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31 December 2016

thank you 2016, you were fun

i've been reading a looooooot of blog post wrap-up type things on the internets over the last couple of days, and despite the fact i said i was going to take a break from blogging for a bit, i want a bit of the action. especially after katy asked us girls for some of our 2016 highlights, and i couldn't seem to stop listing them. like, ok sure: 2016 has been an absolute burning ball of a shit show for the most part, but as my happy things posts have proven: it's not all been that bad. and for me personally, it's been pretty damn exceptional; i've had a really freaken good year. in fact, i've probably had more good things happen to me personally than bad, and so i think that despite everything, 2016 will be remembered in a good way. because...

travel plans

i began the year planning. i decided this would be the year to see as much as i possibly could. i planned to hit 12 new countries in 12 months, which soon was downgraded to 12 new *places* in 12 months, because - who the hell can afford that!? well, apparently others can, but this guy certainly cannot. but, 12 new places was the challenge, and not only did i achieve that, i exceeded my target by three. yup, 15 new places, and two places i had already been. that's 17 trips, long weekends, or solo trips around the uk and abroad in 12 months. i'm pretty happy with that. my highlights were venice with charley, reykjavik with my mum, sorrento with all the girls, and north wales with bex.

new flat

i finally got the guts to move out of the flat i liked with the flatmate who did nothing but stress me out, and moved in with my good pal carmen. for the first time in a looong time, i've had a happy space where i can be quiet or loud or busy or lazy or whatever i want to be, and cook when i want and do nothing if i want to do nothing, and maybe not vacuum as much as i should and.. well,  it's been great. we did a massive ikea trip and bought plants and a microwave and had family dinners and bought throw rugs and put up a christmas tree, and all without barely any arguing. bliss. there really is nothing better than being totally comfortable in your home life to make a girl feel good about herself.

happy pills

yep. this year i finally sought some medical advice for some of the anxiety i haven't been able to cope with for a while on my own, and it's been the best decision i've ever made. i've been far less moody, been far more upbeat, and been sleeping a whole lot more, and those are all good things for a human person in the twenty first century. i am the poster child for positive reinforcement when it comes to mental health intervention, and i cannot recommend speaking to your doctor about getting your own help *enough* if you think you could use it. truly, i was scared of starting "anti depressants", mainly because i'm not depressed. i'm an anxious person, but i wasn't coping. i worried that pills might make me a bit of a zombie, but truly the exact opposite happened; i became more me than i'd been in a long time. and people noticed. and it's been good. and it's good. i'm good.

new directions

because of said happy pills, i became more focused. at work, in my social life, in my home life; i just seem to be a lot more clear headed and able to concentrate. it's been good for me in a work way, because i've been producing better work, been a more productive team member, been a more reliable employee. i've been recommended for things, i've been nominated for things, i've been noticed for things, by people you want to be noticed by. oh, and i completed a diploma in content marketing. yeah. it's been... overwhelming, but in a really positive way, and for the first time in a long time, i've been forging out some sort of career path for myself, where previously i wasn't all that bothered about "what's next". look, it's not as if i've got some five year plan worked out, hell, my five minute plan still involves a nap and another piece of toast, but... baby steps. so far, so good.

healthy habits

i joined the gym this year, and "purchased" a trainer. i mean, i didn't buy the trainer, but i employed one for almost six months. at first i thought i'd hate going to the gym - and i suppose i actually did. it's sweaty and stinky and gross, but maaaaan, did it start to make me feel really good. like, euphoric. like, one of those morons that says "you can't beat the feeling of those post-gym endorphins!" you actually can't, it feels great. and, with thanks to my trainer, i got into a shape that i hadn't been for a looooong time. not since i was in my twenties at least, and it was great. but then life got in the way and i got busy and gym fell by the wayside. but now that i'm off work, i'm back. with a vengeance. this year i am going to do better, try harder, be healthier. i'm excited!

the best birthday

this year i got to spend my birthday with my mum. i haven't done that in over ten years - crazy, huh! and on top of that, we were in reykjavik, having the best holiday of my life. we swam in the blue lagoon, chased northern lights, and ate some of the greatest sushi i've even eaten. it was honestly one of the best birthdays i've ever had, and definitely the most memorable. i haven't been able to stop telling people all about this trip, and i was just sooooo happy to be able to spend that time with my mum. we had a blast, and barely fought at all!


honestly, i have the greatest circle of friends. the majority of them i met online, which makes them even cooler  mainly because i "knew" a lot of them before we even met, so i didn't have the chance to do that thing i do when i meet people for the first time: make a bad first impression. because of these girls i have constant support, mentors, allies, cheerleaders, dinner dates, coffee friends and a plethora of other positive and easily filled roles at the end of the whatsapp group chat. i really am the luckiest girl on the internet.

blog strides

aaaaand, well i guess, this blog's been on the up and up too. i don't really know how to talk about it without sounding like a brag, but this year's been the best one yet as far as the opportunities that have presented themself because of it are concerned. i've travelled around the uk a lot (thanks to visit england and co), and seen some incredible cities because of it. i've had some amazing brands want to collaborate with me on content (clinique, anyone?). i've had some amazing feedback from readers on posts i've been unsure about (uhm, scared much?). i've hit milestones on social media platforms, and grown my readership. i've been nominated for three blog awards, which is so freaken cool that it doesn't matter that i've won none of them. i feel like my photography has improved, and can only get better. it's been an unreal year for this blog, truly. and if it all dries up tomorrow, i will still be one happy bunny. i could not be more proud of the strides i've taken.

see what i mean? 2016 wasn't all that bad at all. and, if this is what can happen to a person in "a bad year", imagine what a new year can bring! whatever this year has brought for you, i really do hope that 2017 is much kinder to us all. now, why don't you tell some of your highlights from this year? 

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