Posts Tagged ‘year in review’

2020 in review

Friday, January 1st, 2021 | Life

Ironically, January, when the world was relatively normal, was a quiet month. At least Planet Ice finally opened after years or delays.

In February I braved Storm Ciara to complete my British Triathlon strength and conditioning coaching training and the 49ers almost won Super Bowl LIV. I completed my macronutrition course with Wageningen.

Lockdown came into force in March putting an end to spin class, Leeds Dock social run and pilates. Worse, my three-swims-per-week was finally paying off and I was up to 3km continuous front crawl when the pools closed. There were some highlights, though. We had a good time at Michelle’s comedy gig, I spoke at Leeds Front End and I launched my web accessibility course.

I launched my Google Tag Manager course in April and we held a virtual Sunday Assembly Leeds. With lockdown in full flow, Ironman launched their virtual events and I set an unofficial PB of 21:06 at Woodhouse Moor parkrun.

I did a lot of running during May as I started the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, the virtual Hadrian’s Wall ultra and the EveryMayDay 10k challenge. Not bad for a month in which I would have joined the 250 club at parkrun. Unfortunately I also registered my first duathlon DNF when my rear derailleur broke during Ironman VR9. I was busy learning, completing courses on nutrition with Wageningen and Stanford as well as one on sport science and another on physiology. I was busy publishing, too, with courses on CSS Grid, Stripe and Nutrition as well as publishing a book.

It was another month of running in June, completing the virtual Grand Canyon ultra and my first 24-hour race, completing 86.44 km at Endure24. I also launched my Doctrine course.

I finally took a break from running in July when I finished the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. 1,022 km covered in 69 days, averaging 14.81 km per day. It’s a good job because Garmin had a 5-day outage that they never apologised for. I launched courses on Slim, Fear of Driving and Mindfulness for Sleep and started publishing strength and conditioning workouts on YouTube.

I had one thing on my mind during August and that was completing my second full distance triathlon. Which I did with the self-supported Woolenman. Not the week in Copenhagen we were hoping for, but a great race anyway. I also did my first organised event, the Evolve Quarter. I launched three new courses on Symfony, Heroku for Node.js and teaching mindfulness, as well as completing a physiology with Duke. Worfolk Media posted its first profitable year. In my spare time, I started reading Agatha Christie. The Tour de Frace became the first Grand Tour of the year, with the Giro delayed and the Tour de Yorkshire cancelled. Despite the challenges, Kieran & Shweta successfully tied the knot.

In September we headed to the Lake District for a short family holiday and so I could complete EpicMan Windermere. Which was a great race except for my Nike Vaporflys ripping. My family completed their first open water triathlon and I launched the Mindfulness for Anxiety app.

October is birthdays month for myself and Venla who turned 4. I completed my one and only sportive of the year at Daffodils and we finished our family challenge of LEJOG. I expanded my coaching to include the run club side of Hyde Park Harriers and published my course on CBT for Social Anxiety. Elina started a new job and completed her ATT Level 2 accountancy qualification.

I completed my yoga teacher training in November and started teaching a weekly class with the triathlon club. Anxiety Leeds began an online trial and we opened a second branch of the Leeds Anxiety Clinic in Islington. I launched a course on SASS and we reunited with some old friends for some regular Zoom socials. Elina naturalised as a British citizen.

Finally, in December, we got some much welcome news when the UK approved the first COVID vaccine. I reached 1,000 miles of running in 2020 and used my recovery time to watch lots of The Good Place and even expanded my film choices. My Running For Beginners Facebook group reached 3,000 members (having started the year with only 100!) and I completed the Alps to Ocean ultra. Online Mindfulness School opened its doors.

2019 in review

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020 | Life

Much like in 2018, I started January 2019 with a running injury. Luckily, Dr Venla was on hand to help. I did some bike maintenance courses at Evans and Leeds Bike Mill and started commuting by bike. Worfolk Anxiety launched several new languages.

In February, Super Bowl LIII became the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history as Brady-Belichick set new heights with a record sixth win. The fourth version of the Rauma framework was released and Hyde Park Harriers triathlon launched their spin class.

We paid a long-awaited visit to the Kitty Cafe in March for Elina’s birthday. Then raced the LBT duathlon.

Finally, in April, race season arrived. There was another LBT duathlon and Skipton triathlon. I launched three new courses: one on public speaking, one on social psychology, and one on Facebook ads. I also spoke for Leeds Anxiety Clinic at the town hall, entitled “How to be incredibly productive, even when you have anxiety”.

I did a lot of cycling in May, including my first 100-mile ride and completing the Tour de Yorkshire long route with Bogdan. I raced Tadcaster triathlon, Driffield triathlon, and the open water swim season started. At home, we had Mexican month. Netherlands triumped in Eurovision and Finland took their third ice hockey world championship. We saw Mark Knopfler in Leeds Arena and relaunched Sunday Assembly Leeds.

I had one mission in June: to complete my first long-distance triathlon. And I did! 14:35:12. I also went sub-three hours at World Triathlon Leeds and completed my second 100-mile ride at The Flat 100. Meanwhile, everyone was arguing when Eid was. Did I mention I became an Ironman?!?

England was on top of the world in July, winning the cricket world cup. I completed Allerthorpe sprint triathlon, Castle Howard triathlon, and Redcar triathlon. My dad completed his first Go Tri and I finally got my masters graduation ceremony. For most of the month, I will still pretty sore from doing my ironman, to be honest.

In August I ran my second ultramarathon (and made a film about it!). I also completed the Alltherope Classic triathlon, Coalville triathlon, and Sundowner sprint triathlon. I launched a new course, Mindfulness for Productivity and the Resilient website.

We took a long-awaited group holiday to Weymouth in September (the first since Anglesey three years ago) and I also used the opportunity to complete IRONMAN 70.3 Weymouth. I also completed Nidderdale triathlon and Evolve sprint triathlon. Jimbob paid us a visit from America. I launched two new courses: Feel-good Productivity and Mindfulness & Visualisation for Athletes. The triathlon season finally ended with the Evolve mixed team relay and the cycling world championships came to Harrogate.

It was marathon month in October with Eliud Kipchoge running the first sub-two-hour marathon and Brigid Kosgei setting a new women’s world record in Boston. Her time of 2:14:04 beat Paula Radcliffe’s record that had stood for 16 years. Venla celebrated her third birthday and my dad completed his first sprint triathlon in Goole.

In November I completed my Britis Triathlon coaching certification and completed my level two counselling qualification. I set a new 10k personal best at the Abbey Dash and finally made a breakthrough with my front crawl. I launched my biggest course ever: Sport Psychology for Triathletes.

Finally, in December, I reached my first yogaversary while the 49ers continued their long-overdue winning streak. There was an election, it was Christmas and we finished off the year by completing our third Festive Fifty cycling event in a row.

2018 in review

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 | Life

I started January with a poorly ankle, so, I did what any sensible person would do and bought new running shoes. We welcomed in the new year, enjoyed some blood pancakes, and I went through my first set of exams for my MSc. Worfolk Limited launched our first wearables app.

There were duathlons a plenty in February, with races in Middleton and Bramley Baths. I set a PB at Parkrun #143. Nick turned 40 and Auntie Doreen turned 90. The Eagles beat The Patrics in Superbowl LII and we watched the Winter Olympics from Korea.

I launched two online courses in March: one on Heroku and one on sport psychology. To celebrate Elina turning 30 we went to Flamingo Land, where it turned out we were the only people there. Mostly due to the Beast from the East. We dined at the Star Inn, too. The world said goodbye to Stephen Hawking. I raced the Canal Canter half marathon and York-Leeds-York sportive.

There was plenty of sport going on in April, too. I set a new PB at Parkrun #148 and attended the first ever Middleton Woods Parkrun. I raced the Bramley Baths triathlon (this time outside) and did my first sprint distance race at Skipton. Venla was firmly up-and-running by this point, too.

I spent a lot of May cycling, completing the Up North Yorkshire sportive and the Tour de Yorkshire. We even had chance to watch the pros finish. Chris Froome won a spectacular Giro d’Italia to become only the third man ever to hold all three grand tour titles simultaneously. I went sub-23 for the first time at Parkrun #153. completed my first my first open water triathlon, the Evolve sprint, and my first standard distance at Wetherby. Tesco caved in to my campaign to remove best before dates and I began recruiting for my dissertation.

It was a sport-heavy month in June, too. I rode 106 km in the Flat n Fast 100, and completed the Evolve Quarter and World Series Leeds triathlons. I ran Rothwell Parkrun for the first time. We finished our much-enjoyed Chinese month and our friends Chris & Cara tied the knot. I launched two new courses: Running For Beginners and Digital Marketing for Restaurants.

The big news in July was Leeds Anxiety Clinic opening its doors. We took Venla to Finland for the first time, to attend Henry & Jonna’s wedding. Back home, the Humanist summer socials kicked off and we had the annual Finnish picnic. Geraint Thomas won the Tour de France and football almost came home as England made to the semi-final of the World Cup, even winning a penalty shoot-out. I completed the Allerthorpe sprint triathlon.

Worfolk Anxiety launched its #ThisIsNormalLife campaign in August. There was Pride Parkrun and Allerthorpe Classic triathlon. I began marathon training in earnest. New research suggested alcohol may be bad for you after all and Facebook banned blogging. I launched another two courses: Triathlon For Beginners and Resilient Running.

If you’re sick of hearing about triathlon, you might want to skip September. I completed my first middle distance race and finished the year off with Nidderdale sprint. I set a new PB at Parkrun #169 and completed a full-distance marathon training run. And, after 21 months of waiting, my Parkrun 100 t-shirt finally arrived. Vicky Holland became triathlon world champion, Simon Yates won the Vuelta a España and Eliud Kipchoge set a new marathon world record in Berlin. Michelle moved back to Leeds. Most importantly of all, I finally turned in my dissertation.

There was no triathlon in October, apart from the Ironman world championship. There was lots of running, though. I ran Armley Parkrun for the first time and set a new half marathon training PB. I completed the Yorkshire Marathon in under four hours and, two weeks later, completed the Hubble Hubble ultramaraton. I had a birthday and so did Venla.

By November I was ready for a break. So, aside from completing the Abbey Dash with my family and trying out the new Potternewton Parkrun, I took it easy. There was plenty of work going on, anyway: Leeds Anxiety Clinic held its first public talk, I launched my first cycling app and a brand new course, Mental Health Ambassador training. The best news of the month, though, was learning that I had earned a distinction in my MSc.

Finally, in December, I launched one more new course: Digital Marketing for Therapists. There was plenty of family time as my sister turned 30 and we celebrated Christmas. This year’s ham was a family record of 8.67 kg. Temple Newsam held its 300th Parkrun and I rounded out the year by riding the Festive Fifty with Bogdan.

2017 in review

Saturday, January 6th, 2018 | Life

In, January I set out to make 2017 my year of marketing. Have I learnt it? Well, I’ve definitely learnt a lot. But there is always more to know. January was also “book launch” month. I released Why Restaurants Fail and How to Exit VIM, which, despite both being short books, would turn out to be my most popular. Our friends Craig & Zoe welcomed Holly into the world.

Valentine’s Day is tricky when you have a baby, so February was not all it could have been. As if it wasn’t already bad enough that I had had to trade down my guitar amp. The Patriots won the Super Bowl and I launched a new version of my website.

The excitement of our domestic lives increased significantly in March when we bought a stick blender. It proved very useful for Malaysian month. In business, I launched the IT Career Acceleration course and launched the WAM online store, built with Stripe and React. Venla had her naming ceremony.

I published yet another book in April. This time it was the Human Baby Cookbook. I also discovered that costermonger is a real thing and made it to the Division E final in the public speaking world championships. In business, I launched one of my courses on Udemy. Most of my time, though, was taken up running my 30-Day Anxiety Challenge for WAM subscribers.

Everyone knows that May is all about Eurovision. Portugal won for the first time. We discovered chanterelles in Pateley Bridge and said goodbye to Ho’s Chinese. On the back of my 30-Day Challenge, I launched my 4th book of 2017, Do More, Worry Less. And knocked a respectable 24 minutes off my half marathon time. Anxiety Leeds pitched at Leeds SOUP.

In June, Venla had her first trip to the beach and started learning the xylophone. We celebated Kerny’s first birthday and had a changing of the guard at West Yorkshire Humanists as Moz stepped down as chair and we celebrated 50 years of the group’s existence. Food was tasty but small due to canape month. I wrote half a million words in one week (according to Grammarly).

It was a good foodie month in July with hand-rolled truffles and MasterChef-inspired dishes. We attended the annual Finnish picnic and celebated Higgs Day. I ran an okay-ish time in the Leeds 10k and launched my Mindfulness for Anxiety course.

Things got technical in August, with a focus on accessibility and mobile-first navigation. We celebrated Leeds Pride and Anxiety Leeds published its first impact report. It was also a month crammed with sport: inspired by the Tour de France we got on bikes for the first time in decades. We went swimming. And I traded in my Air Retaliation 2s for new trainers and brought my Parkrun PB down to 25:06. We celebated Gran’s 90th birthday and Finland turning 100. Riitta came to visit and Hugh and Anna got married.

In September I helped the NHS launch their new homepage before heading back to university. We bought bikes and went to City Ride and ran the Kirkstall Abbey 7. I made a very early exit in the Toastmasters speech contest.

Richard Thaler collected a long-overdue Nobel prize in October. We celebated our second wedding anniversary and Venla’s first birthday. I also celebrated my birthday, just after squeezing in last year’s birthday present. I ran the Yorkshire 10 Mile in under 90 minutes and moved my Parkrun PB down to 24:37.

I declared that November would be a month of action for my business and it was. I published two books: a book version of the IT Contracting Master Class course and Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy. I published my course Mindfulness for Social Anxiety and made Running For Anxiety available to the public. I went to my first business networking event, WapenTalkie. Outside of work, I went sub-50 in the Abbey Dash, completed my first duathlon (and my second and continued training on the bike.

Finally, in December we celebrated the festive season. It wasn’t quite a white Christmas, but it did snow. Venla mastered the art of standing up and climbing and we celebrated Finland’s independence day. Elina became an auntie for the second time. We held the 8th annual Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters. I placed 9th in the Braham pie-athalon: a dualthon where you had to scoff a mince pie at each transition, and completed my first sportive.

2016 in review

Sunday, January 1st, 2017 | Life

Things started strong in January. I finished reading all the books while Finland junior team won the ice hockey world championship. We had fish month and the Humanist Action Group organised a food drive for local homeless shelters. James said goodbye to us and hello to South Korea.

In February we launched the print edition of the Leeds Restaurant Guide while Denver bested Carolina in Super Bowl 50. We rocked out at Sunday Assembly and I took the middle class plunge and bought a stand mixer.

We had a family get-together for Mother’s Day in March. I went fishing for the first time and was cruely cheated in the Sky bake-off. I received my Advanced Communicator Silver award from Toastmasters, but failed to win the Yorkshire final for the first time ever. We had Nordic month and went duck racing.

After three months if waiting, we finally announced that Elina was pregnant: on April Fool’s Day. The wait almost killed me but was completely worth it. A great way to start April. I completed my first 20k run and my novel was published.

May started off cold. It was mostly less than 10 degrees. Except for the day of the Leeds Half Marathon, when it went up to 25. At least it was warm enough to barbeque. Elina had her 20-week scan and I launched a new version of my website. Democracy won in Wales, where the Loony Party achived a record 0.6% of the Welsh Assembly vote, and was defeated when the government announced it was not interested in respecting the will of the people. Ukraine triumphed in Eurovision and Leciester were crowned the unlikely champions of the Premier League. Finland went into the world ice hockey final unbeaten, only to cruelly lose 1-0 to Canada.

We had our honeymoon in June, flying to Iceland in style, relaxing in the Blue Lagoon and taking in the sights of Gullfuss, Geysir, Snæfellsnes, whales and of course the Icelandic Phallological Museum. I came home sun burnt. It was a sad month for politics: Brexit happened and Jo Cox was murdered. West Yorkshire Humanists held their AGM, announcing a big increase in membership, and we once again rocked out at Sunday Assembly Leeds. I released the Word Search PHP library and completed the Leeds 10k, going sub-60 for the first time with a result of 59:59. England crashed out of Euro 2016 in a miserable fashion.

I had finally managed to lose some weight by the time July came around. We packed out bags and headed to Anglesey for our annual group trip. Michelle flew in from China to attend. More music was made at Sunday Assembly. It was picnic month: both the Finnish picnic and the Humanist picnic took place.

In August Team GB crushed it at the Rio Olympics, finishing second in the medals table. Tradgy stuck as my grandma passed away just two months before her fist great grandchild was due to arrive. We celebrated Leeds Pride and launched Rena Men. I helped Sky Sports go live with their new Premier League clips system.

It was still warm enough to eat outside in September. I finally cracked the secrets to making a good pizza and we had sauce month. Anxiety Leeds held a picnic. Yarndale look place and Jeremy Coryn won a second Labour leadership election.

October was dominated by the arrival of Baby Worfolk, who later turned out to be called Venla. We drank champagne and smoked chocolate cigars. Venla spent the month laying around and looking cute. The Leeds Restaurant Guide was made available on iBooks as was my novel, Summer on the Horizon. Elina and I celebrated our first anniversary and Team Europe was bested in the Ryder Cup. At the end of the month, I turned 30 and the Victoria Gate shopping centre opened.

The big news in November was Donald Trump being elected US president. I felt this rather overshadows the launch of Worfolk Anxiety Management and my new book, Technical Anxiety. I smashed it in the Abbey Dash, setting a new 10k personal best of 56:45 – a full 10 minutes faster than my previous Dash (though that one was a personal worst). Finnish Christmas Carols were sung.

In December we celebrated my sister’s birthday and I launched the Worfolk Anxiety Podcast. Venla met her other grandma for the first time, and we took a family trip to Tropical World. I said goodbye to long-time client Sky Sports. West Yorkshire Humanists held their Winter Social and Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters. My mum turned 60. I went sub-28 in Parkrun for the first time while my dad completed his 100th.

2015 in review

Friday, January 1st, 2016 | Life

For me, 2015 has been a year dominated by reading and wedding planning. I have been on a mission to get to the bottom of my reading list – a goal that has almost been achieved. Of course, before all of that, every new year starts the same way: clearing up from our New Year’s Eve party.

I have been a vegetarian for almost ten years. However, in January, I took the step of going from in principle to actually eliminating meat for a month or two. It was interesting. Elina spent the month wedding dress shopping, in Finland, or both. I said goodbye to my Harrogate commute. Elsewhere the Charlie Hebdo attack took place.

In February we visited The Big Smoke and took in a show. We celebrated Darwin Day, Valentine’s Day and Galileo Day. The Patriots bested the Seahawks in Superbowl XLIX and we said goodbye to Mr. Spock. I spent a lot of time on the road as I conducted by winter club visits as part of my role as Toastmasters area governor.

I took a break from reading Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in March to give me some time to watch his shows instead. I took Elina to Sheffield for her birthday (lucky girl!). I settled on a backup career choice and read one of the most important books of my life. The F1 season started and we said a sat goodbye to the greatest author of our generation. The Sunday Assembly band, The Assembly Line, played its first gig. There was a solar eclipse, which was rubbish.

Things became rather political in April. There was a leaders debate, but more importantly, I announced my candidacy for local council. Our Easter Potluck went down well. Far better than my three first roast for example. Frinks returned and we published the 4th edition of the Leeds Restaurant Guide. The Assembly Line continued to rock and I played my first league games with Leeds Samurai.

Responsive web design was on the cards for May with both Worfolk Online and CWF websites getting a make-over, including a lovely update to Worfolk Lectures. At home, it was all about baking bread. We were shocked and stunned when the Conservatives took a majority in Parliament, but at least I received 104 votes. We warmed
Gabrielė & Tim’s flat. We visited Nottingham for the Toastmasters district conference, and Sheffield to see Mark Knopfler.

Nothing much happened in June, so I made a list of my favourite books. He had a weekend away in the Peak District with friends. The Assembly Line played a gig and the Women’s World Cup kicked off.

I actually found a use for reading Jane Austen in July and the United States triumphed in the Women’s World Cup. The Assembly Line performed and we launched FinnStore. We attended the Finnish picnic and held our first annual family BBQ. Leeds Samurai earned their second ever league victory while in Manchester. I started piano lessons and I enjoyed my first month free from Toastmasters area governorship.

I read the most incomprehensible book ever in August. There was a trip to Finland for our Finland wedding. Jack dropped by from Australia and the flag football season came to a close. We held the Humanist summer social at Kirkstall Abbey.

I was finally eligible to compete again at Toastmasters in September and did so with a vengeance. We celebated Samantha’s first birthday, saw Dr Hassall interview Richard Dawkins, and published the Finland Restaurant Guide. Atheist Society showed a revival at the kick-off quiz. We visited Hugh & Anna, Blackpool for the Loony Party conference and Skiption for Yarndale.

I spent October doing wedding prep and baking pies. We had our Leeds wedding. I entered my final year of my 20’s and triumphed in the Area 15 speech contest final, the video of which is now online. We visited London to see the Jets v Dolpins at Wemberly. It was Back to the Future Day. We finished the month off with our Halloween party.

I completed my second Abbey Dash in November and I received my Parkrun 50 t-shirt. My dad earned his too. I wrote my first novel as part of NaNoWriMo. We finished the month with Finnish Christmas carols and another gig by The Assembly Line.

In December we completed the 6th annual Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters and published the 5th edition of the Leeds Restaurant Guide. We celebrated my grandma’s 90th birthday and held the Humanist winter social at the Lawnswood Arms.

2014 in review

Thursday, January 1st, 2015 | Life

Another year has flown by. One of the things that shocked me while summing up 2013 was that I used the phrase “celebrated ten years” more than once. This was the year I failed to make it into the 27 Club, so time really is ticking on.

In January I started working with full time with Knight Analysis. When I wasn’t playing Rocksmith that is. Almost all of the time I wasn’t working, I was playing the guitar. The lovely Sherlock returned and we visited Tropical World, which is not big news but something we do not do enough. Meanwhile Google started displaying ratings for the Leeds Restaurant Guide.

There were the usual holidays of Darwin Day and Galileo Day in February. I was still spending all my time playing Rocksmith, but finally finished the 60 day challenge at the end of the month. I was also saved from suicide by the addition of a dishwasher. There was lots of sport too with Super Bowl XLVIII and Leeds Tornadoes practices.

After working my fingers to the bone on guitar practice I got a well-earned reward in March in the form of a Fender Telecaster. I also won the Leeds City Toastmasters speech contest. There were some old school times with a post-Wendy fry-up and my speaking at Leeds Atheist Society. I also hosted a Sunday Assembly Leeds that nobody came to. The Foundation launched its new website.

In April I was elected the Toastmasters Area 15 governor. Duncan Dallas sadly passed away and the Leeds Restaurant Guide published its second edition. Louis Theroux returned to our screen and we celebrated Fonze’s birthday.

Conchita Wurst stormed Eurovision in May. There was some kind of other vote too. I earned my Competent Leader award with Toastmasters, ran 10k and started seriously doing Parkrun too. Toastmasters held their division contest with me as Chief Judge and a large part of Leeds burned down. Craig and Zoe got married and Worfolk 18 celebrated a decade of publishing by holding a porn party. I also put together a photo montage of the past ten years that I was rather proud of.

That brings us to June, a month in which the Leeds Restaurant Guide published its third edition and Britain was ranked as having the best healthcare system in the world (by a probably biased source, but who cares). I correctly predicted the demise of Wendy House which turned out to be the last ever one. The results of the British Social Attitude survey came out and showed that the non-religious now outnumber of all the religious put together.

It was an insanely busy month in July. I ran the Leeds 10k and fixed HSBC’s website. We celebrated Higgs Day and Leeds hosted the Grand Depart. I began my year as Toastmasters area governor and held my first area training. Having achived Competent Communicator and Advanced Leader Bronze that also earned me a trip crown. We visited Darlington to see my sister’s new house. I wrote about the best places to live in Leeds, independence days, and published the first Finn-Global Development Index. We went to the park to play mölkky and my blog turned 10 years old.

After all that is was nice to spend some time relaxing in August. With relatives visiting from Canada we visited Whitby and Temple Newsam for the Finnish picnic. There were also trips to Warwick and Cardiff. We partied for Leeds Pride and I ate a bear. Robin Williams sadly left us and we remembered 100 years of Tove Jansson. More research came out showing that wine tasting is nonsense and I even spoke up in defence of social science. I finished the month by handing over Leeds Skeptics after five years at the helm.

It was all about Norman’s birthday celebration in September. We went up to Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands for a week, where we saw stars and dolphins and managed to convince the Scots to remain part of the Union. I also got engaged to Elina. Back down south there was an area speech contest and we visited Flamingo Land to see the hippos. Gijsbert and Weili became parents when baby Samantha arrived. Isaac was christened, Michael Mosley tried to eat himself to death and Google decided I was a woman. I also decided that if I was going lead a truly evidence-based life, I had to start drinking. We visited Llandrindod Wells in Wales for the Loony Party conference and attended Yarndale 2014.

In October I completed probably the greatest achievement of my life by finishing War & Peace shortly before turning 28. Anxiety Leeds moved venues to the LGI and began fortnightly meetings. James became Dr Murray, we partied for Halloween and I launched a new website for guitar strumming patterns.

We felt like we were in a horror movie in the November fog. Luckily it did not decent until after we had seen Alan Davis. Huffington Post published the results of their survey on religion in which “60% of people described themselves as non-religious” and “over half believe that religion does more harm than good”. I ran the Abbey Dash and finally arrived in the future as fibre was rolled out to Leeds city centre. West Yorkshire Humanists hosted a stall at Summat New.

Most of December was taken up by the Humanist Action Group’s Holiday Food Drive which raised nearly £5,000 worth of donations for local homeless shelters. The holiday season takes up time too, but not too busy to see The Who rock out at Leeds Arena. As usual, we finished the year out with a party.

2013 in review

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 | Life

At the start of 2013, which as usual begin with a January I was busy eating as I put together my book while taking some doctor-ordered time off killing things. We found time for a New Year’s Eve part of course. I attended my first Bettakultcha and we held the first Worfolk Limited Christmas party. Gijsbert moved to Glasgow and I became Vice President of Education at White Rose Speakers.

In February a failure of referees to call what was clearly pass interference cost the 49ers the Super Bowl while Bill Gates delivered an excellent Dimbleby Lecture. We celebrated Darwin Day, Galileo Day and Copernicus Day. I got my area trophy for humorous speaking and Hiltler’s other pope resigned.

I took Elina to the Dales for her birthday in March. There were ponies. Also steak. Michelle paid a visit and I competed in the International Speech Contest for the first time. Trinity opened and found out that really needed a proper roof. I read The Grapes of Wrath – not that I don’t often read, but it is such an amazing book. Sarann and Moz becamse the first A-Soc couple to get married and the Foundation published its report on on how much you can earn begging. The answer is, not much.

There was much sorrow and joy depending on your position in April when Margaret Thatcher passed away. Meanwhile I was busy campaigning for the return of Thai curry steak Yorkshires. The NFL held its 2013 draft and I started reading Discworld. I won the area contest in the International speech contest with “The Easy; and the Worthwhile” that I videoed at White Rose Speakers. I placed third at the division level.

In May Leeds Skeptics set a new record attendance with Dr Brooke Magnanti who also spoke at QED while she was down here. James ran the Leeds Half Marathon and we went to Chester Zoo. I attended the Riviera Renaissance conference in Torquay, at which there was another zoo. I donated my thousandth dollar on Kiva, we partied for Eurovision and I spoke out against the tyranny of clothing.

I was elected president of Leeds City Toastmasters in June while Bob stepped down after 34 years serving as secretary for the Humanist Society of West Yorkshire. The BHA brought its annual conference to Leeds and we had a magic show at Leeds Skeptics.

It was a busy summer in July with trips to Flamborough (from which I posted lots of photos), Finland (again, lots of photos) and relatives visiting from Canada. John Sweeney spoke at Leeds Skeptics, we celebrated Higgs Day and CWF announced Anxiety Leeds. Perhaps a bigger achivement than all of that was that I finished Ulysses.

Yorkshire Day kicked off August and in honour I made some Yorkshire puddings. We visited Yorkshire Wildlife Park and Alan Partridge returned, this time to the big screen. We also held Toastmasters in the Park and visited Hull. The biggest achievement of the month however was without a doubt the founding of Worfolk Media and launch of the Leeds Restaurant Guide.

In September I was a little saddened to see John Oliver’s spot guest-hosting the Daily Show come to an end. We visited Michelle in Jersey and Anxiety Leeds held their first meeting after some great build-up publicity including interviews on Radio Aire and BBC Radio Leeds.

It was a month of travelling in October with PNPNW13, the North West Humanist Conference and going down to London to see the NFL at Wemberly. Toastmasters held an event for Leeds Business Week and I won the area speech contest and for the first time ever, the division level one as well. Leeds Skeptics set another new attendance record when Simon Singh came up to give a talk and we launched Sunday Assembly Leeds.

Pretty much nothing happened in November. Or maybe so much happened that I didn’t have time to blog about it. Probably the latter given we moved house. I travelled down to Colchester to compete in the UK & Ireland speech contest finals and visited Temple Works which a isn’t particularly significant event but it is an amazing building. I paid my first visit to Leeds Arena to see Nickelback and we attended our second year of Finnish Christmas carols. Meanwhile Sunday Assembly Leeds held an event that was actually on a Sunday.

Finally in December the comedian Kate Smurfwaite delivered her show at Leeds Skeptics, I walked out of my first ever gig at an incredibly disappointing Tenacious D concert. Nelson Mandela passed away and we all spent a few days scoring points off each other – it is what he would have wanted. There was some kind of holiday season and the Humanist Action Group’s annual Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters raised over three thousand pounds worth of donations.

2012 in review

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 | Life

As ever we saw out the year in style before going down the traditional route of having January at the start. I joined a gym (after getting free trials of one or two first of course) and got on a plane for the first time in over a decade. Meanwhile, we tried to teach retired people about social media and launched ZonePlay on PlanetWin365 at work. Mike even made a guest appearance at Wendy House.

In February it turned out Panic! At the Disco were still going while the Foundation launched Societas Pro, an open source community group management system, and launched Gift of Gloves – a warm clothing collection for people sleeping rough. Then there were as the usual celebrations – Valentine’s Day, Darwin Day, Copernicus Day and Galileo Day, not to mention Super Bowl XLVI. Yet, somehow, we managed to fit moving house into there too.

It was a busy month for the Foundation in March, when it launched the new Humanist Chaplaincy Network programme and distributing all the clothing we had collected. Meanwhile, I took Elina to Paris and we warmed our new house. Possibly the best season of Formula One in living memory kicked off, I finally made it down to the Leeds PHP User Group and some mysterious yellow ball started to appear in the sky once again.

It was all about business in April. After three years at Buzz, I left to set up Worfolk Limited, as well as Worfolk Games, taking up much of the month. But we did find time to celebrate Fonze’s birthday, try karting and host Martin Robbins to talk about Bad Science in the Developing World. I also finally found a solution to the immigration issue and achieved the unthinkable – I got a photo of Elettra smiling!

In May I gave my first speech at Toastmasters, while Gijsbert spoke about pacifism at West Yorkshire Humanists and A-Soc held its AGM. I learned everything Hugh knows in an hour and Worfolk Games launched Village Chief, a socially interactive strategy game on Facebook. ODDTV launched, there was a “Super Moon” and podcasting returned. Looking back, we probably saw the funniest image of the year here too. The month was rounded off with Know Leeds re-launching as a restaurant review site.

I narrowly avoided rehab by cutting my Foursquare addiction in June, we said goodbye to legendary writer Ray Bradbury and sat through a disappointing Eurovision. Worfolk Online had a busy month, launching Jenny’s Public Nude Photos and our first ever man on man gay site, Gay Men 365. I continued my Toastmasters career and went to Finland for the first time, only to find out that Moomin World didn’t open until the week after. At least I did get to enjoy some alcohol free Rekorderlig though. The month finished out with me becoming treasurer of West Yorkshire Humanists. There was some kind of football competition as well.

I spent some time baiting scammers in July, grabbed the domain and launched Wing Commander, a library that adds Mustache support to the Flight microframework. We found out Jesus was feeling the recession while Worfolk Online launched it’s first ever foreign language site, a Swedish site called Nakna Hemmafruar and soon followed it up with a Finnish one called Alastomat Kotirouvat. I won my first best speaker ribbon at Toastmasters for my talk on legalising drugs and saw Blink-182 after a year of waiting. Authority Forums relaunched, everything flooded and the Olympic torch passed through Leeds. A quick bit of researched showed motor racing as the sport Brits are best at and Worfolk Online celebrated a decade of running websites. Danny Boyle stunned us all with his magnificent opening ceremony and my website experienced it’s biggest ever traffic surge after my adjusted medals table went viral.

The month of August started with a thrilling few weeks of sport as Britain dominated the competition in the Olympic medal table (China and the US being too far ahead to count as competition) while we started the month by eating a mixed grill in a burger while I baited some more scammers. Gangnam style ran rampant in my head a month before anyone else jumped on it thanks to a tip off from Michelle and I launched my american football blog, A Brit Talks Football. I attended White Rose Speakers for the first time, we said goodbye to Rich as he left for London and the Foundation staged the 2012 Worfolk Lecture. Leeds celebrated Pride 2012 and we said goodbye to Neil Armstrong. I touched down in Ireland for the first time, when I took Elina to Dublin for the bank holiday weekend.

Elina knitted a Dalek in September and we found a new contender for the best steak house in Leeds. Humanist Community changed its format and my new proximity to Elina meant we could now go for ribs for lunch (although, to be fair, we had been doing this anyway). I won the club level humorous speaking competition and went on to win the area competition too. We also started our photography course and the NFL season kicked off (more importantly, I cared, for the first year ever).

In October we discovered a hidden gem in the form of Miah’s Kitchen Indian restaurant and we tried wagyu steak for the first time. Team Europe staged a record breaking comeback in the Ryder Cup, Full Tilt Poker relaunched and I got my new and super awesome laptop along with Apple TV. I attended the PHPNW12 Conference and once again ticked over another year – a good excuse to finally drink the bottle of champagne I’ve been moving around since Buzz’s first product launch. I finished off the month by travelling to Donington Park to compete in the division level competition of the humorous speaking contest.

I spent a lot of November playing with my new lens, but did find time to attend the 2012 North West Humanists Conference. I went to Manchester to see Evanescence and the Foundation launched the 2012 Holiday Food Drive and as part of International Men’s Day, our Men’s Issues campaign as well. The Humanist Action Group also published a new guide for running food drives, while the United States reelected Obama and we attended GRAM 2012. Living out our dreams, myself, George and Matt went training with the Yorkshire Rams and myself and Elina attended the Finnish Christmas Carols concert in Headingley, while the Formula One season finished in style at Brazil as living legend Michael Schumacher announced his retirement.

We finished off the year, as is traditional, with December. This involved partying for George’s birthday and finishing our photography course. I took on the role of Toastmaster for the first time and A-Soc held it’s traditional Winter Solstice Meal. The Humanist Action Group successfully completed its 2012 Holiday Food Drive, raising £2,849.15 worth of donations for local homeless shelters and we went to watch the Leeds Celtics play. America had it’s traditional holiday season massacre and that whole Christmas thing happened.

2011 in review

Sunday, January 8th, 2012 | Life

Having seen out 2010 in style, I began the year, in January as usual, by explaining I didn’t care what happened to me, after I died. At work we launched our website and I finally said the L word – to my iPhone. Meanwhile, CWF announced the Perspective Citywide course, open to the general public and running alongside the campus version.

The month after was of course February which began with CWF launching the Galileo Day pack for societies, giving them hints and tips on running a great event. Feeder were a little underwhelming, but Super Bowl XLV wasn’t. The Humanist Society of West Yorkshire launched its new logo and Michael Bramham delivered the Galileo Day Lecture and festivities followed. It was also the first ever month we ran Fry Up Club (I think).

I delivered a talk on the history of atheist charity in March and paid a visit to Hope City. With me and Elina now officially being a couple, we celebrated her birthday meanwhile James took the helm for Reason Week 2011 which finished with the traditional All Night Debate. CWF began building it’s library and I attended the AHS national convention.

I also kicked off April with a talk, this time to Hull Humanists while Michael and John were giving a very similar talk at LAS. The final Perspective Citywide was given by Nicola Jackson and my life was changed forever when I finally got my hands on an iPad 2. We got Rebecca in a Batgirl outfit and Humanist Community returned due to popular demand. The Humanist Action Group launched their guides and we finished the month by hitting the beach.

It was a busy month at work in May as we launched cricket and we voted for and against the alternative vote. I wrote to my MEPs about ethical meat and Sainsbury’s refused me service even though I had ID. I complained. James was elected president of LAS, I went to see Uncaged Monkeys and West Yorkshire Humanists had a very interesting discussion about animal experimentation. The month was finished off by the Secular Ball 2011.

The EDL were causing trouble in June, meanwhile I was still in love with my iPad. We had a McReunion while CWF announced Leeds Transhumanists and its partnership with Daily Motion. I proposed Try Vegetarianism Week and we celebrated our anniversary as Row One.

In July I met Matt and finally gave up my paper diary. I proposed we introduce equal opportunities in sport and took Elina down to London for the weekend. We got Elina and Kat dress up as bunny girls for our poker night, Jenson Button lost a wheel and I spoke at Nottingham Skeptics. I met Elina’s mum, Atheist Stock moved out of beta and leeds Slutwalk took place. We also said goodbye to the Space Shuttle programme.

I left Firebox for Chrome in August while CWF launched the Atheist Stock API and later launched Worfolk Lectures too. We also announced Sunrise 2011 and cooked a crab and played my first live poker tournament. We attended Leeds Pride 2011 and CWF held its AGM. I also cooked a fish and inspired by Franklin & Bash, we held a Margarita Mondays.

It was a big month for CWF in September with Sunrise Conference 2011 and I took Elina to Roundhay Park, Ilkley Moor and the Leeds Liverpool Canal before she flew back to Finland. I continued my poker exploits and we headed down to Sheffield Humanists for a talk on paying for sex. I lifted the ban on family being friends on Facebook and it was proved that atheists are smarter than religious people. We celebrated Norm’s birthday, twice and we introduced to the dangers of shot roulette before hitting up the Zombie Prom.

Skeptics in the Pub learnt about cults in October, Steve Jobs passed away and it turned out all freshers are morons. I chaired the first One Life with a discussion on the meaning of life but having waited ten months for my chance to see Rihanna – was too ill to go! Elina returned for a week and I spoke at Sheffield Skeptics in the Pub. Dr David Jenkins delivered the 2011 Worfolk Lecture and CWF announced SocietasPro. Meanwhile in inaugural Leeds Transhumanists meeting took place, I reached middle age and we held a kick-ass Halloween party.

There was a sad start to November with Sir Jimmy Savile passing away, to which I later launched several campaigns to have things named after him. I had more problems with Sainsbury’s, this time trying to buy alcohol free wine and read Sam Harris’s The Moral Landscape which is well worth a read. CWF announced SocietasPro v0.1 and the 2011 Holiday Food Drive and after two and a half years of genius, Row One was brought to an end. By the end of the month, SocietasPro v.0.3 was out too! Unfortunately, I was in the country to see Evanescene, though the gig itself was great.

Finally in December we hit the Christmas market several times and spent most of the rest of the time watching Nothing to Declare. I finally got round to attending Leeds Salon and we celebrated George’s birthday. I said goodbye to my trusty hosting company of eight years and CWF delivered food to local homeless shelters. I managed to prove I invented Facebook and went to my first meeting of Toastmasters.