2019: Year in Review

I'm starting to think about what my goals for next year but before moving my mind onto 2020 I wanted to reflect on the previous year.

I'm starting to think about what my goals for next year but before moving my mind onto 2020 I wanted to reflect on the previous year. 2019 has been an extremely busy for me and a rollercoaster of emotions at both extremes of the happiness to depressed scale.

Snowboarding is awesome

2019 has been a rollercoaster it started off really well, I went snowboarding in Borovets with a group of friends and it turned out to be the best type of holiday I've ever been on and I can't wait to go snowboard again. However, nothing could have prepared me for what happened when I returned.

Losing my mum to cancer

March through May was quite possibly the worst few months of my life, my mum was diagnosed with cancer and sadly it was at a stage were nothing could be done besides make my mum as comfortable as possible in her last few months. It was completely unexpected and no one saw it coming, the cancer was extremely aggressive and my mums decline was extremely quick and brutal. I don't want to go into it too much in this post but the one thing I will say is that cancer is anything but the adverts you see on TV it really is a cruel and heartless disease and I wouldn't want my worst enemy to experience a loved one be taken by it.

My mum passed away at the beginning of May and I was in a really bad place, I wanted to just quit everything and stay in bed and not do anything. I knew that giving up on life wasn't an option if not for me but for my family, I have seen what depression can do to families and wanted to take action quickly. I went to the doctors who prescribed anti-depressants, I wasn't mad keen on the idea of taking them but agreed it was the best thing for me at the time.

I got married!

Around the end of February my girlfriend and I booked our wedding, the venue offered us a deal if we got married the same year so we took it. Planning and paying for a wedding added a huge amount of stress for both me and my girlfriend but I'm glad we did it.

After months of planning and saving every penny we had on the 26th October me and my now wife got married! This was one of the happiest days of my life only coming after the birth of my two daughters. It was a great day and I feel everyone had a really great time, I just wish my mum had been there to see it. After the wedding me, my wife and our children went to wales for the week, I got ill for the first to days but overall it was nice to just chill out and spend some time together.

Signed up for IronMan

Shortly after my mum passed away (around July) I decided I needed a challenge to focus on so, I signed up for IronMan. In hindsight this was probably a bit rash as I've never done any form of triathlon before and probably would of been better off with something less extreme but I'm still committed to the challenge, in for a penny in for a pound as they say 😅

The training for the first two months was going really well and it really did help lift my mood. In the third month of my training I started experiencing pain in my knees and decided it was because I'd done too much too soon so I decided to take a month off of training to recover as I really didn't want to cause long-term damage to my knees, plus it was the month of my wedding so the break fit in well with that.

As I write we are currently at the beginning of November 19 and the training for IronMan is going to become one of the main focuses for the rest of the year.

Side projects


Fixmy.dev is an online platform for connecting developer to other developers who can help them fix issues. Kind of like stackoverflow but where the person giving the answer would actually fix the problem. This is an MVP and something that I wanted to put together quickly to see how fast I could get something out there.

Unnamed React project

I had an idea for a side project and took it to my boss who agreed to finance some of the design work. The main priority behind this project was to practice my react/node skills and get better at creating a digital product from scratch. I'm really enjoying working on this project and I'm aiming to have the first launch by the end of Q1 2020. As I've received investment for this project and the details of ownership etc haven't been finalised I don't want to mention the name publicly yet as I'm not sure where things stand in relation to that.

Books Read in 2019

Looking back at the books that I've read over the year is quite interesting for me. I think it shows how sporadic my mind has been at times and also the lack of books related to my career. After what happened with my mum I was having a moment where I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue a career in web development and spent time looking into other potential career paths such as construction (I built a wall in my garden and decided it wasn't for me) and dog training. It's always good to have certainty in your mind, so I'm glad that I took that time away to know that I definitely do want to continue my career as a developer. Anyway, here is the full list of books I read and books I read but didn't complete in 2019:

Books I finished

  • Tech
    • The Software Craftsman - Sandro Mancuso
  • Personal Development
    • What doesn't kill us - Scott Carne
    • Superhuman by habit - Tynan
    • Quiet - Susan Cain
    • Decisive - Chip Heath, Dan Heath
    • Peak - Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool
  • Dog Training
    • K9 Behaviour Basics - Resi Gerritsen, Ruud Haak, Simon Prins
  • Personal Finance
    • How to Own The World - Andrew Craig
  • Writing
    • On Writing Well - William Zinsser

Books Started but not finished in 2019

  • Tech
    • But How do it know - J. Clark Scott (50%)
  • Personal Development
    • Nudge - Richards H. Thaler (41%)
  • Dog Training
    • Total Recall - Pippa Mattinson (50%)
  • Fitness
    • Be Iron Fit - Don Fink, Melanie Fink (63%)
    • Swim Smooth - Paul Newsome, Adam Young (28%)
  • Finance
    • The Ascent of Money - Niall Ferguson (48%)
  • Misc
    • Brickwork & Bricklaying - Jon Collinson (54%)

Looking forward to 2020

Now as I'm writing this we're on the lead up to the Christmas holidays and I'm looking forward to closing the book on 2019 and curious about what 2020 will bring. My main focuses for the year are going to be:


I really want to push my career development in 2020, for a long time I've wanted to create digital products rather than create websites as a service and that is going to be my main focus throughout the next year. I'm planning on documenting this process so a sub focus of this is to work on writing and publishing more content.

Health and Fitness

As mentioned, earlier this year I signed up for IronMan so I'm going to be focusing a lot on preparing my body for that. This means I'm going to be spending a lot of time running, swimming and biking but also working to understand nutrition better as well as improving my time management skills.


We moved into our new house in the back end of 2018 and although we've worked on the house considerably since moving in it still isn't really a 'home' so over the course of the next year myself and my wife (it still feels weird writing wife) are going to be focusing on making our house a home that is a nice place for our children to grow up.

Here's to 2020!

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