My 5 New Year's Resolutions For 2017

31/12/2016


Here is a quick run down of my 5 new year's resolutions. Let's kick 2017's ass.

Figure Out My Career

After leaving my Internship in Brighton and moving back home in 2015 which really took its toll on me emotionally, this past year has kind of been a self made gap year where I just focused on myself, having fun and not really paying much attention to developing my career other than the odd bit of freelance work here and there. I want to change that throughout 2017 though, I'm currently working part-time in retail and I can feel so much untapped potential within myself going to waste. I want to work within the creative industry, though as I get older I find myself growing more distant from the design/marketing side of things as I want to do more than just sell that next meaningless product to someone to make a big corporation more money. I want to do something really worthwhile with my career, something that actually helps people; now I'm not saying I want to be the next Gandhi of the working world but y'know -- there has to be more to working life than chasing the payslip at the end of the month and living for the weekend.

Travel More

I'll be kick starting the new year with a two week road trip through Europe with Jon, going through Paris, Brussels, Bruges, Amsterdam & Berlin. I know that this won't fully satisfy my itch for travelling though. This coming year I hope to get away to somewhere with a little more heat though, as everywhere that I've travelled to so far in my life has been during Winter or to cold climate countries. Sitting on a beach at an all inclusive resort isn't exactly my idea of fun though, I want to experience somewhere with a lot of culture and find something that will change my life again, like the Interrail did for me this year.

Experience More of The Unknown & Learn New Skills

Wether it be something as small as trying out a cuisine on the menu that I've never tasted before or as big as learning a new life skill, I want to experience and try my hand at as much as I can this next year. One of the more serious things that I want to commit to this coming year is learning German; Its something that I've always wanted to do but never really fully gave it my 100%. 

Read More Books

Tap after tap, my Amazon Wish List is slowly being filled up with book after book, most of which are self help, mindfulness and thought provoking reads. Over the past couple of years I've been reading so much more, mainly self help & fantasy fiction and it has not only helped ground me so much but also taken away a lot of the every day stress of life. The problem I seem to have is that I'll often get distracted by my phone, computer or just the daily hustle and never seem to be able to set aside proper time for reading, this coming year I need to prioritise it more often.

Blog More

I started this blog at the start of this year, mainly as a diary for myself to keep a track of the highlights (and to acknowledge and improve on some of the low parts) of my life; so far it has been awesome and I've loved documenting my life this way. Blogging has also let me connect with new people through social media and see other people's experiences on their blogs which has helped me shape and better my own writing techniques and overall blog aesthetic. Look out for plenty more blog posts in the new year covering more of the usual topics of Gaming, Music, TV & Film, Life & much more! 

So that about wraps it up for the main resolutions that I have for 2017. I'm sure there'll be plenty more goals and things that I will be wanting to work towards throughout the year but these are the main ones that I have on my mind for now.

What are your goals and resolutions for 2017? Let me know below! 

My 2016 Highlights

20/12/2016



Travelling

Looking back over the past 12 months of my life I'm starting to see how it has been quite a wild one and how I have developed as a whole new and better person. I started the year by travelling on the Interrail with my friend Jon through five European countries. I experienced so much culture, life lessons and also discovered a new me that I desperately needed. I was taken away from my every day life and thrown in at the deep end of having to navigate through new countries over a two week period; all of which had very different cultures, languages, scenery and experiences to what I was used to. Travelling on the Interrail is one of the best experiences that I've done in my life as it completely brought me out of my depressed state that I had during 2015 due to relationships and career hurdles. I guess it kind of gave me the wake up call that I needed, making me realise that this is it. Everything that is now is life. I've always been so focused on my future, working towards the next educational goal, dreaming of that amazing job and picturing a great future for myself that I never really lived in the moment -- and experiencing all of these new countries, cultures and learning their history, taking in how the people who live their lives there live so much differently to myself, I realised that it was utterly impossible to try and stick to an action plan in this life. Life can just throw you too many curve balls and there will always be hurdles so I realised I had to change my outlook by focusing more on the present and my own being before I became depressed; and since that moment I have never felt better about my life.

Spring then came around and after months of hustling on the part-time day job I was able to make another get away to Isle of Man with Lewis to go and see our good mate, Nathan. We stayed for a week, experiencing all that the Isle had to offer us -- mainly pool, beer, good sight seeing and a relaxed slow pace lifestyle. Banging. Again, it was really awesome to just get away from Hull again, experiencing a different way of life and just getting away from the normal routine that is so easy to fall into.

Live Music


A week after getting back from the Isle of Man, Lewis and I headed out to Slam Dunk festival in Leeds. It was our first time at Slam Dunk and we weren't disappointed. We managed to somehow book ourselves into the Queen's hotel and lived like kings for the weekend at somehow ridiculously cheap prices. We saw some of our favourite bands, saw some old friends and generally had an awesome time as the atmosphere around the whole festival site was so good. We've already booked tickets for Slam Dunk 2017! Our festival season didn't stop at Slam Dunk though, with the Summer bringing Hospital Records' their first ever Hospitality In The Park festival down at Finsbury Park, London. The sold out show was the best festival that I've been to. Everyone was there for the same reason, loving D&B. The atmosphere was completely on point and was just such an awesome time. Lewis and I met up with my good friend, Kirstie and spent the day eating, drinking and skanking our faces off to some of the best acts in the D&B genre.

I also got to see Bring Me The Horizon for the third time at Sheffield Arena with Andy, Lewis & Reece this November. Their set was pretty similar to what they played last year in Donny but man, the sound quality, crowd and just all round atmosphere was on a whole new level. I've been listening to BMTH since their first EP and I will always love going to their shows! Hopefully I'll be able to catch them again next year. Seeing all of these bands, producers and DJ's at the festivals and concerts this year really made me appreciate the music that I listen to even more. The metal and D&B genres have helped me through some seriously hard times throughout my life and when the day is coming to an end, I can always put my headphones on and just drown out the world around me.


Being Happy With Myself

Like I said earlier, 2015 was a really low point for me, I was still getting used to living back in Hull after moving back from Brighton. I was in and out of relationships -- some that meant everything to me and others, not so much. I didn't even know if my career aspirations of being a Graphic Designer were what I wanted anymore after putting everything into my work whilst in Brighton and getting little return. So I went into 2016 with the resolution that I wasn't going to worry about future relationships and career, and try and remain fully in the present, enjoying each day as it came to me and let me say that this year, while I've had some lows, has easily been one of my best yet.

 I feel like especially around Autumn time this year, a switch has been turned on in my head from the self development books that I've read, self help media I've watched, the life lessons I've learnt from the people I have and choose to keep around me now. I just feel happier in myself each day, I don't worry too much about what the future brings me because I've come to accept that I can only do so much myself to achieve what I want to happen, the rest comes to me naturally and I can't change that.

I'll be going over what I want to achieve in 2017 in a post coming sometime towards the end of December, so be sure to catch that post too.

Here's to 2017! 


Discovering My Ancestry

13/12/2016



I've always been fascinated by history, ancestry and learning about my family origins. I love sitting down with my family, especially my Grandma and learning about where our roots are in the world; having Scottish and German roots in my family tree, I knew that I had to have quite a mixed background of ancestry. After seeing a touching video circulate on social media a few months ago by Momondo I knew I had to take the test for myself. The video featured a room full of people having their DNA tested to see where their ancestry was in the world and lead to some interesting results from people who claimed they were 100% British and then found that they had mixed European heritage. 


At the time, Momondo were running a competition where you could write a short paragraph about why you'd love to have your DNA tested and some lucky winners would receive test kits and even the chance to fly to each of the countries that their heritage was in to learn more about their history. I eagerly signed up and after a few months passed I forgot all about and assumed that I hadn't won anything until I got an email with thanks for participating in the competition. Sadly I didn't win, though I received a 30% discount code to order my own kit through the AncestryDNA website and with the kits having a rather steep price tag of £79 I figured the 30% discount would probably be the best deal that I'd ever manage to find so I snapped one right up through their website.

I received my kit through the mail a few days after ordering it. The kit was super easy to use, all that I had to do was fill up a small tube with my saliva, screw on a lid which released a chemical solution into the saliva which would allow my DNA to be extracted by the scientists back in the lab and then pop it into a prepaid well secured box and post it off back to their lab over in Ireland.


After about 3 weeks of waiting (which was a lot quicker than the original estimated 8 week period of waiting) I received a link to my DNA results through email and I was blown away by my results. As I opened the link I was greeted by the above image of a map which pictured all of the areas that my DNA is linked to in the world. Below the map was the following image of the rough percentages of how my DNA is built up over various regions.


It turns out that I have quite a mixed bag of heritage after all. Obviously, the DNA regional mixtures which show Scandinavia and Iberian Peninsula will be due to the Anglo-Saxon & Spanish Inquisition settlers in the UK throughout history. I was really surprised to see that so many regions made up my DNA though, especially seeing traces of Italian, Greek and parts of Russia! Another interesting feature on the results page was when you click on any of these regions, it opens up a small write up that goes over the history of the regions and shows detailed images (below) on how settlers moved between regions and explains how you probably ended up with that region's DNA being a part of you. 


If that wasn't enough, I also came across another great feature that was a part of my results; not only did I get my DNA results but AncestryDNA had cross referenced my DNA with other members and users of the site who had also done the same DNA test as me and gave me over 116 potential matches of relatives from across the world! From looking at these matches, I apparently have a strong chance percentage of having 4th Cousins somewhere out there in the world. What's more is that a couple of days after viewing this page I received a message from another user who is State side in Pennsylvania, saying that she had seen my DNA matching and we could potentially be related also as she has relatives with the McIntosh clan in Scotland. Perhaps my relative clan McCallum, sept of MacLeod had ties with the McIntosh? 

This is the kind of stuff that makes my hair stand on end, it is just so awesome to see and have so much awesome and thought provoking information laid out to you and made easy to understand. I really can't recommend AncestryDNA enough if you are interested in finding out your heritage and history in the world! 

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