Highlights of 2015, Goals for 2016 & Year-End Lifestyle Favourites


A year now doesn't quite seem as long as it did when I was 16/17, it's actually quite scary how quickly time seems to slip by. However sitting down to do this post, I've actually realised how much has changed in the last 12 months.

2015 Highlights

First and foremost, I started this year frustrated, bored and trapped in terms of my career. I wanted to progress, learn and feel challenged but I didn't feel like that was going to happen in my old job. In January I applied for a couple of graduate schemes and after many months of tests, interviews and assessment centres, I landed one that felt like a perfect fit at a company that was right for me. Yes, there are times when I feel overwhelmed by how much is expected of me, but remembering how miserable I was this time last year puts it in perspective. At the end of the day, I'd much rather people have big expectations of me than feel like I can do more than I've been allowed to!

I think along with the new job, I've grown a lot as a person, most importantly in terms of confidence. I think I'm very guilty of allowing not being where I want to be in life making me miserable. Now I feel like I'm on the way to doing what I want to do, I feel much more confidence as a person. Yes, I can do this! No, I'm not a complete moron!

Another little accomplishment has been surviving long-distance. For the first time in my relationship we've spent the entire year long-distance. Don't let people tell you it won't work out because if you're willing to put in the effort (my boyfriend driving 5 hours after work to come and see me on a Friday night, as an example) then there's no reason why it won't.

I definitely see my holiday in Dubrovnik as a highlight of the year (see my photo diary here). Even just thinking about it is making me long for the weather, the gorgeous food and walking through the historic city. I definitely want to go back and it was lovely to go away on holiday with my mum.

Blogging Achievements

Although there were little milestones like re-launching my blog with a new name and design (read about the process here), Nars sharing my photo on Instagram and hosting a Twitter #bbloggers chat, I think my progression has felt quite natural and organic.

It's been a slow and steady move towards improvement. Whether that's followers (I only actually got into Instagram this year and now it's my biggest platform!), improving my photography or making the look and feel of my blog better, I feel really proud of my progression this year.

I've also met so many other bloggers this year. I met Caitlin from Through the Mirror for a blogger event and shopping, went on a big shopping trip with Porcelain Beauty and caught up a few times with some girls I know from last year like Ellie from Life of Ellie Grace, Emma from What Emma Did, Maria from Cruz Beauty, Nisha from How I Wear and Amy from Amy Elizabeth Fashion. Bloggers really are some of the loveliest people out there and when I have a moment to breathe, I definitely want to make more time for hanging out with them.

2016 Goals

I have a lot of career-related goals for 2016, that I won't share but in the main I just want to see myself grow and develop. I want to see myself catching onto things and being able to tackle and solve problems that currently have me stumped! I also hope to well on the way towards achieving my professional qualifications. I would like to be CII Diploma level by the end of Q3.

I really want to get better with money in 2016 and learn to budget. I thought the other day that I rarely post wish lists on my blog and it dawned on me that if I want something, I tend to just buy it. This is not the way to be! I want to have a nice amount in my savings account by the time I move out.

Speaking of which, as part of my graduate scheme I will be moving down south to work in a small village called Liphook in Hampshire. I had honestly never heard of it before! It's sort of like the premise of a comedy film: girl who can't drive, has always lived in the city and buys two out of three of her meals every day from Pret moves to a tiny village... I'm thinking of living in Guildford in Surrey and commuting in, but it's still going to be so different to what I'm used to. However I like a challenge so hopefully I can tackle this one!

Also speaking of savings, I definitely want to travel a little more. Obviously I'm in full-time work, however even just going further afield for holidays would scratch the travel itch for me. I'm so excited to go to New York for my birthday and if it all goes well I will definitely feel braver about travelling further.

In terms of blogging, I don't really want to set myself goals in terms of numbers, I just want to look back this time next year and think 'wow, I've come pretty far', which is how I've felt this year. I will carry on striving to improve every aspect of my content.

2015 Lifestyle Favourites

I thought I'd finish this year-end round-up with some of my lifestyle favourites!

Film: Ex Machina

I wasn't sure whether I'd enjoy this or not, but this tense sci-fi thriller was absolutely fantastic! It tells the story of an average guy working for a Google-eque tech company who is chosen by the mysterious CEO to work on a top-secret project...which turns out to be the creation of Artificial Intelligence. The film explores some really interesting concepts and there are some impressive performances. The very small cast means the story delves deeply into the three central characters.

Film: Straight Outta Compton

I've never really been 'wowed' by a hip-hop biopic; films like 8 Mile and Get Rich or Die Tryin' are the ones that spring to mind and they were only really ok for me. However Straight Outta Compton blows any other musical biopic I've seen out of the water. Somehow it encompasses all the years from NWA's formation when they were at high school to the mid-90s without feeling rushed. It shows how important and influential the NWA was in the formation of hip-hop as well as exploring the dynamic and tension within the group and their individual stories. Whether you're a music fan or not, this is an amazing film. 

TV: The Man in the High Castle

I'm such a fan of dystopian and speculative fiction, and whilst it's had a moment in YA Fiction, I've kind of been waiting for a show like this to come along that's just a little smarter. The Man in the High Castle is set in an alternate USA in the 60s after the Nazis won WW2. It alternates between the German-controlled East and Japanese-controlled West and the story is mainly told through Juliana, whose sister is killed for being part of the resistance. There wasn't a single episode that wasn't gripping, exciting and intriguing.

TV: Outlander

I almost didn't include this as the second half of the series was much weaker than the first, but overall I did still really enjoy it and will still watch the second series when it comes out. The story revolves around Claire, an English WW2 nurse who is transported back to 18th century Scotland. The premise sounds ridiculous but they definitely pull it off and I suspended my disbelief enough to thoroughly enjoy this beautifully-shot show.

Book: Erika Johansen, The Queen of the Tearling 

Young Adult fiction is a market of quantity over quality at the moment, so you have to wade through a lot of formulaic rubbish to find something enjoyable. This is definitely one of those gems. If you're a Game of Thrones fan, I think you'll love the fully-realised world and mythology created in the Queen of the Tearling, along with the gripping story of 18 year-old Kelsea taking the throne of a kingdom in a lot of trouble.

Book: Sali Hughes, Pretty Honest

I've never really been one for beauty books but this is honestly a must-read. As a beauty fan, some advice can feel a little obvious, however Sali's is helpful whether you're an obsessive or a newbie. She covers all the basic beauty topics in Pretty Honest with wit and of course honesty. 

Music: Drake, If You're Reading This It's Too Late

There hasn't been much that's stood out to me in terms of music this year but looking back through my library, the one mixtape I've not stopped listening to is Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late. It's not as great as Nothing Was the Same but it's a different feel and I appreciate Drake is experimenting with his sound. It jumps between different sounds and genres whilst still feeling like an album as a whole.


What are your blogging goals for 2016? What have been your 2015 lifestyle favourites?

 


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55 comments

  1. I really enjoyed reading this; I felt a similar way in my previous job about not being challenged enough but also doing far more than what I was paid to do with my managing experience. I have finally changed jobs and actually have the chance to progress at last. Well done with your blog over the last year, it's amazing, and your photography on Instagram (and in general) is so good - if I've missed one of your posts I always click through on instagram, which is rare for me to do.

    Kristy | www.thevioletblonde.com

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    1. Thank you so much Kristy - that's lovely of you to say! I'm pleased you've found more fulfilment in your career this year too :) xx

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  2. I'm constantly impressed at how well you juggle everything going on in your life!

    I'd really like to travel more in 2016, I have one overseas trip booked which includes New York so I'm excited to see any New York related content from you especially :)

    www.thesundaymode.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Aw thank you! And there will definitely be lots of NY content ;) xx

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  3. I love reading these type of posts and seeing what people have achieved over the year. Well done in what you have managed to achieve! I love your blog and hope it continues to grow within the next year.

    My blogging goals are to continue blogging and to improve my photography, writing and design!

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I love these posts too :) and thank you so much lovely! I always aim for those things too as they're definitely things we can all keep improving at xx

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  4. I've loved reading this, you should be proud of your blog achievements as it really is incredible! Your photography for this post proves that too.

    I love your choice of film and TV favourites, I really want to watch the man in the high castle too!

    I wish you the best end of 2015 and the best 2016 lovely.
    ________

    www.isabellekategm.co.uk ♡

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    1. Thank you lovely! Have a great 2016 and definitely watch the Man in the High Castle! xx

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  5. Loved reading this, you've had a really big year Jasmine, hope next year is even bigger for you :) blog goals for me are improving photography and stop spending money too! I have enough makeup and bath stuff at the minute to last me to next Christmas so I need to stop!

    Danielle's Beauty Blog

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    1. Thank you Danielle! Best of luck with your goals for this year as I'm the same haha xx

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  6. I really want to learn how to budget and manage my money better! Travelling a little would be great too x

    www.shayholly.co.uk

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  7. It's great that you've made so much progress with your career and your blog, I know I say this a lot but your photography really has come a long way in the last year. Can't wait to see what's in store in 2016! x

    alicered.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much! Happy New Year :D xx

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  8. Loved reading this post lovely AND YOU MENTIONED ME! Woo wooo! Have a brilliant new year I hope you get everything you aim for xxx

    www.throughthemirror.co.uk

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  9. Where is the eyeshadow palette and the little pot from and what is the colors? (On the picture) They are SO pretty!! x

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    1. Lorac Unzipped & Topshop Glow Pot in Gleam xx

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  10. This post was so lovely to read. It sounds like you've had a fantastic year! I too quite a job I really didn't like and even though it was an impulsive decision everything seems to be fitting into place! I hope next year is even better for you!

    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

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    1. Best of luck to you too for 2016 :) xx

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  11. You should definitely feel proud about everything you've managed to achieve this year! Also good on you with the LDR! My boyfriend and I did three years when I was at University and now we've moved into our own house with our little puppy. :) It's not easy but definitely worth it! Also I look forward to see how you get on moving to a smaller town, it's a big change for you but I bet it'll work out really well!

    Happy New Year Jasmine!

    Musings & More

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    1. Yeah it's so worth it if you put in the effort :) and yeah I'm looking forward to seeing how that turns out...haha

      Happy New Year, lovely! xx

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  12. You should definitely feel proud about everything you've managed to achieve this year! Also good on you with the LDR! My boyfriend and I did three years when I was at University and now we've moved into our own house with our little puppy. :) It's not easy but definitely worth it! Also I look forward to see how you get on moving to a smaller town, it's a big change for you but I bet it'll work out really well!

    Happy New Year Jasmine!

    Musings & More

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    1. Yeah it's so worth it in the end :) and I'm interested to see how that turns out too...haha

      Happy New Year, lovely! xx

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  13. I've absolutely adored reading your blog this year and I'm forever jealous of your amazing photography! All the best in your career :) x

    Jordan @ Keep Dreaming

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    1. Your photography is amazing! And thank you lovely - have a great 2016! xx

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  14. Wishing you much luck and continued success in the new year!!

    I was considering starting the man in high castle. I think I may now!!!

    Lia
    Www.adinaandgem.etsy.com

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    1. Thank you lovely, you too - and definitely check it out :) xx

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  15. Aw this is such a lovely post, and such a nice post for the end of the year. I really want to expand my blog more, build up a following of readers and improve the content I post xx

    emilyclairewrites.com

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    1. Glad you enjoyed, and they're both definitely things I'd like to achieve this year too! xx

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  16. I love reading posts like this and seeing how far people have come in their personal/blogging lives. It sounds like you've had a great year career and blog wise. It's so difficult when you're in a rut with something, I guess we all just sometimes stay in the same career out of habit. It's great that you've taken the risk and it's paid off :) Merry Christmas & hope you have a great 2016 xx

    Fran's Beauty Blog

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    1. Yeah I'm definitely someone who gets restless so I was trying not to get 'comfortable' in a job that wasn't pushing me in the right ways :) hope you had a lovely Christmas and good luck for 2016! xx

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  17. Great post and amazing how you have achieved so much. i hope to start getting back into blogging a bit more regularly and must admit it is hard with a full time demanding career but I hope I can find a better work life balance in 2016 xx

    franklyflawless.com

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    1. Yeah that's definitely going to be the challenge for me in 2016 too! xx

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  18. It sounds like you've had quite a lovely year, I'm so happy for all of your achievements! I'm sure 2016 will be even better! And honestly, despite the fact that I fail at commenting most times, your blog is by far one of my favorites. I really appreciate your time and effort and that fact that you always do swatches! One of my goals for this year is to be much better at commenting on other blogs, I've just gotten so lazy the last half of this year!

    www.ashbam.com

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    1. Aw thank you so much - I'm glad you've been enjoying reading - it's lovely to hear these things as it makes all the effort seem worth it! Happy New Year :) xx

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  19. Another gorgeous post! Your photos always look so so stunning!

    http://themakeup-gypsy.blogspot.com.au/

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  20. I absolutely enjoyed this entire post! First off, big tip of the hat to you and your boyfriend in surviving the year long-distance - just shows that with enough effort from both sides, it can always work. It also made me so happy to read about how you're enjoying your new job after all this time, I just accepted an offer to begin at a new office in January and I'm definitely looking forward to the new challenges, and really just getting out of my current rut of a job. It's been great following along with you during my first year of blogging, and I'm so excited to see what 2016 brings! I'm definitely hoping to become more active next year and get involved in some Twitter chats (just started one a month ago haha), and hopefully just become more vocal within the blogging community in general. Have a wonderful rest of the year, girl!

    Cindy | www.cindyhyue.com

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    1. How exciting - best of luck with your new job! I need to get involved with Twitter chats again, I used to do them all the time but I've been so busy it's fallen by the wayside :(

      Happy New Year! xx

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  21. I love your highlights, I can especially relate to the long distance one. My husband and I are doing long distance since I am away at graduate school. It has been 1 year and 3 months, and we only have 6 months left. It gets so difficult but I definitely agree that it takes lots of effort for it to work out but it's worth it!!! I love reading about your 2016 goals. I wish you the best of luck!!! Have a happy new year!

    xoxo Emily
    http://www.ditchtheheels.com

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    1. Aw thank you Emily :) and congrats on also doing long-distance! Best of luck for 2016 xx

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  22. Amazing post, love your ideas here, and happy new year to you!
    XX
    http://www.missydress.com.au

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  23. Wow, it seems like you have achieved so much this year and it's great you have so many new goals to tackle over the next year. I really love your blog and think you're doing an amazing job xx

    Sarah | Bows & Pleats

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  24. I loved reading this post Jasmine, I felt like we were sat down drinking teas and coffees and looking back on the year together :') I'm so proud of how far your blog has come and it has definitely been one of my favourite blog discoveries of the year! I really enjoyed reading your goals for the next year too. Totally agree with your film of the year - I need to watch it again it was so so good! I'm not really a massive film person but SOC had me hocked and yessss Drake's album! I also loved J.Cole's 2014 forest hills drive, even though technically it was last years album, its the one album I listened to cover to cover on my commutes whilst driving to and from Uni ^_^
    Iqra | The Blushing Giraffe x

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed this little look back :) your blog has been one of my favourites this year too! Happy New Year! xx

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  25. You've achieved so much! I'd love to meet other bloggers I think it would be such a nice thing to do!
    Charlotte .// charlottespicks.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, lovely and it really is nice to meet like-minded people :) xx

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  26. Jas I feel exactly like you did last year in terms of career... I'm desperate for a new challenge but with grad schemes I'll get to the final interview against two other people and will just miss out! It's quite disheartening but seeing how much happier you are has given me inspiration
    Emmasblog.co.uk

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    1. Definitely don't give up! If it makes you feel any better, I applied to like 50, only got to 4 assessment centres and got 1 offer at the end of it! You only need one interview with the right company :) xx

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  27. Awwww I feel so proud of how far you have come along both in your blog and in your personal life (as much as you share with us) and I know only greater things are ahead. Massive congratulations for being so consistent with wonderful content, improving your photos and growing your blog in general. I totally get all you say about Long distance but I always say it can work if people are willing to sacrifice and put in the effort. My Man lives in Scotland which is like 8 hours away and he drives down to see me as well and we do take turns in visiting..Good luck in your graduate scheme...xx

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  28. Great post! My goal was to travel more then me and my boyfriend booked a 3 month trip in the spur of the moment a couple of days later! Its amazing how things happen! Keep at it, the blog is going amazingly already and your beauty selection is to die for!!!

    Sinead x
    http://www.lovestylemindfulness.co.uk

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  29. It's great to hear how far you've come and the goals you have ahead of you, we just love your blog and wish you a wonderful new year!

    ISA Professional

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