14 pretty damn enormous things that happened to me in 2014

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It has been a big year. Like, a really big year. The sort of year where all my weird impulsive and dramatic choices have paid off and I feel a bit like a gambling addict on a winning streak unsure of when, if ever, it will come to an end.

I say that like it’s all been daisies and rainbows and sunshine, and it hasn’t. There’s been hard times, tough days and some bad consequences from the way life has turned out, but overall I’m pretty ecstatic about where I am right now.

Growing up is weird in the fact that we’re at an age where it feels like EVERYTHING can change within a year. You complete the cycle of 365 days and look back at where you started that chilly January 12 months ago and you’re like fuck. You feel like a different person, someone who’s learnt and been through more than you ever expected to and life has taken you down bendy little lanes you never expected it to, not ever.

So here it is, the moments and life changes that happened in my world this year. And yes, I’m sat here writing this like FUCK 2014, YOU’VE BEEN ALL KINDS OF INTERESTING, HAVEN’T YOU?

1. I quit journalism

I did a journalism degree, I got a string of jobs for well-respected online publications and then this year, the other week, I sacked it all in. I took a risk on doing something awesome and relatively new as far as the job market goes – I became a full-time blogger. Sure, I don’t have anywhere near the social media following as a lot of my ‘competitors’, but I’ve got the traffic and I’ve got the experience to know what works online and what sure as hell doesn’t.

All I wanted was to write for Glamour magazine, to have my features in print, and, when there were no graduate jobs in print or magazines I turned my hand to online journalism instead. Now it feels like a lot of websites, especially fashion and women’s lifestyle ones, are pretty tired and falling behind, so my next step to keep ahead with the journalism and content industry? To create my own content. It’s all about staying one step ahead to make sure you’re always at the top of your game. I’m picturing that A-OK emoticon right now.

 

2. I got a new car

Like an actual new bright red Fiat 500 called Augustus Bloom. It’s exciting not only because I get the freedom to go wherever I want without the weather and Tubes getting in the way, but because it’s shared with Chris, which feels like one more step up in our relationship.

 

3. I became a size 14

OK, so a lot of my clothes are still a 12, there’s even the odd 10 sneaking around in my wardrobe, but now I tend to pick up a 14 first when I’m clothes shopping. It’s probably one of the big changes of 2014 which makes me most unhappy, I feel that previously when I’ve thought I’ve been fat I’ve actually looked pretty normal and now I do actually look bigger than before. It’s hard to just accept yourself as bigger or curvier, especially as the weight gain has been a result of happiness. Whether i’ll remain at this new size or go back to my original weight will be a question for 2015.

 

4. My blog went viral

OK, so it went viral a few times. Humble brag over. It went from something that had a handful of posts on, uploaded every six months, to my career, my passion. And it got shared hundreds of thousands of times all around the world which is pretty fucking insane. My most popular posts to date being… 42 things all noughties teenagers will remember, 17 things all girls need to remember at all times and 31 thoughts every twenty-something girl has on a daily basis.

 

5. That day I had 1.5 million page views

I doubt I will ever hit a high the way I did in April this year when my noughties post went live. It all went a bit mental and it was my first day of unemployment following my abrupt departure from LOOK. I think it was supposed to happen when it did, a sign that even though I had no source of income and rent to pay, that everything was about to kick off big time and work itself out. The next day I was snapped up by Metro.

 

6. The time my blog was tweeted by Michelle Keegan

Same day as number five. I was lying in bed just watching all the blog madness unfold when suddenly I had people ringing, texting and tweeting me to be like MICHELLE KEEGAN JUST TWEETED OUT A LINK TO YOUR POST. So yeah, next stop Kim Kardashian.

 

7. I came off my anti-depressants

After a bitter sweet 18 months on Citalopram I called it quits in July this year. I’d been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and stress at the end of 2012 and had been signed off work for a stint in 2013, but 2014 saw me come fighting back. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still plagued with flair ups and a bit of a mental head, but I’m in a place now where I don’t need medication every day and it feels good.

A lot of people are against medication for mental illnesses and I disagree. The fact you need pills with chemicals in shows that there’s some chemical deficiency in your body causing the symptoms they do. I’ve found Citalopram to work better than counsellors and therapists, the only downside being that the stronger the dosage, the less emotions you feel in general. I went up to 40mg for a couple of months and I really, really struggled to cry or find anything that made me deeply happy and excited, it was pretty bloody weird.

 

8. My hair got long

I always had long, pretty fine, blonde hair, always. Until second year of uni where I got a bit over-excited and told the hairdresser I wanted a graduated bob (paid for with my student overdraft, obvs). It’s taken me five years to decide that I look like a boy with a bob (plus, it’s mega high maintenance) and then to grow it out. I’d say it’s mid to long now and I’m not sure what my next hair move will be, but I love the fact I do nothing to my hair anymore. No curlers, straighteners or hair dryer, just wash it and leave it. It’s a dream.

 

9. I hit peak holiday

I went on 8 jaunts this year, 5 of them overseas and they were bloody amazing. I’m a big believer that holidays are good for your soul and overall health, and are one of the best things you could spend money on. They say money spent on experiences brings more happiness than money spent on possessions so there you go.

This year I was lucky enough to visit Stockholm, Washington, Baltimore, New York, Dublin and Greece just to name a few and I feel so bloody lucky to be able to travel as much as I do.

 

10. I got my dream eyebrows

It has taken years, YEARS to grow my eyebrows back into a good natural place following years of plucking abuse. I don’t get them waxed or threaded anymore, I just pluck the stray hairs every few days and let them do their own thing. The most exciting beauty product to come out of 2014 was my MAC eyebrow pencil in Brunette which just gives my brows the shape and fullness that they lack naturally. Now my brows are one of my favourite features, I just hope they look natural and not tattooed on. Wah.

 

11. I left London

I feel like this is the sort of thing that 35 year olds do just before they attempt to will their fertility to have a last ditch attempt at getting pregnant, I just did it early. I’m happier in Ipswich, I have more time, more sleep, more energy. I have a family, a home. I am settled and content and feel secure.

Sure there are times when I miss London and my social life and all my invites, but I wouldn’t go back if it meant sacrificing what I have now. I’ve always thought of myself as a city girl, and sure, maybe if me and Chris had the money for a house and garden in London it would be nice, I miss my friends, and I think it would be beneficial for my blogging career, but right now this is what is right for us and for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

12. I got confident with lipstick

Sure, I’ve always been a lipstick girl. I remember in year 8 being attacked the a shimmery pink one from Maybelline (because it was ALL about shimmery pink. Why? WHY?), but this year i’ve got bolder and sassier. I wear lipstick much more often than I ever have done before. I love deep plums, dark berry hues, bright reds and sexy rich pinks and I like to think that they’re becoming part of me, part of my personality, part of who I am, that people associate a statement lip with Hannah Gale.

The first time I wore a bright lip my friends told me it didn’t suit me. It was a standard bold red colour, a colour I still wear now and i’m glad that I ignored them because lipstick makes me appreciate my face when I look in the mirror, and all girls will know how great that feeling is.

 

13. I decided to go to Al-Anon

You’ll have to Google what this is, but it’s something that was suggested to me by a counsellor when I was at uni and I never went. I’ve just found a weekly session in Ipswich on a Monday evening and I think it could be for me. It could be exactly what I need as my next step into happiness. I’ll let you know how it goes and I’m terrified, but it has the makings of something that could make my mind healthier than it’s ever been before.

 

14. I became a full-time blogger

Will I have to admit defeat in a few months time and take on some freelance work? Maybe. But if you don’t take a ginormous leap and trust your instincts and your abilities then you’ll never know what could have been.

Here’s to an exciting new year with new adventures, scary changes and a whole lot of memories, some incredible and some less incredible, about to be made <3

 

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  • Natalie

    I love this post – it’s nice to think that this year has been a big one for you, as it has for me, and well, everyone really. I love your confidence, and how you’ve dealt with all these big shifts in your life. I’d like to say that when I graduate, and have actually gotten a job (fingers crossed) I’ll also have the courage to make the same big leaps that you have. xxx

  • Amy

    This post was blissful and inspiring to read – i hope all the ups overshadowed any downs in the past year, and al lthe best for 2015! xx

    amysfashionandfrolics.blogpspot.co.uk

  • jayem

    As usual I love everything about your posts and blogs hannah. Just one little thing….I’m 31…Please stop making us 30 somethings panic with lines like “last ditch attempt at fertility” I’m newly single and feeling the pressure cos I’m 31 , childless, man less and kinda feeling a bit hopeless! X

  • Rebecca

    Amazing! What an inspirational year you’ve had. Keep going and remember the freelance stuff will jut be another string to your bow! Rock on Hannah Gale – you got it down.

  • Ivana

    Massive congratulations! I love reading your blog and you deserve all your success. They all outshine number 3 so don’t give your weight another thought girl!

    Ivana @ Hope & Ramble x

  • Lynn

    Jayem

    Please check out this article:http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-long-can-you-wait-to-have-a-baby/309374/. Turns out the statistics on fertility in your 30s are based on crappy date from centuries ago!

    • jayem

      Thanks Lynn 🙂

  • Lynn

    Al-anon is wonderful, Hannah. There is such peace and inspiration in those rooms. I hope it changes your life the way it did mine.

  • Sounds like 2014 has been an eventful year! Well done for making the leap to become a full time blogger! I’m sure it’s a scary one but it’ll be worth it! Good luck for 2015 x

    http://www.totalmodisch.blogspot.co.uk

  • Siobhan

    Hey Hannah,
    Ending the year by listing all of your achievements is wonderful. I also came of citalopram a while ago and it is such an achievement. It seems from the tone and content of yhis post suggests you are coping pretty amazingly without it!
    Wishing you an even better 2015!

    I do agree with Jayem though. Be careful about your attitude to being 30+. Not everyone is lucky enough to feel as sorted as you in their 20s and the “time is running put” narrative in the media can be really anxiety inducing! I had an amazing boyfriend and flat wheb I was 26, thought I had everything sorted, then lost it all. The thought of not settling down in my 20s was terrifying, but turns out it was……fine. Turns out birthdays with a 0 on the end aren’t deadlines. I have friends who had fertility problems in their 20s and friends who got pregnant on their first try in their early 40s. Things don’t always work out as they “should”.

    Sorry for the long post but I feel quite strongly about this!

    • jayem

      Thanks Siobhan! I was exactly the same, house, boyfriend all settled by the time I was 26 then before I knew it..gone! Here i am at 31 starting fresh!
      Love the support on this blog, along with hannahs posts it’s my happy place!

  • good for you! not sure my life has been anywhere near as exciting!! http://thewanderlusthasgotme.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/festive-dinner-at-rules-restaurant.html

  • This is such an amazing post, well done on going viral! definitely inspired me to create my own version of this post!

    Rachel // Style Soup

  • Just discovered your blog and wanted to say how much I’m loving it … it’s so fresh and interesting which is a bloody hard thing to achieve in such a saturated market! You have a new fan and I’m going to try to catch up with all of your old posts as soon as I have a spare moment (and a cup of tea)

    Best of luck with the full time blogging, I hope it works out for you – going by what I’ve read so far you definitely deserve the success.

    PS I’m SO jealous you have a Fiat 500, I really really want one but am desperately saving to buy a house at the moment!

    Chloe x
    newgirlintoon.co.uk

  • No7 struck a chord with me. I am planning to come off of Citalopram at some point in 2015, we want to start trying for a family by the end of 2015 and I need to be ‘clean’ as it were of the anti-d’s for a good few months before trying. If you have any advice on how to cope without them I’d be all ears – if I miss say 3 days worth of tablets I really notice it. I’ve reduced doses before and come off of them in the past but as soon as I hit a rough patch I suffer a mnin breakdown and have to go back on them. how I feel on them at the moment is the most ‘normal’/stable I have ever felt…the idea of coming off of them terrifies me 🙁 xxx

    • Lynn

      May I ask if you know the reason for your depression, i.e. has something in your life caused the depression? If on the other hand the depression has come out of the blue for no reason (as happened to me a few times throughout my life), it would be worth getting a proper thyroid panel. The NHS actually do the wrong thyroid tests, and even when they do the full panel they don’t interpret them correctly. If you also battle with dry skin, stomach issues, hair loss, weight problems, period problems and cold intolerance then a thyroid issue is a real possibility. Sadly, hypothyroidism is extremely common, but totally underdiagnosed. I used to have crippling depressions that struck out of the blue. Since I’ve been on the correct thyroid meds I’ve had no depressions at all.

      The full test panel a person needs doesn’t just contain TSH, but also:
      FT4, FT3, RT3 and both antibodies. You can find further information at http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com.

  • You’ve had an absolute whirlwind of a year by the sounds of things!

    I love reading your blog, your thoughts really resonate with me. I’m excited to read more in 2015 and I continue to be inspired by your giant leap into full-time bloggery!

    Wishing you lots of good luck and best wishes for another exciting year!

    Gaby xxx

    http://www.gabriellamanchester.me

  • Bea Castro

    I loved reading this post <3 Congratulations on everything you've achieved. You are my blogger goals hahaha and I know one day Kim K will tweet about you!

    |

  • The weight gain might be from coming off citalopram, I went up a dress size when I started taking a lower dose but the weight naturally came off a few months after the drug was out of my system. Withdrawal can be hard, wishing you the best of luck in your recovery! Focus on what makes you happy. Sending good vibes from Australia 🙂

  • Hol

    Hi Hannah,
    I love your blog and your writing, but i gotta stand up for us gals less lucky in the eyebrow department- some of us aren’t so lucky to have natural thick brows and have to have them tattooed on, myself included. They look natural as, people are genuinely surprised when i tell them mine are tattooed and not real, which is achieved with a brush stroke technique they use when tattooing. They’ve given me heaps of much needed confidence and happiness and i’m sure other girls who read your blog )and have been through the same joys of having a tattoo needle poked into their face) will also agree!
    xx

  • Hannah

    From one Hannah to another, who’s also 25- you’re doing a great job! My life feels like its in a similar place and your blog is fantastic! Keep it up 🙂 x

  • I have never seen someone comment on the fact that they have to buy a different clothing size as well as you did. It sounds so natural. So normal. It’s such a lovely change from all the posts in which girls collapse under the fact that their skirt now says “14” instead of “12”.

    Flicking through the many pages filled with posts filed under “lists” is so refreshing, inspiring and entertaining. I’m loving every single post I’ve come across so far, and I’m most certainly very glad that I found your blog. It surely was the right thing at the right time for me to find, read and find reassurance in. I’m looking forward to exploring it more!

    Lisa x

  • Naomi

    Hey Hannah, I’ve been quietly stalking your blog for some time and have been loving your posts – very refreshingly honest posts mixed in with some fun and cute posts. I simply had to comment on Number 11. I hear ya! I’m 28, married for 5 years and have lived in London for 10 years now. And my husband and I are hopefully upping sticks soon to Somerset (with a little bump-to-be with any luck!) and I’m the sole person in my friendship group to be doing so. I’m doing it all a good 5 years too early! I figure it’s all what other people wish they had the balls to do….

    • hannahgale9

      I totally reckon it’s what other people wish they had the balls to do. I love being a grown up – it annoys me when people say your twenties are just for partying, I did so much of that in my teens and during uni that I’m perfectly happy with remembering what I did the night before and spending my money on holidays and on clothes/homeware rather than rounds of shots! Eek x

  • Phoebe

    Hey, thanks for the inspiration on this gloomy morning. I’m wondering what you got out of al-anon? That is if you ended up going!

  • I’m a relatively new reader, it sounds like you’ve had a dramatic journey in a year! I’ve gone from a size 14 to a 16 if it’s any consolation! 😉 I am someone who probably should have gone to Al Anon years ago but I kind of feel like…I don’t know it was so long ago now that I’ve dealt with it in my own way (even though I’m sure I totally haven’t!) Anyway glad you are taking so many positive strides, getting over a million views would make my head explode, congrats!

  • You did indeed have dream eyebrows! I know you wrote this post a while ago but it’s great to read about all these exciting changes x


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