2016 - The Year of Balance
I started off the year of 2016 with lots of targets, but my one focus was balance. This year I wanted to focus on not only my business, but getting more of the work/life balance right. "Work Hard, Play Hard" has always been one of my mottos since I got my first job at 16, but it seems to have been drawn to me this year. As you know I don't do new years resolutions as such, but 2016 saw a lot more focus, balance and good habit forming. One of the things I removed from my life half way through the year was the #photo365 project. I realised I'd got to the point where I was taking photos of similar things to previous years, and my motivations were changing. This coupled with my gratitudes work, meant that I wanted to take photos that my current kit couldn't handle and my time wouldn't allow. So here's an overview of the fab things I've done this year, and a few photos to represent each of the months. Happy reflection time!
January 2016 started my favourite way... Snow! Snow days I love, even better when I get to spend them at home exploring the local nature in my area. January also saw me visit Cardiff for work and in the evening I joined the beautiful people at the Cardiff Buddhist Centre, a different strand of Buddhism than I've been used to but peaceful non the less. I also spent some time focusing on Suffragettes in Lancashire, watching films at the Blackpool Winter Gardens Film Festival and listening to a sound only play in complete darkness (very cool!), along with spending time in a Treehouse setting goals for the year, helping one of my friends get adoption status for their little boy, and joined a Shakti Women Moon Yoga Group. This month felt like a super grounding start to the year ahead!
February was time for lots of workshops, Digital Inclusion training (including this group [photo] who were learning how to use tablets for the first time), the last regular DiverseGeeks, Women in Tech NW dinner, afternoon teas, speaking at the Blackpool Digital Expo and spending time with a West End friend watching "Hangmen" on the London stage.
March saw us work away in Norfolk and have a hybrid work/play holiday. This was AWESOME and I got to spend a few days working next to the sea and going for walks on the beach every day [my digital nomads heart sang]. I also had the honor as part of the Inspiring 50, opening the London Stock exchange [photo]!
April saw another afternoon tea (I'm starting to really love the different ways places can style them!) including this gorgeous place setting [photo], I had a colour consultation (hah, yes you heard me right!) and I bought my first bit of tech of the year! A Sony Xperia Z5 Premium smart phone. I may have anther love!
May saw the big union conference of the year for BECTU, which is always great to goto and catch up with friends from across the UK, and our sister union in USA. I added onto my learning with a Style Consultation (seriously my wardrobe needed a massive overhaul after it!) and I enjoyed some more work hard play hard in Turkey! [photo] [digital nomad heart sings for a second time!].
In June I went back to the Treehouse to update my visions and goals for 2016, I started to see new shoots on my courgette plantation (first ever veggies!), another afternoon tea, some decluttering and I was very happy to be invited to talk at Women in Tech Nottingham, I decided to do my new topic, my first public talk on Productivity, Tech and Apps. It was really well received and as it's something I've personally been learning for a good 2 years or so, it was great to put some of my suggestions into a proper presentation.
July had some proper firsts for me - few nights away in a cool VW Campervan, a fake superhero party (I went as Pikachu!), we spent a week working with the fab guys at Global Labour Institute for a second year on their international summer school, and I got invited as one of the UK's Digital Leaders 100 to the House of Commons [photo]. For it being a sunny, hot and supposedly more relaxed summer month, it was pretty cram packed!
August saw lots of talks around the UK, productivity focus in both London for Flock Global, and Manchester for Women in Tech North. Then a last minute booking and availability in my calendar I think was just "meant to be", saw me join my first yoga teacher Kirsty, in Wales for a long weekend retreat of good food, yoga, walking and flexibility. I met some lovely people there too! So blissful and exactly what we needed. One morning a group of us got up at 5.30am to see the sunrise in an amazing spot [photo].
September saw a busy few weeks and some beauuuutiful flowers as a gift. I've really got into my gratitudes work per day and this was a great and beautiful image to share. Then the end of the month saw my first real "holiday" with no work in Marrakesh, a crazy 32 degrees most days [photo] and I spent time relaxing by the pool and in a hammam, inbetween reading my new project "Manifestation Miracle" while sipping mint teas. (More about that soon).
October has to have been my business month this year, and involved the most travelling. (But you know I love that right?!) I was lucky enough to be accepted to join UNI Global Youth in Cape Town, South Africa (I love how this balances out the previous months North Africa) for a union conference, where I not only met a lovely friend from NYC who I wasn't expecting to be there, but also I got half way around the world to re-meet a fellow activist from my local home city of Preston! A smattering more of talks and conferences in the UK, another international conference, this time in Edinburgh, and in true work hard play hard style, I even squeezed in a Horror walking tour around the Scottish city in the dark of night. Then top faves after all of that included another year at NFLUK watching American football at Twickenham and attending a charity ball for Cancer Research where I got to play with some VR in a ballgown! [photo]
And I got to catch up with my lovely digital tech for good friend Amy at the Digital Leaders Womens Conference! Such an amazing view of London up there!
Nearing the end of 2016, November was a time to focus inwards, I spent time on my mat, with some new yoga classes, more time than ever at the gym, a new favourite water bottle [photo], time with my Karmic circle and I got elected onto the BECTU National Executive Committee, which I join in 2017.
December saw me talk at my second Social Media Conference in Manchester, a great line-up of speakers and workshops and think year our workshop focused on digital visual marketing and got to grips playing with memes and making gifs! Another short break saw us travel to Berlin for the Christmas markets (two weeks before the horrible lorry attack) and walk around sampling the yummy foods and buying lots of sparkly gifts. My favourite museum was the Spy museum where it showcased a lot of the old micro spy cameras in lipsticks type things! Super sneaky spy squirrel!
Then to finish off I got a discounted FatFreeze treatment after Christmas! Will let you know more details on that in the coming weeks! And there needs to be a special mention to my spiritual home. Christmas day I walked to the top of a big forest. I've been going to Grizedale since I've been able to walk and it's the most beautiful place on Earth me! So to finish this year review off, what better way than to share a photo that means the world to me.
I wish you all the very best for a 2017! I hope you can reflect on your 2016 and find the best bits. After all we all know life isn't perfect, but it's what we focus on that counts! Big smiles, vibes and wishes, Liz x