I’m sitting at the dining room table in my family home looking at this blank blog post page, five days before 2016 becomes forever obsolete. What a crazy year this has been for me! Momentous, stressful, consequential, rewarding, scary and far-reaching are a few fitting adjectives…
I honestly never thought I’d be where I am at the end of 2016. This year has concluded in what I can only describe as a positive place. There have been some major changes I’ve had to adjust to and disappointments; like saying goodbye to my dream of buying my house with my partner in the new year, a fall out with a dear friend and my website getting hacked. But on the whole this year has been about opportunity, change and readying myself for what should be an amazing year ahead. Here a few defining moments…
Solidifying my friendship group 5 years after Uni
We all think we will be friends forever with those we booze through uni with. It’s easy to forget that even though you are technically an adult at university you are still changing and growing as an adult. It came to be that the people I was closest with on graduation day have somewhat fallen to the wayside, but in doing so I now have a really close-knit group of girls I love, trust, depend on and make me laugh ‘til I’m crying. We share each other’s pains and losses as well as successes. I would honestly do anything for these girls and I feel like 4 years post-grad and graft we are all finally getting to the places we deserve to be.
Trained by Nike
This summer I was approached by the mecca of sports brands, Nike, to be trained up by one of their Nike master trainers, Joslyn. I don’t think anyone in any degree of fitness would turn down such an amazing opportunity. For me, it was the chance to diligently apply myself to a professional, results driven workout routine. I never skipped a workout for three months and the results were incredible. My trainer was so inspiring and it’s opened up my mind and body to being healthy and active as well as embracing my shape. We continue to have a great relationship and I can’t thank them enough for a fantastic opportunity. You can read more about my thoughts on my body image and more here.
A holiday that changed my life
The summer of 2016 I took my first girls holiday in 7 years. I think we all felt like we had a solid enough group to commit to 7 days away on an island, in a bell tent. The Croatian island of Obonjan opened to the public for the first time ever this year. The trip wasn’t with out its ups and downs, that is to say we were essentially Guinea pigs on a very ambitious project. But what we lacked in food shortages, broken air-conditioning and being stranded at sea without food for hours cumulated in the most wonderful bonding experience. We embraced where we were (paradise) and drank and danced til sunrise, ran naked into the sea under the moonlight with lots of amazing new friends whom I am still in contact with today. The trip opened my mind and opened my heart in so many ways. You can watch the vlog of this trip here.
My first press trip
September, the busiest month in fashion, was the tipping point of my 2016. I was super excited about being invited on my first press trip and had to convince my work to let me have the time off. All bloggers dream of being whisked away by a brand you love for an all-expenses paid trip, filled with exciting new experiences. Philosophy, a brand who I have grown very close to this year, took me and two other bloggers down to Devon for an incredible wellbeing and yoga retreat. Although being picked to join the trip made me feel like I was truly winning I unfortunately didn’t get to enjoy this as much as I wanted to because…
I was hacked
This is basically what every blogger or business owner in the world fears the most. Illegal and malicious intrusions into the heart and code of your website makes you feel completely helpless. Malware infiltrated my website and locked me out. It diverted all my traffic to a pornographic website and crawled my website embedding itself so much that at first, my host Go Daddy, did not have a clue a to how to fix this.
Unfortunately I spent most of the detox week in Devon chasing signal, spending hours on the phone trying to get the problem resolved. Before it was resolved the entire website’s back ups got deleted. Luckily they were retrieved and after much escalation between departments and many tears from me, it was resolved. It taught me a lesson, it’s worth paying and taking all the measures to protect what is most sacred to you. And it was a good thing it was resolved because stylelobster.com was about to become my lifeline.
Becoming a Blogger full time
I can’t say this was a choice at first, nor was it planned. In the run up to leaving my job I had thought a lot about whether or not I would ever make the move to becoming a full time Blogger/Youtuber/Influencer. I talked myself out of it every time. The main reason was money. How was I supposed to survive living in London, paying rent when I didn’t have an income? It was impossible and I would revisit it again in early 2017.
By this point in the year I had grown quite disgruntled about my job. I worked in a very prestigious Fashion Photographic agency and made up 50% of the hair and makeup team. People management is the most thankless task anyone can do, especially if it’s in fashion. You’re treated like shit, a lot. Expected to answer your phone and solve the tiniest of problems for fully capable adults at the drop of a hat (or your family Sunday lunch). I love the industry and adore working so closely to creativity but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t fulfilled or appreciated and slowly but surely I was getting more angry and resentful about doing this job. Until 1 day the decision was made for me.
In the end we parted ways. I had a bit of a pay off and although I thought I would be desperately looking for a job it was as if the blogger fairy sent around a national memo that I was now full time blogger (because let’s face it, what else was I if not unemployed?) Suddenly, as if by magic, the worked started to flow in. Don’t get me wrong I hustled my ass off; desperation/determination to succeed in life is something I championed from the womb. I have never worked so hard in my life as I have these last few months and it’s paying off. At the end of the year I can honestly say I feel like I have the best job in the world.
This was the year I felt like I made the most headway with my brand image which in turn led to my most successful brand partnership to date. I first shot with Kat of Kats Films back in the summer for a Nike video (see it here). I knew immediately that we would be shooting a lot more together. She gets my aesthetic and always makes me feel comfortable in front of the cam. She’s a great sport and up for anything when we shoot together, no matter how crazy/cold or ambitious my ideas are! Through this partnership my content has been elevated so much I hope we work together for years to come!
My most exciting collab to date was definitely working so closely with fashion retailer New Look over the last few months. I am so excited and elated every time we work together. Collaborations this year have included working on their Angels & Robots Christmas campaign, launching their new beauty collection with social media tutorials and co-hosting with Proudlock the NLSS17 press show on Facebook live, with an audience of 4 million!
Making blogger friends
Making friends with fellow bloggers is important as they are essentially your colleagues when you go full time. The job of being a blogger is truly in its infancy and we are generation 1. Together we shape what future generations will come to choose and accept as a lucrative and creative career. Divided we are when we compete and act bitchy about each other’s successes and failures.
Being a blogger can be a lonely job, it’s taken those closest to me a while to really understand what it is I do. Also when I go to work most of the time it’s just me and my inbox. Since becoming a blogger full time I have made more of an effort to make friends with the girls doing what I do. The community is extremely niche and everyone knows everyone. There’s bound to be some backstabbing’s and fall outs, as well as a whole lot of frenemies but I am confident that I have made a handful of good friends that I trust and will always help out. As they say, there’s enough success for everyone to go around.
The family trip of a lifetime
This year my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary and I couldn’t be happier for them. Their marriage is one I look up to and hope to emulate one day myself. To celebrate they kindly took us all on a trip of a lifetime to CUBA! We spent the most fantastic 5 days in Havana, the vibrant and chaotic capital city. We roamed around the crumbling buildings in the day and soaking up the atmosphere with a cocktail at night. The last 5 days were spent in blissful abandon at a resort in Varadero, making dents in muslin draped sunbeds facing out to the blue infinity. You can watch the vlog here.
Hitting my social media goals
This is a slightly superficial event in my 2016 timeline but a momentous one for me as a micro blogger. I hit 10K on Instagram! Although this is not a reflection of how much traffic my blog or YouTube channel gets, it most certainly helps to be taken seriously as an influencer when you lose the last 4 numbers for the all-important K. Woop!
Trump becomes President and Brexit happens
My blog isn’t a political space largely due to me not being very clued up on politics and also because I would prefer to nurture a politically neutral space on the Internet. However, it would be weird not to mention the two massive political events that took place in 2016. We will be pulling out of the European Union and the man least likely to become President is now in charge of arguably the most powerful country in the world. I won’t be commenting on how I feel about either of these events but I will say that at times of unrest and uncertainty I feel helpless and my voice strangled and unheard. Feeling angry and disjointed from those with opposing views was a common theme. It’s sad. It makes me want to retreat even further away from politics and just concentrate on what is good and happy in my life.
Looking forward to the year ahead
Without a doubt I am excited for 2017. I am prepared to work hard towards both my work goals and personal life goals I would like to achieve in the New Year. I kicked off my bucket list blog here already. When I raise my champagne glass at midnight I have a lot to celebrate because I feel like my life has started finally to move in a direction I am happy about. Also, my lovely readers, that glass will also be raised to you, because without you where would I be?! Thank you.