Photo of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with blue sky and 2 shadows on the ground

So long 2017!

I feel really glad to be seeing the back of this year.

This post started life a bit differently. 2017 hasn’t been my best year. But it hasn’t been my worst. When I first started planning this post I was very much of the “2017 can f**k off” thinking. In fact at some point during November I was literally wishing away the days until the end of the year. I’m not sure why though, why does the start of a new year make you think all your s**t will go away?!

I voiced this to my Mum during a (slightly) teary phone call one night. And, as Mums generally do, she put things into perspective for me. Has 2017 really been that bad? Worse than two years ago when I called off a wedding, ended a relationship that had lasted (almost) nine years, had to move back home and then deal with the stress of being bought out of a mortgage? Well Mum, when you put it like that, not really.

So I gave myself a good shake. This has not been my finest year, and not the year I’d hoped it would be. But, I’ve still had fun during the year. I’ve learned some pretty good lessons. And there have definitely been highlights. Here’s a wee round-up of my 2017, and I guess a reminder that even when things seem bleak, and you feel pretty close to rock bottom there is (almost) always good in your life.

 

Went to my first rugby game. And my second.

After Mark going to a game with one of his friends earlier this year, we had a conversation about how I’d never been to one. Mark bought us tickets for the Scotland v Italy game in March, and it was great fun. Despite me not having a clue what was going on I loved it! The atmosphere was great, Mark didn’t get annoyed at me asking lots of questions about what was happening. And you’re allowed to drink in the stand. The game was an early kick-off so we went for more drinks and dinner in Edinburgh after. A fun, and slightly drunken, day.

We went to Scotland v New Zealand in November and got to see the Haka which was pretty cool to experience.

Was on the radio to talk about blogging and the Edinburgh Blogger Conference.

This was a really surreal experience. While planning the first Edinburgh Blogger Conference we were contacted in May through our Facebook page by Black Diamond Radio. They wanted one of us to be on their daytime show to talk about blogging. I was the only one available so volunteered, and then got the fear! What if I made a total arse of myself?! What if I got asked something I hadn’t prepared for?! Mark listened and assured me I sounded good, not like an idiot, and it was nice to chat blogging with someone. This was a MASSIVE out my comfort zone moment, but something I’m glad I did. Plus it was a nice bit of promotion for our first event.

Realised that I need to learn to trust my gut!

I got offered a job I hadn’t applied for in April this year. I guess you would say headhunted…? The job was Sales and Marketing Manager, and to be honest, from my first interview I never felt like it would be right for me. But, I needed a job. Badly! And the fact it was related to marketing swayed me to take the job despite alarm bells going off. I didn’t actually start the job until June, and by the second week in July I had decided I wouldn’t be staying after the two month trial period. Again, despite my gut telling me to run, I continued working with the company on a freelance basis. This did not work out, and I knew it wouldn’t. So 2017 taught me to trust my instincts and if something feels wrong for me, it probably is.

Planned two events as part of the Edinburgh Blogger Conference team.

Just after I found out I was getting made redundant last year, I took a chance on an opportunity to plan a blogging conference. Our original team of six reduced down to three and along with Jadine (The Punk Rock Princess) and Taryn (She Hangs Brightly) we planned an amazing conference in June. A day-long event with panels of speakers, workshops, brands and networking. Oh, and we had Nando’s too! The conference was a great success and we really made it our own, fun and relaxed while still educational. It was such a success we were pretty quick at putting plans in motion for our next one which was in December. As well as this opportunity giving me some great experience I gained new friends, something which doesn’t always seem so easy as you get older.

Did my first Tough Mudder.

Straight after the blogger conference in June, I was on my way down to Dumfries to do Tough Mudder. Although this seemed like a great idea at the start of the year when I signed up, I didn’t feel so great when I was on my way down. But it was great, the most fun I’ve ever had while caked head to toe in mud. Was it tough? Yes. It’s called Tough Mudder for a reason! Twelve miles of obstacles and running (sometimes wading) through mud. A lot of the obstacles were fun. The Mud Mile and Shawshanked were not! My body has never wanted to do anything less than dropping out of the tube on Shawshanked into the water below! The girl beside me felt the same, our mutual fear helped. We went on the count of three. If you’ve been thinking about it, do it! So. Much. Fun!

We went to Berlin!

2017 was meant to be a year of trips. After Amsterdam last year, I realised how much I wish I’d seen more places in my twenties. Obviously, the lack of job meant the plans we had didn’t quite happen. But in July we decided f**k it and started planning a trip. One of the good things about neither of us doing much travelling before now is that most of the places we go neither of us will have been before. Berlin is somewhere both of us were keen on and it was a really fun trip. You can read about it here, and here.

I turned 30.

Not really something I felt overly happy about at the time. But, I feel a lot better than I did turning 21 and I feel like my thirties are going to be a lot better than my twenties.

I got offered a job. A marketing job!

All hope of actually getting a job in marketing was pretty much gone, I thought that I wasn’t going to get to have the career change I’d wanted when I left HSBC. I had two interviews in a week in the middle of December and I got offered the one I thought I had less chance of getting! I start next month and I can’t wait!

 

So there you go, my 2017. There have definitely been points this year when I’ve struggled to focus on the good. Often when you feel crap the bad outweighs the good. But this year has been good overall. Yes, it’s been stressful. Yes, I’m glad it’s almost over. 2018 is already looking up and I’m looking forward to the start of a new year.

I’d love to hear about your 2017 highlights.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photograph taken by me.

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This week sees the start of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in my opinion the best time to be in the city.

The city is absolutely buzzing with street performers, people handing you flyers and so many food and drink stalls. Often the Royal Mile gets so busy you can barely move. It’s bloody fantastic!

So, for anyone who doesn’t know about the Edinburgh Fringe (are you even human?!), it’s basically a festival that runs for the month of August in our fine capital city. It’s often where comedians start their career, but if comedy isn’t your thing you can also see theatrical performances too and there are so many street performers you’re not short of choice. There is really something for everyone.

We went to our first of this year’s shows last night at the Gilded Balloon, Gillian Cosgriff: To The Moon & Back. A one woman show, it’s Gillian, her keyboard and loop pedal. This is a musical comey, and despite the fact that I’m someone who isn’t normally into musical comedy I freakin’ loved this show! She is looking at irrational fears, and in particular the fear of space (yup, it’s really a thing. It has a name and everything – astrophobia). The show starts with Gillian coming on stage in a NASA space suit, complete with helmet and gloves. Gillian claims that on the matter of visiting space there are two types of people – people who would jump at the chance to visit space if space travel were something the common person could do, and the type of person that absolutely does not want to go to space. Turns out Mark and I fall into different camps…he wants to go to space, I do not.

As well as space, Gillian talks about yoga and her fear of marriage and the fact as women it’s expected that we have reached that point of proper adulthood by a certain age and that you’re a failure if you have not.

Like many of the shows at the Fringe you’re in a small, intimate venue which is either great or very awkward and uncomfortable. This performance falls into the first category, Gillian engages with the audience in a way that is good – not like being singled out by a comedian just because they can see you. When she took her space helmet off she completely acknowledged the fact that she had lipstick on her chin and just rolled with it. It makes her relatable to the audience.

The songs were funny, especially the space song where she talks about Uranus and confirms that actually deep down we’re all really still 8 year old kids that can’t help but giggle at that word! I cannot confirm or deny if there will be any Savage Garden in the show…

If you’re putting together your list of shows to see this year then definitely go and see this, To The Moon & Back is running from 2nd-27th August (no show 15th August) at the Gilded Balloon – The Turret. You can buy your tickets here.

Do you have your Fringe calendar organised for this year? I would love to hear any recommendations from shows you have been to.

I was gifted with the tickets for the show by Gillian Cosgriff, all opinions are my own.

 

xxx
 
Images provided by Gillian Cosgriff
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Last week I was invited along to a workshop at the Makers & Friends pop-up shop on Dundas Street in Edinburgh.

Before the workshop kicked off we got a chance to have a look round the shop and Zen our host for the evening spoke to us about her motivation to set it up. As a maker herself Zen was fed up going to craft fairs where there were very little people buying and a lot of products that didn’t look at all handmade. Zen came up with the idea to have a curated craft fair in a shop, an opportunity for people to see the products up close before buying them.

We were asked to pick two different colours of wire to work with. I went for a bronze colour and then with pink as an option it was a no brainer that would be my other colour. First off we were asked to write out the first letter of our names and to practice making it with the first colour of wire. Then we were let loose with the other piece of wire to spell out our whole names. Once I got past the “y” in my name I was flying! I had so much fun, every time I do something crafty it reminds me just how much fun I find it!

As well holding workshops, there are some great ideas for Christmas gifts. Not only will you get to give something totally unique but you’ll be supporting a small business. The pop-up is here until 19th December, get yourself down to 17 Dundas Street to check it out!

xxx
 
Photographs taken by me
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