Hi, everyone! Long time, no post! It was never my intention to go this long without blogging, but someway and somehow, time slipped right through my fingers and then I found myself in quite a bit of a blogging slump. I’ll elaborate more on this at a later date, but basically, I just needed to get away from it all for a little while, and so now here I am at the end of March finally getting my first post for 2019 up! Although we’re very much into the New Year now, I still wanted to take the time to reflect back on 2018 and the goals I’m working towards for 2019. It’s always made the most sense to me to start a brand new year of blogging this way, plus it’s nice to look back in the future and see how far I’ve come too. Reflecting on last year’s Hello 2018 post, it was a pretty big 12 months for me; I got my first full time job, turned 30 (WHY GOD?! WHY?!), spent my first full year living back in Perth and generally found myself feeling more comfortable with my place in the world. It was one of the best years I’d had in a very, very long time and having spent so long pushing myself to leave my comfort zone, I felt like I had been rewarded and that things were finally starting to come together for me. I had a lot to be happy and thankful for last year and I’m hoping 2019 will be the same. So far, so good!
The things that made me happy in 2018
My family and friends’ health
2018 started on very shaky terms when my sister suddenly became unwell one night and ended up in the ICU, followed by a five-week hospital stay. When the doctor tells you your younger sibling is “very seriously ill” and she’s put in an induced coma with a breathing tube down her throat, that’s something that stays with you forever, and truthfully, 2018 actually could’ve ended up very, very differently. Thankfully, she made a full recovery, but for those five weeks, it felt like my life was stuck in limbo and all I could do was focus on my family. Our health is something we so often take for granted and it’s only when a loved one becomes sick do we realise it’s the most valuable thing you can have in life, but what my family and I when through was a completely eye-opening experience and never had I been so grateful to live in a country with free healthcare too. In 2018, I also turned 30, and while my age does still sort of terrify me, I’ve come to realise that it is also a huge privilege to be able to grow old. Not all of us are lucky enough to get that chance. I’m here, I’m alive and I’m healthy, and so are my family and friends. There is nothing in this world that matters more.
Seeing Slowdive live
When it was announced in 2017 that Slowdive would be touring Australia, my heart could’ve exploded right out of my chest. As a band that formed in the ‘80s and then disbanded in the ‘90s, I always figured I had missed my chance, but thanks to the Internet, the shoegaze genre became cool again and they ended up reforming in 2014. Three years later, they released a new album; their first in 22 years. Counting down the days to see them live made me feel like a kid impatiently waiting for Christmas and when the 11th of February finally came around and I was stood in the second row staring up at frontwoman and real life angel, Rachel Goswell, I felt like I was in a dream. It was everything I could’ve imagined a Slowdive gig to be and more; there were wind and smoke machines and pulsating lights to add to the otherworldliness of their music, I found a new love for songs I never listened to as much and I felt like I was floating on a cloud. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen them live now and I honestly think about this gig at least once every single day. It was truly one of the most magical nights of my life.
Growing up with cats for almost the entirety of my childhood, it only makes sense that they’re my favourite animal. Big and small, wild and domestic, I love all types of felines! When I moved back home from Melbourne, one of saddest things about leaving was having to say goodbye to my housemate’s cat, Funk, and not having that kitty companionship anymore felt like a hole in my heart. I had talked to my mum about adopting my own, but she came to love the idea of having a cat again so much, I didn’t end up needing to because she stole my idea!
We had looked at a few shelters to adopt, but we ended up rescuing our little Willow who was born as a stray (her mum was abandoned) in my grandma’s backyard. The last from her litter to be adopted, she was super shy at first (and still is around people she doesn’t know) and would always hiss at us whenever we’d go near her, but now she’s the most cuddly ball of fluff who has brought us an unbelievable amount of happiness into our lives. She comes into my room every night for her snuggles, waits for me in the adjacent bathroom sink while I do my skincare routine, has a purr that sounds like a helicopter and finishing work for the day has become all that much sweeter because I get to come home to her. Every time I see my grandma, she always tells me how lucky Willow is to have us, but I think we’re the ones who got lucky.
One internship in Sydney, another in Melbourne, and a third and final one in Perth, and I finally landed myself a full time job last year! Life felt so hopeless and directionless back in 2017 when I spent almost an entire year on the job hunt, and looking back on my Hello 2018 post, it feels kind of surreal to see the way things work out just as I’d hoped. I was almost ready to try a new industry and give up on working in social media, but last February when the opportunity for an internship came around, I took it as my one last saving grace. Even after my very first day there, I had a pretty good feeling about things and two months in, I was already offered a position! Having your creative hat constantly on can get hard at times, but I enjoy what I do and I love being a part of an office environment that’s so chill and casual. I definitely can’t imagine myself as the corporate type! Looking back on my time in retail, I never entirely hated it - in fact, I actually kind of enjoyed how social it was - but to be able to utilise my skills, and have a set routine and pay has wonders for me mentally. It may have taken me a lot longer than expected to arrive at this place in my life, but I got there in the end and that’s what counts the most!
Making blogging work alongside my job
Now in my eighth year of blogging, I’ve seen a lot of bloggers come and go in that time as circumstances change and general life just gets in the way, but I was determined to not let that happen to me when I started full time work. I think it’s important to have hobbies and passion projects that fulfil us outside of how we make a living and although I don’t think I’m quite all there yet with my work/life balance, I was still super proud of what I was able to achieve last year! Blogging hasn’t exactly gone to plan this year so far, but I’m definitely aiming to get things back on track!
I have to admit, I struggle with a lot of guilt for not being able to dedicate as much time here anymore, but I know it’s only because I love blogging so dearly and despite my lack of posts, I’m still pretty happy with myself as a blogger. Perhaps it’s being in my 30s now and caring less about what people think, but I guess I just feel like I’m in a really good place with my wonderful community and the content I create. I’ve been able to really hone in on my photography and my writing style, and even though I definitely still have my doubts on occasion, they’re much less frequent and I can appreciate my work without comparing it to someone else’s. I’d say my two biggest accomplishments last year were my new blog design and my Why I’m OK with Being a “Small Blogger” post, the latter of which was my most shared and commented! I never expected it to resonate with people the way it did (I still receive comments and DMs about it, which warms my heart so much), but even for me, I’ve found it to serve as a reminder to myself when things get hard, and I’m frustrated by my lack of inspiration or motivation. I know I’m never going to be able to post at the frequency I once did during my retail days and sure, it might take me twice as long to put together a post now, but I’m still here (well, I’ve returned!) and I still love blogging, and I don’t see that ever changing.
Making overseas travel plans
While I did have a few tentative travel plans for this year, I never had anything set in stone until last November when I impulsively bought tickets to see the Spice Girls live in London! I had actually been thinking about travelling to London and Paris for my 30th birthday, but as I had only very recently started my new job and didn’t have enough money saved up, I postponed the trip for a year or so. When the Spice Girls announced a 2019 UK tour, however, the chance to see my favourite childhood band was simply too good to pass up and now that London and Paris trip is happening a lot sooner than expected!
This trip will be my first overseas holiday in five years and I can’t quite believe it’s been that long! I used to be someone who thought people who didn’t travel were boring and weren’t making the most out of life, but you end up learning a lot about money when you’re not making any and now I see how naive I was. Yes, travelling is enriching and it opens you up to new experiences, but it’s also a huge privilege to be able to jet set off where ever you please. Not just financially, but physically and mentally too. In the world of social media, I know it’s all too easy to feel like your life is inferior for not having lived the same experiences as others have, but travel most certainly doesn’t have to determine how fulfilled our lives are. I realise I’m going off on a bit of a tangent here, but it felt important to me to address my privileged position in being able to do this trip and how we shouldn’t be made to feel bad about ourselves simply because we don’t (or can’t) travel. I’m only going away for two weeks, which when you factor in costly flights and the 50-hour round trip isn’t actually all that long (the first time I travelled to Europe, I was there for six!), but the fact that I can even do this trip at all has me feeling so giddy! I even got the tingles when I was booking my flights!
Although I’ve been to both London and Paris before, I’ve always wanted to go back more so than travel anywhere new (not really sure why! I guess I just love them?!), and as my sister was the one who I grew up listening to the Spice Girls with and after everything that she went through last year, I’m super excited to be able to share this experience with her.
Enjoying life back home in Perth
Leaving my adopted city of Melbourne was so much more terrifying than it ever was moving there. Sure, I had left my family and my friends to start a new life all on my own, but it was new and it was exciting, and I loved that. When I decided to move back home, I knew it was for the best, but the thought of coming back to the same life scared me even more and Perth was just… well, Perth! It felt like taking ten steps backwards moving back in with my parents and without work, but I knew if I wanted things to change, I had to fully step outside of my comfort zone and not go back to my old job. I know me and I know I would’ve become comfortable, and as awful of a year as 2017 was, I know I wouldn’t have had the amazing 2018 I did had I not chosen to get uncomfortable.
After spending years dreaming about leaving, then coming back and finding find my feet here again, for the first time in a long time, I finally feel settled with my life back in Perth. I’ve got a good job now, I have a big support network of amazing family and friends, and I have lots and lots of sunshine! In fact, Perth is the sunniest capital city in the world! It’s also the most isolated, but the good weather definitely more than makes up for that! Melbourne might not’ve been forever like I always imagined, but I never would’ve known that if I never took the chance, and I’ll still always miss living there. My friends, the food, the culture, the art, the music… it was an incredible two and a half years. I have a newfound appreciation for this little city because of my time in Melbourne (who knew I could miss it?!) and with all the good things that happened to me last year (and even the not-so-good stuff with my sister), I think Perth is where I’m meant to be. It feels good to be home!
The things I want to do in 2019
Having moved to Melbourne and back and being out of a job for quite some time, my savings have taken a serious slashing over the last few years, and now I’m knuckling down and really working on building it back up again. I’ve got my London and Paris trip in three months, I’d like to buy a new laptop this year (I’ll probably use my tax return towards it) and depending on how things are going, I want to upgrade my desk to the West Elm Mid-Century Desk during the Black Friday sales (yes, I’m thinking way ahead, but you have to when you’re trying to save!). There’s also this big one: my own apartment. All five major Australian cities were ranked in the world’s least affordable housing markets, so look, I’m not hopeful and I may just end up having to give up and rent again, but it is my next dream after living in Melbourne and I have to at least try! I do feel kind of embarrassed to be 30 and still living at home, but there’s no way I could’ve stayed in Perth forever and I needed to get out at least once in my life. Yes, it came at the sacrifice of my savings and set me back a couple of years, but the way I look at it is that money can always be earned. Experiences can’t. I’m so lucky to have such supportive parents who have let me back under their roof and while I have the privilege of living at home, I need to make it count for something.
Work on my time management skills
I always knew managing life was going to get hard once I started full time work, and although I can’t deny that it hasn’t been worth the sacrifice or that I’m so much happier not being in shift work anymore, I know that I can do better. It’s not that I don’t have the time to do the things I love anymore like blog, watch movies and discover new music, but the blog posts I published and the movies I watched were all cut by half in 2018 (my biggest downfall when it comes to blogging is the photo side of things; if I don’t like my photos, I have to wait until the next weekend I’m free to reshoot, which can really set me back), which makes me quite sad. As I’m also no spring chicken anymore, another thing I want to do is look after myself and make time for regular exercise.
Between work, having a social life, chores, errands, hobbies, exercise, pets and relationships (I don’t even want to think about throwing kids into the equation!), life is definitely all a balancing act, isn’t it?! I know I can’t always be productive and I think it’s important that we allow ourselves breaks too - sometimes a mindless scroll through social media is all I have the concentration for - but then there are other times where the hours, days or even months go by and I feel like I haven’t accomplished as much as I could have. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to be more accountable for my time and more self-aware of how I’m spending it. I was doing okay with this all back in January, but I have to be honest and say that I have lost steam these last couple of months! It’s never too late to turn things around though and now it’s time to pull my socks back up!
Finish reading Harry Potter
I’ve never been someone who’s massively into reading books and even when Harry Potter first came out and everyone was super into it, I snubbed it off! My sister was the Harry Potter nerd in the family (in fact, her nickname to this day is still Wiz!) and instead of reading it ourselves, my brother and I would make fun of her instead! Knowing just how much everybody loves it and the impact it’s had on pop culture, I decided years later that I would finally read it and with the encouragement of my old housemate, started doing so back in 2016. That was three years ago and I’m still only up to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!
It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, it’s just that reading is one of those things I suck at making time for. As I mentioned above, blogging, movies and music are what I mostly enjoy doing in my free time, so obviously, that’s what takes priority for me. I should also mention that I get nauseous reading on public transport so reading on my commute is a no-go (I barely even look at my phone) and at night, it can often just leave me feeling sleepy! I have given the audiobooks a go, but I’m undecided if I like reading this way as I found it a little harder to absorb the story. The goal was to finish reading the series by the time I go to London and do the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour, but now that I’m going a lot sooner than expected, I don’t think that’s going to happen anymore! I might to try to finish Order of the Phoenix by June and then by the time I go to Europe, I can take Half-Blood Prince with me on the plane (it’s slightly less bulky!). It’s the only public transport that doesn’t make me nauseous and just imagine how much reading I can get done on two 20-hour flights!
Learn to cook different recipes
I’m not very experimental when it comes to cooking and I think it’s one of the main reasons why I don’t really enjoy it. I’ve always found cooking to be a bit of a chore and it’s never something I’ve looked forward to doing, but when I do try out new recipes, it can actually be quite fun and there’s that sense of accomplishment for knowing you’ve cooked your own meal and that you’re looking after yourself. For the most part, I always opt for recipes I know or whatever’s quickest and easiest, but with a bit of patience and practise, new recipes can become quick and easy too, and it doesn’t always have to be such an arduous process.
Living at home, I’m fortunate enough that my mum and sister enjoy doing most of the cooking (my mum is the best home cook ever and my sister studied patisserie), but I want to step up and contribute more, and also learn from them while we’re all still living under the one roof! I’ve got lots of amazing recipes saved on my Food & Drink Pinterest board, there’s my nanna’s Burmese dishes that I still really want to learn (this was a goal of mine last year, but I didn’t end up accomplishing it) and as pavlova is my favourite dessert, I’d love to learn how to make my own from scratch and hopefully have that down pat in time for Christmas! I’ve always found cooking most enjoyable when it’s for a crowd, so it might be easier to learn to love it this way and then I won’t dread it so much when I’m on my own again!
Possibly give online dating a go?!
As someone who is, for the most part, introverted and a bit of a homebody, the concept of dating doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. Texting guys, first dates, the wondering whether it’s going to lead to a second… as if there aren’t a million better things I could be doing with my time! However, I know that if I eventually want to meet someone, I have to put myself out there and since meeting guys irl hasn’t really worked in my favour (I just want to have fun with my friends when I’m out!), I’m thinking about giving online dating a go. It’s something I never would have even considered had my Melbourne friends not opened my eyes to it all and now I see that there’s absolutely nothing to be “ashamed” of. I know in the past it’s had connotations of being “desperate” or whatever, but at the end of the day, why the hell does it even matter how you meet someone? In this day and age, technology is what connects us and it most certainly doesn’t make me view a relationship any differently. I’ve made so many wonderful friends through the Internet, so maybe there’s a chance I could meet a guy too and if anything, you’re more likely to meet someone who you have common interests and shared values with.
I’m by no means tired of being single. In fact, I love it! Perhaps a little too much! And as I don’t care about marriage and kids, that takes the pressure off things too. With work, my hobbies and my social life, I have enough going on to feel completely happy and fulfilled without one, but the more comfortable I become with myself and who I am, the more comfortable I also feel about being in a relationship. It’s taken me many, many years to arrive at this point in my life, but after what felt like a quarter-life crisis and being completely torn down by my ex, it was important to me that I learn to love myself first (admittedly, I’m still working on this). I don’t know how many of you out there will relate to my situation - almost everyone I know is all loved up - but in my Hello 2018 post when I opened up about being unemployed, you were all so kind and wonderful, and it felt so good just to let it all out and be vulnerable. Truthfully, I am nervous to attempt this whole dating thing and I realise it’s probably - no, make that definitely - very slim pickings out there, but maybe 2019 will be the year I finally give it a go! Do you think it’s too much to ask for a guy who’s sweet, funny, doesn’t say “not all men”, has good taste in music and who also maybe kind of looks like Ryan Gosling?!
What did you love about 2018 and what have you been working on in 2019?