2015 in Review

I’ve never written a yearly review before, but because this year has been full of achievements and great experiences for me, I think now would now be a good time to start.

Work

In January, I became a Senior Front-end Developer at Missguided. After working for the company for almost a year, it felt like a natural progression for me.

Missguided Responsive Redesign

Working with our partner agency Session Digital, I was tasked with providing a fully responsive Magento theme to replace the legacy fixed width and mobile specific themes.

This gave us the opportunity to assess the site, make changes to our workflow and improve our relationship with our design team to launch the new design. We also introduced Grunt as our preferred automated build tool, alongside Sass and Bourbon to speed up our CSS development. This was a massive improvement from the previous theme.

One difficulty with working in such a fast paced environment is that a number of people have access to make changes to the site when they need to. Alongside the new design, we introduced Brad Frost’s PatternLab to use as a live code and design reference for employees within the business, allowing them to easily copy and refrence code snippets if they needed.

This project is by far the biggest I have ever worked on in my career and (in my opinion) has been a big success. It has allowed me to grow as a developer, and has allowed me to gain much more experience in Agile development.

Remote Working

One major frustration I’ve had with working in Manchester is the daily commute from Warrington. I’ve grown to hate the M62, and the thought of spending almost 300 hours a year commuting to and from work has started to make me dislike my job.

After doing some inital research into remote working and reading Remote - Office not required while on holiday in Santorini, I decided to have a chat with my manager and agreed to work remotely one day a week.

Reading this book opened my eyes and made me question why I waste so much time commuting on the M62 every day.

Not only has remote working helped in terms of not having to commute on the motorway every day, it has allowed me to focus more on my productivity, time management and personal health.

Remote working is definitely something I want to do more of in the future.

Personal

I finally managed to launch my personal site in August. It’s very much a work in progress, but it’s given me the drive and desire to constantly tweak and improve things.

Football

I set myself a small number of personal goals in 2015, mostly to do with football. I had a personal target of 20 clean sheets, something which I managed to achieve on the very last game of the season. I’ve set myself the same target of 20 clean sheets for this season too.

We also won the club’s first trophy in 14 years. The match worked out well for me, saving 2 penalties in the shootout to win us the Doodson Cup.

Celebrating with the team after winning the Doodson Cup.

Travelling

My girlfriend and myself have regularly spoken about trying to get away twice a year. We agreed that a nice, relaxed destination and a city break would be ideal.

We visited the beautiful Santorini in July. The views are simply stunning, and it’s one of the most relaxing places I’ve have ever been to. Waking up to breakfast on our balcony each morning, together with the amazing views in front of us was absolute perfection.

The food was amazing, the weather was perfect and it’s somewhere we’ll be definitely visiting again in the future.

One of the many images we took of the amazing view from our hotel room in Santorini.

I’ve always wanted to visit New York City around Christmas time and we were lucky enough to visit in early December. I’ve visited New York twice before, but the Christmas period definitely brings that extra special atmosphere.

We ticked off most of the typical tourist attractions, but the highlight of my trip was a helicopter ride along Manhattan at dusk. If you ever decide to visit New York City, I couldn’t recommend this enough.

Alongside the great views and amazing Christmas decorations, we had some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. There are too many restaurants to mention, but the porterhouse steak at Keens Steakhouse and Tie-Dye pizza at Rubirosa were unbelievable. If you ever decide to visit New York City in the future, you’d be daft not to give them a try!

Joanna and myself with the Rockerfeller Christmas tree.

Goals for 2016

  • Keep another 20 clean sheets for Warrington and get into the Evo-Stik team of the year
  • Improve my JavaScript knowledge and learn AngularJS
  • Get familiar with Magento2
  • Own an Audi. I need an upgrade from the small, frail Peugeot 208 I have now
  • Write more