Coming towards the end of 2016 I've had a bit of time to reflect and I realised this was one of those years filled with lessons.
This year began with lots of new territory: a new job in the form of Fashion Contributor for UTV Ireland's The Pulse, being newly engaged, continuing to build my blog, social media audience and hosting and producing my first ever event, a Bridal Day Out.
When it came to picking something to wear for this post there is one look that has changed my life in many ways. In my most liked photo instagram -my and Andrew's engagement announcement from snowy Istanbul (see my full Istanbul post and vlog -> Here ) - I am wearing this. I have had so many enquiries on where to buy the top (coast) and the skirt (Ted Baker) and once a friend rang me from the changing room in a shop as apparently a customer had shown the assistants the picture and was saying she wanted to recreate the look herself for an occasion. Quite surreal.
Being freelance occasionally I long for the the idea of being able to put a structure on my year. However it was when I interviewed up and coming designer Arran Francis she spoke about when she made her initial transition to self- employment, she had a moment being back in her previous office and it immediately brought home to her that she had made the right decision. For most people it generally requires a bit of self-intervention in those moments and I am no different. Mostly this year I've been busy enough not to give it too much thought but looking at a new year about to begin I've a slight mix of anxiety but also nervous excitement. Who know's where it will bring us!
This outfit defines something that personal style means to me: wear what you like and buy well and things wont date seasonally. I wore the skirt with the top that goes with it last year to a summer wedding in Lake Como and really loved it. I'd wear this with a little cashmere jumper during the spring. No doubt there will soon be lots of trend reports and whilst it's great to stay aware I really think style is all about following your instincts. If you are drawn to something whether it's vintage, on the catwalk or in a thrift store, follow that instinct.
It's been a really emotional year from start to finish and like everyone there have been times when I've felt myself get a bit low throughout the year. I think the thing with creativity is that you get very focused on what's next and there's a relief when a project ends, but also anxiety as to what's next. One tool that always helps so much is my Productivity Planner which is easier to fill out rather than staring at a blank page. Anytime I show it on my snapchat (username - HollyKateWhite) I get lots of people asking where I got it as it's so novel. As it's not a calendar diary and I only started mine mid-2016 I have lots of space left in my current one. It's definitely been a good habit I picked up and a far easier form of journaling.
Be Part The Change You Wish To See
In terms of politics, world tragedy and general semi-constant bad news this year has been intense to say the least. Key elements of our lives lie in the hands of politicians and progressive change seems to be hard to come by. Andrew likes having the news on but I find it incredibly depressing but there needs to be a happy medium. It's important to be au fait with what's happening and we all live in the real world where a lot is happening. I recently filmed a video on my journey to eating a plant based diet. I have discussed my reasons why in quite a detailed post which you can check out below. My own personal reasons are for environmental as well as personal health reasons. Adopting this diet has apparently saved approximately 198 animals lives this year - this is according to a PETA survey which you can check out >here< Obviously I am just a drop in the ocean but it's a decision I am happy I made.
As a blogger spending a lot of time online unfortunately I can see the less pleasant side of things occasionally. I was made aware of a massive thread on Boards.ie referencing how people were finding bloggers dishonest and not upfront. What I will say is that the industry is a new one and things are evolving and sometimes 'mistakes' or 'grey communications' are not done in malice, merely by people being unaware of expected protocol. My online work is getting busier and busier and hopefully this will continue but what I will say is that I promise to always be clear and coherent. If anyone would like clarification on that please see my disclaimer or else leave a comment below. My background is that I studied Fashion Journalism in London College of Fashion and I would consider myself quite media savvy. I intend on having a long career and building my platforms slowly and strongly. I've spoken about how intimidating some of the 'super bloggers' are but above all I do this because I adore it. I love collaborating with photographers, exploring new products, make up, hair, beauty and food and sharing them in whatever small way I may be doing. Without my audience that is not possible and I respect anyone and everyone who follows, likes or watches anything I do.
Anyway those are just my thoughts at the end of the year. Andrew and I are off to Paris for New Year's Eve so keep an eye on my social media if you want a little snapshot of our travels!
Wishing you all so much happiness, love and success in all you do in 2017!
Lots of love,
All images - Brid O'Donovan.