Happy New Year Everyone! I truly, truly hope you're all really, super duper well and you had the best festive time with your loved ones. I can't believe I managed to take a whole 12 days off from working... Now that has never ever happened in the past 5 years since I started this little slice of internet!!! It just kind of happened and it just felt oh-so totally right.
Aside from a blogpost that was written before Christmas Eve and scheduled for in-between Christmas and New Year and filming a quick sit down video for my channel, I literally did squat all and didn't once feel even a tiny bit guilty about it, HUZZAH!
Christmas was magical and went by in a blur, as it tends to do. A blurry haze of champagne, cheese and chocolate, the three best C's in the English dictionary AMIRIGHT!? And my New Year was spent in a relaxed ole-fashion but I wouldn't have had it any other way.
2017 was crazy, in a good way, for the most part.
There were incredible highs that were sometimes met with earth shattering lows but all in all it was a good year. And as a sentimental old fool, I wanted to note down some of the things that I'm proud of from 2017, just a few, because it's times such as New Year when I find it so important to look back, just a little bit, in order to reflect and make yourself a better person for the fresh year ahead.
Resolutions are all well and good, but I'm more of a believer of seasonal goals rather than yearly ones, so instead I prefer to glance back at the past 365days and to be proud of where I've come. Look at only the good bits, remember the bad bits have happened, never forget them, but try not to dwell. We have a new year stretched out before us and it's the perfect time to be thankful and to be proud of ourselves, 'cause girl we've got this, we really, truly do!
Buying My First House
This is a major biggie for all first time buyers and this is probably the thing I am most proud of this year (just about, but the next one is a V close second.)
Buying my own property is something I've dreamt about since I was a little girl. I've always been the kind of child who wanders around department stores or furniture showrooms or even B&Q with my parents and proclaimed "When I grow up I'm going to have this in my house" It's been high on my list of priorities for as long as I can remember despite a few wobbles and admittedly a few meltdowns along the way having lost faith in myself to ever make this dream a reality.
However, I saved up, I worked my little backside off and I made my dream happen and for that I am extremely proud of myself. I have my first house, with the love of my life and it's all pretty damn perfect indeed.
And you know what, it's okay to say that. It's okay to say that things are good and that you are proud of what you have achieved, there is absolutely no shame in that! If you've done something you're proud of, no matter how big or small that may be, then you shout it from the roof tops girl! Forget those who want to rain on your parade or dull your sparkle, it's usually out of sheer jealousy anyway, this is your life, you make your own dreams happen, forget everybody else.
And with that, yeah, I'm freaking SO proud of my bricks and mortar!
Raising over £5,000 for We ❤️ Manchester
When I referred to the earth shattering lows in the first paragraph I was of course referring to the heartbreaking events that took place in my home town of Manchester on 22nd May 2017. The Manchester Arena was attacked by terrorists whilst children, teenagers and their parents left a pop concert; a time where they should have been totally elated and full of happiness.
What happened that night broke my heart and those around me here in Manchester and the world alike, in ways I can never ever explain. It was a pain I've never felt before, a grief for those I've never met that I simply didn't know you could feel before then. I tried to write down my feelings in this post here but still, reading that back, I don't feel I really articulated just how I felt when the news broke that evening.
After a week or two of endless tears, I decided to do something to help. Families had lost loved ones and this wasn't okay! I had to help in the only way I knew how and that was through a charity clothes sale.
I planned, I priced, I packed, I set up and I hosted it all myself. It was something I had to do for me. I didn't want anybody's help with it, I just had to do this myself, for my city.
When the day came around, I managed to rope in my gorgeous family and friends to assist with raffle tickets, tills and re-racking the items and boy am I grateful to them for everything they did that day!
I still, to this day cannot believe just how many of you showed up to support me and the charity that day. Hundreds of you beautiful humans queued around the block to come and shop my wardrobe, it was a truly incredible day. A day that completely knocked me for six! I don't think you can really appreciate the power of the internet until you have a small room full of "strangers" that simply do not feel like strangers, we were all friends and it was beyond beautiful!
I was SO proud of myself that day, a feeling of pride like no other I have ever felt before and I doubt I'll ever feel again. We raised over £5,000 for the We ❤️ Manchester Fund so we should all be proud together.
Opening Up About Self Confidence
This year I spoke out about my insecurities and my lack of self belief and self confidence sometimes. I wrote two blogposts which felt like two of the hardest things I've ever had to hit publish on and they were received so wonderfully indeed. I'm proud to have opened up about this and to show you all that even with an online presence and a career that means taking photographs of myself, it doesn't mean that I have my shit together when it comes to self confidence. It opened up so many stories from you lot and the comments section of both blogposts were truly inspiring, kind, loving and warm and for that I am proud! Proud to have started a conversation such as this and proud to have such a gorgeous and supportive readership and following. If you'd like to read the blogposts I am talking about, then please click here and here.
2017 was also the year that I tackled one of my biggest fears or speaking in public! Even just the thought of it used to send shivers down my spine, leave me with a knot in my stomach and the feeling that I was going to be sick. I would turn down each and every opportunity that came my way if it meant that I had to speak to a group of people, even those who were readers/followers of mine and even if it was one of my all time favourite brands asking me to do so.
I missed out on many great opportunities and something had to give.
I enrolled onto a public speaking course and I confirmed three job offers to speak to an audience, nothing like throwing yourself in at the deep end hey!?
But alas I loved it... Once it was all over that is. There's something about stepping out of your comfort zone, feeling nervous or somewhat scared that really gets your blood pumping. I hadn't had adrenaline like that since I was at university and it was definitely what I needed to give me a good kick up the bum and to make me realise that I can do absolutely anything if I set my mind to it, as can you too! YES YOU CAN!
Getting Stuck In
This year has probably been my busiest one to date, it's been full of awesome moments and achievements and I am SO totally grateful and proud of every opportunity that comes my way. One that really springs to mind is the upcoming campaign with L'Oreal which was shot by non other than Rankin! Rankin is a photographer I've admired for so many years, whilst L'Oreal is a brand we've all grown up with so it is quite incomprehensible for me to be able to work with both of them on such a huge campaign. The shoot date itself was probably one of the best days of my career, filled with so much adrenaline, creativity and fun and I am SO excited to see the finished outcome and to of course share it with you lovely bunch later this month!
Travelling to New York, Miami, Tenerife with Hard Rock Hotels, Paris with The Kooples, Hermes and H&M, Spain with Campo Viejo and Amsterdam all for work is truly mind boggling for me and something I never, ever take for granted. I'm also grateful to have worked so closely with Topshop, Net-A-Porter, Cath Kidston, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, Levi's, Converse and so many more brands that I've adored for as long as I can remember. My job is the most incredible in all the land and I'm so proud that I've been able to create a world of my own, not to mention a world I love and get to share with a wonderful audience such as you. I'll forever be proud of that.
And there we have it, just a couple of the things I am most proud to have achieved this year. Whilst I'm all about looking ahead, it is so important to have a sneaky glance back from time to time in order to reflect, adapt and revaluate things. It's also extremely important to give yourself a pat on the back from time to time 'cause girl, we made it through another year. We laughed, loved, worked, played, cried, we did it all for 365 days and that, in itself is worth a high 5 or two.
And with that I want to say how proud I am of my beautiful mum and dad, for everything they do. I'm beyond proud of my little sister Faye for moving back up to Manchester (thank god!) and absolutely SLAYING it at her all new job in fashion. And George, I am so proud of everything you achieved in 2017, Jimmy's is the most awesome rock & roll bar in the country (I'm biased... Sue me!) and it's all down to you and your drive, passion, creativity and kind soul, you're mint!
So yeah, that got soppy quickly didn't it!
What can I say, this time of the year gets me each and every time.
Be proud of yourself and tell those you love your proud of them too, we all need it in blue old January.
I'm proud of you, all of you!
Happy New Year!