It Started With a List: the 2016 edition

Hello Internet Peoples! I hope you’ve all had a great time celebrating Christmas and the New Year. This has definitely been the best Christmas of my entire life, because after 88 days in the land of the French, I came home and spent Christmas in little old Ballymoney with the loveliest bunch of lads I know (i.e. my parents, my family, le boyf, my mates, and maybe even you reading this!).


It was around this time last year that I decided to bite a very scary bullet, and share my first blog post on Facebook. I shared it at 4 in the morning, hoping it would slip away into the background of the humdrum of the Facebook world, but when I woke up, 25 people had liked it. And I started crying because it was one of the scariest things I’d done in a long time, and I was so unbelievably grateful that people had taken the time to sit there and read my silly observations on life and such. I even screenshotted the likes, because I was so excited and appreciative. Thank you so much, all of you, who read these eejit-esque posts, and give me encouragement and feedback. Yis are wile nice, hi.

However, moving away from all that emotional nonsense, I’m reflecting on that time, because it was in that post that I first mentioned “the list”. If you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, it’s basically this: to combat depression, I decided to write a list of all the things I wanted to do in 2014. Whether big or small, I wrote them all into my journal, and crossed them off as I did them. It could be something as simple as “Make someone smile today” (which is much bigger than you’d think, let me tell you), or something really exciting like “Book a trip to X/Y/Z”.

This list helped me sooooooo much, and you have no idea how many people have talked to me since about “the list”; whether they want to help me get through it, or make their own, and it makes me smile oh so much to think that people have felt inspired by something I started.

ANYWAY, the point of today’s post? I thought I’d look at my 2015 list, which I shared at some point last year, to see how many different things I’d actually done, and then share with you my uncompleted 2016 list. So here we go!

Things I wanted to do in 2015 (the things I actually did are bold):

1 Visit a country I’ve never been to before
2 Read Ulysses
3 Run a complete mile without death or crying
4 Go to a concert
5 Get my nose pierced
6 Live in another country (bit of an obvious one but hey!)
7 See the Eiffel Tower
8 Return to work at the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery
9 See a show
10 Finish reading the Harry Potter series
11 Start playing guitar again
12 Write a poem I’m proud of
13 Have a dinner date with the distillery girlies
14 Visit Crumlin Road jail with Flems (and Ams and Lauz too!)
15 Visit England
16 Try sushi (it’s not for me)
17 Have someone draw me
18 Buy a decent camera
19 Have an end of exams celebration
20 Track down and read Go Set A Watchman
21 See the Mussendon temple
22 Have a picnic
23 Purchase my very first MAC lipstick (five lipsticks later…)
24 See Amsterdam
25 Visit a fellow Year-Abroader
26 Eat in Harlem Cafe
27 Go for afternoon tea
28 Cross Carrick-a-rede
29 Give a French tour without my notes
30 Learn Italian
31 Make a pasta sauce from scratch
32 Go to the zoo
33 Visit an art gallery
34 Meet up with an old friend
35 Go to a formal
36 Write more
37 Do some charity work
38 Host a potluck
39 Make someone smile
40 Make iced tea
41 Learn to meditate properly
42 Read The Guest Cat
43 Use my crystals
44 Go on a hike
45 Just try an avocado already!
46 Buy someone a surprise gift
47 Spend a night stargazing
48 Celebrate my birthday (becoming “twenteen”)
49 See London
50 Go to Banana Island
51 Read Wuthering Heights
52 Go to Dublin
53 Get a haircut (you damned hippy!) (and for such a good cause)
54 Try a new tea every month
55 Have coffee with someone I haven’t seen in a long time
56 Bake a glitter-coated cake

Out of all of these things, some of the most notable have been the haircut, the trips to France and Amsterdam, and going back to work in my favourite place. It’s been amazing and I feel so blessed that this year has been full of so many exciting and wonderful adventures. 27/56 isn’t bad, but I think I can do better!


Which leads me on to the 2016 list!

It’s not quite complete; I find myself adding things on throughout the year, which is how it grows and develops, but for now, I’m pretty happy with it. If you’re reading this and you think ‘Hey, she should add…’ then let me know! I’m open to suggestions.

  1. Read an entire book in French
  2. Visit Pierrefond
  3. Visit the South of France
  4. Visit Lille
  5. Visit Belgium
  6. Visit Amsterdam (again, I know)
  7. Buy my parents a really good birthday present
  8. Visit Scotland
  9. Visit Rome
  10. Meet up with Sarah!
  12. Read Withering Heights
  13. Work at the distillery again
  14. Start driving lessons
  15. Write more
  16. Keep a diary
  17. Stay in touch with more people
  18. Celebrate turning 21 in France
  19. Try snails…
  20. Visit Germany
  21. See the Belfast Giants again
  22. Blog more often
  23. Have a pizza night with Bekah
  24. Organise another dinner with the language assistants
  25. See Bordeaux
  26. Use my phone less
  27. Read Go Set A Watchman
  28. Get another amazing reflexology
  29. Visit Robyn in Dublin
  30. Have a wild night out in Belfast with Rennis, Lauz and Jade
  31. Buy headphones already!
  32. Do something different to my hair!
  33. Add to my piercing collection
  34. Learn German
  35. Improve my French to the point where I’m happy with it
  36. Have a dinner with my Prépas
  37. Stay in a nice hotel
  38. Have a romantic Flember date
  39. Go to Coast with my Ballymoney family
  40. Order something new or weird from a menu
  41. Choose modules that I want to do
  42. Sort out my house for next year
  43. Read more poetry
  44. Finish the Canterbury Tales at last
  45. Read an autobiography
  46. Visit someone else on their YA
  47. Sign up for a language course
  48. Do some charity work
  49. Buy a Cambridge Satchel
  50. Run more
  51. Take more photos
  52. Have more faith
  53. Play guitar again!
  54. Write letters to people
  55. Send someone a surprise present
  56. Buy a bowtie for Alfie
  57. Go somewhere where wearing a bikini is necessary
  58. Have coffee with someone I haven’t seen in a while
  59. Watch a French film
  60. Have a good old fashioned distillery night out
  61. Clear out my flipping wardrobe
  62. Try out new kinds of tea (and blog about them!)
  63. Do something that scares me


So that’s about it! I know there’s a lot of “Visit…”, but it’s my Yeat Abroad, this is what I’m supposed to get up to! I’m making the most of it and pourquoi pas! Some of these things are already planned adventures, so keep your eyes peeled and you’ll see where I’m heading off to in the next few months!

I’m going to get back to blogging about my France adventures and experiences soon, I promise! There’s been lots of crazy things happening, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.


As ever, you lovely people, thank you so much for your time and support, it means the world! Have a lovely week, and let me know what you think- let me know if you’re going to start your own list! I encourage you to do so 🙂


A bientôt!!

Amber xx

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kristine says:

    Amby. What can i say. Your story is very exciteing to read becouse im sure that as u know i came to uk the same like u did in France,not knowing the ppl around u. Soo i am very proud of u . And u are a very clever girl? What can i say, enjoy the expierence and be strong. Love Kristina

    1. Amber says:

      Aww Kristine thank you so much! Yes mammy and me were talking about how she’s met so many people like yourself through work who’ve had to go to a different country and learn to adapt and fit in- it’s not always easy but you obviously loved it and made it look so easy! 🙂 Thank you so much!! ❤

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