2018 in Review

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2018 in Review

The time has come for me to look back on the last twelve months, as I have done every year for the last nine or ten. It is a chance for me to reflect on all I have or haven’t achieved and to look forward to the year ahead. Health, Wealth & Happiness.
Every year I am always contacted by people who tell me how I have inspired them to make a change in their life, or reminded them to get shit done, or something as trivial as giving them ideas about kitchen wallpaper. It’s all good… my only aim is to inspire others and to be inspired by those I’ve had around me. I’m going in.


Starting these words, it’s Friday 21st December. I’ve just finished my last gym session of the year and am extremely pleased with my progress throughout the last twelve months. The first part of the year saw me decide to take part in another local half-marathon. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve ran now (around ten in total over as many years) as well as two full marathons in the last four years. I really didn’t mind the marathon training as it wasn’t too much of a chore but I definitely didn’t enjoy the race itself and am sure I won’t be running any significant distances again in the near future. He says.
I thoroughly enjoy lifting weights all year and follow a very strict programme on different training cycles, courtesy of Musclehack. I also purchased a £50 diet plan which saw me shed some body fat and get in pretty decent shape just before VB2018. I’ve since got all lumpy again because I’ve been enjoying cooking and eating some pretty tasty dishes and the odd glass of red every evening, after such a strict summer. We eat extremely well (healthy) in the house and love eating out whenever we decide to, so much so that I’ll happily forego a six-pack for the sake of vanity. The very act of loving going to the gym and eating well means that generally I am in good shape; no doubt, come the summer, I’ll go back to weighing my food for a few weeks to see how lean I can get, but generally I really don’t care (I totally do… the joys of being a Gemini!)
If you are keen to get in shape, no amount of exercise will fix a bad diet and you’re kidding yourself if you think it will. My advice… spend money on a diet plan from a registered nutritionist, you’ll be amazed at what will happen. Even if you’re going the gym, lifting heavy weights is a waste of time if you aren’t eating correct to fuel your muscle growth. I have seen an amazing transformation in my body shape and strength these last two years!


I have been very busy with WardsWebsites this year, taking on a whole heap of new clients and looking after loyal friends who remain with me. I enjoyed moving to a whole new hosting & accounting system also. My prices for everything I do are ridiculously competitive and I can’t express how much I enjoy sitting at my desk all day being creative. I don’t make heaps of money but it’s enough to keep me in chicken breasts and the odd curry here and there and the occasional splurge on a night away somewhere local in a hotel. That does us. We lead a very modest life. I end the year with more money in the bank than I started with and if you’ve read these reviews for many years then you’ll know that is a feat in itself, considering the hardships we have been through. I covered much of this in a very personal chapter within the book I wrote this year, The Story of The Vocal Booth Weekender. If you like my writing style then you’d love it. I am not motivated by money and the whole book is available to read for free here. It is also available as a physical paperback if that’s your flex. 
Michelle has continued to shine in her work. All day, every day she leaves the house while I sit here in my pyjamas, taking the piss. She never complains and always brings home the big bucks to keep us flying around the world or to keep the ASOS delivery drivers busy. As of 2019 she now works in selling properties here on the Costa Blanca and helping more people change their lives for the better. Sound interesting? Give her a shout.
Mikey is now 17 and has a part-time job which he enjoys alongside his college work. June will see him finish school entirely and so who knows what is next. Drew still lives with her fella and has left the Fishbowl where she was working since before the summer and is now a Dentist’s Receptionist. We are extremely proud of the adults the kids are rapidly becoming and I am confident that we have taught them well and they have all the tools they need to be happy in life. Job’s a good un.


This year has been filled with laughter and also it’s been one of the saddest years I can recall in a long time, mainly due to several deaths of close friends and family.
We welcomed 2018 on the stroke of midnight with VB Family at the Montepiedra Hotel and we have enjoyed several visits from close friends who have stayed with us throughout the year. In 2019 I have arranged for several VB DJs to fly over for the weekend at the end of each month and guest on my radio show. I also intend to appear at a very select few DJ gigs, as I get a fire inside me for playing out again. Nothing too regular, I’m way too happy at home for all that nonsense, needless to say the music is working it’s magic again. I put this down to continuing to find great music in my racks as well as purchasing loads of downtempo music digitally throughout the year which gave me an added depth to my collection. Talking of collections, this was the year we lost Snoopy, back in March. He’d been ill since before Xmas last year and I hinted at his ill health in my 2017 review, we all kind of knew the inevitable was on the horizon. In September I was approached by the mother of his kids to see if I wanted to purchase his entire record collection and of course I jumped at the chance. I had offered not long after he passed, not from any financial viewpoint but to make sure the records all stayed together and weren’t sold off in chunks to the highest bidder. I now regularly share his music every week on Snoopy Sounds and his legacy lives on.
September saw the death of the eldest of my younger brothers, Mark aka Elma. He was killed in a motorbike accident and it shattered all our lives as you’d expect. It still doesn’t seem real and as crazy as it sounds to say, life has since got back to normal (for us at least). This doesn’t mean I won’t think of him every day and I know it will be a hard Xmas for my Mom, his wife and kids and my brothers in the UK. Not much more I can say about that really. In recent times we also lost another legend… Paul ‘Trouble’. The outpouring of emotion for that man online has been amazing to see, and rightly so.
It’s been a crazy few months of reflection for me and if I’m totally honest, has been ever since my dad passed four years ago. I am by no means morbid but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having it in the back of my mind that any day could be my last and so I live life to the fullest each and every. I do my utmost to be the best friend, father and husband I can be. I know I have made a difference in my own small way to the world, let’s hope this carries on long into the future and if it doesn’t… well, them’s the breaks!
Let’s get back to the happiness bit…
Highlights I’m reminded of from browsing my Instagram Timeline:

  • VB Family NYE in Spain
  •  E Double D visiting and staying with us
  • Playing at TOWIG
  • Surprise visit to Pressure Party @ Herd
  • More Tattoos (both arms almost fully sleeved now)
  • Drew moved into a new flat
  • Dean & Tash visited & stayed with us.. Hysterical
  • Avicii passed away
  • Miami/Bahamas Cruise
  • Smoovey & Cheryl visited, beautiful weekend.
  • Visited Louie Vega in Madrid with Dave and Sarah
  • The Taits bought a boat, some great trips out on that
  • Aretha Franklin passed
  • I wrote two books
  • Renewal of our vows & VB2018
  • 20th Wedding Anniversary
  • Forthcoming Holiday to see in New Year


On Reflection

On the whole, it’s been an amazing year but it’s also been a shit year. There’s no way really that the positives can outweigh the negatives for me but I look forward to the New Year with hope and excitement. We will enjoy Xmas Day as a family together at ours, Myself, Michelle, Drew & Robert and Mikey. On the 28th December we’ll then fly over to the UK to spend the night with friends before embarking on another holiday of a lifetime, just Michelle and I, to see in the New Year and start January in some pretty ridiculous surroundings that I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about soon enough.
My aims for 2019… to continue with my ethos of focusing on positive energy and not worrying if people think I’m flash/cocky/narcissistic and to continue with my fitness regime. We have a family holiday planned to Croatia for the summer but nothing else major on the horizon for the time being. I hope to persuade as many friends as possible to save their pennies throughout 2019 and join me on my 50th B’day celebrations in 2020 (I’ll have full booking details soon).
I thank you for taking time to read my words and encourage you to do the same exercise of documenting all you’ve achieved this year and all you hope to achieve in the coming twelve months. You don’t need to share it if you find it too personal or that’s not your thing.. just get it done and store it somewhere safe to look back on in the future, I guarantee you’ll appreciate it.

Have a great Xmas and I’ll catch you on the other side… thanks for being part of this crazy rollercoaster called life!

*If you enjoyed that, you can read 2017’s review here – http://www.djandyward.net/end-year-review-2017/


Streaming Gear I use and recommend:


Mac Mini M1 2020 (upgrade to 16GB RAM) = https://amzn.to/3YSkcWZ
Elgato Stream Deck = https://amzn.to/3Jd08sU


1 x AOC U2879G6

1 x AOC 24B1W


Sony ZV1 = https://amzn.to/41fSkgR
Logitech Brio 4k (x2) = https://amzn.to/3KYMbQx


Wave XLR = https://amzn.to/3INhw7s
DJI Mic2 = https://amzn.to/3IKIDjf

DJ Kit:

Shure 55s Radio Mic = https://amzn.to/3Igp94w
DJ Controller = Pioneer XDJ-XZ
Technics 1210 Turntables = https://amzn.to/3Eqzyth
Stylus; Ortofon DJ = https://amzn.to/3xHmSL5

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