I’ve been blogging for many years now. When I was really young, I blogged about school and school gossip; when I entered my later teens I was blogging about the new Sleek blusher I bought and my new Primark items which were dupes of all things designer. Fast forward to university, and although I was blogging more sparingly, at this point I was really just telling ya’ll about my clothes, and why I thought X paired with Y is the way to go. Eventually, I started to slip in more thoughtful posts. The landscape of blogging had changed a bit – a lot of fashion bloggers were migrating to Instagram as their primary platform where more moolah and broader engagement was, I personally has stopped keeping up with the beauty side of things, and fast emerging were thoughtful, longer, articles – rather than blogs – that were taking centre stage. Dot a few fashion related photos into these blog posts if you want – but this is really what you’d mostly expect to see now if were choosing to read a blog. Naturally, I shifted along with the times.
This year I’ve posted about some more important issues such as colourism and racism. I’ve reflected a few times on the current pandemic. I’ve taking a time capsule back to when I first started blogging at age 9/10, and shared with you all what I wanted to be from the age of 5 to 25. I’ve put on my money hat and share tips for investing, finding a place to live and written about every single job and side hustle I’ve ever had. I definitely need to get better at sticking to blogging once a week (it has slowly slipped to 1x every 2 weeks…), but I think we certainly have gotten a lot more thoughtful, and dare I say it… deep here at Skylish this year and of course – a big thanks always to all of those that read!
So – let’s get into it. Here are my 5 favourites blog posts of the year…
#5: Making my money work better for me [read]
It was one of my resolutions this year to put my money to better use, and to make that a priority. I had invested my money in different ways in past – in 2017 I bought the cryptocurrencies Ethereum and Bitcoin, I can’t tell you I knew or even know much about these but my boyfriend Levi knows a lot so I trusted his advice and asked him to invest some of my money. At the height my (small) investment had 6x’ed. But for a long time I was just breaking even. Now I’m up maybe around 3-4x up following a rally this year. This is money I don’t really even look at anymore, it’s just sitting somewhere and if something amazing happened to it one day – that’d be great – but what’s more significant is that was my first time dipping my toes into investing (starting with the most volatile investment – as you do).
The next time I “invested” was in a property with my family which I sometimes rent out a room for. That was in 2018. But that property is also for living purposes (my brothers live there), along with the hope of some sort of capital gains over the long run. Finally, in 2019 I ended up starting to pay down some of my student loan when I really realised the meaning of of the 6% interest I was paying – I call this putting my money to good use.
This year, I wanted to invest again but into more traditional assets. I was just about to invest in a stocks and shares ISA in March time – before everything crashed (phew! To say the least). Eventually I invested some money in April and of course given what a bounceback the market has had I have been lucky that it’s done well – I am no expert in investing but I guess getting in after a market crash is always a good idea. Now I try to put some of my money away more regularly. It’s all about looking at the long term horizon.
This brings me to #5 in my list – a few tips in making your money work better for you. I am a low risk individual. But – I also understand that piling money in your bank account which pays measly interest whilst inflation is a real thing also isn’t the wisest idea. Depending on what you have, what your responsibilities are etc, you should generally try to invest some of your income if you want to make the most of it. $1.19 in 2020 = $1 in 2010.
#4: Everything to look out for when moving to a new place [read]
Who would have thought that at the end of the UK’s first lockdown – I’d be returning back to my old flat not to live, but to pack my stuff and move? Well, a series of events led to that exact outcome.
I could have definitely lived in that flat for another 4 years before I start to look for my “forever home”, I’ve never lived anywhere for that long aside from my family home so honestly, that flat holds a special place in my heart. However, as I was getting packed up to move I realised that I was, actually, ready to move. The main reason being is that I had become not-so-fond of the area. I think it might be because I was essentially living in my place of work (Canary Wharf), and a lot of my colleagues had warned me about it – but I did eventually reach a point where I wanted to get out to somewhere else.
I had moved into that flat straight after university and I remember being so amazed that I could live there. I even cheers-ed to a friend during the house warming drinks like damn – can you believe I’m here? It was a big upgrade – I was basically living in Canary Wharf, across a bridge from work, and it was in a modern apartment; whereas during university I lived in Central London in very old places and for 2 years I lived in ex-council flats (that’s how non super-rich students live in university in London, and as you do when you’re a student, you don’t even have a living room). It was far from luxurious.
This all said – the “new build” housing market is evolvingquickly! Now these big Buy to Sell developers such as Berkerley, Ballymore are Galliard are not just selling places to live, they are selling a whole new lifestyle. Gyms, better concierge service, pools, bars, restaurants, views of London from your balcony – this is what what you can come to expect from some of these newest developments, and I certainly wanted me some of that. In my new place, they tell us to treat it like a hotel, and that’s definitely how it feels sometimes. I also love that my current place has a separate office space in our apartment for us to work – which makes such a difference, especially given current time. As we got the place when the first lockdown was just about ending, we got it for an amazing price.
Tips for finding a place and negotiating a price – all in the blog post.
#3: All the jobs and side hustles I’ve ever had [read]
I saw something similar to this on another blog, and thought I would dig back through my history and share with you guys all of the jobs I’ve ever worked, and side hustles I’ve conjured up.
“Side hustling” is very mainstream now to say the least – but it’s not a bad thing. It’s something I’ve always done – I’ve always had my own website, and when I was 15, that’s the first time I made my own mini business and started selling web designs.
I think I have two very distinct sides to myself, for (1) I’m very academic and by-the-book. I’ve been able to get the grades, go to a good uni, and get a good job – I followed the book. But at the same time (2) I have a creative side. I’ve always found something creative to do with the rest of my time, be it writing stories, making comics, making magazines with my cousins, theatre, Instagram and social media, blogging, dance, etc. I remember telling a friend when we were barely teenagers that I just loved keeping busy with lots of stuff and she thought I was crazy, but that’s really how I am until today, and I think that’s why I’m so good at spending time alone, because in that time if I’m not lazing around watching YouTube and Netflix, I’m probably blogging, editing something, or researching for other projects.
This blog lists all the side hustles and jobs I’ve ever had – the good, the bad, and the ugly, including a 2 month stint in a café job in which I was sent home for not knowing what sundried tomatoes were, eventually told I would “lose my rights” when I gave them the middle finger and quit.
#2: Let’s talk colourism [read]
Have you ever purged through your old tweets? If not, I suggest doing it now. Personally, from a young age, my parents drilled it in us to be very careful about what we post online, but a lot of people seemingly did not get the same memo. No matter how many online “cancellations” happen after old controversial tweets have been exposed, people continue to get caught slipping and newer old tweets are always getting exposed.
In the Autumn, there was a big fiasco around the exposing of old colourist tweets – these were essentially hateful tweets about dark skinned women. It definitely sent me back in time. I am a dark skinned woman and I love my skin, but I had forgotten that it hasn’t always been that way. I haven’t always loved my dark skin and for many years when I was younger I yearned to have a “caramel complexion” – the black boys at school, the internet and rappers’ songs all seemed to suggest at the time that this was the way forward. Lighter was hot, and we were… not.
Bringing this all back to light of course got me to open up my laptop and start typing, reliving and sharing all that I experienced when I was younger. My favourite posts are those that I sit down and write from start to finish in one sitting, and this was one of them. It was 150% written totally from the heart.
#1: Revisiting the topic of confidence [read]
I really didn’t grow up a confident person. I was shy. Sure, when you got to know me I can be my actual self – but to get to that point a barrier would first of all have to be broken. At the same time, there were some elements of confidence about me. For example, one thing could also do from younger age was public speaking. I also spent many of my early teen years doing stage shows. It was always a bit of a catch 22 – I could turn on some confident parts of myself when the time called for me to, but I still froze up like a mute when meeting new people. At some point, I accepted this was me. Sure – I’m quiet – but that doesn’t mean I’m not a good person?
Of course it didn’t. But let’s be honest – being too shy can hold you back from many things. I applied for Head Girl during Sixth Form and whilst my speech was good, my “group task” quite frankly wasn’t because I personally found it hard to get a word in. I applied to be in a dance production when I was maybe around 16 (?) and whilst I could give you a good choreographed dance, they asked me to do a solo freestyle and the shyness ate me up inside. It’s a lot!
Over time I’ve grown in confidence. What kicked it off was first of all rebuking the fact that “this was me”. Instead of accepting it, I made efforts to change it, and that was mostly through stepping out of my comfort zone – going to different types of events, talking to people I don’t even know, and just constantly pushing myself to do more. Also, getting older has helped because the older I get, the less I care. And also, experience has helped. For example, it just wouldn’t work to be grippingly shy in my job.
I am in the best place in terms of confidence that I’ve ever really been. It must be something in the sauce of turning 25…
I reflect on my confidence over the years in what I think is my favourite post of 2020. For anyone struggling with confidence – this post will be helpful! Learn not to accept it and instead to burst right through it, self development is everything.
Those are my favourite posts in the year – that I’d happily share again and again! I do a couple of things with my time and spare time but I must say, writing for me is the most therapeutic. It’s my first and earliest hobby/love, and I’m so glad I am still doing it today.