This year has been one of such incredible change, and writing this post and taking stock of all that has been incredibly overwhelming and rewarding. I know so many of you who were reading at the beginning of the year and still here now, along with lots of new people too, which is something I am endlessly grateful for. I have pushed my content harder than before, tried more and more new things, worked hard to keep this space the space you all want it to be while reflecting the changes and growth in my life. This blog is the backbone of everything I do, it means more to me than my YouTube or Instagram, it’s the space I get to be the most creative with - and I for one really hope 2018 is the year we all fall in love with blogs again.
So, I have pulled together some of my favourite photos from each month, and we are going to start at the beginning (as often makes the most sense) and work right up to this moment now. It’s going to be a big one, so get a cuppa or a large glass of water if you’re hanging from NYE.
I remember feeling just at eager to start working properly again last January as I do this one. Only this time I was driving back to Manchester to get back into things. Throughout the entire first half of 2017 I was travelling down to London once a week, although the idea of moving there one day was never something I wanted.
I remember the beginnings of this year being a time I spent comparing myself to other people, something I have thankfully managed to overcome (this topic possibly warrants an entire post to itself). I was incredibly focused on my own work, with no work/life balance at all, which I think really contributed to that comparison as I was never allowing myself to step back from my online world. This idea of stepping back is something I still struggle with.
It was the month I started to hand write on my film images too, something which has become a huge feature in my weekly blog schedule now. I still love to do this every single week, and these are still my favourite posts to look back on.
Mum was shooting my photos for me then, and Harry would help too on the weekends when I dragged him around the Northern Quarter. Looking back on these photos makes me miss editing my own images a little bit too!
This was the first time I went to Copenhagen Fashion Week, and the first time Lindsey and I travelled together. She whinged the whole time about how cold it was (it was freezing, cold enough to put me off going back again this Winter), and I realised I had a friend I could spend limitless amounts of time with despite this - and thank god for that, because the moments we have spent together around the world since have been some of the best in my entire life, not just this year.
My love for film photography has to be credited to Paul, the film photographer I worked with in Manchester. He taught me so much about shooting on film, and the work we did together is still some of the best images I have ever shared on here. Paul, if you happen to be reading his, I would love to come back to Manchester this year again so we can shoot!!
As always, February entails London Fashion Week - something I am still yet to find enjoyable and am considering giving up on this year.
March was partly spent in Paris with Mum staying with some friends, and also spending time with Lindsey and Katherine who were there at the same time. Paris is always grey and rainy whenever I am there, so once again the weather is a stand out memory of that trip.
For some reason there is little more springing to mind about March. I remember there being some unseasonably warm days in Manchester where the atmosphere of that incredible city really does become palpable - I do miss the Summer days walking through the Northern Quarter where there would always be such a buzz.
Looking back on the content I created in April completely reminds of how the Spring and lighter days rejuvenates content every single year. I got to film a video for H&M which involved going to the Cotswalds for the night, and I loved what we created and that I got the chance to work with such an amazing brand. Went and shot some images with Paul around Manchester and Liverpool- Paul and I were always really good at making a real effort with the locations we use, it’s something I miss about being in the North and having my car - throwing a tonne of clothes into the boot and driving off in hunt of some amazing spots to shoot in.
Harry and I also took a short break in Madrid, an incredible city that I really loved and would love to return too. I have lots of happy memories from that trip!
I wrote a blog post about what goes into blogging, which is something I must re-write because my working days have become so different since living in London. I loved Manchester and working from there, and as Harry was a student at the time and I wasn’t living alone, it didn’t feel like a lonely job. However, I wasn’t surrounded by freelancers in the way I am now, which makes it hard to make the most of the privileges of a freelance lifestyle.
May was a hugely significant month of my life. It’s actually insane to think about how many things happened in this month, that I can only really see the significance of now.
Firstly, I did a shoot for CollectPlus (huge thank you to them for being such an incredible support of my blog throughout the years, they are a huge part of what I do behind the scenes too!) and Stylist magazine. The photographer on that shoot was no other than Dean Martindale - someone who you all know has become a big part of my working life now. We got on well, I went back to Manchester, and never did I think we would work together again.
I also went to LA for the first time with Lindsey and Kathrine. I have never fallen in love with a place quite like LA, it completely stole my heart and ignited a huge wanderlust I never really had before. I made lots of decisions while I was there about my life and where I wanted it to go. Met some amazing people, got closer and closer to Lindsey and Katherine. I think it has to be the best, and most important, trip I took throughout the whole year.
Once again I shot a lot with Paul and looking back on these photos makes me SO happy. And I shot with Scott for the first time in LA, who is also someone who would influence my content a lot throughout the rest of the year. I think so much influence into what I do comes from the brand collaborations, but also the other creatives I get to work with along the way who help me push my content more and more, this is something I have realised more than ever this year.
It was also the month of the Manchester attacks - and while this year has been pretty dire on an international level, this is the one event that stands out in my mind over all the rest. Walking around Manchester in the days after that was surreal, and brought what often can seem like something that doesn't happen to us, very close to home indeed.
This month began with the biggest decision I have ever made. A huge (and albeit very very amicable) break up with someone I had known since I was 11 years old. It was an incredibly hard decision for us both, and I am forever grateful for the constant support Harry gave me. I have said it before but my blog would not be what it is today without his support and encouragement for what I was doing when this all began.
I was then faced with the huge task of moving out of Manchester, and then to wherever the next stop would be. Moving to London was never on the agenda for me. Whenever I came down for work I found it so stressful and overwhelming, I always struggled to understand why anyone would want to live there and was always thankful for coming back up north at the end of it all. But there was no other options. To go back to Leeds would be a step back, and I had to leave Manchester - so London it was, and I begrudgingly began the overwhelming task of trying to find a place down here.
I also went back to LA, a little over three weeks after my first visit. As I said it really stole my heart, and it was place I wanted to escape to for a little while - and do it alone. Almost like a test for the idea of living alone, to really send myself miles away from my comfort zone. I wont pretend I did it by halves - I booked an amazing Air B&B which became a hub for me to imagine what my life could be once I went back home. I also went out there with a really exciting project - a job with Topshop, which was a huge achievement. I got to work with Scott again and we shot some of the best content I could have hoped for, some of which would end up being part of the most read blog post I have ever shared on here.
July was the month the ball got rolling. I found a place in London at the beginning of the month - after spending two days looking around more than 20 places, I went with the one that stood out the most despite being a total tip and having a really bad smell going on. Thankfully it turned out to the be the best decision, but at the time I felt I was throwing huge sums of money at something that wasn’t quite perfect. But anyone who rents in London will know you have to compromise somewhere.
On the day I signed for my flat, we lost little Percy. Mum and I still miss him so much now, and loosing him felt so much like being kicked while I was down already.
We spent a week in Italy where I created some of the best content I could have hoped for, but was the lowest I had been in a long time. A harsh reminder that what we share online is not always a true representation of where someone is at!
As soon as we got back from Italy it was full steam ahead with moving. I had a week to pack (again) from mums to go down to London. No one in this world is more organised than my mother so I couldn’t have done it all without her as she took control of a situation I felt very out of depth in.
I think August has to be the best month of the year for me. Looking at all these photos makes me smile from so many amazing memories. Moving day was the 1st August, and as with most things when you actually start tackling a job everything begins to fall into place. My flat quickly filled with all my things and I knew I had made the right decision and it would be a place I would love to live in.
The move to London also meant finding a new photographer as Mum could no longer shoot for me every week, so I messaged Dean again and was very surprised when he said yes to shooting together! As you all know we have since gone on to work together almost every week, and created some of the best content I have ever been able to share.
As a way of settling into the changes of everything in London I wanted to keep moving at a thousand miles an hour, which is what I did throughout the rest of the year. Lots of short (but amazing) trips, lots of socialising and lots of working too. In August I got to visit Copenhagen again with Lindsey, and Poland with RESERVED which was such a bloody treat!
Stand out moment of September was definitely going to New York. I have found such a love for travelling and shooting while there, but without it being a press trip so I can still be as creative as possible and get the best content for you. I shot with Scott on projects for Dune, Free People and Paul Smith and my god did we get a lot of content out of the few days there. Also spent a rather drunken evening in Times Square to see Dean’s work there, watching my friends succeed has been such a privilege for me this year and some of my best memories have been stood beside someone achieving a huge personal goal. From Katherine’s pregnancy and relentless work ethic through it all, Lindsey taking her blog full time and Dean seeing his work in Time Square, these are all huge highlights for me too.
October made me reflect on female friendships a lot after a trip to Paris with the Hoxton and some amazing girls. Living in London brought me closer to people doing similar things to me, which is endlessly motivating, but had the potential to send back to the self comparison headspace I was in at the beginning of the year. Thankfully, that couldn’t have been further from the case.
When you find a group of girls who support you relentlessly, never compete, never judge and always lend an ear then you have struck gold. I could not feel more fortunate for the female friends in my life. And a special mention needs to go to Lindsey here who has been my rock this entire year, there isn’t a day she doesn’t check to see how I am doing and never tires of listening to me go on and on about the same things as I try and work through problems. Linds has really taught me just how supportive a friendship can be.
Aside from Paris, I also spent a few days in Amsterdam to film another video for Topshop with Dean, which was mostly spent eating too much and laughing a lot. And at the end of the month I found myself in LA again, which was completely unexpected! I got to go out there with what has become my favourite brand, & Other Stories, and of course extended to stay to work - I had intended to relax too but that didn’t go to plan. I got to shoot with Scott for the last time that year, got some amazing blog posts out of it, and revisited the Air B&B I stayed in when I was there in June. It was a hugely cathartic experience because this time I actually was excited to go back home to my life in London, which I had planned out and dreamt up last time I was there.
My birthday month! I turned 25 and Mum came down to stay and celebrate with me. Ate dinner at my favourite restaurant near mine (Flat Iron, best steak ever) with all my friends around me and got happily drunk.
I went to New York again for a girls trip with Lindsey and Katherine, I think this trip was the start of getting a little over tired and in need of some proper rest because I was literally HYSTERICAL the whole trip - either insanely happy or crying in a bar, I mean I went a bit insane. Travel is amazing and something I want to do more of next year, but I think it can eventually take it’s toll as it’s so disruptive. Thankfully we can laugh about it now so I look back on the trip with fondness, but my god it was dramatic at the time!
December hasn’t been the easiest month. Christmas always feels bitter sweet and I hit a point where I had to slow down, and with that came a little bit of taking stock on this year. So many huge changes that I have been too busy to really stop and think about, and it definitely all hit me hard over Christmas.
But mostly I am so thankful I can share these moments on here. The support I have from all of you amazes me all the time, and throughout the next year I want to get better a sharing the good along with the bad. My blog will always be run by passion for what I do, it will always be fashion focused, and I will always drone on and on about why I love jeans so much. But I want to also represent someone going through life in their 20s, probably making lots of mistakes, but always in a good outfit that I want to share with you guys.
I hope you all had an amazing NYE, it’s incredible what can change in a year and 2017 has taught me that so much - so if you’re not where you want to be right now, there is so much opportunity for growth and change in such a short space of time!