The Very Important 2015 Closing Ceremony

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A couple of years ago I came across Leonie Dawson's Shining Year Workbook. It's an amazing resource beautifully designed to help you realise what resolutions, goals and dreams are important to you and record them so that you can review and update them regularly. 

The first time I bought one, I started strong and ended with a whimper, but this year I'm going to make it work for me with the support of some fellow workbookers (a few of us had our first meeting last weekend and we've already got a meeting planned for January). 

Leonie writes that one of the main reasons that we fail at our New Year's Resolutions so quickly is that we set them all "without ever taking stock, coming to terms with and clearing all the days and months that have gone before us." She encourages you to take part in a closing ceremony and answer some really thought-provoking questions about the previous twelve months so that you can truly start the New Year with a clear mind. 

While I'm not going to go through the actual ceremony on here, I do want to have a little recap of how 2015 went, particularly the highlights...

January's highlight was most definitely Girlguiding Kent West's trip to Disneyland. I went with two of my oldest guiding friends, Mandi and Sophie and we had the most amazing time. Sophie, a Disney fanatic, had never been before and the look on her face when she saw Sleeping Beauty's castle was just the best feeling. We also went geocaching while we were there and I was the one to find it which rarely happens!
Sophie at Disneyland
My favourite moment of February was the family meal that we had at the beginning of the month. It was the first time that Colin and I managed to get both sets of parents in a room together and we had a lovely evening together. Apart from celebrating Karen and Peter's anniversary in August, we've not been able to get everyone together again yet.

Towards the end of March I was part of the training team for Girlguiding Kent Weald's County Weekend and after much planning, preparation and delivering of sessions, I completed the Residential module of my Trainer Qualification. The theme for the weekend was Reach for the Stars which was a message to me as much as it was for the participants. I always doubt my training abilities and then events like this make me realise how much I enjoy it and that I do know my stuff.

April was a very mixed bunch. At the beginning of the month we lost my dear nan. After Granddad passed away in 2013 she was never the same and it became apparent that she was suffering from Dementia. In the end, although sad, it was a relief that she was at peace and no longer confused. 
The following weekend I journeyed up north for Girlguiding's National Trainers' Conference which is always an inspiring time and I left feeling enthusiastic and ready to take on the world. 

Then at the end of the month Colin and I went camping with some of his friends for his birthday. The weather was cold and wet, but somehow sitting around a campfire with a bag of marshmallows and pack of chocolate digestives, chatting and singing makes it all OK.

Holiday time! After saying goodbye to Nan, Mum, Colin and I jumped on a plan and headed down to Murcia in Spain to join my dad and step-mum at the villa. A week in the sun is what we all needed after a stressful few weeks and a trip to the pottery cafe was my highlight.
Me on the world's
smallest carousel
I was so so proud of my Rangers when we did the Race for Life back in June. When planning the programme back at the beginning of the year, they decided that they wanted to do something to fundraise for a charity and something fitness related so we came up with this to combine the two. We were barely passed the start line when they all ran off and left me, but they got such good times and raised a lot of money for Cancer Research UK.
Petts Wood Senior Section
at the Crystal Palace Race for Life
For my birthday Colin and I went to the Young Adult Literature Convention. It happened to coincide with the London Film and Comic Con so we ended up having a laugh with Wayne and Garth in the queue and I was left wondering if I had seen one of my friends when I shouted out "Ryan" to a Spiderman who gave me a thumbs up then shrugged as he continued to the end of the queue. 

The reason I wanted to go though was because Carrie Hope Fletcher was going to be there signing copies of her book All I Know Now. Two days before my birthday, I got to meet one of my idols and gave her my very first book fold of her Hopeful logo.
Me and Carrie at the YALC
My top moment of this month was most certainly getting my new job at Blaze Maintenance. With Colin working in Tonbridge I signed up at an agency in that area thinking that I wasn't in a rush and it would take a while to find something right for me, but it came along almost immediately. 

I will never forget how I felt standing at the bus stop outside of the office where I had just had my second interview and getting the call from the agency to say they wanted me. Tears streaming down my face with a massive smile on my face. It was very surreal going back to work that afternoon and taking part in a Disney quiz which I came second in (I lost out to Queen Elsa!)

September meant it was time to say goodbye to my friends at Affinity Sutton Repairs and hello to my new friends at Blaze Maintenance. It was bittersweet as these ladies are three of the most wonderful people you could ever meet, but I was so excited to be moving on to my new role as Assistant to Contracts Manager.
Me, Sandra, Debbie & Chanel
at my leaving meal
At the beginning of October I had two guiding weekends in a row. On the 2nd October I made my way down to the PGL centre in Hailsham to take park in LaSER ROARS, a weekend exclusively for adult members of Girlguiding London and South East England. 

Bearing in mind this was at the end of my first week at Blaze, I wasn't really in the mood to be adventurous, but I am so glad I went because I conquered my fears and went abseiling for the first time in my life. My technique was shocking, but I knew it was a success when I climbed through the railings at the top and waiting while I was secured in. 
My first attempt at abseiling
The Saturday evening was the best fun I think I've had all year. We were joined by Big Beat who specialise in teambuilding through Samba Reggae and Brazilian Street Drumming. I'll try and hunt down the video of us all at the end of the evening and share it on here. 
Girlguiding LaSER does
Brazilian Street Drumming
The following weekend I drove down to Foxlease in the New Forest for our regional Trainers' Conference. As with the one in April, I came away feeling Alive, Alert, Awake and Enthusiastic. 

November was a quiet month, but I did make a dramatic change to my appearance when I decided to dye my hair back to brown and have it cut into a bob. I had highlights put in for my 30th birthday which had gradually damaged it over time so although I loved my long hair, I figured it would do it good to have a chop. I have no doubt that I'll start growing it again, but at the moment I'm enjoying the fuss free getting ready in the morning.

As you can imagine with the run up to Christmas, December has been manic, but so fantastic. On the 4th December we had our work's Christmas do. I was nearly in tears that night, but for all the right reasons. Before the meal we went round to Cheryl's flat to get ready and I had a lovely time getting to know everyone a little better. As the evening went on I was overcome by the feeling that this is what I'd been missing the past couple of years - a fab night out with the girls. Suddenly everything felt complete again and I felt like 2007 me again. 

The next day Mum, Caroline, Fran and I went to Tenterden Christmas Market for a festive morning. While we were there I also bumped into my best friend Jo who I don't see as often as I'd like so that was an added bonus. In the evening I went up to London to see the fabulous Emily Coxhead for the launch of her Happy Newspaper.

The following Tuesday saw my annual Christmas shopping day with Mum. As we had both finished buying our presents, we went to Ikea which is always bizarrely magical and then out for a meal before I headed into London to go to Giovanna Fletcher's Q&A and book signing for the second time this year.
Meeting Giovanna (again)
And the year isn't over yet. Christmas is fast approaching and Colin and I will be dashing all over the place to see everyone. Then on New Year's Eve we'll be driving down to Deal for a night of fantastic music at The Lighthouse. 

If you're still reading then thanks for sticking around. I hope this has encouraged you to consider everything that has happened over the past year and leaves you looking forward to the new adventures that 2016 holds. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

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