Thursday, 7 January 2016

The good and the bad of 2015: A honest reflection on life and socialmedia


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.


The Good

Travel

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. 

Grand Hotel Du Palais Royal Paris (12)

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. 


The Bad.

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.

Do It With PayPal (10)

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.

Grand Hotel Du Palais Royal Paris (22)

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.

2016 Goals

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

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26 comments

  1. well, happy new year!
    This post, apart from honest, is very brave Laura. I wrote a post about my 2015 and doesn't even sound as true and raw as yours.
    I like your father's saying, I will try to remember it, it's a good one!
    About the haters, the negative comments and all that, oscar wilde once said "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about"; there's no such thing as bad press, see it that way. Most of the people that write those horrible (seriously harmful!!)negative comments would swap their lives with yours in a second if they could.

    Let's see what 2016 brings! Best of luck!


    xXx
    Laura
    Blog: http://unspeakablethoughtsunspoken.blogspot.com

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  2. Absolutely loved reading this. There is always going to be bad times but luckily for you, you had some pretty good times to outweigh the bad. Here's to 2016 being the best year for you - because you deserve it.

    xxx | daisydaisyxxo

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  3. I loved this post hun - your honesty truly is inspiring. It seems that you have had an incredible year in terms of your blog and I'm happy to see you are working in a new company now and enjoying it :) I'm sorry to hear about the struggles you faced this year, but I'm sure these will definitely make you stronger. I'm also guilty of feeling useless compared to what I see on social media but then i look at the positive things in life and it makes me realise how hard I've worked and what I've achieved. If you ever need a chat please don't hesitate to message me - even if it's just a moan/ramble! :) xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-X.blogspot.com

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  4. Wow, I don't even know what to say. I really hope this year brings you a lot of happiness, you have done some incredible things and I hope all your hard work keeps paying off. Focus on the positives and I'll be back here next year to read how much you have achieved again this year. x

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  5. Laura, this was a lovely, truthful and brave post! I salute you for that and sincerely hope you are able to see all the good, instead of dwelling on the opposite! I cannot believe people are rude and disgusting enough to say such things to another person... it truly baffles and saddens me. I hope you get more opportunities to travel in 2016, that's what keeps things in perspective for me! xx

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  6. Great post girl! I've always loved your blog and I didn't know you had those struggles behind it. Onwards and upwards! Were all the amazing travel opportunities via the blog or some with work too? Because if its all blog, that's truly amazing! You've come so far! x

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  7. I think a lot of women struggle with the issues you've outlined, especially bloggers as you put yourself out there for judgment. I've always been brought up to live by 'if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all', obviously I cannot say that this is always the case, but I honestly can't fathom how or why humans can be so cruel to each other. Some people literally must not have feelings to not be able to comprehend the hurt they will inflict by their fly-away nasty comments. You have an amazing, successful blog, a great career and I'm sure a supportive family and group of friends. Seriously EFF the haters. Keep being strong, and thanks for your honesty - I'm sure a lot of people (including myself) can relate to all the negatives you have mentioned. On the plus side, congrats on so many great experiences and opportunities in 2015! Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea's Passions

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  8. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for your honesty. It is refreshing glimpse behind the curtain: the lives we project onto social media are but a small portion of our real lives. I suspect that many people reading my blog think that all I do is swan around visiting coffee shops and don't appreciate all the hard work that goes with it. Like you, I was up writing today's post at 1.30 last night (although my reasons have more to do with inefficiency!).

    However, because of what you do, you put a lot more of yourself out there on your blog than, for example, I do. Sadly, because of that, you're always going to attract the haters, the detractors and the downright jealous. As I said in a comment on one of your Instagram pictures, the hateful things that they post say nothing about you and everything about them, about their hate, their jealousy.

    When I see your posts about all the amazing things you've done, I think "good for you". I rejoice in your success and enjoy sharing in your experiences through your blog. I suspect quite a few people think "what's she done to deserve that?" (work your butt off, that's what, but I doubt that they see that) and their jealousy drives their hatred.

    I know it's easy to say "ignore it" or "rise above it", but that's what you have to do. Delete their comments or just ignore them if you can, but don't respond or engage with them, because that's what they want. That's the attention they crave. Like the playground bully who called you names at school, they want a reaction. If you don't give it to them, they quickly get bored and give up.

    Stay strong and keep doing that you do!

    Here's to 2016,
    Brian.

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  9. Hey - don't let those stupid comments get to you. Think about what would motivate somebody to post these sorts of mean comments - you will see the issue is theirs, not yours (and is probably more a marker os a successful blog than anything else!). Don't worry about these people, not your problem. Just keep on doing YOUR thing. :)

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  10. Wow, you really have had quite an emotionally charged year!
    I've been following for most of this year so I knew some of these bits from previous posts, but all clubbed together like this it's easy to see how this year has maybe been a bit bittersweet for you. It sounds like you are working towards being in a much better place for 2016 and I'm hoping you get there :).

    In regards to social media, I'm pretty sure 90% of women feel exactly the same about feeling pressured because of certain people's appearances on social media. And it doesn't help when you are then criticised for not fitting into what (heavy emphasis on this) certain people feel is 'perfection'. It just doesn't even make sense. I feel like more real women need to make themselves accessible on social media to show others that basically, a lot of these 'perfect' looking women are editing their photos to within an inch of their life OR just happen to be blessed with a look that is somehow deemed to be perfect. It's all just a big load of BS.

    Anyway, sending out happy thoughts to you and wanted to let you know that I think you're doing a fantastic job, so try to focus on that moving forward :). Especially seeing as most people who choose to send negative comments/criticism your way tend to be people who would very much like to be in the position you are in (followers, where you live, your blog, etc)!

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  11. I'm so pleased to hear that you got another job and I hope that your flat situation has sorted itself out. You're stunning, bubbly and full of life so don't forget it! I'm not naturally slim myself and someone in my family has health worries, so no one's life is perfect. Keep going as you're doing fantastically well and looking forward to seeing you again soon

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  12. Hi Laura,

    Just read your post and was very exciting to hear all the pros, but sad to hear all the negatives too. I hope 2016 is a fantastic year for you. Gary xx

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  13. Some people are awful, I honestly can't believe grown adults have nothing better to do with their lives than insult a young girl on social media. The catch 22 is that if you did have surgery or something you'd be criticised for that, you just can't win. I think definitely take that you're being talked about as a sign of success, keep doing what you're doing. And more posts like this, it's really great to see the reality of some bloggers lives sometimes.

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  14. It's horrible what people think it's okay to say over social media sometimes! I'm sorry to hear about the lows of 2015 but the highs sound absolutely amazing! I hope that you're having a fabulous start to 2016 now!

    http://thecourtneydiaries.com

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  15. I love this hones post Laura, all the best for 2016 and you are fabulous!!! :-) x

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  16. Gotta say girl, I very much enjoyed reading that. And I don't really read blogs these days (whoops, don't tell anyone). Good on you for being as strong as you are. RESPECT Xx

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  17. Great read. Learned a lot about you, Laura!

    www.dressupchowdown.com

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  18. The best 'New year/2016' post I've read.
    I'm very jealous of all of your travelling! You've achieved some amazing things through your blog and it's obvious you work hard at it as well have having a job. Just so you know I've been the jealous/'why isn't that me girl' over YOUR Instagram when I'm having a bored scrolling session on my night shifts (I'm a vet student so not very glamorous!).
    Hope 2016 brings you more opportunities!

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  19. Happy New Year Laura! I've absolutely loved reading your blog after discovering it in 2015 and it's amazing what you've achieved.

    I think what has dawned on me in the past couple of years is that it doesn't matter how fantastic things are, every now and then I'm going to feel sad or down or anxious and that's actually natural and okay.

    Wishing you an amazing 2016, I can't wait to read about your next adventures!

    Laura xx | Loved By Laura

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  20. Happy New Year Laura, I absolutely love your blog - you are by far one of my faves & one of the most inspirational ones to me!

    You're so brave being so honest in your year review, sounds like whilst you've had lots of ups - you've also had lots of downs - so here's to 2016 being amazing for you! :)

    Also don't worry about the negative comments - haters are always gonna hate! I think you are an absolute stunner girl! :)

    Have an amazing 2016 - I'll be certainly following along! xx

    Simone x | The Aussie Flashpacker

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  21. Happy New Year Laura! There will always be people out there who don't like what we do but if you love it that's what matters most x

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  22. Cute photos :)
    BLOG M&MFASHIONBITES : http://mmfashionbites.blogspot.gr/
    Maria V.

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  23. This is my first time reading-- and what a great one it was! I just have to say that your blog is very refreshing and captivating, that you're beautiful inside and out, and that I'm jealous of your travelling XD I wish you all the best and success and self-love in the new year, and I'll definitely be returning here for more!!!
    xoxo,
    Steph

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  24. Beautiful post Laura. I like that you've shared your ups and downs for 2015 it's so real and refreshing.

    Big ups for 2016, you are a star.

    www.lookwhatigot.co.uk

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  25. You are absolutely amazing for being this honest and sharing your story just the way it is. I also feel like I will never be good enough, will never be as beautiful as those other bloggers out there and sometimes it keeps me from even trying. But you are so brave to have tried things, and yes maybe you failed but that's life. I applaud you for trying and when in the end you end up failing and feeling terrible and miserable, that's okay. That's life too. I am just so glad that I read to the end because you touched my heart and made me indeed feel like I am not alone in this world feeling like I am. We are worth it girl, and you keep on doing the great things you do and keep on producing great honest content. You will get there. I know you will, because you are amazing.

    love,
    Margot

    http://www.aheartyhome.com

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  26. I've been following you on Facebook for a while but this is the first blog post I've read - you have such a great style and I will definitely be reading more!
    Thanks for your honesty - it's a rare gem these days! Wishing the best in 2016 x

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