A Look Back At 2018: The Highs, The Lows & What’s To Come

Things get EMOSH.

One of my favourite parts of ‘Crimbo Limbo’ – the days between Christmas Day and New Year – are the pockets of time that pop up in the morning because my body clock wakes me up at 8am latest, and Mark’s doesn’t click in until 11. It’s actually quite wonderful and each morning I slip away, have two mince pies for breakfast (the correct breakfast option for Crimbo Limbo), snuggle up on my office sofa with laptop and write. It’s lovely. No emails, not much else going on; just a chance to sit in silence and tap out words.

So here’s what I’ve been tapping out over the past three mornings. It’s taken a while to finish this one off because when it comes to the topic of 2018, there’s just so much to say. It’s been one of the greatest 12 month stretches career-wise and ultimately it’s been a happy year. Friends and family are fit and healthy and Mark and I are pretty chuffed chaps right now too. It’s been challenging in places, but ultimately it’s been a year of good times and ain’t that grand? #Blessed and all that. Here are the highs and lows of 2018, and what I’m looking forward to for the next year…

I mean it’s pretty obvious what my number one highlight was, right? I always knew that writing a book would be something that completely took over my life, but I had no idea of just how intensive, yet rewarding the process would be. ‘An Edited Life’ is my baby and I could not be happier of the end result. It’s been my number one focus since 1st January 2018 and now it’s so close to release date it feels like I’m slap back at the beginning of the journey all over again, not sure what’s around the corner but literally ticking days off my calendar in anticipation. It’s by far my biggest career achievement – and I do feel like a bit of a knob to say that – but I feel like we should all be comfortable with stopping and giving ourselves a pat on the back from time to time and take a moment to take stock. Completing the project has definitely spurred me on to think bigger when it comes to new ones, and also to push myself too and not be scared of taking on a challenge.

The other amazing thing that came from writing a book, was having the chance to work as part of a team and collaborate with some incredible people. Having worked, mostly at home, for myself for over six years now I’m a bit of a lonewolf. I’m lucky to have incredible managers and a work wife in the form of Lily obviously, but quite often come to decisions on my own and work quite happily as a one girl band. However the book has meant that I’ve had to work as part of a larger team, with my fantastic Editor, Book Agent, Designer, Marketing and Sales, a PR team, and actually – I’ve loved it. I feel so lucky to have worked with people who have listened to my ideas on everything – from the font on the cover of the book, to my strong opinions about using the ‘s’ in organisation – it’s been a dream to work with the Quadrille team, who have seriously brought their A-game to the table across the board. This year I also met the wonderful Emma Croman, who has taken all the photos on my blog since June, and she is honestly one of the kindest, friendliest, happy people I know. Such a babe who has made my least favourite part of blogging (posing for pictures *shudders*), a whole lot more enjoyable.

The other highlights have come courtesy of some incredible trips and holidays; Vietnam with Kiehl’s was a once in a life-time experience, Puglia with my family and VillaPlus was something that we’ll never forget and Vegas and Ibiza with NARS were SO MUCH FUN. We visited Amsterdam twice to see our friends who live out there, the Lake District with my parents earlier in the year, then Madrid which was possibly our favourite trip of the whole year and Copenhagen more recently which we fell in love with too. Last year Mark saved up all his holiday so we could take a serious slice off for our honeymoon in New Zealand, but this year it was nice to chop it up a bit and visit more places, but utilising Bank Holidays and weekends for slightly shorter trips. I think next year we’re going back to the long ol’ holiday strategy and are hoping to get a California road trip in at some point. Holidays are always the highlight of the year, so we’re trying to pack as much travel as possible in while we’re child-free and don’t have any immediate plans to move which will no doubt suck up all our finances. Cali, we’re coming for you. 

I don’t often talk about the shit bits on here, and I’m a ‘glass half full‘ kinda gal offline too but of course there’s been some rough to take with the smooth. I’d be lying if I said that writing a book was a completely joyful experience – writing 80,000 words on top of your usual day job is quite the task for anyone and it was bloody hard, especially in the late summer when deadlines were approaching and it was coming to an end. The worry about it being just right and the doubt that creeps into your mind just as you’re about the sign the whole thing off to go to print is pretty grim. Throw in the guilt that comes with being a blogger who is given a book deal, the ‘Who am I to write an advice book?‘ voice in your head and knowing that some people will think that something that you worked so hard on for basically a whole year is utter shit, it’s taken some real bolstering from myself and others to see the project through, but I’m so proud of the end result.

The other lows have come from coming off the pill – which I have been on since I was 17, OOPS. Turns out that hormones can be a real f****r. I didn’t come off the pill to get pregnant, but it came from chatting to basically every girl I know about the topic of fertility and our natural cycles and just a general intrigue from seeing what our periods are like after all this time. It was like domino-effect and now all my mates are pill-free and we often find ourselves sending ‘MY BOOBS ARE LIKE ROCKS’ messages in our WhatsApp groups. Aside from headaches, rock boobs and fire nipples, it was just how sad I felt for a solid three-week period that really hit me. I was irritable, unmotivated and just generally morose for absolutely no reason at all. My mental health felt all over the shop and if that’s something that you struggle with regularly then I’m sending you all my love, because JEEZ it’s tough. Thankfully I feel my internal scales have rebalanced and me and my period tracker app are back to being best friends.

The most exciting part is that I feel like 2019 is going to be even better. Mark and I are feeling extremely grateful to be really chuffed with where we’re at right now. We have no plans to move or do anything drastic in the next year; instead we plan to hopefully go on some cracking holidays, save up some money so eventually we can afford to move into a house (with a garden – WHAT A TREAT!) and just generally enjoy where we live and spending time together and with our families and friends.

After spending a large amount of the past 12 months holed up inside writing a book, this is now the time where I get to share it with everyone and do the fun bit, touring up and down the country meeting you lot. No more ‘write 5,000 words today‘ days. HOORAY! I get to leave the house! Aside from book release day (which I’m now counting down like a 5 year old does with Christmas Day), I’m excited to develop more work projects in the new year. Lily and I are already working on something that should fit nicely around the arrival of Baby Pebbles and I’m hoping to post a video everyday in March – something that I’ve never done before – and get back up to uploading two videos a week again from January and really put some time and love into my YouTube channel now I’m not having to juggle writing a book with all my usual commitments.

Of course I couldn’t wrap up this post without saying a huge thank you to you. Thank you for stopping by, whether you silently consume, or you stop to say hello – I really do appreciate the support. I can’t believe that next March will mark nine years since I began writing on my own little corner of the Internet and in my wildest dreams I’d have never thought I’d have ended up here. It’s quite honestly the dream and I have you lot to thank for it. SO THANK YOU! Wishing you all the best for 2019! Buckle up, I think it’s going to be a good’un…

Photos by Emma Croman

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