Happy New Year all. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Welcome to the new look Bang On Style. I hope you love it as much as I do. Thanks so much to Phil at Pipdig who coded this semi custom design of mine. I knew I wanted something simple and laid out in squares so it would be super quick to take lots of content in and the launch was so aptly timed for this new blogging year. I had hoped to get my look back at 2017 post live before the year was out but I'm afraid I was too busy enjoying eating copious amounts of turkey and chocolate and watching films to get back into the blogging swing. I do like to write a look back at the year, I find it a cathartic process for myself and its always good to remind yourself just how much you achieved in one year. My Honest look back at 2016 was such a popular post but this time I wanted to share my highlights of 2017; both blogging and personal and also a look at some of my hopes and targets for 2018.
The year started off on a high after my trip to Paris with La Redoute with Emma in December I had come back with a Gucci (my dream bag) and finally got round to featuring it on the blog in my First Designer handbag post in January. I also continued to shoot Emma for her blog which I always loved so much. Later in the year her hubby Simon left his job to work with her full time so I stopped shooting with her sadly, but we're still such good friends and still meet up for pizza and chats.
In February we had quite a big event for us personally. We decided to look into how much our house was worth and before we knew it we'd found a house we loved and then sold ours in three days! We decided to move out to a village and you can read all about why in my Reasons to Live in a Village post. We had a long wait till July to actually move in but February became a bit of a whirlwind month with estate agents and solicitors. We were moving from a Victorian period property to a very modern white house so of course I started planning the interiors and even posted some of my plans on the blog in my House Diaries series.
I continued to meet up with Laura and Hannah for brunch and work dates. These two girls have been a god send this year and in fact I wrote a post all about 8 Reasons I'm Grateful to have Blogger Friends.
In February I went on the most amazing blogger trip with Laura to Babbington House for the launch of the brand new Nina Ricci fragrance Luna. It was an incredible trip full of some lovely blogger ladies, the most amazing activities and a magical enchanted forest dinner.
In April I had my hair dyed rose gold at Sassoon Salon Kings Rd where I always go and it was such a good decision. I feel like my hair was never that distinct and I'd always struggled to keep my blonde hair cool as my natural tones are very warm. The rose gold embraces those tones and ever since I had it done I actually get "Ooh I like your hair colour" which I'd never really had before. For the first time I felt like I actually had a "hairstyle" that I loved.
In May I fulfilled one of my blogging dreams and that was to be shot by the INCREDIBLE Alex Cameron. It was for a wedding guest feature with John Lewis and not only did I get to be shot by someone whose photos I adore, I also got to keep this amazing outfit which I had chosen and this Whistles jumpsuit became my favourite piece of clothing and one I went on to wear later in the year when I met Iris Apfel (more on that later).
July I fulfilled another dream which was to work with Accessorize in a paid campaign for Z Collection which many of you will know is my favourite jewellery line and one I regularly buy pieces of. It was so nice to be chosen to work on something that I truly loved and proof that loyalty to a brand will often pay rewards eventually.
I also made my return back to YouTube with the relaunch of my channel and the start of my weekly vlogs and DIY videos.
In July I took part in the Muddy Dog Challenge with my gorgeous rescue dog Gus all to raise money for Battersea dogs home. I was so pleased to help such an amazing charity and you can watch my video I made in my blog post.
In July we also finally moved into our new house in the village after a long wait for it to be finished. It was a new build which we bought at the half done stage with no kitchen, no flooring and no bathrooms. This meant it was eight weeks between exchange and completion to finish it, but the plus side was we got to choose everything from tiles to carpets to light fittings and positions. A big task, but means the house is exactly as we wanted it. We did however buy it knowing the kitchen wasn't big enough, so almost straight away the same builders that built the house started on a rear extension to make a dining room. So for most of August to October we were in a building site, whilst this and lots of other snagging was finished.
But August did see me head off to London to stay at the amazing, then new, Ned hotel with the team from Wallis a brand I have championed and luckily worked with for a while now. Not only was I there for a new season preview and dinner plus a nights stay and spa treatment but I also shot some of the new season collection for Wallis with a professional photographer. A true pinch me moment but proof again that if you show love for a brand and loyalty it doesn't go unnoticed.
I loved ALL of the shots from the day which were used across the Wallis website and social and you can watch my vlog all about my stay at the Ned too.
September saw me head off on probably the most amazing blog trip I've ever been on and will ever go on. I must confess when the email landed in my inbox about this earlier in the year I did think it was too good to be true and must be a mistake. It had been on my 2017 targets along with winning a blog award to go away on one big incredible press trip and what is more incredible than a 7 night cruise to New York all expenses paid. It honestly was brilliant and I can never thank Cunard enough for taking me along on such a fun trip and for looking after us so well. I was also honoured to meet in person and chat to the incredible Iris Apfel which was just the icing on the worlds biggest cake to be honest. I don't know if I'll ever experience a trip as good as this one ever again, I met some amazing people who are still my friends now and made some brilliant memories, my favourite of which was the last day sat in the Jacuzzi on the top deck in the sunshine. You can read all about my trip in Cruise Part 1 and Cruise Part 2 posts.
I must confess I had a hard old time the rest of September and October. I struggled with my depression and my confidence and I don't know if it was post press trip blues or the stress of having moved house or what but I just wasn't happy with my life at all and its taken me a long time to get myself back on top again if I'm honest. I have to thank friends and family (they know who they are) who were there to chat to and for a cup of tea and it honestly made all the difference.
But October was not without its highlights. Me and Ben went off to Amsterdam for a mini break to see a favourite band of ours Air Traffic. We had bought tickets ago and it was SUCH a good gig plus I got to meet Chris from the band and have a little photo with him (which is the photo down below!!). I think they were made up we'd travelled all the way over from the UK.
I also did some Halloween YouTube DIY tutorials including this Pink and Gold Sugar Skull pumpkin which proved so popular on instagram and I was over the moon when people sent me pictures of the versions they'd created.
I was kept very busy in late October and November with my Etsy shop Bang On Boutique thanks to a feature in Woman & Home Magazine making the sales of my pom pom shoe clips soar.
I also stayed overnight at ZSL London Zoo in the Gir Lion lodges where me and my friend Bex had the most amazing time seeing the lions at night, feeding the Aardvark and sleeping right next to lion enclosure to be woken to sound of them in the morning. I was so sad to hear about the fire there last month where sadly the Aardvark Misha who we had fed was killed, I'd never seen an aardvark up close and she was honestly beautiful, she jumped up at the fence almost like a dog would and loved tearing open the boxes of bugs and insects we got to prepare for her. Such a tragedy.
In November I was so lucky to be shortlisted in the Thirty Plus Awards for Addictive Blog and Blogger of the Year. I honestly was over the moon and as I said before I did have it on my dream achievement list for 2017 to win an award and I'll also be 100% honest I really wanted to win Blogger of The Year. I've been blogging since 2011 and I know awards shouldn't be why you blog or be taken too seriously, but I felt like if I won it would be this massive boost for me. As it was I came 2nd in Most Addictive blog and that was great. I was really proud and even though I didn't win and tick that achievement off my list I also came away from it positive about my blog and excited for the future!
December was a bit of a quiet month but I did post a big new house Living Room reveal and I also hosted my first ever Christmas in our new home for Ben's mum and dad. My December Party Looks post was one of my favourite posts of the year and one I'm really proud of. Thanks to Laura for helping me shoot such a huge number of outfits in one day.
Alongside my blog I also work as a freelance photographer and shoot other bloggers photos for them. I worked with some fabulous ladies this year including Hannah, Erica, Jaclyn and Jen I really hope to add more bloggers to my books this year and help create some more great content.
So that's my 2017. Looking back its amazing how much I actually achieved and I'm really blummin proud. For 2018 I do want some goals but I don't want to force myself into targets. I think having goals is great but I also believe in being careful not to set unrealistic targets that make you feel demoralized if you don't achieve. So here are some of the things I'm going to work towards or dream of happening in 2018.
First up is I'd like to do more for charity and to help other people. I loved raising money for Battersea Dogs Home and inspired by that I am in the process of getting Gus registered as a Pet As Therapy dog to visit patients in hospital. I think he would be wonderful as he is so soft and loves to be stroked and fussed (Eddie not so much ha ha) and I hope its a way I can help other people.
I'd love to travel more in 2018 and my dream bucket list destination is Iceland. We hope to go with my mum and dad as its my mums dream like me to see the Northern Light. As its my birthday in March we are aiming to go then, so I'm on an urgent mission to save money right now. I'd also love to go somewhere warm this year and I've always fancied Mexico so fingers crossed.
I want to get better at putting things off so I'm going to start ticking off those jobs I keep putting off including general life admin and getting my blog office properly sorted including painting a pink wall!!
Blogging wise I want to keep creating my Olympus Pen posts as you guys love them so much and I'd love to advance my photography knowledge even more as well as try out new kit. I'd also like to write more personal and opinion based posts on the blog as I really want to get across more of my personality but of course trhey'll still be my outfit posts and my DIY's which I just LOVE doing!
I'm going to keep going with my YouTube but I don't plan to put too much pressure on myself as I really want to focus on my blog and instagram this year. I'd love to hit 10k on my instagram.
There are some brands I'd love to work with this year including Primark which is a brand I have always been a fan of and would love to do a collaboration with them. It would also be a dream to work with Missoma and Furla too.
Now I've had the blog redesign I'm going to spend some time over the next couple of weeks looking at my blog posts and what was popular as well as thinking about what I like to write too. I also want to look at how I can unify my photography style across my instagram and blog and focus on photos that I really love to look at.
I'm excited to get going so do let me know what you'd love to see more of on Bang On Style and also tell me your highlights of 2017 as I'd really love to hear yours!