What I've leant in a decade

January 07, 2020

Dress- MotelRocks & Turtleneck Jumper- BluerinsePhotograph taken by Matt Mccormick

So we're finally in 2020, and that means we're a new decade. However, I wanted to share what I've learnt over the past ten years.

2010 was the year that I discovered blogging and bloggers such as  Helen Anderson ( Melonlady) , Lily Melrose (LLYMRLS), and Jenn Im (Clothes Encounters).  These women inspired me to kick-start my blog and share my fashion posts on Lookbook and Youtube as I wanted to help inspire others to feel confident in what they were wearing. At the start, I loved it as I didn't feel the pressure back then to professional pictures. They were outfit snaps taken in my back garden against a brick backdrop, and that was ok as people wanted to read what I had to say. Along with with that, Instagram didn't exist back then so the pressure to post daily or have professional photos.  Instead, I used lookbook to share my outfits, and I connected with men and women who had a similar sense of style.

After nearly two years of blogging,  I won a place as one of the ten new writers at More! Magazine. It was such an honour to be able to work with such a fantastic editorial team as they invited me to some incredible fashion shows such as Clothes Show Live, London Fashion week and many more celebrity exclusive interviews. I got the chance to talk to some influential people in the fashion and beauty industry and other writers who helped me discover my career in media.

Alongside my journalism studies, I continued to blog and attend many blogging events across Leeds, Manchester and London and networked with some many creative people who to this day are still great friends of mine.  I also interned at some other fashion and lifestyle magazines and experienced time working at a local newsdesk.

After gaining my media qualification, I started to work as a full-time journalist, and I wrote regular features in fashion magazines. However, even though I got to work for some incredible magazines, the dream was shortly over when magazines began to become ceased - Look, More! and Company. It filled me with great sadness as not only was a regular reader of these weekly and monthly magazines, but they were, in fact, the reason why I wanted to become a blogger and journalist.

From then on, I knew that I needed to make a career change, the salaries weren't the same, and the pressure to live down south took over due to the cost of living. So, I stayed up north and decided to try a new profession, and that was Digital PR. I wanted to learn more about writing online and from working with PR agencies or in house media teams for fashion brands. I wondered if I could use my creative mind in a new way and help show clients what is the best practice to get their words, new product launches or research in a range of papers and magazines across the world.

I researched SEO and how these technical skills can impact a site, blog and brand.  Also, the PR aspect was fun, and I got to work on fun campaigns and see my words shared in a new way and that's why I knew that even though I wasn't in the newsroom anymore and only write freelance. There's still a place for people who have a voice and wanted to share their ideas with the world.

Alongside my career change, I learnt more about myself in this decade. I had my first experience of love and heartbreak and took the time to be single and find myself. I developed an interest in fitness and began to start weight training and running. I lost over three stone, and I  completed my first 10k and half marathon and got myself in great shape. However, even though I lost weight, it didn't necessarily change how I felt about myself in the mirror.

Dealing with body image issues was something I had to deal with over the past couple of year as I felt the pressure from social media to become more toned and have clear skin  I didn't feel satisfied. I wanted to push myself further to achieve a physique which I knew wasn't possible.  But I knew that deep down this wasn't healthy and that I needed to stop the negative thoughts I had about my body.

 I knew that it was time to see my GP and get advice on my skin and kick-start a treatment which will help regain my self-confidence. I witnessed my skin clear up, but the idealisation of a flawless face didn't last long as I had some issues with my gut health due to taking Lymecycline. Towards the end of 2017 and early 2018, I worked on improving my immune system and focused on adding foods back to my diet, which I erased from my diet in the hope to lose body fat. And by doing this, it helped clear my skin for good and allowed me to enjoy food again.

In 2018, I began to feel like myself. I was able to go make up free without worrying about what people thought about my skin. I experience online dating and the joys of being ghosted on dating apps. I moved back home after a year of living with one of my closest friends in Leeds, and I took the time to set aside useful goals to help make positive changes in my life.

Towards the end of 2018 and 2019 was the time that I felt like I got my blogging flare back. I reformed my website, created a new template and shared new content with you all, which I hope gives you some helpful tips. I met a man who supports every goal I make and is incredibly patient. I've travelled the most I've ever done in 12 months, and I've learnt to say yes more and stop worrying about the consequences as life is too short.

I've witnessed one of my best friends get engaged and get married. I've seen one of my oldest friends perform on TV in her band, and I've seen the influential women in my life excel in their careers and start a beauty and baking business.

However, the main thing I've learnt from the past ten years is that I need to stop putting pressure on myself. It's ok if I don't have my sh** together by 30. This decade has me that you can overcome anything. I lost loved ones, escaped toxic relationships and overcame an eating disorder and bullying.

I learned to reshape my life and move past the negativity, which once held me back from developing a healthy relationship with food.  I've cut back on spending and used my money to travel and put towards my first home.  I've shared my advice in the press about sustainable living, mental health and money-saving and saw my words, videos and photographs in The Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Mail, Metro, Country Living and Irish Times.

2020 will be a year of sharing the struggles of adulting and why it's ok not to have the perfect lifestyle. I'll be sharing more advice on my blog and I will be filming more Let's Talk videos on my YouTube channel along with some other content which I hope will inspire you. So, here's to a new chapter of self-acceptance and growth!

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