Sunday, 1 January 2017

A Look Back At 2016 ft PhotoBox UK...


Happy New Year everybody!

I really hope you all have an amazing prosperous start to 2017 and manage to achieve a lot of goals this year.

It's that time of year where I like to reflect on the past 12 months and think about what actually happened, the things I've been through and how far I have come.

On social media all I seem to be seeing is people saying how shit 2016 was. For me...it was actually the best year of my life. Don't get me wrong...so many terrible things happened and I actually had some of the worst days of my life that year but I also had some of the best and I want to focus on the positives and let them outweigh the bad. 

I really do hope that 2017 is even better.

Last year I took a look back at 2015 and to do so I had to scroll back through all my social medias so I could remember what actually happened that year. I have the worst memory!
However, this time I've had some help!



An amazing company called PhotoBox offered to help me out and I was ecstatic to be working with them on this.

If you haven't heard of PhotoBox before they are Europe's leading online digital photo service. They have over 31 million members so I'm sure you probably have heard of them!

They do the most amazing personalised gifts that revolve around your very own photos. You simply upload your photos onto their website and you can have your photo put on any item of your choice.

From photobooks to poster prints they have a huge variety of exciting creations.
Including canvas prints, calendars, cards, mugs, phone and laptop cases, wall art and gift sets.
There really is something for everyone.

I also found that all their products are very affordable which is one of the many reasons they are so popular.

I really loved the look of the photobooks and I believed it would be a great way for me to look back at my 2016 and would also make a lovely keepsake to eventually show my children. I'm very sentimental like that you see ;)

PhotoBox allowed me to order a photobook which I created myself. I'm not going to lie...it took me a very long time. 5 hours in fact. However, it would have only taken 2 and a half hours but my laptop crashed and I lost the entire thing. Very frustrating but I managed to finally do it.

It was so so simple to create. You got step-by-step instructions the entire way through and there was a massive choice of artsy things to apply to your book such as background colours, patterns and stickers. You could even play around with the layout and the fonts. You completely make it your own and you're not restricted to a set design. 

When it arrived (it arrived super quickly) I was so so happy with the quality. I went for a square hardback book with the lowest quality paper and the lowest quality printing and I was still so so happy with it so if you paid the very small charge to have it even better quality I bet it would be sooo amazing.

Although it took a long time I really enjoyed making it and so I'm going to talk you through my 2016 whilst showing you the pages of my amazing new book.




Not only can you decorate the front of your book but you can also decorate the spine and back.
I decided to go for white all over. This year I was going for quite a minimalist theme on my Instagram. It didn't always work out but a lot of my photos are taken on a plain white background and so I thought this would fit in well.

I probably should have chosen the typewriter font throughout this book as I use a lot of that on my blog, however I just felt this font made it look really classy and feminine.

I didn't really know what picture to put on the front of my book so I went for one of my favourite photos I took for my blog that year. This was a brand collaboration with Happy Socks but I just thought it looked like a nice instagrammable front cover. 


Obviously the person I spent the most time with in 2016 was Elliot and so it makes sense to have him on the title page.
This photo was taken at Looe in Cornwall. We visited Looe quite a few times throughout the year. It's an amazing little fishing port. It's so picturesque and has a lovely tourist feel to it but still quiet enough that you could enjoy living there. Our favourite place for a day out. 



Thought I'd throw in a cheeky little selfie on the contents page. As a lot happened in 2016 I couldn't fit every single thing I did in the book, so I had to break it down into important chapters. (These photos don't really do the quality justice, I took these on my phone with bad natural lighting). It's so damn gloomy outside!




First up...friendship. When I think of friends I instantly think of my best friend Jade. We have known each other since nursery and have been besties ever since. 
I only managed to see her twice last year and so that was quite sad but she had a lot to get done that year. Having a baby being the main thing. 
This picture was taken when she was 3 months pregnant and she came to visit me for the first time in Devon.
I loved spending some time with her and it is a shame we live so far apart because I really miss her.
6 months later she gave birth to her beautiful baby boy Jaxson. I adore him and have only met him once last month but I fell in love with him.

I have always been the one who wanted to get married and have children. I've known that's my life ambition from a very young age and Jade was always the opposite. Didn't really know if kids were on the agenda and wasn't settled but things happened very quickly for her and she met her partner Andy and I had never seen her so happy so I was over the moon for them to hear of Jades pregnancy. 

Insanely jealous because I never thought Jade would beat me to getting engaged and having a baby but I guess things don't always work out how you think they will.
I'm so so proud of her for becoming a mummy and taking to it so well, I look forward to seeing Jaxson grow up.



As you can see I made a new friend called Kelly and I'm so happy to have met her. We actually met through our partners who worked together at Tesco. 
Martin, her partner, very kindly invited us round one night and we all got on like a house on fire.
Because we all have busy lives it's not always really easy to see each other but whenever we have spare time we try our best to go and see them for a few hours! 
They have the best kids who make me howl with laughter.
Unfortunately I didn't have any photos with Martin in but I enjoyed spending time with him and meeting him just as much as Kelly.

He always encourages my blogging and makes me aware that he is impressed with my hard work. He does make me laugh and he's a great friend.

I think me and Kelly are actually polar opposites but at the same time I feel as though we have loads in common. She's just a very fun person to be around and she can always put a smile on my face. I always have a lovely time when we visit them. Two people I would like to see more throughout 2017.

Another two people I enjoyed meeting this year were our neighbours Matt and Melissa who we met unfortunately through terrible circumstances.

We actually also made friends with our other neighbours Neil and Leanne through the same circumstances but I didn't have a photo of them for my book! :(

We had been living in our flat for a good few months but hadn't really made the effort to meet our neighbours but on July 5th we spoke for the first time after a young lad committed suicide outside our flats.

It was a horrible situation to have met each other but that young lad doesn't realise how many people he brought together that day. We now know some of the most genuine brave people and it's so amazing to know that they live next door and should we ever need them, they are there. 

That was probably one of the very worst days of 2016. Having to meet his family was really hard for everyone and I think that day haunted all of us for a quite a while afterwards but we all went through it together. 
Hopefully 2017 doesn't bring that again but I look forward to spending more time together with our neighbours.



Our best friends from Wolverhampton also visited us quite a few times and we always had so much fun. I only had one photo of Sam and he had no top on so I left that one out. (sorry Sam).
But we spent a lot of time with our friends and had some great days together. 

One thing I really liked about designing this photo book was the fact that you can choose how many photos you want on a page and then it shows a variety of layouts, making collages like this much easier.



We first moved into our flat in November 2015 and we are still here so 2016 was really our year of settling in. We started out with the most basic furniture and essentials and have slowly added to our collection over the year.

When we first moved in the place was a state from the previous tenant but with a slick of paint and a good scrub it was like new...almost.

Luckily with my job I get sent some amazing home decor pieces to feature and these are just some of them. The little banner with the yellow house was from an Etsy shop called Moon & Bear and I love it.

The Polaroids were from Polabora and they were just great. I got really creative with them and even made a YouTube video showing you a DIY polaroid display.
You can simply YouTube 'Fashion Blogger Stacie' and the video should pop right up.

One great thing about PhotoBox is that they also do Polaroid photos and they do the most amazing retro prints where you can even add little quotes on the bottom. I thought that was so so cute and so I ordered some for a little project I'm working on. Again, such great quality! 

I'm really happy with our flat at the moment and whenever we have visitors they always compliment how 'homey' it is. That's something that I want people to think so that always makes me happy to hear! I'm going for a 'hygge' vibe and love people to feel at home.

A home away from home as they say!



We really did have some great days out.
The above photos were taken outside our house. We are very lucky to live in a very beautiful area by the water so just sitting outside with a book and my headphones is my ultimate way to chill out here. I could sit there for hours just looking at the view. 
It's beautiful all year round.

When designing the book I could simply choose a background that went with the page and so for this one I added leaves as I felt that the days out page was quite nature-related.



These are some more photos from days out at the beach. We are lucky to live close to a lot of different beaches and they have been some of my favourite days out. I like grabbing a group of friends and making a day of it.

If you're wondering what I am wearing in the picture on the right...it's Elliot's boxers. Don't ask.



Love, love, loved this background. What a lovely colour and pattern!

As you can see we had a lot of lovely food. Elliot pointed out when admiring my book that all these photos were taken when we were with our friend Seb. Which means he must know the best places to eat. 

The middle picture is a cafe that we frequented a lot called Prime. It's the best little place and we love to visit when we have spare time and cash.



Oh gosh. I miss my hamster so much! Walter actually passed away on the 7th January so it was a really horrid start to the year! I was so depressed. He wasn't just a hamster to me. He was like my child. So spoilt. I was heartbroken when he died. 
That was also one of the worst days of 2016. Elliot had to come home from work to console me because I called him and he thought my mum and dad had died or something. I couldn't even talk. He just turned up like 'What's going on?!' then saw Walter in my lap and just hugged me. 
I'm even getting emotional now. Let's move on.


Onto some positive news. My blog came so far this year. I started working with a lot of brands which was great for my blog and I got to discover some great companies who I now swear by and I can assure you PhotoBox will be one of them.


Some of my particular favourites were companies who I am now sponsored by such as Diff Eyewear, Flat Tummy Tea and Happy Socks. 
Signing sponsorship's was something I never thought would happen to me in a million years. I presumed sponsorship's were just for celebrities and so I was shocked when I signed my Diff contract. It all sounded too good to be true but working with them has been amazing. 
My career has actually been my highlight of 2016.
Outside of work life wasn't actually that great but it's all the blog-related things that kept me going strong.

I know I talk a lot about my blog and this book is full of blog-related things but that literally is what I did throughout the entirety of the year so it's hard to talk about much else. I have never really being a career focused woman. I was always very family-orientated and it seems the tables have turned.



I love these photos. They look great quality in the book! Motel Rocks have made my party wardrobe complete. I have some amazing show-stopping dresses thanks to them, very much appreciated!



I hit 50,000 followers at the beginning of the year and I was just shocked at how quickly I had gained that many followers. Just one year! I was determined to do just as well in 2016 and so that was my New Years Resolution. 



And I did it!!! 100,000 followers. I still can't believe it and same again, lets aim for 150,000 this year! 
I cannot thank everyone enough for following me and keeping up-to-date with my blog. It seems crazy that I'm keeping that many people interested. little old me!



Oh gosh. All the selfies. Not even through choice. A lot of brands ask for your face to be in the photos as obviously I am the face of my blog.
I promise I don't love it. In fact, 2016 was the year I've felt the most unattractive. My acne came back, my weight altered a lot, I started the ageing process haha! I wish I could steer clear of the camera sometimes!


OOOOOH what is it? What is it?
I can tell you it was the best moment of my entire life.



When I say it was the best moment of my life it was also the most unromantic.
Elliot proposed in the middle of an argument but either way...we are getting married and that's all that matters! 

It still was the best moment of my life because that's when it hit me that Elliot wants me to be his wife and he had the ring for months and months so it wasn't like he did it to shut me up. He actually wanted to marry me, I promise. :')

I still look at my ring with admiration every single day because it's just so stunning. A specially made created blue sapphire white gold ring. Which is too big but they don't do it any smaller as I am already on one of the smallest kids ring sizes. I need a size D which is ridiculous. I was a size C as a 7 year old.

I think it's so special that I now have this memory kept safe in a book that I can look at whenever I want.
What if I lose my memory when I'm older and cannot remember being 24? Well there won't be a problem now will there? :')



I always felt like part of Elliot's family anyway because they welcomed me in with open arms and I love them to bits but it just feels more 'official' now. I couldn't wish for a better mother-in-law, sister-in-law, father-in-law, stepmother and stepdad-in-law, and of course the crazy O-Gradys and everyone else in Elliot's family basically ! Oh and of course hilarious Grandad Bob. 
Just thank you for everything you have done for me this year guys!

It's a shame because I didn't see much of my own family this year but they all work so much and they don't really have lenient jobs where they can just pop up. 
I'd like to give a certain someones workplace a piece of my mind actually.

But anyway, thank you to my family too for welcoming Elliot into the family. You have all fell in love with him and even my dad has picked up calling Elliot 'Elly'. Hahaha! I couldn't be happier with our family situation right now. Hopefully a little Dalton-Tedstill to add in a few years? 



I really really am! I have a lot of goals to achieve but no set path so it's exciting to think what might happen. I have nothing big planned this year but I didn't last year and so much happened.
We shall just have to wait and see.



This photo was taken at Charl and Damon's engagement party and I love it. Elliot looked so smart and handsome that night but he shaved so he looked like an overgrown child at the same time.



These photos were taken on Elliot's birthday. I threw him a surprise pizza party! 
I made decorations all around the flat and got us all the ingredients to make our own pizzas.
I put on Italian music in the background and set out the living room to be our own Italian restaurant.
I was so happy with myself and we made THE BEST pizzas ever!! They were soooo good. I think we were both really surprised at how well we made them. We have tried again since but can never quite repeat our first ones. Typical!



We aren't getting married for a little while yet but I'd like to at least start jotting down some notes and viewing venues. Sooooo exciting. Marriage to me isn't just a piece of paper to confirm you're married or about having the big day with family and friends. It's about the vows and the commitment of spending the rest of your lives together with nobody else and I will take my marriage very seriously because I want nothing more than a lifetime of happiness with Elliot. If obstacles get in the way, we will go round them, should something go wrong, we will work it out. I just can't wait.




Nice pout Elliot. Travelling is something we have spoke about doing this year and I suppose it depends on our financial situation but I hope we manage to at least visit some places we spoke about.






Speaking of New Years resolutions, my last blog post was a whopping 37 of them that I want to give a good go. If you missed it, simply click 'here' to read it. You might even want to steal some, there are some good ones :) 



These are two of my favourites photos from 2016. If you're wondering why we are all suited and booted...we literally weren't going anywhere.
This was taken for a blog post that I never ended up doing but I really loved the photos. 



And that brings me to the end. Obviously a lot happened throughout 2016 but I couldn't fit every little detail in, so I had to pick some of my 'best bits'.
If you weren't in it please don't be offended. :')

2016 really has been such an amazing year for me. By far the best year of my life. I just want to thank everyone who was in it. All my friends, family and followers who have stuck by me through all my decisions and supported me on this crazy journey.

I love you all. Happy New Year. All the best for 2017. Cheers!


And a huge thank you to PhotoBox. I couldn't be happier with this amazing photobook. I have already being showing everyone who comes round. It's such a great keepsake that I will treasure forever. 
I look forward to working with you again in the future for an exciting Valentines Day collaboration!

If you enjoyed this post don't forget to press the little blue button that says follow at the bottom of this page so you don't miss any in the future! 





All the best, 






Disclaimer: I was sent this photobook free of charge by PhotoBox in exchange for a feature.
All opinions, words and photos in this blog post are my own.

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8 comments

  1. This is absolutely wonderful! What a lovely thing to create to have as a reminder for the year and what all happened. You obviously personalized it which makes it that much more meaningful. Thanks for sharing! (:

    Single Vegas Girl
    http://singlevegasgirl.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I definitely agree that it's a lovely special way to keep my memories. Thanks for reading! Happy New Year xx

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  2. This is such a lovely idea, i'm glad you enjoyed 2016. I am completely in love with your blog too, keep up the amazing work and I hope you have a lovely 2017 gorgeous lady x

    adelelydia.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, it means a lot when people recognise your hard work. Happy New Year. I hope this year is magical for you xx

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  3. Such a beautiful book you've created to keep your memories safe. Xx so lovely. It really does tell a story of your year. Xx Bestest wishes xx

    Keep Calm and start writing -
    www.23millymay25.blogspot.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. It's a great idea and gift isn't it! I'm very tempted to do it all again next year and make it a new tradition! xx

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  4. This is so lovely! It's always nice to look back on the year at achievements. Hope you have a lovely 2017! I did something similar for one of my family members and they said it was one of their favourite presents.

    Kirsty x
    www.thinklikekirst.blogspot.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. That's so lovely, it's great when you can get somebody and keepsake that holds so much sentiment. They are my favourite gifts to receive too! I hope you also have a fantastic 2017 xx

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