31 Dec 2020 14 comments

Looking Back On 2020.

Closing another chapter…

Well, I think it’s fair to say that the opening year of the new decade was not a success! 2020, you were unexpected, uncertain, unprecedented, unfair and unhinged. No one, literally no one, could have foreseen such a wild time ahead when we cheered and whooped when the bells chimed at midnight on the 1st January. 

This year has been a learning curve for me, I have come to understand so much about myself; how I react to situations, how I can stay positive despite whatever is thrown my way, how I use mechanisms to cope. I’ve realised how resilient and strong I am, and also how soft and compassionate I am too.
I honestly don’t think I could have had a worse year than last year, so 2020 has been more about feeling empathy and carrying the struggles of others – if that makes sense. Of course, my life changed massively this year, but I was in a fortunate position; mine and Jordan’s jobs were affected but not to the point where our lives changed too dramatically. We were (and still are) lucky, but it still felt like a very anxious and uncertain time and I had a lot of moments this year where I wondered how we’d get through it at all.

I want to try and sum up the good parts of 2020, because I know amongst all the chaos there was a simplicity to life that I enjoyed. I embraced the slower pace and I also worked hard and took care of myself and my loved ones in a way I’ve never really stopped to do before.

My Year In Highlights…

01. Visiting Morocco. Our one big trip this year, and one of my favourite places I’ve ever been. Marrakech was a culture shock in so many ways but I loved the crazy bustle of daily life, we were totally immersed in this entire different way of living. I am so glad we managed to squeeze in this trip before the world shut down, I feel so lucky to have been able to see a place that has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember!

02. Staying sane. Honestly, I think it’s enough that we even made it through this year! I’m trying to make this a positive, reflective post but wow… it was a tough year. I remember Jordie and I both turning our phones off for periods of time this year, something we’ve never ever done in all our adult lives! I remember wanting to delete my social media altogether, to never post another image online ever again. I had many bad periods where I needed time away from the online world, it was a very overwhelming place to be this year and it really made me question everything about my career.
I spent a lot of time anxious and worried for myself and my loved ones and in the end I ended up seeking help and seeing a therapist. Taking steps to look after my mental health was such a massive milestone for me so I’m really proud to have done this, I already feel like it’s done me wonders.

03. Renovating & moving home. While I am proud of myself for seeing this through and finishing our new home, I want to make it clear that I do not ever recommend renovating during a pandemic. It was expensive, stressful, exhausting and possibly not worth it at all. When lockdown first happened in March, I just gave up on the place. I honestly thought we would just never finish it – but somehow, slowly, it came together. There’s still bits I’d like to do but I feel like I’ve still got a bit of decision fatigue so I’m hoping the new year will help me to dust off my DIY skills and get on with all the snags that annoy me day to day. We’re so grateful we were in a position to finish this place while not living there, I think we must have said a million times “think of all the people who stripped their homes only for the world to lock down!!”

04. SHOTY success. I can’t even begin to explain how proud I am of our little show, Scotland’s Home Of The Year. Not only did it receive rave reviews when the second series aired earlier this year, but it was quickly recommissioned for a third series and we got a surprise (for me!) BAFTA nomination too. I’ve said before that I took this job thinking it would be a small one-time side gig, but somehow it has become a massive part of my life. I can’t wait for you to see series three in Spring next year, I loved filming it and I’m really, truly proud of all the work that went in to it. It’s such a massive part of my life and I hope that shows when it finally airs!

05. Making the most of it! From weekly zoom quizzes to entire days in the park having socially distanced picnics, painting our old kitchen, creating an indoor beer garden when we weren’t allowed to leave the house. Throwing a zoom wedding party for our friends on their would-be wedding day, walking every single day just to stay sane, keeping in touch with my loved ones however we could.
We were resilient, resourceful and hopeful. I made some amazing memories this year, despite everything that was going on – and looking through those photos only confirms that!

06. Turning 30. As if living through a pandemic wasn’t enough, I also hit a milestone age! My 30th birthday was this month and it was actually wonderful. My friends completely rallied around me, as did Jordan who surprised me again and again with lovely experiences, memories and pressies.
I had such big plans for my 30th birthday and I’m still a little sad I didn’t get to have the party I had planned, or any party at all, but it’s done now and I’m just thankful that I felt loved and special on such a big day!

07. Market turned 3! Our coffee shop Market was only ever meant to be a project we wanted to commit to for a few years, we thought we would get the place up and running (the area lacked a good coffee shop!) and then sell it to someone with a similar vision. Our plan for this year was to sell the shop, travel more and just enjoy a bit of freedom – Market had always been such a massive tie to Glasgow for us and we were hoping to change that. 
And then lockdown happened and we had to shut up shop. We actually had someone interested in buying the place so we had visions of never opening again! When that fell through, and in June when we were allowed to open again, having the shop gave us purpose again. We had structure, routine, we could see our regulars, socialise with friends. It honestly saved us this year and I’m so glad we didn’t sell up! We just celebrated our third year open and it’s been a wild ride – I’m oh so proud of the way Jordan has run the shop, it’s a lovely spot in the Southside and we are lucky to have some of the best customers too!

A Few Personal Goals…

01. Working on my brand. Even though my paid campaigns pretty much came to a halt as soon as lockdown began, I had so much time at home that it meant I was able to work on my content and find my way a little more with my brand. I have always wanted to include more of a lifestyle element, to share my interiors updates while still feeling like I cover a bit of everything. I want to inspire my audience, to show that anyone can create a life they love what they’ve been given – and I like to think I really did that this year. I’ve always been one to stay true to myself, to share only what I love and enjoy, and work with brands that are the perfect fit for me, and I feel proud that I’m able to say it really felt like I fine-tuned that this year! I’ve never felt so sure of the content I produce, and that is a wonderful feeling!

02. A stronger relationship with Jordie, in both work and life. I’m sure anyone who lived and worked at home with their other half this year knows the hardships – getting through this year in a happy relationship is definitely something to be proud of! I think Jord and I learned so much about each other this year, even after nine years together. We strengthened our bond, worked on our businesses together and kept each other afloat during such an anxious and often soul-destroying time.

03. Feeling at home in our new place. Moving home was such a big move for us, we’d lived in our old flat for six years and I was so attached to it – I was so emotional when we moved to our new place and it took me a long time for our new flat to feel like home. But here we are, almost six months in and loving it. It’s been stressful, tiring and expensive and I don’t feel that same attachment I did to our first home, but I love it here and I’ve really learned a lot during the renovation process.
I have so much more I want to share with you, so hopefully I can get myself organised to share more reno content in the coming months!

04. Re-learning to drive. I passed my test in 2013 and I have barely been in a car since. I would occasionally drive in New Zealand on quiet country roads, but I still felt so much anxiety and fear that it was a struggle to even work up the courage to get in the driver’s seat! I never thought I would be at a stage where I would feel comfortable enough to buy a car, it wasn’t even on my list of goals for the year. But then lockdown happened and we wanted to go on drives, see more of where we live and make our life a little easier too. It’s been a few months now and I can drive anywhere, it feels second nature to me – whether I’m driving through town or on a windy road around Loch Lomond. This is one of my biggest accomplishments because I never thought I would ever feel comfortable driving, it really does feel like a miracle.

My Resolutions Unwrapped…

Of course, my year didn’t quite go to plan – which I’m sure is the same for us all! But that’s not to say I didn’t achieve anything, which is why I love setting myself so many goals each year. When I actually stopped and took stock on how far I had come, I was in awe at how much I had moved forward despite the restrictions placed on us.
We somehow managed to finish renovating the new flat and then move in, right in the middle of a pandemic. It was hell on earth, I never wish to do anything that stressful or money-draining again in all my life. But we had no choice, we had to move so we had to get the place finished. I’m so glad we did, although it took a long time for it to feel like home, I feel settled here and I’m so proud of all that we’ve done.

With being at home so much, I felt like my content on here and Instagram really stepped up a notch. I’ve always known interiors is a big chunk of what my audience want to see, but I didn’t realise how much that would affect my audience. After years of my Instagram following not moving, I think I grew about 40,000 followers this year which is absolutely huge! I’m so grateful to everyone who has liked, shared and commented on my photos, I feel so happy with where I’m at right now.

So while I didn’t work on a new project, I didn’t reach my 30 countries before 30 goal, I didn’t plan a month abroad, have the family reunion I wanted so badly or take a big trip to somewhere exotic, I hit milestones and achieved goals I didn’t even know I had.
I bought a car and felt comfortable driving years after passing my test, I was on the cover of a (very small) lifestyle magazine, we were nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for Scotland’s Home Of The Year, and I felt happier with myself too.
Jordan and I spent more time together than ever before – living and working in our two bedroom flat for the most part of the year, barely able to leave the house! Despite this we’re doing better than ever before and I feel so happy with where we’re at in life.

My Top Five Reads…

Hot Little Hands by Abigal Ulman
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Clare Lombardo
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
My Year Of Rest & Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

My Year In Numbers…

271; the number of photos I posted to Instagram
3; the number of gigs I went to
30; the number of books I read
69,123; the minutes of music I listened to on Spotify
2; the number of new countries I visited

In 2020 I Discovered…

Larkins; my favourite band right now.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia; possibly what got me through this year…
A slower pace; and I loved it!
Therapy; grief counselling has really helped me unpack a lot of feelings while navigating a pandemic!
Incense; seriously, I’m obsessed with the stuff!

…And A Few More Favourite Memories!

Seeing The Band Camino live (my favourite band!), summer socially distanced park hangs with our besties, road trips throughout Scotland, filming a BAFTA acceptance speech, moving in to our new home, discovering how much I love walking, turning 30, spending so much time at home, moving Julie Cooper the plant to our new flat, filming another series of Scotland’s Home Of The Year, finishing our beautiful pink bathroom, reading so many books, feeling happier with where I’m at in life, working hard but clocking off at 4pm for a beer in our sunny kitchen every other afternoon during that first lockdown, Christmas at home just the two of us, my Danny Devito cut-out birthday surprise, our dreamy green shelves finally being finished, getting to visit so much of Scotland while filming, celebrating milestone birthday’s with my besties when we could, seeing The 1975 live (our final gig!), watching my friends thrive with their own projects, sunny cycles around Glasgow during summer, watching Jordie create new music, more time at home with the cats!

A Final Note…

So while it’s been one hell of a year, there have been a whole lot of highlights too! I know not everyone can look back and pull so many positives from 2020, so believe me when I say I am incredibly grateful that this year was kinder to me than the last.

One thing I will say is that I feel a lot of gratitude for the small things, and this is because a month or so ago I made a list of everything positive that had happened this year. There were small things, like getting my braces off and learning to love exercise (walking daily instead of my old gym routine), discovering new bands and growing my hair.
And then bigger events too – like Scotland’s Home Of The Year being aired, well received and also recomissioned.
I became closer to my best friends, I managed to celebrate to of their 30th’s before lockdown happened, and I feel thankful every day that I have such a solid group of people around me.
Writing down these little goals helped me to see the year in a more positive light, so I would recommend doing something similar if you feel you can.

This year I also took charge of my mental health and I’ve really worked on being kinder to myself, feeling happier in my skin, ditching weight goals and plans to change anything about my appearance. I am more motivated when it comes to my work, I feel proud of my content and I’m working with some of my dream brands!

I think it’s important to note that a lot of this couldn’t have happened without you guys – as always, your support is unwavering and every like, comment, message, share and save has helped me go from strength to strength in a year that could have been stagnant and dull. You have been through so much with me now, I’ve been writing this blog for over ten years and I know so many of you were with me from the gh0stparties days – watching me meet Jordan, move to Glasgow, get engaged, elope to New York, buy our first flat and cheer from the sidelines and we’ve created such a happy little life.
You were there for me when I lost my mum to Motor Neurone Disease, and you’ve been with me this year when I thought about deleting my entire online presence. I hope you understand how much that means to me, please never forget how much of an impact you make on my life.

So here’s to a new year, it’ll be tough for a little while but I hope to see some positive changes in due course. Sending so much love to you all, thank you for sticking with me for another year!

All my love,
Kate xo.

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