You're probably fed up of all these '2015 round up' and 'my 2015' and 'looking on to 2016' but never say bloggers don't milk an opportunity for all it's worth.
As a little way of looking back at my past year, I have scoured my diaries, Facebook account, Instagram and Twitter and have found 52 things of the best things about 2015. It's basically an elongated Best Of The Week (read last week's here).
Strap yourself in, this will probably be a long one.
January 1st - 7th.
I spent the first week of this year frantically organising to go back to university (we started lectures again just after new year) and according to my Instagram I also spent a lot of time filling in diaries and notebooks and calendars for the start of the year so not much has changed! The best thing about this first week of 2015 was my New Years Resolution, one which I kept for the first time ever. There'll be more on it in another post later in the week but I vowed to find something happy in each and every day and boy did I succeed.
January 8th - 14th.
Wrexham has been renowned for snowing every year when South Wales is bone dry and this year was no exception. Although not quite good as the snow we got in first year where uni was closed and we all went playing like we were in school, 2015's snow was pretty, even if there wasn't so much of it. And my Insta grid benefitted so there's that too. This week my mother came to stay with me for a few days, I had a big deadline at uni and then I travelled home again (all 4 hours of it) to finished packing up my things from Christmas and take it alllll the way back to Wrexham. I did a fair few miles in 2015.
January 15th - 21st.
I remember this week being a bit of a weird one, I had already been back at university for near enough a fortnight by the time my flatmates came back to start their courses and my Instagram would suggest I wallowed in self pity by drinking loads of tea, going shopping and eating lots of chocolate. I feel like this might be the perfect way to spend a week.
January 22nd - 28th.
This week was pretttttty busy apparently, although I don't remember rushing about at all! I feel like we celebrated the return of the flat for a new term in the only way we knew how...with food. We went on a spontaneous Frankie & Benny's date (this happened far too often than I'd like to admit), I read the Hunger Games trilogy in a week, we had friends round for food and films and ended up watching hours of Jackass, we had 247925809385 visits from our landlord and his dog whilst our TV and internet were down, we went to see Taken 3 in the cinema and I started writing and illustrating a new children's book. I also got super organised with my food and it lasted all of a month.
January 29th - February 4th.
My Insta feed for this week was mainly sneak peeks of my new children's book (find this finished product here) so I was clearly pretty busy. I went shopping in Wrexham again and scouted out some bargains, we had a house party and some house guests where we played trivial pursuit, filled a recycling box full of bottles and cans and our fence blew down in a storm which was nice. I also started running again which lasted about 5 weeks but this quote was the funniest thing about this week. Love a good quote.
February 5th- 11th.
Another busy week, one I actually remember being hectic. When I used to travel from North to South Wales, ordinarily I would go on a Thursday or Friday after lectures and come back on a Monday or Tuesday but this week, I had double booked. I started the week with a trip to The Spring Fair at the NEC in Birmingham which we were taken to by university. We spent the entire day scouring out what we wanted to buy and where to pick up bargains and then, when we approached a seller, were told it was wholesale only. Needless to say we spent the rest of the day playing eye spy and eating snacks but we did sit at the back of the bus and watch a cute sunset so there we are. Just a day or two later 8 or 9 of us went to see Alan Carr live on his Yap! Yap! tour which was conveniently held in our main hall at uni after (another) meal at Frankie & Bennys. We even stayed outside the stage door and met him later on and got autographs which was neat. The following morning I was up at 7.00am to travel back down to South Wales, got a cheeky glimpse of the Welsh Rugby team at Cardiff train station which was brave because they'd just lost horrifically to England the night before and then I had a weekend of celebrating my mother's birthday and then a measly day later I was up at 5am for another train back to Wrexham before a full week of university. We also had solar panels fitted that day and they had to get into the loft through my wardrobe so that's the mess of a photo. This week is engrained in my brain as a busy one, I wasn't wrong.
February 12th - 18th.
God knows why but apparently, after the week that I had previously, I decided to hop on a train and go back to South Wales after a few days in university and whilst I was there I managed to cram in a heck of a lot. My mother was midst digging out a pond in our garden that week and it turned out to get bigger and bigger and more like a swimming pool which was fun to keep checking in on (the amount of phone calls ended abruptly when she announced she was in the pond was unreal). It was Valentine's Day that weekend and the boyfriend came home from Bristol and we had a fry up and watched Frozen to celebrate because duh. I watched Gone Girl with the family which was awkward and then watched Wales Scotland in the 6 Nations. I am unsure why but I seemed to stay at home for a good few days that week (god knows what happened to my degree), I watched Secret Life of 4 Year Olds for the first time, worked a lot and had pancakes for Shrove Tuesday and gave up chocolate for Lent (which I succeeded in thnx).
February 19th - 25th.
Still at home after the previous week (I think my flatmates were on a Reading week so I was just working from home instead of ya know, getting my degree in class), my cousins came to visit from Manchester during half term. Broadchurch season 2 finished whilst I was at home which led to 38217490283 texts between me and my flatmates and my university friends over who dunnit and how it would finish. I finished the week by heading off on another 4 hour train journey at 5.30am to get back in time for lectures and later that day was reunited with my housemates to watch the Brit awards.
February 26th - March 4th.
I am surprising myself by how busy every week seems to be? I had the impression I did sweet FA except work when I was in university but alas, I seem to have done a load. Explains why I came out with hardly any student loan left. My Instagram from this week is essentially 2490289032850 quotes but in amongst I managed to find out I spent a lurvely day shopping for birthday presents and cards and a sneaky load of jewellery for myself (it was Primark don't panic). We went on our monthly excursion to Les' chippy which is always delightful, we went running again (probably for the last time that year), watched some more 6 nations and went to see Fifty Shades of Grey cos everyone did in February. Yuh huh.
March 5th - 11th.
Another week, another train journey down south. I can see why I stayed 6 weeks in Wrexham in April after all these weeks travelling at the beginning of the year. At the end of this week I took the train journey from hell to Bristol to the other half, there were delayed trains, cancelled trains, missed connections...the whole thing was horrific but I had a blissful night in a city that I love. The next day me and Joss got another train to Cardiff where we spent a weekend celebrating his 22nd birthday a few days early with a film, Frankie & Bennys (don't), a cake and lots of presents. Sadly his birthday was a weekday so we didn't actually see eachother on the day, his parents went to take him out instead and we Skyped and had a makeshift birthday. In university we held a cake sale this week where I decorated 50 easter bunnies by hand and we made 140 quid toward our stand at New Designers.
March 12th - 18th.
A more relaxed week!! Hallelujah!!! Me and the bestie became superheroes (sorta), it was Comic Relief, Wales played Ireland in the 6 Nations, I set up my Instagram from my business (follow here), we had macaroni cheese for dinner and it was Mother's Day which I celebrated from a few hours away.
March 19th - 25th.
And back to it with another corker of a week. This one started off with few hilarious days at uni where I dressed up as Jonny, there was an eclipse which I watched from the safety of behind my curtains (NOTHING happened) and I really started developing my business and ordering all my promo packs etc. It was Super Saturday for the rugby 6 Nations where I watched 7 hours of back to back rugby and worked on my assessment for university. I re vamped the first year student tradition of having pasta and cheese at about 10pm for one week only and we held an Easter raffle in class to raise money for our New Designers fund right before I packed up my life in a box and went home for Easter holidays for a fortnight.
March 26th - April 1st.
After coming home for my Easter break it took me a full week to manage to unpack everything and find a home for it all (please note, I only had a two week break) so that took up most of my week. I spent a lot of quality time with my cat Mildred who, after forgiving me for being away, wanted lots of cwtches and sleeps on my bed. I went back to Bristol to see the other half and brought him back to Wales where we spent some blustery days dog walking and spending time with the family.
April 2nd - 8th.
My last full week of my Easter holidays was jam packed with trying to fit in seeing everybody. I accidentally ended up on a lads night out, I caught up with my chums from school and I went for coffee with a bestie. For Easter Sunday I continued the tradition I have kept for the past few years, having an Easter egg hunt with my brother and parents followed by another hunt (yes I'm 23 years old) with my boyfriend's family and a turkey dinner which I love. It also became unseasonably warm and knocked out a good sunset or two and gave me the opportunity (yes in APRIL) to work outside at the table in the garden in the sunshine.
April 9th - 15th.
All change again, this was one of them insane weeks. I finished up my Easter holidays with a few chores, a few feeding of the animals on the quad bike and then I took a road trip back to Wrexham with Joss. My flatmates weren't back at uni when I got back so Joss stayed for 2 days and we had a date night (Frankie & Bennys lul) and we went shopping and then he left, just a day before I had to travel home again!!!
April 16th - 22nd.
Continuing my trend of insane weeks, I travelled home (and travelled light) to South Wales on a Friday night and then went straight to London on the following Saturday morning for a belated celebration for Joss' birthday. His family took us all off on the train to Paddington where we spent a crazy 24 hours rushing about, taking in the sights, eating hurried meals, watching American Buffalo at the Wyndham theatre, staying at a posh hotel, eating the most expensive breakfast buffet ever and then rushing back on the train again. We left Joss in Bristol and then I went home with his family and straight on to my home where I rushed about packing up again and then, as if it wasn't enough, I jumped in the car with my parents and drove 4 hours up to Shrewsbury where they were staying for a week. I stayed in their lodge for a night and then spent a delightful few days exploring Chirk Castle and Pistyll Rhaeder (read about those here) and in the middle I managed another cake sale at university too. This week was also the first of 6 weeks I was spending in Wrexham without going home.
April 23rd - 29th.
My parents were still with me this week, they stayed for 6 days in total I think and it was so lovely to spend such a lot of time with them and to explore things on my doorstep that I might not have been able to explore otherwise. We went for a meal in Frankie and Bennys (I'm making myself laugh now), we took a canal cruise across the aquaduct to Llangollen and they explored Iron Bridge whilst I was in university. After their departure, during which time I was rather sad, I made THE BEST roast dinner I have ever produced, I printed some copies of my children's book in the studio, I played hide and seek in my class and I received a post card from my parents telling me all about their stay....at my house....
April 30th - May 6th.
We were getting dangerously close to finishing university in May and suddenly I think everyone realised what little time we had an how we really needed to make the most of it. Despite being third years and being rushed off our feet with deadlines we started doing lots of fun tings and having a ball and this week I went exploring with Jonny and Tania after university. We went to Ty Mawr Country Park and walked along Pontcysyllte Aquaduct which was a bit terrifying and then went for a cuppa at Jonny's parents house. I went shopping mid week and only bought things in black and white unintentionally, I got a box of goodies for my business ready for the end of university and me and the flatmate went on a cinema date which failed (god knows what we were going to see).
May 7th - 13th.
May 7th marked 5 years of seeing Joss but sadly we were 5 hours away from eachother in Bristol and Wrexham respectively and too busy to travel because of exams and assessments so we Skyped instead and had a belated date a few weeks later. He did however send me a card on which the return address said "From Lard JD Craddock of the Vale" so there's that. My mum sent me some cute post too (slippers), I finished a children's book writing course, my bestie plaited my hair all Nordic (which resulted in this rare selfie) and we had another Les' chippy date.
May 14th - 20th.
Bit of a weird week as it started with my last official day of university. Although I continued to go back for a few weeks, it was my last day in the studio and the day I finished my books and my assessment work. I celebrated the commencement of the last week in style with macaroni cheese for tea and a date to the cinema with the bestie for Pitch Perfect 2 (which was amazing). I finished all my degree work for the last time and had my final ever deadline on which day we were told (without grades) that we'd passed and we had cemented degrees awww yeah. I finished the week nicely with some congratulations cards from my family which was sweet, we had friends over to play trivial pursuit (with less alcohol this time), we had A LOT of food and we set up an entire exhibition which was stressful (read here).
May 21st - 27th.
A pretty exhausting week was this one. After passing my degree and setting up the exhibition, I spent 384923850398698 hours in university helping everyone else set up theirs and getting ready for opening night. My parents and grandparents came to stay for two nights and whilst I was at university hastily hanging work they went exploring and then met up with me for food (probably Frankie & Bennys lets be fair). On the evening of the 22nd our exhibition opened and it was a lovely night (despite the name fiasco) and it was so lovely to see everyone's hard work and to see all my friends and their family. The very next day I packed up half of my house in Wrexham, loaded my parents and grandparents cars (after a full fry up thanks fam) and travelled 4 hours home to begin the moving out process. The week I spent at home was gloriously sunny and warm with uhhhmazing sunsets, I celebrated my 5 year anniversary a few weeks late and my cousins came to stay in the Whitsun bank holiday and took me to Oakwood theme park to relive my youth.
May 28th - June 3rd.
This week was manic, I said goodbye to my cousins, I was getting ready to go back to Wrexham to move out for good but there was one pretty big change in my life that arrived all guns blazing on the 29th May 2015 and took over. I am not posting pictures and I am not going into details but naturally the best thing of this week was when I met my niece.
June 4th - 10th.
Speaking of hectic weeks, this was a corker. Me and my flatmate had this grand idea in our heads for weeks, months, probably more like a year that at the end of university we wanted to take the car to Wrexham and stay in our house and have a mini holiday and finish off our 3 years at uni together the way we started; with a trip to Alton Towers. And so, on the 4th June I hopped on a train to her house and we loaded the car and we took a road trip up to our little red brick terraced house. We had SUCH a good 5 or 6 days there, it was sweltering hot and we explored the North coast of Wales and revisited some places we'd explored before. It also happened to be Jenny's 21st birthday when we were there (excellent planning I know) so we went to Cheshire Oaks, we watched Spy in the cinema, we went for a last Les' chippy, we went for a last Frankie and Bennys (duh), we had people round, we went to Llandudno beach and pier, we went to Chester zoo to see the rhino and the elephants, we took a late night walk down town and we said our goodbyes. And then on the last day we went to Alton Towers on the first day it opened after the terrible accident on the Smiler. As horrific and life changing as that accident was, I have to hand it to the staff on the first day. The theme park was silent, it was eerie, up by the Smiler had a real atmosphere around it and it was pretty upsetting. However, we had a really lovely day, we got to go on everything we wanted to 498395030 times, we had a delicious picnic and we actually felt really safe. the staff were taking massive precautions and when rides did break down or did show some signs of warning, everything was shut down, we were all safely shipped off and everything was checked 03275903 times until they were certain again. And then, on June 9th I went to university for the last time and then we got in our separate cars and we locked up the house for the last time and moved out of Wrexham.
June 11th - 17th.
Right after I officially moved home, it was my brother's 21st birthday (we are 20 months apart) and I think that was the best part of this week because his daughter was only 12 days old so that was all cute and sentimental (the cake I made him - below- is not so cute and sentimental). This week I also started getting organised for London, I moved all my belongings into my home and I really started getting my business started.
June 18th - 24th.
According to my Insta grid for this week, my cat found some extraordinary places to sleep and/or hide so that is exciting. It was also Father's Day this week, I bought an iPhone 5C and sold my LG G2 and, probably most importantly, I got my confirmation that I got a 2:1 degree with honours.
June 25th - July 1st.
This week was mainly spent frantically packing for London New Designers but I found time to celebrate the boyfriend also finding out he was graduating with a 2:1. I went to London this week with my besties for New Designers and despite major hotel failure and insane heat, the first few days were a blast. Once we'd got over the initial shock we embraced the hilarity of it all and learnt very quickly we weren't going to need our leather jackets.
July 2nd - 8th.
I started this week off still in London with my pals at New Designers. I've written so much about it so I won't keep on (read here instead) but it was honestly one of the best things about this entire year. I had SUCH a good time, we had such a laugh, we have 4370923570937 stories to recite, things to quote and it was so lovely to be away with some of my best friends. And it was sunny so that was nice. Sadly the closer I came home to Cardiff the more and more it started raining but ya know, Wales never disappoints. I also got these flowers of the boy for passing uni so top marks to him.
July 9th - 15th.
Right after I got home from London, I had one day at home and then I hopped back on a train again to Bristol. I spent a long weekend away with the boyfriend in his flat in Bristol before he had to move out and the heatwave continued and we went shopping, we went to Bristol zoo and we had a date night in TGI Friday's and watched Jurassic World. Sadly I totally messed up the trains going home and we had to run like mad men to make our train which luckily we did.... I also caught up with an old friend for coffee in this week and wrote a whole lodda posts about ND2015.
July 16th - 22nd.
As I'm writing this I cannot believe how I thought any of this was a good idea. Straight from London to Bristol back to Cardiff and straight up to Wrexham and then down to Sussex (more on that in a minute). Two days after I came back from Bristol I caught the early train up to Wrexham to collect my work from New Designers, and in a mere 4 hours managed to squeeze in catching up with my friends, going to university and dinner at Frankie and Bennys (why break the habit of a lifetime?). Two days later and I was back in Cardiff shopping for my summer holidays and catching up with my flatmate from uni and we played crazy golf in the St davids arcade which was amazing. The rest of the week was spent madly chucking things into a suitcase to go on holiday and spending as much time as I could with my niece before I went away AGAIN.
July 23rd - 29th.
As if all my travelling wasn't enough, two days before I went on my hollibobs, the boyfriend graduated so off up to Bristol we went AGAIN on ANOTHER sweltering day and although his sister and I couldn't attend the ceremony, we watched it live streamed on a big screen in the SU and it was all happy and proud and other cringy things. We also had another TGI Fridays, which contrary to popular belief and my penchant for a Frankie and Bennys, is ma fav place to eat. We then hotfooted it home, packed up and at an obscene hour of the morning we drove all the 6 hours down to Sussex for a two week British holiday!
July 30th - August 5th.
I spent the entirety of this week on holidays in Sussex and Kent with my mother, father and boyfriend. It was sunny, it was rainy, it was Britain as you would expect but we had SUCH a lovely time. Have a read about where we went here.
August 6th - 12th.
The beginning of this week I was still on holidays but sadly the boyf had had to drive home to Wales to start his new job so it was down to the three of us (I got the whole double bed so silver linings). We had a pretty relaxing last few days of the holiday, we visited a lot of historical places and went shopping in some really cute towns. Coming back from holidays I was reunited with the main man, my brother and my niece, I bought the Sims for my Mac as any sane adult would and I worked at the Vale Show for Vale Cider. Also this Frankie and Benny's related catastrophe happened.
August 13th - 19th.
After I came back from my holidays I FINALLY had a relaxing week of sorts and spent a lot of time catching up with illustrating and reading and I didn't do a whole lot else. I did go to Nailsea to see the flatmate and we went for dinner at the very end of that week which was cute.
August 20th - 26th.
I think by this point of the summer I was just praying for a week off to just stay at home and not do a lot and so my knowledge of what I did during this week is limited. I spent some QT with my niece, I booked a few days in Wrexham with Tania in October and I really got on with working my socks off for my business. Also Stacey made this for me which was super exciting.
August 27th - September 2nd.
This week I spent looking after the animals and whizzing about on the quad bike but the absolute best part of this week was catching up with my friends. I went for coffee with my golden gal as we always do when we get together and even though it was September it was boiling and it was all shades of lovely. I also caught up with nearly all of my pals from school. It is an absolute miracle to get more than about 4 of us together and so to get all but one together was amazing and we honoured the missing lady with this flattering mannequin.
September 3rd - 9th.
This is where my year gets a bit, well, dull. By September I was furiously working and really focusing all my energy on making my career work. This is also when I started blogging more and more regular so you're probably pretty up to date on the past 3 months of my life. Soz and that. During the first week of September I worked super hard, I was very productive and I started working on Christmas cards.....
September 10th - 16th.
The second week of September picked up a liddle bit which is always nice. At the beginning of the week we had a get together with 4 of my friends from school (see what I mean) where we said goodbye to one of my buddies who moved to Cornwall for a new job. It was also Roald Dahl Day which I illustrated, started packing up my belongings in boxes (only to not move out for another 2 months) and I revisited this beauty which I created when I was in my Foundation course.
September 17th - 23rd.
After nearly A YEAR of not seeing these lovely people, I had the best start to a week ever when I met up with them in Llanelli. We walked out of Frankie & Benny's (I know, I know) because they had no chips. I wrote about it in this post but seriously, these guys. They also asked me to create this image of us (with added pazazz and Beyonce) and it reminded me of this little throwback too. Sup Ronnie.
September 24th - 30th.
This week started with a trip to Malvern show where I basically spent a day traipsing around after my mum holding plants but it was a nice day out and I got some sweet photography. I also booked my train tickets to Wrexham a month in advance (luhhh me some bargains) and Wales became #2 in the world in rugby during the World Cup.
October 1st - 7th.
October started in a good way with lots of sun, unseasonable warmth and lots of lovely walks with my niece. It was also the world cup which was amazing, I watched a documentary on Wayne Rooney (big United fans in the Rees household), I got sent a Matalan Black Card for being so fly and we did some really sweet photography promoting Vale Cider.
October 8th - 14th.
This week in October I babysat my niece completely on my own for the first time (with disastrous results), I went to see the ball in the wall in Cardiff, my parents went away and left me alone for a week (also disastrous results) and I had a cold. I also wrote this post this week.
October 15th - 21st.
My birthday week!!! I celebrated my birthday in St Fagan's followed by a meal and rugby with my family (read that here) and my niece wrote a kiss on my card at 4 months old. I did a bunch of commissions this week for Christmas cards and I accidentally rocked up in the same pink and white stripes as my niece and then stole her sock. What an eventful week.
October 22nd - 28th.
The weekend of the 22nd/23rd/24th my family came down from Manchester and we celebrated my cousins 11th birthday with a TGI Fridays an a fiery game of Cluedo. I started slowly moving bits and bobs into my new home (basically I claimed the biggest wardrobe by putting a massive 'G' on it), I took my niece to Dyffryn Gardens (info here) and on the 28th I hopped on the train for the 4 hours to Wrexham to see my besties!!
October 29th - November 4th.
There was obviously one main thing about this week that stood out from all the rest and that was obvs graduating. You can read the full shabang in this post but it was honestly the most lovely few days, back where I belong in Wrexham with my besties having a ball, eating Frankie and Bennys (I had two that weekend, whatcha gunna do) and staying up late watching Embarrassing Bodies. Later that week I watched the Rugby World Cup final, started shopping for Christmas decorations and introduced my niece to her first squirrel.
November 5th - 11th.
I had a much more relaxing week when I got back from Wrexham, I sure needed a break. The John Lewis ad aired which meant Christmas had officially started, it was bonfire night and we did sparklers at home, I went to see Spectre in the cinema and I packed ready to go stay with this beauty on the left.
November 12th - 18th.
The best part of this week was a lovely weekend away in Essex with one of my oldest friends and her lovely family. I love going to stay in Essex, it's like a second home, I walk in the door into the kitchen and it's like a weight off my shoulders. We drank lots of tea, ate lots of welsh cakes, had a chippy for dinner and went for afternoon tea in Rosie Lea's. You can read about my weekend here.
November 19th - 25th.
I feel like the first signs of Christmas started creeping in this week when the ball in the wall at Cardiff Castle was replaced with sparkly blue stars. This was a good week for me (although not so much for my bank balance) when I finally made the leap and invested in an iMac for my business and I had my hair dyed pink again. I also took the niece christmas tree shopping and bought advent calendars so I was prepared early on.
November 26th - December 2nd.
What a week this turned out to be! I started it off with receiving my certificate so I am officiated for my degree and the job I am doing, my niece turned 6 months old and then I went and topped it off by passing my driving test. Holllaaaaa.
December 3rd - 9th.
This week was pretty lovely because the boyfriend was off work for the first time since August and we were house sitting so we spent the whole week feeding the animals, moving things over from my house, decorating, christmas shopping and generally chilling out. It was about now I was beginning to get that festive feeling.
December 10th - 16th.
Getting closer and closer to the Christmas period got busier and busier especially because I was blogging every day too. This week I helped my mother finish decorating our living room, we decorated the house and the tree for Christmas, we had our first meal in our new house and naturally, my obvious favourite thing about this particular week was picking up my (still un named) car.
December 17th - 23rd.
The week before Christmas is always a hectic one but this one was especially mental. I went to Cardiff and Ikea with my crew, I met up with my brother and his family shopping, I went back to Cardiff to catch up with my flatmate for the first time in 4 months, I was driving EVERYWHERE, I was furiously packing Christmas presents, seeing family and spending as much festive time as I could with my niece. And blogging every day. Yuh.
December 24th - 31st.
And so we're onto the last week of 2015! I have thoroughly exhausted my Christmas and New Years in 17638748023750375 blogs read some here, here and here so I'll just leave you with this photo of lots of photos of my 2015 and thank you if you've stuck with this nearly 600 word post.... cheers pals.