I thought I’d switch things up today and take a moment to think back on all that has happened this year. It has certainly been a year of extreme highs and extreme lows, so let’s get started…
This year was the first full year that I was out of education and working full time with no desires to go back to education. (A few years ago, I took a year out to work, then went to Uni.)
I am most definitely DONE with education. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to school/college/uni, so here’s how my first year “as a real adult” went!
I’m going to break this up into categories to make it a little simpler to read. Starting with work and blogging, goals for next year etc. I’ll then move onto personal things.
I had big plans for this blog and my food photography this year. I set myself social media goals, goals to create the best content possible and create a community on my little corner of the internet. I started off with small goals, but I reached every single one of my social media goals by June which was great and gave me incentive to be more ambitious next year. I love the work that I do on this blog. It can be hard and it certainly takes an awful lot of my time, but I love it and I’m truly dedicated to continuing all of what I’m doing next year.
I mean, there are days when I want to tear my hair out because there’s some error on the site we can’t find, or I’ve had a baking disaster… Or the weather is so terrible I need lights at 10am and can’t shoot my recipes. Just remember…
Overall, I love my job. It’s my creative outlet. I love nothing more than creating new recipes in the kitchen and seeing how they turn out. Then sharing them with you and receiving comments and emails and tweets of how much you loved something you made from my site. That’s the reason I get up every morning and work my butt off.
Outwardly it may look like Food Blogging is easy, fun and we don’t really do much. But honestly? It’s like having 13 jobs and I have to do every single one of them. Error on the site? My problem. Baking disaster? My problem. Social media scheduling? My problem. Answering blog comments, writing posts, going food shopping, writing recipes, developing recipes, photographing recipes, editing photos etc… all my problem.
I’m not going to lie and say blogging is easy, because it’s not. You have to have a pretty thick skin I realised this year and there are some horrible people out there who will find fault with anything and everything and let you know about it. There are some people who will make you feel like you ruined their life because they didn’t like some muffins.
That would really have gotten to me at the beginning of the year, but now? I’ve realised I can’t please everyone and there are also some people who just look for trouble and something to moan about. I have a clear conscience. I can sleep every night knowing I put 110% effort into everything I did and do for this blog.
Looking to next year, I’m hoping to gain more confidence in my photography and work with more brands. I just got my new camera yesterday (a Canon 6D) and I’m so excited to have a play around with it and improve my photography! I also want to get better at pitching to brands as I can be a little shy and anxious. And when I overthink things, I end up scaring myself and worrying. I need to believe in myself and my abilities because I do know my way around a camera and I can take some pretty good images. Of course, I always want to improve myself, I’m a perfectionist, but I still need to believe in myself more.
I’m also going to set myself more social media goals and I plan on being better at writing down all of my plans and ideas for this blog in a planner. I started well this year, but by May I pretty much forgot to write anything down apart from recipes, so I really need to set myself a stricter schedule with paperwork.
I’m also hoping to film my first recipe video soon! I never thought those words would come out of my mouth, but it’s the way the food blogging world is going, so I’m going to dip my toe in some time soon. I think I will start with just my hands showing you how to make something with some music, but who knows, now I’m on Snapchat, maybe I will get the confidence to speak in a video because I may hate the sound of my voice, but it’s the only one I’ve got!
In my personal life, this was a huge year as well. And the perfect example of how good and how bad one year can be.
There is one sentence that sums up the entire year: I am so happy my Granddad got to see me engaged, but I’m utterly heartbroken that he won’t see me get married.
This year, I felt loss properly for the first time. Of course, I’ve had people in my family pass, but never someone as close as a grandparent. Some may say I’ve been lucky to live 25 years of my life with my grandparents and close family around me, but I’m not sure I would call it luck.
September 19th was the day my world changed forever. It was a completely normal Saturday. I’d done some work, watched some TV and was just sitting in bed watching TV and reading when my phone rang.
If I truly think about it, I still cannot fathom the next 40 minutes after that phone call. But, it happened and now we have to live with it. I mean, do you ever really get over someone passing away so suddenly? Or is it something you just learn to live with?
He was there one minute and gone the next. Even as an adult I just think “How does that happen?” I just can’t get over it. But I guess that’s what happens with a heart attack. You don’t get much of a warning. And sometimes you get no warning.
Since then, I’ve been so shocked with how many people are affected by people passing from a heart attack. It is so sudden and such a shock to family and friends. It’s awful and it’s more common than you think.
There have been many moments recently when I have wanted to scream “WHY?” Grief is such a strange beast. I have been distraught, unable to stop crying, then it swings to anger, then I feel a little stronger for a few days and then I walk through a shop and something reminds me of him and I am thrown again…
It has definitely been sobering. I still think about him every day and worry about my Nan all the time. How she’s coping or how she’s managing to do everything herself. They had just celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary and three days later he was gone. People keep saying time makes things easier, but I am not feeling that right now. I have honestly never cried so much in my life as I have the last 3 months…
Just please know the signs of a heart attack and know that there can be different symptoms for men and women.
At the other end of the spectrum, in February Mr AN proposed. I had honestly gotten to the point where I thought it wouldn’t happen. So, I really was shocked when he asked even though he had said he was saving for my ring.
I was and still am so happy that I get to spend the rest of my life with him. I feel so lucky that I met him young and have been happy and settled for 5 years. It’s flown by and it already feels like we’ve been together forever, so I can’t wait to be his wife.
My best friend also got engaged and before I get married, I get to be her bridesmaid which is awesome! We went to try on dresses recently and I’m so excited and happy for her, I can’t even put it into words. 🙂
Also this year, my health has been a little better. And my mental health has been 100 times better. I’ve felt calm and level headed most of the year and have put a lot of time and effort into researching and working on my feelings around food. I would say this is the first year in ages where I’ve managed to have a fairly normal relationship with food.
A lot of this is down to Fitness Blender. (not being sponsored by them, just love their work) I started doing their workouts around 7 months ago and I can’t believe the difference it’s made to my way of thinking as well as my body. Three times a week I do just over an hour of their workouts. I do a mixture of HIIT/Cardio and Strength training.
I was one of many who incorrectly thought that doing weights turns you into some ultra muscly person with huge biceps. That’s not actually true. And strength training is now my favourite way to workout. Some of their super set workouts basically feel like a cardio workout as well! They’re great for toning and just making me feel like I’m doing good and getting stronger.
HIIT is damn hard work, but I actually like it. Not when I’m doing it because I hate being sweaty, but afterwards I feel great!
They have really helped alter my mindset into thinking that I want to be strong and healthy, rather than just skinny. I used to just think I had to run and run and run on the cross trainer to be thin, but I’m so glad I managed to overcome that as I was miserable. Running 45 minutes every day on the cross trainer is so boring too!
I’ve also managed to allow myself to have the weekends off. I now do no extra exercise at the weekends. I mean if we go out and I’m walking around then great, but sometimes on Sunday, I barely move from the sofa and I no longer panic myself that I’m going to wake up and have put on a stone. It does everyone good to have a day off sometimes. We need a break!
For me, it’s all about routine. I feel good now because literally my whole life revolves around a routine. I still don’t know what will happen when I have to change my routine because of work or something else. That worries me a little, but I feel like I’ve come so far so I’m hopeful that I won’t take 10 steps back and become this miserable person who is scared of food again.
I finally have some kind of diagnosis for my back/knees/bad health in general. It’s only taken 5 years and about 15 different specialists, but I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with this latest specialist and a diagnosis of Hypermobility. She is lovely and genuinely seems to want to help and didn’t dismiss me like the last idiot I saw. It’s early days, so I won’t go into too much detail, but like most things hindsight is a wonderful thing. With this diagnosis, so many things in the past now make perfect sense.
The bad news is that there’s no cure. But, it can be managed and since we actually know what needs managing now, I’m hopeful it can be done. The first week of 2016 will be the first appointment with my new physio, so here’s hoping it starts the year off in a good way!
So… It’s time to end this post and for 2015 to end. It’s hard to believe how much I’ve managed to cram into 12 months, but equally it feels like it’s gone so fast, some of these things could have happened yesterday! Maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy that it feels like it’s gone so fast.
I’d like to thank you for all the support you have shown me this year, it’s been incredible! And I’d like to congratulate you if you’ve got this far in this long post (sorry for that!!! :D).
Happy New Year friends, here’s hoping 2016 treats us all well!
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