2017!

Another year has gone by and as always I am wondering where the time has gone. It seems like year after year time just keeps moving faster. I guess this is what happens when you get older. And as always with this time of year, I like to reflect on all the things I have done the past year and think about what is coming ahead.
So, 2017, what a year. Honestly though when I try to think of all the things I have done this year I can’t really think of any. Which I think means my memory is getting worse with time. But luckily with the help of the internet and social media, I can kind of piece together how my year was.
I started out the year with my boyfriend, which was a first for me. I have never had someone to kiss on New Year’s and have never even had plans to go out on New Years. Not that the kissing part was ever a big thing for me, but it was nice to start the year with someone special. And going out was nice and a good change from staying home and playing Animal Crossing to ring in the new year. That being said, I love playing Animal Crossing on New Year’s because it’s so cute and all the villagers wear hats. 😛

New Years

The first month of the year of me is usually a lazy one. Especially last year because I didn’t start back at university until the end of the month. That meant a lot of my time was spent playing Sims, watching Netflix and sleeping. Which is always an ideal situation. Not for too long though, mainly because after a while you do feel like you should maybe be a little productive and do something.
February in comparison was a much more productive month. I started back at university and started my level 2 Korean classes. I completely forgot that I took Korean for 10 weeks. As you can see I learnt a lot – I enjoyed the Korean classes though. It was interesting and I also think it is one of the easier Asian languages to learn in terms of reading and writing.
On top of Korean, I also continued to work on my second year Android game project. That doesn’t have the most pleasant memories attached to it. A lot of late nights staring at code. If I am honest, I know that I could have done so much more with that project but I let the other members of my group overshadow me. I think the learning curve really threw me. But I still feel like I learnt a lot and we did end up with a pretty great game in the end. Even if my contribution to it wasn’t the biggest.

My game’s Menu Screen

February was also the month that I celebrated my anniversary with my boyfriend. It’s weird to think we have been together for so long but at the same time, I couldn’t imagine not being with him. We just spend so much time together that being apart from him for too long feels weird.
I also spent February wrapped in some new TV shows, and they happened to take up a lot of my time this year. It was a big year in terms of TV for me. Mainly because two of the biggest shows in my life ended in 2017. Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries. At first, I really did wonder what I would do without them, I always looked forward to the new episodes, but now part of me is glad the shows are over. I guess all good things must come to an end. And it makes way for new TV shows. But I will say, I will miss making Pretty Little Liars videos, I don’t think I will find another show that will get me as worked up as that one.
March seemed to be another blur of uni work and Sims. But one super exciting thing for me was meeting YouTubers for the first time. I had the opportunity to meet James Turner aka TheSimSupply and Dylan Clawson aka ConflictNerd. They decided to hold a meet up in Belfast and I just happened to have a free afternoon from class so I thought I would go and hang out with them.

ConflictNerd and TheSimSupply!

I was super nervous. I am not good in situations where I am meeting new people by myself. But I am really glad that I went. It is super weird to talk to people you have only seen online, I mean they are just people so you talk to them like you would anyone else. But at the same time, it’s crazy because you have gotten to know them through their online persona, so when you meet them in real life they are different. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, from making my own videos I know that you can’t expect people you watch online to always be so energetic and happy in real life.
James is actually a quiet person in real life, especially when the rest of the people at the meetup and I started talking about Northern Ireland and James didn’t have any idea what we were talking about because he is from Australia haha.
I really enjoyed meeting them and I am glad that the first time I met YouTubers I was able to sit down and talk to them rather than a standard meet and greet. Plus, there were only a small number of people at the meet up which made it a lot easier to talk too. It was very relaxed and I am a fan.
April was spent doing a lot of coding and playing Another Brick in the Mall. I haven’t played Another Brick in the Mall in months now, but it has updated a lot so I think I should revisit it again soon. But, I was watching Conflict Nerd’s Let’s Play of the game and I thought it would be a fun thing to try out and it was. I was very invested for a couple of months.
I also got to attend my second ever hackathon with my boyfriend at the end of April. I was nervous about it because I never have ideas for those things and also I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to contribute anything and just be sitting doing nothing for 12 hours.
But things took a surprising turn as we ended up joining up with a team that was working next to us, they had a similar idea and instead of looking at them as competition, we decided to team up. And I think it worked out in our favour as we ended up coming in second.

The hackathon team!

It was really fun and interesting teaming up with new people and getting to know them in a short space of time. Again it’s not something that I would immediately think of when attending a hackathon but I enjoyed it a lot. And when you are all working together 12 hours can feel like nothing.
I have yet to attempt a 24-hour hackathon but I don’t think I would be able to do it. Normally after a hackathon, you feel drained and all you want to do is sleep. So I feel like after a 24-hour one I would need a lot more than one night’s sleep. But who knows, maybe 2018 will be the year of the 24-hour hackathon?
After the hackathon came the final stretch of university – finishing my Android game and exams. I remember sitting with my flatmate working on our project and then Git went down at like 5 a.m. It was not ideal, we sat refreshing our laptops for an hour before it came back up. Talk about cutting it close to the deadline. Luckily everything was submitted and I was able to get a well-deserved rest afterwards.
Then in June, I headed to my second hackathon of the year, again a 12 hour one with my boyfriend and a couple of my university friends. I have to say this one might not have been as productive as the first one as this one was from 4 p.m to 4 a.m and I had been at a technology event during the say so got pretty tired.

Hackathon snaps

Actually, everyone ended up leaving the hackathon early because we had to come back in the morning to present our ideas anyway. So we thought it was better to work a little bit more on the project from the comfort of our house rather than in the hackathon space.
But the next day we were able to pull it together for our presentation. I had to present our idea at this hackathon and it was kind of scary. Public speaking is not a thing I enjoy (I feel like there’s a theme in this blog post…) but it went well. I just always think that people will look at me like I don’t know what I am talking about but I did know what I was talking about and all was well.
Again we came second, but it was okay because we did win a lot of prizes throughout the actual hackathon. Even though the prize for the hackathon was a trip to Dubai to present your hackathon idea to a company. It would have been amazing but I guess there’s always the next time.
June was also exciting because I got to go to England to visit my friend Jasmine. It was her first year at university and I hadn’t seen her in ages. It was also the first time that I was going to be travelling by myself – I had planned to go over and see her with some other friends but all our schedules didn’t line up so I went on my own. Again, a scary thing but I feel proud of myself that I was able to do it.

Visiting Jasmine!

It was so great seeing Jasmine, especially because it was the first time I was going to meet her university friends and her boyfriend. I had heard so much about them so I was excited to meet them. They were all so lovely and it made me so happy to see that Jasmine was settling in well to uni.
While I was there we went to the beach, the arcades, played mini golf and went bowling. It was an eventful few days. And the weather was great while I was in England which was also great. It was my first time in England and it was such a change from being in Northern Ireland. I mean you wouldn’t think it would be because it’s still the UK but just the weather difference was so strange. Not that I was complaining.
Overall it was a great trip and I know I would gladly go back over to see Jasmine anytime.
Not long after my trip to England, I was off to Dublin for my 20th birthday with my boyfriend. We ended up in Dublin during Dublin pride which was super fun. I had always wanted to go to a pride parade and this was my first ever one. I have always loved the idea of pride because everyone is all dressed up and spreading love and it’s just overwhelmingly positive and fun So if you have never been to pride I highly recommend it.

Twitter’s pride float

In June I also pushed aside Another Brick in the Mall for Stardew Valley. It was a birthday present from my brother because I didn’t know how I would feel about it but it turned out to be a really addicting game. I don’t know how to explain it but I really enjoy it. And when it was released for Nintendo Switch I was obsessed all over again. It’s one of those games that is perfect to have in a portable format like Animal Crossing.
After a super exciting month of June, I feel like July was a lot calmer. I was enjoying the last few weeks of summer before I started work placement. Starting work was something else I was nervous about because I was super worried I would have no idea what I was doing but again, not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I feel like I don’t have to say too much about my work placement because I have already made a blog post about starting work, so if you are interested in that you can check it out here.
I need to do an updated blog post about work placement because I am now halfway through. It’s weird to think I have been working for that long but I feel like once you settle into a routine it’s not so bad. Plus, I was able to settle into work and not feel like a total idiot in a couple of weeks. Plus it helped that I was starting with a group of placements rather than being thrown in by myself like other workplaces. So I am thankful I was around with people who could relate.
August was a crazy month as I settled into work and tried to keep up with making time to see all of my friends who were back for summer break before they went to university again. I was probably the busiest in August than I had been in a long time. Because not only was I working 9-5 but then I was also immediately going out to meet my friends. It was kind of crazy but I was also grateful to be kept so busy.
One of the most memorable things in August was going to see Bianca Del Rio and Charlie Hides at Belfast Pride. I didn’t get ready in time to really see the parade but my friends and I got tickets to see Bianca and Charlie and I couldn’t wait.

Meeting Charlie and Bianca!

This was the second time I would be seeing Bianca perform because I had seen her earlier in February while she was on her comedy tour. But I love seeing Bianca perform. She was the first Drag Queen that I ever got to meet and see in person. And now anytime she comes to Belfast I feel like I have to see her.
And on top of that, pride was the second time that I got to be on stage with her! I had another opportunity to lipsync for my life and this time I was more than ready for my moment. It was so much fun and I loved it. And as always it was great to see Bianca again.
Aside from Bianca, I also got see Charlie Hides perform and she was great too. I was a fan of her on Drag Race but she was put out of the competition for her lack of lipsync performance. Luckily she more than makes up for it live and in person.
As well as Charlie there were also local drag queens who performed and they were amazing too. I can’t really describe how it feels to be at a drag show. It’s just not like anything else I have ever experienced – they are just so much fun and I highly recommend them.
Another big thing in August was that it was time for me and my flatmates to move out of our university flat. One of my flatmates moved out early because he was going abroad for the year so we had a temporary replacement flatmate for a month. The moving out process was kind of crazy – especially because we left it so late. We didn’t intend to leave it until the weekend we had to be out of the flat – we had just been so busy with work and trying to house hunt for a new place to live.
Luckily we were able to have the place spotless and had our stuff moved in one day. We didn’t live in a big house so there wasn’t that much to clean, but because it was the first place we had ever rented we didn’t want the Landlord to have any reason to deduct money from our deposit. But luckily we got it all back.
I really liked living in our flat, I was unsure about it moving in but it actually turned out to be super cosy. And as for it being the first time I was living away from home I thought it went really well. I lived with great people and it was always warm. And I consider that to be a good uni flat, and if our third flatmate hadn’t have been going abroad this year we totally would have stayed in the same place.

Our flat keys

But for our second house, my remaining flatmate and I decided to find a place closer to where we are working. So far this house has been nice, I don’t really have any complaints although we did have some heating trouble when we moved in. And so I finally got to experience what an actual student house was like because it was so cold, but we have the heating sorted now. Well, we did until we ran out of oil a few weeks ago but it’s all sorted now haha.
I definitely prefer gas heating because it’s so much easier to top off and a lot cheaper than oil. So hopefully when we go for our third and final university house we can get somewhere that’s got oil heating.
Then we move on to September, which was a pretty calm month. Though I do remember that this was the first month I really got to enjoy having a paycheck as a splurged and got myself a Nintendo Switch. I think it was a perfect purchase for me. I mean, I’m not really a console kind of gamer in terms of PlayStation or Xbox but Nintendo always seems to do it for me.
And like I said earlier, they brought out Stardew Valley for the Switch and that made the console worth it entirely. I am excited to see what other games they bring out for the Switch because I am enjoying playing it. Whether that’s battling it out with siblings in Mario Kart, or trying to teach my family how to play Overcooked – it’s just a great console.
Plus, I always thought I would only play it in handheld mode, but I have been enjoying TV mode too. I mean honestly, this is the console dreams are made of. And I’m so excited for them to bring Animal Crossing to the Switch because I need that in my life.
From what I can tell October was also a pretty calm month – towards the end of the year I guess things start to wind down and everyone is working hard at uni so I didn’t really get to see them. Of course, I was still working but there’s not too much to report on that.
One thing that definitely perked me up in October was the fact they announced an Animal Crossing mobile game. This was the first new Animal Crossing game to be released in years and I was more than ready for it. I just got so excited starting to think of what it would be like. I won’t say too much about it here but I did happen to make a blog post and a video about it if you are interested in knowing my first thoughts on the game.
Obviously, when the game was released in November it completely took over my life. And with the screen recording tool on iPhone, I have been capturing gameplay non-stop. It’s all so cute and I love it and it gets me excited for the Nintendo Switch game and what it could be. So yes, there’s that.
Animal Crossing wasn’t the only thing that made November exciting though. I also got my very first tattoo in November. I have thought about getting a tattoo for years, and I finally decided to bite the bullet and book my tattoo. I always wondered what kind of tattoo I would get too, and one night when I was searching I found the perfect thing.

My tattoo!

To most people, it probably looks like nothing, but to me, it means so much. It represents Animal Crossing (surprise, surprise). But I thought it was super cute and also a perfect first tattoo because Animal Crossing has been a huge part of my life. From getting my first Animal Crossing game for the DS to making online friends in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It is my childhood and I still love it today. And I know it’ll be a part of my future.
I also think I did well on the tattoo placement, it didn’t hurt that much and it was also a good place in terms of hiding it if I need to, but also showing it off. And it was also really great when it came to cleaning it and keeping it moisturised. Once I started getting into the routine of washing and moisturising it I started wondering how people cared for the tattoos they couldn’t reach or see, but I guess that’s why you have family/friends haha. But the tattoo has healed now and I couldn’t be happier with it. Sometimes I forget about it or catch it in the mirror and I still can’t believe I have it.
Another super exciting thing for me in November was that I got to see Steps in concert. They were my favourite band when I was younger and I was never able to go to one of their concerts. And when I grew up and found out the band had broken up I was heartbroken, but luckily for me, they reunited for their 20th anniversary in 2017.
My sisters always promised they would take me to a concert and they came through with this one as we all went as a big group. I loved every second of it. It was my childhood dream come true. Words can’t even explain how I feel about it. It was just an amazing night, I sang my heart out and danced the whole time. Such an amazing experience.

My Steps ticket

Also in November, I became obsessed with the musical Hamilton. I have never been a musical person before but my boyfriend recommended it to me and I really love it. And not only that, but I was able to get tickets to see Hamilton on the West End for my boyfriend’s birthday. So I am super excited about that. It’s only a couple of weeks away now and it’s so crazy. It’ll be my first West End show, and I know it’s not going to disappoint.
December was mostly a calm month for me, work was winding down and I was thinking about Christmas. I also considered doing Vlogmas this year, as I have done Vlogmas every other year I have been doing YouTube but this year I was mostly working so I wasn’t doing anything worth vlogging. Although I did my best to be more active on YouTube because in between the time of finishing uni and starting work I had slacked on videos.
I also got to go to see the Christmas Queens in December. It was the first time I was going to see a drag queen stage show and not just a club performance. I was super excited but also super nervous because I was once again, going alone. I was mainly worried about what I was going to do at the meet and greet because I would have no one to talk to and I had no idea what I was going to say to the drag queens when I met them.
But I am so glad I decided to go because it was so much fun. Even though I had some awkward moments on my own when waiting in line and sitting by myself at the show, it didn’t matter too much because I was enjoying myself.
The show itself was incredible, most of the queens sung live and are amazing performers. 100% worth the money and also it was amazing to be able to meet all the drag queens too. I knew all of them from RuPaul’s Drag Race and to meet them in person was so crazy. They were all so lovely and wonderful and I wish I was able to say more to them when I was with them but I think I was so starstruck I couldn’t say anything. But I still loved it.
I also vlogged a little bit when I was there so if you want to see some of the performance and know more about how the meet and greet was, you can check it out here.

The Christmas Queens!

Aside from the drag queen excitement, the rest of December was pretty calm. I spent Christmas with my family and friends and it was really nice and chill. It was a well-deserved break from work too and I was able to catch up on all my sleep haha.
And I guess that wraps up a pretty amazing year. Honestly, when I started this I had no idea what it was going to turn out like. I had really forgotten a lot of the things I have done this year, and being able to reminisce about everything in this blog post has been great. It really makes me appreciate what a good year I had and all the amazing people I spent it with and all the things I’ve experienced.
As the new year begins I can only hope that it’s going to be as amazing as 2017. And as always I hope to share my year with you throughout social media. I’m hoping that I vlog more in 2018 because I love looking back at vlogs and seeing all the fun times I had, I guess that’s also why I take so many pictures.
Anyway, that was my year. Kind of crazy and all over the place but at the same time things seemed to all flow well for me. Like I said I can only hope my 2018 is as good as my 2017 if not better. I guess we see what happens. But I’m looking forward to it, and I can’t wait to share it with you guys in a similar post next year! 🙂
~ Courtney x

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