2016 Reflections | 10 Things I have learnt.

2016 : Well where the HELL do we start?! It’s been an absolutely insane year : Pokemon Go mania, Hold-The-Door / Holdor, Bowie, the Orlando massacre, Black Lives Matter, Rio Olympics, Brexit, Nice, Syria, Trump, Racer Snakes, George Michael & more ; it’s been news-filled, controversial, debate-ridden, saddening, tragic, overwhelming and on some occasions….actually really quite good. 

For me personally, it’s been a year of learning. I’ve progressed in my work & career and I have worked with some of my biggest clients-to-date, my blog has grown, I *finally* started my YouTube Channel, I had closure, I took control of tasks, I never knew I could accomplish, I have travelled to and holidayed in Vermont, Boston, Italy & The Scilly Isles, Wales, Jersey and erm I bought a frickin’ house.

10 Things I have learnt in 2016:

1.) Moving on is hard , but possible.

A few weeks ago I flew back to my home of Jersey to finally spread my mum’s ashes, 2 years on. I have been open and honest in my struggles when it comes to moving on after my mum’s death but I feel like this was a form of moving on and I no longer have this looming over me. I feel she is free and I have done it right by her and she would be happy. I have so many of her belongings and possessions in my house (I had 80 boxes shipped from Jersey to my house in London earlier this year..) and I am yet to even open or go through many of the things. It’s very tough. However, I have made a promise to myself that after Christmas, I will start going through her things and start clearing and de-junking everything I do not need. Clinging on to every little thing of hers is not going to make me any happier, and it will change nothing….except clutter up my home!

In layman’s terms, I have felt probably 80% of constant sadness since she passed away, and I think I’m now around 60%. I’m getting better, but I know I will keep improving and be back to *normal* very soon. With loss, especially I think with your mum, the pain never will go away but you simply have to adapt, adjust and live with it.

2.) Self promotion is not a bad thing.

I have always been a little shy of compliments and blowing my own horn….in fact for the most part I have found it a little cringey and laughable, but I just know that if you are working freelance as I do, and/ or a blogger then you actually NEED to shout and sing your own praises off the rooftops once in a while/ every day. It’s such a competitive world that we are in, that you just need to bite the bullet and do it. Ok, I’m not talking about being full-blown narcissistic , self-important ego-maniac coz that’s annoying as shiiiiit, but I’ve learnt it’s ok to be proud when you achieve things, hit your goals and kick some A$$ one way or another. You rock and others (potential clients, peers, family, friends, brands & followers) may need to know this.

3.) I am absolutely shit @ Instagram.

I just CAN’T….I CAN’T DO THE THEME THING. I’ve tried, believe me, I’ve tried. I’m a terrible instagrammer and I just can’t stick to patterns, colour-themes and waiting to post photos because it doesn’t fit in with the next photo. I’m too damn impatient. I know it’s something that is super important to growing my IG following but I literally do a theme for like 3 days and then I go to a nice restaurant or see something amazing and i just want to share it. Ga, I love-hate-you-Instagram. 

In 2017 I’m going to try and up my Insta-game but I just don’t want it to look like a typical themed series of pics, so it’s something I’m working on at the moment to see how I can still be fun and creative without it looking like a mis-matched pile of Herman (that’s ma cat) poo. Pssssst you can follow me HERE<<< yay you.

4.) Friends change….and so do you.

I’ve changed over the years, I know I have…..how would I not expect other people to develop and change too?! Your beliefs, morals, interests and feelings are constantly being developed and moulded and this can sadly sometimes seem relationships fade and drift apart. It’s not because neither one of you dislikes the other (hopefully), it’s just that your lives can go on different paths and that is fine. I’ve seen friendships with some of my oldest friends change, particularly if they have children and start families as priorities change and this is completely natural…and I’m absolutely ok with that. I also believe your paths will re-align and cross again if they are supposed to. Embrace change and new friendships.

5.) Gary Vaynerchuk is really A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

If there is one thing you take from this post……go follow Gary Vaynerchuk on Social Media, like his facebook page & follow his YouTube. I only recently discovered him and it really has changed my mindset and way of thinking – in a positive way. He is an entrepeneur, a self-made business man, investor, CEO and public speaker who wear trainers all the time and swears. I promise you I have never been in to this kind of ‘stuff’, but just click on one of his videos and listen to what he has to say. MIND-BLOWN.

6.) You CAN have too many pairs of trainers.

In this last year alone I have accumulated another 10 pairs of trainers racking up my total up to 40+. I have always been one to take much joy in my ridiculous collection of comfies however I was lovingly gazing in my shoe storage the other day and my smug smile turned into a bit of a confused frown as I looked at the piles of dusty boxes accumulating and cluttering up my wardrobe space. There’s a few pairs I haven’t WORN, there’s only a handful (3-4) that I wear regularly. It’s kind of unnecessary, greedy and a little bit gross. I just found myself wanting to streamline my clothing and shoes into a more refined collection of stuff that I actually wear, without the stupid impulsive, often unnecessary buys. For 2017 I am vowing to give away or sell at least 50% of my wardrobe and buy a lot, LOT less. 2016 saw too much indulgence.

Yeah these ARE pretty though I hear ya.

7.) Online shopping is *actually* ok.

A really slightly irrelevant thing and by no means life-changing hmmmmm well kind of. I’ve had a total online shopping fear for the most-part of my life. I would always much rather take a trip into town to go and physically buy things I wanted/needed even if it meant I waited longer to get my hands on it. This year I have discovered the advantages and joys of online shopping and I am absolutely loving and embracing this whole online shopping vibe. Yes, I miss the physical process of going into shops but my god, there is so much more to choose from, more sizes and it’s so much less time-consuming to shop online. I started off small with literally just the odd bits and bobs off Amazon, and more recently in the last few months I ACTUALLY purchased clothes and beauty. Baby steps but I am getting there. I still won’t evade the actual proper shops when I need to get a whole bunch of things, but I am no longer afraid of doing the online thang. Is anyone else a little anti-online shopping?! I think the things that worried me was 1.) Security of card/bank info 2.) Missing parcels 3.) Having to send it back and all the fuss that came with it. However all these niggles/factors have been absolutely fine, easy and no problems thus far.

8.) I need to get fit & healthy again.

I am unfit and unhappy. I allowed myself to get right out of shape in 2016 and it really has impacted the way I feel about myself, my happiness and everything else in between. I don’t like being overweight, I just feel super uncomfortable and I’ve been blaming it on my mum passing away, but that is over 2 years ago now, so it’s time to really pick myself up and get fit and slim again. No more excuses, I also really am becoming more conscious of my health as I get older and being unfit and overweight is not conducive to a healthy life for me. I want to feel like me again!

9.) The Blogging world is fickle as fu@k.

We already knew this didn’t we?! I have found that a lot of PR’s who I used to work with, move on and work with other bloggers…more popular bloggers and kinda forget about me, and we all know that feeling when the e-mails become more indirect, and your reach-outs aren’t acknowledged or replied to. I feel like there are SO many bloggers coming through in an aggressive manor that it’s very hard to compete unless you are really spending a lot of time building relationships with PR’s and brands. I’ve learned not to take it personally when PR’s choose to work with other bloggers, they have a budget and at the end of the day, they need those all-important-numbers. 

I have seen and learnt that you kinda need to choose your blogger pals pretty carefully, there are SO many blog-climbing despos’ out there (errrrm basically people who are only interested in becoming friends with you to enhance their own profile and following….and when they have used you for what they can….then they are gone like a fucking thief in the night). It may sound like I am talking from a bitter personal experience here, but I’m not, I’ve always been very careful about becoming bezzies will ALLLLL the bloggers as I have seen the above happen on lots of occasions. People you would all know. Stay blogger-bitch safe people there are some faux friends out there who are only after you for your instagram following (well NOT MINE clearly – please refer to point 3.)

10.) Saying NO.

A slight continuation from the above but also in other aspects of my life. I am no longer saying YES YES YES to brand collaborations and attending events. I found that in the past I just wanted to say yes all the time in case ‘I missed out’ or I wouldn’t work with that brand again or the PR would forget me etc etc. I just feel like if I take too much on my work-life balance becomes tirelessly out of sync and I become more and more stressed and less-productive : Products piling up around me whilst I struggle for any inspiration. I’ve kind of taken back control by stepping back if that makes sense. If I don’t go to an event and the PR is not interested in contacting me again, then so be it, I generally think “their loss”…..cuz I’m awesome, and so is my lil’ blog that I’ve spent nearly 8 years building.

For the most part, I’ve had better things to do with my evenings than going to 3 events AFTER I’ve finished a full day @ work every day to chat sh*t to people who are glancing around the room to talk to someone more worthy and PR’s who literally do not know my name. MEOW. But….true.

I guess I’ve just learnt a bit more self-worth……like the indispensable and enthralling conclusion from Kylie Jenner…..I’ve ‘realised stuff’. LOL…. but kinda really actually ; I’ve realised stuff & things in 2016 that will help me develop in many aspects of my life. I feel that generally, most people grow with experiences both good and bad and develop into stronger people as we get older. I listened to Baz Lurhmann ‘Sunscreen’ recently and I remember listening to it at sixth form in school AND NOT REALLY UNDERSTANDING A THING ABOUT WHAT THIS CROAKY-VOICED DUDE WAS SAYING. Nearly 20 years on and listening to it not only terrified me in the fact that it has been that many years, but also by the fact that pretty much everything discussed in this ‘song’ is SO, unbelievably poignant, true and you just need to listen to the advice. A lot of it you will not really grasp unless you are perhaps a little older like myself, the grown 35 year old witch, but it’s seriously good. Have a listen.

I’m feeling super happy to see in a new year and become a better, healthier and more positive person. 

For me : The year of learning & feeling 20% less sad.