This time of year sees plenty of posts around the internet looking back at 2015 and forwards into 2016. I thought I’d take some time to reflect on my year…
A tough start to the year for me as my health wasn’t great. Without going into too much details this led to a diagnosis of IBS and led me to take up the Low FODMAP diet – which has actually really helped!
For my last birthday Clara bought me a chocolate making workshop and we took this one Sunday in February. It was a really interesting afternoon, including a number of samples and then lots of chocolates to bring home afterwards.
We took our regular trip back to visit my in-laws in Hong Kong. We also took a 6 day trip to Kyoto, Japan – one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I’ll never forget Kinkaku-Ji and Ginkaku-Ji temples as well as all the great food we ate! Our time was spent in Hong Kong visiting our family and eating more great food cooked by my mother-in-law Polly.
I decided it was time to create a blog online. As my role at work has become more about helping others to progress I felt that sharing some of my thoughts online was something that might help others, as I’d learned from them over the years. I also wrote my first magazine piece for Harrington Starr, a recruiter I work with, about Lessons Learned from Growing a Team.
We took a couple of days off to visit Rowhill Grange Utopia Spa for a 2 night break. I booked through Secret Escapes (my first time using the site) and I was really impressed by the hotel, spa and food included in the package (including the lovely relaxing massage!).
I took a three-week trip to Baku, Azerbaijan to work at the first European Games as a volleyball statistician. It turned out to be a very interesting (if different) country and I enjoyed my time there; watching the sport, seeing some culture and meeting some new friends through the CEV. I’m not sure I’ll be returning in a hurry though unless another large sporting event happens there!
Firstly I attended my 9th UK School Games in Manchester, seeing a great 3 days of volleyball and another great set of statisticians getting further in their careers! This event has become a regular part of my calendar each year now! The following weekend also saw the inaugural London Legacy Volleyball Cup, seeing professional European volleyball teams take on the best of the UK. I’ll never forget the challenge of taking statistics for the final game between PGE Skra Bełchatów and VfB Friedrichshafen – fast is an understatement!
We were also visited by Clara’s best friend, Grace, from Hong Kong for a week long visit. I also started recording my (ir)regular weekly blog post looking at the best blog posts and articles I’ve read that week. I’ve managed to keep this going pretty consistently since!
I celebrated getting another year older with a visit to SushiSamba in London with Clara.
After a couple of very hectic months we took a well deserved rest in Stratford Upon Avon, visiting many sites in the area and treating ourselves to a meal at The Cross in Kenilworth followed by watching the latest James Bond, Spectre.
Living in London I also sometimes take for granted the amount of things to do and haven’t really made the most of this for a while. I rectified this with a visit to the Tate Modern’s Pop Art exhibition.
At work I finally finished the 8 module MEDAL course looking at how to be a better leader and manager. The 8 modules spanned across 4 months and covered everything from HBDI brain typing to forming a high-performing team.
I also went to see
Top Gear Clarkson, Hammond and May Live at the O2 with my brother, Sam. This was something I booked tickets for long before the Jeremy Clarkson punching incident. It turned out to be a good event, much like watching a TV show in person!
It was a really busy December in the office as we look to further grow our team by 20 members in both London and Sheffield, taking the team size to over 100 people. This is pretty amazing when I look back on joining as developer number 4 in a team of 10 people in 2008. It’s been really interesting learning how to grow a team across two locations in the UK. I also enjoyed presenting two forward looking “dream a little” segments at the annual management conference for Capita Employee Benefits.
I couldn’t wait for Christmas and a well earned break, visiting family in and around London and taking a trip to The Tower of London with the Brown’s, 22 years after our last visit in 1994 – little did I know at the time I’d be living here in the future!
Image Courtesy of Giggling Gigi on Flikr.