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Friday 29 December 2017

2017 Reflection & 2018 Goals

Hello My Lovelies,

Long time no speak! I hope you are all doing we and you have had a wonderful Christmas and you are set to have a fabulous New Year. I still can't believe how fast Christmas and the festive season just flew by and how it's almost New Years Eve! Can someone pinch me please?! I have been a little quiet over on my blog recently purely because I haven't been feeling quite like myself and sometimes I think some time away to reflect is the best thing. I guess we all lack motivation and inspiration at some point or another, I mean we are all human after all. With that being said I wanted to end 2017 with my annual reflection and goals post with the full intention to jump back blogging in full swing for 2018. I just wanted to write a little post reflecting on some of my high and low milestones this past year and of course, set myself and few personal and blogging related goals moving forward into 2018. If you would like to read my previous reflection and goals posts you can do so here - 2016 and 2015. This may be quite a lengthly post so I suggest you grab yourself a cup of tea, sit back, relax and enjoy!

WOW! What can I say, 2017 has been a crazy year with some major highlights for me. I feel like everything has been a complete blur so I thought this year I would focus around some of my favourite photos over the past year. Like any millennial, blogger or digital enthusiast I pretty much document my life online so you can always see what I am getting up to over on my Instagram.

Where do I even start?! On 19th January I had the pleasure of attending the GoGlamGala which was held by the ever so lovely Scarlett. I've been lucky enough to attend a few of her events over the years and she outdoes herself every time - they are absolutely incredible and a great opportunity to meet so many like minded people in the blogging and vlogging community. At the event we got to network with some fabulous brands such as Cute Nutrition, Candy Kittens, Panasonic Beauty and more. It was so surreal being in the presence of so many amazing bloggers and youtubers who inspire me on a daily basis too - people like Lydia Millen, Claire Chanelle, Victoria McGrath and finally the lovely Em Sheldon who I finally got to meet and talk to! She is honestly one of the nicest girls you will ever meet.

I find myself declining a lot of blogging events due to work commitments and quite frankly confidence outside my blog but this is all going to change in 2018! A few months ago I got to attend an amazing event with LookFantastic and Urban Decay and it was such an incredible evening. Yet again I got to meet some incredible ladies at this event and reflecting on that evening makes me so excited for future blogging opportunities. It's so nice stepping away from the computer and meeting all the lovely people in this community.

Check out these gorgeous girlies: 
Danielle from Miss Sunshine Sparkle // Leah from Devoted To Pink // Tanya from Glam Glitz Gloss // Cynthia Royer

One of my biggest highlights of the year was being on ITV2! Yes, you read that correctly. I was given an amazing opportunity to be part of a brand new show on ITV2 called Dress To Impress - all because of my little ol' blog. I was thinking of filming a YouTube video dedicated to this to fully talk through the whole experience so let me know if this is something you would like to see. I can't seem to find the series on ITV Player anymore but I do have a clip of my intro over on my Instagram. It was so hard keeping the show a secret and I had to keep everything under wraps for a good 4 months until the official press release was distributed from ITV. I'm still so overwhelmed and grateful for this amazingly fun opportunity. My episode aired on Tuesday 5th September and if you ever get the time to watch it I will love you forever. I won't give too much away but you'll see me running around Westfield shopping centre shopping for a complete stranger. I wonder how I did under pressure? You'll have to watch to find out :)

2017 saw my second trip to Dubai and staying at the ever so stunning Atlantis Palm. It has definitely grown to be one of my favourite places in the world. This year we celebrated my Dad's 50th Birthday there and it made Dubai that even bit more special to us. We booked Dinner to celebrate at one of our favourite restaurants, SeaFire. We had a gorgeous pool side view that was absolutely breathtaking and the Atlantis Palm always make you feel like royalty when you visit. They even gave us so many treats including this ginormous wooden box of chocolates to welcome us back. It's so lovely visiting somewhere where they know you - we made friends with so many members of the staff and the security team. My Mum doesn't like using lifts so we got to use the VIP entrances through our entire trip. It's the little things and they really accommodate to all of your needs. We've visited two years in a row now so I'm not 100% sure if it will be somewhere we visit in 2018 (saying that it probably will be haha) but I want to visit a handful of other places on the map. 2018 is all about change for me and seeing new places.

I feel blessed to be part of an amazing blogging community where I get to know/meet such beautiful and empowering women! Whilst I was in Dubai I had the pleasure of finally meeting Stacey from Expat Makeup Addict and she is one of the lovelies ladies you will ever meet. I still can't believe that after years of knowing each other we finally got to meet in beautiful Dubai. She is actually in the UK at the moment and I'm off to London on Saturday to catch up and enjoy Afternoon Tea with a group of lovely ladies. I'll be sure to post some snaps over on Instagram so keep an eye out for those :)

The Dominican Republic was one of those vacations that I will cherish forever. This was my first time visiting and I will definitely be back again - I mean just look at those beaches! Not only is the weather and food incredible but they have some of the worlds most hidden treasures to visit. I honestly felt like Sophia the Explorer! I snorkelled in the Caribbean Ocean, Swam in the Natural Pool where Pirates of the Caribbean and Blue Lagoon was filmed, Held Starfish as big as my head - Saona Island and the whole of Dominican was an absolute dream. Also, I miss my natural tan! Waaaa :(

The end of the year always seems to be my favourite because it's my Birthday and Christmas all wrapped into one. November is always a big month - there are four family birthdays and two of those belong to my Mum and I - we're only 3 days apart from each other. This year we celebrated like no other - I feel like birthdays can be a little up and down as you get older and I want to make sure they are always as fun and exciting as they can be. I'm a big kid at heart. Every year around the end of November we head to London for some Birthday shopping, we always book to have a special family meal, watch a show and visit Winter Wonderland. It's grown to be a family tradition. This year we visited Gaucho in Piccadilly and it was absolutely stunning. The steak has to be within my top 5 alongside SeaFire at the Atlantis Palm and STK in London and I would definitely recommend it. London at Winter is so picturesque and I just adore all of the pretty Christmas decorations and twinkling lights.

I wish I could share everything but if I did this blog post would soon turn into a book! In addition to all of the above I also got to experience two amazing trips with Microsoft through work. I got to stay at two stunning Manor Houses in Bournemouth and Sussex. I mean look at the decor of the room I got to stay in! On these trips I got to learn a lot about Microsoft (obviously haha) but also myself as well as take part in some super fun activities that I might not have necessarily done on my own. I did Archery and actually got a bullseye - it was obviously a lucky shot because I missed all of the others. I also did Clay Pigeon Shooting (I used a real freaking shot gun!!) and I actually managed to shoot on target in the sky. Yet again, another lucky shot haha. In addition to this I also went to the New Forest Water Park Aqua Park - I almost didn't do this but I'm so glad I did because it was so much fun and someone in our team filmed everything on their GoPro. Can't wait to see the footage!

What else did I do? 

1. I got two new fur babies - Jimin and Suga my Russian Dwarf Hamsters named after members of my favourite KPOP Group BTS
2. I fell more in LOVE with KPOP - don't knock it until you've listened to it! I'd recommend BTS, GOT7, EXO, Monsta X, Seventeen, SHINee, BlackPink, Twice, BtoB and more
3. I was named one of PCR's 30 under 30 in the technology industry - you can read the article here
5. I started my own freelance business
5. I experienced an Escape Room

A Few of My 2018 Goals

Goal #1: Transform my Fitness Routine 3.0 Edition. I know this is a pretty cliche New Years resolution but seeing the results that I achieved 18 months ago has motivated me to give it another try for 2018. I just want to become a healthier version of myself...not necessarily loose weight but tone, change my diet and go to the gym more. I have decided to re-join Slimming World and work on my diet primarily. I feel so sluggish at the moment and I need some change in my life! Like any person I'm not completely happy with my body and I'm determined to make a few changes. We all have to start from somewhere - wish me luck!

Goal #2: Attend More Blogging Events & Meet New People. I set this goal every year and I really do try to attend more events, however, I find myself declining more than accepting which honestly makes me so sad. I think it's a combination of things; timing, commitments, confidence, anxiety that kept getting in the way. I am such a shy person and sometimes travelling alone to an event is very daunting, especially when there are friendship groups already formed and you feel so intimidated to go up and talk to other bloggers. I really hope this is something I can conquer as I would love to meet so many more bloggers and brands next year!

Goal #3: Start YouTube & Weekly Vlogging. This is another goal I set myself every year and was a complete FAIL again haha - so let's hope 2018 is more successful! Starting a YouTube channel is something I have wanted to do for so long now. I have sporadically uploaded a few videos here and there (you can see these here) but for some reason getting into YouTube hasn't been am smooth and easy road for me. I need to snap out of whatever is holding me back and stop letting excuses get in the way of something I have dreamt of doing for years now. So, if there is anything you would like to see in particular then pretty please let me know. I actually own a vlogging camera now so there is literally no excuse!

Goal #4: Increase my Fashion, Lifestyle and Travel Content. During 2017 I definitely feel like I managed to switch up my writing style with posts like 104 Blog Post Ideas To Keep You Inspired, Autumn Fashion Posts, going behind the scenes with Britain's Next Top Model and more but I want to work even harder for 2018 and bring you content that you want to read. I know the majority of the time I sway towards beauty...what can I say, I have a beauty addition haha, but never-the-less, I really want to work harder and create some more diverse content for you all. I want to start creating more outfit, lifestyle and travel posts. Yet again, if there is anything you would like to see in particular pretty please let me know.

Goal #5: Work on my Instagram. I know numbers are definitely not everything but I think its always nice to set yourself personal goals. I feel like I've been trying to hit 10,000 followers on Instagram for what seems like forever! Send help haha. The Instagram algorithm is causing so many problems for all of sucks! So, I'll be setting my 10,000 goal again for 2018 and fingers crossed we'll be able to achieve it! I'm going to aim to post something every single day and interact with other instagrammers a lot more. Instagram is one of my favourite platforms and I love taking photos!

Goal #6: Use Snapchat and Insta Stories More. I used to snap vlog all the time but slowly I started to loose my confidence with it due to various different reasons. I guess more and more people from where I lived started to watch my stories and it made me feel a little weird and anxious. I know I shouldn't care but it made me feel so anxious and ultimately it made me stop something I loved doing which is a big no no. Life it too short! I've come so far with snap vlogging on Instagram and Snapchat - some of the messages I used to receive from everyone were so lovely! I really want to get back to that good and safe place I was last year - I mean I used to snap in the busy streets of London and post gym with no makeup! I want to start how I mean to go on and I want to keep the snaps and snap vlogs coming in 2018. 

Goal #7. Push Myself out of My Comfort Zone. This is such a big goal for me because I am such a shy and anxious person but I want to move into 2018 wanting to be able to say YES more, push myself outside of my comfort zone in all aspects of my life and love myself more. This is a goal that will be shaped to all areas of my life as the year progresses but lets hope that this time next year when I write my reflection post and 2019 goals I can say we smashed it! Jokingly I keep saying to everyone that next year they are going to see a completely different Sophia - let's see how that goes :) 

Goal #8: Get More Organised. Admittedly, working full time means I am not always on top form with my blog and it is something that I want and need to work on because blogging is such a huge love in my life. My favourite quote it 'Don't Compare Your Chapter 1 To Someone Else's Chapter 20and I need to constantly remind myself of this because we are all different! I want to be able to post between 1-3 pieces of contented on my blog per week, film a YouTube video once a week or bi-weekly until I get the hang of it haha and of course keep on top of my social media. I don't want to stress myself out over this because I don't want to resent my blog as it's a safe place for me to express myself but I definitely need to get more organised!

Goal #9: Invest in my Future. This isn't a big blogging goal but I thought I would include it. This has been a pretty big decision that has been playing on my mind a lot. I want to start thinking about my future more and I want to start investing where I can. I did set myself a goal to invest in a property in 2017 but honestly I didn't find the right place I was looking for and I don't want to rush into anything that I may regret. Purchasing a property is not a simple task and obviously, there are a lot of hurdles in between, especially as I will be doing this all by myself. Yay to being a girl boss haha! I have 12 more months to see if this is something that will become a reality but even if it doesn't it just means I have more time to save and find the perfect place for me - or maybe it means I need to invest in land and build my dream home. For now, I've done the adult thing and setup a Help To Buy Isa (recommend everyone setting one of these up) so when the time comes I'm ready. 

Goal #10: Learn Something New. This goal can be moulded to so many different things and it is one that really excited me because I love learning new things. Maybe I could learn a new recipe (I do love to bake!), learn how to code a website, learn Yoga, brush up on my Italian or even learn a new language! I've even been contemplating going back to studying a new degree! The possibilities are endless!

Goal #11: More Charity Work. This is something I don't talk about a lot on my blog or social media because I do it for me. This past year I have been part of the Charity Committee at work and I've had the pleasure of supporting our team in raising over £22,000 for Willen Hospice. I took part in a 12 hour bikeathon, bake sales, I even volunteered to serve lunch to all of the Hospice staff the week before Christmas and more. It's so rewarding giving something back to the community. Obviously a Hospice is an incredibly sad place but Willen try and make it the best that they can. It's been amazing working with them this past year and I look forward to help raise more funds in 2018. Here's to doing more for the community.

I really hope you enjoyed diving into my 2017 reflection and talking about some of my 2018 goals. 2017 has probably been one of the hardest years of my life but also one of the most rewarding. It taught me that struggles are often blessing in disguise, and that you'll always end up on the path you're meant to be on. To trust the process and how everything happens for a reason. We made it through those 12 months and I'm determined to make it again next year and make it one to never forget. I have learnt so much over the last year and I want to start 2018 as I mean to go on. A huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog, like a photo on Instagram, retweet something on Twitter and everything else in between. The support is incredible and I couldn't thank you enough! Also, another huge thank you to all of the brands who I have collaborated with this year - it's been a dream come true and I look forward to hopefully working with you all again and more in 2018!

Shoutout to these gorgeous girlies too: 
India at IndiaRobyn // Katie at Katie Jane Collins // Olivia at Miss OPG // Liza at Liza Prideaux

If you have stuck around to the end then thank you so much, I know this was quite a chatty post. Here is to an amazing and safe New Years Eve and an amazing entrance to 2018! Like always lovelies, if you have any questions, requests or if you just want a chat you can contact me via my social media or leave me a comment below. I love hearing from you all and I make sure to ready every single comment...they really make my day!

Here's to an amazing 2018...let's start page 1 of our 365 book!

What are your 2018 goals?

Lots of Love
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  1. Sounds like you've had an incredible year, you should be so proud of yourself. Being featured on the 30 under 30 list is amazing as well. Hope you have the best 2018!

  2. Such a lovely post to read, you've done so many amazing things this year! x


Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my blog, have a little read and leave a comment. Blogging has become such a huge part of my life and I am loving every single second of it. I absolutely love hearing from you all and I will do my very best to answer any questions you may have. Lots of Love, Sophia ❤

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