Here’s a secret, I get way more excited about New Year’s Eve than I do about Christmas Eve. The idea of a “new year” has always thrilled me. The idea of a blank page. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer and a blank notepad means new ideas, new start, new experiences. I’m not, however, down for the “New Year New You” chat. I don’t think I need to be a “New Me” and I don’t think you need to be a “New You” either. But the celebration of another year to move forwards? That, I’m up for.
Reflecting on a year (the good, the bad and the ugly) can be a therapeutic activity. And the whole reason I started this blog in the first place was out of pure selfishness, because I wanted to record my life and thoughts. My own personal online diary. I did a similar type of “year in a review” post for the year’s 2012 and 2014 (mainly highlighting the good bits) but for some reason I missed out the years in between, but I love looking back on them because a) my memory is very crap and b) you may not think you’ve done much, but if you compare yourself to four years ago, you’ll no doubt feel a little bit better about things. Life can be so fast-paced and sometimes you can accidentally forget to look back and think about all the things (big or small) that can happen inside of 365 days.
So 2016 was the year I took the leap into the world of Being Your Own Boss. I quit my glamorous job to be an un-glamorous self-employed person. It’s been a year of learning new skills, working with new people, pitching new ideas and I’ve absolutely loved every minute of it. Even the hard days full of self-doubt. Because for me, the freedom it brings outweighs any of the other downsides. I’ve realised that it’s a sacrifice in many ways, I don’t have a lot of the same perks as I did before, and there’s no such thing as one monthly “payday” that you can count on. But I have new perks. I get to work on multiple projects and on things that fire me up. I get to choose my hours. I’ll have one fantastic month and then perhaps a quieter month. But this works for me. I am freer, happier, more motivated, in charge of my own time and I am way better and more sensible when it comes to spending and saving my money.
Making My Flat More Homely
This year I celebrated five years with my boyfriend and two years since buying our flat. We’ve been doing it up, tiling the kitchen, finally putting artwork on the walls and buying new furniture and in general I’m so happy in my little sanctuary. I feel very lucky to have a space of my own.
Publishing My First Book
This year was always going to be a bit of a momental one simply because I published my very first book. July 7th was etched in my heard for the second half of 2015 and I just couldn’t wait for the day to come. I had the best book launch hosted at the Hoxton Hotel with all my favourite people in the world, and I am proud of the book. I definitely see it as “breaking the first book curse” as Liz Gilbert calls in. I want to write more, do more, create more. It’s only the beginning!
Launching A Podcast
In 2016 I launched my podcast, which I absolutely adore making! I had press in Refinery, Teen Vogue, The Times, Marie Claire, Elle, Grazia, The Pool and more. I was picked by iTunes and featured on their homepage in their “editor’s choice” and “Interesting interviews” sections. I interviewed some of my favourite women: Elizabeth Gilbert, Zoella, Ashley Ford, Mara Wilson, Rowan Blanchard, Amanda De Cadenet, Cindy Gallop…..I’ve not interview OVER 50 PEOPLE I admire and 2017 is going to bring so much more.
Working With The BBC
I worked with the BBC on a pilot episode of the first ever Virtual Reality interview series called No Small Talk aimed at millennial women. I got to work and film with Cherry Healey and two brilliant production teams. I learned so much more about the capabilities of VR, joined in with discussions around women in tech and met some very talented people on set.
I travelled lots this year! This is always on my “resolutions” list, even though I had the word “resolution”. But seriously, every time I look back at my year, I never ever regret the travelling part. Saying “yes” to getting on a plane is always something I totally treasure and remember. I’ve had another good year for travel and been fortunate enough to explore a lot of interesting places throughout 2016: a Shamanic retreat in Dorset; a hotel in Venice on its own private island; beautiful Lausanne; a cruise(!); a château in the Loire Valley hosted by Stylist magazine; the Fringe festival and a road trip up and down California.
2016 hasn’t been a good year for sleeping, for me. It’s a mixture of anxiety and other things but basically, please 2017, sort my sleep out? This year I had a therapy session at Middle Piccadilly focused on sleep and it was amazing – plus a special sleep relaxation meditation session at the Corinthia London. Both of these things have taught me ways to wind down my mind and allow myself to sleep more peacefully. I even worked with a sponsor (Leesa mattresses) to talk more about sleep on the blog and podcast.
Speaking In Front of Lots Of People
I’ve done so much speaking this year and there’s lots in the pipeline for 2017 too (check out my events page if you’re interested), including a Ted X talk on the Internet and Identity. I really enjoyed doing the following events this year: The Quarter Club, Digital Content Summit; Stylist Live; Hoxton #Girlboss series; curating and hosting panels at the Cheltenham Literature festival; hosting a panel at Google HQ and interviewing Estée Lalonde about her book at Waterstones (and lots more that I’ve probably forgotton).
See YOU in 2017!