropped on innocent people, the increasing suffering of refugees and a load more nasty stuff, something has definitely been on the blink. However, let’s not let all this chaos distract from moving forward and trying to do the best we can. Here’s my little blogging tradition, a look back at what happened for me this year and some thoughts.
We moved to Barcelona!
We were researching and pondering the move for a bit less than a year before it happened, but after a gazillion recon missions we finally made the big move at the end of May, even though it very nearly turned into a Summer in Tenerife instead! I absolutely LOVE our flat, it’s the nicest place I’ve lived and it’s been wonderful to have weather that’s predictable and mostly sunny. It’s still not fully set in yet that we actually live in Spain and there’s still so much more to do, but we did it and survived! Intense feels this year with this epic change, it was not easy but it was the right thing to do long term. In 6 months of living in Barcelona we saw more of our friends than we did living in Brighton for TWO years. Ridiculous right? Didn’t think it would so positively impact our friendships too!
Cut down on unnecessary personal social media use…
Towards the second half of this year I made a conscious decision to not live report my life online in the same way I have before. I’ve never been an mega oversharer (I like to keep personal stuff to myself online), I’ve been enjoying finding joy in things without the personal pressure to blog about it or post it to Instagram which I had previously. My friend Simon Caine wrote a post about Digital Detox that really helped me start taking action and Miz’s encouragement has really helped me on my way to finding balance with life. I still love aspects of social media and will continue to use it, but going forward it will be used more wisely in my personal life. Watch this space.
Started learning Spanish
This was one of my new year’s resolutions and I DID IT! I started learning properly in the Summer when I attended a Spanish language class here in Barcelona for two hours a day for a month. I’m now doing Duolingo and personal study in my spare time as we settle and get our heads around a gazillion other things. It’s been SO good for my brain and I’m so pleased with how much I’ve learnt in less than a year. I used to love languages at school but haven’t put the time into the field since High School. If you’ve ever had a desire to learn a language, do it, I could not recommend it enough. For me, it’s even more important as it’s part of Miz’s heritage and makes living in a Spanish language country a lot easier.
Lost weight, without really trying….
I know I wrote about this topic before, I was feeling a bit weird about having blown up nearly three dress sizes within a year during our time in Brighton and the impact it had on my lovingly put together capsule wardrobe which is almost all gone to eBay bargain buyers now, *sob sob*. I can’t really put my finger on it, but since we’ve moved everything has stabilised without much effort. I’m definitely eating better and doing more, but haven’t put any specific effort into loosing weight, so this was a pleasant surprise. Shall we say it was because of the sunshine and good food? I have another idea, but that’s for another time and perhaps another place.
Become more aware of current affairs and politics
As someone who sometimes struggles with keeping positive, over the years I’ve generally actively avoided the news so as to keep my mind on happy thoughts. This year, via many in depth conversation (mainly involving rum/tequila and Miz) and taking time to do some research I’ve started to educate myself in order to share useful opinions. If you know something is wrong with the world, it’s not good enough to pretend it’s not happening. I want to make a bigger impact and take more action, but right now I’m doing my bit by talking about important subjects publicly, inviting ever so important discussions. Of course, we all have our boundaries to how much information we can process and cope with, but if you believe that politics doesn’t effect you, I’d recommend you have some pondering time. I’ve written a post about this before too.
Artwork by me inspired by Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
Gigs, bands and going on tour…
As you know, Miz is in a band, Larkhill. We also collaborate on hosting live music and offer marketing/PR services for musicians too via our company Kitsch.inc. This year, we got coverage for a music client in Rocksound magazine which was a nice Kitsch.inc milestone. At the start of the year I went on tour with Miz for a weekender and nearly died, I wrote about it here and it’s one of my fave posts ever. We hosted a few gigs at the start of this year too as P.S The Scene is Dead, which I don’t know how we managed to do on top of moving to Barcelona and running a business, but hey, it’s pretty awesome and it’s making a come back soon, it’s on a very long list of things to do. We also had A LOT of band related visitors this year, you’ll have to follow Larkhill to find out more about what that is all about. We didn’t make it to all the gigs and festivals we had hoped to attend but we did catch some of our faves: PUP, Great Cynics, Beach Slang, Kevin Devine, The Front Bottoms, Creeper and Modern Baseball. Proper gutted that we missed Against Me! especially, but they’re on the festival lineups for next year. Miz has done SO much for his music this year, I’m so proud, his list of stuff he did in 2016 would be about four times longer than this list! He is SO dedicated and talented.
Bring on year FOUR of being freelance…
This year was my third year of being freelance and as I had hoped things just steadily get better and more interested, this year we did some really EPIC projects for Kitsch.inc and won some dream clients. I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to maintain a freelance lifestyle, I don’t think I’d have it any other way. We have some awesome plans for our biz in 2017, so keep an eye on our social and website for news.
One of the reasons a lot of us started blogging was as a creative outlet. Over the past few years, I’ve started to see that blogging the way the industry makes you think you need to blog kinda sucks the fun out of it. So I’m very pleased to feel like I’ve found my blogging balance this year, making space for more real life creative activities like drawing, painting, dress making and learning some new trades too. It’s been amazing therapy and is helping me on my way to some new projects. If you don’t already do something physically creative, find something, you won’t regret it. Special thanks to Michelle and Sara for inspiring me and Miz for always cheering me on and giving valuable feedback. I also re-did my homepage this year, a DIY job, to better reflect the portfolio of projects that I’ll be working on going forward, I’m no longer just a blogger.
Artwork by me of one of my hero’s Alex Box
Anyway, so that’s a long list right? It would have been longer if Brexit hadn’t made all of our plans a hell of a lot more complicated, but I’m pleased to say that despite all the ups and downs, I’m ending 2016 on a positive note. It’s been hard work, it’s flown by but me and Miz have really achieved ALOT this year, I’m feeling excited about 2017. Watch this space, maybe.