Well hello 2016, you’ve crept up on me pretty fast. 2015 was a crazy year for me, I swear I’ve never been so busy in all my life… or as emotionally up and down, as there have been some amazing highs, but also some lows.
2015 honestly has made me question a lot of things, challenged me, and made me want to change things and set some new goals.
Social media lately has been getting to me a bit (I’ll get onto that more lately) which got me thinking a whole lot. I kept seeing lots of 2015 reflection posts, which showed the awesome things people had done, however I kept thinking about all the shit in mine. This made me realise I wanted to write all this down, make a concious effort to reflect on the good times and not forget them, but also say, hey, it’s ok to not be perfect, it’s ok to feel crap. Yes it’s horrible, but it happens to even those whose life looks “perfect” on social media (I’m not saying mine is as at all, but you catch my drift).
This is a pretty darn honest post of mine, so be kind, but also share you two cents as well. Enjoy.
This year was the year I truly traveled. As a kid I never got to go abroad as it was too expensive for my parents. When I was young this really didn’t bother me too much, as I was loving Rory the Tiger at Haven caravan’s too much. However as I got older I started to long to see the world outside my own country. It wasn’t until I started full time work that I could go off and start to see the world. Last year I went away on holiday, but this year, this year I ‘Traveled’.
I was incredibly lucky and went away 8 times (9 if you include Centre Parks). I went to Paris for the first time, went skiing for the first time, and even got to leave Europe and head to New York.
I honestly love travelling. It brings me so much joy, discovering new places, new cultures, and landscapes. Lounging on a beach for hours is not my idea of fun, instead I’m an explorer. I want to race off and hike up a mountain, go see the ruined castle, swim in the cold see, and eat the local food.
If I had the money, I would be on a plane or train every weekend to discover our world. I cannot wait to see what new adventures 2016 brings.
My first press trip was to Paris, where I sat on the judging panel for Mercure Hotels Six Friend Theory competition. I felt incredibly honored to be on the panel, and got to experience what a press trip is, which is rather all exciting.
I left Europe for the first time, and visited the Big Apple. New York is basically like London, which meant I fitted in quite easily. I drank alot of coffee, cold press juice and ate gigantic portions. Good times.
I explored Luxembourg which was a unexpected surprise on how beautiful it was. Not somewhere I ever considered, but actually it's such a beautiful tiny country, making it a perfect weekend break.
I went on a food trip of Northern Ireland with some of England's best food Critics; Charles Campion, Fiona Beckett and Orlando Murin. I still scratch my head with that one... 3 food critics and.... me?!
I island hopped around Greece, which was just utter bliss and a dream come true.
I visited Paris not once, but twice and got to stay in the most amazing room in the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal.
I swam with Seals at Scilly, in the sea which was both terrifying and thrilling. I made sure to challenge myself this year to take a few risks and conquer those things that make me scared.
I was on TV
In February I got to be on ITV This Morning. I took part in Gok Wan’s Real Women segment, which is where he talks about the latest trends on the high street, and real women model the clothes.
It was honestly one of the most fun things I have done. Gok Wan really does get hands on, and was literally pulling tops over my head one after the other.
I was pretty nervous going on lived TV, but I did it, and didn’t fall over! It's pretty awesome now to say I've been on national TV. Even if it was for 5 minutes. Read about it here
Going to the BAFTAs
When the invite landed in my inbox asking if I’d like to go report on the BAFTAs as House of Fraser’s social media reporter, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
It was amazing to go see all the glam of the awards red carpet, and the madness that it is. I feel so incredibly lucky to say I have done that. Read about it here
Worked with some incredible brands
The blog has brought me some utter joy. I still can’t fathom that my little blog is read by people and actually thought of as something of worth. Really, it just amazes me.
So every time I’m invited to something, no matter how small or “unknown” the brand is, I’m truly truly grateful.
But of course there have been the opportunities that have come my way that have stood out and just left me pinching myself.
I was invited by Sure to attend V Festival
I got to try the worlds longest tasting menu.
I saw the Rugby World Cup from Samsung's private box.
I attended the a private launch tour of the beautiful Savage Beauty exhibition.
So as you can see, my 2015 had some pretty incredible moments, and when times get tough I take a step back through the blog and remember all that I have achieved. However unlike what the blog and social media might portray, not everything is rosey and fine all of the time.
Stress and Anxiety
I’m not really sure how to write this all down, so to be honest it might just come out as a stream of my conscious ramblings, but please try and bear with me.
2015 saw some pretty big obstacles thrown in my way. My year actually started with me coming back to work after the Christmas holidays and told to get out and clear my desk immediately. I wasn’t fired and actually I ended up having to go through a big grievance process with HR over it, as it obviously wasn’t justified. The whole thing just left me so broken and stressed. Thinking you’d been fired, having to get HR involved for unfair treatment, and the whole process just drained me. I’m a classic case of workaholic (prime example is me writing this blog post now at 1;30am because now is the only time I get after work), and so to me, it was the end of my career. My City dreams were over.
Of course this wasn’t true, but it’s a case of thinking the whole world has fallen in. Some people are excellent at bouncing back- me? Not so much. Sometimes I can’t see the wood for the trees. I know I need to work on perspective, but it’s something 12 months on I’m still trying to master.
I got myself another role with the same company pretty sharpish and all was well again. Back on the track of my career plan. However in August my new manager told me that come January there wasn’t the head count for me next year in the team due to budget cuts. It was another blow for me and my career. I just felt like I couldn’t catch a break this year. Was I shit at my job? Did people hate me? Was I just a shit person? My self confidence took a nose dive.
Edit: To those who asked, I quit my old company and went to work for a rival and am much happier now :)
One day later, I got an email to say I was being evicted. I can’t even begin to tell you the sinking feeling in my heart. My unhappiness started to fester, and I stopped going out as much, stopped talking to friends, and just buried myself away. Whilst online it may have looked like I was happy as Larry, in my personal time, I sat in my soon to be ex-room, on my own, often crying and just feeling hopeless.
One of the things I tried to do to combat this was set up The Bloggers House. It was an idea me and my boyfriend had of finding the perfect housemates after we’d had so much trouble with ours. I truly believed in the idea, however after getting a group together and looking for properties, the group fell apart due to differences and the idea crumbled. I felt dishearten, but to be honest it was some of the negative comments I saw about it that hurt. Look, yes I made a big push on the idea and put it out there big time on social media, and yes the idea failed, but guess what? I tried. I didn’t like my situation, so I tried to fix it. Please don’t criticize me for failing, as otherwise how would we ever succeed?
Which leads me on to social media.
Something most people don’t know, and it’s taken some guts to be this honest, but I’ve suffered with anxiety and low self-esteem for most of my life. I constantly think I’m not good enough, which sometimes drives me to do better and better fueling ambition, and other times it hinders me in the most horrific ways, causing me to cry and cry.
Theres been a lot of talk lately about social media not being real and it causing girls to feel bad about themselves. Well, again, just being very honest here, I’m one of those girls.
No matter how much I tell myself and others tell me, I do compare myself to others on the internet. Whether it be other bloggers and how well they are doing and the popularity of their blog or Instagram, and all those "perfect," beautiful women- and there’s me staring in the mirror as I grab my fat rolls. Yes, it’s completely stupid, but I’m just laying it down truthfully. I look in the mirror and see everything I’m not compared to all those beautiful bloggers and Instagrammers.
So when I receive comments like “Your ugly” “Your tits are so saggy, go see a surgeon” “Showing cleavage won’t fix your face” and “You need to shave off your hair as it looks like pubes” just basically makes me feel fantastic... Yep, I know haters gonna hate and all that, but again, I’m just not very good at ignoring those comments. I've struggled with my body image for a long time, and its a personal battle that I face, so yes I do take them personally, and yes I do let it affect me. I'm actively trying to work on being strong, but sorry, I'm just not yet.
I do want to say though, every body is different, and every body is unique and beautiful. You know what, yes, my tits are pretty saggy. Tough shit I guess, that's just my boobs. But no, it doesn't mean I need to see a surgeon, because there is nothing wrong with them! Also yes my hair texture isn't the standard European straight hair. I have extremely dry, frizzy, coarse hair. When I straighten it, it goes brittle. But again, not everyone is the same, so no I don't need to shave my hair off just because it doesn't conform to Instagram's standard of beauty.
Oh don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of posting self glorifying pictures- me holding a champagne glass up to the sky, me lounging on a bed with my room service- yes I take part in the madness that is social media, and for the most part I do love it. Social media has opened up some fantastic doors for me, and I love my little blog, whether other people do or don't, all that really matters is that I love it. But I just wanted to say that life isn't perfect like it may seem from blogs. Even if one person reads this and says "I can totally relate to this, I'm not alone" then great, I feel good for just sharing my honesty in the hopes that someone else will feel better about there problems too.
So my honest goals for 2016 are to just carry on writing the blog the best I can, but write it the way I feel passionate about. Stop comparing myself to other people, as hard as that will be, its ultimately what will make me happier. There are always going to be more successful than me in this aspect, but then I have other areas that I could be considered successful in, and so I need to remember my blessings. Looks back at the good that I wrote down gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I didn't do too badly in 2015 all things considered. Ups and downs, but as my dad would say, has the roof fallen in? No. Then it's not all bad.
I was pretty nervous putting this down as I have no idea what people are going to say to it. You never know, maybe I'll get trolled for this post, but no this isn't something I wrote fishing for compliments, not at all, instead I just wanted to write an honest post about life.
I hope you enjoyed it. I'd love to hear your thoughts below. Thanks for sticking by me and reading my blog. You guys really do rock xx