Fuck me, 2017 has been a year hasn't it? It was a year that had different kinds of ups and downs compared to the, 'My Mum died, I'm single AF BUT I turned 30 and that's blimming amazing,' SHIT-SHOW that was 2016.
But 2017 has certainly been an interesting one, one that I want to look back on for its career, life and health twists and turns. So strap in if you want a look back over everything that's gone down.
I started off the new year how I meant to continue it - a post on cunnilingus! I followed it with a post on blow-jobs and had my best monthly blog views ever.
This engagement and excitement from my readers and the blog community really helped me work out the type of content I wanted to produce for you guys over the coming year.
I then wrote and published a post all about my 'Fuck Budget' and the tips I gleaned from the book, 'The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck', would go on to help me in my teaching work this year.
I learned this year that a lot of things needed to go in a Fuck-it Bucket. A receptacle that kept things that really didn't mean a lot in the long run - pointless paperwork, co-worker politics and giving up my energy on things I wasn't passionate about.
Then I got the tweet that told me I'd been named as one of 'MTV's Top Influencers To Watch in 2017' and I was stunned. Me? Sufferer of Imposter Syndrome and all-round-down-in-the-dumps-about-themselves, me? It was a light-bulb sparking in my brain that told me that I was going to make something of this little blog and of myself.
In the second week of January, I sent 2 book proposals off to a literary agent. I've still never heard back. I'm not taking it to heart. I'm just putting it on the shelf (badum tsh) until next year. This could easily have been something I could've taken personally and to heart but instead I've just decided to tell myself that it's not currently the time but maybe 2018 will be.
And that was the start to a bleeding great year.
In February I attended the Fifty Shades premiere before heading into Balham where I held my own dating event.
Dating events was something I wanted to launch and do loads of in 2017, but working full-time, ACTUALLY dating and trying to boost the blog meant that after 2 successful ones, I decided to take a step back from organising more.
Organising events IS super fun and I loved hanging out with everyone so who knows if I'll give it another crack, next year because the crushing anxiety over whether I'd sell out, pull it off or give people enough for their money turned me into a wobbly-wreck each time.
Meanwhile, in my day job, I attempted to take the Masters in Special Education I was doing and turn it into a promotion to be my school's SENCO. Hands down I was the best person for the job, but the school gave it to an outside candidate so that I could stay as a teacher. I was fucking fuming, I tell thee.
Looking back now though, that knock-back made me even more focussed on my blog, health and personal life so it was probably the universe telling me to keep going.
It was also then that my decision to want to go part-time fully formed. A few months and discussions down the line and this is something that is (very excitedly) happening in 2018.
In March, I made my first of 4 TV appearances of the year. This time for the BBC on their Inside Out programme, discussing safety with online dating. I remember getting the train up and absolutely shitting myself. Wondering why I'd been chosen, how I would mess things up and whether I'd be ok.
Turns out I loved it and it gave me the confidence to pursue more TV in 2017 with appearances on Channel 5 News and the BBC once more, this time discussing 'stealthing', of which I've posted about.
In 2017, I've been lucky enough to have been invited to speak at events - either on panels or at workshops and it was at this time that I discovered I reaaaally like hearing the sound of my own voice.
Well, when it comes to discussing blogging anyway. I feel like 4 years down the line, where I've done things slightly different to most and ham-fisted something out of it, I'd be a good, warm and approachable person to dish out help and advice.
These talks turned into coaching lunches and I got to meet some fabulous bloggers who all needed help creating their vision and brand.
This is also something I want to do more of in 2018!
The bane of my fucking life. Don't get me wrong, I am always OVERJOYED to be nominated and I never expect or even think I deserve to win. But an all-consuming, competitive edge takes over me and I wind myself up about them until inevitably my name doesn't get called out.
And this year my name didn't get called out for Best Dating, Best Lifestyle, Most Addictive, Most Innovative or Blogger of The Year.
And each time, for a tiny little moment, I took it really to heart.
But reflecting upon the year has made me realise that being nominated and chosen by readers of my blog means that people are invested in me and want to see me achieve things and all of that means so much more than my name being called out.
I attended Brighton Fringe Festival this Summer where I took part in a show called 'Tinder Live' and I had an absolute blast. Being in the comedy crowd and being inspired by funny people around me planted the seed that perhaps, it could be something I tried more of.
Attending Edinburgh Fringe in August this year further cemented my desire to want to give comedy a go and I spent the majority of my flight home penning jokes.
This transpired to a crack at it in a competition in Brixton, in September. Which I BLEEDING WON.
Having the amount of fun I did, feeling the rush of adrenaline and actually hearing people laugh at my stupid jokes confirmed that this is something else I want to try again.
Great Blogging Opportunities
I find it SO hard to celebrate my own achievements. To look back at the opportunities I've had and actually believe they have happened. Because for some reason, none of this feels real and none of this feels like it's happening to me.
I mean, who sends this dumpy potato with a fashion brand to V-Festival, VIP? Who gets sent to Disneyland Paris? Or for fun trips to UK cities? Who sends this slob with no manners to some of London's best restaurants for a review when it's likely the only response is, 'GIMME MOAR'.
But I should really look back with pride this year. Because I HAVE worked bloody hard on this blog and I HAVE been SUPER lucky to have done the things I've done and worked with the brands I've worked with.
Finishing off 2017 with a River Island collaboration is absolutely RIDIC. But here we are. When the email landed in my inbox, asking if I'd work with them to style an outfit was completely bizarre to me as I honestly look like a sack of shit for 95% of my day BUT here's my stab at it and here's more reflections on my personal life this year...
So whilst 2016 was full of dating, in 2017 it slowed down considerably. Everyone bored me or got in the way of the blog.
I was sick of meeting the same types of people and finally felt happy within myself.
I didn't need or even want a boyfriend.
Then I met Ben.
I'm not going to continue being vommy about him but as some of you may know - I'm really happy.
He's supportive, kind, caring, encouraging, inspiring - and if you're a closer reader for a long time - he's my ultimate 'bearded funster'.
We got to know each other really quickly in 2017, 2018 sees us moving in together and WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE? *cough sends him links to secret Pinterest Engagement Ring boards cough*
As you may be aware, if you've been reading this year, my mental health began to deteriorate quite rapidly in early 2017.
I finally made the leap and went to the doctors and was diagnosed with High Functioning Depression and elements of Emotional Instability Disorder. Through this, I started a course of anti-depressants and am waiting for Mentalisation Based Therapy.
I spoke a lot on this blog about my mental health in 2017 and it's something I want to continue next year as I continue this journey of management and hopefully recovery.
It hasn't been an easy year, but I look at 2018 positively and with excitement.
Hopefully this time next year, I'll be writing about how much better I'm feeling as since getting a SAD lamp, taking the medication and looking after myself more, I can already feel a huge improvement.
So there it is, my 2017, and even then, just a snapshot at it.
Another post will follow with my aspirations and plans for 2018 (which include being more confident and less self-deprecating than in this post).
As ever, I love hearing what you guys have in store for your year ahead so please let me know!
*in collab with River Island but all 2017, my own.