2016 | fivethreeninety

This year has been, in one word: tumultuous.

Brad & Angelina ended their marriage; Johnny Depp was revealed to be an abusive arsehole & Kim Kardashian as robbed at gun point. Blockbuster movies were mostly really, really bad; Marlon Brando actually raped Marie Schneider in Last Tango in Paradise & directer Bernardo Bertolucci was proud of it; a gorilla was shot at the Cincinnati Zoo; the UK left the EU; Trump was elected & we lost a shocking amount of beloved celebrities.

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But lets not forget the great things that happened this year: Lady Gaga revealed that she had been raped at a young age & began to use her voice to help other survivors – even singing on stage with a choir of people all who had been through the same as her at the Oscars. Brie Larson, who played a victim of abuse in her Oscar winning role in Room made sure to hug every single one of those survivors after the performance.

Amber Heard spoke out about the domestic abuse; breakthroughs funded by the ice bucket challenge donations were discovered in ALS; global malaria is down by 60%; SeaWorld will no longer breed captive killer whales; Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the US $20 bill; Andy Murray won Wimbledon; Pokemon Go got everyone outside making friends; there were new Harry Potter books, a play & a film; the Olympics in Rio celebrated every country together & Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Academy Award.

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It’s been tough, but lets remember the positives that happened this year, both globally & personally.

Every new year there seems to be a trend of people wishing the year out, claiming it was shockingly bad & they just want to forget & move on. It’s become a trend to self-deprichiate for humour & it’s time everyone started recognising their achievements more – because every single one of you has things to be proud of from this year!

Here’s a short run down of my year, & all the things I’m proud of. If I wrote about it or made a video about it, I’ll sneak some links in there too.

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FIVETHREENINETY
I started my blog & YouTube on January 12th as a total stab in the dark just knowing that I needed to start creating things. I posted my first video on my channel, & began blogging on tumblr (but moved over to WordPress within a couple of weeks). I never could have guessed how it would have progressed, or the people I would meet through it or how large a part of my life it would become but I’m so grateful that I did it.

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MADRID
I went abroad by myself with a friend for the first time to Madrid & it was crazy. My friend studies Spanish & went with me in tow to meet a friend of his Dad’s to look at potential job connections when he’ll be living there for a year in his final year of uni. We exhausted ourselves trying to see as much as we could in the four days we were there but made amazing memories.

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MY NINETEENTH BIRTHDAY
This year was my first birthday spent without any friends (as they were all at their respective uni’s) but I had a great time. I hauled my family & boyfriend up to London to go to Madame Tussauds & do some adventuring, & we also bumped into Stephen Fry at the BAFTA red carpet. Happy Birthday to me.

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WALKER STALKER CON LONDON
Pretty much the highlight of my year. It was the first ever weekend convention I’d attended, & it was incredible. I met some incredible people there who I now consider to be among my closest friends (Ryan & Crilly thats you) & just had the most indescribably experience chilling with all these people all with a common interest. I even befriended the creator of the event, & we follow each other on Instagram & twitter.

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HOSPITAL
This was a low patch for me, but I’m including it because I’m proud of how far I’ve progressed since then. I’ve had health problems for years but this year finally saw a diagnosis & the start to recovery & for that I am so grateful.

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BAFTA TV AWARDS
I usually go to the BAFTA Film awards red carpet but as this year it was hosted on my birthday, & I didn’t fancy spending my nineteenth waiting around all day in the cold, I went to their Television Awards instead. It was SO hot, but I had the best time with my cousin Robyn & our new friend Margaret meeting some great, inspirational people.

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THE END OF LONGING
While in London, Robyn & I decided to try our luck at getting tickets for Matthew Perry’s play, The End Of Longing. I got to the theatre box office when it opened & managed to get some on the day tickets for the evening performance & we were so excited. On our way to the theatre that night we actually walked straight past Matthew Perry but was so shocked we didn’t approach him, but the show was so good. We just had the best night.

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MADRID AGAIN
Only four months since last being there, I was invited back to Madrid by the same family friend I’d met in January to attend his private club opening. It was insane; Cirque de Solai performed, there was a massive balloon, everyone was in gowns & we got quite drunk & ended up walking barefoot through the streets of Madrid at 3am. There will be a very belated video of this on my youtube at the start of the new year!

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JAMIE CAME HOME
My boyfriend Jamie went to train as a Dive Master in Koh Tao, Thailand for three months &  I was so proud of him. He actually came back a week early & just walked into my living room to surprise me & I went into shock. I like him quite a bit.

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WELLS COMEDY FESTIVAL
My cousin Ben is a force of nature. He’s always had a passion for comedy, & started his own local comedy club when he was sixteen that’s now progressed into this big festival in the tiny city of Wells. I ran box office & it was incredible to be a part of – the highlight for me was the Comedian’s Cinema Club, a group that gets really drunk & proceeds to reenact a film with help from the audience. As Hot Fuzz was filmed in this same tiny city, that was the film of choice & it was just incredible. My cousin put us in the front row seats purposefully to ensure we’d get picked to help act things out a lot.

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FATHERS DAY
I was living in London at this point rehearsing for a secret project, but my sister & I managed to organise going up to Norwich to spend Father’s Day with our Dad. It was gorgeously warm & lovely to spend time with him, & he was dead excited to show off his curly post-chemo locks all day. Stay tuned for my 2016 video & you’ll see them make an appearance (from multiple angles).

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ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY
This summer saw my boyfriend & I celebrate our one year anniversary. He’s been a constant in 2016, through good times & bad & I’m so lucky.

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TOM LENK
I almost forgot about this. Whilst in London Tom enlisted help from cousin Ellie in shooting one of his now infamous #LenkLewkForLess, & as he still remains to be my favourite Buffy character Ellie got him to FaceTime me & give me some acting tips. Best day ever.

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WE ARE HERE
Perhaps the most impressive thing I’ve been involved in this year was the Somme 100 project organised by artist Jeremy Deller with the National Theatre. Like I said, it was massive top secret project with lots of rehearsals & so much hard work put in from everyone but it payed off hugely, & I will forever be proud to have been part of it.

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YEARLY BOURNEMOUTH TRIP
For the second year in a row, my friends & I bundled into a car & went to Bournemouth for the day. The weather was infinity better than last year & we all made sandcastles & got ice creams.

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PARIS
After years of dreaming, I finally got to Paris. Though we were only there for twenty four hours I was determined not to waste a single second of time, & that meant legging it between Metro stations, having a fully charged phone at all times for photos & sneaking out of the hotel to catch the Eiffel Tower at midnight. It was the most gorgeous experience of my life & it broke my heart to leave, but I know I’ll be back someday – & as with my revisit to Madrid, there will be a video of this trip coming very soon to my YouTube. We also got to stay with my French family in Lille which was wonderful as I love them so very much.

JOB
I got a job! I handed a CV into my local cinema, got a phone call the next day, was interviewed the next & was working my first shift the day after. I’ve been there almost five months now & have made some incredible friends. Why didn’t I think of working in a cinema before?

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CARDIFF
I went to Cardiff for two nights for my cousin, & her Dad’s birthdays (they share the same day). The day meant a big family party at home, then the night brought us drinking & partying till the wee hours of the morning. More excitingly though, I finally got to meet my new baby cousin! She is tiny & adorable & has very sweaty feet & I love her to bits.

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CORNWALL
I spent the summer in my usual fashion of travelling round the UK to visit family & friends, & spent a week & a bit in Cornwall. I rarely get to see my cousins here but we always have an incredible time when we’re united, & this year we went surfing, swam in a lake at an Aqua Park & visited old favourites Paradise Park & the Eden Project.

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FRIENDSFEST
Our cousin Robyn is the biggest Friends fan I have ever met, so for her birthday this year we took her to FriendsFest in Chiswick House & Gardens. The website recommended that we’d be there around three hours, but we were there for just under ten & had the best day of our whole entire lives. Unfortunately, on the coach back home an electrical surge fried my phone, & all the photos I’d taken that day with it! But…

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FRIENDSFEST AGAIN
… I contacted FriendsFest & they invited me back again free of charge! They were touring around the country & were hosting another one literally three miles from my house. Robyn had started uni by this point & was unable to come, but we took our mum instead to see the sights & get as much footage as possible to remember the day. It was incredible.

PEGASUS
In the summer I said enough was enough, & forced myself to sign up for a theatre company in Oxford that I once went to when I was young. We’ve been meeting once a week since the start of the academic year to start devising a production & it’s been a really incredible experience. I’m so excited to be part of it, & see what it brings when we run the show in May of 2017.

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PASSED MY DRIVING TEST
Third time lucky – I can drive now! It was such a huge, huge relief & I’m so happy I finally did it. Don’t stress to about failing driving tests, because it just makes you more ready for the next time. Just don’t think about how much it’s costing.

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HALLOWEEN
My Mum & I worked so hard to make my costume for this Halloween – when I say we, I mean mostly my Mum. I went as Eleven from Stranger Things with the pink dress, blonde wig, eggos & a tiny little nosebleed & I was obsessed. I want to dress like that every day.

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MUM’S BIRTHDAY
It was a big birthday for my Mum this year, & we celebrated in style; with a lot of presents, good food & enough flowers to start our own florist. I adore my mum & it was beyond great to spend so much time celebrating her.

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WELLS CARNIVAL
Back to the teeny city of Wells for a childhood classic, Wells Carnival. It’s run every year, usually around my Mum’s birthday so it works out really nicely. It’s tradition to haul our picnic chairs out to the side of the road & sit usually in the pouring rain for a few hours watching all the incredible floats & parades go by & I wouldn’t change it for the world. The same weekend also saw lots of my family get together for my mum which was so, so great.

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WEEKEND AWAY
Still continuing the birthday celebrations, we went to a caravan park near Mudeford with our close family friends for the weekend. We try to go away together at least once a year, & the six of us have done it for over a decade. I love them all dearly & we had a great time.

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WORK CHRISTMAS PARTY
I’ve met some truly incredible people through work, & it was so wonderful to get dressed up & go out to a fancy meal with them all. I wasn’t expecting us to all end up clubbing until 3am but hey ho.

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CHRISTMAS WITH OLD FRIENDS
My main friendship group from sixth form can rarely get together these days, but four out of five of us managed to make it to a restaurant the weekend before christmas for a catch up a meal & a surprise Christmas pub quiz. We only came third, but did win a cup of jellybeans for the best festive name (The Hoe Hoe Hoes).

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ELLIE’S BIRTHDAY
Christmas Eve has a far more important celebration in my family, & that’s my cousin Ellie’s birthday. She’s a stage manager & was working a matinee so we spent the day in central London, seeing the Christmas lights on Regents Street & enjoying the festive ambiance between birthday breakfast & dinner.

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CHRISTMAS
Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year for me, just because it’s the only time my family’s “Christmas Crew” actually gets to be all together at once. We filled it with stupid traditions, thoughtful presents & amazing food & I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

This year gone has had major lows, but it’s had massive highs too. I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished & forgiving for what I did not, & looking forward to seeing what I can do in 2017. I want to hear things you’ve done that you’re proud of – share your 2016 accomplishments with me on twitter.

Thank you for following me this year, & welcoming fivethreeninety. I haven’t quite got to the level I want to be at with it yet, but I’m getting there. I’m exciting for what the new year will bring.

Happy New Year!!

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