I can’t believe my last update was in June last year! Then again, it doesn’t feel like that long ago…
Here are the highlights from last year:
- My parents came to live with us in London for 6 weeks, which was fantastic having them around. I spent a lot of indulgent time traveling around Europe with them and balancing this with the odd project and freelancing here and there.
- I found myself doing some work for English Heritage’s digital team. Though it wasn’t code related, it was really interesting and actually well paid, which was awesome!
- Lost Robots, what I called my freelancing business last year, did as well as I had hoped financially, though I found myself actually not doing a ton of code, which I’m ok with. I did a really scary and professional pitch for the Church of England with a designer friend of mine, Bill Roberts, and even though we didn’t get it, it was a really incredible experience preparing the whole pitch and actually sitting there and doing it and we got really positive feedback!
- I did a talk up in Cambridge about ways to get into tech for Careers Services, which was awesome to head back to Cambridge as an alumni and talk about what I’m doing now to potential future techies!
- I also found myself doing much more teaching than I had anticipated. I was a teaching assistant on three of GA’s Front End Web Development (FEWD) courses (10 week courses), which had allowed me to focus on other people’s awesome coding projects and learning and improve my own teaching experience.
- Thanks to the lovely Paul Connor, the FEWD course producer, I had the pleasure of Co-instructing a FEWD course with the wonderful Dan Hough, a new instructor to GA. This meant I actually got to plan and teach 3 full lessons myself, which was a lot of work and a ton of fun. Teaching has helped me understand coding so much better and it has also enabled me to (almost) completely overcome speaking in front of people.
- GA also very kindly asked me to join them in Dublin for Web Summit to give a workshop on Programming for Non-Programmers. I was pretty terrified to do this but it proved to be a really awesome and rewarding experience.
- Unfortunately, I got really sick the last day of the Summit and wound up having to be hospitalised and kept in Dublin overnight, which was a horrific experience. They kept me in a chair all night with no pain meds and it took 5 hours to see a doctor! Sam Hepburn, GA’s outcomes producer, was my absolute HERO and stayed with me (into the weekend!!) and looked after me and totally had my back. I was so grateful to GA for putting me up and to Sam for going so much out of her way and basically saving my life.
- Off the back of the Dublin workshop, I’ve also carried on doing an Hour of Code workshop for GA, which is really fun trying to get people to write code, often for the very first time, and build a site in HTML and CSS in under an hour!
- Last but not least, while doing FEWD at GA I met Tom Lane, a designer and all around awesome dude, who was working towards starting his own creative agency for good natured people. I offered to get involved and build his website for free, and we embarked on a new little adventure that took a pretty awesome turn!
At the end of the year, Stu got poached from his job at Herbert Smith Freehills to move to a smaller, boutique IP firm, Powell Gilbert. As he wouldn’t be starting until the new year, we decided to use this opportunity to take a month off to spend in America over Christmas and into miserable January.
While we were away, we got to see friends and family, my grandparents, visit my sister and brother-in-law in Colorado, celebrate a good friend’s marriage in NY in December (Alex & Kayla Bracey – yayyy!!!), and most excitingly… we got engaged!!
This was a pretty awesome start to the new year. We then travelled from Colorado to Arizona to meet up with my parents, to Sedona, then the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas, where we stayed at the Bellagio!! We left my parents there and carried on together to Death Valley, Disneyland (for our 5 year anniversary!), Sequoia and finally LA, before returning to dreary, cold London!
So it was an unexpected and pretty fantastic year last year, and an equally epic start to the New Year!