2015 - A Year in Review

2015 - A Year in Review

2015 has been a rollercoaster of a year. There have been so many ups and quite a few downs. It’s been a year of change. But more than anything, I feel like it’s been the year when I’ve finally found myself.

Looking back, I can’t believe how much has happened this year and how much I’ve accomplished. I’m so thankful for the opportunities that have come my way and that’s what I want to celebrate today. I’ve seen these 2015 review posts around the blogosphere lately, so I wanted to join in and share my own highlights.

Top 5 Highlights of 2015

1. Getting the best job I could wish for as a Marketing Coordinator for a local sixth form College.
2. Seeing the sights, drinking cocktails and watching the sun go down in Nice, with Tom.
3. Our first family holiday in a long time to the beautiful Penrith.
4. My brother, Michael, getting a fantastic degree and going onto do a Masters.
5. Seeing Chvrches live in Newcastle, which was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

Blogging Achievements

1. In Summer, I finally made the decision to up my blogging game. I transferred ABOH from Blogger to Squarespace and designed the whole site myself. I was scared at first and there were a few tears. But with help from Tom and support from my family, I did it. Six months on, I know it was definitely the right thing to do. My confidence is definitely growing, because I want to make even more changes now...

5 Things: Christmas Day Traditions

5 Things: Christmas Day Traditions

Welcome to the last blog post in my little festive series. We've talked about the lead up to Christmas, Christmas Eve, and now we're onto Christmas Day traditions.

Christmas will be very different for us as a family this year, but we're all still really looking forward to it. I love Christmas Day. It always goes so quickly so I try and cherish every single moment. And as the big day is nearly here, I wanted to share with you some of my traditions.

This will also be the last blog post from me until just before the New Year as I'm taking a break over Christmas

So I wanted to take this time to thank you. You reading this right now - you play such a huge part in my life. You keep me coming back to this space and creating content for you almost every day. Thank you so much for all your support over the last twelve months and here's to a brilliant 2016!

Now onto the traditions...

5 Things: Christmas Eve Traditions

5 Things: Christmas Eve Traditions

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring...

Apart from my bunnies bounding around and Maisy rolling about on the floor...

 

As if it's Christmas this week. This week! Wow. These last few months have been such a whirlwind that it seems to have appeared in no time. Usually, the days leading up to Christmas seem slow, but this year they won't, because we're so busy. We're getting everything ready today for going away on Wednesday, I'm getting my nails done tomorrow and then we'll be heading up to the Lakes. Do you always find that you're really busy in the lead up to Christmas?

Anyway, carrying on with the little festive series I've got planned, today it's all about Christmas Eve traditions!

I find that Christmas Eve is always so different when you've got a full-time job. Most people working 9-5 have to actually plan their holidays so they can take Christmas Eve off. I'm lucky now that I work in the education sector that I get this time off. Last year I had to work it and wasn't allowed to take it off! When you're at school or uni, you can really get into the festive spirit early. But when you're working it's a different feeling.

So for those of you who might be working over the festive season, this is for you. I hope this list of Christmas Eve traditions will get you feeling festive in no time!

5 Things: Traditions in the Run up to Christmas

5 Things: Traditions in the Run up to Christmas

Guys - Christmas officially starts today. That's it. It's my work's Christmas party, I finish for two whole weeks and I'm feeling very festive. My nails are glittery, the Christmas jumper is on and the festive season is well and truly in full swing.

For today and some days next week, I actually had different posts planned. I was going to round up some of the posts that you guys have loved on ABOH this year. But when it came to writing them, I wasn't feeling it. 

I've been thinking about where I want to take this blog in the new year. One of my decisions has been to bring more of myself to this space. I used to love writing lifestyle and personal posts. Lately I feel like that's been missing. So I hope all of you will be happy about this new aspect of ABOH. I feel really good about it!

So because Christmas starts today, I wanted to put together a little mini festive series for you all about traditions. Starting with my traditions in the run up to Christmas.

Why You Should Reflect On Your Career At The End Of A Year

Why You Should Reflect On Your Career At The End Of A Year

What do you reflect on towards the end of a year? The moments you’ve enjoyed the most, what you’ve achieved and what you want to accomplish over the next year, probably. But do you ever think about reflecting on your career?

Sure you can talk about everything you’ve produced and the projects that have gone really well. But that just comes down to one job along. What about your plan? What about where you want to be in five years time?

Our careers are such big and important parts of our lives. We need to give it substance and treat it with the same reflection that we do with other things

Last year, I had a Skype session with a career advisor. I was completely stuck and didn’t know what to do. In that call, he gave me one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever heard. 

He said I should evaluate my career path each year. Evaluate it in the sense of whether I was happy, how much I was progressing and whether I still wanted to carry on.

If you’re anything like me, you’re not a coaster. You don’t want to stay in the same job role, on the same wage, doing the same thing for the rest of your life, right? Hell no! You want to push yourself with more challenges and more responsibilities. Evaluating your careers helps you understand whether you’re on track to achieve this - or whether you need to find new opportunities in other places.

No matter where you are in your career or if your career hasn’t started yet, evaluating where you’ve come and how far you want to go is so important. It keeps you honest about what you want

Last year was the first time I evaluated my career. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t doing the work I enjoyed and I knew at that time that it wasn’t the career I wanted.

Six months later, I felt the same way. I took this as a sign to evaluate again. That’s when I found the job I’m in now which is the best job I could hope and wish for.

So even though you might not realise it, you could be in a place now where you’re living passively through your career. You might think that there’s no point in making a change, or you’ve been there so long now that it doesn’t matter. Or worse - that it’s too late.

It’s never too late.

I used to think of my career as just jobs. Not an actual career. Now I think differently. And I think you should too.

Today, I want to talk you through the questions I ask myself when I want to reflect on my career. Make a brew, sit somewhere comfy, get a notepad or your laptop and get ready to dig deep.