I guess its a bit of a weird thing to do, reviewing your year. However in an odd way, it’s strangely therapeutic and quite reflective when thinking about what I want to achieve in 2016. It’s likely to be a bit of a personal post, with things I haven’t shared before on here – so you’ll have to bare with me if I waffle a bit. Overall, I’d say it’s been a very good year for me, in the strangest of ways – and I am looking forward to seeing what the New Year brings.
21 is the age when you officially ‘become an adult’ I suppose, and so it was an exciting prospect. I spent my birthday with my family, celebrating at home before heading back to University to see friends. I kind of wish in hindsight that I’d spent the 6th January (my actual birthday) at home because I was in a very awkward living situation (more on that later). I ended up spending the day I turned 21 dealing with police and forensics teams, since the back door of our University house had been smashed into during the night and I was the only one around that day. It was a memorable birthday to say the least but not as special as I’d have hoped. Oh well! Danielle and I ventured to Prague (post here) to make up for it.
Coming to the realisation that you’re not going to get on with everyone in life…
The first year of University was a blur of making new friends, settling in and lots of parties. In the first term, I made the effort to venture out and go drinking and meet people, however in reality – this wasn’t particularly ‘my thing’. So when I moved into a house with people I thought I were friendly with in second year, keen to knuckle down a bit (since it really counted), things got a bit awkward when they couldn’t process why I didn’t want to come out all the time.
When you’re forced to be social and made to feel guilty if you’re not in the throng of all the action constantly, it makes you even less keen to venture out and eventually things got a bit hostile.
I am quite a sensitive person and I ALWAYS take anything said to me (indirectly or directly) to heart, which isn’t an easy trait to have. 2015 finally made me come to the realisation that not everyone is going to like you or get on with you. It doesn’t make you a bad person (or them necessarily) but it’s not going to affect you negatively unless you let it. I now feel a million times happier, as I’m out of the situation luckily however it was a big learning curve for me. I refuse to let others be responsible for or at the helm of my happiness.
Changing up my diet and managing my IBS
I won’t go into depth about this one too much, as I wrote a lengthy post about it here. However, essentially – 2015 became the year that I finally took my IBS treatment into my own hands, having lost faith in various different GP’s prescribing me various different medications. I had a rather invasive procedure to check that the symptoms (which were so severe I was pretty much confined to my bedroom) weren’t anything more serious and once I’d had that reassurance, I could get to work really changing up my diet.
Putting on two big events!
As many of you will know, as well as running my blog – I also put on several events each year, bringing together relevant brands and bloggers in one huge venue! These initially started off as very small lunches in 2013 after feeling frustrated at not knowing many bloggers who were attending the press events I was starting to get invited to. Plus, I wanted to meet the people I’d been chatting to online (and had so much in common with). Gradually, more people expressed an interest in attending and there’s now over 400 amazing like-minded bloggers signed up to my database – which is incredible! 2015 saw the #SLBloggerBash in April, which partnered with the fabulous Search Laboratory and the annual #BloggersFestival in September, which hosted over 200 of you – showcasing brands such as LEGO, The Perfume Shop and Mode Media.
I could have never imagined that my tiny lunches would grow into something so large, nor had I ever imagined how rewarding putting on an event can be. Although slightly stressful as the big day draws closer, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing bloggers chatting and enjoying your event – building relationships with brands for future collaborations and leaving feeling inspired and blog-motivated.
I’m so excited to share that in 2016, once I’ve graduated (fingers crossed), I will be running SL Events as a proper business, alongside my blog – and attempting to make it work as a full-time thing! It’s nerve-wracking, because I have had the ‘talk’ from close friends and family, who think I’m better off getting a ‘real job’ however I’m determined to set up my own business and hopefully make it work, doing something I really really love. Who knows what the future has in store!
Going for something…
I’m still not quite ready to share the details of this yet – although I’ve hinted at it several times online. I definitely will, at some point – however I’m not sure when the right time is. Essentially, I’d been wanting to undergo something since the age of about 13-14 and never having had the guts (or money) to go through with it, it largely lay as a ‘dream’ until something sparked me to change my mind and just go for it.
I am SO much happier and far more confident since the change and in time, I’m really excited to share my journey with you. I had to include it as part of my summary, as it was a huge 2015 memory – but I’ll let you know properly in due course. In fact, my means of announcing it might be slightly more glamorous and ‘larger’ than I initially anticipated. Oh the mystery. Sorry to be so allusive!
People often ask me what it’s like sharing my life online – however I think when you have a blog, you can pick and choose what you want to share. Not everything is picture perfect and filtered, but that’s usually the side we choose to show to others. I’m not saying that’s entirely ‘right’, but it’s the way things are and behind the scenes can often tell a very different story. I went through a break-up in 2015, which ended very amicably – however it was the right thing to do and although you always have your doubts, I’ve come out the other side so much happier. You can often feel trapped doing something you’re used to because it’s comfortable and ‘easy’, rather than because it makes you happy. I changed this and felt far better for it.
2015 saw me expand my travel horizons and venture off on a whopping 6 press trips! I know that’s probably not that many in the grand scheme of things, but for me – who set out to build an online portfolio of my hobbies and writing rather than travel the world, it’s a pretty bit achievement (and bonus, I suppose!). I went to Switzerland in March and in June, I went to Magaluf, Austria, Sorrento and Naples. Then in September, I stayed at a beautiful private villa in Crete!
In 2016, once I’ve graduated – I’d love to tick some more destinations off my bucket list. I’m hoping to go to Thailand as a post-grad treat – so watch this space! As odd as it may sound, I’d also love to explore more of the UK – maybe heading up to Scotland (Edinburgh is a place I’ve always wanted to visit), so if you have any recommendations, do let me know!
New Years Resolutions
In terms of New Years Resolutions, for once in my life – I’m not going to set any for 2016. I just want to continue being able to do what I love (which is to blog and run events), surround myself with great people and continue with my healthy eating and dairy free way of life. I’m hoping I’ll graduate with a 2:1 in the Spring, as I’m finding it pretty tricky to balance everything and have been working 8am – 11pm most days of the week!
Of course, I’d love to grow my Instagram and Twitter following (so if that happens it’s a bonus) but every year I’ve put pressure on myself (unnecessarily) to achieve something and often feel like a failure if not everything goes to plan. I’ve come to realise that life never really goes to plan – and actually, that’s okay. Some of the best moments and best memories are surprises – so I’m happy to wait and see!
Do you have any favourite moments from 2015? I’d love for you to share them below!