I did it! Something new EVERY day in 2016. As my mum has kindly pointed out, this could be the first time I have ever stuck to one of my new year’s resolutions.
- Finally had my first Steak and Honour burger. These are legendary round here. YUM.
- Visited my cousin and his wife – they live in a part of Cambridge I haven’t been to before and I’ve never been to their house. He cooked me a meal, which is also new and was also yum.
- Performed (with the lovely choir) at Mill Road Winter Fair. First time being actively involved in this event at all, rather than just being a punter! Also my first time inside St Barnabas Church, even though we rehearse every week in a building behind the main church.
- Went to my first Meet Up event – the Cambridge Bloggers Network Camb Meet Up #ChristmasBloggersBash. This was a very daunting thing for me – my blog is pretty basic really, plus blogging is a very female-driven phenomenon which is of course an excellent thing but it does mean many of the bloggers are fashion and beauty bloggers, a scary prospect for a very unfashionable and unbeautiful person! But I’m glad I went. I met some lovely people; I got an exciting goodie bag; the organisers had arranged some excellent talks from the likes of Jessops, Blogosphere and Jimmy’s Cambridge (the ‘Camb Meet Up Gives Back’ initiative’s nominated charity for 2016/17); and it gave me a chance to think about whether to carry on with the blog in 2017 and, if so, what I want out of it. It’s interesting that everyone seemed to agree that one of the best things about blogging is, almost unexpectedly, getting to meet lots of new people and even with my small venture that has been the case. It is also a great way of picking up new skills, or developing existing ones, such as photography, writing, design, networking, planning, project management and experimenting with social media.
- I went to singing practice at work! This year, another office that always has a little Christmas sing-song kindly extended the invitation to other offices, and I jumped at the chance to join in. This makes me happy because if this had happened last year, I would have wanted to join in but would have been too scared – and even if I had been brave enough, I wouldn’t have been able to sing high enough. Hooray! And I met some nice new people.
- Performed in the little work choir (see yesterday) at our section’s Christmas lunchtime party – six carols, very pleasant. Also went to see a band I hadn’t seen before – Big Country!
- Started a new Futurelearn course – Disaster Management. As usual, I promptly forgot I’d signed up and that I actually had to do some work.
- Tried the dumpling stall on Cambridge market – had a big round dumpling, which I think is a new thing.
- Went to karaoke (and sang)! There is absolutely no way I would have ever done this before this year, although a lot of Dutch courage was required. This was for our office Christmas party – we went to Sing Dizzy.
- Had my first solo attempt at papercutting since the course I did last month.
- Watched some embroidery stitch tutorials on YouTube: Outline Stitch, Split Stitch, Lazy Daisy, Satin Stitch, French Knot. Pretty sure the only one I’ve done before is satin stitch.
- Cooked macaroni cheese. Just in case I have done this before and forgotten, I cooked a ‘Sprout mac ‘n’ cheese’ recipe and also had ‘kalettes’, both courtesy of Waitrose.
- Cooked lasagne. This involved a cooking lesson from Helen, another new thing.
- Looked at the moon through binoculars. Tried a new tea – peppermint and liquorice tea.
- More London new things: ate in a new pub (The Spread Eagle), walked through Regent’s Park at dusk, went to a new café that I can’t remember the name of, and went to Cecil Sharp House, for a lovely festive concert by a little folk super-combo, including Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage who were new to me.
- Played all the songs from Merrily to Bethlehem in order. I grew up with this piano book but have only every played a few favourites.
- Booked an appointment to give blood over the Christmas period. Always been too ill or selfish to do this before! I haven’t given blood for about three years so it was about time.
- Bought something on eBay.
- Remembered to put something in the foodbank in a supermarket (tinned tuna). I hoped that, having remembered once, I could turn it into a habit, but I haven’t remembered since. Must try harder in 2017.
- Had Masala Chai Latte. I thought this was a new thing because I thought it was different to just Chai Latte (which I may or may not have had before) but now I am not so sure.
- Was sort of interviewed by The Guardian! This was by email once I’d submitted some details to one of their ‘Comment Is Free’ pieces earlier in the day. I was too scared to talk to them on the phone.
- Went out for my traditional pre-Christmas get together with my pals and only had non-alcoholic drinks (in preparation for giving blood tomorrow – it all goes horribly wrong for me if I get dehydrated). Also had a new dish – boscaiola.
- Went through with the whole blood donation thing – not new but new at Christmas and also in a new place, Ely Beet Club (yes, as in sugar beet). All went swimmingly and my glass of wine the following day felt well deserved.
- Listened to a Monteverdi opera. A bit of one, anyway. I knew Christmas would be tricky, too many traditional things!
- Painted a ceramic thing (an owl tealight holder) and used craft pens.
- Taught myself some songs on harmonica, including Jingle Bells.
- Started an embroidery kit. Don’t know why I started with the most difficult new stitch (French Knot) but I think I cracked it so that’s satisfying.
- Ate in a Dunelm cafe. Exciting stuff, I know. Also bought my first ever brand new computer (my previous ones have all been second-hand). And finished my first Goodreads challenge – 26 books in 2016! Back in November this did not look very likely at all although I ended up reading shorter and shorter books.
- Danced to my niece’s piano playing. (She is three. Not sure I was interpreting it correctly.)
- Was in the Guardian with my new things! What a satisfying way to end the project. Also made savoury pancakes – this recipe.
- Tried to do a few little things for my last day. Learnt a new stitch in my embroidery kit – Outline Stitch. Went for a new walk in Ely – not sure why I’ve never done this walk but it looks like a good place to run.
I tried to find some ‘albums of the year’ lists so I could listen to a few of the number ones, but some I could not bring myself to listen to (Beyoncé, although reading the reviews perhaps I should give it a chance), and some I’d listened to on my Mercury day. I listened to Bon Iver’s 22 A Million because I misread the NME top 50 list and thought this was number one instead of number 50. So I actually only managed one – BadBadNotGood’s IV from the BBC 6 Music top ten. I also uninstalled MS Office from a computer. This was supposed to be ‘installed MS Office on a computer’ but it went a bit wrong and I ran out of time. And I was given a party bag which was beer. Looks like I already have two new things for 1 January 2017 – installing MS Office and a nice new beer!
So was 2016 a good year? I think it was a really bad year with rather an enormous number of happy and excellent things in it. Which probably means it was a good year – I don’t know! I certainly hope 2017 will be better but I’m sure I will never manage to do quite as many fun things as I did in 2016! Thank you to everyone who helped and joined in – you definitely all kept me going.
Happy New Year to you all and good luck with your ventures, whatever they may be!