We’re now a few days into 2017 and to be honest Christmas, New Year’s Eve and 2016 itself feels so long ago! Such an impact does four days back into the swing of work have, that it has the power to almost completely eradicate the couple of weeks of “mellow” socialising that preceded it.
Although many moan about some things that 2016 brought to the world (myself included!.. Brexit.. Deaths… Trump.. Terror..) there were indeed some highlights. I recently took over the @Bristol52 Twitter account, an account where a different person from Bristol, UK tweets their way through the week. Once of the highlights of my week on @Bristol52 was feeding a discussion about the good things that happened in 2016, rather focusing on the looming negatives. I wanted to and share the top 3 things that people said were good about their year:
- A lady helped her dyslexic son to find a passion for reading
- 50 million trees were planted by volunteers in India in just 24 hours!
- People got married, had children, laughed, cried. They lived and that’s a great thing that happens every year
Now, time for some of my personal top 3’s of 2016.
Books – I managed to find the time to read 29 books last year, quite how I am not sure. I do really enjoy getting engrossed in a good book, but I don’t usually make enough time for it. So, out of the books I read last year, these are my favourites:
- Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer. A stunningly well written and gripping read that details Krakauer’s account of the May 1996 storm on Everest that took the lives of 5 and impacted everyone on the mountain face.
- Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz. A fast-paced spy thriller set in a shadowy world of assassins, where Orphan X has a conscience and is being hunted by one of his own.
- All That I Am by Anna Funder. I picked this book up in a hostel in Croatia and it moved me to tears more than once. Young revolutionists fleeing the early years of Hitler’s Germany it’s a magnificent book it is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking.
New places – I was very lucky to visit many new places in 2016, both domestically in the UK and abroad. I love to travel, to see the world and experience foreign cultures and 2016 was a gem of a year on this front.
- Dubrovnik, Croatia. Seriously, I think I left some of my heart in the walls of the ancient city. Cobbled streets, clear water, blazing sun, cliff diving, kayaking, wild rabbits, wine, hostel friends, seafood, Game of Thrones; there was everything to like about Dubrovnik and I drank it all in.
- Near Boden, North Sweden. This felt like a once in a lifetime trip for me. Ice fishing, saunas followed by rolling in the icy snow, fast snowmobile riding, Northern Lights, a remote cabin with no toilet/electricity/water, eating moose, failing at all snowsports. It was incredible. And the views, oh my the view! Snow makes everything look beautiful! My days in the very north of Sweden were some of my favourite of 2016, I laughed so hard with friends old and new.
- Plitvice Lakes, Croatia. I kind of feel like having two places from Croatia on this list is cheating, but to ignore Plitvice would be a crime. Meandering for miles on the boardwalks, the deep green and blues of the lakes up in the Croatian mountains. Getting there early ahead of the crowds made for a serene, personal day with nature. Truly amazing.
Albums – this is actually quite a tough one as although I really enjoy listening to music and go to many festivals/gigs every year I often just listen to playlists without knowing what I’m listening to!
- This is Acting – Sia. She’s just amazing. I saw her at V Festival this year and she blew me away and I often listen to this album for her powerful vocals and strong sound.
- Wild World – Bastille. Indie pop at its finest. I first saw Bastille when they supported Muse and I’ve been a fan ever since. This was a regular soundtrack in my headphones during 2016.
- Blossoms – Blossoms. A band I, and most people, hadn’t heard of at the start of 2016 but we definitely knew them by the end. I unashamedly love indie music and Blossoms brought a new take with their wide-ranging album.
Live music – This just had to be done. Despite not making it to Glastonbury in 2016 I still made it to numerous other festivals and gigs. It took a while to think of this top 3!
- All Saints – I actually saw them twice in 2016. The second time I was at the front, against the barrier watching them at Bingley Music Live. It was a set fueled by 90’s nostalgia and I lapped it up.
- Barenaked Ladies – They truly surprised me. Again, I saw them at Bingley and they rocked a middle-of-the-afternoon crowd with their fun rock. I knew perhaps 4 songs but that didn’t matter. It’s a certainty that I will see them again when they tour the UK next.
- Tinie Tempah – I really didn’t expect this to be in my top 3, but when I thought back to how he had the crowd bouncing, dancing and singing along to his chart hits I couldn’t ignore it. Some banging tunes and masterful crowd control; a great gig.
Films – So many films, so little time. Or rather, there’s the time but the cinema costs so much these days! So I perhaps did not watch as many newly released films in 2016 as I would have liked, but I still saw some crackers.
- I, Daniel Blake. Heartbreaking, infuriating, melancholy, hopeful. I, Daniel Blake is a rollercoaster that left me with angry tears streaming down my face. It paints a bleak picture of life for people in the UK living at the very bottom of the pyramid and I urge everyone to see it if you haven’t already. Very powerful cinema.
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Because I’m a fangirl and I’ll happily admit it. I’m so happy Disney haven’t ruined Star Wars, that there’s still ridiculous plot points like the button to turn on a communication tower being on a platform 30m away, a few hundred metres off the floor, that the CGI is amazing, that there’s a film mostly full of characters I don’t know but are simply so Star Wars that I still loved it!
- Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Because I’m a fangirl and I’ll happily admit it. Who doesn’t love the magical worlds that J.K. Rowling creates? It brought me a child-like glee, silently clapping when things familiar to me from the main Harry Potter franchise were mentioned/seen. And that twist at the end!
Thanks 2016, on a personal front you were a blast. Here’s to making sure 2017 brings as much joy!