My 2016 Summed Up In Photos

Ahhh...2016, where to start , eh? To say its been a rollercoaster of a year almost seems too cliche because, yes there were ups and downs, but if this year was a rollercoaster then its one no theme park would want to pay for and it certainly isn't one I would choose to ride again.
It's been a...strange year, shall we say. There were so many highs, what with occasions such as the Olympics and the Queens 90th birthday although every good event of the year just seemed to be pushed aside, swept under the rug, undermined, because the negatives seemed to far outweigh the positives. Death took many of the world's most loved stars from us, all hell broke loose in the world of politics and things just generally seemed to go wrong frequently. It got to the point where we refused to even offer explanations for all that went wrong as we just saw them as another victim of 'the curse of 2016.' Personally, I think the fact that One Direction being on a hiatus has something to do with the fact that 2016 has been pretty crap. Now, I'm not saying that One Direction held together the fabrics of the universe but I'm just saying, since they decided to take a break, everything went to pot...but that's just me.

Despite the terrible year the world seems to have had in general, like seriously, you couldn't write it, (although there were some good points too!!) we all have our own personal opinions of 2016 based on how it treated us as individuals. Yes, all seven billion of us suffered, grieved, cried and smiled a little bit together but, behind closed doors, we all had our own personal highs and personal lows. It seems sad that, whenever someone says they've had a good year, its frowned upon. "So many people died, how can you say that?" people will say and, yes, that is true, but we all experienced things this year which were a lot closer to our homes and hearts, we all had to endure things, both good and bad, daily, and just get on with our own lives, despite the world falling apart around us. So, if someone does say its been a good year, that doesn't mean they're happy Bowie is dead, it simply means some pretty cool things happened to them, which is great. Why wouldn't we want nice things to happen to nice people when there is already so much hatred, violence and sadness out there? Should we all just be sad 24/7? The world just can't work like that. Besides, we need the happiness of other people in order to get us through the dark times.

For me personally, it's been...well, yeah, a rollercoaster of a year. I hate to use such a corny expression, but this year has been a weird one. Thinking about it now, it seems to have both flown by yet gone so slowly at the same time. Good things happened to me, great things happened to me in fact. I travelled, I spent precious time and made memories with my loved ones, I worked hard, I cried with laughter, I experienced things I shall never forget and I also began working on my own personal goals. I focused my mind more on what I need and what I need to do in order to make myself mentally sound and happy. Granted, I'm a long way off, however, I have started taking steps which I hope to continue taking in 2017. In terms of recovery and building yourself up into being the best version of yourself, you have to start somewhere and I did kind of start in 2016. So, in many ways, the past twelve months have been great for me. However, with times of happiness comes times of hardship. Its inevitable. I lost someone close to me this year and, like everyone else, dealt with my own personal struggles, because I'm human, and life never runs totally smoothly.
I thought I would share with you photos which summarise my 2016.

I wouldn't say I have a particularly eventful life, however, these photos captured key moments from my year that give me some sort of memory and they are the key things which I shall remember when I think of 2016. All of these events had some sort of impact on me, mentally, physically, emotionally, positively or negatively. I challenge you to look back at all the photos you took this year and see if you can describe your 2016 using a couple of snaps.

So, without further ado, here's a peek inside my year...

Having my bedroom decorated
Here's a rather cheesy snap of me in my bedroom shortly after my bedroom was almost empty at the start of the year. I had it decorated by my Grandparents and to say it was totally transformed would be an understatement as the place now looks totally different to what it did last year. I, like most of you, spend a large portion of my time in my bedroom and so I want it to be a place where I can relax, feel comfortable and that totally reflects me. However, prior to it being decorated, despite me spending so much time in there, my bedroom wasn't actually somewhere I felt totally at ease and it wasn't somewhere I enjoyed being. It felt cramped, dark, gloomy and cluttered but, now, the space feels more open and bright, thanks to my decision to swap dark coloured walls and carpet for lighter ones. My bedroom also feels more like a 'me' space now, it's somewhere I feel comfortable inviting other people in to, its a place where I can sleep easily and it, basically, just feels more appropriate for my age. I feel as though a big change to my bedroom, which involved new wallpaper, carpet, furniture and rearranging certain things, was exactly what I needed. I am now the owner of a nice bedroom which doesn't stress me out or put me on edge, it's more of a haven and it really helped me in terms of my mental happiness.

Little Mix 'Get Weird' Tour
This year, I was fortunate enough to see one of my favourite groups, Little Mix, in concert for the third time on their 'Get Weird' Arena Tour back in March. I truly love concerts and I would go as far as to say that they're the place where I feel happiest and this one was no exception. I have a lot of love for Little Mix and they are four ladies who I look up to, not solely for their music but also for who they are as people, therefore, seeing them again in the flesh felt like pure magic. This concert also came at a time when I didn't feel too great about things and everything was all just getting a bit much and so, even though Perrie, Leigh Anne, Jade and Jesy may only see doing shows as a small gesture and just 'part of the job,' for me, it was just what I needed and let me tell you that concerts can be better than any form of medication. In those few hours, I felt so filled with joy, excitement and adrenaline. I was on such a high and it felt so good to be able to escape for a while to watch the people I love doing the thing that they love. I shall also be attending Little Mix's 'Glory Days' Tour towards the end of 2017, which already gives me something to look forward to next year and, I mean, is a year really worth it without a concert?

Fifth Harmony '7/27' Tour
 I was lucky enough to attend two concerts this year, the second one being Fifth Harmony's '7/27' Tour in October. Just like Little Mix, I adore Fifth Harmony. Not only do they release some HELLA CATCHY, SASSY SONGS, but they are brilliant role models for girl power, body confidence. self love, and working hard to achieve your dreams. Their concert was probably one of the greatest things I have ever witnessed...I know I say that after every concert but it's true, I swear! These girls have energy by the bucket load on stage, I'm convinced they aren't human. Their choreography was literal fire, as were their vocals. They also gave many uplifting, thankful speeches to their audience of fans and it was just magical to be in an environment filled with such love and to be surrounded by people who share the same amount of love for that band as I do. Despite the fact that 5H are now a foursome after Camila's departure from the band this December, I'm so glad that I got to see the girls live as a five during their most successful year yet. Honestly, if you've ever seen Fifth Harmony live then you shall understand what I mean when I say that these girls are inSANE in concert.

A Summer garden party
This year, I spent quite a bit of time in the care home which my Great Grandma was staying in. I always looked forward to visiting her and it was nice to see her in such a warm environment, being cared for by people who were so exceptional at their job. One thing I especially enjoyed about my visits there was getting to chat to other residents and listen to their stories. This Summer, the home had a garden party with music, a tombola and just a general lively atmosphere for everyone in the home. It was a way of getting them all out of their rooms, into the sunshine, having a good time, socialising with each other and their friends and family. I had a wonderful day and it warmed my heart to see the ladies there having fun, especially when they were dancing. Seeing other people happy always makes me happy and, just generally this year, I loved spending time at the home as I got to chat to people with so many experiences stored in their head which, sadly, not many people take the time to listen to them talk about. I am sure it made their days to have people to talk to and it definitely made mine.

Losing my Grandma
Despite the many fond memories that I made this year which I shall carry through with me into 2017 and despite all of the loving people I was surrounded by who I look forward to spending more time with next year, there is one person who I am unable to take with me into the New Year, my Great Grandma. She passed away this October at the astonishing age of 96 and this was by far one of the most painful periods of my life. To be honest, this period almost seems to be a blur as I can only remember being so overwhelmed with sadness and grief that I'm not too sure what else really happened during those few weeks. I felt like a shell of a person, empty and just very, very upset. My Grandma was always someone who I admired and who I only had to spend five minutes with to have a smile on my face. She was someone who I loved and treasured dearly and so losing her made this year a painful one. Yes, I had some great times but, when you lose a loved one, those happy times do always seem insignificant. I'm a positive person and I know that my Grandma wouldn't have wanted me to see this year as a terrible one because of her, however, it's just a fact of life. People pass away and it hurts us, there's no getting around that, and it is allowed to hurt us, especially if we were so close to the person. I'm glad that I managed to grieve for my beautiful Grandma and that she got a nice send off. I shall carry my memories of her not just into 2017 but in my heart for the rest of my life.

My 17th birthday
This August, I celebrated my seventeenth birthday. In all honesty, it wasn't anything extravagant, in the same ways that my birthdays never are, as I'm not one for parties and I don't have a large family. I very much enjoy keeping things simple on my birthday, spending time with those closest to me and just doing what I want to do. However, my birthday is always exactly how I like it because I get to do what suits me, this year being no exception, as I celebrated at home with my family, ate cake, and we also went out to Pizza Hut and ABSOLUTELY STUFFED OUR FACES...and any day which includes pizza automatically makes it the best day ever, right? I'm no different as a seventeen year old as I was as a sixteen year old and not much in my life has changed since, excluding advancing up in the world of education. But, I'm very much looking forward to what my seventeenth year brings me in 2017.

There are a variety of photos that I could have selected for this point, however, I settled on this as I think a vibrant sky like this is one of life's most beautiful sighs, although it's true beauty could never just be captured on camera. In January this year, I splashed out on a new camera, like, a PROPER one, that people who take REAL PHOTOS use. After wanting one for a while, I thought what better time than the New Year to splurge and invest in one? Well, that's a bit of a lie as I basically only bought it then because I had Christmas money but still. ;) I have always been interested in photography, whether that being by admiring photos taken by others or experimenting with the camera myself. Throughout 2016, I have really enjoyed playing around with my camera and it is now one of my most prized physical possessions. It has allowed me to capture many happy times to keep forever in a picture, plus, the fact that it is such good quality makes the images feel all the more special. I do just genuinely love taking photos and I am always on the look out for small things in big places or big things in small places that would take a good snap. Most of the time, when I see things that I want to photograph I don't actually have my camera with me. I can't wait to take more photos in 2016 and really have fun with different camera techniques in order to capture art in a way which really does it justice.

*Insert really cringey snap of me in front of Big Ben HERE!!* London as a city has always intrigued me and it's always been a place on my list of locations to visit. Granted, it isn't particularly exotic, there aren't beaches on every corner and people don't sunbathe on the streets, however, it's incredibly multicultural, bursting with life, there's something for everyone everywhere you go, no two roads are the same, the people have amazing stories and just, generally, it is a place of beauty, in both the famous landmarks such as Big Ben and the hidden gems which no one really talks about. I was fortunate enough to holiday in London this year and I think the photo speaks for itself in this one, I mean, could I look any more like a tourist? HAHA! It definitely didn't destroy the image I had in my head - it was everything I expected and then some. I got the chance to visit some amazing parts of the capital, such as the Houses of Parliament, Oxford Street, Camden Lock, Madam Tussaud's, as well as attending a theatre show and riding an open top bus through the city at night. I only spend a few days in London but I now have a very strong desire to go back, especially as you can never truly explore the whole of London, there will always be bits to surprise you. My first time in London is an experience that will stay with me forever and my Grandparents made it extra special by taking me.

Chopping my hair off
Two days before Christmas, I decided to cut 31cm of my hair off and donate it to charity. I sent my hair to the Little Princess Trust for it to be made into a wig for a child who has lost their hair due to cancer. As well as donating my actual hair, I decided, why not do as much as I possibly can, so, I managed to raise over £200 for the organisation as well. This is by far one of my favourite things I have ever done, not just because I was tired of long hair and now love having shorter locks, but because the experienced filled my heart with so much joy. Knowing that, by doing something as small as having my hair cut, was going to make a huge difference to someone elses life really touched me and made me extremely excited to get the chop. I am so happy with the outcome, however, I am more happy knowing that what I've done is going to help someone and it just shows that you don't have to be a millionaire to change someones life, sometimes, all you need is hair.

Writing has always been such a big part of my life. It has always been the thing I enjoy most and the thing that I feel as though I'm best at. I feel as though I have pretty much written my way through 2016 as I'm struggling to recall a moment when my hands weren't tapping away at a keyboard or holding a pen and a notebook. Of course, I wrote a lot for my blog this year, both on my laptop, in a notepad prior to typing and on my phone when I had ideas and couldn't get to a computer. I couldn't be happier with the pieces I have produced and the position my blog is in. I feel like I continued to create a safe space for myself and my readers this year by posting content which inspires, uplifts and entertains and I have thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I cannot wait to continue producing blog posts about issues I am most passionate about in 2017 and I hope that you will continue to enjoy them! Additionally, I began writing for this year, a celebrity news website. This has also helped me develop my skills as a journalist, which is handy as that is the career I hope to venture in to. Not only has it been fun writing for them, but it has provided me with another group of people with whom I share a common ground - a love of writing. Plus, writing for them has helped me develop my ability to write articles and makes me feel like I'm part of creating something amazing. Finally, not all of the writing I did this year was online. I take Creative Writing as one of my A-Levels and so always seem to be writing, literally, always. I enjoy writing though and so never see it as a chore. I probably wouldn't be able to count the number of opinion pieces, poems, short stories or scripts that I've written in the past twelve months, however, I know that I plan on writing many more in the New Year, whether that be in College or in my spare time just for fun.

Just me and my brain
I've done a lot of thinking this year, which is a pathetic sentence in itself isn't it because we all think a lot in a year, come on Emily, what are you trying to say? Well, I'm not too sure what I'm trying to say, to be honest. Let's start by discussing this photo. This was taken in Summer and is probably the only photo of myself which I have ever thought to be half decent, hence why I had it as my social media profile for the majority of the year. I feel as though this photo portrays me in a peaceful, content state of mind and it was taken at a time when things weren't as terrible as they could have been. Basically, this year, I have taken time to work on my own mental health and happiness, whether that's through making efforts to change the way I think or by actually talking about my feelings to those closest to me. I know I'll never be a loudmouth and I know that self-love and just general life happiness doesn't come overnight, especially when your mind is kind of a bit mushy, however, as previously mentioned, I started taking baby steps this year which I hope will get me off to a good, happy start in 2017. I also did a lot of thinking about other people, not just my own life and the state of it. I thought a lot about the world I live in, the situations people I've never even met are in, the world's problems, what needs to be done to solve them and I expressed a lot of my thoughts online or in some form of writing. I'm a thinker anyway, I've always thought a lot, but I seemed to think a lot more this year and, as the years go by, I seem to become more and more aware of what is going on around me, which perhaps is just because I'm getting older. My eyes are well and truly open to what is going on in society today and I have countless strong opinions on what should be done to ensure we live in a safe, accepting, peaceful world.

The future
We are often so focused on setting goals for the future that we forget to live in the moment, however, this year, I had to start looking to the future in terms of my education and career. This is a photo which was taken in Manchester during a University Open Day. I visited a handful of universities over the course of this year and spent a lot of time considering where I wanted to go in life when I leave College next Summer. The future is daunting and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying - its especially daunting at such a young age when you can just about make a piece of toast without burning it and all of a sudden you're forced to make scary decisions about things Although, I feel like I've made the right decisions for me and I've created a stable path for myself to follow in the near future to help get me into the industry which I want to be in and to help me be the best possible version of myself. I spend a lot of time this year considering what options I had for the future, what was best for me and planning things carefully to ensure I would be happy and my mind is now at ease as I know I am 1) confident with the choices I have made and 2) surrounded by people who love and will support me should anything not go according to plan.

So, which of your own photos would best sum up your year? <3
Here's to many more amazing snaps in 2017!

Love, Emily :) xx

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