2017: In Review

December 31, 2017

FIRST: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. I just read back through those and my word… I’ve been wearing the same clothes for about 5 years.

This year has been weird, but good, and in many ways, gratifying. I feel like I’ve sowed a lot of seeds and I’m more in charge of stuff now. If you follow me on social media you’ll have seen me moaning repetitively about what little I have achieved this year. Next year, I’m hoping that will change! I have so many plans and it should be a life-changing one. So, I feel like this year needed to be a little inward and soul-searching-y to get prepared for next year.

I think this is the first year I’ve changed in terms of character. I’ve become a lot more private this year. Normally, I’m very open, and this is the first year where my instinct to retreat into myself really came around. I’ve become more selfish with my time and higher with my standards, and maybe that sounds cold to some of you, but actually, I think it’s just part of the maturing process.

It’s tradition in these posts to look back at my resolutions, so here we go!



Travel to Sweden, Spain and Paris. Spain – yes. Sweden – no. Paris – extremely briefly, but I’ll be there again next week so I feel like that counts. I also went to Switzerland, Italy, some non-Paris bits of France, Gibraltar, Malta, Sicily and Sardinia. Not a bad haul.

Change my appearance if I feel like it. Chopped some hair off, got a couple of piercings and a fair few new tattoos (to the point that they are now broadly visible rather than strategically placed). So YEP.

Focus on non-career things. Yes! I’ve joined the gym, started gaming again, started reading more and been a tiny bit more social. So, smashed that one.


Start some sort of online place for sharing vegan material separate to my blog. I did this with Vegan Vegan Club, and then I neglected it and now… I also revamped my blog to include more vegan stuff and I feel like that’s gone well.

Blog less. Yep – I’ve averaged two posts a week this year as opposed to 3-4 in previous years.

Make more videos. I was about to put “no, not really” but, technically, I have made more videos this year than I did this year. So, it’s slow but it’s still progress! Whether anybody is watching is beside the point.

Learn more about using social media. Yes and no. I did quite a few twitter threads this year, and I was quite good with Insta before I lost interest. I’ve really gotten into Pinterest this year, so hopefully that will carry on to next year.


Schedule less for my days. Kind of. Honestly, I can’t quite recall a year back but I feel like maybe I’ve had a better time this year of managing everything.

Make a concerted effort to change career paths. Yes! I’m not there yet though… all will be revealed when I get to my destination. This was a lot harder than I thought and required a lot more soul-searching than I expected.

Take more pride in myself. When I wrote this, I meant in terms of sharing the work I produce and the “content” (ugh that word) I make. And I didn’t get any better at that. Taking that statement literally, I take a lot more pride in myself at the end of this year then I did at the start. What I’m not good is being proud of what I’ve done. So person that I am: yeah, great, totally love, big fan. Stuff that I produce: ZERO PRIDE. I can list right here and right now what I’m proud to have created this year: one poem, one song, and two blog posts (this and this). So being proud of what I’ve done is something I need to get better at because that’s really not much for an entire year.


In terms of actual achievements this year, it’s been a bit thin on the ground. I spent most of today torturing myself about how unproductive I’ve been but then I forced myself to make a list, and I have achieved things, even if they’re not big things. I supported my fiancé through counselling and mental health issues, and I supported my second family through the onset of terminal cancer. Both of those things came at a cost to myself, but I managed to deal with that and show up for the people I love without letting my own emotions get in the way. I finally made a professional website for my work, and I was nominated for a blog award: a first for me and this little slice of Internet. And according to that goal recap, I smashed most of it.

This year I continued being vegan, in London, freelance, zero-waste, eco-friendly and anti-high street. I’ve been all of those things for a few years but, hey, continuing is still good. I appeared on primetime TV, in print for Oh Comely, and digitally for Refinery 29. Ryan quit his job, and I helped him understand how to be freelance, and set up a business. I wrote about 140,000 words of a book. And I continued to earn enough money to live, even whilst I was scaling back work to have more time to figure things out. It was a difficult balancing act, but I think I’ve done ok, or at least, I’m still here and that’s kind of the same. I went to 18 cities in 10 countries, and got 4 new tattoos, and with Ryan, announced our engagement. I watched every episode of That 70s Show. I mourned Cloyd, and I rescued Maggie.

It’s not been much, but that’s ok. Not every year can be some kind of glittering extravaganza of success and I think it’s important to remember and accept that. Accomplishing little things is still accomplishing something. There are years that ask, and years that answer. This year felt like an answer for me. I learned a little more about what makes me valuable, and a little more about what I’m willing to settle or give of myself, and a little more about what makes me happy. And that’s not at all bad going.

7 comments so far.

7 responses to “2017: In Review”

  1. Priya Pappu says:

    Laila! You’re a little crazy. I read the paragraph that was a long list of your 2017 accomplishments and then the next paragraph that starts “It’s not been much” Girl! That’s a lot! You almost wrote an entire book! I admire you because you *really* hold yourself to such high standards. I’ve definitely noticed a shift on your blog over the past year, and I can’t wait to see what great things 2018 holds for you and Ryan! Happy New Year!

    Priya the Blog

  2. Jane says:

    I think you’re right in saying we need to count the little things as achievements. It seems to me you did a lot to move forward in 2017, you should be proud of achieving the highs and getting through the lows! Happy new year, Laila!

  3. Gemma says:

    “Some years ask, some answer” – feel like that completely sums up 2017. Great 2017 review x

  4. Anna says:

    Thanks for sharing! I think you did extremely well with your goals, seeing as we rarely complete them all anyway, and you did have so much else going on too. Happy new year! x

  5. Laura says:

    even if it feels like you’ve not accomplished much, it doesn’t mean you haven’t. looking at this post and twitter, it seems like you’ve done well with your goals, and done a lot for others and yourself this year. i think people around you notice it more than you, and it’s like that for everyone. i know i feel like 2017 was a shite year, but actually when i started looking into it i managed to do a lot (sort of), haha. it just doesn’t feel like it. but like you said, not every year has to be extra successful! xx

  6. Denise says:

    I think you did a lot and you did it all well! And I agree with you that being more private is a sign of maturity. I used to be very open and people still think I am – but in fact, I just reveal what I think won’t “harm” my privacy thirst, but well, it’s a no-brainer 🙂 I am sure you will achieve everything you planned for 2018! Well done!

  7. This sounds like such a good year – so jealous of your travel – and hope you see some amazing places in 2018!


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