Well. Where has the time gone?! It feels like forever since I last posted anything on this blog, and technically it was last year so yea I guess it has been a pretty long time!
I have some time on my hands at the moment to really dedicate to getting back in to blogging, but before I start loading all the content I have planned I thought I would do a little round up of the last year and an introduction to 2018.
So, 2017. Wow, that was an interesting one. If you follow me on social media or have read my previous posts you will already know that I lost my lovely mum to cancer in January. She had been given a terminal diagnosis 15 months previously, and tragically her fight came to an end. The first three weeks of 2017 passed in a blur, with the time being measured in ‘this is the day I got that doctor out’, ‘this is the day the priest visited’, ‘this is the date she first went in to hospital’ etc.
When something like that happens it’s a given that the immediate future is going to be a challenge, and boy was it. There was so much to plan, so much to organize, I wanted to support my family as best as I could, be there for my stepdad whilst he adjusted to being on his own. And from a personal point of view, I had to learn to live without my mum and best friend.
Now you might be thinking that this got pretty heavy pretty quick but please bear with me, I am going somewhere with this. This time last year I could not even begin to think what the future would look like, I just concentrated on getting myself through each day, week and month. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point something clicked, I accepted that mum was gone, that that part of my life had come to an end, and now I was focused on my future.
Another big part of 2017 was my change in career, as I started a new job as a Communications Officer. My first day was just 5 days after my mum passed away. In hindsight I think I must have been a bit of a zombie! Normally I’m very outgoing, don’t stop talking, and can have a bit of a cheeky or dry sense of humor. I’m constantly planning my next move and from a professional point of view I don’t consider my day productive unless I have achieved 110%. I definitely didn’t start off in the greatest of mindsets, and it has taken a very long time for me to get to where I need to be so that I can be that person I sold at interview, but I know 2018 will be the year that I prove myself, that I will come in to my own and show that 2017 Ashleigh was a bit of a ghost.
2017 was to me, the year of family. I have become much closer with my extended family and have cousins who I now consider to be like best friends too. We have started new traditions which I absolutely love, and even the relationships with my brothers and sisters, which have always been great, has changed for the better in some ways. Despite my depressing opening couple of paragraphs, I really do actually have some awesome memories of 2017, like getting obsessed with £2 bottles of wine in France (pink Muscador – try it!), taking jive lessons in Ireland on a girls weekend, and eating lots and lots of yummy food!
I got to meet lots of new people too, I’m definitely a quality not quantity type of person, but I have made lots of new friends or grown closer to existing ones during 2017, proving that there is a lot of good in the world. Towards the end of the year I even went to a blogging event with people that I had only ever spoken to online, and had a great night with Michelle, Laura and Sarah. I also spent time with Gemma. It’s great knowing that I have bloggers that are local to me, and I can’t wait for all the fun we’re going to have in 2018.
The big finish of the year was my husband Kev’s 40th birthday party. Wow. Just wow. All the hard work was so worth it to see how much fun he had and for something to just be about him for once. We had an awesome night, were eating cake for days, and now have a new obsession with Costco!
So now it’s 2018, and although I wouldn’t say I’ve set any specific New Year’s resolutions, I have set myself some goals. First and foremost, I’m going to try to put myself first. Even typing that is difficult for me, it feels incredibly selfish somehow, despite it being advice I regularly give other people! I spent a lot of time worrying about other people, and trying to please everyone, not even allowing myself to grieve, that in the end it was to my own detriment and I just cracked under the pressure I was putting myself under. However, after literally taking a month long time out, I feel the best I have in well over a year. My mental health is stable, my physical health seems to be behaving, and I’m actually organized for the first time in pretty much ever!
I already have some fun plans for the coming year. Me and my husband are heading to Ibiza in May. I have been before in the past, and the way I feel about Ibiza is the way many bloggers feel about Disneyland – it is my happy place! It’s Kev’s first time though and I can’t wait to introduce him to my special place. I’ll also be heading off to Spain in September with the all the women in my family for a girls weekend. I also have some other activities planned in like a day trip to France, a night at a local comedy night, and a 90’s themed night out just to name a few things.
This year will be all about self care, working from the inside out. It’s such a new year cliché so I deliberately didn’t want to post this on the first day of January. After a week though, I’m still going strong. I truly feel a shift within myself, my mantra has become ‘less talk more action’. I recently saw the image attached on Twitter (sorry I forget who posted it!) and it seemed like the perfect thing to have on hand to remind myself what I need to do if I lose my way.
From a blogging perspective I really hope that this is the year my commitment and motivation peaks. I’ve never been short of ideas for content, so my focus now is to put the work in to share that with you all. Yesterday I took the first step towards achieving this by launching my new book blog Books and Ashleigh. I really enjoyed sharing my love of reading on here, so this seems like a natural progression as opportunities have started coming my way.
Heading in to 2017 I was filled with dread, fear and sadness. Heading in to 2018 I am now filled with hope, excitement and a sense of direction, could be much worse hey!