*pulls duvet down from face* *blinks* *yawns* *stretches* Oh hey, 2018. I didn’t even realise you were there! Nice to meet you.
So, here we are – 2018 stretches before us like a brand new notebook, clean and unmarred and full of promise. After endless days of getting up after the sun comes up, midday snacks of mince pies and brandy butter and a cheeky glug of Bailey’s in my coffee at 4pm, the fridge has (nearly) been cleared of the festive foods and I’ve had to start setting my alarm clock again. It’s been a really nice break, if I’m honest, but I’m ready for the fresh start and excited for what the new year will bring.
I’ve done a ‘Year in Review’ post every single year since I started my blog and honestly, I always start this post with a sinking dread that nothing actually happened. That we didn’t do anything of note, that the year has just been like every other but then, once I start digging back into the archives, I realise just how many great things happened.
Of course, 2017 globally was yet another year of confusion, heartbreak and a constant feeling of, “How is this still even a THING?!” and “Is THIS the dystopian future Black Mirror promised us?”, it’s always good to think we’re starting on a bit of a clean slate. Getting up, dusting off and just getting on with things as best as we can, because really, that’s all any of us can do. And while we can look back and consider the horrors of the last year, I try to remain positive always. I try to consider what the year has brought me, what it has taught me and how it’s set me up for this: A bright shiny NEW year, full of promise and wonder and expectation.
And so, dear reader, I was hoping you might like to join me on the journey. If you have been with me for a while, you will see a lot of familiar things that you may have forgotten about yourself or things you may have missed but if you are new here (and I had such positive growth over the last year, it humbles me) then perhaps a little peek back will save you rummaging through loads of posts – 124 of them in case you were wondering.
So let’s start off the year as we mean to go on, shall we? With a little positive reminiscing.
We’ll start with the house…
The Man Cave
Wayne finally let me go to town on his cellar space and we did a total transformation using dark paint, bold (faux) botanicals and gold. I affectionately renamed it the ‘Glam Cave’ and we use it so much more these days. It’s so nice to have a little snug to escape to watch films or TV series and I’m hoping in our next home, we’ll be able to create a little snug like this again.
The Back Garden
We finally put a big ‘done’ stamp on our back garden as well when I teamed up with West Elm to give it a final polish. I adore how it all came out and we used it so much over the early part of the summer when we actually had some decent weather! It was so nice to finally feel that the outside of the house matched the inside in terms of style and functionality.
We also tackled the last space in our home that needed attention this year – our hallway. It was a very ‘nothing’ space, marked up white walls, threadbare carpet and not much else going for it and with a bit of paint, stain and new carpeting, it was refreshed for very little money. I can actually invite guests into our home without apologising for the state of it and it makes a much better first impression!
We also decided to rip out the old manky carpeting in our bedroom and sand and stain the flooring to match the rest of the house. It was one of those projects we’d not entirely planned but it really transformed the space and we couldn’t be happier with the result.
The Bespoke Dining Table
I nearly forgot to mention this one but I basically designed my dream dining room table this year. I was desperate for a brass base and marble top and so using a few images for inspiration, I spoke to Refunk’d who were able to create the custom base and brass plate it and I found a wonderful source for the marble top. I love this table so much and was so happy to go bespoke for a price that wasn’t actually that much more than settling for something that was already on the market.
And then, after everything was finally complete, we put our house up for sale in early November. We sold it within 4 days of going on the market (totally crazy) but I did manage to get a lovely video of the whole house as a sort of last hurrah to this wonderful place we’ve called home for the last 7 1/2 years. I’ll be sharing more about our plans in an upcoming post so stay tuned for that!
My MIL’s Flat
As a little bonus, this year we also transformed my Mother-in-Law’s flat from sad and neglected to warm, comfortable and pretty. She’s so incredibly happy with the new space and I have to offer a huge warm thank you to the sponsors of the project, Oak Furniture Land who worked with me on that one. It really was such a joy to give such a special lady a lovely home makeover.
I’ve had years where I’ve travelled to more destinations but this year saw us making two trips to the Welsh coast to simply get away from it all…
And I was able to take two press trips to Sweden as well. You can read about my visit to the beautiful Wanås Hotel & Restaurant here and my tour around Skåne here. I’ll also be sharing a visit to the birthplace of IKEA in a blog post coming up next week!
2017 was the year I decided to expand my content to talk about more lifestyle subjects and it was probably my post about infertility that resonated with you the most, proving that sometimes it’s the topics that aren’t talked about so widely that we need to open up about more. I had so many comments, emails, messages on social media from those reaching out with their own stories of childlessness, infertility, birth, miscarriages and was in floods of tears for two days from the warmth I received when I posted that.
I also tried my hand at fashion blogging, beauty blogging and food blogging as well as a few fun posts around pets and living in the UK as an American. I’ve genuinely been blown away by the support on these lifestyle posts (and if I’m honest, I wasn’t really sure how well they’d go over) but I’m so pleased you guys seem to like them. I’m really looking forward to doing more posts like these in the future!
Stuff I’m Pretty Damn Proud Of
I am always so humbled when my little blog gets attention from the outside media – genuinely, it never gets old, I never take it for granted and I’m always so amazed that people like what I’m doing over here. So it was my privilege to have had features in Essential Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom magazine, Hello! Fashion and two features in two different issues of Reloved magazine over the last year.
I was also named one of the ‘Hottest Home Design Bloggers’ by The Daily Mail which drove so much traffic to my Instagram that I smashed my goal of hitting 10k followers on that platform.
It was also from that feature that I was contacted by BBC Radio 4 to appear on their programme You & Yours where I got to talk about how more and more people are looking to Instagram for inspiration for their homes. It was definitely an experience to remember!
Nominations and Awards
I was privileged as well to be asked to judge two prestigious awards – The Indian Blog Awards as well as The Amara Interior Blog Awards. Having a little insight into what goes into the judging process makes me more conscious than ever not to just sit back and relax and to constantly strive to make sure Swoon Worthy is constantly evolving and getting better and better.
I was also nominated this year for 5 different blog awards which was just CRAZY. I was nominated by Essential Kitchen Bedrooms Bathrooms in the Best Interior Design Blog category, The Bloggers’ Blog Awards for Best Lifestyle Blog, The Northern Blog Awards in the Most Prolific Pinner category, The Thirty Plus Blog Awards in the Most Addictive Blog Category and finally, in the Vuelio Blog Awards for Best DIY & Interior Design Blog.
I was so happy to actually go on to win the Vuelio Blog Award and it was such an amazing night and such a privilege to add a third trophy to my office shelf!
And finally… We’re Moving!
I announced it in my Instagram Stories but I realised I’d not shared it here… we also found a gorgeous Victorian house, put in an offer and it was accepted in December! The property market is crazy in this country and the house buying and selling processes are even more convoluted with absolutely NOTHING being certain until the contracts are exchanged in the days before you are meant to move. So I can’t give away many details here just yet, unfortunately.
What I can tell you is that we are moving to the beautiful town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire, about 40 miles Northwest of Birmingham and about 70 miles Southwest of Manchester. It where Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol and as a long-standing Anglophile, my ‘quaint English’ dream. It really is a beautiful town and I can’t wait to start our life there.
I promise, I’ll be sharing more details of the house and everything will be revealed as soon as I’m able but needless to say – it’s gonna be a project! Whoop! Keep your fingers firmly crossed that everything goes to plan – we are hoping to be in by around mid-to-late February all going well.
So that’s my abridged roundup of 2017 and I’m so grateful for all the support and encouragement you guys provide every day, it really means the world to me and I can’t stress that enough! So I’m wondering – what was your favourite thing on Swoon Worthy this year? Is there anything you would like to see more of in 2018? The comment box awaits!