I have only just woken from my chocolate-alcohol-and-turkey-induced coma. It was a good place to hang out for a couple weeks, I must admit. Christmas and the New Year have gone by in a flash it seems and here we are with a nice clean slate in front of us by way of a brand spankin’ new year. I feel good guys. I feel like I have a renewed enthusiasm for whatever lies ahead and I think a break is sometimes exactly what we need to give ourselves a bit of a ‘reboot’!
I like to do these ‘year in review’ posts as much for you (to see how sometimes progress can seem slow but you can actually accomplish quite a bit in a year) as I do for myself. I always go into these posts thinking, Oh man, NOTHING HAPPENED and then realise with delight that a lot more happened than what I’d remembered.
A little disclaimer: I never want these posts to seem gloating or obnoxious so please know that’s not my intention. But I think it’s important to celebrate our accomplishments, to remind ourselves of what we can achieve when we put our heart and soul into something. And while there have been plenty of challenges, difficult decisions, disappointments and things that didn’t quite go to plan, well, I want to start the year on a positive note. So that’s what I’m going to do dammit.
I have to say that 2015 has probably been one of my most exciting years as a blogger. It was the first year of going totally freelance – a scary prospect and a total risk which paid off in so many ways. I can’t even imagine how 2016 could top it.
I actually started off 2015 with a totally new design for Swoon Worthy which I felt much better represented what I’m all about and then I gave it another mini re-brand this past October to freshen the look up. But it wasn’t just the blog that got refreshed. The house did too!
What did we actually accomplish in the house?
My very favourite project and definitely the most popular of the year was the total transformation of our neglected and quite frankly ugly hodgepodge of a second bedroom into a totally glam Home Office as part of the One Room Challenge. It was a huge undertaking from ceiling to floor and everything in between and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result! You can see the entire process here.
My living room got a brand new look by making a few small changes rather than buying all new furniture. New wallpaper from Sian Zeng changed the entire theme, I replaced the turquoise curtains with these cranberry velvet ones from Ikea, re-wallpapered my chest of drawers and pulled back all the different colours in the accessories for a more sophisticated palette of raspberry, olive, black and white. Finally, I replaced the light fixture with a gold beauty from John Lewis. I’m still totally in love with this space.
Thanks to the awesome peeps at Original Style, we finally tackled the front patio of the house. New tiles totally transformed the look and paid homage to the age of the property with a contemporary twist.
The front of the house wasn’t the only outside place we made progress. With the help of Homebase, we finally added some steps to back deck, got a new shed and new outdoor furniture, rug and accessories to reveal a very colourful boho look which definitely eased the pain of the fact we barely had much of a summer in 2015 due to unusually cold and rainy days!
In a total act of “I’m so over it”, I completely removed the gallery wall in my dining room which led to some smaller changes that are leading to much BIGGER changes over the next year. Stay tuned for more on that very soon – there’s a plan people – and it doesn’t involve going either dark berry OR emerald! WHAT?! Can’t wait to share what I’ve come up with!
In the kitchen – despite trying to prioritise it in 2015 which totally didn’t happen – we did manage to replace the cooker hood and backsplash, I glammed up my IKEA Grundtal rails with some spray paint, replaced the blinds and clock and DIY’d some new lighting. It’s back on the priority list for real this time in 2016.
In the bedroom, we got an amazing new mattress thanks to Eve, some gorgeous new bedding from Secret Linen and I gave the space a refresh with new art and a few accessories. It made me fall in love with it all over again without really having to spend an enormous amount of money – exactly the kind of refreshes I love.
2015 was also filled with some amazing highs as well.
We welcomed a new fur baby into the family with our Sheltie puppy, Quito. He’s hilarious and sweet and funny and we both adore him completely. Even if he has managed to destroy our dining room rug as well as the back garden and still has us up at 5:30am every morning *yawn*. He’s growing out of his puppy craziness though (and he’s fully house-trained now – yes!!) and becoming a really lovely well-behaved dog who’s just brilliant to have around.
Speaking of Munich, my biggest blogging highlight was winnng Most Creative Project in the Callwey Interior Blog Awards in Munich. Yes I totally cried and I couldn’t have been more surprised to win. Such a total privilege as well as a truly amazing weekend, one I certainly won’t soon forget.
I was also shortlisted once again in the Amara Interior Blog Awards – a huge privilege especially when there was so much talent represented. I was honoured to be a part of it again and I can’t thank you guys enough for your votes to get me there!
I was also so incredibly grateful to be named one of the Daily Telegraph’s Top 10 Interior bloggers alongside some of my favourite bloggers in the UK.
I also saw my home published in Your Home Magazine here in the UK, Petra Magazine in Germany and my wallpapered chest of drawers was featured in The Irish Independent. Being featured in print – eeek! I’m always so blown away when it happens and it happened in three different countries! Totally surreal!
Speaking of surreal, I was also published in the German Interior Design book Wohnideen – Aus Dem Wahren Leben Best of Interior Blogs by Callwey Publishing! Such an awesome feeling and the book was truly gorgeous. I was so happy I was able to give a few away to you guys too!
Along with my style sister, Shannon from Burlap and Lace, we introduced a new hashtag to Instagram in 2015 – #colorshare where we get to enjoy your gorgeous colourful homes! We took a little break in December but it will be restarting this month – yay!
I also got to work with some great brands – Joss & Main, Wayfair, John Lewis, Together Insurance, Design Raaga, Voga, Out There Interiors, Original Style, Homebase, Habitat, SkullBliss, Darlings of Chelsea, Sian Zeng and French Bedroom Company to name but a few! It’s these fabulous brands that assist me in bringing fresh content to my blog and I’m so privileged to be able to work with them. I simply wouldn’t be able to do as much as I do now without their help. As I always say, however, I only work with brands I really love and that I am happy to endorse and I will continue to be super picky who I work with in the new year – that just won’t change EVER!
And finally on a personal note…
I know I’ve never talked about this on the blog and I really struggled with whether or not to even include this (I’ve deleted and retyped this section a whole bunch of times) because it has nothing at all to do with interiors but then I thought, perhaps some of you can relate so maybe it’s worth mentioning…
I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life and I think I’ve probably tried every single “diet” under the sun. Well, it was only this past year that I finally found something that works for me – after searching for the last 30 years.
That first picture up there on the left was when my bathroom was photographed for Your Home magazine (that picture never made the magazine, wonder why?!). Wow, did I feel horrified, low, stunned and miserable over that picture. That same month I decided to give up processed sugars and in February, I gathered up my courage and joined Whole30. I did it because so many foods disagreed with me and I wanted to try an elimination diet to get some answers, not necessarily to lose weight. I had tried and failed to lose weight so many times in the past so I didn’t really expect this to be any different but I just felt unwell too often, had no energy and generally just felt really down about my appearance.
I fully adopted a paleo diet thereafter and slowly but successfully, I’ve managed to shed 3 stone (42 pounds or 19 kilos) in the last year without even feeling like I was trying*. As a result, I have so much more energy, I sleep so much better, food no longer disagrees with me and I finally feel good about myself. I’ve dropped 3 dress sizes and have rediscovered my love of both fashion and makeup. (And yes, this year I decided to take a risk and include both food and makeup in my Instagram account.)
I think food and diet is probably a bit like religion. When you find something you love that works for you, you become a bit evangelical about it and you want EVERYONE to do it with you but the truth is, I think everyone just needs to find whatever works for them and their lives. So just because the paleo diet works for me, I’m not saying it will be everyone’s answer of course. But I’m truly happy and excited to finally find a way of eating that feels totally right and natural for me. I still have a bit more to lose so 2016 will hopefully mean getting to my goal weight!
*I’m not saying this was easy or I didn’t have to use willpower! ;) Of course it’s been challenging and adjusting to making everything from scratch has taken a lot of planning and prioritising my health over convenience. I just mean to say that once I got into the swing of it all, I loved it so much that I wanted to keep going and my motivation has remained very high, something that I felt was always missing in previous attempts to lose weight or adjust how I ate. Also? I gained 3 pounds over Christmas because I’m not a robot and hell yeah, bring on the chocolate and Bailey’s. But I’m back on the wagon now in the New Year! Nothing wrong with a little splurge every now and again.
And if you’ve gotten through all of this…
I just wanted to share some of my favourite posts of 2015.
So as you can see, it’s been a hell of a year! My next post will detail some of the goals and plans for 2016 and I’d absolutely love for you to be there sharing it with me! How was your Christmas and New Year? Will you be joining me to see what 2016 brings?