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2018 Reflections

Happy New Years Eve! I hope you all have big plans for tonight, whether you are going to parties or fireworks or having a night in with the family. My current plans are to go to a New Years Eve party at my lovely friend Daisy’s house. It’s a NYE celebration with a theme – Clueless! Despite my anxiety, I was really excited to go. At least I was until Boxing Day, when I became sick again (as if!). This time it’s a head cold kind of situation and unfortunately it is still vexing me almost a week later. I’m not sure if I’m going to make the party, and even if I do, I may be cast aside by my friends in fear of catching my plague. 

I’ve had a lot of time this past week to reflect on the year that was 2018. So far everyone I’ve spoken to has had mixed reviews, and very different years. Whilst I’ve had certain highlights and good days, I’m firmly in the ‘2018 was awful and should be burnt and then forgotten’ camp. I was diagnosed with mixed depression and anxiety disorder during my first year of university, 2014. It was the day before my 20th birthday. I remember going straight from the doctors at university onto the coach home, crying all the way. Since then, I’ve struggled continuously with my depression and anxiety. But for some reason everything became exacerbated this year. Whilst I was low going into the year, something certainly changed around the February mark. I was crying multiple times a week at work – in the middle of the office – and my performance began to take a real hit. Things continued to get worse until a particularly awful day in March, where I contacted my GP for help. I reluctantly agreed that I needed time off and was written off for a month. Over the course of the year, I completed a couple of return to works, but things always went the same way. In total, I’ve been off sick more than being at work. At home I’ve spent my months crying, struggling to sleep, unable to find entertainment in hobbies. I’ve lost my appetite and go days without eating, to suddenly feeling starving and eating everything I can find in the cupboards. I can count on my hands the amount of times I’ve gone to the gym. I’ve piled on weight. Increased 3-4 dress sizes. My acne has flourished. I struggle to do chores. I forget to pay my bills. I have anxiety attacks when I leave the house. I’ve withdrawn from my friends, avoiding social interaction at all costs. At my best, I’ve managed small meetings with my friends, short day trips and experiences. At my worst I’ve hurt myself. I’ve had horrific thoughts. I’ve had to find my mum so she can monitor my actions. There have been times when I thought I wouldn’t make it to tomorrow, let alone the end of the year. 

And yet, here we are. I’m still struggling. I’m still not back at work. But I’m going to make it to 2019. In one piece. With my family and a few close, super supportive friends. In theory, 2019 can only be better. I’m quite certain of that. I will be posting all of my goals and resolutions for 2019 in a separate post, which I’m currently writing. If you asked me two months ago, I would have said there was no point in having said goals. See. Progress. 

I realise this post so far has been super negative, but unfortunately, that is accurate of the year. But don’t fret. I’ve saved the good bits until last, and there have been a few good days.

One more bad memory before we cover the happy times. My pet hedgehog, Wilbur, died in January. My mother brought him for me as a Christmas present after I fell in love with Bertie, who belonged to my friend Alice. She once brought him into the library when we were having a meeting for a team project, and he clambered around on all the laptops. I fell for Wilbur instantly, he was my best little buddy and be brightened everyday. We had a couple of near misses with him in the week before he passed, so whilst it wasn’t a surprise when I found him, it was still so devastating. RIP my friend.

One of the first things we did in 2018 was go to the ‘A History of Magic’ exhibition at the British Library. It’s no secret how much I love Harry Potter, so I had to take my family to look. It was absolutely wonderful, complete with historical texts, interactive activities and drawings with J.K. Rowling herself. 

My snap of the artwork fronting the A History of Magic exhibit.

I was so so lucky for my birthday, as my mum had saved for us to go to Paris for a long weekend. It snowed half of the time we were there and we had the most magical time. I want to go back and relive it all again.

The first snow falling on my beautiful mumma and I outside of Galeries Lafayette.
Inside the magical Galeries Lafayette.


The magical view from the restaurant we ate at, having French onion soup outside under blankets.

I had the great opportunity of working with ASOS this year as part of their Front Row programme – which is a customer feedback research group. I went three times this year. The first time I was invited to take part in a video shoot discussing my relationship with the brand. The video was then on loop in the ASOS offices for months, so staff recognised me when I went back (#asosfamous).

The first time I visited the offices in London. This photo was kindly taken for me by one of the consumer research team – you can see how nervous I was to post in front of the sign when there were ‘actual’ models around.

I returned a second time as part of a group to be interviewed by heads of departments on a training day. The final visit of the year was the most incredible. I, along with four other ASOS fans, sat down with the board of directors – including the founder and CEO of ASOS for a chat, answering the boards questions and having the opportunity to pick their brains. They were delightful, by the way! I hope to continue visiting the brand in the new year.

This was taken during a photoshoot on my first visit, in the actual ASOS studios with their photography and videography team. I’m awkward and overweight and silly, but this is a special photo to me.

Back when things were still going well at work I got my first company car! Its a beautiful Audi that I’ve had all year. I’m giving it back in a few weeks and I’m going to miss it so much.

When I picked up the car I had to go straight to work afterwards. This is me and my best friend Ellie playing in it in the car park on our lunch break.

One of the day trips I managed to make this year was to Glamour’s Beauty Festival. I’ve been each year since it launched, and I have a fantastic time each year. Early bird tickets are available for 2019’s festival here, I’ll definitely be going again.

The festival this year was particularly special as Victoria Magrath, of InTheFrow was one of the guest speakers. She has been my favourite blogger for as long as I can remember. I’ve read InTheFrow for years, all the way back to when she was starting out lecturing. Victoria was so lovely to take this photo of me – I’m actually sick here, can you tell? – especially as I was blubbering with excitement and anxiety.

Another great evening I had was with Ellie, where we went to see the fantastic Katy Perry (supported by my current love Hailee Steinfeld) for my birthday.

This is us getting overexcitable pre-concert.

My hair is a constant weight on my life. I’m quarter Jamaican, and have inherited the curls from my grandpa. Its so hard to style and maintain that I have always just left it. This year was the first time I ever went to a proper hair salon – yes I’m 24 – and had it coloured and styled. I had asked for lilac to blonde ombre, but ended up with the below shots. Its fading now, and if I’m honest I’m still not sure if I liked it. I think I’m going to try again in the new year, perhaps with a blonde balayage. What do you think?

Home from the salon, with the hair styled.
A couple of days later.

Mum and I went on a couple of little day trips this year. We visited Stowe House and Gardens, see post here, Waddesdon Manor and Blenheim Palace.

We were so lucky with the weather at Waddesdon – isn’t this place stunning?!
Just a small part of the long library at Blenheim. Hello, Belle dreams!

My most recent highlights were my trip to London and time at Blogosphere festival, which you can read about at length here and here.

I love this photo of Lydia Millen and I, despite me looking like a potato next to the girl.

For those of you who have made it this far, then thank you. It means a lot that anyone could possibly care enough to get this far through! 2018 has been rough, but I’m not sure I would change anything. My perspective has changed enormously and I’ve learnt a lot.

I’m signing off now, for the last time in 2018. I hope you all have fantastic New Years, be safe and I will see you next year.

Sophie x

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