Awesome Things That Happened to Me in 2016!

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2016 has been an amazing year. It started out with a trip to New York, and deciding to complete another 365 challenge, this time on Instagram.

I’ve really enjoyed posting a photo a day, and only had to miss two days when I got sick in October, which I’ve made up for.

January kicked off with me getting into makeup and starting to blog more. My blog has been through many phases alongside the phases I go through in my life, and I must say that beauty blogging has opened many more doors than any other subject I’ve written about. I’ve met so many people and a fantastic community of like-minded individuals.

February continued in this fashion with the start of my beauty favourites blogs, and I also saw the amazing film It Follows for the first time.

March began with seeing my Book Club girls, well half of them, for the first time in ages, and discovering Pretty Little Liars. I took a trip to London for my niece’s birthday

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and I spent a week off work turning my spare bedroom into a wonderful walk in wardrobe!

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In April, my Mum wrote a guest blog which people really loved, and I started my dedicated blog twitter account. I also discovered some fabulous podcasts and House of Cards became my new favourite tv show.

May teased us with 18c weather followed by horrid winter again. I visited London a few times, went for my only run of the year

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and Ariana Grande released Dangerous Woman! I also became obsessed with all things coconut scented.

June was a big month – Sarah’s London Hen Party was amazing, followed by her wedding in Cornwall.

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We spent a whole week in Cornwall and had an amazing time.

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I saw some great films, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Gallows and this blog turned 7!

In July we said goodbye to Tash the only way we knew – over food! We had fabulous brunch in Dalston followed by cocktails at the John Lewis rooftop bar.

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I went to EDC, which was wildly out of my comfort zone but really fun

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attended a family wedding, Secret Cinema Dirty Dancing

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and watched Stranger Things.

August was filled with movies, including Finding Dory and Suicide Squad for my birthday. I bought my new Sony a5000 and we went to see Romeo and Juliet at Waddesdon Manor as part of the Luna Cinema festival.

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We also saw the Hot 8 Brass Band at a local venue and danced the night away.

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In September, though I didn’t blog a huge amount, I announced my brand new YouTube Channel! I also got very excited for Florida, celebrated by 10 year wedding anniversary and spent the weekend at The Savoy in London!

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October was the month of Disney World. We took the trip of a lifetime and had a blast.

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On my return I got the sickest I’ve ever been, and thankfully recovered within a week. We went to see the Harry Potter play

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went to a Bad Company gig and celebrated my mum and dad’s ruby wedding anniversary.

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November was the return of the Gilmore Girls and I also attended Jurassic Park Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

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From the end of November to present it’s been all about Christmas and New Year. I visited the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, and vlogged.

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It’s been an amazing year and I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds. There’s a lot of change in the air, and I’m really excited about it all. Who knows what I’ll be writing in a year’s time? Here’s to another great one 😀

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

We have now reached that awkward stage in the year where Christmas is over, the new year hasn’t arrived yet and we’re all sort of in limbo.

I like to use this part of the year to reflect on the last 12 months, as many do. I also like to take down the Christmas tree as soon as I can and start tidying and cleaning. No doubt some kind of diet or detox will be on my plan due to all the rich food and drinks I’ve consumed over Christmas. I also tend to try a new skincare routine, which I love for the whole week and then have to go back to work, lose the will to spend the time on my face and go back to soap and water….. (shock horror!)

Anyway, one thing I have done for the past 2 or 3 years is look back and look forward in a more tangible way. Each year, on Christmas Eve, Gary and I read a letter we have written the previous Christmas Eve. It’s a letter we’ve written to ourselves asking about things for the future year. Things we want to achieve, things we wonder and things we’d like to change. We read our own letters and then read out anything we want to each other. I honestly had no idea what I’d written in this year’s before I read it.

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I really enjoy this new tradition we started 3 years ago, because it really puts a timestamp on the mentality I was in when I wrote the letter a year previously, and it sets the tone for the next letter. A year goes so fast but it’s easy to forget how much we do, see and how much we change in that 12 months. Reading my letter year on year really reminds me of this. We keep each year’s letters and at some point in the future I’m sure we’ll re-read them. Or maybe we won’t. It’s just nice knowing they’re there!

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Another tradition we started last year and brought through to this year is a Happy Things jar. I cut strips of coloured paper, and whenever we feel grateful or particularly happy or excited about something we write it onto a strip of paper. Then we roll up the strip and pop it into the jar. On New Year’s Eve we open the jar and take it in turns to read out what’s written. I really enjoyed doing this last year so I’m excited to do it again this year.ny4

 

These are only new traditions, but they make me feel really happy. I love the idea of continuing this for many years to come. Counting my blessings is so important to me. It helps to keep me grounded and grateful for the things I have and what I have achieved. It calms my brain and makes me a better person.

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If you like the idea of these simple traditions, why not start one (or both!) yourself? It’s so easy to write a letter to yourself, and as long as you don’t forget where you put it you’ll have something to look forward to in a year.

I’d love to hear if you do anything similar in your family. Share your traditions with me!

How Do You See Me?

I think everyone wonders how they are perceived by others. It’s a natural human curiosity, which I personally think is fueled by the media. We all know that the tabloid’s reports on celebs are usually bogus, so why are we so naive as to think that the impressions our peers have on us are accurate?

The first time I realised that people may see me in a different way from how I saw myself, was right at the end of my last year of high school. I’d just done my A Levels and everyone was having to write applications to Colleges and Universities. I had decided not to go, but was being forced to write long paragraphs about myself anyway, just to appease the teachers. (I think they hoped I’d change my mind, not realising how badly they’d warped my idea of the whole education system forever). So we had to fill out a little questionnaire to help us along our way. So I asked one of my classmates, and a good friend, how she had perceived me when she’d first met me. She said when she  joined the school (first year of 6th form), she was scared of me. This surprised me a whole lot! To be fair I was, at that time, slipping into a rather deep depression, but I had still thought of myself as an approachable, fun loving good person. (In fact as I’m writing this, I’m sure there was something that Oprah did once about realising you can be a good person, but at the same time not be a nice person, and then admitting to yourself  ‘I am not a nice person’.) Anyway, this really surprised me and sent me on my way to thinking hard about how others perceive me.

Another time this happened, was when I was 19 and I started to go out with one of my work friends, who quickly became as best mate. We would often just jump into her boyfriend’s car and drive off to other parts of the country on a whim. It was the first time I’d not really had anything else to do and a lot of cash to burn so we just went with the flow. At the time I’d be struggling hard with what I now know is an Anxiety Disorder. But I found that by just letting everything go and doing whatever came into our minds really released me from all of that. It was an amazingly freeing feeling. So much so, that my friends told me that I was the “most laid back” person they had ever met. Inside I found this hysterical. I think I am probably the most uptight and anal person they had ever met, but because they didn’t know the background and the internal stuff, they saw my relief and free feelings and perceived me as amazingly chilled. It was refreshing!

In my line of work, I have to be very careful about how I am perceived. I am a manager of people, a lot of them young, and for many of them they are experiencing their first job. I am very careful to try and keep a line (a thin line) between friend and manager. I find it kind of hard because most of these people turn into actual friends, so I have to sometimes flick a switch between friend and manager, very quickly. But I think my crew understand this and are able to see the whys and what fors. I hope they trust that when I do this it’s for a valid reason. And I think I’m, for the most part, perceived correctly by these people. I know my face reads exactly what I’m thinking (which I hate) and I think my colleagues are sympathetic to that.

But just yesterday I had a funny conversation with my work mates about another colleague who for some reason has taken to thinking what I say is gospel. We had been discussing a Christmas party and I had flicked through the brochure for a venue and expressed an interest. She had said she would probably get a room at the hotel, and I’d said not everyone could maybe afford it, and that my husband could even give one of them a lift home if she’d wanted to have a drink. The next day I find that she’d been preaching to my friend saying she wasn’t allowed to stay at the hotel and that I was giving her a lift home. Full stop. And also that we weren’t allowed to go to any other party because ‘Erin doesn’t want to’. This, other than being ridiculously funny and untrue, was puzzling. How did I all of a sudden become the queen of the Christmas party? So I immediately stripped all responsibility to organising the thing (which I hate anyway) to my said work mate. The fact that I had kept saying to her that many other venues would be coming into store with their leaflets to sell us their parties, obviously went over her head.

Now I know I sometimes come over a little strong and hot headed. I am aware of this, and sometimes I can use it to my benefit. And at no point am I going to squash my personality to please another person. But I do believe that I am able to mould by behaviour to my audience and choose which parts of my personality show in relevent situations. And it’s something I’m still working on.

I wonder what my obituary would say?