2015 in Review: My Journey

On New Year’s Eve, after what can only be describe as an extremely challenging 2014 for my family and I, Giovanni and I made a promise to each other that 2015 would be our year, that we were not going to let the universe trample us with anymore misfortunes. 2014 was a year of change and challenge for me; from January I was faced with challenges, heartbreak and disappointment from the people closet to me in my life at that point, I couldn’t wait to see the back of that year and I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes again.

January 2015 started in Cesenatico, a seaside town in the North of Italy, I think the combination of the bitter cold sea air and the beautiful scenery was what gave 2015 a fresh feeling; I felt inspired to start something new, and that something new was labellablog.co!

I had wanted to start a blog for sometime, but in 2015 I made it part of my New Year’s resolutions to start something and to use it as an outlet for all the hobbies, interests and passions that had got put to one side because I now had a job. I published my first post (accidentally as a page rather than a post) on the 11th of January, exactly 1 year ago today, and so began my journey into the world of blogging. At first I was nervous what others would think of me spending my free time taking photo’s to post on a blog, was I perhaps a bit too grown up for that nonsense? But as I started to learn how to work wordpress, and gain confidence in my writing I found a new passion. Probably the most exciting thing that’s come out of starting this blog has been learning how to use a camera, I mean really use one, not just point and shoot; I love to look back through my archives just to see how much my photography skills have developed over the past 12 months, it makes me excited to think where I could go next with my camera.

Around the beginning of February I started practising Yoga at home, and this was the beginning of an awakening. Growing up I was never very fit, and I avoided exercise for fear of doing it wrong, but through Yoga I have achieved things I never thought my body could do and this has bled into the rest of my life, making me realise I actually can do any thing I set out to achieve. Yoga practice has taught me to pick myself back up when I fall down, because if we stayed down the first time we fell we would never learn what we are truly capable of. I love looking back on photos from the year and seeing how my practice has progressed.

In Spring 2015 I made a last minute decision to go to BeautyCon London, I had no idea what to expect but the fact that Teni Panosian was speaking on one of the panels was enough of a reason to go. I really stepped out of my comfort zone the day I went to BeautyCon, I had never been to an event like this on my own and being quite socially awkward (and often anxious) I was really nervous that I wouldn’t enjoy it. I was wrong, I came back home that night and Giovanni couldn’t stop laughing at me because I was on such a high! Going to BeautyCon probably comes top of my list for most memorable moments in 2015; it was inspiring and motivating to meet and speak to so many like minded people, I wasn’t a bit anxious talking to these strangers… maybe I’m not socially anxious, but have just been socialising in the wrong circles all this time. BeautyCon made me even more passionate about continuing my blog and following my passions rather than my ‘qualifications’.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of the year was to become more aware of the food I put into my body; being vegetarian, I eat quite healthy as it is, but I wanted to have an awareness around food and really start to explore other options, enjoy tastes and see healthier alternatives. In June I took the Love My Body Challenge, where I ate at least one fully raw meal a day for 14 days, and ate completely vegan for 14 days. I thought at the beginning that this was going to be a really challenging, mostly I thought I would end up having to deny myself of so much food simply because it wasn’t vegan; in reality it was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have had with food. I discovered that there are vegan alternatives to basically every food you can think of, I started baking again and even my meat loving boyfriend was impressed with some of the vegan creations I whipped up in the kitchen (he actually thought I was eating chicken when he saw this on my plate). Since doing this challenge, a majority of the food I eat is vegan, I now know that this is a lifestyle that I can fully commit to when I’m ready without feeling deprived of anything.

2015 was also a year of wandering and travelling; I started the year in Italy and over the last 12 months I have went through airports at least 11 times (even after all that, I still hate packing a suitcase). I explored parts of London that I haven’t visited before, because I don’t want to end up being the kind of person that lived in London and saw none of it.

However, the highlight of my year in terms of travel was spending 3 weeks exploring the beautiful Italian Island of Sardegna. One of the big let downs for me in 2014 was not getting to go away to the sun in the Summer, and so I wasn’t letting another Summer slip by without doing some travelling. Sardegna was like no other holiday I have ever been on, it was so enjoyable staying with my boyfriend’s family, being immersed in the Italian culture of this little island. Rather than spending days lounging by the pool, we walked, climbed, drove (,argued about the rules of the road) and rarely visited the same beach two days in a row. For the first time I watch the sunrise, and even though Giovanni spent the whole hour we were there swatting a mosquitoes with a towel and I ended up with over 30 bites, it was such a breathtaking experience that everyone should do at least once in their lives (expect maybe remember to take insect repellent).

Autumn was spent back in London, fully enjoying everything Autumnal (PSL anyone? Chai Latte? I’ve drank my weight and more in them since October). My sister (thenotsoplainjayne) came to visit, we explored London until our feet ached, we got on the wrong train to Harry Potter Studios and almost missed our tour (I’ve given her the photos which I’m sure she will use on her blog soon) and we wished that we could spend every week like that.

November became #YESVEMBER, and there were fireworks, Christmas lights and a blogging schedule that went out the window completely. I pushed myself to make a month that I normally hate, become a month of challenge and change. I proved to myself that even at the end of the year I can work on myself; I joined the gym, I went to events by myself, I met Zoey and Tanya and I genuinely had a fantastic month.

However, not even the madness of #YESVEMBER could have prepared me for taking on Blogmas! I knew that Blogmas was going to be a lot of work when I decided to do it, but I was hoping with a bit of planning and scheduling in advance I would manage the whole ‘post-a-day-for-25-days’ thing. I was going really well until Day18 (it was a Friday, I came home from work exhausted and unwell), having said that I still managed to create 25 Christmas themed posts over the month.

This Christmas I think I was spoiled more than ever by my family; Giovanni went above and beyond with amazing gifts and then I was showered with thoughtful gifts from everyone at home too (the best probably being the Christmas dinner left overs my Mum wrapped up for me to take back to London).

And so, I arrived at the end of another year. As I reflect and look back on 2015, I really feel it was a year of personal growth and the first year of living as a working adult in London that I really started to take control of my life. I pulled out my list of resolutions on New Years Eve and realised that in some way or another, I had achieved everything on that list. In retrospect, 2015 probably wasn’t the best year ever, I still have a lot of things I want to change and work on in my life, but 2015 was my year for certain.

2015 was the year that I found myself again. It was the year that I learned that I am capable; capable of change and growth, capable of stepping out of my comfort zone. 2015 was the year that brought my family and I back together and we have finally started to get a hang on this long distance living. It was the year that I cried less, smiled more, ate more, exercised more, travelled more, felt sorry for myself less and realised how surround by love I am.

I would like to finish off this year in review with a quote by Les Brown; when I heard him say these word on a motivational video I was listening to, I realised that it described me. 2015 started to change the way I think and I started to see the potential within myself; 2016 will be the year I follow my dreams.

Too many of us are not living our dreams, simply because we are living our fears. -Les Brown