At the end of last year, one evening in the week between Christmas & New Years, I took a huge piece of card from Jude’s desk and I sat on the floor in the lounge. I had four different coloured sharpies and I started to write a plan for the year ahead. I wrote 2018 in the middle of the page and then I started to write down anything and everything until the whole page was covered. I wrote things like, visit a new country, run a marathon, start a podcast, film more vlogs, work with a charity etc. I also wrote down a financial goal for the year. I wrote down a list of names of people that inspire me, a list of people that I’d like to meet, a list of books that I wanted to read and I wrote down all of the things that make me happy and all of the people in my life that are important to me.
Well, they say that words have power! and I could not have imagined that so many of the things on that piece of paper would become a reality. 2018 has been one of the best years of my entire life. Of course it has had some challenges and I’ve made some mistakes but hey that’s life right? It’s a journey and I’m doing my best to keep up.
So today I’m reflecting on the year that’s been, before I start to make plans for the year ahead…
The year got off to a flying start, literally! I packed my bags on January 4th and boarded a flight to Cape Town, South Africa, to shoot a running campaign for adidas. PINCH ME! I’ve been working with adidas as a brand ambassador for the last two years and I couldn’t ask for a better brand partnership. Traveling to new places and meeting so many awesome people has been one of the highlights of this year for sure.
We were only in Cape Town for four days but on our last day we hiked to the top of table mountain. I stood at the top of that mountain and I felt tears in my eyes. The view was like nothing that I’ve ever experienced before. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how far you’ve come and then suddenly you just stop to take notice, it was kind of surreal to be honest. No photo or video could do justice to that view or capture that feeling, but I honestly think I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.
I never had the opportunity to travel abroad when I was growing up, so I feel like I’m making up for lost time now.
Not long after I got back home, I was repacking my case again, this time to fly to LA. I went to the adidas creator all star weekend. It was such a fun trip!! The adidas creator network is essentially a team of bad ass, mega inspiring women. On the first day we were asked to introduce ourselves, say which county we were from and to share one thing that we were excited about for the year ahead. As I stood there listening to all of the amazing women in the room, I felt SO inspired! Here is a group of women that are all so different but we all have something in common. Women who are all using their platform for positive change, women that aren’t afraid to speak up for the causes they believe in, women who want to empower other women, champion their successes and stand as allies for one and other.
One of the things that I’d written on my wish list for this year was to do a TEDx talk. Over the last few years I’ve been invited to speak at events, I’ve hosted live Q&A’s, interviewed celebs and chatted on panels in front of small audiences. However this year I really wanted to find my voice as a public speaker and so I started writing longer speeches and practicing them. The first talk that I wrote was called’ Start Now’, it was all about timing and why now really is the best time to start living the life that you want to live. I wasn’t actually booked to speak at any events but I knew that anytime spent preparing would be time well spent if and when the opportunity came. I really didn’t think that the opportunity would come so soon. At the end of February, I received an email from my agent about speaking at TEDxMauerPark in Berlin. I immediately said yes, before any self doubt kicked in. This talk was the first time that I’d ever been asked to share my own personal story with the world. I had just over nine weeks to prepare the fifteen minute talk.
In hindsight I think that it may have been too long. Some of the best talks that I’ve ever heard have been impromptu. People sharing a story or a message that is unrehearsed and unscripted feels a lot more authentic and sincere. I’m not suggesting that if you are ever invited to speak at a TED conference that you just get up there and wing it, but when I watched the video back online, I felt like something was missing. It was too formal, it lacked my real personality.
I learnt two important lessons from this; Number 1 – ALWAYS be yourself no matter how big or small the stage is. Number 2 – Just because it wasn’t ‘perfect’ doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good enough. You can be proud of yourself and your achievements and your willingness to try, regardless of the outcome.
A few weeks later I was invited to speak at a conference in Manchester to an audience of more than 700 people. I decided on a title, made a few notes and bought a new outfit. I read the notes on the train on the morning of the event. When I walked on to the stage, I had no script but I felt surprisingly relaxed. I delivered the talk with passion and energy and it was by far the best talk that I ever done. I hope that I get the invited to speak at more events in the future, this year has really helped me to find my voice.
And the winner is… not me! but I did win runner up at the Cosmopolitan Influencer Of The Year Awards. Yeehaaaa! It was the first time that I’ve ever been invited to an awards ceremony, so I was mostly just looking forward to getting dressed up. I was nominated in the Fitness and Wellness category along side some fantastic bloggers, fitness trainers and health gurus. I was mega happy (and surprised) when my name was called out as the runner up and the very worthy winner was the wonderful Carly Rowena.
Summer 2018 was ace! I ran over 350 miles in training for the Berlin marathon. I ran the Great Manchester Run, I hosted a workout on stage at Balance Festival, we visited Lake Como in Italy, we cheered for England in the World Cup and I shot my first ever make up campaign for L’Oreal Paris! We took a family hiking trip to France and a family holiday to Mexico, we celebrated birthdays, went on bike rides, went to the theatre and partied at Paris fashion week. By the end of September I was pretty knackered to be honest. I’m not complaining cos I loved every minute of it. I know that life has its inevitable ups and downs (trust me!) so I know how important it is to celebrate the good times, and to truly enjoy them. This summer was one of the best and I’m so grateful for all of it.
Something that I have struggled with year is the elusive concept of ‘balance’. It is hard to juggle training, work, family trips, friends etc I love all of my friends but this year I’ve hardly seen them at all.
In-between all of the trips and the highlights, I also have to do the real life stuff too. I have to get through the mountains of laundry, clean the bathroom and do the food shop. I help Jude with his homework, listen to him read and attend school trips, sports days, concerts and parents evenings. I have to do admin, send emails, invoices, taxes etc and I also need to have some time off, time by myself. Most of my friends understand (I hope) but I have had a few crappy messages and comments this year. It’s really hard to keep up with everything and if I’m totally honest, I often feel pressured or obligated to do things that I don’t even want to do. I’ve read a lot this year about self-care and self preservation, I totally get it in theory but it can be difficult to implement in practice. Adult friendships can be tricky I guess, so I try to remember that everyone has their own life going on, good, bad and everything in-between.
This year we celebrated Jude’s 7th birthday. His room is full of LEGO, Star Wars toys and Avengers posters. He is officially a big kid now. I shared this message on instagram and it pretty much sums up my thoughts on parenting this year.
I know the world will change you but I hope that you will always know that you are enough, just the way you are.
Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of parenting. How will my choices, actions and words shape my son. The world is changing so quickly, and who knows what is to come.
I’m learning that as a parent you can’t shape your child’s life, you can’t control the world around them and you can’t make decisions for them. You have to step back and let them figure it all out. It’s the hardest thing to do, but you have to let them be free to try, to explore, to fail, to learn.
Jude, I’ll do my best to answer all of your wonderful questions, like ‘What is snogging?’ & ‘Where is heaven?’ I’ll listen to your amazing stories and I’ll always do my best for you.
In September I flew to Berlin to run the Berlin Marathon. It was my second time lacing up to take on 26.2, but unfortunately I didn’t make it to the finish line. I feel like I’ve talked about this so much in the last few months, I’m sure Rob is probably very bored of hearing about it. The bottom line is that after four months of dedicated training, I got injured two weeks before the race. I wanted to show up and give it my best shot and that is exactly what I did. I wrote a full post about it… click here
Public failure is tough but I no longer feel embarrassed or disappointed. To quote Charlie Dark ‘I have huge respect to anyone who takes on a marathon.’
Without a doubt one of the most exciting things about 2018 for me has been the launch of my very own podcast the ‘Power Hour’. After listening to hundreds of hours of podcasts whilst our running, I felt inspired to start my own. The podcast is all about motivation and encouragement. Each week I interview an inspiring guest about their journey to success and I talk to them about their habits and routines, their rules to live by and how they each start their day. The guests so far have been fantastic and I’m so excited to share more episodes next year. If you haven’t listened to it yet, head over to iTunes or Spotify and just search ‘Power Hour’
I can’t fit it all in to one blog post, but this year has been a game changer in so many ways. I have challenged myself to learn more, to be introspective, to trust myself and to be relentless in the pursuit of my goals. I’ve read some amazing books and listened to endless hours of inspiring podcasts. (I’ll share a list of my faves in a another post).
I’ve loved working at FIIT this year and I’m so proud to be a part of their awesome team. I’ve mentored two women this year and I’ve loved watching their journeys so far.
I know that the start of a new year can be overwhelming but it’s also exciting! Ultimately we only have one life and this is it right now. I’d rather take chances and maybe fail than to wonder ‘what if’. So, I’ll be writing a whole new wish list for 2019 later this week and I encourage you to write down your dreams and ambitions too. The bigger the better!!
P.s January 2nd is my five year blog anniversary! Thank you for reading, sharing, commenting etc Whether you’ve been here since the start or this is the first post that you’ve read to the end… THANK YOU xx