2017 IN REVIEW

I am so blessed that every year when I take a moment to look back I can truly say my life is only getting better and better. I’m amazed at how it’s possible to get any happier, to learn any more about myself, what I’m capable of, how strong and unique I am and how to be even more grateful than I was the previous December. 
 2017 really has been the year of gratitude for me. So much so, every day I endeavour - I struggle sometimes because, hello, I’m only human - to write down 5 things I’m grateful for in my day, in my week and in my life. 
It’s important to say, drama, pain and struggle hasn’t stopped. Insecurity, doubt and anxiety are still rampant. Arguments with friends, soured relationships and drama are regularly trying to steal my happiness, but when you choose to see the mess in life, and your experiences through it, as a blessing rather than a trial or tribulation, how can it not get more wonderful with every passing minute? I choose to see the hardships as learning and I remind myself that without the sour, the sweet wouldn’t taste as sweet.

I wanted to share my 2017 highlights with you all but really its more for me; a solid reminder of positive days when I’m feeling sorry for myself.  I’ve decided to pick one or two moments from each month of the year so let’s get started . . . 

JANUARY 
I actually started 2017 being admitted to hospital with one of my infamous kidney infections. I was signed off work for two weeks and when I went back I was faced with absence meetings, grievance procedures and drama, drama drama. Ever the trooper though January was also the month I applied for the Look Fantastic ‘Beauty Set’ Brand Ambassadorship, and my YouTube video featured in the MODELSOWN brand new Stratford Westfield store. I had only been out of hospital 2 days when it launched so my best friend took me to see it – what a babe.
January was a TOUGH start to a new year but when I look back I don’t remember the crap; I remember how I loved I am. When I was sick, when I was struggling, the people I love were with me the whole way and that my ‘light’, my talent, my something sparkly – whatever you want to call it –wouldn’t be dampened. I was determined to shine. 


FEBRUARY
I walked away from a toxic work environment. Standing up and saying that a particular job or company isn’t for you, isn’t failure. I wrestled with that for a long time. I felt like I’d failed. Really, this was the beginning of me setting standards in my life. I was saying ‘I’m more important. My health, my happiness and my self-worth is more important than any job’, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I used to place so much value in my success and status but happiness doesn’t come from people, places or things and it certainly doesn’t come from a job title and a yearly salary. 

On February 9th, I received an email that knocked the wind out of me. Look Fantastic got in touch and said that they loved my application for The Beauty Set, but that I wouldn’t be progressing to the next stage. Instead they were launching something called the #IAMFANTASTIC campaign and they would love me to be a part of it . . .

MARCH
Possibly the craziest month of 2017 ; I shot the #IAMFANTASTIC campaign with Look Fantastic, my friends and family TURNED OUT for my London Marathon fundraiser, I met Victoria Magrath for the second time, we went to The Glamour Beauty Festival for Marianna’s birthday and I MET ALESSANDRA STEINHEIRR, I took myself off on a little solo trip to Lanzarote for a week AND THEN I started a new job. Absolute madness. 
The highlight of the month had to be the #IAMFANTASTIC shoot, meeting the other amazing bloggers, YouTubers and influencers taking part, and seriously getting a taste for working with a brand.




APRIL
April was a toughie. Starting a new job is always difficult but I knew something wasn’t right. I didn’t really want to be there. I had had another two kidney infections since the January hospitalisation and I went back into hospital so they could put me under anaesthetic and have a poke around inside my kidney. All the sickness meant that I hadn’t been able to train for London Marathon 2017 and I had to admit defeat and drop out. In spite of all this I cycled 100km to Brighton; my first ever long distance cycle. The sicker I get the more I physically want to achieve. It makes you appreciate the things you take for granted every day.

MAY
I started Alpha, which if you don’t know what it is; "Alpha is a series of interactive sessions that freely explore the basics of the Christian faith. No pressure. No follow up. No charge. I joined an Alpha course attached to Balham Vineyard Church and every Tuesday I would go to a flat in Tooting, eat with the group, watch a video and discuss themes in our lives. It wasnt god squad trying to indoctrinate me. It was open minded people in pursuit of happiness discussing the world, our society and its issues. It just so happens the answers the suggest are Christian lead. In the second week of Alpha I decided I believed God was real and Ive never looked back. The Balham Vineyard Church is now my family and the girls I had the pleasure of sharing my Tuesday nights with are my best friends.


JUNE
I quit my job. I’ve recorded a full video on my YouTube channel explaining the reasons which I’ll link here for you but June was the point I realised I needed a pro-longed break, and I took it. June was a blast. I went to The Bloggers Ball and did my first Insta story takeover for MyBag, travelled to Cambridge for an Origins X Look Fantastic event and I took a solo trip to Italy where I visited Cortina, ran a 20km SkyRace in The Dolomites and subsequently waddled around Venice and Verona. Whilst I was in Italy I received an email from Look Fantastic offering me the opportunity to officially become a member of The Beauty Set. Needless to say, I bite their hand off!



JULY
Yeyyy Birthday Month! Marianna and I jetted off to Amsterdam to celebrate my 27th birthday and I went to my first ever Christian Festival; FOCUS. At Focus, I camped with St Peters Church Brighton and I grew my faith family even further. If you follow me on Instagram or watch my vlogs and see I’m always swanning off to Brighton, it’s to see this amazing bunch. Who knows, maybe a move to Brighton will be in my future. By July I’d also decided I didn’t want to go back into Finance so I booked myself on a paediatric first aid course and signed up for Kids Club at church - operation Tabby McPhee Nanny Extraordinaire began. 


AUGUST
Fully embracing unemployed life in August I went Gorge Walking in Wales, was back and forth to Brighton, went camping in the Yorkshire Dales with my Dad and over Bank Holiday weekend hit my second Christian festival; David’s Tent. Spending one on one time with my Dad, hiking and camping is one my all-time favourite things to do. We just ramble, chat rubbish and enjoy the views. 


SEPTEMBER
Picking September’s highlight is close between two incredible opportunities; firstly, shooting the Look Fantastic #BeautyInWonderland Christmas Campaign and secondly, securing my first job as a live in, Au Pair. 
When I think about how far Take Heart has come by this point; the Models Own feature, working with MyBag and two huge campaigns with Look Fantastic, it gave me the courage to pursue it full time. I felt it was too soon, that my audience was too small but how huge had the opportunities been so far?! I couldn’t ignore that.



OCTOBER 
I was baptised!! There are no words to describe my Baptism Day. It’s a line in the sand between my old life; pain, drama, fear and shame and my future walking hand in hand with Jesus. I am loved, I deserve happiness, I have nothing to be afraid of, no sin and no shame to carry. To some people reading this that may just seem like a load of religious gibberish but if you’ve ever felt pain, if you’ve ever truly hated yourself or carried shame like a boulder on your back, you’ll understand. I live in the light now. 

NOVEMBER
The Beauty In Wonderland campaign launched, I got brave and proactive and started contacting brands I would like to work with resulting in an invite to the Debenhams Beauty Christmas Showcase, I attended an Elizabeth Arden X Look Fantastic event and did my first Facebook Live with Look Fantastic on Black Friday. My final Look Fantastic photoshoot for 2017 was showcasing products from the Beauty Advent Calendar; a fitting personal highlight as my review of the calendar on YouTube hit 22,000 views. MADNESS.

DECEMBER
Compared to the rest of the year December was actually pretty quiet. I didn’t travel a tonne of places, attend a bazillion events or hit huge blogging milestones but I feel like I figured out peace. I’ve been really struggling with feeling worthless recently and December became the lightbulb moment. I don’t have to compare myself to anyone else, I am good enough, no one else’s opinion of me can make me anymore or any less than who I am. I want to go into 2018 with kindness as my number 1 priority; kindness to myself and to other people. 

Now I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions but I have set myself a few 2018 Goals over on my YouTube channel if you’d like to see what I’m planning, and whilst you’re there if you haven’t subscribed already, I’d love it if you’d click that little red play button. 



Thank you to everyone who supported me this year. ‘Thank You’ seems so small, I feel like there should be a whole other word for how much your constant, unwavering love means to me.

Until next time . . . Take Heart x 

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