As hideous as 2016 has seemed in the media, for me it’s been a life changing year in a good way. So many things have evolved in ways I never expected them too and I’m currently sat here feeling very lucky indeed. But not in a smug way, because everything up until this point has been a long, hard slog – so I’m finally enjoying the rewards!
Before we move into the new year, I thought I’d put together a round up post of all my highlights – since I’d love to document some of them and share some things that I’ve probably not yet made public on my blog. Here goes…
The Big Things
2016 marked the year that I finally graduated from Bournemouth University! My three years on their Multi-Media Journalism course were probably my toughest yet and while I’m very pleased to have made it to the end, I did have many moments I thought I’d have to leave.
I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I didn’t really blend into student life seamlessly. I wasn’t into the whole getting drunk and partying until the early hours thing. I’m way too much of a grandma. Ha!
However studying and living away from home did make me grow up a hell of a lot and I do feel I’m a more well-rounded person because of the experience.
I’m not naturally intelligent and found the work very difficult (the course itself is very intense – often with 30 hour weeks, 6 exams a year, 7 modules and shorthand) so I was incredibly amazed and delighted to have achieved a First Class Honours Degree at the end of it!
It’s my biggest achievement to date and while my job aspirations don’t exactly call for a degree itself, I’m glad I’ve got it as a back up plan!
Believe it or not, travelling wasn’t really on my radar until a few years ago, when I took a job in PR at a student destination company. Writing press releases about these amazing destinations all over the world opened my eyes to the vast, beautiful world we have in front of us – and very soon, I’d started an ever evolving bucket list of countries I wanted to visit. In 2016, I managed to tick quite a few of those places off my list – in fact, I went on eight trips in total!
Back in March, I ventured to Bologna in Italy for a whirlwind trip, then it was off to Mykonos, then Denia in Spain (which I visited twice), before heading off to Thailand for a few weeks and touring Bangkok and the incredible Islands. I’d have to say that Koh Samui is my favourite, however if you’re looking to feel like a real globetrotting bare-footed traveller (which feels so freeing), head to Koh Phi Phi!
In September, I was lucky enough to explore the beautiful island of Hvar, off the coast of Croatia – and then in October, I ventured to Reykjavik in Iceland to see the Blue Lagoon – one of the wonders of the world. Finally, earlier this month I flew to Mexico for a week of pure relaxation and detoxing – although we did fit in a few trips and photo sessions! Once a blogger, always a blogger!
Without a dissertation to complete next year, I’m hoping to tick many more off the list! In fact, I have a few trips already in the pipeline which I’m excited to share with you!
As many of you know, I met David in early 2015 and we’ve been together ever since.
I thought it would be tricky balancing a long distance relationship while I was back at University in Bournemouth, however since I finished in May – we’ve become lots closer and I’m lucky that he understands the world of blogging (and the sheer amount of photographs it entails) and wants to explore the world with me!
In August, David bought a beautiful new build house and we’ve been working on decorating it together ever since! Very kindly, he’s let me have one of the upstairs bedrooms as a walk-in-wardrobe (squeal!) and another for my dressing table, so I’m a very lucky girl! Cue lots of photos in the New Year when it’s all painted and set up!
As much as it’s incredible to have our own space to make our own, it’s opened my eyes to how much everything costs (spoiler – a ginormous amount).
Who knew that boring things like a loft ladder will set you back £80 and a toilet roll holder £15. You don’t even think about these things usually.
And don’t even get me started on made-to-measure curtains. You could quite literally buy a car for the same amount.
After making the decision to go full-time with my blog after graduating from University in May, I was a little apprehensive about how things would go. Blogging, although invariably an amazing career to have, is rather unpredictable. Some months you can quite easily splash out on Asos orders to your hearts content and not worry, while others leave you feeling like you may need to take everything back and live on beans on toast. However I wouldn’t change it and now that I’m dedicating all my time to it, it’s opened my eyes to the possibilities that come with having your own business.
I also set up my digital agency in the latter part of the year, offering social media and influencer marketing consultancy services to brands (few what a mouthful), which has gone down more successfully than I ever could have imagined. I work with a number of incredible clients who I genuinely love and feel passionately about growing the brand and being a part of the team. It’s great to keep active in both sides of the blogging world and it means I can understand and manage the expectations of both parties!
This month, I finally set up ‘Scarlett London Digital‘ as a limited company, which is super exciting (as I’m now incorporated) albeit a little scary too! It just means that I’m looking at things with more of a business head and I’m also looking to expand and offer a totally unique service. It’s taught me loads about the world of business and taxes – the latter of which, I’ve only just got my head around. I’m thinking of doing a big post on what I’ve learned about taxes (following up from this post) as I’ve made some interesting discoveries and currently, there isn’t much online about what you can and can’t do as a blogger – since it’s such a new industry!
The Little Things
Conquering my anxiety
I’ll probably do another post (or even a video – more on this later) in the New Year about this, but since it’s something I’m proud of this year, it was worth an inclusion.
Some of you may or may not know that I suffer from IBS (more on that here) which over the years has manifested itself into a horrible anxiety condition that rears it’s ugly head and sets off my stomach symptoms.
While I managed to get the diet/trigger foods under control last year, this year’s focus was all about my mental health and back in the summer, I finally began a course of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to try and curb my anxiety.
I won’t go into great amounts of depth but it definitely helped and while I still have my bad days, I’m feeling so much more positive about life and all the things it throws at me!
Realising what truly matters
I’ll be honest, I’ve always struggled with the fear of people not liking me – or the worry of disappointing others. For many years, I lived my life under the careful pretence of not wanting to upset anyone.
But recently, I’ve realised that regardless of how wonderful, kind and caring you try to be – there will always be someone that doesn’t like you or who doesn’t respect you in the way you respect them.
While I can’t say that I don’t get disheartened when someone lets me down or does something I feel is disrespectful, I understand now that it’s not my fault and that I can’t try to control other people’s reactions. What truly matters, as selfish as it may sound from the outset – is your own wellbeing and happiness.
I have a huge thing about trying to balance everything and control everything (i.e.: I hope no-one lets me down, or I hope this goes to plan, or I hope so and so does this).
But in reality, the only thing you can control is your own actions, reactions and emotions.
Knowing this has given me a lot of relief in times where I’ve panicked about what someone else might be thinking about a certain situation. It’s not up to me to control everyone – and I’m okay with that.
Appearing on TV… three times
If you’d have told me this time last year that I’d be on TV in 2016, I would have laughed in your face. I hated having my photo taken and goodness forbid if you got a dodgy side profile.
But then I suppose my rhinoplasty surgery gave me confidence that I never thought I’d ever have. And I kept saying yes to opportunities, regardless of how scary they sounded.
Obviously appearing on TV wasn’t exactly a lifelong dream of mine but it’s quite a unique thing and one I’ve been lucky to experience on three seperate occasions this year.
I had my very own TV commercial on ITV, E4 and MTV! How cool was that! Ironically, I never actually saw it on TV myself because I was so busy during the months it was shown and since I was moving house, I didn’t even have a television in my bedroom. But it popped up when my mum was watching Real Housewives and she filmed it for me!
And then I was interviewed on Channel 5 news about cosmetic surgery and my opinions on why young women were having it done so much more frequently. It’s quite funny because I think they were trying to steer me to say that I had my surgery because I felt peer pressured by the media’s influence on what beauty is. But really, I just hated my nose. It was too big. And I wanted to change it to feel more confident. The celebrity world had zero influence.
Finally, I was invited to take part in Eamon and Ruth’s ‘How The Other Half Live’ – which was super exciting because I love the presenting duo and I love the show! I was to be appearing on behalf of designer Jody Bell as the face of her latest couture collection. It was so interesting to see how everything works behind the scenes, film in a luxury London hotel suite and of course be interviewed by Ruth!
Discovering my love for cooking
I’ve never needed help to realise that I love food. I’ve always loved food. Just the food didn’t love me back. It made me quite poorly. Last year, I had to change up my whole diet in a bid to get better and in the process I discovered some amazing new flavours that have developed into experimenting with cooking this year.
I’m still a rubbish baker. But I can make a good curry, a full roast dinner – whoop! – and possibly the best fajitas in the world. Not to blow my own trumpet or anything.
Discovering how to cook (properly – my chicken goujons and beans at Uni didn’t count) has actually been really therapeutic. I enjoy being able to throw together whatever we have in the chicken and make something exciting. And I really enjoy showing others that you don’t need a shed load of butter, cheese and cream in a meal to make it taste yummy!
Learning to not take life too seriously
If you met me when I was younger (or hey, even a year ago), you’d probably describe me as a bit aloof and a bit serious. I’ve always been very studious and professional in my demeanour and while it’s never set me back in life, I do often feel that people might think I was a bit… well, boring.
And in many respects, I quite like boring. Boring feels safe. And I’m not very good at jokes.
But worrying about everything and not learning to laugh does get tiring. I think under David’s influence especially, I’ve felt a bit more confident to experiment with different personality traits other than serious. That may sound a bit odd.
Giving a speech at my best friend’s wedding
When my best friend Dominic announced in February that he and his partner Daniel were having a civil ceremony in the following November, I was so overwhelmed with happiness and excitement that I both burst into tears and laughed!
Then I received news that he wanted me to be his groomsmaid – what an honour! A best man and a bridesmaid teamed into one, I felt very lucky to have even been asked! However, of course – the nerves soon started to kick in when I realised that I’d have to make a speech in front of 100 people! Eek!
However somehow, it all worked out really well. I gave the speech without too much dutch courage and got lots of compliments on it for the remainder of the evening! It was such a fabulous night and seeing my best friend so happy meant that it was definitely a highlight of the year (if not the decade!).
Being the face of two brands
What on earth? I still cannot get over this and find it rather hilarious. I can’t pose for toffee (I have two moves – the straight faced look down the lens – and the look off to the side like you’ve just seen a cute kitten) so this amazes me greatly. But what an experience!
In May and August I posed for Jody Bell’s new collections – one of which was showcased at New York Fashion Week! And then in October, I shot the Stackers Christmas campaign, as the face of their jewellery box collections!
Attending the BAFTAs
It’s not every day that you get invited to attend the TV BAFTA awards. In fact for me, it was a dream come true – since it had been something my aspiring showbiz journalist self had always wanted to do.
David and I were lucky enough to attend on behalf of the sponsors House of Fraser – which of course meant dressing up! I’ve written an entire post on it here, in case you fancy a read but attending something unique and seeing so many showbiz names in the flesh was certainly a highlight!
Phew, what a year!
And so, what will 2017 bring?
Well, the scary but exciting thing is. I’m not entirely sure. Now that I’m free of studying, I finally feel like I’m out on my own figuring things out and attempting to navigate the big wide world.
I’m hosting two events so far next year, the #GoGlamGala and #BlogConLDN – so fingers crossed they all go well and are well received. I’ve been running events now for nearly 4 years – crazy, right? So I always try and strive for bigger and better. We shall see!
Like my rhinoplasty surgery back in 2015 (read more here), I’m also hoping to move forward with the only other thing that I’ve ever felt I wanted to change or that caused me an insecurity. I’ll probably never talk about it on here, but I’m hoping I have the courage to go through with it!
And finally, I’m starting YouTube!! It’s been a long time coming and I’ve attempted to start it many times and then hysterically laughed through my numerous attempts. However I personally prefer watching YouTube videos to reading blogs (although don’t get me wrong, I love reading blogs too) – so I thought it was about time I started too. I’m not going to be doing the usual make-up tutorial thing, because quite frankly – my make-up skills are terrible.
But I hope to add something to the YouTube sphere by talking about real things that matter to women, sharing advice, attempting fashion lookbooks and vlogging all of next years travels, trials and tribulations! Oh – and a tour of my new walk in closet room! Don’t miss it! I’ve already got two trips lined up for January – so come 2017 – watch out for me on YouTube!
What were your highlights of 2016? Do you have any plans for the New Year?
Oh and in terms of celebrating New Year’s Eve in style, you will find me sat in my dressing gown, sipping prosecco and eating as many Oreos as humanly possible. Enjoy your evenings too!
Thank you so much for reading my blog in 2016 (and years previous) and making all of this possible for me! I wish we could all celebrate together.