Photos by Kaye Ford (Fordtography)
2017 has been a little bit of an odd year for me, and to be honest I feel like I have come so far since my blog post on the 1st of January.
It’s funny isn’t it? You can enter the year with a clear plan of exactly how things are going to work out and think ‘yeah this is the thing that is going to make 2017 my year’. I DEFINITELY thought that and after a complete change of direction in May, things turned out in a way I could never have expected.
Originally, I was going to do one giant year in review post that included general updates as well as travel, however I feel like I have too much to say in both these areas that I am going to separate them. This post will focus on my general life, blogging achievements and basically anything that isn’t travel related.
The 1st January always feels very pressured. Everyone is saying that this year will be their year and if you’re not motivated now – how will you ever be motivated for the rest of the year? This year I felt the pressure even more as I was going to turn 25 at the end of the year and I felt as though I had absolutely nothing to show for myself.
I knew where I wanted to get, I just wasn’t 100% sure how to get there so I did some research and ended up stumbling on what looked like my dream Masters Degree.
I have a degree in Marketing, so going a step higher than that and getting a masters seems like the next best way to specialise, right? I found a course that was primarily based in a marketing agency setting and, thinking it would be the perfect fit, I applied.
I looked into funding, different options I had for trying to stay in full time work and planned how I would get to and from campus each day without moving house. Everything was in place and I waited patiently for a response.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to hear back about my Master’s degree so soon, however, there I was in early February sitting in front of my laptop on my living room floor in a Skype interview with the course leader.
It was nerve wracking and intense, but he offered me a place on the spot and said my confirmation email would be over shortly.
I’d been offered a place on my dream course, which would inevitably lead me to be able to work in my dream job. I started planning and getting excited for my September start date.
In other news, towards the end of February my sister announced that she was pregnant and that I would be becoming an Aunty! Something I definitely was not expecting, but now that Isaac is here I wouldn’t change for the world.
In March I did one of the scariest things I have ever done in my time blogging – I hosted a workshop at #Blogcon, hosted by Scarlett London in Westminster. I spoke about Reaching out to Brands for Collaborations and I *think* it went really well. I even made little handouts for everyone which was super fun.
March was also the month I started taking more photographs of me and using them in my blog posts and on Instagram. I always hated doing this beforehand, but now it’s something I love as I feel it makes my blog/social media feel more me.
In April I found out the sex of my sisters baby, whilst visiting Poland with Ashton. My whole family had got together to go for a meal after the reveal and as I was doing it through FaceTime they all stood there with blue cupcakes and shouted ‘It’s a boy!’. It was so cute, and probably the strangest thing I’ve ever done in a zoo.
May was the deadline for accepting my place on my Masters course and when it came to it, I just couldn’t do it. I felt like what I wanted had completely changed in the space of a few months. I didn’t know EXACTLY how I was going to get where I wanted, but I knew that going back to University would have me end up with even more debt and it wouldn’t guarantee me a job afterwards.
At the time I felt sad that I declined my offer, but knowing how things have turned out now I know it was one of the best decisions I have made.
May was also the month I celebrated four years with my Boyfriend, although we kept the celebrations to a minimal as we were heading to Poland the month after.
In June I started doing a lot more work on (what used to be called) Kirsty Leanne Freelance. I spent a lot of time working on a website which I launched and building a client list that I could work with alongside my job. The work was steady, but enough to keep me motivated and keep me going!
With a such a quiet month planned it seemed like the best time to put as much as I could into getting where I wanted to be - working for myself.
At the start of July we threw a baby shower for my sister. I’ve never been to one before but it was so fun to plan all the different games and activities. I spent the whole day trying not to say the word ‘baby’ and lose all my dummies, only to lose them at the last minute. Damn.
Although it’s travel related, I feel like I have to mention this as it was a pretty standout point for my whole year.
July is the month I did the stupidest thing I have ever done - I lost my Passport in Palma de Mallorca airport.
I still don’t have a clue what happened, but thankfully I managed to get back home on the flight I had originally planned, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done!
July was also the month I confirmed my biggest collaboration with a brand (so far that year) and my first ever press trip.
August was a quiet month after losing my passport and with such a busy month ahead. Weekends were spent working on Kirsty Leanne Freelance and relaxing as much as I possibly could because I knew what was coming for the next three months.
My Nephew’s due date was towards the end of the month and we waiting and waited, before finally deciding he was definitely going to be a September baby.
Ah, September - the month of my Aunts hen do and wedding and the arrival of baby Isaac.
On my Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary I got a phone call saying that my Nephew had arrived and that we could go and visit him the next day. Now if I’m being honest, I don’t think I have ever held a baby before so I was obviously nervous, but he was the cutest little thing I have ever seen (and still is). I can’t wait to watch him grow up!
Days later, it was my Aunts hen do. I don’t think I have actually been to a hen party or wedding as an adult, so I had been looking forward to this for a long time.
For the hen we went to Cardiff for the night. We had a cocktail making class, drank A LOT of shots and ended up with some very sore heads in the morning. I didn’t see ANY of Cardiff which I think means it was a hen party done properly, right?
The wedding was absolutely beautiful and held at a local place called Patshull Park towards the end of the month. After having my family count down for the whole year it was lovely to be able to see it finally happen - and believe me it was a long time coming 🙂
In terms of life, not a lot happened in October as I was too busy going on not one, but THREE different trips in the space of a month. The AMAZING thing was though, that all three of them were part of press trips.
When I started travel blogging at the start of the year I never in a million years expected to be going on press trips EVER, let alone this early on.
I’m really hoping that this is just the start and I can’t wait to see where 2018 takes me and my blog.
MAYBE my favourite month out of all them, for one INCREDIBLE reason.
Half way through November all of my hard work finally paid off as I was able to hand my notice in a work ready to start full-time freelance at the start of 2018.
I DID NOT expect this to be happening so soon but a couple of different things meant that this was definitely the right time for me and I could not be happier. It felt like such a relief being able to tell everyone and the support I got was absolutely incredible.
So yeah, here we are in December. By the time this is published I will have had my LAST EVER day at work, be about to turn 25 and ready to spend my first ever Christmas with my Nephew. Pretty exciting huh?
2017 has definitely been a whirlwind of a year with a rocky start, but I am SO HAPPY with how things have turned out in the end. Things seem to be falling into place and I love it.
I AM READY TO SMASH 2018.