I can’t remember a year as busy and fulfilling as the year 2017. From start to finish, I feel I’ve barely had time to catch my breath. It’s been life-changing in many ways, both as an individual and for us as a little family and as I reflect, I can’t quite believe how fortunate I am. It’s hard to know where to begin so I’ve decided to look at a few different aspects of my life.
The Year 2017: My Style
Writing a (life and) style blog means I have a permanent record of what I wear and for what occasion and when I scroll through my Instagram feed, it’s plain see what colours and styles I favour. This changes with the seasons. December was full of shades of red and pink wheras blues prevailed throughout spring. Of late, midi length skirts and statement earrings have featured heavily, whereas they didn’t quite so much at the start of the year. I will always maintain that this isn’t a fashion blog because I’m really not that fashionable, but I do embrace new trends and styles if they reflect my personal style. If they reflect me. My style is ever-evolving while remaining true to myself and I know for certain that I’m more self-confident than ever. I will credit age and the love of a wonderful man with this.
These are my favourite outfits from 2017. (Just click on the captions to see the full post).
The Year 2017: Work
I took an important and ultimately life-changing decision back in July when I decided to finish working for local glossy magazine Aspire. I’d worked there for three years and loved every moment. I learned so much and was privy to some wonderful experiences and opportunities. However, the time had come to consolidate my energies and my focus to enable me to concentrate on my own business. (my blog, my freelance writing and my online jewellery store). It was a risk but it has paid off.
Since then, I’ve been able to devote more time to building my brand. Writing a blog is incredibly time-consuming. Each post takes a minimum of four hours to photograph, write, edit, optimise and promote. Without question, it’s a labour of love as any of my blogging colleagues will attest. But I love it. My freelance writing work has increased and I am thrilled to be able to combine this more and more with my clinical and scientific background as an optometrist. My blog has opened doors and presented me with the most wonderful opportunities which I’ve grasped with both hands. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a career I love and one that is as fulfilling as it is diverse. These were the highlights .
I promise that this was all work!
The Year 2017: Trips and Travels
Many of my trips and travels have been work-related and include those mentioned above, but I have been very fortunate this year to have had three recreational trips to Spain. I had ten days in Nerja with my children and parents in summer, a week in Lanzarote with Ian and the children in October and a gorgeous weekend with Ian in Malaga in November. They were very different from each other but all were equally perfect and equally memorable. Just before we went to Nerja, Poppy and I had a fabulous long weekend in Brighton while Harry was away on a foreign exchange trip.
The Year 2017: Family, Love and Life
2017 has seen quite a few milestones and changes for my children. Poppy took her GCSEs, went to her prom and started at sixth form. She also got a weekend job and has been fundraising for an upcoming school trip to Tanzania. I look at her and see a beautiful, intelligent, sensitive young woman who has a heart of gold. Next year will be another pivotal year for her as she learns to drive and applies for university. I get very emotional when I think that she probably has another 18 months with Harry and I at home before she goes onto to higher education.
Harry began his GCSE courses but it’s football that has dominated 2017. In summer, he was selected to play in a district schoolboy team and this has taken us the length and breadth of the county (and neighbouring counties) on a Saturday. He continues to play for his local team on a Sunday and plays both football and rugby for school. I can’t deny that this imapcts hugely on my time. As well as the weekend fixtures, he trains two evening per week, each an hour’s drive away. However, I love watching him and am proud of his dedication and determination. Sometimes we take one of his teammates, but when we don’t it means we have several hours alone together in the car. As a result, we have a wonderful, close relationship. He realises that as a lone parent, this is a big committment for me and it means Poppy sometimes misses out. He returns the favour by helping me at home and he constantly astounds me with his emotional intelligence.
With all that being said however, although I am a lone parent, I have the most wonderful boyfriend I could wish for. Ian and I have a long-distance relationship and see each other on alternate weekends (at the most). When he’s here, he usually drives to football. The other parents have made him so welcome and he is as much a part of it as I am now. I’m a confident, happy driver but it’s SO lovely to be the passenger from time to time.
We’ve grown increasingly close throughout 2017 and I simply can’t imagine life without him. I think it’s blindingly obvious to those that know us that we’re excited for the future. It hasn’t been plain-sailing. Integrating a new partner into an existing tight family unit hasn’t been easy and the four of us are still finding our feet and adapting to this new dynamic. I’ve learned a lot this year. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve cried more tears than anyone could ever know, but we’re getting there. Love has prevailed but I’ll tread carefully for a little while longer yet. Seeing their mum as a romantic parnter, as a woman and not just their mum, hasn’t been easy for my children. All of this is totally understandable when I think what they’ve been through.
What To Expect in 2018
I have a few health issues that are to be investigated in early 2018 and life as a lone-parent to two intelligent, spirited teenagers will always have its occasional challenges. (It’s relentless but they’re the best children and we laugh a lot and enjoy life so much). I will continue to keep my blog as a very positive, optimistic and upbeat space. I will always, always, always write with honesty and integrity. If I wear something it’s because I love it and if I recommend a product or a place it’s because I use it or have visited it. I have an exciting year-long collaboration with a spectacle frame company starting soon and a few other exciting things in the pipeline but for the main part, I shall just wait and see what 2018 brings and I can’t wait!
Thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog. Thank you for understanding that sponsored posts are essential for the survival of my blog and thank you for the lovely comments and feedback. I wish everyone a very very happy and healthy new year and one that’s full of love and laughter.