2016 In Review

Happy New Year everyone! Globally, 2016 has been a shockingly hard year, hasn’t it? I think most are glad to see it well behind us. It’s also seen some pretty big changes in my personal life, albeit positive ones. Sam and I got married, and we moved away from London. 

So here’s a taster of just what some of this year held: 

After submitting my application pre-Christmas, last January I made it through the later stages of the Great British Bake Off audition process, and even though I didn’t get chosen it was still an amazing thing to do for its last BBC season. 

A lot of January and most of February was spent getting ready for the renewel of my partner visa. Waiting for the Border Agency to tell you if you’re allowed to live with the person that you love is stressful to say the least. Especially since they base 99% of this decision on how much money you two have and we permanently flutter around the cut off. Plus it literally cost us all our savings. We could have gone on multiple trips to different countries for the amount that my visa costs. Hence the lack of foreign travel this year. 

We ventured outside of London again to stay with some friends in their (gorgeous) countryside home. I spent the rest of the month insanely busy (and super stressed) with work but we got some serious life admin done in March. 

We went to Edinburgh for a weekend break and had an incredible time. It was one of my favourite trips ever and I fell head over heels for Edinburgh. I’d move there in a heartbeat. Plus I got to see a panda which was pretty awesome. Then back in London, I tried my first freakshake and I am a huge freakshake lover. 

At the beginning of May, we made our last trip up to Yorkshire before the wedding to do as much wedding admin as possible. Later in the month, I turned 28 and we rented an airbnb on the water that was stunning. It was a little isolated cabin, and it was the perfect birthday. We sat on the waterfront porch for hours playing games and eating delicious food. 

I luckily was able to have a quick 24 hours with my best friend when she had a layover in London. I had always known that I was going to see her this summer, as she was my Maid of Honor, but getting an extra session with her was a massive perk since some years I don’t get to see her at all! Then the amazing Emma threw me a surprise hen-do which was probably the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me. 

Thanks to the lovely Emma, Kate, Frankie, Angela, Danielle and Katy for making it such a special day. 

All of July was surrounded by wedding prep, and of course, getting married. I can honestly say that we kept the wedding stress to a minimum and just had a great time. The 23rd of July will always be one of my favourite days of the year now. Having my entire family with me in England was incredible, as was having my family and friends together with Sam’s for the first time. Plus we ended up getting married during the heatwave, and since the whole thing was outside for the most part, I couldn’t have hoped for better weather! 

At the very beginning of August we went on a mini-moon to Margate (specifically to go to Dreamland) and Broadstairs. It was fabulous and we managed to be there during an unseasonably hot weekend. My hair had been really short when Sam met me, and I’d been itching to go short again but had resisted thus far as I’d been growing it out for the wedding. As soon as I had some down time, I cut it into a lob and was super happy with it.  We received our wedding photos back at the end of August which was super exciting! 

We had long talked about moving out of London and had decided that we’d wait till after the wedding. In September we went up to York and stayed with Sam’s family to look at some properties. We didn’t find anything on our initial trip out, but we narrowed down what area of the city we wanted to be in.

I got to go on a press trip to Berlin, and that was incredible. Every moment of it was amazing: from my trip to the theatre to dinner at the Reichstag that evening. We also spent some time with Sam’s dad out on the other coast of England, played some excellent rounds of pub quizzing, and celebrated Halloween with candy and scary movies. 

We actually moved out of London. Our offer was accepted on a rental place in York and we quickly made the move up North. My brother started a job working with refugees, which is pretty amazing. 

My best friend got featured in an article for being an inspirational teacher (which she most certainly is!) Most of December was geared towards the holidays. Even though I hate the cold and winter in general, I love Christmas. Sam and I had an amazing Christmas just the two of us, and it definitely goes up there in the “top Christmases” category. Partially because Sam let me shoot him with a Nerf gun all day. We also booked our honeymoon as something to look forward to in the new year! Sam found out that one of the weddings he shot will be featured in a magazine in 2017!

Here were my most liked photos on Instagram in 2016: 

These results taught me that Instagram LOVES weddings and flowers 

This Year’s 10 Most Viewed Blog Posts: 

Why We’re Leaving London
Wedding: The Ceremon
Pig & Pastry in York
We’re Moving To…
House of Minalima
Wedding: The Morning Of
My Advice to Future Brides
Trying to Make Sense of This Election
A Harry Potter Fan’s Guide to Edinburgh 
The State of Family Immigration in the UK

With two runners up: 

Molly Bakes Freakshake Review
How to Wear Ankle Boots Two Ways

For me, it was a year of some really great things in my personal life.

I read a fair few books (57 to be precise.) I quit a job that wasn’t right for me anymore. I worked with some brands that I really love, and had some opportunities that I thought were incredible. I baked along to the Bake Off for the 3rd year. I got to spend lots of time with people that I love. I ate some incredible food and I am looking forward to a new year.

Has 2016 held any bright spots for you? 

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  • It’s a great feeling to catch up with your journey in 2016. Your posts always make me feel happy. Wish you and your family all the best in the new year.

  • GB

    Love this post, an excellent recap. 2016 was pretty good to me in my personal life, key to that being able to spend so much time with you and Sam this summer. You guys, the wedding, and my multiple summer visits made this year special. Xoxo

    • I’ve loved, loved, loved having so much time together this year. Soon we must plan another adventure. You’re the best!

  • What a wonderful year you have had full of big life adventures! Here is to an amazing 2017!

    • Here’s to you having a super exciting year too! Do you think you’ll get married this year, or put it off a bit longer? (Nothing wrong with a long engagement! We had a year and a half!) xx

      • Thank you! We are planning our wedding for July 2018 πŸ™‚ With our MBA and just buying a place a long engagement will be happening. We are also planning on having the wedding back in Oregon so we wanted lots of time for the planning to keep it as low stress as possible πŸ™‚

  • This has been an amazing year – cheers to 2017!!

  • It’s been a really amazing year for you! So many positive changes in your life. I hope you have an even more amazing 2017! I LOVE that picture of your wedding btw… with all the confetti!

    • I hope 2017 is a stunningly good year for you Anna! The world has been crazy but here’s to better times. (And thank you, by the way!) xx

  • amazing year! happy 2017!

  • Your year has just been wonderful. I’m so pleased to have you here up north & we will most definitley be meeting up this year at some point.
    2016 was such a weird one, it started so well but sadly I had a wobble in September – November time, I’m feeling MUCH better now, I’m accepting life is what we make it but it will also take its own course. I can only hope that 2017 will be the year I fully embrace that.
    Bee |

    • I think one of the amazing things I’ve witnessed in your blog over the past year is that you’ve really seemed to grow in your own self-confidence. I know that you can’t be a super woman every second of the day, but I find it really inspirational. I think your ability to embrace what makes you, you is incredible.

      I hope 2017 is a glorious year for you filled with happiness! (And yes to meeting up soon, please!) xx

  • What a great year!

  • Sounds like it was a great year both in happenings + making plans and getting ready to execute them πŸ™‚ Happy New Year to both of you!

  • Jenn Sie

    Hope 2017 is also great for you!

  • 2017 goingto be a wonderful year, we have to start the year thinking it will be great

  • Your 2016 was incredibly busy but full of amazing things. I hope 2017 is just as fabulous for you in your new home town!

  • What a great year it was for you (apart from visa stress) – I somehow missed that you had entered the GBBO, I so wish you had been successful! You would have been amazing on it.

    • I didn’t mention it for ages (because I wasn’t allowed to) after the interviewing and quizzing. Oh well! πŸ˜‰ I jus keep telling myself that visa stress is almost done. I only need to do one more application in 2018 until the UK lets me stay for good! x

  • What a year! I am only just beginning to realise the stress and sheer volume of paperwork that comes with visas. Amazing work for getting your partner visa! And congrats on getting married, too! Happy New Year πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Rachel! This was actually my renewal of the partner visa (you have to go through two versions of that visa now before getting indefinite leave to remain in the UK). So even though it was SUPER stressful, logistically it was a lot easier because I’d already done the application once in 2013. Fingers crossed with all your visa work! A friend moved to Aus earlier this year and it seemed to be a much kinder process than the UK one (so don’t let that scare you). He also seemed to have a really nice caseworker! xx

  • That wedding photo is so dreamy!! It looks straight out a magazine!! You’ve had an incredible year of adventures… I love that your tried to get on the Bake Off competition – that’s awesome!!!

  • Al

    Your photos are fantastic!! What an amazing wedding!

  • You had such a pretty 2016. I’m so happy I read this, to be reminded that at least some of 2016 was good for some people! πŸ˜‰

    • It was only on reflection that I realised how good 2016 had been to me. I had been convinced that this year has been shit all around (which globally, it totally has.) Although this list doesn’t include my dark days of seriously crying for about 48 hours straight after the election…so..

  • I have loved reading all about your whole year and it seems to have whizzed by so quickly! Happy new Year lovely, can’t wait to see what 2017 brings you (and hey, perhaps we might even get to meet in person this year!) Alice xxx

    • Thanks so much! Many happy returns to you! It would be fantastic if we were finally able to meet in person this year! xx

  • Yay for not having to pay for more visas! It’s such a nice feeling. Isn’t it amazing when you think you’ve not done much in a year to look back and realise, holy crap how did I cram it all in? Weddings and flowers are definitely instagram gold. As are pretty doors πŸ™‚

    • Sadly I still have one more round of visa applications. Because of all the rule changes I had to renew my partner visa twice before being eligible for indefinite leave to remain, so I have to spunk a fortune one more time (plus citizenship if and when I apply). I’m going to go mental when I have my ILR. I’ve already threatened Sam with my crazy party plans to celebrate in 2018! xx

      • Oh no! I thought you already had the ILR! I was going to get citizenship, but after Brexit I’ll have to see how everything pans out to figure out of it’s even worth it. Also, it’s never too early to plan a party!

  • 2016 was a pretty good year for you! I loved all your wedding posts. And yes, Instagram loves flowers. I still do pink flowers for every 4th post. During the summer, I bumped that up to every other! Those pictures just perform the best.