2016: not entirely awful?

The 2016 that we collectively experienced was a pretty dispiriting one. While I want to acknowledge that, I don’t want my review of the year to be a political commentary. I’ll admit that I’m not well informed enough to do that anyway. Instead, this is a reflection on what the year has meant for me personally. A fair amount of censoring was needed this time to produce something publishable. You know, just in case someone actually reads it. The result – a less juicy but still painfully long recount of my year, enjoy!

New Year’s morning (afternoon) started with a text asking when I would be arriving to move into my new house share. This set my pulse racing for a couple of reasons. First, I had no idea that I was expected yet and was completely unprepared. Second, because even after three years of it at University, moving in with complete strangers never stops being scary. Especially for a shy introvert who likes her space.

It was definitely the biggest change this year but one I had been desperate to make since moving back home. Unfortunately, it’s one thing that I can’t write much about but I’ve loved having somewhere to call my own again. Having a bigger space has been a blessing too, given that it now needs to double as my office (I’ll get to that later). I didn’t particularly want to insert a picture of my room here so this is me and two of my lovely friends in my room with the cat that visits. You can’t argue with that.

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From the very new to the more familiar. I reunited with uni friends in London for the day in February – Matt put together a post on his blog. After spending the day exploring the city we finished with a trip to the theatre to see Les Misérables. It had been a decade since I last saw the show and I was desperate to go again. After discussing it for over a year we finally went ahead and booked the tickets. It was nicer to go after graduation in the end as it was a good excuse to get back together and catch up. 2017 plans are currently being formulated.

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February was also a bit of a car crash though…literally. A routine journey home from Brighton resulted in us waiting in a lay-by for the AA to arrive. Thankfully the only casualty was the car which had to be written off. Oh, and any desire to learn to drive in the future.

Before that day took a scary turn, I spent the morning at Ad Harrison’s Street Photography exhibition. At the time I was desperately searching for something to blog about and saw it listed in Wow Magazine. Honestly – I thought it looked bearable, something I might not particularly ‘get’ but should be able to write about coherently. Shame on me because I emerged completely inspired and frustrated that I couldn’t get my thoughts down right away. As you can probably tell, I’ve always been cynical (perhaps even a little phobic) about any creative exhibitions that fall more under the ‘Art’ than ‘Design’ category. Since that day, getting to know Adam and making an effort to expose myself to more online, my attitude began to shift this year. A post airing out my ‘arty issues’ has been on my wish list for a long time but I’ve always chickened out for fear of looking like an uneducated arse and offending someone. Perhaps this year is a better time to do it, now that I have a more level head.

Back to Adam’s work briefly. You’re now more likely to (not) find him tucked away in his room with a scalpel than prowling the high street with his camera. On the off-chance that anyone listens to my recommendations, go and catch up on a few months of collages on his Instagram. I’ve especially loved the last couple of series. If photography is more your bag take a look here and here and read my original post, of course.

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Work has obviously filled the majority of my time in 2016 and a fair amount of change has been going on. I definitely would like to write more about what I get up to throughout the year but it’s a difficult thing to do both openly and professionally. So instead here’s a quick ‘2016 Best Bits’ roundup. In March, just before my probationary period came to and end, I took part my first Squiders photoshoot. It was quite a bloody affair but a lot of fun. Not long after that we bid adieu to our pretty but expensive office in Turkey Mill and started working from home. As you can see from the pictures, as offices go, it wasn’t too shabby. I even saw my first kingfisher over the river one lunchtime – I don’t care if it’s sad to be excited by that. Working from home definitely has its perks though and it didn’t take long for me to settle into it. Again, something I considered writing a post about but I’m not exactly a shining beacon of best practise yet.

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At the end of the month we attended the Kent Digital Awards, winning bronze in the ‘Website’ category. Please enjoy the terrible photo of me standing awkwardly on my own because Kris was ill and Jo had conveniently disappeared.

It’s been nice to feel completely settled and more secure in what I’m doing this year. There have been some difficult situations with clients to learn from though. Most of which I’ve been lucky enough to observe rather than take the brunt of. This next year I’m hoping to find more opportunities to get better at what I do and be a little more ‘on it’ with articles. I might also look at getting myself the Google Analytics IQ.

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I also popped back to Ipswich in the summer for the End of Year Show. I had a few friends on Arts courses in the year below so it was lovely to celebrate with them. The Design graduates certainly did the course proud and I was so impressed with the quality of work. I wanted to write a post about the show but it was impossible to get photos taken/breathe. Perhaps next time I can stay down long enough to return the next day. This is starting to become a list of shoulda woulda coulda blog posts…

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Photo stolen from @he110_ucs

Here we reach the section of the year that’s too riddled with things I can’t talk about. Probably for the best as it’s getting a bit long isn’t it? I will say though that it was from this point onwards, despite contradictory circumstances, I became so much happier than I’ve been in a long while. I even conquered one battle that I’ve never shared with another soul and didn’t think would ever go away. So I can’t be completely pissed off with this year when it’s been so healing for me. Hopefully the next will be a better one for both me and the rest of the world. Please?

If you’ve read this far – I hope 2017 is kind to you, have a very Happy New Year 🙂

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