Tuesday, 26 December 2017

My Year In Review: 2017

University Of South Wales Photojournalism Graduation Cardiff Blogger

Hey Owlets,

Last year I wrote a blog post looking back on all the things I'd done in 2016. It was half selfish because I wanted to be able to look back and see what I did and how I've changed, but you seemed to really enjoy reading back so I thought I'd do the same for 2017. If any year was going to show my journey, it would be this one. Even thinking back I'm proud of how far I've come, so scrolling through my iCloud drive was an emotional trip down memory lane.


London Skyline from Hilton Waterloo

2017 was a year of growth for me, both personally and as a blogger. In January I was invited to my first ever "big girl" blog event. I walked into the room surrounded by the likes of InTheFrow, SophDoesNails and Lydia Millen, and I have to admit I kind of wondered what I was doing there. I was about to sit awkwardly in the corner - as is my usual go to - when someone stopped me and asked if I was The Owlet and told me that they loved reading my posts. The GoGlam Gala was the first time I'd stayed overnight in London and we had such a good time that from then it was kind of impossible to separate me from London for more than a month.


Bristol plus size fashion blogger

February was The Owlet's first birthday and to mark the occassion I did the most ridiculous photoshoot in a tiny dress when it was SNOWING outside - I'd consider that serious dedication. I know it's kind of a strange thing to choose as my favourite memory from a month, but I feel like it wasn't until my blog turned one that I started to take things seriously. At a year old, The Owlet was still pretty unknown and I was very much a newbie. Ten months on, I've met people through my blog that I consider to be close friends, I've gotten to travel, I've grown in confidence and I've learnt so many things and changed so much that I don't even relate to the girl in this photo anymore. To this day, 97% of my posts have little to no SEO in them because I had no idea what that was or how to do it until a few months ago - and okay it's going to take me months to fix that, but I'm proud that I've picked up a new skill so quickly.


London Blog Conference The Owlet

I've done some strange things as The Owlet but March saw one of my weirdest experiences ever. In general this was a bit of a quiet month but it was the first month when my blog started to spread. I was invited to go to a blog conference in London which I was really excited about, however when I got there things got a bit weird and when I tried to leave I was repeatedly stopped. I wrote a blog post about the event and it was the first article that ever got over 10,000 views. Of course I was really proud of the views, but what it really meant was that I'd shown a lot of people that they needed to be more careful.


UK Blog Awards 2017 2018 The Owlet London Lifestyle Blogger

April's favourite memory was my first "pinch me" moment that I'd felt as a blogger. In January I'd found out that I was one of the finalists for Lifestyle Blogger of the Year at the UK Blog Awards. Okay I didn't win, but getting into the finals and getting to go to the awards evening in London was such an incredible experience, and I got to meet some bloggers that I'd looked up to since before I started The Owlet, and some that I now consider good friends.


Bristol Plus Size Blogger Afternoon Tea at Thornbury Castle

May is the month where I officially got old! In other words, it was my 21st birthday. Of course my highlight of this month is probably always going to be my birthday, but this year was a particularly special one. I was lucky enough to get to celebrate with friends in Cardiff, then with my friend Panda in London, then with my extended family at the weekend, and finally with my parents on my actual birthday. It was more like my birthday month than day, and I enjoyed every minute of it! One of the things I absolutely love is afternoon tea, so my parents treated me to tea at Thornbury Castle and it was every bit as amazing as it sounds!


InTheFrow Sanderson Hotel London Plus Size Fashion Blogger

June for me was another "blogger highlight" month. If you've been reading my blog a while then you'll know that Dad has a heart condition, so it felt particularly special when I was invited to InTheFrow's dinner to celebrate her working with the British Heart Foundation. Victoria is a blogger that I'd been following for about a year at that point so it was amazing to be asked to come to the event. We had dinner at the beautiful Sanderson Hotel in central London and spent the entire evening relaxing and chatting all things blog.


University Of South Wales Photojournalism Graduation Cardiff Blogger

This July is a strong contender to be one of my favourite months of the year. On 6th July I put on my heels, cap and gown and celebrated one of my biggest achievements to date - graduating from University of South Wales with a degree in photojournalism. Of course, me being me, I somehow ended up doing PR photography on a photojournalism course, but I still look at my final project now because I'm so pleased with it. While I don't miss the stress, I really miss being in uni - my drive, focus and motivation kind of wained in the months after graduation. After two years of being miserable studying in a college, I loved (almost) every minute of being in Cardiff - now my hair has grown back, I'd go back in a heartbeat!


Bristol International Balloon Fiesta Media Pass Plus size travel blogger

I feel like this is a bit of a cop out because I realise that I featured the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in last year's review post, but it's genuinely something that I always look forward to, as each year Bradley Stoke Radio runs a stage for the four day event. This year we were lucky enough to be given media passes which was incredible. These passes meant that we were allowed onto the field, even during the night glow. I can't quite explain why, but being able to dance between the balloons as they light up in time to the music is the most amazing feeling. I actually ended up missing one of the night glows this year because I was ill, which I was absolutely gutted about, but I'm still so pleased that I got to be in the arena for one of them!


Las Iguanas Temple Street Birmingham Review

September is the one month this year where I struggled to find a highlight to talk about.  In September, I was going through some personal issues and to put it bluntly I was completely miserable and barely left the house. However, there were a few bright moments, as I of course sought refuge in my favourite city. One day that brightened an otherwise difficult month was a trip to review the new Las Iguanas on Temple Street. I had a great evening drinking cocktails and eating Mexican food with my Brum friends, and things don't get much better than that!


Plus size blogger Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Cartagena

I keep saying to my family that in my mind 2018 started in October this year, and that's because I feel like it's when I discovered the new me. At the end of September, a week before my parents were due to go on holiday, Dad turned to me and said "I'm fed up of seeing you like this. You've got a passport, come with us". It's taken me 21 years to do something spontaneous but it was the best decision I've ever made. October 2017 is the month I met new friends, found confidence, found happiness and learnt to enjoy every part of life - even if it's not always going to plan. October was also the month that I wrote the blog post that I'm most proud of, even now, which became my most viewed blog post EVER! 


Italian Embassy London Ciao Gusto on Ocado Review

From October onwards things just seemed to keep getting better. November was the hardest month to choose just one memory from. On 17th November I got to go backstage at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff to hang out with a band that I've loved for most of my teenage years. Meeting Enter Shikari was undoubtably one of my highlights of the whole year, but they were just about beaten. The week after I met Shikari, I got the train to London to go for a meal at the Italian Embassy and I'll be honest, it hasn't sunk in even now. Ciao Gusto invited me to dinner to celebrate a year of them being in the UK, and the food was as amazing as the surroundings.


Ralph Lauren Bicester Village Oxfordshire Review

December was decidedly more quiet than the previous two months so I don't really have any earth-shattering stories to share. I feel like I spent October and November making up for how unhappy I was in September, so it was nice to take some time off of travelling to spend time with my family. I must admit my highlight of December is a bit of a selfish one but I finally got to go back to Bicester Village. After the bad experience I had earlier in the year, the PR team invited me back for a VIP experience which definitely made up for the first trip. I also got to treat myself to my dream bag; having wanted a Mulberry Bayswater since I first got into fashion I have to say it lives up to everything I'd imagined. I'll have an update to the original post coming in the new year, but for now if you'd like to see what happened then click the link below.

Enter Shikari The Spark Backstage Interview at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

So that's it, my most life-changing year ever condensed into one blog post - and I had to squeeze my photo with the Enter Shikari boys in somewhere! 2017 has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me, but given the chance I don't think I would change a thing because even my worst moments led me to being happy. Thank you to everyone who's helped and supported me over the last year. It's incredible to think that writing a blog has led me to find an amazing group of friends, had me travelling the country and continent and helped me towards meeting my idols. Roll on 2018, because I feel like things can only get better from here!

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 

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