Alright, yeah, pipe down, this post should have gone live earlier.
I mean, it is twenty sixteen already and that. But it didn’t feel right to not upload it on a Friday because y’know Friday Faves have become a Hannah Gale staple.
This list is a bit of everything, a few fashion faves and beauty products I will never be without again. It’s full of favourite travels and accomplishments and memories that will forever be etched into my heart.
I’ve had a good year. A magnificent year, and really, I couldn’t have asked for a better 26th year on this earth. I am in a better place than my teenage self could have wished for, and in a place that would have made her beyond excited and proud, and to me, that’s all that matters.
I’m both terrified and hyperventilating over what 2016 will hold, because oh boy, does it have a lot to live up to.
So far it’s involved chocolate cookies and avocado, bacon and fried egg sandwiches and sofa snuggles with my baby loves and crime documentaries. So if this is it, if this is a good as it gets, then damn, I’ll be happy.
Anyway, without further rambling and chats from the heart, here’s my faves from 2015.
1. TREK AMERICA
Although this list isn’t in any order, my 12 days in Utah/Nevada/Arizona will forever be something I cherish. One of those opportunities that seems so surreal it’s like it never happened. Doing Trek completely detaches you from your life at home, you become a different person, you stop caring so much about the internet and FOMO and your job, and you start caring about hot showers and finding fun new American alcoholic beverages and getting sleep.
I made so many memories and friends on that trip, and I’m still so amazed that I was even invited. It’s given me a real thirst to travel more of the States in 2016 and beyond and for that I am eternally grateful. (Read more about that trip here)
2. BENEFIT ROLLER LASH
I’m so late to this party that people are already loading into a car for a short road trip to McDonald’s for hash browns and sausage and egg McMuffins. But oh hunny, this mascara is just. Well, it’s just so blinkin’ perfect.
I’ve gone through about 12 mascaras this year and they’ve all been a bit meh, and then I tried this a few weeks ago and I’m done. It’s over. I have a favourite mascara. It’s taken my entire life for this to happen. (Shop here)
3. RIVER ISLAND KIMONO DRESS
You know when you just put on a dress, look in the mirror and think dayum, girl you slaying.
That’s what this dress did.
It was sold out in my size in the whole of London, but I managed to track down a black version to the Marble Arch store. When I went to pay, the cashier mentioned in passing that there was a khaki version upstairs on sale for half the price so I basically did a sick in my mouth with excitement, only to find there was only one left in a size smaller than I’d go for.
I gave it a whirl and whaddya know, it fit like a damn sassy glove. I teamed it with layered necklaces, a smokey eye, wavy hair and OTK boots for Christmas drinks with old uni pals and am now eagerly waiting for the other colours to enter the sale. (Shop here)
Living in London made me take good food for granted. It’s everywhere. There are sexy burgers that make you feel fuzzy things all across your body basically on every street corner. But in Ipswich? Nada.
We had a Byron come to Suffolk this year and it was like THE BIGGEST MOST EXCITING NEWS EVER. I’m such an easily pleased country lass now can you tell?
Anyway, it’s a 45 minute drive but it’s become our favourite treat date spot. And now whenever we explore somewhere new we hunt out the nearest Byron because that mac n cheese <3<3<3
5. CUTTING MY HAIR
This autumn marked me cutting off my long Pinterest princess hair and going back to the mid-length I rocked a few years back when I was busy doing my thang as a sassy, single, career gal in London.
It was the hair cut I had when I met Chris, and I have a lot of good memories from that time, so getting rid of all the dry ends and thin, straggly bits and going back short had a heck load of good vibes for me.
I’ve had so many compliments on it recently because I’ve finally worked out how to style it kinda cute. So if you want a tutorial, I’ll hook a girl up.
I took a three night trip to my fave Greek island with my best friend this September and it’s made the cut for a few reasons. Firstly, it felt pretty bladdy epic to be like, errrr shall we go on holiday next month? I’m by no means rolling in money, and booking this was cutting it very fine with emptying my bank account (lol to being a sensible grown-up), but it still made me feel fly af. It was also dreamy to go away just the two of us and drink wine and eat good food and completely chill.
It was my second time visiting Mykonos, and I seriously, seriously, think you need to add it to your list of places you’ll visit when you finally learn to start saving properly. (Read more about it here)
7. ONE POT PASTA
I wrote a recipe for this dish a little while back (here), but I wanted to give it a cheeky little name drop here because it’s seen me through at least two meals a week ever since.
Nutritious, filling and omg so yummy, I’m praying to the calorie gods that MyFitnessPal is kind to it so I can continue eating it in generous amounts for the rest of January.
8. PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
Gonna throw this out there and say that 2015 TV hasn’t been all that groundbreaking. I’ve struggled to find anything that does that thing where you’re literally so hooked that you cancel all plans and start to fester in your own pyjama sweat. But I picked up Pretty Little Liars at the beginning of the year, after abandoning it at season two whilst at uni, and I’m legit counting down the days till it returns later this month.
I don’t know how they’ve managed to combine 90210 with Broadchurch, but they have and it’s golden.
9. THE CATS
My babies. My angels. My heart.
Nearly losing Rudey this summer was without a doubt the hardest part of 2015. If you’re an animal person, you’ll feel me, and if you’re not, then you’ll see 2015 as a pretty bloody easy year for your girl.
But it hurt, and her recovery was hard, and I am so, so, so grateful we’re through it – her fur has completely grown back and her little amputated leg stump is so ridiculously fluffy and she seems happy and OK and sometimes I just look at her and want to cry and hug her (no-one let me have human babies, they’ll emotionally tip me over the edge).
Adding Granger has made our house feel full, and has pulled us together into a proper little family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
10. URBAN DECAY
I’d never tried an Urban D prod until this year and so far, everything I’ve tried has been just superb. Like, OMG THIS IS CHANGING MY MAKE-UP AND TRANSFORMING ME INTO AN INSTAGRAM HOTTIE.
I’m obsessed with the Naked Flushed palette, the Naked Smoky palette, the eye shadow primer and the clear eye brow gel. So if there’s any Urban Decay products that you basically have chained to your person at any given moment, let a girl know.
11. ASOS RIDLEY JEANS
Petite jeans weren’t a problem until I was 18 and woah what do ya know, stopped weighing nine stone. Ever since then it’s been a constant battle to find anything that fits over my ahem, generous bum and thighs, shows a sexy slither of ankle, and also fits happily on my waist. And then I met the ASOS Ridley jeans.
I have them in one colour and have worn them about 17 days out of the 25 I’ve owned them. Those other days being for festive dresses and pyjamas days. They are life changing and pretty reasonable too. (Shop here)
12. OLYMPUS PEN
I’d been umm-ing and ahh-ing about buying the most Instagrammed camera of all time for months, but felt like it would be a waste of money when I already had a perfectly fine DSLR (albeit one that was cutely scuffed and full of Egyptian desert sand).
But then I took the plunge and woaaaaah boy, it’s transformed the quality of my blog imagery so much that I’m 92% sure it’s resulted in more campaigns and work for me. The investment was a no-brainer and I’d do it again in a heart beat. I also bought the 45mm lens for that background blur, whilst I use the standard lens for vlogging. It’s made me so much more confident about YouTube and I’ve noticed my subscribers increase more rapidly as a result. (Shop here)
13. NEW YORK
Chris had never been out of Europe before, so I leaped at the chance of taking part in the Aer Lingus blogger competition earlier this year – the winner won two pairs of return flights and some money towards accommodation.
It was (and here’s where I feel pretty smug), my 4th time to the city. It’s my love. It feels like home. That buzz. Oh my. Just thinking about it makes me want to book flights on a whim, like woah, whatcha gonna do.
Anyway, we had a ball. We went for a week and did all the classic tourist things and thank the sweet lords, he fell in love with the city as much as I did. Can we go back this year plz? (Read more here)
Despite a lack of gripping TV shows, we did have Serial. Oh sweet, tender, beautiful Serial. The podcast that made people, well, listen to podcasts.
We listened to the first episode on the flight back from Budapest in February and then the second one in the car on the way back from the airport and then the third one in bed that night.
I’ll be honest, the second series which started last month hasn’t gripped me as much as the first one – but if you haven’t already given the Adnan Syed case a little listen, I highly recommend downloading it to your phone via the Podcast app on your phone (I legit had no idea this was even a thing tbh.)
15. PUMP STREET BAKERY
We only discovered this sweet little Suffolk spot in November, but it’s quickly become our favourite breakfast spot of all time. We’ve decided to make it an annual tradition to visit on Christmas Eve morning, to kickstart our Christmas in the most delicious (and photographic) way possible.
The coffee is good, the cinnamon rolls are seriously hubba hubba, the eggs have beautiful golden yolks, and the pancakes so light and fluffy and all the heart eye emojis.
If you’re ever near Orford, I seriously suggest checking Pump Street Bakery out.
My first little business venture outside of this blog, as an internet person.
I have LOVED and adored seeing your tweets and Instagram photos of you buying them and wearing them and slouching about in them. It makes my heart. I’m not quite sure where I want to take it in 2016. I have some new design ideas and want to keep expanding, but it’s been a massive eye opener and I realise now that there were a lot of questions that I should have asked. Questions that I had no idea even existed. But as with any business, it’s a massive learning curve, and I can’t wait to keep growing and expanding and creating content and products that you guys like. (Shop here)
So that’s 2015 in a nutshell. Thank you for supporting me, for making me cry happy tears, for making me feel held up during tough times, for making me LOL at my computer screen on completely lonely working-from-home days, and for keeping me sane.
I just hope that in 2016 I can continue to produce content that gives you all the feels and makes you feel less alone.
We got this ?