So 2016, what the hell happened girl? You were meant to be so good, you were meant to be all positive and a bloody ray of sunshine, you were meant to be 'my year'. 

Okay, maybe you weren't all bad, but let's be realistic... there were some pretty crap times weren't there? I mean, from the moment the year started, there just seemed to be a funny feeling in the air. There were some really sad instants, from the passing of Alan Rickman to Prince and David Bowie... something just wasn't right. However, even though I could give you a run down of the world events of the year, I think we're all pretty caught up on those, so I thought I'd give you (and myself) a little look back at the highs, lows and everything inbetween from my 2016. 

The year started off with a pretty good bang (I just read that back and it sounds really dirty, but it's not... just roll with it). 

The evening on the 31st December, I'd thrown a NYE get together at my house with all my friends, and let me tell you, it was the best thing I'd ever hosted (I'm not a very good host). It had everything from hilariously drunk moments, to emotional speeches (2, I gave 2 emotional speeches) and it just made me feel incredibly giddy for the new year that was to come. I had new career goals and so many exciting opportunities and plans ahead. I was sure that nothing could go wrong this year.

At the start of the year, I honestly can't remember much that happened. This either means, it was really crap and I've decided to block it out my memory, or just there's just nothing interesting to say about it hahaha.

In February/March, I finally signed my contract with my amazing modelling agency, IMM (honestly, some of the most caring people in the industry). I'd headed down to London for a test shoot and visited the agency afterwards, and just like that, all in one day, they handed me a contract and I WAS A MODEL, SIGNED TO A LONDON AGENCY. *happy dances*. Throughout March and April, I got to do some amazing shoots with some brilliant photographers and build up my portfolio. It was such an exciting time for me and I was conquering so much in terms of Anxiety and OCD. I was travelling somewhere new on my own and I was fighting against the regimented routine that was planted in my head. 

It was around this time that I also joined the gym - something I've always been terrified to do - so that was a pretty big deal for me. I also began learning to drive and hey hey hey, would you believe it? I've got my theory test booked for the end of January 2017, wahoo!

In April/May, I got to do some really fab blog collaborations: I got to be featured in The White Pepper's Spring/Summer Magazine and I also did a campaign with Pixi Beauty (which was one of my first every sponsored campaigns!). I worked with New Look too, and really started to see my blog growing as a career. 

In fact, May/June time was when I really started to want to improve my blog content. I wanted to improve everything from my photos, to my Instagram feed, my YouTube channel, to the topics I wrote about - I just really wanted to be 'better'. 

I turned 18 in June too, which was pretty exciting. I got myself a car for my birthday and had a lovely day spent with my parents enjoying cocktails at Rosso and Cloud 23.
Unfortunately, 2 days after my 18th birthday, my Grandad suffered a stroke, which honestly broke my heart. It sent me into a downward spiral for weeks and I was really scared to go and visit him in case it really triggered any dark feelings (I find that I don't deal well with things like this). I remember just wondering why the world was being so cruel. However, my Grandad is a proper trooper. Visiting him actually made me feel so much better - he has been so positive from the beginning of it and just hasn't given up over the past 6 months. He's now up and about again and is so super positive all the time - I feel incredibly proud of him.

In July, me and my friends all headed off for a 3 day trip to Amsterdam - it was such a fab trip. We visited everything from the Anne Frank Museum, to the Red Light District and just had some amazing quality time together before they all headed off for University. 

At the End of August, I did a Campaign for Cosmo's Fash Fest, which was another amazing opportunity. I honestly feel so so fortunate when brands want to work with me, and it just makes it even more exciting when it's big brand names like that. 

I know that inbetween all of these highs, I definitely had some incredible lows. It had been a year of big 'change'. I was changing my appearance and learning to accept myself, I was changing my life because I was embarking on two very 'out of the ordinary' careers and I was changing my attitude towards everything. And, despite the change bringing a lot of happiness, it has also meant that I've struggled a lot of times. There have been moments when I thought I'd have to give up or I'd never be able to change things. However, looking back now.. I've actually changed a hell of a lot, and alll for the better. I have been fighting my mental illnesses for over 3 years now and it's only really this year that I feel like there's a big difference.

Anyway, around this sort of time, I began writing reflective posts and opening up more and more about my mental health. I remember writing one particular post, which was actually a collaboration with New Look again, all about getting inspiration, and that's when it hit me.. I wanted my content to inspire people. I wanted people to come away from my blog feeling excited or encouraged or even just comforted. I wanted to create content that sparked emotion.
I wrote posts about mental health, masculinity, femininity, my life, hopes, dreams, fears, anything that sparked thoughts in my head, I just wrote about it. I've stuck with this style of writing ever since and I bloody love it. I love writing about what I feel passionate about. I love encouraging and helping others. I just love everything that this blog can bring.

In Septemeber, I got to do a test shoot with the amazing Jason Davis and Sammi (who, by the way, are two of the most lovely people I've ever met). It was so amazing to work with two people who are in the industry you're aiming to be a part of. (Plus, considering I've watched Sammi on Youtube since 2009, it was pretty big 'fan-girl' moment for me haha).
I then got to shoot with them for a second time in October, but this time for Novem & Knight. It was honestly one of my most favourite shoots to date and I adore the photos. 

At the end of November, I attended the Boohoo Blogger's Christmas Party in London, which was so so exciting for me. I hadn't been to a blogging event for yonks (do people still say 'yonks'??) and I knew I was going to get to meet sooooo many blogging babes that I've known for ages, but never met before. It was so much fun - there was a photo-booth and drinks and goodie bags to take with us. It was just fabulous!

This month I got to collaborate with New Look again and this time for a sponsored video, eeek! It was a part of their Christmas campaign and I feel so honored that they chose me to be a part of it. I also worked with Dorothy Perkins on their Christmas Campaign and got sent some incredible pieces, from Carat London and Daniel Wellington too, which I will be talking more about in the new year!

December has brought the best Christmas I've had in a long time. The run up to it felt incredibly festive and it has been so nice to have my friends home. I had a amazingly chilled Christmas Eve, watching Elf with my family, and our Christmas Morning was soo relaxed and happy. I felt so, as Beyonce would say, 'full' and pleased to be spending time with them all again. 

However, I won't lie, I've felt slightly down since Boxing Day. I've been dealing with a lot of paranoia and terrible body dysmorphia, but I assure you, I'm slowly picking myself back up again, setting myself goals and getting ready for a new, more positive (I hope) year ahead. 

"I realized there is no shame in being honest, there is no shame in being vulnerable, it's the beauty of being human"

This year will probably always be known as a pretty shitty year, but this will also always be the year that I conquered sooo much anxiety, sooo much sadness and sooo many obsessive behaviors. It will be the year that I learnt to except myself a lot more and see that I'm not always 'the worst' or 'the ugliest'. It will be the year that I got to take lots of exciting opportunities and challenge myself to new things. It will be that year that was 'pretty crap' but 'pretty darn good' too. 

I've realised a lot of stuff this year. I've realised it's okay to be me, it's okay to be sad sometimes, it's okay to struggle and that I'm allowed to feel however I want to feel, because at the end of the day, I'm human and there is no shame in that. 

So yes, this might have been an incredibly 'up and down' year, but at the end of it all, I've learnt a lot and had some fun times along the way too. 

On that note. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year, with lots of happiness, and that all your dreams come true. (I feel like a fairy god mother, from a Disney film, saying that hahaha)

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