As I sit here (cup of coffee to one side and my phone turned to silent on the other) reflecting back on 2017, the immediate thought that comes to mind is the last twelve months were a real turning point for me – both personally and professionally. This time a year ago I was excited for what the future held, but I wasn’t entirely sure what that would be; I didn’t step into 2017 with a plan of action or even a list of goals, but instead with an open mind and a sprinkling of optimism. Sometimes the best things happen when you don’t have a plan, but instead open your heart to trying new things or seizing opportunities as they present themselves. Over the last year I’ve certainly experienced many ups and downs, but on the whole 2017 will forever be remembered as an incredible year – and here’s why.
YOU SAW MORE OF ME
I made a pledge this time last year to put more of myself on this site. For the previous seven years I’d very much kept my face away from features as much as possible, but as I began to champion women of all ages through my blogger network it became quite important to ensure I was visible as a 30-something. Blogging isn’t one dimensional, but instead reflective of society as a whole: there are men and women of all backgrounds, ages, colours, sizes and interests showing that their insight and creativity matters. I’m incredibly passionate about the industry not being perceived as something only rich, slim, twenty-somethings are successful in (none of those boxes of which I tick!) so I made a real effort to put myself out there – both via words and imagery. Thankfully, it paid off. I definitely feel like I have a closer relationship with my readers and that you ‘get me’ more as an individual; no matter what happens in the next twelve months, I’m thankful that you’ve embraced ‘more me’ so wholeheartedly.
FASHION BECAME MY PASSION
I’ve always adored clothes and the joy of dressing up, but after seven years of writing about beauty it did get to the point where I felt like I’d carved a niche for myself and that was hard to manoeuvre into something new. The only thing I could do was jump in with both feet and seeing what happened – and if I’d known the reaction my fashion posts would get, I would have started documenting my outfits years ago! Thanks to the guiding hand and talented eye of Kirsty from Fashion For Lunch I’ve thoroughly enjoyed bringing you fashion related content and showing you how I style up or down some of my fave pieces; at the end of 2017 I even started shooting with the fab Kaye from Fordtography and hope to continue bringing you more looks (and fuelling my excuse to go shopping.)
I LAUNCHED A PODCAST
Admittedly I sneered at podcasts for a long time, not really understanding what they were or why they were deemed entertainment, but once I fully embraced them I was immediately hooked. I’ve adored listening to some incredible stories and motivational interviews, so much that I started my own podcast back in the summer; Made Online aimed to share inspirational stories from across the internet, and I secured some incredible guests that really did bring to life the ethos I set out to achieve. Although initially it was intimidating and I had no clue what I was doing, I definitely got into my stride and really enjoyed recording and editing the episodes – and apparently so did you! The feedback has been amazing and has really given me food for thought about what I want to do with the podcast in 2018.
THIRTY PLUS BECAME EVEN STRONGER
My blogging network Thirty Plus turns three this year – and wow, what a whirlwind of a journey it’s been. Over the last couple of years we’ve grown hugely in number (well over 800 sites now) and have worked on some amazing campaigns, even celebrating our second blog awards in November. Although a lot of the activity we’ve done has been very reactive (I never seemed to have the time in 2017 to sit down and strategise!) we’ve still achieved a great deal and have made such an impact across the industry. Congratulating the Thirty Plus Award winners filled my heart with so much pride and so much joy, knowing that the talent and passion of men and women over thirty was being recognised and celebrated in the way I’d always dreamed. Thanks to brands including No7, Michael Bublé Fragrance, Ecover, Ecco, Allergan and Bio-Extracts 2017 was an incredible year – and I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us as a collective. (Find out more and join for free here!)
I WORKED ON SOME AMAZING CAMPAIGNS
Over the last (nearly) eight years I’ve worked with some of my favourite brands and produced some work I’m really proud of, but in 2017 I think I worked on my favourite campaigns of all time. This year I’ve worked with names including TK Maxx, Braun, Patisserie De Bain, Links of London, Daniel Sandler, No7, Daniel Wellington, Debenhams, Avon, John Lewis, Liz Earle and Dove among many more – and the key has been they’ve given me the freedom and flexibility to create the content that works for me, and most importantly you. I’ve definitely noticed a change in the way brands are working with bloggers and how collaborations are most successful, and the key is undoubtedly listening to the influencer and allowing them as much creative freedom as possible. I’m really proud of the work that was achieved and can’t wait to get cracking on some fab campaigns in 2018.
WE GOT MARRIED
There’s one big event of the year that can’t go
unnoticed: in 2017 we got engaged, planned a wedding and said ‘I do’ in
the space of about seven months (alongside moving house too!) I’m not one to hang about and pretty
much booked everything within the first few weeks, but the planning and
prep still took over our life for most of the year. We had the most
incredible day with all of the most important people in our lives, but I
do wonder how we managed to pull off the most epic party in such a
short space of time. By the time we’d returned from our honeymoon in
Bali it was already November, so the year felt like it whizzed by in a
moment; I still have so much content to share with you about the
process, the day and the trip of a lifetime, so watch this space for
that in 2018! Thank you for all your kind words, messages of congratulations and support throughout the process – it meant a huge deal to both of us.
So 2017 was a pretty special year, but what of 2018? I’ve yet to sit down and write out my formal goals or objectives for the year, but I do have some ideas about what I’d like to achieve in the next twelve months. I’ve never been one to aim for unrealistic heights (reaching 100k on Instagram or launching my own beauty line is but a pipedream!) but there are a handful of things I really want to tick off my list and will definitely put things into play to make them happen…
1. WRITE A BOOK
Back in 2013 I published a short e-book called The Science Bit which brought together some of my most popular blog posts and aimed to shortly and sharply arm people with the info they needed to make wiser beauty decisions. (It’s still available on Amazon here if you fancy giving it a read.) My knowledge and writing ability has definitely improved since then (god love Amazon reviewers!) so I’d love to re-visit this and take another stab at writing a more in-depth book that’s much more than just ‘how to create a smokey eye’. Whether or not it’ll ever be published is another issue entirely, but I’d definitely love to give it a whirl.
2. RELEASE A NEW PODCAST
Made Online has filled me so much joy, not only because I developed a new skill but because I was able to share the inspirational stories of some incredible people. It’s given me a taste for podcasting and I really rather like it; I’d love to launch a new one, focusing on a different but related area, and that’s a big goal for me in 2018.
3. DO MORE PUBLIC SPEAKING
Nothing makes me shine more than an audience and an opportunity to ramble at them – be it about beauty, social media or representation of women in the media. I adore public speaking and have had the opportunity to be part of many panels, discussions and conferences over the years; in 2018 I want to make this a priority and establish myself as a woman who knows what she’s talking about and isn’t afraid to share her views.
4. GROW THIRTY PLUS
Undoubtedly one of my proudest achievements throughout my career, Thirty Plus has become a real force within the blogging community and continues to shake things up. In 2018 I want to continue to grow the collective and secure some amazing opportunities for our bloggers, as well as championing the older blogger within the wider industry. I would love for the mainstream media to recognise the incredible work that older women are producing – rather than just focusing on the shiny teenagers that make the best click bait. How I do that is another matter!
5. LAUNCH AN E-COURSE
Something I’ve been thinking about for some time (and a few blogging friends have been on at me to do for at least a year!) is collating all the knowledge I’ve accrued and launching an online course to help others looking to find success online. Although there are no magic answers, having worked on my blog and within digital marketing for the past eight years I certainly have learned a lot; sharing that and helping the new generation of blogger to change the face of the bloggersphere in their own way would be hugely fulfilling.
So there you have it. 2017 was amazing in more ways than I can count, but I have high hopes (and big dreams) for 2018… The challenge is just finding the time to tick them all off my list. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your support along the way – whether you’ve been here since the beginning in 2010, or you’re relatively new to these parts (welcome!) Without you I’d just be an opinionated coffee addict spending far too much time on the internet.
Here’s to the best year yet…
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