Today marks a pretty special occasion for me, 4 years of writing, filming, snapping and sharing via Wonderful You.
It's my INTERNET BIRTHDAY!
It seems like I've been doing this forever and yet, at the same time, four years feels like nothing at all.
I want to take a little bit of time today, to reflect on all of the good things this blog has brought in to my life.
I've made some of the most incredible friends, Zoe Newlove who taught me what it is to be a strong and kind human. Laura Jane Williams, who helped me believe anything is possible and that women are better together. Ally, quite possibly my sister from another mister - is my rainbow on any cloudy day. Alexandra Cameron, showed me how beautiful life is; with both her insane photography and perfectly wonderful mind, she makes me better. Emma Gannon, injects instant positivity in to my life and shines light wherever she goes. Hayley, the epitome of goodness - she would do anything for her friends and that alone, means they'd do anything for her, too. Linds, a pretty recent addition to the squad but boy is she a good one. The biggest heart I've ever known and the most beautiful, too.
Of course these are to name but a few - I feel so lucky to be part of a community that lets all it's stars shine so brightly, and the fact I've made such amazing friends because of it? I just can't quite believe how lucky I am.
And oddly enough, on this very day last year, I had my first date with Jamie. So today marks our 1 year anniversary - and you know? I couldn't dream of a better day to have it on. Our relationship is a million wonderful things, but my blog is a big slice of it. He helped build the brand I'd always dreamed of, he believes in me and I'm so grateful for that, I'm so grateful for him.
I've learned over the past few years that other women aren't the competition. And in a world as saturated as the blogging community, it can be so difficult to not let your green eyed monster take over. You see what one person has achieved and you can quite naturally compare it to where you're at. Why haven't I got what they have? But one persons journey isn't yours - we all have different paths to travel down, and actually, we all want different things. I've learned to take inspiration from my fellow ladies, not begrudge them because of their successes. I see you, I see what you're achieving and I am so happy for you - because you work hard and hard work pays off.
And so here are three of those ladies who inspire me daily, whose work I appreciate and who make me more determined to be my best self...
Vicotria - In The Frow
I met this amazing lady at the company awards back when both our blogs were just a few months old. Together, we went away with awards for being blogger newbies and since then, her platform has become somewhat of a business empire. You can see the blood, sweat and
tears smiles that must go in to making In The Frow what it is - that kind of beautiful content, that kind of growth, it doesn't come from taking a back seat. It comes from being determined and focused and brilliant. Not only can you tell that Victoria works incredibly hard, but she really is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. I'm in awe of her on the daily.
Zoe - Zoella
The first blog I ever read, Zoe set the blogging bar and inspired me to start my own. There are some people, who even from afar seem like the most genuine, kind hearted souls, and that's who Zoe is to me.
Never have I seen a woman handle the internet so tactfully. I mean, she started out like any blogger does, with a passion to share things she loves - but she had the determination to keep going even when some tried to hold her back. And now here she is, I mean, who could've known she'd be catapulted in to a media storm with millions of followers, two books, a beauty line, TV appearances and still come out the other end (alive) and somehow an incredibly normal, down to earth, lovely lady? I can't fathom how hard it must be to tackle the inevitable negatives that will come with such an exposed lifestyle - but one thing I do know, is she proves every day that she's human, a really really good human. And sometimes, in a world as crazy as this, that's really hard. She deserves all the success, but more than that, she deserves all of the support.
Hannah and Stef - The Michalaks
Hannah was one of the first bloggers I chatted to when I started out. She was just so lovely, I always looked forward to her blog posts and when she first started filming her YouTube videos. It's been so incredible to see someone fall in to such a natural place with their work - she went from working full-time to making ~the internet~ her job too, and she's done it in such a magical way. Together her and Stef create the most amazing memories for their son Gracie in their weekly vlogs - constantly bettering the content they've previously created, with what should be, award winning footage. Together they show what growth is to me. They show that you don't just wake up one day with a perfect idea - you work and work and work until you find something that fits you just right. They make the internet a happy and better place to be.
It's something I really lacked when I started my blog. I used to thrive off being the centre of attention, studying musical theatre at college with dreams of being on the West End. But somewhere along the line I lost hope, I lost my determination or my ability to believe that I was good at what I did. I took on any old job because I figured as long as I had money and was comfortable it didn't really matter if I didn't have a thing that I excelled at. Wonderful You proved me wrong. I began with the idea that it would be nice to have a hobby - but it's been so much more than that. Yes, it's now my job - but it's given me more than I could've ever hoped for in terms of employment. It's given me self belief, in all areas of my life. It makes me feel like I can achieve what I set my mind to and that I can share that with you without feeling embarrassed. That I'm more than I thought I was. That everyday I grow, and that every day is an adventure to finding out the next new thing about me - I love it.
No-one will work as hard for you as you will. And that's something I struggle to accept sometimes - that where I am now, with my blog, isn't because of anyone else, it's because of me. I've met the most amazing people (see above), I'm constantly inspired by them and others (see above), I have such wonderful people who read and watch and share and support me daily (yes YOU!) - and all these things contribute to amazing things happening, of course they do - but at the end of the day it's us, we create our own successes.
Yes opportunities might come to you, but they only come from hard work and the knowing that you deserve them. With that being said, I can't believe that I've been able to work with some of my favourite brands - and that sometimes I'm lucky enough to be sent things to review, because said brands like what I create. And that sometimes I get paid to work with brands and even appear on TV ADVERTS and get to sign with an incredible management team who believe in me too, and I mean, I can't fathom it, it's insane - but it's insanely brilliant and I wouldn't change it for the world.
So, here's to another year. Another year of working stuff out, together.
I don't know what the next chapter looks like, but I'm so glad that this book isn't over yet. That I feel happier and stronger than ever to keep on keeping on.
Thank you, for being here with me - I know it's corny and sounds a bit naff, but I do really mean it. And sometimes it's difficult, to find the right words to say just how much Wonderful You means to me, how it's changed my life for the better and how having you guys there makes it what it is. Because is truly does, you make it the most special, you make it the place I always want to come back to. Because even on the darkest days, you lift me up and basically, that's the best birthday present anyone could wish for.
So much love.
All of it.
To go along with the blog post, Alex and I created this video together - I hope you'll watch it. Initially we were just headed to the beach to shoot the photographs, but I thought it would be nice to have something to sit on all of my platforms to help celebrate today, and so we played around with some filming. Not only do I love the footage, but I think it gives a real time display of how much fun Alex and I have. I'm so grateful we get to work together - it never feels like work at all.
Photography and Cinematography by Alexandra Cameron. We shot this at Mersea, and isn't it the most beautiful location you've ever seen? I want to live in one of the beach huts.
Music by the super talented Jessie Moncrieff.