Saturday, 31 December 2016

16 things about 2016

This annual round up thing is a bit of a tradition now, but the trouble is that the years keep increasing! Maybe by 2020 I'll just stick at 20 and go no further. 2020, sheesh, that is hard to imagine! For this year we're sticking at 16. Here goes, it's a (very!) long one so I'd make a cuppa or something! 2016, take it away! 

1. I'm going to charge right in with holidays. Woop! I love holidays the best. This year we managed to have 3 which was brilliant! We spent one glorious week in Northumberland, another glorious week in the Lake District, and then we squeezed in a cheeky long weekend in November in Northumberland again. So many adventures, so many good times, glorious blue skies (even in November!) and lots and lots of fun. We have big plans for 2017 and I already can't wait! Just have to see how the Bobster gets on at his first overnight boarding before we proceed with the planning stage...

A brilliant day at Kielder Water in Northumberland: May

Beautiful Lake Windermere: September

Secret beach in Northumberland: November
2. Old friends...this has been an awesome year for old friends. Like truly awesome. In February my bestest friend from uni came to my house for one night, leaving her babies behind for a precious few hours of non-stop talking, all the laughing, and many many fond memories. We tried to plan something similar for December but circumstances beat us! Grand plans are in place for 2017 and nothing is going to get in the way this time - well, we hope not anyway! I also got to spend some truly excellent times with some of my favourite faces, both out in the big wide world and in, and I fully intend for more of the same in 2017. The best thing though, the absolute best thing, has been the return of an old friend. This friend was, how shall I put this, lost for a while, a long while, but 2016 saw her return and I am absolutely delighted that this is the case! I'm sure this all sounds very cryptic, but I don't want to name names. I'm pretty confident that she will know this is about her, and I'm also certain that she is equally as glad to have returned! Missed you...

Tee always features on the blog! 
3. New friends...I haven't even spoken about my new job yet (probably next one!) but with new jobs come new friends. I had two new jobs in 2016 and in both I met (have met!) some cracking people who have quickly become firm friends - yay! Libraryland version 2 saw me make solid buddies with Sarah. Near to my age, very grounded and totally cool, she was my salvation when it all started to get a bit too frustrating! Luckily we left at about the same time so were both saved. We've only managed to meet up once so far but we didn't stop talking for about 3 hours - can't wait to see her again soon. New job (I promise, next one!) and my desk buddy, Rachel, has very quickly become my proper buddy. We were even called a double act the other day, which is a very accurate description. We both love cake and hot chocolate and pretty liiiiights and taking photos of sunrises/sunsets - our primary aim in life is to make the work Instagram the most beautiful of all, we just never have any bloody time to go and take loads of pictures! I'm so chuffed by my new friends! Woop!

Claire and Rachel: Love Middlesbrough double act
5. New job! I did promise! So of course one of the absolute highlights of the year was getting a new job. A full time job! That I absolutely love and have thrown myself into wholeheartedly! It took almost four years from leaving libraryland version 1, going back to school, some hideous jobs, one cracking one that sadly didn't get the funding, back to libraryland version 2 and to my new job - Digital Media Officer! Needless to say I celebrated hard - they went on for about a month. Many many bubbles were consumed, and cake of course, always cake. Working full time again is often hard, but it is so totally worth it. And it is beyond fab to be back having some spending money again. It was getting very tired telling people that I couldn't afford to go out for lunch! Cheers to the new job - long may it continue! 

6. Old car, new car. Waaaaaahhhh, one of the saddest things about 2016 (other than all the famous people dying - don't even!) was saying goodbye to my very first car, the Zip. I would happily have kept him on the road forever if it had been possible but it was all just getting a bit dodgy. A couple of times he just stopped. Dead. For no reason. Usually when you were driving down a road with someone behind you. Tricky. And then there were the warning lights. There was one, there was two, oh there's a third that's just was all just looking a bit woeful. At 13 years old with over 100,000 miles on the clock we made the decision to let him go *sob* He was replaced by a silver car that I have only just got around to naming Sylvie (original or what?). I'm not going to lie, I don't feel anywhere near the same affection for Sylv, she's definitely not as Zippy as Zippy was and she's just not as...special. Having said that she also doesn't have any warning lights, doesn't leak, her hub caps are not held on by cable ties, she doesn't freeze on the inside when it's icy and the steamed up windows take seconds to clear - you have to see the positive side of things, chuckles. 

Zippy: may he rest in car heaven
7. Adventures! All the adventures! We managed to enjoy some cracking days out this year and I've loved them all. More of it for 2017 please. I love adventures, me! 

A Croft Nostalgia Weekend adventure
8. Weather! 2016 saw it all! We had snow! We had sun! We finally had a proper summer with temperatures up to 30 degrees! Autumn glory seemed to last forever and the winter so far has been ridiculously mild. Global warming fears aside, can't complain too much. I would like some more snow though. I love snow! 

9. 8 years! I should probably have done this as number 8... Yep, me and Dave reached 8 years together! When I first started going out with him I really didn't see anything past what was happening right there and then so it's kind of hard to believe that we've now spent 8 years of our lives together! We've had many, many happy times, some very sorrowful times with family bereavements, adventures galore and so much laughing. I think it's fair to say that he's my most favourite human and here's to the next 8! 

10. A year of books! Oooh it was a good one! I gave up recording everything on Goodreads which was like a massive weight off my shoulders and just set to enjoying the whole reading thing again. The absolute highlight of the year and definitely one of the most memorable books I have ever read was "All The Light We Cannot See". Even now, I still think about it on a daily basis and was delighted when Tee told me that she had added it to her 'to read' pile. I basically want everyone to read it so that I can talk about it! Other highlights have been a couple of re-visits. "Any Human Heart" by William Boyd is up there in my top 5 of all time and I was nervous to read it again in case I didn't like it as much. Foolish thoughts, as once again I was utterly absorbed in it and completely bereft when it was finished as it meant I couldn't visit my much loved characters everyday. My current re-read is "The Snow Child" by Eowyn Ivey and as before, second time reading and I am still completely enchanted by it. I'm taking my time and enjoying each page because I know I'm going to be upset when it's over! I'm starting 2017 with some pretty hefty books but I'll post about that when I'm ready to start! 

11. Television! All the culture! Stand out TV for me this year has been Stranger Things on Netflix, Planet Earth 2 from the BBC and without any shame whatsoever, Nashville! Yeah baby! I'm still trying to figure out how people binge watched Stranger Things in like 2 days cos it took me about 3 months, but I'm not too good with that whole binge watching thing. I worry about getting square eyes!! Mainly it gets in the way of my YouTube addiction, ha! Talk about square eyes...! If you can, I'd highly recommend Planet Earth 2. Jaw dropping! Drama! If you have HD, absolutely watch it that way as it is completely and utterly AWESOME! Annnnnd Nashville. Big hair, sequins, country music...I know, I know, I have absolutely no idea why I love it but I do! Unashamedly. I'll just get my coat now...

12. I got my mojo back! And by mojo I mean style mojo. With steady work came steady income which meant a return to style, yay! Having said all of that this year has been a serious education in how my style has changed and evolved. I've probably given more away to charity than I've bought and each purchase that I make now is done with care and consideration and definitely has to be for long term wear. The fast fashion thing has its place but not so much in my wardrobe these days. Since hitting 40 I'm definitely in the gives no f**ks about what people think about my style. My hair is probably in the best place it's ever been, thanks massively to my fabulous hairdresser, and stuff just feels good! Style mojo very definitely ON! 

Clashing patterns floats my boat! 
13. Snow Dogs! I'd only been at work a couple of weeks when I saw the Snow Dogs pop up on my Twitter feed. Without really knowing Rachel all that well, we set a date and headed up for a day out in Newcastle looking for all the Snow Dogs! It was so much fun and definitely went a long way in turning desk buddies into proper buddies, yay! We walked for chuffing miles! We climbed up hills and down hills. We loved every single one of them and I wanted to bring most of them home for my back garden. They've all been auctioned off now and are probably living all over the world or I'd highly recommend that you go and seek them out! I mean, look at them! 

14. Sparkly reindeer! The love for the sparkly reindeer started after we went to the magical Winter Wonderland at Wynyard Gardens. So many sparkly lights! So many sparkly reindeer! It was total love and I think I probably mentioned about a million times that I'd really like a sparkly reindeer for the garden. Even though that might seem like the most obvious hint hint hinty-hint, I'm really not like that at all (ask Dave!) and was mainly just excited thinking about Christmas lights in the garden. I definitely didn't expect Dave to come home with a present of not one but two sparkly reindeer of my very own! Then! A third sparkly reindeer mysteriously appeared in the garden which was a present from Fizz! Girl was totally overwhelmed by how lovely it all was and I spend many times gazing out of the back door completely loving them! So special! 

15. I want to talk about feeling inspired. By things, by people, by places. It all started in libraryland version 2, which is the least likely place I would have expected to find anything other than some nice people and regular income. When I was there I did quite a few of the school visits and I have to tell you, I was totally inspired by the littles! Where I worked is kind of an underdog area, there's a lot of poverty and life can be tough and for some of those kiddos, it was all over their faces; quite literally sometimes in the bruises that absolutely broke my heart to think about what they might be going through at home. But over and over the littles (and adults too!) completely inspired me - their joy at coming in the library, the excitement about picking out books, speaking to the staff, learning new things. Over and over I was inspired and massively motivated by what I was doing, as I came to realise very quickly how that libraryland was a lifeline for so many people. Even though I love my new job I think, hand on heart, that I will ultimately end up in some form of community work again. It fills me with many emotions but feeling inspired is definitely a big one. 

16. Wow, if you've made it through this far, thanks for reading! I wish you a very Happy New Year for 2017 - may it be filled with whatever your wish may be! For me, I want more of the same really. Fun times with my loved ones is one of my most favourite things to do and the loved ones range far and wide, from my favourite human Dave, to my family, to my friends, to the Bobster and so on. Here's to it, 2017! Let's make it a good'un! 

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