• Alexa Dione Francis

Hello, 2020

Happy New Year you lovely lot and welcome to the Roaring Twenties 2.0 baby.

It is that time of year where you are ambushed with literally everyone reflecting on the past year and sharing their goals and resolutions for the New Year coming. I am no different but I am somewhat excited to be doing another one of these...especially as I felt that I have lived about four years in one. Thanks, 2019.

I wrote one of these last year and I talked a lot about how 2018 had not been kind to me and for better or worse, 2019 was a year of growth for me as I am now realising. I am going to briefly give you a little list of things that happened in 2019 that were really positive for me riiiiight here:

Highlights include:

- Starting my first 'proper' full-time job

- I drove to Nottingham to see Catfish and the Bottlemen with my auntie

- Hitting 1k on Instagram before my end of year goal

- working with 'Nobody's Child'

- letting go of friendships and relationships I thought would last

- reconnecting with some old friends

- dropping everything to bugger off to Paris with Elle

- walking a LLAMA (Dominic, I miss you)

- Ed Sheeran's homecoming gig at Ipswich

- All the Suffolk Bloggers meet-ups

- Latitude Festival (particularly the BBC Sounds tent watching MO with my sister)

- my best friend had a baby (!!!)

- Turned 21

- Met James Acaster, my absolute favourite comedian

- I got my rib tattoo covered up and re-done, I have been in love with it ever since

- Saw Rob Beckett on tour

- Went vegetarian (still am!) and heavily reduced my dairy intake too, not 100% vegan but I swapped a lot of things for plant based alternatives

- Got tickets to watch a live TV recording of 'The Mash Report' with my mum, we were front row and less than a metre away from Nish Kumar

- I got four extra tattoos

- Stayed in Hever Castle and had the best vegan burger that I still think about to this day

- met Chloe and Jess, we became the Fab Four along with Abi (@styledby.chloe, @jesselleking, @abisblog follow them and love them as much as I do)

and so many more!

But that brings me to what I wrote last year which were a bunch of things that I hoped to come from 2019. I had five main points; I truly embrace self-love, to travel and go see some shit, to not let my anxiety get the best of me or prevent me from doing things, improve my photography and finally, to be vegetarian.

So, how did that go?

Well, I am definitely well on my way to embracing self-love! I love doing things for me that make me feel good, prioritising myself and looking after my mind and my body (although it has just been Christmas so I am a little bit more marshmallowy than I feel comfortable with so I have started walking nearly everywhere again) which has been really nice and I have felt very content. I did not get to travel as much as I wanted to in 2019 but I did go to some lovely places in England and had such a lovely summer with my family and friends.

Anxiety-wise, I went on Sertraline which is an anti-depressant for about six months. I would say that the first couple of weeks were pretty horrific, it got better and I felt much more balanced. Eventually I ended up feeling like it wasn't doing much and that I could do okay managing on my own again. I would say that it enabled me to still do things rather than holding me back. I think there can be quite a stigma around taking medication to manage your mental health which is then added to the stigma that surrounds mental health in general. If it works for you and makes you feel better, there is nothing wrong with taking something to help you feel more balanced. Similarly, if it makes you feel worse, don't take them, find another way of managing that works for you. Either way, it's important to note that tablets don't cure or make it all go away!

In June, I switched to a vegetarian lifestyle and began swapping out other animal products for as many plant based alternatives as I can. I am still a vegetarian, I don't ever feel like I'm missing out and thanks to KFC, I can now enjoy a fast food treat with their new vegan burger! I decided to go veggie after getting increasingly stressed about climate change so I have been slowly but surely aiming to decrease my contribution to it as well as expanding my food palette.

Let's talk about my 2020 top five goals, shall we?

Top 5 Things

I Hope to Come From 2020

1. YouTube

A few weeks ago over on Instagram, I talked about potentially starting a YouTube channel and created an Insta Poll to see if anyone would actually be interested in watching. I was actually really surprised as almost one hundred people voted for 'Yes, do it!' and I had zero votes for 'No'. This has definitely encouraged me to just jump into something without having a self-confidence meltdown full of overthinking which is a huge positive. Look out, I'm going to be vlogging and doing haul videos to the point of bankruptcy and allllll sorts! Watch this space.

2. Take as many city breaks as you can (...afford lol)

Like I mentioned, 2019 did not see me travel much at all. This year I really want to go out and see places that aren't Suffolk so that I can miss home rather than having that 'stuck' feeling. This year on the list is: Barcelona, Amsterdam (again but in Spring this time, I want to go to the tulip fields), Edinburgh and the big one; New York City. Lots and lots of saving required so extreme money saving techniques are essential. All I can think about is Kendall Jenner right now.

“I think you should experience it. You always say you want to experience things but I don’t think you actually want to experience things because you would experience it if you wanted to experience things.”Kendall Jenner, 2016

And I think I need to live by that. Thank you, Kendall.

3. Grow

I went into this new year feeling quite settled and content with myself on the inside and life in general. That is some big ol' growth for me and would love to keep that going. Protect my energy. Fill myself before giving my all to everyone but me. I am trying it out already and I am really loving it.

4. Start Yoga

This is something that I have wanted to do for so long now, I think it would be so good for my body and my mind. I have been putting it off for a really long time now and I don't know why. Here's to 2020 being the year of throwing myself into the things that I want to do but keep avoiding! Alex, you are coming with me when you're home, I will hold you to your promise that we'd do it together!

5. Prioritise My Relationship with Me

I have actually already begun this and woooooow I love it. I have always liked my own company, I am quite independent so sometimes just hanging with myself is quite nice. No expectations, doesn't matter if I cancel plans (I'll understand) and although I am not always kind to myself (this is the bit I need to prioritise), I am always fine to chill on my ones. And I really like it. Pls no one disturb my peace, I'm just vibing.

I am super excited for the year ahead, there is so much I want to do. I've also made the decision to officially start my goals for the new year in February so that I'm not a total cliche and I'm not giving in to the pressure of the 'New Year, New Me'. January is a time for getting back into routine after Christmas, February is the time when you merge your new routine with your existing one.

I hope you all had a fab New Year's Eve (it was only two weeks ago so it's not weird to say that yet), I know I did! I hope Yates just kicked Elle and I out for the night rather than kicking us out and slapping us with a lifetime ban but either way, it was a great night.

Here's to the rest of 2020, fingers crossed it's a good one! See you soon...

All my love,

Alexa x