Hope you all had an amazing Christmas?!
Mine was so exciting for many reasons, one being newly engaged, which I will blog about in more detail when I am officially back in the office. 😉
For now, I would like to write my annual year in review and share some experiences with you , both happy and sad.
For those of you who have been following me for some time now, you would know that each December for the past 3 years I have written a blog post looking back over my year.
I always look forward to doing this type of post because I think it’s really healthy to reflect on the previous 12 months so that you not only actively appreciate the good times that happened along the way but also recognise the lessons learned from any negative experiences that occurred.
Fortunately, 2015 was a wonderful year overall for me and I’m so thankful for everything that happened during those 12 months. I stick by the theory that if you work hard and are kind to people, good things will happen, and for me personally, the past year, like most years has been proof of that.
I’m not going to list everything positive that happened otherwise it just gets a little egoistical, instead I’m just going to outline some highlights followed also by the lessons I learned along the way, hoping you might take something from it.
- Getting Engaged!
2015 was the year I got engaged to Dylan who is – as clichéd as it sounds – the absolute love of my life and my best friend!
As most of you know from previous blog posts, anniversaries, birthdays etc, that we are 4 years together and have been living together for the last 3.
Dylan is without a doubt my soulmate in every aspect of the word. He keeps me motivated, pushes me to be a better person, keeps me grounded, loves me unconditionally and is definitely my best friend, so when he asked me to marry him in the Maldives – on a private beach while watching the stars… it just made my year!
It was the most perfect moment and total shock too, but I can’t wait to start planning my wedding. 🙂
2. The Launch Of The SOSU Beauty Brand
For the past 2-3 years I have been trying my hardest to get my beauty brand off the ground and 2015 was the year it finally all came together.
There has been a lot of setbacks, a lot of failures, and people who let me down after promising the sun, moon, and stars, but thankfully after meting the right people this year, we made it happen. Building SOSU was 100% the result of teamwork. From my ideas, to creation, to distribution, to PR, to the consultant who advises on the financials, it really takes a whole team to create a quality brand.
YOU, the readers also became part of that team because each of you gave me plenty of feedback on what you liked, what colours you wanted in the next collection and aspects you wanted to see being improved, all of which we delivered on… I hope 🙂
We officially launched SOSU in April of this year and the event itself – which you can read about here – was a huge highlight for me. It was such an amazing feeling to see the product I had been working on for so long finally out there!
The one thing the whole process taught me is that good things happen when the time is right. As a result of every set back I encountered along the way, I now really appreciate having the right people around me and I also now understand what it is required for the smooth running of a new brand. It’s tough work, and the RIGHT people are required.
I have a number of products lined up for release during 2016 and I really hope you guys love them! I have worked so hard on the new products during the past year and I can’t wait to get them out there!
Exciting times ahead 🙂
3. Co-Hosting Xposé on TV3
Without a shadow of a doubt, a big career highlight for me during 2015 was co-hosting Xposé over 2 days in November. It was such a phenomenal experience, one I will never forget.
The cherry on top was the news that I brought really high ratings, so I’m VERY thankful to all the SoSueMe readers that tuned in to watch my presenting debut. It really meant a lot – the support you guys showed actually made me tear up on the first night… it was mind blowing. My snapchat was on FIRE 🙂
The whole experience also really made me appreciate the work that goes into having a show like Xposé on our airways. I learned so much during the 2 days I was on set, particularly from Lisa Cannon who guided me and coached me the whole way through.
It was amazing to work with talented broadcasters, and it has now made me even more determined to do more television work in 2016.
So fingers crossed!
4. Moving Into Our New Home!
Dylan and I have always lived in apartments and even though we loved it and found apartment-living so secure and cosy, we were delighted to make the jump into securing a home.
It was great to go to viewings and to choose the house we were going to make our home. This month we moved into a totally brand new unfurnished house so we have been out shopping for house stuff such as tables and chairs! Turning this new house into our home has been such an exciting time for us.
It’s also great to have a nice back garden for our dogs as well as extra space for home offices and friends staying over.
5. Becoming An Ambassador For Lil-Lets
Becoming an ambassador for the iconic brand Lil-lets was such a huge highlight for me. To be asked to take the ambassadorship role alongside celebs such as Vanessa White from The Saturday’s was a real honour and one I was thrilled to accept.
I’m very aware that part of my readership is quite young and as I remember only too well what it feels like to be an insecure teenager.
I always used Lil-lets when I was growing up so I was delighted to be part of their #BecomingATeen campaign which aimed to shed light on body changes and general teenage issues. As part of the campaign, each ambassador had to answer questions about their own teenage experiences, from relationships to periods, and offer advice to others going through the same things.
I think it’s really beneficial for teenagers to see that they are not alone and that everyone has at some point experienced the changes that they’re going through. We recorded a number of videos, but here’s the one where I talk about teenage relationships and recall my memories of my first kiss! Cringe!!
For me they are just a few stand out highlights of 2015 that mean so much to me and although it’s a nice thing to look back on your career/personal life to date, but I think it is particularly healthy to look back on what you have learned from your experiences.
For me there has been lots of things and I am going to share a few of these with you.
- Family Is Everything
As most of you already know, I lost my beloved Nanny Burke last October.
At the time of my nanny’s passing, we all went through a really hard time because she had always been the backbone of the family and it really felt like the end of a chapter for us.
Looking back, I do feel the whole experience, as upsetting as it was, brought us all closer together as a family and made us even stronger as a unit.
On Christmas morning, we all came together in nanny’s house as it would be the last Christmas the family would get to spend there. It was a very poignant occasion and I have no doubt that nanny was with us that morning. I think of her every day and I even regularly wear her gold ring because I feel it keeps her close to me. I was even wearing it the night Dylan proposed…
(I’m crying now – God damn haha)
As difficult as it is, I try not to look back on her funeral with sadness. Instead I prefer to look back on it as the day we celebrated her wonderful life. For any newcomers to the site, I wrote this blog post about my memories of Nanny and Grandad Burke.
The main thing I learned from the whole experience is that family and love really is everything.
Even though my grandmother lived to be a great age, life is still very short in the grand scheme of things so it’s important that we all make the most of everything we have and appreciate those who are in our lives. We all know how fast time flies so starting right now, we should make the effort to cherish those who make us smile.
2. Not Everybody Has Good Intentions
There’s a quote that goes, “You’ll end up really disappointed if you think people will do for you as you do for them. Not everyone has the same heart as you.”
2015 was the year that particular quote really hit home for me.
I always like to see the best in people but there’s no denying the fact that there are people out there who will try to use you and take advantage in whatever way they can with no regard for everything you have done for them.
This year I learned that some people are not as genuine or as nice as I once thought and that in the end they were just out for themselves. I really don’t believe anyone gets far in life with that attitude, so I now no longer let those people take up space in my mind.
No one like that is worth even a second thought, but the lesson was learnt.. that’s for sure.
3. Travel Brings A New Level Of Happiness
Over the years I never really traveled. I enjoyed a few Spanish holidays but that was my travel-comfort-zone so to speak!
This year however I stepped outside that comfort zone and it was the best thing I ever did. I have been to Dallas, the Carribean, France, The Maldives and I hope to tick a few more places off the list next year too! People might look at my Instagram and think ‘another holiday?’ but the thing is, all of those trips apart from The Maldives, were working holidays.
I was working ALL the time during those trips – not that I’m complaining! Far from it. I love working and I’m so thankful that I have the kind of job that enables me to work regardless of where I am in the world. I’m also extremely grateful to be in a career I love so much that I don’t mind working during my holiday!
The Maldives however was the first holiday where I didn’t work. It felt a bit strange not to be blogging every single day but the break did me the world of good. I think we all should ‘switch off’ from time to time.
The lesson I learned this year is that travel brings another level of happiness into your life. I can’t actually describe the feeling you get from it.
All I know is that I would rather save up and spend that money on making amazing memories than to splash out on materialistic things.
4. Taking Risks Really Does Pay Off
I originally learned this lesson a few years ago when I left my 9-5 job to pursue blogging, but it was reinforced again this year when I brought out my first SOSU product.
Before the product hit the shops, I had no idea if it was going to sell, or even how people would react to it. I was terrified!
Fortunately I had no need to be. The brand was a success from the moment it hit the shelves. Yes there were one or two hiccups at the beginning but nothing that we didn’t rectify!
When you take a big risk you challenge yourself, and I know in my case, it made me want to work even harder. By putting yourself on the line, you are forcing yourself to sink or swim. Risk-taking is something most of us shy away from but I think if you invest time and effort in advance preparation, it becomes less of a ‘risk’ and more of an ‘educated decision’!
5. Teamwork Is Essential For Success
As you guys know from my previous posts over the years and my books, there has always been a team behind SoSueMe. The original team – Sam, Dave and Michelle – have since gone on to do their own things but we’re all still very much good friends. This year I developed a new team which consists of a PA and an additional contributor.
I really and truly believe that once you surround yourself with the right people, you can grow your business and bring it to new heights.
Dylan also works with me as well now and he is SUCH a huge part of my business. He manages my workshops, looks after SOSU.ie, brings me all over the country to and from events and was/is a HUGE help in my creation of SOSU. Dylan knows how I think, how I work, so to have the person you trust the most in the entire world working with you – it’s an amazing feeling.
I also believe that if we work together, live together, sleep together, party together and do everything else together and still love each other this much – then really I know him deep to his soul :), and that is why I want to marry him <3
But…. overall, it really pays off to invest in good staff and I firmly believe that when it comes to business, teamwork is the best way to achieve any goal.
So that wraps up the life lessons for 2015. It has been an absolutely amazing year but I can’t wait for 2016. There are so many exciting things happening next year. From new products to planning my wedding, it’s about to get very busy!
Most importantly of all, I want to say a HUGE thank you to each and every one of you. Whether you read the blog or just follow me on social media, I am so grateful for your support.
You guys mean more to me than you will ever know.
Here’s to an absolutely amazing 2016 for all of us!
Happy NEW YEAR!