My Housemate’s a Mermaid: 2016 in Review

Crikey is it that time of year again? Can it really be New Year’s Eve? With a backdrop of Homes Under the Hammer you wouldn’t think it. But then India is off at one of her multiple New Year’s Eve gatherings and Jools Holland has a prime time slot on the BBC, so it must be.

It feels the world is a very much different place compared to this time last year (back in 2015). The world lost many great people including stars from music, television, film and the literary world. Just when it felt like we couldn’t lose anymore another one dropped down, taking the world by surprise and reasserting in the minds and Facebook statuses of millions that 2016 was one of the bleakest years in celebrity culture. Mind, according to a recent BBC report, the number of celebrity deaths in 2016 reached 32, whereas in 2015 there were 29 so perhaps not as extreme as we all think. Sorry to be a buzz kill on this, but with an ageing generation of celebrities and drug culture 2017 could easily match or surpass 2016 in respect of notable deaths.

There was also a lot of political upheaval around the world. Brexit, Trump, Syria to name but three. Alongside this there have been (what feels like) countless bombings and acts of terrorism around the world, all of which bringing trauma and misery to one extent or another. There was also the announcement that Toblerone’s were changing their shape. That scandalous story almost brought Britain to its knees I’m telling you. Do I honestly think the world and chocolate industry will see sense in 2017? Pfft, of course not!

Moving on to personal developments then. At the end of 2016 I can still lay claim to two parents, two cats and a sister. I still live in Swindon at 10 Starfish Road with four other housemates including that famous mermaid. Company I work for remains unchanged. Swindon 18-30 Professionals continues to go from strength to strength with ever increasing members and a new sponsor. Local coffee business Baila Coffee and Vinyl join our two pre existing sponsors, Baker Street Wine Bar and Club and The Royal Oak Gin and Oyster Bar. In addition, we also welcomed a new event organiser to the leadership team, taking number to four. Stratford and Evesham Social diversified by widening itself to include those aged in their 20s and 40s, and also welcomed a new event organiser, taking leadership team to three. The group is still searching for a sponsor but membership growth continues to steadily grow as word of mouth and online postings help to spread the word.

I suppose the real big, very much change to my lifestyle, news is that I’ve started seeing someone (alias ‘the tall, bearded, Scotsman’). This is admittedly new and exciting stuff. He gets me roses and stuff, spoils me rotten, cooks amazing food (protein deficiency is no longer a problem in my diet!) and makes me smile.

Flowers.png

In terms of New Year resolutions from 2016, results have been pretty hit and miss. (Resolutions in black, updates in red):

Personal goals (in no particular order)

  • Write 100 blog posts (this post is my 35th) –  Achieved! This is my 206th post (thanks chiefly to Nablopomo for upping the post numbers).
  • Learn how to apply make up without stabbing myself in the eye. Achieved! After a few mistakes, including the application of mascara to my arm, I finally got the hang of eye make up.
  • Learn how to look good in make up (“Alice, is that a black eye?” “It’s eyeshadow.” “Practising for Halloween?” “Err, yeah, sure.”) – Debateable success. Work in progress.
  • Get Swindon 18-30 Professionals up to 350 members (ambitious, we’re currently at 240) – Ambitious? As of 31st December 2016 membership stands at 455. Achieved and succeeded.
  • Get North Cotswold Young Professionals up off the ground – Work in progress. The group operates well, but needs an additional event organiser to get group fully self running.
  • Stop wallowing in self pity and actually grow my nails – Failed.
  • Write/make headway on getting a book written – Writing on a completely different book is underway.
  • Get more sleep – Limited success.
  • Attempt Spanish in some shape or form – Utter failure.
  • Keep up the hard work and stick with the gym – Achieved!

Mama/Papa Bennett’s goals for me (FYI – these are not confirmed)

  • Get a boyfriend – Achieved!
  • Preferably rich – Mind your own business.
  • And attractive – Achieved!
  • Who also has a liking for sailing (for common interest) and football (because papa Bennett has been wanting to get into it for years). – Never sailed and, owing to Scottish heritage, not a big football obsessive. Not that I mind in the slightest.
  • And takes a keen interest in TV shows such as Coast and period dramas. Failed, but then he is of the male variety.

India’s goals for me (again, TBC)

  • Stop being always right – Failed
  • Stop batting younger sisters with pillows – Failed
  • Stop forcing younger sisters to wear silly hats in public places – Failed
  • Accept that this run isn’t appropriate or normal:
Failed
  • And understand that certain older sisters will never become professional Strictly dancers while they call this “dancing”:

 

Failed

So overall some big successes and achievements and some missed targets. Also some goals made which I didn’t even set for myself, notably organising my first ever formal Summer Ball in August. An event that may have pushed me right to the very edge but in the end was one of my greatest achievements in recent years. I also have other things going on in the pipeline which at this time would take too long to go into detail over.
New Year’s Resolution 2017:
  • Don’t Jeff it all up
  • (Oh and grow my nails. Like, actually grow them.)
All in all, this year has been pretty decent for me. As I said this time last year:
Here’s hoping that next year will be more fabulous and amazing than 2015. I really have my fingers and toes crossed that it will be. I know I’ve sad it 15 odd times before, but I have a feeling 2016 is going to be a good year.
And you know what? I was right.
Happy New Year Everyone!

The Demonization of 2016

As I sit here by a roaring fire, shovelling fistfuls of chocolate into my mouth with the TV playing endless tributes to George Michael it’s easy to forget what a terrible year 2016 has been. In fact, it feels like society has been constantly reminding me what a terrible year 2016 has been since January 1st. Peruse if you may at this delightful list of awful things to happen

(In No Particular Order) Celebrity Deaths:

David Bowie (music – pop god)

Alan Rickman (actor)

Carrie Fisher (actor)

Prince (music – pop icon)

George Michael (music)

Ronnie Corbett (comedian)

Paul Daniels (magician)

Harper Lee (author)

Terry Wogan (broadcaster)

Rick Parfitt (music – Status Quo)

Andrew Sachs (actor)

Anton Yelchin (actor)

Victoria Wood (comedian)

David Guest (erm, anyone know what David Guest did?)

Maurice White (musician – Earth, Wind and Fire)

& a lot of other notable people

Political Dramas:

Brexit

American Presidential Election

Wars:

Syria

& other ongoing battles

Violent Attacks (Political/Religious/Other):

Far too many the world over to name

Based on that you’d rightly say you were ready to see the back of 2016. That is, you think you would be. I mean, I hate to be really pessimistic about life, but what’s going to happen that will stop 2017 being really rubbish? My predictions for 2017:

Deaths:

Countless national and global treasures (in part due to a larger global and ageing population).

Political Dramas:

Brexit / EU negotiations and squabbles

Trump becoming President

Wars:

Syria and/or another equivalent (or worse)

Violent Attacks (Political/Religious/Other)

Far too many the world over to name

Plus…

Anything unexpected sent to throw us

So really the best we can hope for from 2017 in a media/global/political sense is a year which is a little less bad than 2016. Or the same (because lets be honest we’re now used to a diet of disappointment and tears). Yay!

To put a very much selfish hat on though, 2016 has been an alright for me. Admittedly it was pretty uninspiring for the main part but it did pick up towards the end. Unfortunately I can’t go into too much detail about the main highlights presently (they all waited until November to make an appearance in my life and still ongoing) but for me 2016 has been better than rubbish on the whole. The media tells me one thing but my personal life screams another. So is 2016 a bad year or average one? Do I go with the majority view or the independent, selfish one? This is very much a British moral dilemma.

It is an overused assumption but it is true that Historians will remember 2016 as the year it all started to change. 2017, for all its hope and promises, can only serve at best as the try-hard sibling of it’s radical older. I’m not for a second saying that the UK or the world will enter into a brighter period in 2017, but nor am I going to jump to conclusions and assume that 2017 will be the most dismal year since the Black Death. At any rate I think it is time for you 2016 to take your final bows and exit stage right. Your departure will receive a standing ovation from many thousands of millions of people the world over. However, while many will cheer you for leaving our lives, I myself will cheer (in part) for what you have brought to us.

So long 2016, it’s been a blast (quite literally).

(Written in response to WordPress prompt of the day Ovation)