A lot of people I follow on Twitter have put together year in review blog posts for a while now and I've been meaning to write one myself. The time has finally arrived (despite it being a few days late)!
January to April
The first few months of the 2019 were fairly quiet so I won't dwell on them too much. As per the end of 2018, I continued to work on lots of exciting client projects at ubisend. There were a number of side projects that I started work on with the best intentions but never managed to get fully into. These still sit very dormant on my laptop.
In May, I had the chance to celebrate my Mum's wedding. It was the first chance that my girlfriend had to meet my wider family and it was lovely to see how well everyone got on. It was great to see lots of happy faces and in a very un-British way, we even had sunshine!
June played host to our annual ubisend developer trip to Laravel Live, a conference in London for Laravel developers. Held over two days, I had the opportunity to meet lots of new people and pick up on plenty of both quick tips and knowledge on more in depth topics. As a bonus, my boss was giving a talk so it was good to support him too.
I finally got a proper holiday in July. Me and my girlfriend headed off to the South of France for a few days, visiting Nice and Monaco. It was lovely to get away from reality for a little while and gave my brain a chance to reset after what felt like a whirlwind first half of the year. In addition to this, we enjoyed a weekend in London in December to celebrate our 1 year anniversary.
I really enjoyed taking loads of pictures on these trips and I'm going to get them up on this site soon!
It all happened in August
August was a huge month for me both personally and professionally. At work, I switched to the other side of the business. This came with new responsibility for developing a new software-as-a-service product in a solo team. On the personal side, this coincided with moving in with my girlfriend in Ipswich (the office is in Norwich, around 90 mins away).
The intention was to primarily work remotely with occasional trips into the office to touch base. Over time, I found that this particular scenario wasn't ticking all the boxes for me and I ended up spending more time in Norwich than I was in Ipswich when the end of the year got here. This has put pressure on me mentally, physically and financially and I'm still trying to work out the best solution.
One of the proudest parts of 2019 for me was getting the opportunity to speak and run sessions at a variety of events. I applied to speak at Laravel Live but unfortunately didn't get chosen. Later in the year however, I was given the opportunity to speak at the following:
Ormiston Victory Academy
A local school reached out to ubisend for someone to come and speak to their Year 12 Computer Science students about what the industry is really like, highlighting the variety of routes in as well as the vast number of roles that an interest in computing could lead to. This is something I'd like to do more of next year as it's something that I would've really valued when I was at that stage of my education.
Throughout the year, I was involved with the planning of the chatbot section of the UEA Moneyhack programme. This culminated in the delivery of a session (in conjunction with Dean, ubisend's CEO and various UEA staff) to teach young people all about how chatbots can be used by businesses both in the conventional and unconventional ways. It also included a section on how they can build their own!
Tech and Toast
This opportunity came about as a bit of a surprise. I attended a Tech and Toast event in Ipswich, hosted by TechEast at the IJYI offices. I got speaking to the organiser of the event and it resulted in me hosting a Tech and Toast later in the year at the ubisend offices, giving a talk on a project between us, Archant and Google. You can see the talk here. Apologies for the poor audio!
Rounding out the year
After Christmas, I took the plunge and bought myself some new camera kit to allow myself to get back into photography. I got a great deal on an ex-demo Fuji X-T2 which is a camera I've always had my eye on. I've taken it out on a few trips since buying it and I'm absolutely loving it ❤️
What's to come in 2020?
2020 hasn't exactly started in the best way possible for me. I had an epileptic seizure on New Year's Day and ended up spending most of the day in the hospital. As some of you may know, the rules around driving after a seizure are pretty black and white and I've had to surrender my driving licence for the next 12 months. This makes the whole working in Norwich and living in Ipswich a lot more difficult and I need to have a good think about how to make the situation work for me.
I'm fortunate enough to have lots of good people around me and have no doubt that I'll get through the next 12 months a mentally stronger (and probably physically fitter) person.
On a more positive note, I want 2020 to have lots more of the good parts of 2019. During 2019, I experimented a lot more with cooking - especially Indian food - I really want to keep this up. My ability to eat anything and not put on weight seems to have finally ended so I need to get into the habit of looking after myself physically also. Finally, with the purchase of the new camera, I want to make time to get out and about and be a bit more creative away from the screen - even if it will be more challenging without being able to drive myself.
2020 is going to be a challenge for sure, but I'm excited to see how it all pans out.