I don't mean to alarm you but... today is the last day of 2015! Weighing that up in mind is quite the crazy thought and I'm still questioning whether I was in daydream for most of the year or whether it did actually fly by that fast. What's been another mixed year in the real world - Kylie Jenner sending everyone lip crazy, that mind boggling dress, the man bun and beard trend, another royal baby, a ruthless election, Snapchat, Netflix and chill, a Star Wars phenomenon and Fifty Shades of absolutely everything, Adele bursting onto the scene again, One Direction announcing a 'break', the transformation of becoming a Belieber, Drake's dancing, the reach of the Back To The Future date, new emojis, some unfortunate and terrible disasters, and some blood, sweat and tears, the usual family loving, and some average adventures my way - in the blogging world it was a completely different story.
This year I celebrated two whole years of my blog and it was also the year I finally rid of my impulsiveness and decided on a label and a design I'm completely one hundred percent happy with. It's been a whirlwind of names; from Oh So Bridie, to Upon My Sleeve and now The Same Old Chic. Entirely reinventing my persona to suit what I aim for was the best step I could have taken as now I'm feeling the motivation and inspiration to up my game (with a few blue moments now and again). In all honesty, I've always felt as though I've struggled in building my blog to the place I desire it to be. Nowadays, it's considered a much more professional approach and although it's always been a sideline hobby I enjoy unwinding and reporting to, I'm forever hoping and trying to get it to the next level. I've never felt such pleasing warmth and respect for the bloggers who have gone full time this year, for those who I've personally seen grow who are now living it large and listing blogging as their career. It's lovely to see blogging taken seriously (AT LAST) but it now means the competition is widened prompting a vicious circle.
Saying that, however, every year brings great progress and I feel 2015 has been a major improvement; it's been an incredible year in terms of opportunities arising from my blog, for getting myself out there, attending events. meeting new people, inventing fresh from the ordinary material, witnessing a small but steady development with the way my blog is perceived and stepping out of my comfort zone. Not to blow my own trumpet or anything but I'm damn proud of my achievements this year and I never thought - sitting here at my cramped (and definitely not Instagram-worthy) desk attempting to curl my long locks in time for another reserved New Year/joint mum's birthday party tonight - just like I was last year, that I'd have been able to experience such euphoria and jollity purely from this little piece of the internet I call my own. I know it's the typical thing to do come the end of the year but I think it's nice to have a summarised round up of all the activity within that time space, to look back on, compare, get it all into writing, and remind yourself that this girl can. After all, if a new year with a new complex isn't an excuse to commemorate and reminisce the good and even the bad and bring out the sentimental side of you, then when is?
Without further ado, let's take a look at both my blog highlights, my 'anti bucket list' (inspired by the wonderful Liv) and general rosy moments...
THE BLOGGING STUFF
- Attended my first ever food and drink based event, which prompted tons of restaurant and bar visits to follow
- Indulged in a wide variety of almost force fed (not complaining) cocktails, pizza, and tapas
- Grew fond of several local bloggers who I can now consider friends (and the list keeps on growing)
- Improved my introverted social skills with a couple of cocktail evenings with said girls
- Headed out on a bloggers' afternoon tea
- Got crafty with Carpetright in a innovative way to reinvent scrap pieces
- Discovered all these swanky and delightful on the eye (and camera) venues courtesy of lots more events
- Went to a Christmas meet up!
- Involved my family within blogging as I treated my amateur photographer brother to some Slate loving
- WON a FarFetch competition with my take on iconic movie moments
- Reached 100,000 views (so cray!)
- Built up a stable and friendly relationship with PR's
- Actually found out the meaning to a PR
- Teamed up with brands far beyond my expectations
- Started to make a small amount of money through my blog and was completely overjoyed
- Experimented with colours, textures, and atypical combinations to find my central base
- Evolved into someone who knows their own style
- Found a passion for fashion I never knew I had
- Attended my first catwalk event with the Leeds Fashion Initiative
- Got given an extremely helpful and inciting style masterclass
- Had the privilege of being a representative for my hometown in DP Dresses The Nation
- Featured on Boohoo's blogger style fix
- Interpreted my style into my Instagram and gained huge advantage that way
- Took a photo of every outfit worn abroad for my holiday diary
- Gained knowledge about brands, concepts, and the latest trends from various fashion events
- Witnessed my auntie and uncle marry after 13 years of persuasion and had the honour of photographing the whole thing
- Explored my home ground, in and around Yorkshire and rekindled my love for old seaside towns
- Was graced with peace, tranquillity and luxury at its best with a complimentary stay at Ox Pasture Hall
- Visited the places that I took a liking to instead of walking past and regretting not entering (even if it was just snap the prettiness)
- Cast my first ever vote in the general election
- Relaxed and laughed my way to bliss in another 17 days in sunny Spain
- Had birthday afternoon tea and was played piano to in front of an entire crowd
- Decorated my bedroom to suit my new image (hello white walls and marble)
- Actually found hidden impulse for following recipes and cooked up something delectable!
- Attended some heart pumping gigs, including the ever so cheeky Olly Murs (twice)
- Celebrated my not so baby brother's 18th birthday
was reunited withmy teenage love and almost sobbed over the rest of his bandmates (including a gracious win at Strictly - Jay McGuiness I'm looking at you)
Scrolling back to the past is another rewarding aspect I love to explore. So let's peak at last years' goals (not the overused phrase kind mind you) and see how I've done in comparison. Have I completely backed away or actually listened to myself in favour of my well-being for once?
Take myself out of my comfort zone | I'd say I've made a relatively reasonable attempt at this in 2015; maybe not from the start but definitely towards the end. I've let my anxiety take hold frequently and now I'm learning to just let go, go with the flow and realise it can't be all that bad and actually, I'll gain from it rather than put myself into an awkward position.
Create a photo diary | I can officially say this is something I haven't yet completed. It would be nice to physically construct a photo diary opposed to my online storage but it's so difficult to find the time. I do still upload bits and bobs to my memory box, though. I feel it's gonna be a time capsule for when I'm older.
Show my character | it's still so bloody hard to show yourself off when realistically you're a raisin in a tub of chocolate buttons, isn't it? I don't think I'll ever be able to change my personality, the way I'd rather stay back and remain quiet than express myself completely but I am working on it and hopefully people I see often have a general idea of who and what I represent.
Speak up more | yes, yes, yes; so much so that I can often come across too hasty and opinionated now when something is riling me. But I'm no longer afraid to tackle controversial issues I feel strongly about and will make sure my voice is heard; baring the nitty gritty and the ins and outs for all to see. I don't take kindly to humans ridding of humanity and I've learned to take a stand in what I believe in.
Stop worrying about what other people think | why on earth I even thought I'd overcome this, I do not know. Unfortunately I actually think it's worsened in 2015. With me being more active and less of a recluse I'm constantly conscious of what people's instant thoughts are going to be when I introduce myself and always fret I'm the individual considered forgettable and weird. However, blog wise I feel I have improved. I've put out there content I want to put out there without worrying people won't like it (okay, well maybe a little). I've finally grasped the fact I'm not going to please everybody and I think I'm now more assured with that.
Concentrate on me | I noted last year that I wanted to give myself praise, allow some precious me time, do what makes me happy, stop comparing myself to other people and stop wishing I was like that person who has more. This year, I'm half and half in completing the direction I wished to take. I'm now quicker on erasing the negative thoughts I have about how I'm worthless as a person to the back of my mind and concentrate on the forward but I need to give myself some credit and stop putting myself down. I hope the belief in myself will come naturally as I do often treat myself to some positive pick me ups after a long, hard, painful, emotional week - and along with this, I must try to select my own good traits instead of putting myself into a comparison situation with someone I just aren't on the same level with.
Make a difference | another one to still be attained (or at least I think so). I think everyone aims to be someone's favourite blogger but for me personally, it's an imaginative attitude I'd be delighted to take on. I'd love to inspire and it really would be the be all end all being called out as someone people look up to. There's the daily rituals of being the regular agony aunt by dishing out advice or showing concern for certain subjects but as a unity, I'd still love to proudly say 'yes, this action I took helped somebody else in need'. Signifying my mental health struggles on my blog this year was a step in the right direction, at least.
Live for the moment | it's so hard to balance the real world with the internet world, especially when you like to be regularly updated and on board for blogging (and general nosiness) sake. Although I am still pretty active on social media and always have the urge to apprise the latest picture, information or bizarre and provocative thought that crosses my mind, when it comes to communicating away from my phone, I've learnt to listen, to appreciate the company around me, don't take for granted and see the beauty in things without feeling the need to capture it on camera (I went out for pizza the other night and didn't Instagram, an improvement indeed).
Be healthy | this summer I very nearly completed Kayla Itsines' bikini body guide to achieve my 'summer body' and by god, did I feel alive. It was the toughest obstacle I've ever had to push myself towards but the after effects were delightful (there were even abs forming, guys). I felt healthier, looked healthier and could run up the stairs without dying a slow death. The trouble is with me, it can go downhill with the click of a finger. I quit exercise quicker than I rid of healthy eating. I'm usually on a steady diet with all my vitamins and minerals included (apart from at Christmas time, I've really gone overboard this year) but I need to get back on the fit regime as I'm done with being sluggish and unhappy with my body. I want to actually be able to look at myself in the mirror instead of avoiding my reflection and getting dressed as soon as possible.
Explore | I'm still a travel admirer, that hasn't changed - nor has my bucket list for places to visit. I still have loads of places I'd love to go but I am starting with the local prize destinations and working my way upwards. I can't see my holiday abroad differing this year, until I build the funds I'm unable to go wild, but I'm so lucky just to travel anywhere!
Improve photography | as each year passes by I do notice a vast difference within my photography but I still find loads of room to improve. I don't think I'll ever be fulfilled until I reach Carrie's degree (probably not even then) but it's something I can be patient with as I enjoy the curve. I may huff and puff if the picture I have in my head isn't forming at the click of a button but I'm learning as I go along and I bounce off my own work. I keep telling myself I will be persistent; 2016 is set to be the year I produce even further into the technical world!
Be more innovative | I've certainly found I've not struggled as much to fabricate posts together this year and the ideas have streamed naturally. I think that's because I'm allowing myself to delve into my inner self, I'm using inspiration as a base and turning it into something relative to me. Don't get me wrong, it's still hard to form a never done before piece as blogging is such a familiarised community but I find myself eager to keep striving to produce and have a fuzzy, you go girl, feeling when the reception is warm towards something I've spent a long time on.
Get planning and organising | I think my notebook, journal and planner obsession kind of speaks for itself as the more assembled I've become, the more needy I am of routine. I've definitely become better at scheduling and separating my blog bubble into parts and it's a weight off the shoulder once done so but I still need to speed up the process of getting everything written down and photographed in bulk. There's days I still pile too much on at once and end up ripping my hair out but I think once the summer and the light nights come back around my structure will be more regular!
Include personal and controversial topics | I'd say I've fully accomplished this task, and beyond! I'm not sure how well received my Sunday Natter posts are but I rely on spurting out these rants to throw some real me into there and let off some steam that sometimes bothers me, or just taunts me to start a casual conversation. Plus, it's great to hear other people's opinions and personal input as it shows just how many elements there are to an individual.
Post more regularly | last year I posted 89 times, this year I posted 167 (now 168) times so that's another one to tick off the list! I'm actually really pleased I decided on putting up a post every other day because it's drawn in those readers and urged me to keep at it, allowing all these proposals to intertwine with my delivery of purpose. Of course it's only normal to have those deflated days and those blank brain moments and I have plenty of them but once I get into gear, I'm off like a shot and find it easier to shape my content.
Have a dedicated day post | apart from the odd let down where I've completely given up and lost track of direction, I've stuck to my Wednesday Wishlist's and Sunday Natter's and don't intend on stopping any time soon.
A new blog design | as stated at the beginning of this post, I shook away all my doubts and took the plunge to completely re-brand and redesign my blog. Buying a minimal template from the genius pipdig was £39 well spent because it means now I'm driven and willing to proceed. It's crazy how instantly something as simple as a tweek in design can boost your spirit.
Having a domain | guess what? I've gone a step further with this one and had two domains! With a change in names it's been double the hassle but I figured it out all by myself and managed to successfully complete the swap over. I think that deserves a pat on the back for someone who isn't a html nor a tech savvy in the slightest!
Interpret more style based posts | I haven't committed as much as I'd have liked to have done with this. I've braved my fear and ventured out into my non scenic town to find varied outfit locations and I've mixed it up info-graphically when displaying style but I'm still not where I want to be. Style is a main route I'd love to go down but my desire to be inconsistent with one certain topic eats away at me. I suppose now I'm intending on distinguishing my principles and balancing out my interests and enthusiasm, it doesn't really matter what I post as long as it's true to myself so I do think I'll begin to include this if and when I have the weather and someone to take the photos for me - which is the difficult part. I'm so so passionate about street style, outfit wearing and being surprised when you originate a combo from your everyday wardrobe and I can't wait to bring that into my blog (even if it does often fluctuate between casual jeans and a full on statement).
Remember to give myself a break | I am harsh on myself, I'll admit that. The shrugging off optimism, jumping to conclusions, easily panicking and being a pessimistic nightmare hasn't changed and I do think it's going to be more of a long term rather than a short term if I am going to notice any changes but for the staying cheery and stopping self-criticising part I am on relatively good terms with myself. I can recognise when I need to tell myself well done and although I pile pressure to be the best I can be blog wise, it helps me in becoming proud of the performance I've generated.
Along with the above, I'm going to finish off this stupidly long post by adding in some fresh, new goals to juggle with the same time next year (at the rate we're going, it'll be here in a jiffy). I still don't like to class a new year approach as a resolution as it sounds too forceful for me. Let's be real here, who quickly takes their 'resolutions' into action? Certainly not me, I'm inclined to break them within a few weeks which is why if there's objectives there for me to practice and work on gradually throughout the year - it tends to help and guide me towards staying on target. Keeping it as short as possible (because I've already spoken way too much) - here they are!
Number one: Continue to find my ground | 2015 has been the year I've flourished as a person, I'm feeling more relaxed and resilient and more at peace with the inner figure I'm ending the year with. I've grown strength to strength, matured intellectually and emotionally and figured out how to be an assertive adult. Both my writing style and my personal style have shone through in my blog and I am determined to keep this up, whilst finding out who I want to be. I want to be more presentable, professional and polished, I want to be able to import more of the definition of me (whatever that may be), show the person behind the ramblings, be truthful to where my heart lies, where my interests are at bay, and initiate content I'm exhilarated by and which wholly reflects who I am.
Number two: Work on self image | I've profoundly developed a sense of disposition, nature, and distinctive appearance this year. I've upped my beauty game and assigned a brand new sense of style upon myself but those pretences are still lurking. I'm 100% ready and pumped to improve my confidence in 2016, to come out of my shell, grab accomplishments and reach limits that will only make me learn to love and appreciate myself - faults, fobbles and all. To do this, to be able to acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses, and adjust to the revolution of my current state of mind and way I carry myself, I also need to take care of myself; so no overload of sugar and fat, no ridiculously late nights leading to grumpiness, no overdoing it, and more of a steady and beneficial routine!
Number three: Promote, promote, promote | I know numbers aren't everything but I'd be lying if I said I won't be striving for the higher mark in 2016. This year I more than tripled my views which is insane and also uplifting - it gives me the energy to aspire. Towards the end of 2015, once I'd completely reawakened my blog, I was strict with myself in terms of publicising myself (now I just need to figure out how to do it without being too overly pushy). I say this a lot but I would also would like to finally sit down and open up other accounts across the internet, such as Pinterest and Snapchat for example, as every little helps in bringing in the exposure. Then I'm obliging myself to interact more, be more active, take part in chats and converse more often. Afterall, it's not always just about perfecting the flat lays and photogenic cupcakes (even if it is a major starting point in my eyes).
Number four: Understand statistics | following on from the above, I need to conquer how to manage the business and strenuous side of blogging. In order for me to grow my blog I require mastering the tricky technical stuff. Once I see a link between my statistics and my posts, it will provide a back up for me to view what needs tweaking and what's working.
Number five: just say yes | I've adapted well to the repercussions this year and I've truly gone with my head contrasting to my heart. Even if I start to develop great anxiety around activity or events, I've still gone ahead and faced my dread and insecurities, and that's a huge improvement for me. Pushing my boundaries and forcing myself to get my arse into gear after deep procrastination has proved to be advantageous. It's inevitable to come across problems and hurdles in life but I'm advocated in stopping them from holding me back. I'm heading into 2016 with a fresh outlook, gaining wisdom from the changes and challenges and now, the new year looks pretty promising!
So there we have it, I've survived another year of rollercoaster blogging but come out of it with a rush of adrenaline and an urge to go back for more. As time passes by I become aware of the reason I blog and that's because I completely adore building up this platform of mine and having so much fun along the way. Little old me with my love for blankets and trashy TV actually feels like she belongs somewhere. My heart lies with blogging, even if it does include 2am meltdowns surrounded by chocolate wrappers, it makes it all worthwhile when I'm received positively; it's such a huge compliment and one I'm super grateful for.
Wherever you are and whatever you're doing to celebrate tonight (even if you're sat at home with food for company) and whether you look back on 2015 with a heavy heart, with disbelief or with fondness, let's make a toast to good will, to happiness and healthiness, to hope everything continues to be bright eyed and bushy tailed and that 2016 rakes in more magical success and chirpy moments to remember. I can't thank you all enough for supporting my inadequate but slowly expanding journey, it's often surreal and I'm ridiculously excited to find out what 2016 may bring. It's freedom of a new chapter in my hands!
What're your goals for twenty sixteen? Happy new year everyone!
Lots of love, Bridie x