Instead of concentrating on the crazy, mad & slightly depressing year it's been for us all, I am kicking off 2017 with my top ten personal, behind the scenes, highlights of 2016. The positives and accomplishments rather than the bad news, failures & the negatives. Hope you enjoy. There are only a max of 3 photos per highlight!
TRAVELLING TO PLACES I'VE NEVER BEEN: I managed to get to two destinations I have always wanted to visit. With it's French influence, great shopping & awesome food, Pondicherry was a big highlight for me and my travelling companion Jude a year ago. More on Kerala & Pondicherry here.
And I finally got to Santorini, a Greek island I have wanted to visit my entire life! I was lucky enough to visit my brother Karim (by another mother, in case you're sitting there perplexed!) and his gorgeous girlfriend Miriam. The bright blues and whites will be etched on my brain forever as will the sunsets.
LEARNING NEW SKILLS: As many of you know, I spend as long as possible in Byron Bay, in Australia, during the UK Winter months. ( I know, I know, I am very lucky & blessed but no one's life is completely perfect, including mine, the grass is always greener! ) During my last stay, I finally got to learn to do the crawl properly and can't wait to get back to the pool for more lessons. Having spent all my life swimming breast stroke with my head poking out of the water the crawl is a revelation and helps my neck too. What better place to learn.
Short video of my crawl is here.
MORE NEW SKILLS: This has been the year that I have finally got to grips with taking much better food photography, flat lays and turning my Instagram gallery into something I am proud of....thanks to the on-line Makelight Courses I have taken with the wonderful Emily Quinton. The last image has been used for my new business cards - couldn't have done that a year ago!
NEW WORKSHOPS: It's also been a good year for running my workshops on 'Looking Good & Feeling Great' continuing to spread my Positive Ageing message far and wide! I was lucky enough to be invited back for the second year running to speak at the Age of Happiness Festival in Montenegro and was thrilled to be invited to The Mutton Club's first conference, 'Magnificence in Midlife & Beyond', in London, talking about nutrition for avoiding the Menopause. I meet so many inspiring women at these events, I can't wait to do more.
NEW NETWORKING EVENTS: I also attended a couple of bloggers' events for the first time this year. One was a meeting of the minds at the first 30-40+ UK Blogger Meet up organised by Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb and the biggie was the Blogtacular Conference. I learned so much at both that I can't encourage you enough to attend one if you're a blogger. They change your life, literally!
WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Blogging sort of takes over your life and even weekends are spent doing photography and faffing around, in between seeing friends & family. So I am now making sure to get a proper work life balance by trying to have a day off once a week, on a week day, with no time restraints, gym or appointments.....going with the flow, meeting friends for lunch or movies, pottering around Brighton and visiting lovely towns and villages on the South Coast with my oldest school friend Dalia.
Hastings has got to be one of our highlights for 2016, complete with an impromptu fashion shoot (I never consider photography 'work', it's such a passion of mine and Dalia seems to enjoy it, thank goodness!)
CHANGING MY IMAGE. This was the year I decided to go fashionably grey and get rid of the bright red and orange I have had for 15 years. ( I obviously no longer feel invisible!) No more pink white towels, no more stained pillows, and no more roots needing covering every 6 weeks! My new look seems to have gone down well with everyone and, despite the bleaching, my hair's still healthy. I wrote a piece for Gransnet if you are interested in reading about having healthy hair at any age.
Going grey was also a good excuse to get some new publicity photos done - rare shots of me without sunglasses, wrinkles and all! Thank you to Lynda Kelly for the gorgeous shots.
SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS: And finally, all the hard work I put in has paid off and I ended 2016 on an absolute high. First, I appeared in the New York Times, in their 'Style, Not Age' feature and then, just before Christmas I was interviewed by Instagram and was thrilled to see that my positive ageing message attracted as many Likes (over 633k last count) from the under 40's as the over 40's! Job done, so proud!
I can only imagine what exciting highlights & adventures are in store for 2017, but rest assured that I will be coming up with new detoxes, recipes, live Q & As on Facebook and sharing my posts & videos on how to dress on a budget, as often as possible! I might be in Byron Bay for a few months, but my holiday is over and the work starts now and......thank you Universe......it's raining for a few days!
Finally, a big thank you to all of you who have supported me, enjoyed & commented on my blog and social media and made this whole process so worth while. And do, please, let me know what your 2016 highlights have been. I'm not good at keeping to New Year's Resolutions but I am good at staying positive no matter what the world throws at us in 2017.
PS Don't forget to hashtag #vintageladyvintagestyle on Instagram if you're over 45 & all dressed up. I would love to feature you on my I Like Your Style blog.
A very Happy, Healthy & Positive New Year to you,