It’s the 31st of December which can only mean one thing, it’s time for a summary of the year that seems to have vanished without warning. Currently, I’m having a “how the hell is is 2015 tomorrow?!” moment and trying to recap on the best moments 2014 has brought me. On a year filled with ice bucket challenges, the Oscar selfie, Alex from Target, Kim K’s rear end and selfie sticks; for me it’s been another average year, filled with good and bad things, except this time I think the positive outweighs the negative.
This year I’ve managed to tick off a few of last years goals (I prefer to call them goals because I never ever manage to stick to resolutions and I like to think I’m working towards something rather than ordering myself to do it). I’ve made the most of my favourite musicians being on tour and bought tickets for many more concerts, I’ve spent time away with my loved ones and concentrated on the priceless encounters that keep the heart pumping, I got to fulfil my dream of visiting London and seeing a musical for my 21st, I enjoyed a 17 day break in sunny Spain and most of all I achieved much more than I could imagine out of this little piece of the internet I can be proud of.
Without trying to sound all inspirational, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt as each year goes by, it’s that life throws challenges at you for a reason. Obstacles are there for you to find the best way out, do what’s right and turn a situation into a lesson gained. This year I think I’ve finally stepped out of seeing every hurdle as a downer and tried to turn that around with a head held smile. The same goes for my blog, there’s been many up and down moments. I’ve lost motivation, I’ve put so much effort into a post and had nothing back, by god I’ve felt like giving it up completely but there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing where you are now and knowing you followed the right path. Developing is a learning process, in the real world and the blogging world. Taking each step at a time, compromising with the speed of the opportunities, pushing yourself to go with your thoughts, and working towards/building smaller objectives is the way forward.
Compared to last year, I’ve seen a massive difference. Yes, I’m no where near where I’d like to be; no, that doesn’t put me off. I only use that thought as inspiration for me to carry on advancing. With that in mind, I got to work on a list of my favourite blog achievements from this year. As little or big they are, each one provides me with a reason to strive towards succeeding.
1) Evolving my style. I am now at the point I know what I want, both clothes wise and mind wise. Blogging has helped discover the real me which was hiding behind someone dying to get out. I can go out and be comfortable in my own skin, I’m thinking more about being fashion forward when buying and I’m actually forming a style pattern (high neck jumpers, basic black garments and lots of shoes, I’m pointing at you). As cliche as it may be, I am thinking of doing a comparison type fashion post to highlight my key bits and to allow myself (and everyone else) to view the change so if you’re the slightest bit interested in seeing that then do let me know!
2) Feeling the enjoyment. This year has proven how much pleasure I get out of blogging. I don’t do it because of the perks or because I feel like I have to, I do it because I love it. I love reading blogs, I love discovering blogs, I love the excitement I get when I think of a new idea and I love sharing the hobbies in my life with you all. Only now, I need to be more consistent.
3) Being approached. 2014 has been the year of recognition when it comes down to my blog. I have had so many more PR emails and invites in my inbox, hey I’ve even managed to be shared by Primark on their Facebook page a couple of times and despite the stigma of narrow minded individuals accusing bloggers only doing it for the freebies and the easy money, it’s nice to see people thinking you are capable of the activities being questioned. No way did I ever think I’d be at this stage but I take it as a huge compliment when I get asked.
4) Growth of stats. Last year I was thanking everyone for my 81 followers, and reached my 10,000 page views. Fast forward a year and all together I have 582 followers, over 35,000 views and have attracted an increase in comments. I have more than doubled in views and eighthed (I just made that word up) in readers. I’m certainly no Olivia from What Olivia Did or Kate from ghostparties (which take top seats in my favourite bloggers of 2014 amongst many others who I never got the chance to display in a separate blog post may I add) and it’s not a magnificent amount but for me, it’s pretty incredible and pleased is an understatement.
5) Attending events and becoming more involved in the blogger community. This has to be my favourite of the five. This is something I’ve always desired and something I can now tick off the wish list. This year I was invited to seven events and managed to attend four; the Merumaya chat in Sheffield, Paul Mitchell Gift of Style in the swanky Quebecs Hotel, M&CO Christmas themed Fashion Party and my one true love, the Lush VIP Opening Night in the White Rose Centre. With this came many friendly faces, lovely girls and conversations that felt like you’d known them forever. There’s not a better feeling than finding someone to your loves in life and understanding your beliefs, both online and in person and with that, comes great happiness.
As per, the list of achievements is nothing opposed to my new goals I have set myself. One of my targets is stop being so tough on myself but I always find something (or more like a million things) to improve on. As each year passes I find myself reaching heights I wouldn’t have dreamt of grabbing the year before. Kind of like a never ending ladder, there’s always something at the top I’m urging to get. I find aiming and focusing in stages works better than doing it all at once and although they link together in more ways than reckoned, I think keeping personal and blogging goals separate is also an easier way to record and achieve.
1) Take myself out of my comfort zone. That, and trying harder. I’m one of those people who easily gets out of situations by making excuses or sitting back and ignoring the voices in my head telling me to go for it. Although I’ve enhanced a great deal recently in going with my heart and noticed how beneficial it is to my well being and how it really wasn’t that bad, I need to shake off the awkwardness, learn to say yes and don’t let anything stop me.
2) Create a photo diary. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now but never got round to doing so. I already have a memory box which I constantly keep adding to and which brings back all sort of emotions when visited but photographing a number of moments throughout the year to then recollect into one big recap in December would be equally as pleasing.
3) Show my character. Expressing my personality is something I find difficult, especially around strangers or people I feel I need to impress. I find being myself easier in writing but when coming face to face there’s a whole lot more concealed because I think that’s what’s best. I want people to recognise me by a distinctive attribute. I don’t think I have a stand out trait or anything that defines me and I think symbolising my true self will help that in the real and blogging world.
4) Speak up more. I often stay quiet to avoid trouble, despite being strong minded and whilst I deal with the build up of blood boiling ready to pounce. Sometimes I just can’t be bothered with the hassle an opinion brings in today’s society but I find expressing how I feel tends to clear my head and I’m glad for sticking up for what I believe in. This also intertwines with my blog, I feel like it’s time for me to bring more of my personal thoughts away from fashion and beauty. Whether my readers will like that or not I don’t know, it’s all about taking a risk.
5) Stop worrying about what other people think (and despite it being hard with an anxiety disorder, just stop worrying full stop and quit analysing every little thing). Another issue that eats me up, especially when the opportunity of meeting new people arises. I am always in constant fear of being judged, I avoid deep conversation, hold up on responding and daren’t acknowledge my qualities and oddities. Next year, it’s time for change. It’s time to be honest and true to who I am, and if people don’t like that, then I guess they weren’t worth it in the first place.
6) Concentrate on me. I mean this in all ways; giving myself praise, allowing some precious me time, doing what makes me happy, stop comparing myself to other people and stop wishing I was like that person who has more. It’s time for me to be content with what I already have and with that will bring a boost of energy my way and then I can place that into perspective, including my blog.
7) Make a difference. I have a wish to help and inspire others with the actions I take. This still hasn’t happened and I NEED to get cracking on it. I’m not really sure how, but I do know there’s plenty of people who crave help and advice in the world and if telling my story helps in any way, then that I shall do.
8) Live for the moment. Not for the social networking. It’s so easy to get caught up in the the latest tweet rather than what’s right in front of you these days. I hate how much technology has taken over children and everyday social skills, yet I’m guilty of having my head in my phone and my laptop from morning to night. Taking a picture is an exception, it’s always nice to treasure the moment by capturing it but I must remember having your head stuck in your phone at a gathering means you’re so much more likely to miss out.
9) Be healthy. Just like everybody else’s resolutions, I know, but I’m necessitating a detox as soon as January hits. I had a health kick in the summer but that soon deflated in winter. It’s amazing how much better and confident I felt when I exercised, introduced a balanced diet, drank plenty of water and regained a normal sleeping pattern. I had a glow in my cheeks and now I just feel sluggish 24/7. I don’t just want to change the way my body just flumps into one flabby shape, I want to rid of my bad habits, improve fitness levels and work towards an all round better lifestyle.
10) Explore. I am such a travel admirer, I’d kill to travel the world, in particular Dublin, Paris, Prague, Italy, Berlin, Greece, The Bahamas, the whole of America, and Dubai. Unfortunately for that, you need lots and lots of money which up until now, I’m extremely short of but that doesn’t mean I can’t explore my own country. I want to shake things up in the new year, go places I’ve never been before and pick out the best parts of England that are much more approachable. Who knows, I could discover a masterpiece.
1) Improve photography. The best decision I ever made was to get a DSLR and a versatile lens but it’s the technical usage of the camera that’s the tricky part. Since blogging, photography has become a passion. I’ve most certainly polished up my photography when looking back on what I produced last year but I’m determined to learn more about hitting the right angle and the ins and outs of taking the perfect picture as 2015 hits.
2) Be more innovative. As blogging is becoming more and more popular as we speak, it’s tough to fabricate content that’s original and one of a kind. One thing I aim to do is to jot down and compose of any ideas I have for my blog posts, whether it’s simple or bizarre. A lot of projects have been done before but I believe it’s the way you make them your own that counts. Copying isn’t cool, creating integrity and a unique twist in a topic, one that relates to and fits you to a tee is a better option.
3) Get planning and organising. I need to start scheduling my blog posts in an organiser or a spreadsheet (just to go all executive on you), writing down the days and having a rhythmic routine for my shambles of a daily ploy. I’ve been meaning to do this for so long yet I still leave everything to the last minute. I don’t want to be sat up till 1am writing a blog post because I feel like I’ve let my readers down. Having something ready just in case and doing blog stuff in chunks (like photographing lots of things for different posts all at once for example) is my aim for next year, as well as leaving some spare time to de-stress and relax, knowing things are done and dusted. Balancing the two will most likely enable me to do so.
4) Include personal and controversial topics. As I said before, my own personal views manifested into my blog is something I hope to grasp. Often these sort of issues are pushed aside but I enjoy having a rant now and again and it would be interesting to see what other people think. Obviously there’s no right or wrong answer and I’d keep it clean and simple as causing offence is not what I’m wanting. I just think it’s a great way to get people talking and I won’t feel so down on myself if people do agree with something I feel passionate about.
5) Post more regularly. Like the planning and organising, I need to keep repeating that over and over so it registers in my ever so forgetful brain. I’m gradually getting there; there’s days where I can write up half a dozen posts and then days where I stare blankly at a screen. I think with the preparation of posts will come more drafts and I’ll find myself getting into a proper routine. Let’s hope anyway.
6) Have a dedicated day post. I really love reading these sort of posts. Like Amy’s Sunday Posts and Charlotte’s Motivational Mondays. It’s not only invigorating, it’s something different from the rest, it gives you something fresh to congregate and you are guaranteed at least one post sorted every week.
7) A new blog design. A professional one this time. This is the first thing I’ll be on board with in 2015. I’ll gather up all the best recommendations, do some research and take it from there. I never really thought spending money on a layout is necessary but I do believe an ordered template which is easy to follow and eye catching at the same time makes a hell of a difference to who reads your blog and who scrolls straight past it.
8) Having a domain. This is another big step for me. I think a new year is the perfect time to give your blog a revamp and in my case, it’s the perfect time to revolutionise to a .com or a .co.uk. For one, it will make me feel all professional (but trust me, I’m definitely not), secondly I will have my own individual url and thirdly, it’s much easier to type. It’s a win win situation here, guys.
9) Interpret more style based posts. Not just outfits (although I am planning on basing a whole lot more of my content around how I choose to style my wardrobe), but a summary of everything that links in with style. Ever since I was little, I’ve been a fashion crazy sorta lady and I’m always following up the latest trends and advice so why not include that in some posts?! Also, I’m hoping to mix my outfit locations up a little. This probably won’t work as I don’t have anyone available for travelling the city looking for scenic backgrounds but still, there’s no harm in trying and wishing to achieve.
10) Remember to give myself a break. Things get on top of me so easily, I’m wound up instantly and I panic stress at the thought of a super busy day ahead of me, constantly telling myself I won’t be able to manage. Although I do see my self-criticising improving, I’m such a pessimistic mare and I’m the first one to shrug off anything optimistic said about me. I’m repeatedly paranoid and think i’ve never done enough of a good job. This has to stop, I need to learn to give myself a pat on the back and stay cheery for more than 5 minutes.
I feel like I have rambled way too much for one post, which sounds about right for me. Maybe this is another goal for me to take into consideration; know how to stop once you start! Anyhow, I must dash as today is a busy day. It’s always double the fun when it’s your mum’s birthday on New Year’s Eve. Not like we’re doing anything fancy, the poor birthday girl has to work till 7, and everyone has deserted her, so it’s just me, my brother, grandma, cousin and partner heading off to Frankie and Benny’s (I may as well add to the appalling diet I’ve encountered over the Christmas festivity period. One more slap up meal before the detox won’t hurt, right?!) and then a quiet one at home afterwards, celebrating the new year with a toast to good will and a happy, healthy start because after all, snuggling in a warm, cosy house with ideal company and going to sleep as soon as it turns midnight is more appealing. Granny life all the way.
I hope whatever you have planned for tonight, you have the loveliest time. Whether that be a glitzy, sparkly event, a trip down your local boozer, with your whole family, or just with the main people in life who you can always rely on, like I am. Celebrating your way is important because there’s no one like you and that’s what makes the world go round (another failed inspirational motto for you to soak in there).
With that in mind, I want to thank you for coping with my whining ways, your interest in my blog is what stimulates me to carry on and I hope you make my day by continuing to read in 2015. Happy New Year, and I’ll speak to you next year! (I always get a kick out of saying that!)
P.S. if you have any blog/general life aims for next year, feel free to tell me them as I love a good insight into other people’s lives!