As we say too-da-loo to another year I like to reflect on the things that have happened over the last twelve months. On a national level if 2016 was a year of shock, highs and lows, 2017 was a year when consistent crap seemed to be the norm. Brexit limped on, inflation continued to rise, and horrendous ‘breaking news’ featured so regularly there was no room for horrified, wide-mouthed reaction or you’d have permanent jaw ache. It wasn’t all bad, but you get the gist.

On a personal level, 2017 brought around the year of change. My friends started having beautiful babies, got engaged, and moved out.  I changed my home, my job, and my relationship, even my hair! I went from ridiculously happy, super positive to the saddest I’ve been in ages, back to being pretty content.

The whole ‘consistent crap’ has also been a continuing theme in my family situation, and my new life in London definitely hasn’t quite turned out how I imagined it would. It also appears having my hair chopped off consequently lost me all my powers (so I believe…)

However, if there’s one fact I do know about this year- it was the year of love. Absolutely nailed it. Forget Megan and Harry, Straw and Cox was the biggest love story of 2017.

I said goodbye to any toxic relationship I’d ever had and welcomed with open arms the sort of love only seen in Disney films. It is glorious. If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t fill your stomach with butterflies and your heart with joy get out now. Trust me, you can do better and it’s worth the wait. When the person you’ve fancied for ages turns out to be everything you’d ever hoped for, and also weirdly appears to be the male version of me, it’s pretty fucking awesome. I not only get to wake up with a man who’s beam brightens my mornings, but I also get to wake up with my best friend.

BudaPEST

 

I can’t believe how different this feels from last December, and that’s why I like to write little roundups at the end of my year on the blog as it’s a nice reminder of what’s happened and also how I feel. We can never really measure progress unless we record it, so I’d definitely recommend starting if you don’t already.  Letting my barriers down was the best decision I ever made. Rule book out the window, feet first.

Alas, as they say, I wish you could have it all. I sort out my love life and everything else turns to shit.   I moved to a city of chaos where I felt lonely and sad. I’ve given up the hobby I’ve loved since I was 7 in exchange for a job that frustrates the hell out of me. There’s this huge inner conflict in me, which sounds ridiculous and, if anything, I hope it royally fucks off next year. I’m like the worst needy girlfriend- I just want London to love me, even though I despise the hell out of it at times.

It’s been a weird old move. I moved for my career and for my relationship and I’m not going to lie I feel like a fraud. One thing I have learned is exactly what I DON’T want to do anymore which sometimes is just as helpful as knowing what you want to do.  I just miss horse riding and my yard so damn much.

2017 was also a year of realisation. I don’t know if it’s an age thing, or just taking a positive from spending so much time alone, but I realised I’m actually very content in my own company. Maybe it’s because no one cares in London but I’m more than happy now to go for dinner on my own, and it feels GOOD. I also realised the value of friendships and who my true friends really are. When you leave somewhere you’ve lived for a long time you leave a mass network of connections. The ones that matter become vividly apparent.  Thank you to every one of you who has listened, cared, and supported me this year. I love you all and it means more than I could ever show. I hope I can do the same for you.

 

 

To say I’m gutted not to be seeing in the New Year lit up by the fireworks in Sydney is mahoosive fat understatement. But I’m also looking forwards to finishing work and watching the incredible fireworks in London on our balcony.   As I mentioned last year I don’t like to make resolutions, in fact the only thing I said I’d do this year was to carry on doing as much exercise as I could, which will continue.  I also want to travel as much as possible. In 2017 I’ve managed to visit five different countries including four that I’d never been to before.  This is pretty good for the average person in my eyes, especially as two were the other side of the world.  I also managed to do quite a few creative shoots this year, and working at Wimbledon was the BEST.  However, there are a few things that I would like to keep at the back of my mind next year, and I will read this post again in a few months to remind myself.

 

One of my favourite shoots this year, and one of the best days

 

Firstly, I want to be grateful for all the parts of my life that make me feel good and for all the successes I have, no matter how small. I would never, ever have expected to be writing this sitting crossed legged in a London newsroom this time last year, so here’s to the unexpected and making the most of it. Last year I ran away from it all, in 2018 I will attack it all head on.

I need to let go. Let go of the things I can’t control. I can’t fix my family, I can’t make everyone happy and I can’t always be on top of everything. Toxic people don’t have a place anymore and I have to move on. Sometimes silence is the most powerful weapon.

On the other end of the scale, praise and support is more than welcome. This year, if you spent ANY amount of time on social media, there’s always some pernickety argument or actual shit storm brewing. Judgments, criticism, and bitching. People pointing out the smallest mistakes, or jumping immediately on anyone’s failures or flaws. I want next year to be the year we’re all a tad more supportive, god we need it!

I spent several days away from social media at Christmas and I wasn’t even bothered. I didn’t miss the glutinous pictures of the piles of food consumed, the endless videos of next-door’s kids, or the brags about the ‘#BestChristmasEver’. When we don’t feel great, and we don’t feel good enough, enter social media. There’s nothing like the illusion of inclusion to make you feel utterly miserable.  I guess ultimately this time next year I’d like to have a bit more balance, and also patience. When we notice a void we try to fill it, I’m just not sure what I want to fill mine with yet.

So before we all march into 2018 like we’re embarking on a life-changing voyage, with a heartfelt promise of leaving all misgivings and mistakes behind, let’s not be shortsighted enough to act as though these are exclusive to the last twelve months. Maybe the order now is the acceptance that this IS the status quo, we either put-up-and-shut-up, or do something different.

Happy New Year and thank you for all your support,

Jem xx

 

 

2017 in pictures:

I’m trying to avoid New Year resolutions this year.  I normally make a whole heap of unattainable goals for the forthcoming year.  They start off with a determined confidence­­­­­­­­ that I’ll see them through right to the end of the year then they fizzle out like a tired sparkler by about March.  Instead I’ve decided that to make some more achievable goals for 2016 that are less chore-like and more about loving life!  Making the mother of all lists of things you want to change is never going to be productive.  It’ll just get you down thinking of all the negative things.  Change rarely happens overnight so there’s no point trying to become a professional scuba diver, learn to drive a tank, lose a stone, quit eating crisps, stop biting your nails, and have an allotment all in one go. It’ll just blow your mind and you’ll feel like a failure when it doesn’t
happen.

Wanting to make your life better, happier, fuller, easier and more enjoyable can only be a good thing but just little steps towards each goal can make such a difference.

2015 was quite a year for me.  When people ask me what I’ve been up to I normally reply with ‘not much’ but when I think about it I have actually done loads this year.  I ran the London marathon, got a boyfriend, went travelling, swapped snowboarding for skiing for the first time, and my job moved to an entirely new city!  Life is for living and although I could do with winning the lottery to actually do everything and go to all the places I’d love to it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to feel like you’re actually living life to it’s fullest.

I don’t really want to make any resolutions, just build on the things that will bring happiness, health and fun into my life.

BLOG

I have been loving writing my little blog for the past 18 months.  It’s a really fun hobby and because I’m such an independent person it gives me time to do something for myself where I get to be creative and actually take photos that aren’t work related.  It’s also made me look after my skin a bit more and the blogging community can be so supportive.  When you have a skin condition it can feel like you’re the only person in the world suffering with it and you feel self-conscious and like a bit of an outsider. I’ve met so many people through blogging who have similar problems with Eczema as me or just sensitive skin and it’s great to be able to talk to other people, discover new products and suggest ways other people can help themselves.  In 2016 I will make a massive effort with my blog, which leads me to my next aim…

FOOD

My skin has been HORRIFIC recently.  I have yet ANOTHER dermatologist appointment in January which I doubt will make much difference.  Before Christmas I was really naughty and even though I knew what I was eating didn’t agree with me or my skin I ate it anyway.  WHY?!  It’s so stupid.   For a few minutes of taste satisfaction I’ve had weeks of skin misery.  Absolute chump.  I think half my problem has been not being prepared with meals so next year I’m going to make a conscious effort to eat more eczema-friendly foods, more organic food and try to work out exactly what it is I’m eating that’s upsetting my insides. I was diagnosed with IBS a few years ago and I know (sort of) the trigger foods for this and although it is really hard to avoid them it makes SUCH a difference.

I did a dairy exclusion diet about 6 years ago and the difference was unbelievable so I just need to be prepared with my food, take my own shizzle to work, and not get caught out with my pants down so to speak.  Preparation is key!  I can also use my blog as a sort of online diary to chart progress so that ties in my first goal of 2016 too.  Perfect Rodders!

MAKE ROOM

Before Christmas I had a builder in to do some work to my bedroom and it forced me to have a bit of a clear out with some of the random crap that I’ve collected over the years. It made me realise how much stuff I have that I don’t use or that I could donate to someone who actually needs it so I think over 2016 I will be making a massive effort to move out the old stuff so there’s room for lots of new things.

This isn’t just what I need to do with all the clothes I no longer wear (the ones I keep ‘just in case’, because let’s face it- who knows when you’ll need that ten year old My Little Pony t-shirt…) but also with my life in general.  I’m so ridiculously busy all the time, work takes at least ten hours out of my day five days a week and although I love what I do most of the time it makes it so hard to see the people I love the most or do half the things I want to do or need to do.  I feel like I’ve neglected my family and old friends a lot this year and I need to make more room for them.  I think if I can try and catch up with people I haven’t seen last year at least once this year it’ll make a big difference.  Equally this means that
toxic friendships need to go too.  People change and move apart.  Just because I don’t call every week or text back straight away or tell people EVERY detail of my life doesn’t mean I don’t care about them. Everyone who knows me knows I’m late for everything, rubbish at texting when I’m busy, double book on a regular basis, and I pack WAY too much into a day.  Life gets in the way of relationships sometimes but the people that understand you the most and care about your friendship will be the ones you see once a year but when you do meet up it’s like nothing has changed.  I have a few friends in London who I haven’t been to visit at all in 2015 but I love them so much and they haven’t held this against me.

If there’s people in your life who make you feel bad about yourself and you just can’t seem to please maybe it’s time to just give them some space.  If you know you’re rubbish at keeping in touch aim to make one last effort and if it’s still not good
enough maybe there’s a reason you’re no longer close.  We can’t be BFFs with everyone and why spend time with people that make you feel worthless when you could be with people who make you feel amazing?!

If you have a busy life but it’s full of the things you love then who cares if you’re not always free. My weekends have been manic for the last few months but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I love horse riding and I love being out and about.  As long as you’re happy doing what you’re doing it doesn’t matter if you occasionally miss out on other stuff.  Equally  I know I’m not perfect and I need to make more of an effort with my family and friends, I can’t expect them to be bothered if I’m not!

EXERCISE AIMS

Running the London marathon was awesome last year. I got to do something in memory of my Mum, raise money for charity and get fit.  SOOOOO many positives from one goal.  I have really let my exercise slip since my job changed but I just need to get up earlier and move my exercise with me.  Running is free and can be done anywhere, and although nothing will compare to doing the marathon having a goal will give me something to aim towards and actually get me to move my butt!  If you feel like you’ve hit a bit of an exercise wall then maybe sign up to something with a friend or join a new club.  That way you have something to work towards or something social and fun to go to.  I have done pole dancing and yoga classes in the past and they were amazing.  Perhaps food for thought this year too.  I might try and book a yoga retreat with a chum- that way I’ll get to do something that’s good for me and be a good pal too!

ADVENTURE

I bloody love holidays! Next year I want to go to at least two countries I’ve never been before.  We’re so lucky in the UK that so many other European countries are on our doorstep, there’s also a tonne of places in the UK I’ve never been before!  This year was a good effort for someone with no time and on a budget- I managed to pack in six different countries over the year and I hope this continues into 2016.

Happy, healthy new year everyone!

J xxx

Ski-ya later 2015!!!