The Successes Of 2017 & What It Taught Me

Tips On Making The Most Of Your Year

Oh 2017 you've been wonderfully wild. As we all get a smidge older, and repeat the phrase that hovers the mind of all "Where on Earth did the year fly by?" I've had countless conversations of how the years get shorter, pages from the calendar are flying off at an incredible pace that we all simply can't keep up - which makes me beg the question is 24 hours in the day enough for me? The simplest answer of all is...no, it's never enough, I'm greedy and want to pack more into my days than letting the pendulum of the clock swing by missing a few seconds, we're all noticing how our favourite moments are flying by too quick, and it's simply put, not remotely hilarious. Can you not time? Time was a creation by man, and by God have we learnt to speed it up. So whilst I'm blabbering on about time, and the universe getting a little bit more bizarre I'd like to shed some light on 2017. The year that successes are made, dreams weren't just for sleeping, and the world brightened up in my mind. I'll be telling the tails of the many things I learnt, how Stephi became a little more Stephi, and naturally the highlights of the blog. So strap yourself in for another rollercoaster of ups, downs and swing-arounds as you delve into my life. 

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Never overlook the power of friendship

If there's one thing I learnt this year, is that the meaning behind your friendship can seriously dictate your life. So the lesson of the year is to surround yourself with people who uplift you to the highest skies and sing the song of you to others. 2017 was my year of friendship, I've made so many more friends, and lost some along the way. Of course losing friends is never a terrible thing, when you're on your journey of self discovery and trying to align yourself back to a stage of happiness you'll find those friends will come back when you're both ready. Let them do their thing, as you're doing yours. Because we shouldn't have to spend all our waking seconds on standby for our Facebook friends - the quality of conversations should outstretch your quantity. The fundamental lesson I learnt is that what you give, you always receive when you find your tribe in life.  So make a little more effort, and respect every indidividual (they're only human after all). Friendship is a lot more important than you will initially think, it makes those long wintery days even more elongated and morbid, so do pipe up to an old friend, and invite them round for the night to reignite old memories. 

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Becoming less of an over-planner

Secondly was the lesson of not overcrowding your plate - not with food (although no one will stop you piling up your food this season) but with plans. I'm a rigorous over-planner, and stuff my diary, to the brim of not giving myself enough time for clarity and reflection. I constantly felt like my life was this year was a series of "Oh you're a busy bee, when are you going to have a day off". As someone who gets ecstatically excited by work first thing in the morning I dipped my finger in too many pies that I didn't make valuable time to sigh, and with every breath holding onto something exciting happening, whilst I completed my first year of going full time with my blog. The lesson learnt is to pace myself, strategise the things on top of the to-do list, and not the new additions. So I learnt to never forget who I am, I might be a hustling girl with strong morals to make the world a better place, but equally health is of importance. 

That brings me to a state of mental health. We all have our own stories, and I've shared mine quite openly like everything else I do. I spent a lot of this year reflecting on the previous years, and how far I've come - which is great, as progression jumps in leaps and bounds. But this year I couldn't have felt stronger as an individual with complete control over my actions. Fully knowing that if I screwed up, my head would be on a platter, not others. So confidence as a result has risen. So my key message to pass onto others is to give yourself a mental rest, and never overpack your schedule, so do make time for your family and friends to play board games, and have a giggle. 

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All you need is love

It's bizarre as no one told you that when you leap over the threshold of 21 your life changes in radical ways, because of your mental path. Mine became very holistic, and self loving - I've been called self centred, but really it's dedicating important time to loving ones self. The Beatles were bang on the money when they said All You Need Is Love (a phrase that will gradually work its way into a tattoo - see below for more info!) because I discovered that comparison and jealousy were flaws that can't be corrected unless you take a mental stance on self love. No one can do a better job of being you, than yourself. So I learnt to not look at others and ponder on why our differences made me feel sad. Instead that positive energy was channeled into a morning ritual of yoga, meditation, grounding techniques and repeating mantras that made me love myself more and more - which I thoroughly believe is the way to suppress anxiety, depression and low dips in life. Love is all you need, and becomes stronger when teamed with background support of friends, family, relationships... and a cat. 

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Me and Paddy celebrated 5 years together, continuously tightening the bond. Relationship wise it's been the happiest I've ever been, better than when we first met, but I really do fall more in love with him by the day, and it makes me eternally happy that we've shared so many adventures together both nationally and abroad. It's the year where the worlds of work and personal collided, as my life has never been such an open book written raw to the world around. Paddy has been involved in most processes, and therefore sharing my work friends, so every party event, ribbon snipping, fashion week and festival  has been like a family coming together. I believe that sharing the love amongst creatives is crucial to the functionality of an industry. So it's great to see brands more accepting to bringing photographers on press trips, as the more fun we have, the better feedback I get on a daily basis booming into my inbox.

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The Successes Of 2017

Embrace your life changing

So this furthers something that's truly made this year spectacular for work, a new agent and how life has become more manageable. Of course I still work my socks off every morning, day and night to make this a cushy comfortable space of information and escapism but I can hand on heart explain how life has gone up, and it's become increasingly easy to start saving up for a new home.

You all know my life is a forever ending book that is showcased online, so I like to think in the smallest of ways I make a difference as others have subtly changed my ways.  I thought I was destined to the chorus of Pulps Common People; to dance, drink and screw because there's nothing else to do. But life is good, and sweet that sees every moment as an awakening angelic aura of light and beauty. So it made me realise you may be a working class hero like how John Lennon sings, and we're still fucking peasants as far as we can see, but make yourself your own royalty, by giving yourself an extra pat on the back, your positivity will radiate and rub onto others, thus making the world distinctly more pleasant through what seems like a series of tragic events over the past 12 months. Sadly life goes on, so burdening friendships, and holding grudges will only make you bitter. Let it go, and treat others like you'd like to be treated. So if this this year taught me anything is that you are the only thing that defines you, so make each second of every count. Dance like your life depends on it, sing like no one is listening, and smile while you still have teeth. There's no excuse not to enjoy the fruits of life like a park in the park to appreciate the air you breathe. 

Here's a toast to 2017, you've been wild. Exhale the negativity, and inhale the positivity. 

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So what does 2018 promise? 

God only knows, as the years go by they seem to get better with age like a fine wine, or an aged whisky. It can only promise positivity, so long I wake up in the morning at an alarm that suits me, that puts me in a state of happiness that I'm willing to take on the world, and that further progresses everyone else to exude those positive vibes that I bang on about.

So this is the part where I tell you that I'll be saving up for a new home - oh yawn yawn, but that doesn't stop the wild child crawling out her cave every once in a while whilst she dreams of living in a home that me and my partner will build together. If this year taught me anything at all, it's that we're home makers as much as wild spirits that change as frequently as the wind. But there's one certainty that is the behold of a home that will host a family not just consisting of two halves that make a whole and a fuzzy fluffy feline baby. We've been endlessly chatting about the promise of a house to call home. One with an island in the kitchen, a walk in wardrobe that ticks the boxes of my Pinterest dreams and a garden I can meditate in without disturbance of police sirens and ambulances disrupting my trail of thought.

So now that it's written in black and white online forever and ever, I solemnly swear it will be as real as my opinion. I frequently say that dreams aren't just for sleeping. That if you work your lush butt off and hustle you will get anything you desire. As there's no one to stop you in this world, there's you and you only. So wild child mode will be in shorter supply. NOW that's never ever to say, that you should stop checking in on my online haven, because there will always be updates, and adventures. Hell, I've already got travelling trips in the bag, with more to tell in the near distant future. But the priorities lie where the foundation of a new home rests. By god it'll be a good day when I announce to the world that I'll have new keys jingling in my pocket, and will be certain a lot of prosecco will be sprayed all over my brand new home, without a care in the world. Only then will wild child LaReine be at capacity and 100% back in town. If you've got a family you'll know what I mean, you may not even have a family of your own but respect a females path in life, and let the good times roll. 
The final few promises of 2018 will be, a few tattoos (my first) because life is way too short to not have a doodle on your body - I'm dying to fill my arms with inspiration on a daily basis that I should stay wild, free, loving, caring, respectful and impulsive. The final one, which I've no doubt said year after year, since I opened the damn thing two Christmases ago, which is to learn how to ride a bike. I never had an inclination, and feel awfully rude that Paddy bought me a bike that would make a small child cry when they heard the bell. 2018 will be about conquering everything that made me doubt myself remotely. So less fast walking, more zooming through the city on my pastel pink bike doing wheelys all over town, with no hesitations I'll fall flat on my face and have a giggle about it all. 

So back to reality from a swirly vision of the future, I'm sitting here in my beloved studio thinking this will be the best New Year yet, with 12 months that follows in its magnificence. Make it count I say to myself - which will no doubt form another tattoo. 

Really what I want to say is, thank you to everyone who reads every sentence on this blog, and even if you just look at the pretty pictures you've still contributed to making my life a blossoming wonderful place. Thank you to my beautiful family, friends, my boyfriend, to the strangers in the street who quote my words back to me, to the impact I've made across the world (to infinity and beyond!) I love you all from the very bottom of my heart, and wish you a momentous welcoming to the New Year. As Bill & Ted said; be excellent to each other, and party on!

If there is a light. You can’t always see, and there is a world we can’t always be. If there is a dark now we shouldn't doubt, and there is a light. Don’t let it go out.

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