Without a doubt , 2015 has been my favourite year.
It’s been exciting, it’s been challenging, it’s been fun and it’s been completely new. Sure, it’s had its fair share of hideous twists and turns and niggles of self-doubt, but I’ve come to the end of it feeling pretty darn proud of myself.
I feel like I’ve grown more as a person than any year before and I feel so sure of myself. I feel like a happy grown-up rather than a mood-swinging teenager, and I like it. I really bloomin’ like it.
I feel settled in myself, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to say that before. It feels like I’ve stepped into a hot bath with a bath bomb fizzing about and soothing music after a lifetime of hiking up mountains in the same dirty clothes.
Sometimes the water gets too hot, sometimes I don’t like the song playing on Classic FM, but mostly, mostly I’m feeling pretty darn chuffed and content at the way things are.
Anyway, here’s what your girl learnt in 2015…
1. Ribena Winter Spice is not as golden and happy and ooh look unicorns dancing in a field of money trees and rainbows as the label makes you believe. It actually tastes a bit like fake sugar vomit.
2. Growing older means having far less friends than your younger self could ever have imagined. It’s not a bad thing though, it means you’re left with the reliable til-you-die friends. The people who’ll always have your back, be there for you at 1am, and will always support you. By the time you hit your mid twenties you’re left with your forever friends and it feels pretty damn sweet.
3. There will be trends that come onto the high street that everyone else will be wearing and you’ll be like BUT I LOVE YOU SO MUCH but then the mirror says ewwww lol look at you. There will be some seasons where there is nothing that suits you and that’s super A-ok, you don’t HAVE to buy new clothes every month.
4. If it suddenly enters you mind to leave a job, to leave a relationship, to say no to a work offer or an agent or a friend, trust that instinct. It is 99.999999 per cent of the time completely spot on, even if all the signs are telling your gut that it’s wrong.
5. Fancy popcorn is the dream low-calorie snack. It tastes like liquid gold and then like OMG YOU ATE THE WHOLE FAMILY SIZE BAG and oh look, it’s still less than 300 calories.
6. Press trips can be incredibly hit and miss. Sometimes it’s legit like being on a fancy holidays with your BFFs and you wanna do 537258657 fist pumps and sometimes it feels like you’re a five-year-old who’s been forced to go on a school trip on your own with a different school. Like mum come and get me and bring me home plz.
7. Byron burgers and macaroni cheese solve pretty much all of life’s problems.
8. It’s really hard to recognise happiness in the moment when you’re with people or out for dinner or doing something that SHOULD make you happy. Instead, it’ll come to you in the most mundane moments like when you’re driving to ASDA on your own to buy cat litter. Erm OK.
9. Justin Bieber is a mega babe. One Direction, you’re out, and J Bizzle is in.
10. Readers don’t have as much of a problem with sponsored content as you think they do. Like, if you put up a well-written, engaging piece of sponsored content you’re not going to have the entire internet turn on you and leave 475 mean comments on hate forums, as much as you think they will.
11. First Dates is some of the best TV to ever exist. Thanks you Channel 4, you gods.
12. Over-the-knee boots were a sweet, sweet gift from the shoe gods. They keep you warm, they look sassy, they’re slimming on your thighs AND they’re comfy to walk in. All the wins.
13. MyFitnessPal is pretty much the only way to lose weight and have it stay off. Going for a swim once a week and *sometimes* just having skinny soup for dinner, isn’t going to magically make the pounds drop off ‘without even trying’.
14. People use selfie-editing apps waaaaay more than you give them credit for. Don’t ever compare your real life face to someone’s internet face.
15. As much as you kid yourself quiet weekends without plans are the best kind, it’s the ones that involve back-to-back plans with everything from B&Q trips to long drives to Saturday brunch and cocktails that do good stuff to your heart.
16. Not everyone is going to like you. There are legit people out there who don’t like Taylor Swift or a baked Camembert. You just got to accept it and move on, it’s completely unavoidable.
17. Frankie & Benny’s is always a regrettable mistake. Why so bland? Why no fun atmosphere? Why so overpriced? Huh? Huh? Huh?
18. Animals can break your heart just as much as humans and there’s no shame in admitting that.
19. Time is more important than money. You can make more money but you can’t make more time. So don’t lose time stressing about money, and don’t go the long way around things because it’ll save you money. Money means very little in the scheme of life.
20. There’s a real shortage of step parent birthday cards. Come on 2015, get your shit together.
21. The world is scary and there’s terror round every corner, but you can’t let it scare you or stop you from living. You got to just do you, be brave and hope for the health and happiness of those around you.
22. A strong brow and a bit of contouring can take you from a 5 to an 8 in the cuteness stakes.
23. You never know what the universe is going to throw at you tomorrow, so you’ve got to find the beauty in the things you already have. Find the happiness in the life you already lead, and stop wishing it away in the brighter days ahead that may never come. Life is right now in this moment.