It’s fair to say my life changed quite drastically in 2018. Not necessarily surface level changes but inside, how I felt, how I was growing, and who I realised I wanted to be. It’s hard to write a reflective post without feeling a little self-indulgent, but I love looking back at diary-style entries like this from years previous and seeing what parts of life have changed, so I decided to round up 18 defining moments of the last 12 months.

Being made redundant

Perhaps the biggest moment of 2018 was being made redundant from a 9-year career as editor-in-chief. It wasn’t a complete shock, but the following months were a rollercoaster of emotions. I had the career I’d always dreamt of. I travelled the world, from Paris to Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Berlin and Florence. I was even invited to meet Prince Charles for my work in menswear, and I turned down an invitation from David Cameron at 10 Downing Street. But I wasn’t happy. I craved working for myself, and the universe had something else in mind the day I was told the news my magazine would be closing.

Taking the biggest leap of all

Which leads me into becoming self-employed. I took the afternoon off after leaving my old office, and the very next day I woke up and started my entrepreneurial journey. There was never another option as far as I was concerned. Nine months on, I’m still here, trying to remember what my old life looked like, crying on the motorway going to work.

Travelling solo to San Francisco

A highlight of 2018 has to be travelling to San Francisco by myself. I visited Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, ate in nice restaurants, travelled everywhere on public transport like a local, discovered beautiful parts of the city and well and truly got the solo travel bug. My San Francisco travel guide can be found here if you’re planning on visiting – I highly recommend you do.

The Assembly

In May, I designed the interior of a brand-new bottle bar and cafe – The Assembly – which opened in the summer. It was my first commercial interior design project, and it was amazing to see my ideas come to life. If you live in Leeds, you absolutely must visit The Assembly located on Terminus Parade, Station Road, LS15 7JZ.

My first freelance summer

This summer was amazing. OK, so it was really hot. Love Island was on. And we did pretty well in the World Cup. Everyone just seemed so happy. But it was also my first summer of dictating my own hours – read, starting work at 7am to finish at 2pm so I could sunbathe. I’m just not sure the summer of 2019 is going to be able to live up to this one.

Partnering with Crisis

One thing I wanted to achieve in my career was partnering with a charity and within 4 months of going self-employed I’d joined forces with Crisis – the UK charity which supports people out of homelessness – to donate 20% of each sale of my interior e-design service. To say I have a corporate partnership with a charity was a huge moment to celebrate.

The launch of 4 Magazine

Around the same time as I began running Apartment Number 4 full-time, I also decided to launch my own magazine – 4 Magazine – which is a free interiors e-zine sent directly to your inbox. Every product featured is shoppable and I’ve even brought Claire Wainwright aka The Green Eyed Girl on board as my first official columnist. Look out for more from 4 Magazine in the first half of 2019.

Discovering Turkey for the first time

This year I’ve been lucky enough to visit Turkey twice, both times to the amazing resort of Club Marvy. I still need to write a blog post about this place as it’s truly beautiful and I fell in love with the people, the food, the landscape, and the weather.

Becoming a Studio.co.uk ambassador

On my vision board was “become a brand ambassador” at the start of 2018, and within a week of visualising it, I’d had an email from the team at Studio.co.uk, asking if I wanted to partner with them for six months. It was amazing working with the team and creating different content each month. Here are some of my favourite blog posts: 4 Essentials for a Grown-Up Halloween | Scandinavian Table Setting for Autumn | Summer Habits I Want to Take Into the New Season

Putting my stamp on my flat

This was the year I finally decorated my flat, with both my office and my living room having makeovers. I had such an amazing response to my office makeover, including Ikea sharing a corner on their Instagram with 16,000+ Likes!

Blogosphere Magazine

I was lucky enough to have a full-page feature in Blogosphere Magazine this year, and have kept that issue to show my grandchildren if I ever have them.

Style at Home Christmas Shoot

Back in August, I was invited by Style at Home Magazine to be featured in their Christmas shoot in collaboration with George at Asda. It was an amazing day and I absolutely loved the final image in the November issue (see above).

Signing my first interior design clients

To say I have zero official interior design qualifications and simply work off my own sense of style, I’m proud that I’ve worked with 15 clients over the last 6 months on my interior e-design service. It’s one of the best parts of my job if I’m honest, and it gives people the chance of having a room designed for them at a more affordable price point.

Being featured in The Sunday Times

I still can’t quite believe I was in The Sunday Times in October of this year, talking about how Instagram has changed the landscape of interior design. I’m also keeping that to show the grandkids.

Winning at the Northern Blog Awards

In September we headed to the Northern Blog Awards with the gorgeous Sophie Cliff and Nicola Broughton aka The Girl with Green Sofa, where I was shortlisted for Best Use of Pinterest. I was lucky enough to win this award last year so I genuinely couldn’t believe when they called my name for the second time. These awards are the best I’ve been to, and it’s amazing to have so much northern talent under one roof.

Launching my first e-course

Which leads me nicely onto building and launching my first e-course, Pin to Win. Designed as an e-book, with one-on-one help from me via email, this course is for bloggers looking to maximise traffic to their blog. As it’s a book you’re able to work through it at your own pace, and I’ve already had double the amount of people sign up for it than predicted over the last 48 hours. It’s only on sale for a month and you can get further details right here.

The people I’ve met along the way

I’m not sure this year would have been the same without certain people. I’m talking about the friends, whether IRL or online, who offer unwavering support, to lift you up, to appreciate you right back, and give your risky Tweet a single like so it doesn’t stand lonely in the feed.

I survived…

There have been some “what the hell have I done” moments in 2018, but my proudest moment overall is keeping my head above water and paying all my bills on time every month. I don’t have any other form of income other than the money I earn, no partner, no roommate. So to say that since March I’ve paid all my bills and rent every month is one of my greatest achievements. And I’ve still managed to splash out on McNuggets along the way.

Sorry if this was more a list of career achievements, but 2018 really did feel like it was all about adjusting to my new life and celebrating the milestones and moments. Maybe this time next year I’ll be writing about meeting “the one” or travelling solo across the world. Whatever I write, I hope I’m as fulfilled as I feel at the moment.

What are you defining moments of 2018? Let me know so we can celebrate virtually together!