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Goodbye 2016!

It might be a few days late to post a look back at 2016, but it’s been a mighty busy couple of days, I haven’t had a chance to look back at the last few minutes let alone look back at the entire year. 2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year, there’s been major disappointments, disasters, and losses for the world. In my personal life, I’ve overcome some obstacles, hit major milestones and been at the highest and lowest points I think I’ve ever been at.

I started 2016 with a 6am shift at ASDA. I remember going to bed on New Year’s Day at 12:10am. I didn’t start it very well. Then someone in the canteen was talking about how they think Sia is stupid. It really didn’t start well.

January was a bit of a whirlwind, I was in the first exam/coursework period of my third and final year of my degree. I had so much coursework, it was probably the hardest exam period of the entire degree. I averaged out at a 2:1 at this point, that’s mega good, but I personally was disappointed as I had been averaging on a strong first grade, and my results which dragged me down were in a module I very much struggled in, and one I recognised I didn’t try hard enough in. After this, I had a week off alongside my course and flatmates, we drank, we shopped, we partied, it was a great time.

 Things then improved further! We finished January, and brought in February, with a trip to Budapest, Hungary. Myself and four of my nearest and dearest decided to spend a couple of well earned days away in a city none of us had ever visited. It was bloody incredible. We all laughed harder than we ever had before on that trip, that’s what stands out to me from it. It was one of the best few days of my life with people who I’m sure will be lifelong friends. That’s the nicest thing I’ve ever said about them, usually we’re all right bastards to each other.

Otherwise February was quite a quiet month, I settled into my final semester of university EVER! What a daunting prospect that was, and still feels like! New modules, new timetable, and an accounting lecturer I fancied like NO OTHER! I was really into the gym at that point, I wish I’d kept up with that! Otherwise, I went to see Marina and the Diamonds perform for the third time, and once again she killed it.

One of my favourite memories of the year was in February, my flatmate Anna’s birthday is in late-March, however it was whilst I was away travelling, and also over the Easter break meaning everyone else would be at home rather than Liverpool. We instead threw her a surprise party almost 8 weeks before her actual birthday, she had no idea. We made about 70 jelly shots, and hung banners all over the show, including one which said ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY BITCH’. That was one of the best nights of the year, we all had a fabulous time celebrating a birthday that was still long away, and just enjoyed each other’s company as we knew it wouldn’t be so easy after we graduated.

March was a mega month for me, the first two weeks were incredibly busy with me working, filming videos ahead of time, as well as the most important thing: getting coursework and university work done that I wouldn’t have time for over the Easter break. Why so? Because I was going to Japan for a month! My lifelong dream had been to visit Tokyo, not only was I doing that with one of my best friends, but I would be meeting other longtime friends and travelling between multiple cities! Travelling around Japan was a true life experience; being 6,000 miles from home in a completely different culture for such a long time.

April was much of the same! Until I returned home on April 11th. I didn’t have a razor in Japan, so I grew out my beard, shaved it off as soon as I got home, and realised it was a mistake! Since then I’ve worn my facial hair a bit longer! Cheers Japan! I watched Troye Sivan perform in Manchester, celebrated friend’s birthdays, and studied hard for my exams…but mainly for the Game of Thrones pub quiz we lost to people who were GOOGLING ANSWERS! NOT OK.

The Hillsborough Inquest came to an end in April. This was a big moment for all of Merseyside. My university has worked tirelessly on it, and it was a real time I felt such a part of Liverpool. Everyone came together and celebrated the result many have rightfully deserved for decades.

May is when shit got real. Exams would begin, coursework deadlines were approaching, and I would be leaving university and Liverpool soon after. I was on the job hunt, and failing quite disastrously. I had made it through the first step process for one, and then was axed immediately because I couldn’t make a group interview day (it was whilst I was in Japan), so I was still pretty bummed out. I didn’t really have the time to focus on that though, I was working hard and appreciating every moment I could with my friends before we parted ways.

June! The moment it all ended. My last exam of university was on one of my favourite modules: Introduction to the European Convention on Human Rights. My flatmate Sarah and friend Georgia also had this exam, making it a bit easier on us because everyone else seemed to have finished! We saw that afternoon out in style, drinks and food with as many of our friends as we could gather. That was that, my time at the University of Liverpool had come to a close! However I still had my flat for a bit longer, so we all stayed in Liverpool for a few more days.

This photo has been saved like this in my phone for months, so I’m going to allow it to live on in portrait rather than landscape here.

There’s an annual Law Ball, this was our final one so we went JON HAMM. Everyone came to our flat first for drinks, it then got so hot we had to take the party to the steps of our building. So much happened that night, including going to watch the sunrise over the city from the park opposite my flat…except it turns out the sunSET is over the city. I kept us all up until 5:30am for nothing. Otherwise everyone could have gotten a normal sleep, sorry guys.

We had a final flatmate outing to Sefton Park to cross something off our bucket list: hire City Bikes! I got shat on by a bird whilst riding around and almost rode into a lake. Good times!

I threw some early birthday celebrations, of which I have 0 photos of apparently. On my actual 21st birthday, my mum and I had a spa day! I had been saying to her that I have never had a spa experience before and really wanted one, so we went for one. I could go for a massage now, to be fair, I could go for a massage always.

I then came home to my dad having decorated the house in Pokemon toys from my childhood, and a surprise limo to take my parents, my sisters + their partners, and myself for drinks! What a day. I was well and truly spoilt by my family.

July is where it got even better! I worked a lot at the start of the month, working 6am-1pm shifts at ASDA, coming home and working hard on my Obi-Wan Kenobi cosplay for Star Wars Celebration Europe. I was sleeping for about 4 hours a night, working a bunch and sewing for even more. I’ll plan better next time.

I celebrated my mum’s birthday with her, we had lunch in Panoramic 34, a restaurant overlooking Liverpool. We had such a fun day, we’ll have to do it again this year! And I’m not just saying this because my mum has recently cracked onto my social media and blog so may well be reading this (hi mum).

 Thanks to Fae, I got to see Kyary Pamyu Pamyu live in London, and whilst there I met a whole host of her friends who have become close friends to me too now. HyperJapan happened, and of course Star Wars Celebration Europe!

Pretty much straight after that was my graduation day. It was a stressful but wonderful day with so many people I love. How cheesy. I was so proud to be graduating with a first, I worked so bloody hard to get my grade back up and I did it! That involved me writing a bunch of accounting coursework whilst on bullet trains in Japan, that’s an experience I’m sure not many have had. The grades for that coursework were posted online and the site wouldn’t open properly on my phone, it did on my friend’s android however, and that’s the story of how a few people knew my grade before I myself did. Thank God it was a good one!

Pride came to Liverpool and I had a right ol’ good day there with Anna.

Also went to a forest and spent most of the time of Pokemon Go because I’m a millennial through and through.

August came and I started to feel a bit lost, I was struggling to find a full-time job in the field I wanted (social and creative media, essentially, anything that allows me to create online content). I was volunteering with a charity working on their social media, and continuing with my work at ASDA. I was so busy between the two that I found it difficult to actually search for proper employment, and I began to resent everyday. Then I wanted to go to V Festival with my friends, and made an impulsive decision to quit ASDA, enjoy myself and devote more time to gaining experience in social media and to proper job search.

That decision was both great and terrible. I mean, I got to see Sia perform live, and watched Bastille and fell completely in love with them. That was the first time I watched them, I’m seeing them for the fourth time next month. I volunteered more, I worked on my blog and writing skills myself more. I put far more time into applying for jobs and looking for suitable roles, however as a law graduate, I struggled. Money began to get tight and I began to feel rather down at being stuck in the house alone for large parts of the week. In the end that decision paid off, however I did feel rather pointless being sat at home without work to go to.

I visited my flatmate Sarah in her home county of Derbyshire and had a brilliant couple of days in the country. I forget that the UK has such a wealth of countryside having grown up in a rather urban town and otherwise having lived in cities. That week I had an interview in London, the next I went to Derbyshire, and then straight after that went to V Fest. What a week!

Suddenly it was September, a time I had hoped to have myself a bit more together by. Thus the rut I was in continued. However I had a good month coming up! I visited the lake district with my friend Keir for the day!

 I cut my hair a lot shorter too. That was a good decision.

 I spent a few days in Norway, which I am still documenting on here, with Amy. This was a wonderful break from being in the house and stressing out a great deal. It’s strange how isolated you can feel when you’re stuck inside with no real purpose other than to search for jobs all day.

October rolled about quickly with no real change to my working situation. I was up and down from London a lot at this point for interviews and other things! These were tough days, often long as it was 4 hours of travelling on trains, plus the Tube and walking to and from the station at home. You know, as well as the gruelling interview. Sadly some didn’t go to plan, but that’s what happens when you’re looking for a job. It’s highly unlikely the first job you interview for will be the one you get, especially in my sector and a city like London. It’s so very competitive.

 Some of my close friends and I drove to Blackpool for the day for a bit of seaside fun. Great day of arcades, chippies, lights and weird desserts in a rundown Yates’.

Then it was Halloween, my favourite time of the year! This year I dressed as Vincent Van Gogh and Greg Rutherford, earning the approval of Greg himself!

I’m very proud of the Team GB vest I hand painted and sewn, it was surprisingly little work but came out well!

November was wild from start to finish. On October 31st I was offered the opportunity to see Bastille headline their first ever show at the O2 the next night. By some strokes of luck and thanks to some wonderful friends, I was able to make it.

A few days later I was down in London again, to interview for the job I ended up getting and start tomorrow! Very strange looking back.

 Then…Bastille in Manchester! I had tickets for this long before I knew I would be seeing them at the O2, I wish I could see them perform twice a week every week. We spent the day in Manchester, and I finally got to try a Second Cup matcha latte. It was what dreams are made of.

November continued with a trip to Stockholm with Anna, Sarah, Stacy and Emma. Stockholm was experiencing the worst snow it had faced in November in 100 years, but the city continued as normal! Although we needed a few pitstops for hot drinks a day, it was so cold, even for us Northerners (and one Midlander).

 I was then back in London for a few days for second interview, which went well as I was offered the job a week later! Whilst in the city I spent sometime in the Natural History Museum, and went to the Nintendo UK launch party of Pokemon Sun and Moon.

December didn’t slow down at all. I had to find a place to live in London by the end of the month, as well as it being Christmas and all too. I spent a couple of days on the Tube all over the city looking for places to live, almost crying in the streets due to how stressed I was after 12 hour days of looking at houses and flats and being unable to find any good option. I did find one in the end, the one I’m writing this in! It was the last I viewed of around 10, probably 200+ I looked at online.

My friend Emily was over from the states, Fae and I got to see her and go to Fenchurch Street’s Skygarden! All in all, a great day!

 I spent my last few weeks up North seeing friends and family as much as possible, from mini-golf, to breakfasts, to weird university reunion sleepovers in which we learned about Scottish islands at 3am.

Just before Christmas I spent a night in my new home and visited the Hammersmith Apollo for Pokemon Symphonies! I’d never witnessed an orchestra perform, and to see one playing the music from my favourite video games! How great!!

Christmas itself was a mad blur, as it always is. Surrounded by friends and family for days on end, what a way to spend my last few days at home! Shortly after is when I moved to London. Here I am 5 or so days after moving? I’m not even quite sure how long I’ve lived here. It feels like a lifetime.

I finished the year with Amy, we watched London’s famous fireworks from afar, I still can’t quite believe I’m in this city now, and I can finally call it home. I’m going to be working in a job that’s in the field I want to work in, in the city I want to work in, all the meanwhile working hard on my blog and hobbies for myself.

I think 2017 is going to be a good year.

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