What I love the most about reaching the end of a year is not to start looking forward but to look back. Sometimes I find that to move forward, we need to look at how we got to where we are now. I often forget some of the little moments and sometimes looking back on just how much further I've come with each year leaves me feeling both captivated and inspired to make the 365 days to come just as fulfilling. Many people use these final days to plan how they're going to put the New Year to good use where as I, on the other hand, prefer to delve into both my selection box of chocolate and my head full of memories consisting of the times I've enjoyed.

I started 2015 with the same group of friends that I'm going to end it with, there is always something so special about that. I spent the first few seconds of the year surrounded by the people who always help me to be at my happiest and I look forward to spending the last few seconds of the year in that same delusional state of disbelief and happiness. I always find that moment when a town full of people, intoxicated with both alcohol and good feelings, counting down to midnight is a moment that carries with you for the rest of the year. Those last five seconds feel like the longest five seconds in the world.

This year I've not only spent time with old friends but I've also been lucky enough to meet new ones. These past few months have really been about meeting new people and finding myself in situations that I wouldn't normally feel comfortable in. However, from this, I've found myself coping better at times that would normally send me cascading into feeling shy or uneasy. I had it planted in my head that, for me, college would be an absolute disaster. I needn't have worried because I've found friends that I feel like I've know for a much longer timescale than just three months.

Another great part of the past 12 months is that my "live list" has grown substantially. This was something I started a while back and it is as the name implies, a list of musicians that I've been lucky enough to see in concert. This year I went to Beautiful Days festival with Beth and experienced a mixture of old favourites and new discoveries in the middle of a muddy field. Here was where we first encountered the wonder that is Jack Savoretti and we have since then seen him live in Swansea and also currently have tickets booked to see him for a third time in March. We also, for the laughs, found ourself at the front row of a band called Hoffmaestro where we were pushed around like there was no tomorrow. There music was the type that would cause me to grimace in disgust if I had heard it anywhere else yet I found myself enjoying myself beyond anything I can put into words. This festival also meant I was able to see Hudson Taylor for the second time, this time at the barrier, which was also a lovely experience. As aforementioned, I attended a Jack Savoretti gig in October and just a week after I watched American band R5. Both these shows were on a Sunday and the following day I still attended college on very little sleep but the thoughts of the night before gave me enough energy to keep me going. In June I watched Tom Odell for the third time, this time in the middle of a forest as a part of his forest live shows and September was the month that I was able to experience the spiritual journey that was a Florence + The Machine concert. Finally, June 5th was a date that will stick in my head for a long time as I was able to fulfill the dream of my eleven year old self and see One Direction. Every one of these has filled me with so much gratitude and I like to think that they've helped me realise just how much I have. Each one was a stepping stone in my journey to become a more selfless person and to make me realise just how fortunate I am.

I think that a lovely part of 2015, and the loveliest part of the past 5 years that we've been friends, has been Beth. Despite going from seeing each other 6 times to week to now seeing each other around once a week I've never been more happy to have her as my best pal. Even if at parties she manages to disappear for the whole night, knock over Christmas tree's and agree to adopt unborn babies I know that you'll always have time to facetime me. In fact I've never used facetime with anyone else. Katio & Bettiette lives on foreva  

I've watched the sun set from the beach, spent Halloween in Lucy's annexe, danced until who knows what time at night, taken numerous lovely polaroids and even found myself being chased my a mob of angry ducks. But the best part of every single one of these moments is that I always had my pals with me.

Happy New Year to you all and I'll see you in 2016. x

Exeter in the Wintertime

A range of wooden huts draped in their own formation of fairy lights, tinsel and baubles of all forms seem to have left me rather out of pocket this year. There is no denying the fact that the smell of Christmas that now wavers in the air around Exeter's Cathedral has drawn me in far too many times than I like to admit. 

It's obviously that time of the year again. I'm not sure if I feel constantly sick with the over consumption of multiple chocolate bars or just with pure excitement. Probably both. Despite this, nothing has stopped me from spending break after break in Exeter's annual Christmas Market which is sat happily at the foot of the Cathedral until the 19th of December. 

I do worry that I have perhaps spent more time walking around the various stalls than I have in my own home. Just the other week I tucked my camera away in my bag and after my final lesson at three I met Mollie off her train in Exeter Central. By the time we had reached the market it was still light but the sky was full of a couple of suffocating clouds and it wouldn't be long before darkness would set in. After having a quick browse of what delicacies were on offer, we ventured into Princesshay for a quick shop as well as getting a snap or two of their Christmas lights. The city has literally been lit up in the form of polar bears, snowflakes and smaller lights woven between the branches of the tree's that line the streets. By the time we returned to the market the clouds were a deep grey and as we walked these lights seemed to bounce off the eyes of passersby. Despite the quickly darkening sky and the nasty wind this gave everything a layer of warmth. The market had it's own spark.

The small pathways that wove their way between the market stalls were full of people of all ethnicity's. The air was full of a buzz of different voices, languages and emotions. Because, for better or for worse, it's that time of the year where everyone is brought together isn't it. It's Christmas. Tell somebody that you love them. As 2015 draws to a close appreciate the fact that you have people to spend this time of the year with. Be happy, be humble, and most of all always try to be grateful for what you have. Sometimes it's easy to forget there are people in the world worse off than you and for me, realising this is what this year has been about.

Have a wonderful Christmas. x