Why I’m grateful for 2016

I had a long, internal debate about writing a 2016 summary on my blog. Firstly, we’re already a week into 2017. Secondly, I’m not sure about opening up about my personal life so much this time around (compared to my last blog) and, thirdly, I’m also really aware that thousands upon THOUSANDS of 2016 summary blog posts have been published recently!

In the end, however, I’ve decided to go ahead. After all, this is my blog and I want to write openly, honestly and about whatever I want!

I decided I should put a spin on it, and focus on the theme of gratitude and inspiration, rather than going through everything I did in the year – which I think would be rather boring for you all.

Over the last couple of months, gratitude has been at the forefront of my mind, not least because of the #TodayImGrateful series on Twitter, created by the wonderful Katie Brennan and adopted by thousands of tweeps.

This hashtag just asks you to pause for a moment and take stock of the little (or big!) things in the last 24 hours for which you are grateful. It sounds simple and obvious, but by writing it down and sharing it with others, it helps you to realise how lucky you are and how good your day has been – especially if it’s been incredibly trying or spectacularly stressful.

It’s safe to say everyone’s been left feeling a little frazzled by last year – and sure, it’s been a hell of a ride. But it hasn’t all been bad – and it’s so easy to focus on the negatives when you’re in your own little echo chamber.

All the more reason, then, to concentrate for a second on the little good bits.

I’d like to focus this post on the moments in 2016 for which I am most grateful. No doubt I’ll forget a lot of things, and miss a lot out – but it’s a taster of my life for you guys, and a moment for me to take stock of what a good year it was, really. It’s the little things, after all, that make life special.

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This year, I’m grateful for…

My family and friends. All of them, each and every one. You know who you all are, and I love you all to bits.

A year of good books and lots of reading. Favourites include: The Muse, Mad Girl, Becoming, Big Magic.

Gaining the courage to start writing and blogging again, and pushing myself to attend some writing workshops at the end of the year. It’s so good to be back.

Learning how to do brush lettering. Inky, productive therapy – and I already have my first commission! It’s addictive and a great way to spend time away from the screen.

Experiencing my first ever Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. An amazing week, and one I hope to be sharing with you later this year!

Being introduced to the music of Carsie Blanton by my lovely friend Chris. She’s feisty, confident and has the most stunning voice. If you want a bit of sass in your life, give her a listen. She quickly became my most-listened artist on Spotify this year.

Having the opportunity to spend the day with the talented Laura Jane Williams, and meeting a group of brilliant, friendly young women – then writing together, perfecting our voices, and sharing inspiration. If you want to do the same, you can check out her workshops on superlativelyrude.com.

Good health and a warm home.

Working boilers, and hot water. January 2016 was a cold, cold month.

Making a (small!) career change. Now I am actually getting paid to write – nothing big, nothing drastic, but a move that I think will really make 2017 exciting and interesting!

Visiting Amsterdam, sampling poffertjes, drinking hideous Irish coffee and experiencing Anne Frank’s house earlier this year. A very special city.

Reconnecting with old friends spontaneously, and visiting Birmingham for the first time; it turned out to be one of the best weekends of 2016 for me!

Learning that it’s OK to buy myself flowers – don’t wait for someone else to do it for you!

Spending Valentines Day severely hungover with one of my best friends; never has a free arm massage with Jo Malone felt so good. However, the less said about brunch, the better…

Being super brave and going on my first ever date. Though it wasn’t successful in the long-term (I wasn’t expecting it to be!!) it put me about as far out of my comfort zone as I could be…and you know what, it was actually ok!

Frosty mornings, hot summers and beautiful sunsets.

Finding out that I do actually suit shorter hair. Phew.

Engagements, weddings, and babies (not mine!). I got to watch my friends go through these milestones and celebrate with them.

Discovering Spotify Premium. Why did I not sign up before?!

Living in a city with so many exciting events, restaurants and bars. Southampton’s pretty great, people!

The NHS, after having a particularly dreadful skin year. Adult acne, anyone?! Lovely.

Having the right to have my say…even if the result wasn’t what I had hoped for (Ahem…#Remain).

Celebrating milestone birthdays with my family.

Getting to know my brain and mental health a little bit better, step by (shaky) step.

Great TV: The Crown, OITNB, Stranger Things, Gilmore Girls and more.

Turning 26, and celebrating with loved ones.

Free coffee with my MyWaitrose card in the morning. Life saver!

What is it about 2016 that you’re grateful for? Please share with me  – and, belatedly, Happy New Year!


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