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Thursday 31 December 2015

My year in photos

One of the best experiences of my life. Watching the sunset at the tip of Borneo.

On reflection, this year has been one of the best of my life: I hadn't even realised how much I'd done until now. I've made new friends, started a new job, found new hobbies and gone on an adventure. I'm so lucky to have experienced so many new things, and I can't wait to see what next year brings! 

Warning: photo-heavy post! Here are the best moments of my year :)

January - the family looking smart at a cousin's wedding :)

March - My amazing french exchange partner Adélaïde came to stay for a few days. Tu me manques!

April - one of my favourite photos I've taken this year. Cherry blossoms in the back garden :)

April - at Camp Sharkie (for more information about 'Sharkies' see my previous post here). I spent 4 days at Center Parcs with the best bunch of people. Lodge 150 had a go at decoupage :)

Camp Sharkie - the best community. Ever.

May - another night with some beautiful people. A wonderful member of the Black Milk community organised a birthday party for a number of us whose birthday fell on the same week (mine is the 11th!)

May - HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR! I had already been, but I was eager to go again so I went with my sister to celebrate our birthday. It was just as good the second time :)

May - the cutest alpacas ever at the Royal Bath and West show.

July - the start of my flexibility journey. Yeah, I couldn't touch my toes.

14th of July - the best day all year. My mum was declared officially free of cancer.

July - completing the Shaun the Sheep trail in Bristol on a beautiful day.

August - got a brilliant view of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta from our window.

August - watching the sunset from above the clouds in El Teide National Park, Tenerife.

Tenerife - a close encounter with short fin pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins. It was incredible to see them in their natural habitat!

September - yay for progress!

October - I went to visit a wonderful friend in Canterbury for her birthday. We took a day trip to Whitstable, and I fell in love with how quaint it was.

October - matching with Issy. The most beautiful person inside and out <3

November - Borneo. Witnessing a herd of Pygmy elephants in a palm oil plantation. One of the most surreal moments of my life.

Borneo - the cutest baby Orangutans playing together at a rehabilitation centre.

Borneo - I loved my first experience of snorkelling. Not a bad view either.

December - at the Black Milk UK Christmas party. Every single person there was fantastic <3

The Christmas party - I <3 them!

I hope you've all had a great 2015! Either way, I hope 2016 is even better :)

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Tuesday 29 December 2015

My Resolutions for 2016

This year has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me, but I'm pleased to be able to say that I'm now the happiest I've been in a long time. There's always room for improvement though, so here are the things I'm going to try to focus my efforts on next year.

1. Be in the moment more often
Recently it's really dawned on me how much time I waste burying myself away from reality, whether that's on my phone, my laptop, behind a camera or in a book. Time slips by, and before you know it you've missed what's right in front of you. There's so much to be seen, if only we make the effort to look for it. Next year I'm going to make a conscious effort to spend time in my surroundings with no distractions.

2. Appreciate those around me
This year involved quite a few hospital visits for my family. Luckily everyone has made it through relatively unscathed, but it did remind me that people won't be here forever. I'm so lucky to have been born into a family that supports me, and to have met some of the best people who I can now call friends. Next year I'm going to spend as much time as possible with them and let them know that they're loved.

3. Make more time for things that I enjoy
This is partly related to number one. I spend so much time doing nothing of substance, that I run out of time to actually *do* things. This year I've been lucky enough to find a few new hobbies, and I'd love to dedicate more time to them. If I really put my mind to it I'm sure I'll make progress that I'm proud of.

4. Carry on with my fitness journey
Related to number 3! I've been lucky enough to find exercise classes that don't feel like a chore. It's an amazing thing to feel yourself getting stronger and fitter when all you've done is enjoy yourself. A particular goal for this is to be able to hold a handstand for a minute - I'd love to be able to hand balance, and have recently started handstand classes to help me achieve my goal.

5. Be more spontaneous
I've always been a "sensible" person, and my anxiety has meant that I find it hard to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I think my recent trip to Borneo was the first semi-spontaneous (booked a few months in advance) thing I've ever done, and that was incredible. So next year, if I want to go to visit a friend halfway across the country, I'm going to do it. If I want to see a film but have no-one to go with, I'll go by myself. Time is precious, and I need to start using it more efficiently instead of wasting time waiting.

6. Blog more!
Quite a few of my posts this year have started with a variation of 'Sorry I've been away for a while. I'm back now and I'm intending to blog more'. That's something I'm not proud of as I started this blog as a way of being creative and pursuing my passions for writing and photography. I feel like once I get back into the process I'll be okay. Creativity breeds, so I'm hoping that if I manage to keep it up for a little while my blogging funk will be back :)

For the past few years I've not been in the right mindset to be able to plan ahead. Now I'm feeling better, and I've decided that 2016 will be the year to live, not just be alive. I hope you're all as excited about a fresh start as I am! What are your resolutions for next year? :)

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