A Ramble About 2017 and Looking Ahead To 2018

I was taking a look at the posts I did last December to get an idea of the kind of things I wanted to do this month, and I did two separate posts - A Ramble About 2016 and Looking Ahead To 2017. I absolutely loved writing both of these posts, but I thought that for this year, I'd combine them into one thoughtful and reflective piece. This could end up being a pretty long post, but stick with me, things are about to get real personal up in here!

So, I'm gonna start by reflecting on the loose goals that I set myself for this year back in this post. I'm not a big fan of the word 'resolutions', because I think there's too much pressure to stick with them and it can become a bit unhealthy. I set myself 5 realistic targets to work towards, so let's talk about how I did with them.

  1. Keep up the effort with my blog - I feel like I absolutely smashed this goal and can definitely toot my own trumpet about it. I said that I wanted to post at least five times a month and I've hit that target every single time and then some! I also said that I wanted to be less frightened about going to events, and again, I 100% achieved that. I've been to almost every event that I've been invited to without any tears. Sure, there were butterflies and the whole 'what if no one talks to me?' sort of deal, but I've absolutely loved every single one and met some amazing people because of it. I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone this year in terms of blogging and I'm so much better for it!
  2. Take up a new hobby - I've taken up so many hobbies this year that I kind of need to slow down with it. I've got projects upon unfinished projects, so you could say that I hit my goal. I gave watercolours a go and absolutely loved doing it, but it didn't capture my heart the way that embroidery and pompom-making did. Seriously, give me all your old clothes so I can embroider stuff on to them!
  3. Make a start on moving house - this one was a no-go, which is a shame. I feel like I didn't have a lot of time to stop and breathe this year, let alone look at moving into a new place. Plus, where we live right now is absolutely ideal for me and the current situation I'm in (which I'll talk about further into the post), so moving wasn't really an option. I'd definitely like to start thinking about it properly soon though, and get the wheels turning a little.
  4. Visit places that I've never been to before - like I said in the original post, this really depended on our funds, and our funds just didn't allow for much travelling about. Plus, our schedules clashed a heck of a lot, so this one was a bit of a fail. We did get to go to Amsterdam though, which is a place that neither J or I had been to! It definitely gave me the travel bug and I ended up becoming addicted to Skyscanner, so I'm hoping that in the future, we'll be travelling a lot more, as well as exploring new places in the UK.
  5. Practise self-love - this one was kind of hard for me, but I'd say that I'm getting there. I'm a people-pleaser and someone that can't say no, so I'm usually snowed under with things to do and not really giving myself the time for me. But that's shifted a little this year and when I say a little, I mean a little. It's difficult to shake yourself out of the mindset that you've drilled into your head, but I'm getting there. I wrote a whole post about how I'm re-claiming my self-confidence and I touch upon self-love in that, so give it a read!
Before I tell you what my goals are for next year, I'm going to talk a little bit about the year I've had.

2017 had a pretty good and solid start for me. I found out towards the end of 2016 that I'd been given an internship in Teesside University's admissions department and I'd be starting there in January. For the first couple of weeks, I loved it and I was asked if my contract could be extended, which I agreed to, but as the weeks went on, I found myself becoming less and less interested in the job. I wasn't feeling motivated, I used to cry because I didn't want to go, I was putting on weight and it was just an all round bad time. This all went on behind the scenes of blogging and social media - I put on a bit of a brave face and told everyone that I was happy. I managed to last there until the end of February and left to work in a tea room, which I thought was my dream job. I'll talk more about that in a minute.

I turned 23 in March, which was a number that I thought suited me well. I was excited to say 'I'm 23' - I can't explain, it just felt like such a good number! However, 24 is now looming and that feels a heck of a lot more grown-up than 23. I'm pretty certain that as my birthday gets closer, I'll get more excited about it.

From April, my blog started to gain a little bit of attention and I started to receive emails from companies. Despite starting this blog just as a little place to call my own, this was a mega achievement for me, so I started doing reviews of products sent to me and going to blog events. The very first that I went to was the preview event at the new Middlesbrough Turtle Bay, and since going to that event, my confidence has shot through the roof when it comes to attending these sorts of things. It blows my mind that I was so afraid of going to these sorts of things before!

J and I also took our first trip abroad, giving him the chance to use his shiny, brand new British passport. After all the faff on that we had with trying to get him naturalised, it felt so good to be able to travel somewhere that wasn't the UK with him. You can read all about what we got up to in Amsterdam here.
Now, my tea room job. I had been told that I'd basically be second in command in the kitchen, making cakes and all sorts of lovely things to go out into the shop, and have creative control over what I made. I also was told that I'd have full time hours, yet all of these things never came to be. It started off as a really great job and I loved being able to move around instead of being stuck in an office chair, but after a while, things turned sour. My hours started getting cut and I barely ever got to bake anything, even though I kept offering. I was basically put in the corner and told to wash up. I also became the person that the manager blamed for everything. I was shouted at at least once a day and it ground me down until I was barely even myself. I knew that I had to leave because it just wasn't right for me and my mental health was suffering.

I'd toyed with the idea of doing my Masters before I had left University, and as all of this nastiness in the tea room started around May, it gave me the push that I needed to apply in the summer. I'd done a year in TV Production and my full degree in English, so it only seemed right to go for an MA in Multimedia Journalism. Plus, I could use what I'd learned through blogging to help me. I got accepted, rang the uni bar to see if I could have my job back (and the manager said yes, eek!) and I quit my tea room job, which was the most empowering thing I think I did all year. Being there showed me that not everyone is as nice as you first think, as well as teaching me to be kind.

As well as applying to uni in the summer, I also got my first ever paid post opportunity with a huge company! I was absolutely beside myself when I got the email and almost had a little cry. What made it even better was that it was a baking post - something that I knew I was good at and that the tea room experience almost beat out of me. I was so chuffed!

I got to go down to London to see one of my all-time favourite bands play for the fourth time (I think?) which was absolutely incredible. I absolutely love The Killers and they never ever get boring for me. What made the trip even better was that they were being supported by White Lies, yet another of my top favourite bands. All in all, it was a brilliant trip!
Pretty much straight after I left the tea room, J and I went to Disneyland Paris. This was exactly what I needed after the hellish few months I'd had at work - the time to be a big kid and just relax. We had an absolutely magical time and what made it even more magical was the fact that J proposed to me! We'd talked about it before, but I didn't think he would do it for a long time. He was even super traditional and asked my mum before doing it! I don't even think I said yes, actually. There was just a lot of sobbing and ugly crying for about half an hour, but I had never been happier than in that moment. Even just writing about it is making me tear up.

Moving swiftly along before I start blubbing, we came back from France and I started back at uni and working in the bar. I loved it from the get-go. Even though I felt a bit drained towards the end of my degree, I absolutely loved the time I spent at uni, so being back there was so refreshing. I'd say that I'm doing pretty well. I'm working as hard as I possibly can and it's showing. I got an 85 on my most recent assignment, which is the highest mark I've ever received (and probably will ever receive), so yep, it's going amazingly well. I've settled right back in to working at the bar and it feels almost as if I never left. It's going to be so difficult when I finish my Masters because I know that'll be the end. But this is the reason why we haven't moved yet. We live a 10 minute walk from uni and my work, so to move would be a bit daft.
That pretty much brings us to the present day. Not much has happened towards the end of this year, so let's have a chat about the loose goals I want to set myself for 2018. I have a feeling it's going to be a good one.

  1. Keep going to the gym - I'm not someone that's obsessed with losing weight, but I've definitely piled on the pounds since starting back at uni. I actually really enjoy going to the gym - it makes me feel energised and I'm starting to feel stronger - so continuing to go only makes sense.
  2. Graduate with at least a Merit - that 85 that I received on my assignment gave me a huge boost in terms of my confidence around university. I'd absolutely love nothing more than to graduate with at least a Merit (which equates to a 2:1 at undergrad), but a Distinction would be even better. I know they say aim high, but I don't want to get my hopes up too much!
  3. Travel more - much like last year, this depends very much on our funds, but I definitely feel like little breaks here and there around the UK are very feasible at the minute. We've already got one trip booked to Krakow in March, but I can feel more happening throughout the year. I'm not gonna set myself a numerical goal, like once a month, just more than this year.
  4. Experiment with photography - I used to not care much about taking good photos on here and just kind of put any old picture up, but now, I'm really starting to take an interest - not just in blog photography, but photography in general. I'd love to play with my camera equipment a bit more and see what I can achieve with it.
  5. Read more books for pleasure - I absolutely love to read and I have a stack of books that are waiting to be opened, so next year will be the year that I work my way through them all.

If you've made it to the end of this post, then well done you! It was almost a novel, wasn't it? But it was very fun to write, so I hope you enjoyed reading. I'd love to know some of the goals you'd like to set yourself for next year.

4 comments

  1. Wow... what a year, especially with Disneyland and a proposal (congratulations!)
    Here's to a fantastic 2018! :)

    Caz

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    1. It was quite a rollercoaster, but I wouldn't change a thing! x

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  2. Happy New Year! Can we just address how amazing being proposed to in Disneyland is?! Congratulations girllll!

    For me I'm setting the goal of taking more photos this year because in 2017 my insta game was lacking ahaha, lovely post

    Beth x
    www.bethelouise.co.uk

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    1. Hahaha it was quite a shock, I'll admit, but still super magical! That's a great goal to set - I can't wait to see all the photos you take x

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