What a crazy year. Not just for all the world events, but for all the events and experiences Emma and I subjected ourselves to.
We moved out of our flat in Haywards Heath in July and travelled all over the UK. This year we completed 9 housesits, looked after 14 dogs, 30 (or so) chickens, and a pair of guinea pigs.
I was considering covering the housesitting stuff in other posts, but it's been such an integral part of the year the post would be quite empty. If you like stories about dogs eating things they shouldn't, and dogs poo, including where those two particular topics intersect, stay tuned for other blog posts.
This year we stayed in Paris, Alp d'Huez, Manchester, Bristol, Bournemouth, York, Pickering, Partridge Green, Brighton, Bordeaux, Bergerac, Skye, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Shropshire, Ruthin, Sheffield, Cramlington, Maidstone, and Tybroughton.
That's a lot isn't it? Considering we only moved out in July. If we housesit across all over 2018, I think 20 locations is a good number to aim for.
I'm excited about continuing to house sit for at least another six months. We've learned a lot about various aspects of how to house sit so far, and I think we can do it a lot better with all this experience behind us. We already have a few exciting house sits confirmed for 2018.
We went skiing for the first time on Alp d'Huez. Learning skiing for the first time is exhausting. I think I spent more time knocking snow off my boots trying to put on the skiis after falling over than actually skiing. We hired a private instructor and it felt like it paid off. We were learning to parallel ski by the end of the week which seemed like good progress.
I've never had a finance-related section in an annual review, but I think it's worth a mention this year. In November 2016 I officially paid off all my credit card debt in full and haven't dipped back into it since. I've become an expert at living within my own financial means and I have to credit You Need a Budget for that. Without their philosophy on budgeting and a really well designed site and mobile app I wouldn't be in such a great position now. I would not hestitate to recommend it, here's a referral link.
I've started investing money here and there. I started using Nutmeg which is a simple managed investment portfolio service. The fees aren't huge, and it's worth the money over putting it into a high street bank cash ISAs, where you'll struggle to keep up with inflation. I like it.
I've also been investments chunks of money into companies I like. Notably Wild Beer Co, Brewdog, and Grind. All young, independent, British-owned businesses. I know Brewdog has it's fair share of critics but in my eyes they are still a business with a strong heart and principles.
I didn't invest in cryptocurrency, which is partly for moral reasons and partly because it was a huge faff.
2017 was a gooooood year for beer. I visited the Brewdog Brewery in Ellon. It was great fun! It was facinating to see how the brewery has grown so quickly, and to get a feel for the kind of company it is become.
I once again attended the Brighton Tap Takeover, this time with Mike and Laura. I love this event more than any other because it's so diverse, with so many locations and a good selection from a lot of breweries. My surprise hit this year was a lovely nitro milk stout by The White Hag. Completely unexpected!
We also visited the Beavertown Brewery for their fifth birthday, closely coinciding with my 30th.
We went to a Beer vs Wine Cheese pairing event. It was a great idea and a lot of fun!
We also went to IndyManBeerCon for the first time. Victoria Baths is a great venue, and it was a good event. I was a little dissapointed that the Deya beers quickly ran out in one day, the day before we went!
My 30th year is a good excuse to tick some things off I'd been meaning to do. I attended a stand up comedy workshop in Brighton, which simply ok.
I took a first-aid course, which was really good. Everyone else was their on their own dime and own time, so we were all very engaged and into it. I imagine it's different with the work-required courses. I learned a lot, which isn't surprising given my main source of first-aid knowledge had been Baywatch.
I jumped off a bridge in Scotland, bungee jumping is unlike anything else. It's like the most extreme rollercoaster ride you've ever been on, with no sensation of being strapped in or held in place. I have a video, which I've not yet uploaded.
Let's see, at the end of last year, I was lamenting six months of very hard work starting up Convivio and keeping our heads above water.
The next 12 months was progress. Still tough, but progress. We're fianancially stable, no longer looking over our shoulder or at the bank balance wondering if we could continue to pay salaries.
We have one big long-term client, and I worked on a really cool project with the CPS. The next step in 2018 is to get one more and begin to grow. Exciting!