There it is. Another year has flown by and a new one has begun with only a drunken night to separate the two.
2016 was a terrible year for many reasons: Trump, Brexit, Aleppo, and many, many horrific terrorist attacks and awful events. The world is turning into such a terrifying place that perhaps David Bowie really is repopulating an alternative universe with all of the beloved icons that sadly passed away last year.
On a personal level, however, it wasn't all bad. I traveled to incredible destinations (including the country that had been number one on my wishlist for many years), we had some pretty major work done to our house resulting in creating a brand new bedroom and kitchen, and my freelance career continued to grow.
So, as I did last year, I have decided to share some of my favourite memories from the past twelve months.
January - March
January began as it usually does, with plans to get outdoors and walk as much as possible. I headed to the Peaks on the second day of the year to get lost among the mist and the mud, determined to partake in a day's hike at least once a month. Other notable walks during the first few months of the year included windswept mountains in the Lakes and wandering across the moors around Hebden Bridge. Another resolution for the year was to be braver about meeting new people, and I took the plunge in February when I took the train across to Leeds to spend an afternoon hanging out with the lovely Zoe (@daydream_nation) who I'd met on Instagram. I headed back to Leeds in March to celebrate a close friend's birthday by dining on Indian street food, attending a gig and visiting Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The next trip of the year was a getaway to the north-east coast for my boyfriend's birthday, staying in the tiny seaside village of Runswick Bay and visiting Whitby for the first time. My fondest memories of this trip are running along the beach with Evie. A highlight of the beginning of the year was transforming our redundant front room into a much needed living space, where we now love to relax and I have a dedicated area to work. This room is filled with my favourite furniture and possessions and feels perfectly hygge.
Places explored: The Peak District, Leeds (twice), The Lake District, Runswick Bay, Whitby, Hebden Bridge.
April - June
April flew by in a blur, bringing trips to the beach, greenhouse visits and an abundance of dog walks as we became more confident allowing Evie to go off lead. May's highlights included a weekend away for two close friend's combined 30th celebrations, staying in a large youth hostel in the Peak District for a weekend of walking barefoot across the hills, late night campfires and excellent company. But it was June that cemented itself as the best month of the entire year: three weeks of the month were taken up with traveling to new places. The first trip was the most anticipated as we finally boarded our plane to Iceland. After two days exploring Reykjavik, we hired a car to travel around the Ring Road for eight days, taking in an awe-inspiring array of sights and experiences (highlights including whale watching, soaking in geothermal hot pools and visiting waterfalls beneath the midnight sun). Less than a week later, we set off for Greece, spending a much needed relaxing week eating seafood and swimming in the sea with Dave's family. Bliss!
Places explored: Iceland, Santorini, The Peak District
July - September
July, August and September tend to be my favourite months to be in the UK, as the temperatures (sometimes) climb high enough to swim in rivers, lakes and even the sea. This year, I didn't wild swim as much as I would have liked, but I still managed to take a dip in an icy cold river and in the surprisingly warm seas of the south coast. July ended with a trip up to Edinburgh to visit friends (stopping for that river swim on the way). We stayed in an incredible modernist house in the city, taking a day trip to climb Ben A'an and swim in a loch before spending an evening catching up over a delicious dinner. At the beginning of August, I took a week off work for my birthday, starting the celebrations with a short getaway in Pembrokeshire. Dave, Evie and I camped close to the sea, walking on cliff tops and along beaches that rivaled any that I have seen abroad. We took to the water on a boat for a seal spotting adventure and spent our nights curled up by the campfire watching my birthday meteors soar overhead. Following Wales, I briefly visited a friend in London (taking the opportunity to finally meet up with @hollywulff whilst I was there) before heading to Brighton for a long weekend with my best friend. The weather was on our side, and we spent most of the weekend on the beach. I then returned to London over bank holiday weekend for another getaway with friends. September brought one of my proudest moments of the year for my freelance career, as I had an article published in my favourite magazine, In Clover. I also spent a fun-filled weekend in the Lake District for a friend's birthday, camping in a field, warming up around the campfire and visiting my dream house.
Places explored: Edinburgh, Pembrokeshire, London (twice), Brighton, The Lake District
October - December
At the end of September, we moved out of our home for six weeks whilst we had rewiring and plastering done and a new kitchen installed. Although this was a stressful time creating a crazy amount of mess (and we still haven't finished redecorating!), it was worth it to create a cosy new bedroom and a kitchen that we now enjoy spending time in. There's still a lot of work to do to finish the hallways, dining room, spare room and garden - but we're half way there! During the work, I lived with two of my best friends - the first time that I had lived apart from Dave in seven years. We saw each other as much as possible by eating out a lot and taking Evie on lots of walks. During this time, I worked with my favourite clothing brand, TOAST who very kindly sent me a beautiful dress and jumper. I also enjoyed an action packed weekend hanging out with the girls from In Clover as they pieced together a Manchester feature for their next issue. December heralded the arrival of the festive season, and we introduced a huge tree to our living room. At the beginning of the month, we took a well-earned short break and traveled to Amsterdam for a few days spent exploring the city by foot and by boat. The remainder of the month was taken slow, enjoying winter walks, hearty meals, family board games and excitedly unwrapping gifts.
Places explored: Amsterdam, the Peak District
Now it is the beginning of 2017, and plans are being made the year ahead. Exciting trips, new freelance clients and more work on our house are all to come, along with whatever surprises the year throws at us. Bring it on!
All photos my own