2016 has been a downright crappy year, the vast majority of it has been taken up with pain, worry and general awfulness. In fact, I reckon it has been the worst year of my life with the surgery and recovery the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with. I am so, so happy to see the back of 2016 and can't wait to see what 2017 brings.
Rather than look back on it with too much horror I think it's important to highlight the good bits too!
On April 1st Mum and I headed to Birmingham to see Adele. Five months before I had spent hours and hours over the course of four days trying to get tickets. On my very last attempt I managed to get my hands on some and Dad surprised Mum with them on Christmas Day. We stayed up in Birmingham for a night and had 24 hours of total relaxation. I had just had a pretty tough few months in Cardiff and really needed the little trip. We ate, chilled by the pool and really had the best time. It felt like we had been away for days. Adele was, obviously, incredible and it felt so amazing to be able to hear her sing live.
In May I headed to Rome for the first time with my friend Emily. It was such an amazing long weekend, we ate, laughed and walked ALOT and had such an incredible time. Rome was stunning and quickly became my favourite city I've ever been to. My knees had been playing up before I went but somehow (I think through sheer determination) I had the best, pain free time. It is definitely a huge highlight of my 2016.
3. Swan Lake
June kicked off with Dad and I heading to London to see Swan Lake at The Royal Albert Hall. Neither of us had been to the ballet before and ever since the release of Billy Elliot when I was 11, I have wanted to see it for myself. Although it was boiling and our seats were quite high up, it was absolutely beautiful and such a lovely day.
June continued being great with a last minute decision to see Coldplay at Wembley with my brother, Daniel. I'd seen a few of my friends go and the videos looked brilliant, I had a quick look online and was shocked to find tickets still available. I went for it and four days later was there having the best evening. Standing amongst thousands of people in a sold out stadium, with everyone happy and dancing despite the rain was so great. The whole place felt so unified and positive it was such a love filled evening to be a part of.
I rounded off June with the final move out of Cardiff. I packed up my final bits and pieces & cleaned the house before heading to see Beyonce at The Principality Stadium with my friend Phoebe. We danced all night and I got to live out a child hood dream of seeing Crazy In Love live.
In July I headed to Cornwall with my wonderful family. By this point I had been starting to feel poorly for a few weeks and I knew that surgery was going to happen at some point, I had no idea it would be so soon. Th holiday was really lovely, Cornwall is beautiful and it was a proper relaxing, chill out holiday. I suffered with being very tired & achey and I just couldn't keep up on walks. It really went downhill from this week but at the time it was fantastic.
7. Becky surprise!
My best & one of my oldest friends, Becky, surprised me a couple weeks ago. She's been away travelling and living in Australia for years with only two short trips back and I've missed her a huge amount! I hadn't been expecting her to come home for another week when there she was on my doorstep. To say I was shocked would be an understatement! I was shaking and just couldn't believe my eyes. She's been an incredible friend ever since we were 11 and even from the other side of the world has always been there for me. Having her arrive during a really tough time was exactly the boost I needed.
Somehow throughout everything I have managed to keep Chroma going. Who knows how. At times, when I was unable to stand for more than 10 minutes and couldn't sit down at all, I didn't think I'd be able to do it. Most people are advised to take 3-4 months off of work following my surgery. I had two whole weeks off before trying to get bits and pieces done and doing as much as I could. In some respects it was all probably too soon but in many ways I think it kept me going. All the stress and hard-work paid off when in December, super blogger Zoella mentioned her Chroma 2017 Diary in her Top Gifts for Under £20 video (HERE). It sparked the biggest few weeks of sales since Chroma began - it was absolutely insane but totally amazing. I've also had a great year supplying some amazing brands, from Ralph Lauren and Soap and Glory to Boots and Max Factor - it has been a constant positive and a great distraction when everything else has felt rubbish.
Christmas has always been my favourite time of year and this one was no exception. It kicked off with 24 hours of catching up with my closest friends over Christmas Eve Eve & Christmas Eve. Some of my friends I've not seen in months and there have been a lot of social events I've missed out on, so it felt great to organise and catch up with my favourite people. The following days of Christmas have also been lovely, full of food, family and game playing!
I am now heading in to it full of positivity and plan to have as much fun as I can. After a year of not being able to do much & 9 years of living with active Crohn's Disease, I want to fill this year with days out, trips away and general loveliness. The New Year puts to rest months of ill health and I am very ready to put it behind me.
My wound has healed massively and I am now barely needing a dressing on it, no nurses are coming in, instead I head down to the GP to see the loveliest nurse who is keeping an eye on everything. I can drive and sit down just like anyone else. I no longer want to be seen as 'the poorly one' or someone who needs looking after, I am so ready to get on with my life and leave the surgery and recovery in the past.
Going through such a horrendous time has definitely shown me who isn't around when the going gets tough, but more importantly it has highlighted the incredibly kind and wonderful people I do have around me. It's these people I'm taking forward with me and surrounding myself with in 2017, it's these people that matter and I feel incredibly lucky to have them.
I already have some exciting plans and things booked in for the year and below are some of my 'resolutions' for 2017:
- See more live Sport.
I've already got tickets for the World Cup of Gymnastics and the Athletics & Paralthetics World Championships which I'm so excited about.
- Learn Ballroom & Latin dancing.
Something I've been meaning to do for years and now I have two working knees and bags more energy I think it's about time I did it.
- More weekends away.
I plan to enjoy some more long weekends. I've booked trips to Edinburgh and Malaga, with some of my closest friends, and I can't wait!
- Move out.
Although I attempted this last year, I think 2017 might be the year I successfully move out of my parents house. I've needed and relief on my parents a lot this year, there was no way I could have lived anywhere else. Now that I'm back on my feet and feeling good, I can start making plans to move out. (Although not too far away...)
- Say yes more.
When I was 17 this was my one and only resolution and I had the most amount of fun. I've since gotten used to planning and working out the things I can do around being tired and weeks at a time of illness. This no longer has to be a consideration so I'm determined to embrace it and fully enjoy myself.
So here is to the year ahead. Despite it's great times I am cheerfully waving goodbye to 2016 and happy to see the back of it.
I hope you all have a brilliant New Year!