This time of year is the perfect time for looking back and reflecting on the good times and bad of the past year as well as making plans and resolutions for the next 12 months of our lives and that is no different on this blog. I’ve already rounded up my best bits of the year but this is my more personal post which I do ever year looking back at my life, mainly the good points but addressing some of the bad too. There’s everything here from holidays and gigs to moving house and then my targets for 2014, a year which I hope will be a very good and prosperous one.
This year I’ve done much less travelling than last year where I travelled around Europe, the UK and to New York. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been on a few trips mainly for gigs and two holidays but it’s nothing compared to the places I visited in 2012. Still I had 2 brilliant weeks away that were much needed both times to leave behind the stresses and get out of Sheffield for a while. First up was Edinburgh back in March, it was sort of a late birthday treat for mum as I know that she has always wanted to go to Scotland. As with most holidays me and my mum go on, it was a very packed week full of different things from sightseeing to tours. During the course of the week we went to the castle which is really beautiful and luckily it was a lovely day for spending plenty of time exploring everything on offer, attended a whiskey tour which was more for my whiskey loving benefit than anything else, visited the seaside, went shopping and sampled plenty of food outlets and pubs. It was a wonderful week and one I really enjoyed from start to finish. With nice weather all week, plenty to do, the lovely people we met over the course of our stay and just the sheer beauty and wonderful things to discover in the city of Edinburgh, it is a holiday I won’t forget for a long time and I would definitely return to Edinburgh again, preferably for Hogmanay, for sure.
Edinburgh may be a capital city but like Cardiff it has a much more relaxed atmosphere than other big cities I’ve visited in particular London which is where me and mum ventured to in October this year. Yet again it was just for a week and yet again it was a jam packed one with so many things to see and do in London that was inevitable. From visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour and the Sherlock museum to hanging out in Leicester Square at the Thor 2 premiere it was an amazing week for me personally and one that took in a lot of my favourite things and totally allowed me to geek out. I visited some shops I’ve always wanted to, went to Buckingham Palace on the day of Prince George’s christening and experienced the insane atmosphere there, went on a river cruise, a night bus tour and ate in some beautiful restaurants with my particular favourite being the wonderful Mildred’s, a vegetarian restaurant with the most wonderful food full of great flavours. Though it was a jam packed week which took in a lot of what you can do in London there is still plenty more I’ve not yet done, experienced, visited or had the chance to see and for that reason I know that I will be back. There are so many shops to visit, so many restaurants to eat at, so many sights and attractions to see and visit, so many shows I can go and see and so many parts of London I’ve not even ventured to. I imagine even if you’ve lived in London for years you still won’t know or have experienced everything that there is on offer but the more I visit the more chances I will have to fully see as much of London as possible and that is something I definitely want to do because London is a city I truly adore: architecturally, culturally, historically etc. Top of the list for the next visit is: Tower of London, Camden Market and see a play, preferably Shakespeare.
From top to bottom: Olly Murs, The Crookes at Tramlines, To Kill A King at Leadmill, Bastille at Leeds Festival x 2, Deap Vally at Leeds Festival, PEACE at Leeds Festival, Thumpers at Leeds Festival, Green Day at Leeds Festival.
As usual I’ve been to a lot of gigs this year and as usual I’ve seen a hell of a lot of amazing bands from huge pop acts such as Beyonce to smaller indie acts in tiny clubs such as Superfood, who supported PEACE earlier this year. Some of the stand out moments for me has been seeing Foals in Leeds at the University in such a relatively small space for such an amazing and huge sounding band, Arctic Monkeys homecoming show at Sheffield Arena recently which was pretty special and worth the wait of the first show being cancelled due to ill health and To Kill A King’s absolutely wonderful set at Leadmill a couple of months ago, after seeing them support Bastille in the same venue a few months earlier it was lovely to go to one of their own shows and experience their full set for myself and it really was one of, if not the, best show I’ve been to all year. Then there was the day I spent at Leeds Festival, it was a last minute decision for me and mum to go but I’m so glad we did as we both had a really good time despite the mud rivers and rain. I saw brilliant sets from Deap Vally, PEACE and System of a Down as well as finally catching Thumpers intimate set on the Introducing set, the triumphant and slightly emotional for me set from Bastille on the Radio 1/NME stage that saw huge sing a long’s and just how far they have come in the past year or so and then there was the reason why I went in the first place, Green Day. As a fan of the band for nearly 10 years and having never seen them it was a moment I had waited for and was very excited about and they did not disappoint at all. A long set full of the big punk anthems, sing a long classics and ‘Dookie’ played in full, with Billie Joe’s brilliant show of being frontman extraordinaire and the camaraderie the band have from playing together for so long and being the biggest band in the world not once but twice. It was an amazing moment for me and a set I will never forget. There have been many other shows this year too from Tramlines festival to Panic! At The Disco in Manchester, there have been just too many good musical moments to mention for me including the amount of wonderful albums released too, the list of my top 20 you can see on my ‘best bits of 2013’ blog. 2014 is going to be another good year too with lots already lined up music wise including finally seeing Fall Out Boy and fulfilling a childhood dream of seeing McBusted not once, not twice but three times!
This year I’ve been writing for two websites as well as writing this blog, something which is brilliant for me and I love but at times I know it has caused me stress at times. I do suffer from a huge lack of confidence and that doesn’t just affect my behaviour but my writing and what I think about it. I’m a complete perfectionist and I want every piece of writing I publish to be perfect which can be a good thing but it has its drawbacks. I’ve had many moments of “I don’t know what I’m doing with this”, “everything I write is terrible”, “I can’t publish that because no one even cares anyway”, I’m not trying to gain sympathy with this it’s just the truth but it does explain why sometimes my lack of enthusiasm or posts occurs. It’s something I am working on and I do stick at the writing though because inevitably writing is what I love, what I enjoy and it is what I want to do with my life. The two websites I write for are wonderful experience while also challenging me to be better, try new things and constantly strive for something good and hopefully creating something interesting to read and I am looking forward to another year of this.
And then there is this blog, it’s been part of my life for such a long time now and it’s been through many things with me but at its essence it is a music blog, a fashion blog and something I love. I throw in the odd beauty and book posts because they are things I like to write about and have fun with. I have big plans for this blog in 2014, it’s going to become something I’m even more proud of and I plan on improving the bits that aren’t up to scratch, adding/trying new things and carrying on with the bits that work but not being complacent with them either. I hope you will stick with me throughout 2014 on this blog and a massive thank you to every single person that reads this or follows it, it’s insane to me that people actually read this and like it enough to follow it. I may not have the most followers but that doesn’t bother me, I’m not bothered about being a huge blogger, I’m just bothered about writing and creating good content that I enjoy and that other people enjoy it too is a nice and humbling little extra for me.
So as I write this we have only been in our new house for a couple of weeks and we are still in a bit of chaos and a sea of boxes and even though Christmas has just gone there are still things to be done but the fact that we have celebrated Christmas and will see in the new year in our new house is brilliant for me. After some terrible times of late and plenty of bad memories stocking up it is nice to be away from that – that house, that area and people I want to leave behind. I love the new house, for a start I have a huge room [no more box room for Charlotte], it’s a better area of Sheffield and it’s just generally a lot better for me and mum.
Starting 2014 in our new house signals the start of a new era for me and I aim to make 2014 a good year for my personal life, my family life, my career as well as mentally and emotionally better for me too. A new year and a new start, I know it sounds so cliché but it is very true in this instance. I have many plans and dreams for 2014 and I would love all of them to come true but I’m not going to be disappointed if things don’t quite turn out as expected either. Life is never fully in your control but being in this new house is definitely the perfect thing to really kick off this new year and new era of my life.
So every year I make little targets for myself, manageable things that will hopefully improve my life, career, skills etc. I’m terrible at sticking to resolutions and having such a big thing to live up to is so daunting that when I inevitably fail, I get disheartened. With these targets though I’ve been a lot better at sticking to them over the last few years and they are things that have helped me a lot too. Before I list my targets for 2014, I’m going to revisit 2013’s list and see how I’ve got on.
Targets for last year:
– maintain my weight, exercise and healthy eating.
– write something every single day whether a blog post, review or diary entry.
– do whatever I can to get my dream job or a step on the media ladder.
– be happy and spend as much time as I can with family and friends.
– learn how to make pastry.
– try to establish some sort of skincare regime to use on a daily or frequent basis.
So from last year’s targets I managed to fulfil all of them either fully or slightly. For starters my weight that I have not only maintained but I have lost some more too while also keeping up the healthy eating and exercise regime that I am starting to understand just how much good it does for me, words I never imagined myself saying when I was a teenager. I managed to write something every day which has helped me to stay focussed and hopefully improve my writing style slightly. I may not have my dream job but at the same time I do too. I have steps on the ladder in terms of experience while building up a growing portfolio through my blog and writing for two sites it has put me in a better position than I was in this time last year. I’ve spent more time with family and friends this year through meals out, days out, nights out, holidays, gigs etc. I’ve learnt how to make pastry and I’ve really improved my baking and cooking skills this year too and I have established a skincare regime that works for me while also learning just exactly why skincare is important and how it can be used, it’s a huge learning curve for me but it’s something I am completely enjoying finding out about.
– maintain my weight, exercise and healthy eating.
– make a plan on how to get more writing experience, trying to get a job and getting my name out there to magazines and media agencies.
– read as many books as possible and get back into drawing and sewing again.
– spend more time doing things I love, spend more time with the people I care about.
– join some sort of group or course where I can learn a new skill as well as meet new people.
– be happy and learn to appreciate everything I have in my life.
As I mentioned earlier I have some big plans for this blog over the next year. I want to make it even better continuing with the same sort of content, new music, music reviews, fashion posts, book reviews etc, but I’m going to make as many improvements as I possibly can to make it better. Sourcing out more new music, improving the photography on this blog massively especially for outfit posts and sticking to writing as much as I can in a week with things that I think are interesting and hopefully you will too. It’s been a long time since I started this blog but it’s grown a lot in design, writing and followers which is amazing and something I appreciate and love seeing develop.
Here’s to 2014 and all the success, happiness and opportunities it will bring.
And definitely some more times like this please: