Everything Else, Uncategorized

5 Things I Learnt in 2016

I’m not really the sort of person who does things like New Year’s Resolutions or even Last Year’s Regrets (although that is totally a thing we all go over in our heads, right?!). I’m more into the idea that if you want to change / get better /start something new, you don’t need a new year to do that. But 2016 has been a big year for me.

After 5 years of uni I finally graduated. It was tough. I cried a lot, I pulled a lot of all nighters, I ate far too make cake and drank far too much Lemon Relentless, but I got a 2.1 which I didn’t even think was possible at the start of January.

I moved to London and moved into a gorgeous flat with Dan.

I got a job. I quit a job. I traveled to New York. I saw my amazing, wonderful sister get married to someone equally as awesome. I got to spend my first Christmas day with my gorgeous nephew. I started this blog. And I learnt a hell of a lot along the way.

Living with people isn’t always bad.

I never liked having housemates. No offense to them, but I never particularly enjoyed living with my family either. The happiest I ever was with my living situation was when I lived on my own in a (ridiculously) tiny studio flat in Oxford. Until this year. 

This year, around August, I moved in with Dan. We got a lovely little 2 bedroom flat in a brand-new building in Lewisham and I could not be happier.

He is the easiest person to live with. Somehow we both tolerate the same level of cleanliness, without even having to talk about it we manage to split chores pretty evenly, we have the same taste in decorating and furniture and even food!

I never realised it could be this easy with someone. We can spend hours at a time together and never get bored of each other. But we can also spend time alone, sometimes in separate rooms, doing our own things and we’re happy.

So far the closest we’ve even come to an argument was when I got a little annoyed at Dan for not putting the butter back in the fridge like 3 times in one week. But even that wasn’t a big issue – now he puts it away and if he forgets it more of a running joke between us than anything I actually get annoyed about.

I’m glad I didn’t let my past experiences of having housemates get in the way of this because I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.


It’s OK to not know what I want to do.

When I was younger I figured that by 21, if not before, I’d have a job which would be the beginnings of a career. I’d have some idea of what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. By 23 I still don’t know. But what I do know is that, some of the doors I previously thought were shut or not available to me, are actually there and they’re open and I can run through them if I really want!

I think that’s why I felt pressured to take the Peppersmith job. I was straight out of uni and felt I had to get a job straight away. It was the first job I was offered and I felt I had to take it. I mean looking back it was kind of silly, not only because my boss was awful, but because I have no real interest in working in gum / mints / dental products for the rest of my life. Even though I do love digital marketing, that is not the industry I want to be working in.

So, with Dan’s help and encouragement, I went away and stopped applying for jobs for a couple of months. I focused on bits of freelance work whilst I wrote for my blogs and figured out what I was actually interested in and passionate about.

My days began to be filled with writing for this blog, researching the fashion industry, reading heaps of fashion magazines, watching and creating my own videos. I was literally putting in full work days with the time speeding past because I was having so much fun. Then it hit me that maybe I could combine this with my love of digital marketing? But when I looked at digital marketing jobs for fashion magazines I was missing any magazine work experience which put me back to not knowing what I wanted to do again… until I saw a Tweet about Look magazine wanting Fashion interns.

So I applied, they offered it to me and I start in January! On the one hand I feel a little old to be doing an internship, but on the other this is going to teach me so much and open so many more opportunities to me. And it doesn’t matter that I don’t know where I’ll be in 5 years or this time next year or even just in February because for this next month I’m going to get an awesome opportunity and from there I could go on to literally anything else! And that’s ok!

affordably fashionable by rachel oates blue dress and black coat

I should live in the moment more & keep saying yes!

This was more of one that Dan taught me but it’s because of him that we booked a last minute holiday to Crete and I spent my 23rd birthday being treated like a princess!

I’ve always been more wary of things like holdiays and felt the need to plan many, many months in advance. Dan encouraged me to be a little more adventurous and as a result I spent my birthday on a gorgeous island. I had an amazing facial treatment and me and Dan got a massage together. The hotel staff made me 2 birthday cakes and sang in Greek to me. Me and Dan stuffed ourselves with food all day and drank rose Champagne.

It was perfect. I almost didn’t agree to it when he first suggested it but now I’m so happy I did. I have some of the best memories from that week.

Always wear the clothes that make you happy.

This was the year when I really stopped worrying so much about what other people thought of me and started concentrating more on what the clothes I was wearing made me feel in that moment.

Sometimes this meant choosing clothes that felt comfy, clothes that made me feel feminine, clothes that made me feel strong, or clothes that made me feel good about my body. But ultimately the goal was to stop worrying about what other people saw and start feeling happy with myself. And I think I managed this.

I’m a lot less self-conscious now, a lot happier and I’m finding clothes a lot more fun now!

fashion style and makeup by rachel oates - affordably fashionable - tutorial banana republic dress

You can NEVER have enough stuffed animals.


Yes, I am a child.

No, I’m not embarrassed by it. I love my boys.

Besides, if there’s one thing a girl can always rely on it’s her stuffed animals.


What did you learn in 2016? Tell me in the comments!


4 thoughts on “5 Things I Learnt in 2016”

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