Year in review: The highlights and fails of my 2017

I chose this picture of green tea because I’m ‘spilling all my tea’ about the year (yeah, the expression doesn’t sound as good when I say it) and the only tea I like is green tea. 

Is this post a bit too late? Yes, but I’m going to do it anyway. Plus, I wanted to reflect a little on my 2017 (and decided a whole 13 days was enough time for that) and not write something in a rush. My 2017 was overall a good year, but then I kind of count 2016 as the worst year of my life for me both mentally and consequently physically so in one way it just kind of couldn’t get any worse! However, I did manage to do some pretty cool stuff in 2017 and the year was what I would class an as ok year, though I’m hoping 2018 will be a great one.

Highlights 

Completing my Masters 

I’ve done a few blog posts on this but I made it through another year of higher education (woo!) and got my Masters in Journalism and Media Communications. It feels strangely distant now but I met some really great people on the course and it made me feel a bit more confident in my academic abilities again, which is always a plus.

Graduation with mother

I got my first (professional) job 

First of all, I want to make it clear I don’t think retail is not a professional job or any minimum wage job for that matter- what I mean here is I got my first job that was actually related to what I studied at University. Also, having paid holiday and not panicking about money if I am ill is such an amazing feeling.

My first day
The picture Martin took to commemorate my first day.

Mental health 

In 2017 I really tried to work through a lot of my mental health issues, and like to think I went from decidedly off track to kind of strolling along the tracks. It’s never something that will come easy to me, but sharing on this blog helped a lot, as did trying to better look after myself physically.

Dodie 3

I started this blog 

For a long period of my life I have wanted a blog. What can I say I love to write and rant about the world and a blog seemed a brilliant place to do that. Although, of course it is nice if people read your blog, like your posts or comment (which, let’s face it I’ll be honest a part of me craved); I personally just like writing and getting things off my chest. So here’s to 2017 for being the year I didn’t just post one blog post to a blog, not promote it and then delete it a week later because I felt too exposed to the world.

Year in Review post

Martin and I got our first flat 

Since Martin and I have been living together in some capacity for so long I forget sometimes that is our first ever flat together where it’s just the two of us. And the flat is cold (single glazing is not our friend), expensive (though not for the area- we got a good deal!) and still bare because we haven’t got a lot of furniture but it’s ours, it’s not tiny and is a lot better than a lot of other people’s first flats. Sure, ‘adulting’ and paying the bills sucks, but at least I have someone else to whine about it with.

Martin flat

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

2017 was also the year I got my love for reading back and I’m so happy about this. I forgot what it felt like to be so inspired. I forgot what it felt like to delay finishing a book because you loved it so much. Or to be able to stop yourself reading it all in one sitting. I forgot how much I truly was a bookworm. Basically, I love reading, it’s in every part of me from the fact that I prefer to read something rather than have someone tell me instructions (hence why audio books unfortunately aren’t for me) to the fact that I can spend longer in a book shop than most other shops.

The Power
My favourite image I took of a book last year (and one of my favourite books I read).

Fails 

Money 

Living anywhere remotely close to London/ in the South is expensive. Consequently, despite earning a good wage we are perpetually broke. This is looking up this year however as Martin has started a better paying job, and I will be shortly booking my trip to Japan (and trying not to spend all my money on clothes in order to afford it). Also, a lot of the problem last year was that Martin and I were fed up so we spent money to fill that hole and so consequently never had any money either. We’ve finally managed to claw our way out of that cycle and once again learn the value of tins of kidney beans and sweetcorn, as well as meal prep- so much meal prep!

Mental health 

So although I put this in my highlights this was also a ‘fail’ as well. Working through things it turns out is kind of hard and I am still running away from a lot of things. As we speak I am letting those familiar nagging thoughts worm their way back in again. While 2017 was the most I’ve actually analysed my mental health (which was a positive thing overall); the journey that came with that was not exactly pleasant.

Hair/ how I felt/ feel about my appearance 

For a large part of last year I let myself get very upset over my appearance whether it be that my hair was not the colour I wanted (it still isn’t) to the fact that I no longer felt comfortable with myself generally. My body in 2016 changed a lot in a short period of time and I still have not quite got over that. This year I am determined to just dress how I want no matter what and let myself be healthy. Also, to have really great hair (any suggestions are appreciated).

I also want to give a big shout out to all my amazing friends and family. I hope your 2017 was great, and if it wasn’t I hope this year will be better. Thank you for putting up with my rants, bossiness and general weirdo nature for another full year.

April

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My top nine blog posts of 2017

So I was scrolling across Instagram and I saw one of those posts with a user’s top nine posts for the year, and I thought it might be fun to do it for my blog. Mainly, to be honest because this is helpful for me to see what kind of content everyone likes, and also because it gives me an excuse to reminiscence over what I’ve written for the year.

Overall, I’ve actually posted 44 posts this year (45 once the post before this post is published). Honestly, I hadn’t realised it was that many (though it might seem a lot to some) so it made me feel a little bit better about this blog, as lately I know I’ve not been putting enough time and effort in.

My first post if anyone is interested was on March the 15th 2017 (so this blog is still less than a year old!). At this time of writing 23 people follow this blog, which I know only makes this blog a small drop in the ocean but means so much to me.

However, before I get soppy, without further ado, my most popular post of 2017 was…

Lazy Oaf Sample Sale Haul 

I am still a bit upset that there has not been a part 2 to this post, as I was unable to make the sample sale in December. However, I am determined to make the sample sale in June next year, so be prepared for a part two. I tried to be as honest about the whole experience as possible, so I hope the post has helped some people who haven’t been to a Lazy Oaf sample sale before. I know the posts I read about the December sample sale were very useful (with my main take away being that prices have gone up due to more of the stock being one off pieces rather than samples), so I can only hope that my post has done the same for some people- especially as it’s my most viewed post!

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What I got for my Birthday: 2017 (Aged 22) 

Although, I know that I personally love watching videos or reading posts about what other people got for their birthday or for Christmas because I’m nosy; I am still shocked this is my second most viewed post. Mostly, because I find this kind of content interesting usually because I have been following someone for a certain amount of time, so know that the gifts they are likely to receive would also be something I’d want also. I don’t think that’s the case with my post, but thank you to everyone who has read it, and I hope it inspired you gift wise, or at least made decent reading.

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Hello Kitty Topshop Pop Up Shop Mini Haul 

I am not going to lie I’m quite pleased this is my third most viewed post, as when I did attend the pop up shop; I hadn’t been able to find that many blog posts or vlogs about the shop at all online. While, my photography skills are still very much lacking I did try to show the entirety of the collection, and give an idea about prices, so visitors knew what to expect. I still use the phone case I bought from that trip (though I think I need to update!) so it’s nice to know the trip that I am reminded of a lot in my everyday life is on this list.

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This Belle ‘Beauty and the Beast’ cosplay is goals 

This was actually the first ever post on this blog, so it will always have a special place in my heart. First of all, I just want to say a big thank you to the cosplayers and all the photographers who helped make this post a reality. Especially, as it really is the content that you all provided that make this post come to life. I have admired the cosplayers in this post for a long time so it was absolute honour to conduct this interview.

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Image: Laura Beresford Photography

Feminist Reading Journey: Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

While my feminist reading journey posts are definitely not over though perhaps on a little bit of a hiatus; it is definitely encouraging to know that this is one of my most viewed blog posts. I have no idea why this post is so much more popular than the other posts in the series. Perhaps, I actually reviewed the book more than usual in this post, and didn’t go off on a tangent though I just read back the post and there was a big tangent before the post even started!

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Image: The Kawaii Kollective

Dodie’s ‘Secret for the Mad’ Book Review (and Pop up shop) 

Since ‘Secrets for the Mad’ is up there with my favourite books of 2017 (let me know if you’d like a whole post about what were actually my favourite books of the year); I am very happy that this is one of my most viewed posts as it is also one of my last posts of 2017. I’m also very happy to say that I am going to see Dodie in April next year (I can’t wait!!!), so hopefully there will be a concert post coming your way (which, will most likely be my first ever concert review/ post!).

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Riverdale’s Archie and Miss Grundy and the worrying repeated sexualisation of student-teacher relationships

Ok, so I have a major confession in relation to this post and that is that I really need to catch up with Riverdale. As I ashamed to say I still have not finished season one. Something, I am going to make sure I change this year, especially since so many of you seem to enjoy this post. If I can get organised enough, I’d love to do reviews of episodes or of seasons as a whole.

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Image: Riverdale/ The CW/ Netflix 

I’ve officially finished my Master’s degree 

This post was one of the posts I was most nervous about sharing this year, but I am so glad I did. Since then, my courage about what I post, and even what I say in ‘real life’ has gone up so much. Yes, I’m still nervous, and unbearably awkward when I don’t know someone well, but I’m a lot more honest, which is just such a relief for me on so many occasions.

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The Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf Collection is here 

I’m happy that there is at least one other fashion related post on this list because fashion is really what I would like to try and blog more about this year. This collection is what truly got me into Lazy Oaf, and since then not only has my ‘style game’ in my opinion got more quirky and improved, but I’ve had so much fun talking to people who love the brand also. I can’t wait to see what the brand comes up with in 2018, and I hope to expand my collection even more this year!

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So there it is, my top nine for 2017. I know since it’s New Years Day this post is coming maybe a bit late. But I also know I’m unashamedly going to be posting more reflective posts all this year (as long as it’s the first week of the year it’s ok, right?). I personally can’t wait to see what this year will bring from fellow bloggers, and on my own blog. I’m so happy that I finally actually have a blog after wanting one for years so to be honest I’m over the moon and ecstatic everytime I get a view or a comment.

Thank you to anyone who has read my blog and made that happen.

April

Facebook: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

Instagram: @aprilisthecruellestmonth (main account)

@aprilisthecruellestmonthblog (miscellaneous account- which I’ve not uploaded to in ages because I’m a horrible human being)

Twitter: @aprilcruelmonth

Tumblr: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog