As we usher out 2016 in a hurry, and lovingly embrace 2017 as a welcome change, I wanted to use todays Thursday Thought to reflect back on what 2016 did right. All years have their ups and downs, but it’s the ups I want to remember and celebrate.
Arranged in a somewhat-but-not-really chronological order (which is actually just a giant mess of memories):
Derren Brown: My first memory of this year. I’ve mentioned “Theatre Trips” further down here, but this was deserving of a mention all of its own. Kirsty bought me tickets to see Derren Brown, which is perhaps one of the best presents I’ve ever had!
Madam Tussauds: Going down to see Derren also gave Kirsty and I an excuse to check out Madam Tussauds down in London. I was particularly excited for the Marvel experience, I have to say.
Boardgame Expo: I love boardgames, I love introducing people to boardgames, I love kickstarting boardgames… There’s so many out there, you just have to look past the infinite number of monopolys and risks. It was great to go to a convention that celebrated them, whilst allowing us to have some hands on time with games we hadn’t played yet. It also led into us having a…
Boardgame Nights: In 2016 we had many a boardgame night and each was as good as the other. We played: Codenames, Betrayal at the House on the Hill (For Halloween and I have an especially good memory of Woodys character being blown off a balcony one round into the Haunt phase), Catan, The Game of Thrones Boardgame, Deerlord (With Woody doing 3 different personalities in one), Munchkins, Poor Choices, etc.
D&D: On a similar note, we had many a good D&D session in 2016. Though we took a break in the latter half of the year, I’m looking forward to getting this back off the ground again.
DMing at D&D: Another similar note, 2016 actually saw me DM (Dungeon Master) a two part campaign in front of 5 (6 if you count Kirsty, watching from the side-lines) of my friends! I was a mess of nerves before it started but was possibly up there as one of the best experiences of 2016. The fact it was something I’d put on for Woodys 30th Birthday just sweetened it even further.
WWE Live: Also on the subject of Woodys 30th Birthday, as a gift we both went to see WWE Live when they came to our local Birmingham venue. It was a real laugh and, whilst the show itself wasn’t exactly amazing, the memories me and Woody will have of us chanting, drinking, and laughing will remain.
Gigs: I also went to numerous venues for numerous other reasons too; I saw The 1975 with Sid, Minus the Bear with Woody, Skindred with Kirsty, a Comedy show with the lads and even saw a live screening of some TED Talks.
Theatre Trips: 2016 continued me trying to visit the theatre more and more. I saw plays with my Mom and plays with Kirsty. My fondest memory is perhaps seeing The Alchemist at the RSC: Neither Kirsty or I had any idea what we were about to watch and I ended up absolutely loving it.
College: Andy and I went back to college in 2016, where we studied Creative Writing! It helped to give us both a kick up the ass, it helped me to invest in my blog again, and it’s helped me put my dreams into perspective.
Geocaching: Speaking of walking, I have a fond memory of Geocaching at the start of the year with Common and Luke. It might have only been a few hours of one day, but it was great fun. It’s something I’d love to do more of in the New Year going forward.
Escape the Room: Something else I want to do more of going forward, is Escape the Room. I can’t describe the incredible fun this was; such a different experience unlike anything else! Andy, Jess, Kirsty and myself all tasked with solving a mystery. It could have been a recipe for disaster, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re already booked in for February so 2017 will definitely have more Escape the Room antics.
Alton Towers: My birthday this year involved a trip to Alton Towers. Though it was preceded by a dodgy McDonalds breakfast (never again) it was still a great day out and a ton of fun.
Cakes: 2016 held lots, and lots, and lots of cakes. My mom started baking more and more, and Kirsty even rediscovered her love for it. In fact, for my Birthday they both ended up making me the same cake! (It was pure coincidence)
Clockwork Clouds: June/July saw the resurrection of Clockwork Clouds and the increase in my writing overall. Thanks to going back to college, and thanks to taking part in some challenges, I’ve upped my blog, I’ve upped my followers, and I’ve got a semi-regular posting here on the Clouds. We got a little disorganised by the end of 2016, but with everything else I think it’s allowable. We’re back with a vengeance in 2017 and there’s plenty more to come!
Aladdin: So for Christmas 2015 I bought Kirsty tickets to see Aladdin – The Musical down in London. Something she didn’t shut up about for 8, yes 8, months until we went. Was an absolutely amazing night though, with a brilliant show and a lovely little weekend stay.
Lunchtime Walks: So work isn’t exactly top of my list, though I’m thankful I have a secure job that isn’t terrible. Work days wouldn’t be complete though without my lunchtime walks with Simon, where we played Pokémon go, vented off steam, and sometimes spent a lifetime in Greggs. These walks kept me going on my Monday – Friday.
New House: Need I say more? I’ve written about this so much recently. This was possibly the highlight of 2016 that overshadows everything else.
Toby: When Kirsty moved in she brought with her an extra member to our household. It’s been so long since I’ve lived with a pet, but now I can’t imagine my home without this big ball of fluff.
Cozy Nights In: Some of my favourite nights this year have just been composed of lying on the couch, or in bed, with Kirsty on one arm and a good TV show or film in front of us. We’ve watched some great films and some fantastic television.
Cinema Times: Speaking of great films, there’s been some fantastic cinema outings in 2016. Civil War, Dr Strange, Arrival, Rogue One. I love going to the cinema, and seeing how on Jan 1st Kirsty and I signed up for Cineworld Unlimited, I think 2017 will have plenty more films in store.
Date Nights: A great excuse to pig out and go to the cinema! Kirsty and I had a lot of date nights in 2016; we think it’s vital to make time for each other, even when you live together! I will always love going out for food and drinks with her.
Weddings (as a photographer!): So 2016 saw more work for Greg and I over at Level Up Photography. We shot more weddings in 2016 than 2015, and we booked more for 2017 too. 2016 was the year we really took ourselves seriously!
Weddings (as a guest!): The biggest event of October ’16 was a trip across to Wales. It started with a fun, laugh filled car journey shared between Luke, Common, Kirsty and Myself, we picked up Pete along the way and all crammed into a car. That weekend we all stayed at the same hotel, we all got drunk together, we all got suited and booted, we all met up with old friends we hadn’t seen for years, and, more importantly, we all got to see Bronwen get married. It was such a happy occasion filled with an immense amount of love. Definitely one of the best memories of 2016.
Dr Who Experience: The trip to the Wedding gave us a good excuse to detour into Cardiff and visit the Dr Who Experience! Kirsty is a mega-super-duper Dr Who nerd, so it was a great time for the both of us (along with a confused looking Woody and Amy!).
Decorating: So stressful and time-consuming, but so rewarding! It was great to be productive with Kirsty and my family, whilst also making a big difference to our home. Now we can’t imagine it any other way.
Pokémon Day: When the decorating was all done, and Kirsty and I had chance to relax, I surprised her by buying us both the new Pokemon games, along with Pokemon onesies, and a copy of the Pokemon movie on BluRay! Needless to say, this was a really fun afternoon and a perfect memory for us to share in our cozy new home.
Nieces & Nephews: I don’t have any brothers or sisters, so I’ve never really experienced looking after kids or entertaining them; even as a kid myself I used to prefer the company of adults. Kirsty, on the other hand, has a niece and a nephew with another niece on the way. We looked after them for an afternoon at ours and it was pretty crazy, but I loved every minute of it, and not just because it served as a good reminder of what an amazing mom Kirsty will be one day.
Christmas: 2016 was our first Christmas in our new home. I was in love with how Christmassy and cozy our house looked, the tree, the decorations, the lights and the candles. It was magic.
Secret Santa x2: So 2016 I finally got around to planning Secret Santa between myself and my friends; I’ve wanted to do it since I moved back to Solihull in 2013. This lead to me being in charge of Secret Santa at work as well, and then doing two Secret Santas in the space of one day (each time dressed as Santa! though that was my own choice). I was especially pleased with the thought and effort everyone put into it.
Pop Vinyls: Too many Pop Vinyls came into our lives this year; we don’t need any more for a while! Plus 2016 will forever be known as the year of the Three Illidan Stormrages.
Reading: One of my favourite achievements of 2016 was increasing my reading. Despite being a writer, despite having the goal of a published book one day in the, hopefully near, future, I had forgotten to actually invest some time in reading. Well, in 2016 I read more books than I have in perhaps the last 5 years combined. It was a good productive year for reading and, to top it all off, Kirsty bought me a Kindle Paper White for Christmas! Lots more reading to come.