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25.1.17

Five Things | Highlights of 2016

I could easily look back on 2016 and list the tough things, the downsides and the negatives.
But I feel so lucky to be able to actually look back and have had a pretty good year and to have a lot of happy memories.

Quality Twin Time


I talk a lot about how I adore my brother. Three of my main happy memories from last year involved him...in fact four of my happy memories involve him!
It's been a hard few years as I adjusted to not having a male role model in my life in the form of my dad. My brother had always been very protective of me and has always been someone I look up to so I haven't felt that void so much.
When he moved away to Somerset I didn't really ever expect us to do things together. I was obviously married at the time and was planning a family so I just assumed I guess that any time I saw him I would be with my husband or with my children.
And then 2015 happened and we went on our first holiday together. Without my husband. Without my children. Without our mum. And it cemented in my head just how special he is and just how special our relationship is.
We had a lot of comments from people saying "I wouldn't be able to go on holiday with my brother/sister" and I felt so proud that we could do that.
That week turned out to be one of the best weeks of my life and a week that completely changed my life...and changed me.
Last year we had the TT to look forward to again, which had an added bonus which I'll talk about later. And just after the TT he asked if I wanted to go to Ireland for our birthday. Just the two of us, for a road trip.
Again, both of those breaks were just amazing and made me so thankful for having him in my life.
Then with some changes to days off and swapped shifts at work I decided to plan a last minute trip to visit him to Somerset. He was working but we managed one day out together to Bath and one day to watch him drag racing, but also two meals out and a takeaway/film night in. And that's one thing I love about my brother, he makes time special. He is a protector, whether or not he realises it.





Friendships

I feel like writing this I am completely jinxing myself and that this will all go wrong. But...let's try it.
2016 brought me friendships.
A lot of these were through work, which makes me so grateful for my job.
When I started working there in 2015 I had certain friendships and there were some people it took a while to click with, who I didn't expect to become such good friends. Then there was a change and two of them (who were/are members of management) have become my best friends.
We can have nights out just the three of us, we have private jokes and it's just perfect. And this year has already started off even better with plans of Chinese and board game nights (I know, we are so rock n roll) and I just feel so comfortable and settled with them. I can be myself and they don't judge me for it. They know pretty much everything about me and it makes me feel content.
My manager gave me the responsibility of arranging interviews for job vacancies last year. Still high fiving myself at the three people we employed and I take 80% of responsibility for those choices now.
Anyway, two really stood out to me. One of which now does the same job as me, and annoyingly we never work on the same days!
Another one just feels to me like the weirdest friendship because of how quickly we have clicked. It took ages for us to actually meet as we didn't work on the same days at first and I had a holiday but my mum went into the store and said that a really nice girl served her, that she hadn't seen her before so she must be the "new girl" (hate that term). I asked what she was like and my mum replied with "She looks like your kind of girl"...or something along those lines.
I met her and thought she was so much better than me and that there was no way we would be friends, other than work-colleague-friends but yeah...anyway...it turns out I am good enough (that is SO hard for me to write).
There are people in life who are good for you in so many different ways and she is one of them.
And another friendship was made at the TT. My brother invited along his friend and in all honesty I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first.
She rides a motorbike, is pretty, lovely figure, and stupidly I felt intimidated. I just had this feeling that we wouldn't get on, because I am this "fake" when it comes to motorbikes...I appreciate the sport and appreciate bikes looking good but I don't know anything about these numbers, letters, names and which bike is the best. I can rate the riders in order of looks and who looks best in leathers and look at a bike to appreciate the colours and how comfy it looks to sit on. And that's it.
But again, I worried for no reason. We got on really well, and THANK GOD at the end of last year my wish came true and the year ended on a high when her and my brother became a couple...eventually!! They are so well suited...literally PERFECT together.
I think as a sister I am protective over my brother too and I always have this fear that he will find someone who I wouldn't get along with. Selfish I know, but I am so thankful that we get on well and that we had a friendship before they moved to that next level.

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Tattoos


Obviously tattoos play a big part in my life in 2016. I went from someone who hated tattoos, to then thinking I'd just get a couple of small ones...to then pretty much an addiction.
Tattoos are one of the subjects that everyone has an opinion on. I think I'd be fair in comparing it to breastfeeding and how people have their opinions on that topic.
Whether or not opinions are asked for, people will give them. Positive or negative, people seem unafraid to tell you what they really think.
This was hard for me at first. I am proud of my tattoos. Each one has a meaning and a friend of mine put it perfectly when I posted a video of my half sleeve on Instagram by saying "It feels like there's a story in all of that".
I think the fact that my tattoos are personal is why I can find it offensive and take it to heart when someone says they don't like them.
I am at the point where I am able to not take those comments to heart as much because it's my body, and I would never tell anyone else what to do, or what not to do, to their own body.
These are now part of me and part of who I am and I am proud of them. They make me confident and make me feel like me.
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Dunlops

I wrote about the Dunlops and about getting to meet them last year and how it was one of the best days and moments of my life.
I do worry that people just look at it as a crush and that it's only because they are good looking but it is so much more than that.
If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be into this sport, I would probably still think motorbikes were crap and that people who race them are selfish, but because of them I understand the passion so much and realise that it's not as simple as getting on a ike and riding...there is a skill to it and my goodness are they talented! It's just an added bonus that they look amazing in leathers.
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Adventures

I was really lucky to be able to get four holidays last year, and a weekend away with my boys. 
I do love having my freedom, and I love being in control. I love being able to get away from it all and although I worry about being judged for having a holiday away from my children (3 last year) I know it is good for me to have that head space and to be able to just be free for a while.
As you may know the Isle of Man has my heart. But I completely fell in love with Ireland last year too. I never expected it to be so beautiful and really hope to be able to visit again. I highly recommend visiting there, especially the way we did it with flying over, hiring and car and then road tripping along the coast with no real plans and no accommodation being booked.
I also went on holiday with the boys and my mum in August. We went to Tenerife, I'd always dreamed of taking the boys on a boat trip to see whales and dolphins at Tenerife so it was a dream come true. 
It was tricky because everywhere I looked there were families....proper families and we seemed to be the only that wasn't the typical family unit. It didn't affect the boys, they didn't notice. But I did. 
My mum was amazing though and it was wonderful being able to spend some quality time with her. 
In November I had a rare Saturday off work so decided to take the boys away for a couple of nights. We went to Woburn to visit the Safari park and had a little catch up with Hayley whilst we were there.
Solo parenting isn't easy. But I felt proud that I managed to take them away, to stay in a hotel just the three of us and then to spend a fun day together.