Wow, It's been a hell of a year.
I would say it's been the most transformative year of my life. I have have learnt so much, especially about myself.
There wasn't a more perfect place for me to chat about it other than here on my blog and one of my goals for next year is to do much more writing, to share many more thoughts with you all, so i'm starting as I mean to go on.
So here goes! I have no idea where to start as there as so many different topics i'd actually like to cover, so i've decided to split them up into their own sections and hopefully this will make it much consise, instead of you just reading one long sprawling piece on uncategorised thoughts.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOTHER
I wasn't going to start with this but I believe it's been the biggest change to my life this year and has been something I have been trying to master and manage on a daily basis since giving birth.
I feel like i've entered uncharted territory, obviously women have been working and looking after children for a millennia but because this new & combined job (Youtuber/blogger/social media/designer) has emerged only in the past few years, I feel it also emerges a new challenge of women trying to balance life alongside raising children.
I didn't have any maternity leave and I pretty much kept working almost straight after Indie was born. I only had very minimal childcare help for months on end and I found trying to keep my usual online persona while being, really, very over stressed and worked a huge challenge.
I'm not saying this to receive any sympathy from anyone, i'm saying it because after going through a bit of a rough few months, I learned that if I were to do it again I would have given myself MUCH more time off and I wouldn't have beaten myself up about not working so much! I didn't have anything/anyone to look to as an example of how to balance my job with a new baby and so I pretty much took the hard road.
More recently I have upped childcare, planned out times when I will be able to work and times when I can give Indie my all and have quality time with her, to give her as much of my love as possible.
A huge factor when it comes to working mums is the guilt. You feel bad for working when you could be with your baby. It's taken me a LONG time to come to the realisation that sometimes you can't do EVERYTHING. If you need support, get or find the damn support!
The main lesson I have learnt about your relationships with the people in your life is that you can't fully work on them unless you are at a stage in life when you have worked on yourself and your own mind.
Most of this year for me was spent trying to get associated with myself again. It took me a while to figure out what my identity was (or what I thought it was, because why do you have to have one identity anyway?). I was figuring out what now makes me happy, makes me sad, excited or fulfilled. It honestly has taken a whole year.
I think things like this do take time though and maybe they only happen a couple of times during your life...it helps you move forward even though for a long time I felt like I was going backwards. I now feel like I have a much better connection and understanding with myself and I am now ready to sort out all of the other relationships in my life because I have a good base to start from.
When you are someone who works a lot (especially if you are self-employed) it can be easy to forget about nurturing the relationships around you and I feel like thats what i've been like for most of the year, accompanied by my old friend social anxiety. Recently though I have started hypnotherapy sessions which are helping amazingly with anxiety and it feels like I have moved a huge barrier out of the way when it comes to my social life.
When it comes to mine and Jason's (my husband) relationship, it's not something I have struggled with this year. He is pretty much my rock (super-cheese) and is extremely supportive of everything I do. If I could work on something for next year it would be for us to actually have couple time again. Go on dates, dress up, get excited about doing new things!
To round up my thoughts on what I have learnt - I feel like for years I have felt guilty for not seeing people much or have made excuses for it but after seeing myself clearer this year, I now feel like I can take the next steps to create better friendships and relationships.
I feel like wedding planning is a bit half and half. (Well it was for me anyway)
One half of it is super exciting, creative and full of your favourite people in the world. The other half is stressful, pressurising and includes people you wish you didn't have to deal with.
The trick is to just try to get the stressful parts done with as soon as you can (the table plan, finding out the catering cost, realising that you're not allowed confetti.....I know,what?!) so that you can move on and get to enjoy all of the fun parts. Some people might not find any of it stressful and that must be amazing! but most people I know have had parts be a little difficult too.
When i'm asked how i'd suggest to go about wedding planning, I say the best thing to do is to sit down with your other half and list down every single aspect of your wedding in order of what is a priority to you both. Then focus on the things at the top and don't let yourself invest too much worry into the other things.
One huge thing I learnt, don't do ANYTHING for anyone else. Don't give one hoot about what Betty will thank about your flower arrangement colours or what Toby will think about your speech. Don't tone anything down or agree to something that you don't really want, if you can actually have it. You will regret it!
The last thing i'd say (because on the whole our wedding went AMAZINGLY!) is, don't feel like to have to invite anyone. If you have a gut feeling that isn't right about someone being there then go with it, it's YOUR big day and no-one can argue you about it!
When it's the big day, let go. Don't try to control everything, everyone is there to make sure you have the best day of your life. I made sure that I felt super relaxed the night before (I had a sleepover with my sister, we had dinner and a pamper night together) and that I didn't let my stress levels heighten on the day, because I knew i'd regret it and I was pretty much as cool as a cucumber!
The hardest thing for me this year work wise has been organisation and sticking to it. When you work from home it is so extremely difficult to set yourself a routine and to stick to it.
I feel as though every other week I set myself a new working schedule only to completely ignore it after a day or two. Going into the new year I want to set myself a solid weekly routine and sick to it! If any of you have any tips for being organised while working from home please feel free to share them!
I have also decided that I have been spreading myself a little thin over all of my platforms and so will be looking for some support with this soon. Especially because I want to focus more on my blog because it is my baby, it's something that I take so much pleasure in and that i'm so proud of!
I worked with some amazing brands in 2017, one of my favourites being Topshop, which has always been one of my favourite stores. I was also invited to the most beautiful Dior christmas dinner in December which quite frankly blew my socks off.
I am so thankful for every amazing opportunity that comes my way!
Ah wellbeing. Something I want to commit to but that I abandon so often.
For some reason I feel that in our society it is almost frowned upon to take care of yourself. Isn't that madness? Especially because the main way that is helps is mentally.
Alongside setting myself a work schedule, I just as much want to mark out days of the month when I take a complete day off just for myself and for self-care.
What I learnt this year is that I haven't given wellbeing much time. The closest I got was getting into a good workout routine (this is now out of the window, thanks Christmas.) but there is so much more that I could be doing than running on a treadmill three or four times a week.
After listening to many podcasts (I adore Under the skin by Russel Brand) and from general internet surfing and book reading, I have learnt that meditation is one of the absolute best things we can be doing to calm our minds, this is something I want to actually start doing and stop just listening about.
S H O P T H E L O O K
So there you have it, these are the main things I learnt from 2017. I hope you enjoyed this post and that it was nice to read a little bit of what i've had knocking around in the ol' brain.
Do let me know if there are any topics in particular that you would like to see me natter about and I will get going on them.
Thank you all so much for your love and support over the last year, it is greatly appreciated. One of my most heartwarming things to do is to read through my blog comments and see your feedback. You are always so lovely!
Happy new year to you all!
PHOTOGRAPHY - MICHAELA