Highlights of 2016: Horns, Heroes and Hogmanay…


I set aside a couple of days every January to organise the previous year’s photos into a photo book. Not only does it feel satisfying to be so organised at the start of a new year (smug, moi?!), it’s an excellent opportunity to remember the good times from the last twelve months.

In a year where humanitarian disaster and political turmoil dominated our screens it may seem difficult  to remember the fun times of 2016, but reflecting on happy memories is an important habit for cultivating happiness (see my blog post over here). As part of a 2017 Positivity Project, Glamour reports that picking three photos from 2016 in which you felt happy or proud of yourself can not only give a much needed boost, but also sends ‘a powerful, positive message to your subconscious’ of your awesome-ness, setting you up for achieving your goals in the year ahead!

Looking through my 2016 photo book I’m reminded of so many good times that it seems an impossible task to narrow it down to thirty, never mind just three. Many of the year’s highlights weren’t even captured by camera – including singing the Armed Man with a pop-up choir, using a steak stone at Cheers in Thetford, and having people tell me that they enjoyed reading Mother, Delirious to name a few!

I somehow managed to whittle it all down to a shortlist of ten photos that evoked particularly happy memories or significant moments from 2016, with the top three (Metal Horns, Heroes and Hogmanay) listed first in date order:

1. Metal Horns! Monsters of Rock Cruise, Nassau, Bahamas (Feb 2016)

Enjoying a live performance by Tesla on the outdoor stage of the Norwegian Pearl, we noticed that passengers on the neighbouring ship (visible next to my head!) were rocking out as much as we were. After months of saving, planning, and anxiety that the cruise line-up might be ‘too metal’ for me, I realised that I was at the coolest event on the planet and having one of the best experiences of my life!


2. Heroes! Under Fire plus special guest Alan, Pittenweem Arts Festival (Aug 2016)

After a gig was cancelled at short notice, Under Fire decided to perform al fresco at the Pittenweem Arts Festival instead. Then – another blow – our drummer ended up in A&E after an gardening accident! The gig was saved by my boyfriend Alan (a guitarist – not a drummer!) who stepped in with the help of a Miniature Heroes tin and two wooden spoons (loaned by our guitarist’s mum). The outcome? A super fun gig that proved our ability as entertainers (hey, the show must go on) and £131.51 in donations from happy festival revellers (which we put towards recording Resonation’s debut album)! This photo reminds me that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!


3. Hogmanay! Under Fire performing at Saline Golf Club (Dec 2016)

The photo symbolises both the conclusion of an remarkable year of achievement for Under Fire and great optimism for 2017 (excluding our guitarist’s moody face, ha ha!). Not only have Under Fire had the opportunity to perform at some superb events in 2016, we also formed original-music band Resonation for which we have already performed our debut gig and are half way through recording our first album (funded through our successful Kickstarter campaign). So much time and energy goes into both bands and this photo is testament to our success in 2016 – and the anticipation of leading our two bands from strength to strength in the coming year.


Other photo highlights from 2016  (in date order):

4. Paradise Kitty performing at Monsters of Rock Cruise (Feb 2016). Kick-ass all-female Guns n Roses tribute band with a superb sound and stage presence.

5. NASA, Kennedy Space Centre, Florida (Feb 2016). Realising my lifelong dream to walk in the footsteps of astronauts.

6. Madam Puddifoots, Hogsmeade, Universal Studios, Orlando (Feb 2016). Exhilarating theme park experience topped off with delicious frozen Butterbeer outside my Aunty Pat’s shop (Did JK Rowling comb the Lothian phone book for peculiar names…?)

7. Santouri performance, Athens (June 2016). Unexpectedly beautiful Greek folk music set the tone for a stroll through one of the world’s most ancient cities.

8. Love at Tentsmuir Sands (June 2016). We came across this beach message on a nine mile coastal walk on a beautiful summer’s day.

9. Resonation recording session, QTen Studios, Glenrothes (Oct 2016). Laying down original tracks written by my / our fair hands. Very proud moment.

10. Monkey Business, Dalavich, Argyll (Oct 2016). Guffawing hysterically about mint imperials and pretending to be a monkey (while stone cold sober, I may add!). On holiday and having fun!


Title photo credit: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5058/5512006722_3ebefb844c_z.jpg