13 January 2020

Reflecting On 2019

Reflecting On 2019

It's that time again, where a lot of us find ourselves looking back over the past year (or decade if you like a realll throwback) to see how we actually got on. I definitely don't put pressure on myself if the year wasn't that great like I talked about in last year's reflection post, as I find it so lovely to look back on all the amazing memories I've made. But I also find it useful when I'm putting together my goals for the coming year to see where I excelled, and where I fell a bit short. 

2019 was definitely a year of ups and downs, but still a great one all the same. I'd just like to take this moment to thank you all who have continued to come back to this blog to have a good nosy around and see what I'm up to. This online community is such a special one, and I'm so happy I decided to set this blog up 6 and a half years ago. 

With all that said, here's why 2019 was great, what I learnt and my goals for 2020...



Sometimes, a bad situation can cause a good thing to rise up out of the ashes like a phoenix. It might not seem like it at the time but I'm a firm believer of there always being a positive to a negative.

That's exactly what happened with me when the Pipdig scandal arose.

If you don't have a clue what I'm on about, then here's a quick rundown. A lot of bloggers had bought their blog theme (the design of how a site looks) from a company called Pipdig. They were super popular, and I for one longed for the day I had saved up a bit of money to invest in a new theme. 

When that day came, I was chuffed to bits with how my blog looked and it ignited my inspiration to keep blogging. 

However, last year, some clever folks found some malicious code in some blog theme's which caused the blogosphere to go into a panic. If you'd like to know a little more about what went on, here's a great article to fill you in

So after only about a year of having my new theme, I found myself frantically searching the web until someone recommended Kotryna Bass Designs to me. Even though installing and setting it all up meant I had to spend a little while researching coding how-to's, I found I had a lot more freedom with how the blog looked, and I again felt that inspiration flame ignite within me to get writing again. 

In some ways, the Pipdig scandal was a good thing for me, as I found myself upping the quality of my content to match my sparkling new blog design, and I started spending more time putting more detail into my posts than I had before. I stopped worrying about getting a post up every week, as when I put out a post that showed how much time I'd spent on it, the page views reflected that. 


I've been on a few press trips during my blogging career, but this year saw me go on two!! I was lucky enough to head to This Morning Live and the Cake & Bake Show and had an absolute whale of a time!! 

I also got to take my mum along with me which made the trips all the more special. She has been so supportive in my blogging journey and so getting to treat her was very special. 

Going on these trips were real pinch-me moments as I never expected to be invited along being a blogger with a small following, but it just goes to show that if others believe in you, then you should believe in yourself. 

These two trips gave me such wonderful memories, so fingers crossed I get to go on some more in 2020!


This may seem like a bit of a random one, but one that, again, created some amazing memories. 

If there's one type of sport that I'll commit to sitting through a full match of, it's tennis. Last year I sat through the ridiculously long Wimbledon men's final (from the comfort of my own home) and loved every minute!

I managed to win a competition through the lovely Yasmin from Slice Of Chic to attend the Fever-Tree Queen's Club Tennis final and it was such a fun day spent sipping very expensive Pimm's, sweating away on the centre court watching the matches and chowing down on the most amazing food! 


Barcelona has been on my bucket list for a long while, and I was finally able to tick it off in September. 

The trip was idyllic: we were staying in a little apartment in El Born, which turned out to be our favourite part of the city. We walked around tiny streets lined with tapas bars and cafes and generally brought the pace of our days down a notch. We still managed to fit in some typical tourist things but our main priority turned out to be trying as many different types of tapas as possible. 

The fact that I spent a lot of money on food was surprising, as normally my travel budget's centre around attractions taking a big chunk, but this is something I'll come back to in the next section about the things I learnt in 2019, as I found that I actually preferred spending time exploring at our own pace rather than going to lots of attractions. 


I clearly underestimated my desire for reading when I set my 2019 reading goal last year. Originally, I had wanted to read 15 books, as in 2018 I had managed to read 14 in a year. 

However, when I found myself at this goal of 15 in July, I realised that I should probably up it slightly. 

In the end, I managed to read 33 books, going over the 30 book goal I had set halfway through the year, and I can now firmly say that reading is very much back in my life. 

I've also found looking at my analytics, that you guys have been enjoying the book content I've been putting up, so expect to see more of that this year!



Going back to my trip to Barcelona...

I think that I'm a pretty balanced traveller - I love to lie on a beach as much as I love exploring different sites and attractions in the country I'm in. 

However, as anyone who's travelled with me would know, I like organization. If I put something down to do on a certain day, my heart is set on it, and if I don't get to do it then I think about it for days after. 

This exact thing happened when we booked tickets to go to Park Güell. It had been on my bucket list for a long while, and I was ecstatic about going, but when we stepped out of the metro station on the day we were booked to go, the heavens opened. And I'm not talking about a short shower, this was torrential.

With typical optimism, we hopped on the bus that would take us up to the park, but when we arrived the rain had gotten heavier. We found ourselves huddled in the toilets hoping it would ease off while a handful of touts kept shoving rusty broken umbrellas at us in the hope we'd buy one. After half an hour of standing around trying not to make eye contact with them, my boyfriend caved and we stepped out into the rain as we thought it had started to ease. 

We only made it to the entrance when it came back with a new ferocity, and huddled under our tiny umbrella we decided to give up and go back to the apartment. 

The missed opportunity and the wasted money on the tickets kept niggling  at me the next day (which was our last full day in the city), and I even contemplated seeing if we could try to go again.

In the end, what we ended up doing really surprised me. We did everything spontaneously, and apart from heading up the cable car to Montjuïc Castle, we ended up walking around the streets of Barcelona, stopping in cafe's, bars, churches and shops and after a while I forgot all about Park Güell. 

As much as I would love to go back to see Park Güell, in the end, it didn't spoil the trip, and the slower pace and copious amounts of food we consumed (and fell in love with) made the trip all the more special. 


I think every time I look back at what I've learnt each year, something about friendships comes up. Possibly because for me I've found it a particularly difficult subject to keep on top of. Sometimes that's been through my own fault, and sometimes it's been the fault of others. 

Something I've learnt across the years is that giving a past friend a second chance is totally okay and sometimes it can really work out. But I've found most of the time, these friendships can be quite fickle, and the commitment isn't really there. 

From this, I learnt that strengthening the friendships you have and value is definitely more important, and I found putting the time and effort into building those friendships was worth every minute. 

I now feel like I have a group of amazing people around me, who I know always have my back and are there if I need them and that's so much more important than having hundreds of 'friends' who hardly know you at all. 


One of my goals last year was to live more sustainably, and I've definitely come a long way from when I set that goal

I've managed to cut down my plastic & single-use waste considerably, along with shopping more consciously, but there were times when I suddenly caught myself slipping and would really beat myself up about it. 

One day, I found myself walking out of one of my fave high-street shops (who aren't very eco-friendly), my purchase in my reusable bag, when I felt that guilt creeping back in. What I failed to highlight to myself was that I hadn't bought fast fashion in months and that one purchase wasn't going to send me spiralling into a fast-fashion spending spree. 

On the way home, I realised that I couldn't lead a perfectly sustainable life, but I could certainly try my best. Rather than focussing on that one piece of fast fashion I had bought, I should be focusing on all the other things I had done to be more eco-friendly. 


So what do I want to achieve this year? Here are my main goals for 2020:

Start a holiday fund - I've always been a good saver, but I never thought about putting money away in a separate space for holidays. I'm hoping to save a little each month, and then build up a nice little chunk of money to use to travel as much as I can. 

Prioritise workouts - towards the end of the year as I took on my work, I found that my workouts were slipping. By putting them into my diary like any other important meeting, I want to try and make them as much as a priority as anything else. 

Schedule in me-time - another thing that slipped last year was making time for me to relax. Again that was mainly because I started working 6 days a week on top of my acting and blogging, so I'm setting myself a goal to have at least an hour of me-time a day. 

Take digital detoxes at weekends - this is something I didn't think I'd see myself doing, being a blogger and all, but after doing one unexpectedly one weekend, I found myself very chilled and relaxed, and that I'd managed to tick a few things off that I'd wanted to do for a while. Since then, I've been trying to do one every weekend, and I want to have that set in stone this year. 

Read 35 books - I managed 33 last year, so let's see if I can smash this goal again this year!


2019 was a great year for me, and I can't wait for 2020 to be even better! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continuous support, and I can't wait to create some more awesome content for you this year. 

Happy New Year!