2017 has been a simple year – no ‘major’ changes have occurred, but it’s been a good one! It’s been a mix of little (and big, I guess!) adventures here and there, as well as lots of chilled nights too. I’ve grown up a lot this year and have become more independent, deciding to start looking towards my future more.

It seems like this year has passed by in a blink of an eye and it’s going to be fun looking back at the year in review.
Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | My 2017 in review
1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
I travelled! It was one of the scariest but most rewarding experiences of my life, booking onto a tour with TrekAmerica and then travelling around Mexico. Even now I still can’t believe I did it! I also finally got taken to Winter Wonderland.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Hmm. These were last years resolutions, and I only stuck to three. I did start watching Black Mirror (but didn’t watch all of it), I began Pound Fitness classes (super fun) and saved money. That’s about it really – although I did take one drumming lesson, ha.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My bestie Amy!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
We had to put down my dog, Jasper, earlier on in the year. It was heartbreaking but he was just so old, he’d lived a good life and lived longer than we imagined he would. He just didn’t have much quality of life anymore so at least he’s at peace.
5. What places did you visit?
Mexico! Romania! Also Blackpool.
6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
I’d like a new phone or a proper camera for blogging. I’ll start researching options soon and maybe grab something in the January sales. I finally got a rockstar boyfriend though! Well he doesn’t play any instruments but he dresses like a rockstar. I’m a lucky lady.
7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched in your memory, and why?

So many memories from travelling, like getting on the plane at the airport and when I woke up the next morning in Mexico and opened the curtains to see the sights of Cancun. It was such a unique feeling that I’ll never forget. Meeting my boyfriend too. It was a very laid back simple date which turned into something amazing. Oh and meeting his family and seeing his hometown in Romania. It’s funny how a family who don’t even speak the same language as you can make you feel so welcome.

8. What was your biggest achievement this year?
Finally going travelling.
9. What was your biggest failure?

Nothing, really.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope!
11. What was the best thing you bought?
That old TrekAmerica tour 😉 and my new car!
12. Who’s behaviour merited celebration?

Ah it’s got to be my boyfriend. If I’m upset, he’ll do the sweetest things to cheer me up, like go out in the cold to get my favourite food and sit down and watch corny movies with me. I also know I annoy the sh*t out of him a lot of the time and he still puts up with me. My sister, too. My niece is growing fast and my sister has been an absolute amazing mum.

13. Who’s behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Apart from a lot of harassment and drama from my boyfriend’s ex (I was certainly appalled at how long it went on for, even well into our relationship), no one has irked me this year really.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Travelling. My car. Food. Haha.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Mexico. Romania. Blackpool. Christmas.

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?

Ride by twenty one pilots because it’s the song that help me turn my boyfriend into a fan and we listened and sung along to it constantly. I especially remember driving down country lanes in the summer with the windows down and this blaring loud out of the speakers, singing at the top of our voices.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you :

a. happier or sadder? Happier. Any guesses why?
b. thinner or fatter? Thinner. Going vegan does wonders for your weight 😉
c. richer or poorer? Richer. I’ve finally began to save more this year.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Nothing!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Nothing!

20. How did you spend Christmas?

At my sisters house. It was the first time in a good few years that I really felt the Christmas spirit.

21. Did you fall in love in 2017?

I did indeed.

22. What was your favourite TV program?

Stranger Things, obvs.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate at this time last year?

Nah. I’m over hate.

24. What was the best book you read?

I Heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk or, more recently, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. There’s probably others but I can’t remember.
25. What music did you get excited about?

Well when my sister and I went out for my birthday, there was a secret set by this amazing band called Dat Brass. They were so energetic and charismatic, we were moshing right down the front! I had a listen on their Spotify and it doesn’t do them any justice to how amazing they are live, but they were one of those bands that grabbed my attention instantly. I’ll definitely be checking them out live again.

26. What did you want and get?
I wanted a new bag and some perfume – perfect.
27. What did you want and not get?

Nothing!

28. What was your favourite film of this year?
Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 (I’m Mary Poppins, Ya’ll!) or Thor: Ragnarok which was insanely funny. I’m not even a fan of the Thor movies but this was a good one.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 28 and spent the morning with my boyfriend, worked, then had the family round for a curry. Simple, but exactly what I wanted.
 
30. What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?
Getting a job more related to my degree, but at least I see a future where I am now.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Stylish. Slowly getting there since starting at H&M again, buying staple pieces etc. I still have lazy days though.

32. What kept you sane?

My boyfriend!

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Probably either one of the twenty one pilots boys still. #SorryNotSorry Or Sam Thompson!
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Nothing, really!
35. Whom did you miss?

My mum and Jasper. There’s still points now where I catch myself and forget they’re not around anymore.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
My amazing, thoughtful, kind, hard working boyfriend.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
Appreciate the little things. Adventures are fun, but so is just spending time with the people you love.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I really don’t know! I’ve loved so many songs this year.
How would you sum up your 2017? Let me know!
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I’m all about that side hustle: earning extra cash, burrowing away savings… and then using all that extra/saved cash for travelling/gig tickets/pretty things for the home. I may not have used that money for anything significant in the past, but you can bet your ass that in 2018 I’m getting my sh*t together and saving towards something a bit more grown up like my own flat or actual travelling.

I also want to save more in the new year and to do that, I’ve been researching (and dabbling in!) some alternative ways to earn extra cash. Because we all know how f*cked we are as a generation and even professionals with genuinely good paying jobs struggle with saving to buy their own property and the like. I can’t be arsed getting a second job – ain’t nobody got time for that – and I gave up on Ebay/Vinted/Depop when no one wanted to buy my sh*t. So, like most people my age, I’ve turned towards other means and they’ve actually somewhat worked so far!
Here are some alternative/easier ways to earn extra cash in 2018.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Money | Alternative ways to earn extra cash in 2018 | Money Saving | Chip | BingoKings | Monzo | OnePulse | CitizenMe | ReceiptHog | Matched Betting | OddsMonkey

APPS
I’ve been using apps on my phone a lot this year so far and they’ve been one of the easiest/best methods to earn/save extra cash. I’ve been using Chip since mid July – and cannot recommend it enough. I have already saved £189 out of my bank account without even realizing it. Monzo, on the other hand has helped tons with budgeting – and they’ve recently obtained a banking license. It works sort of like a (bright pink uber cool looking) pre-paid card so, for example, I load on however much I need for parking and petrol so that I’ve got that put aside every month and don’t have to worry about trying to afford it when it reaches the end of the month and I’m skint. I’ve also earned £6.17 with OnePulse since installing it in the summer. It’s not tons, but it’s free money just by answering a few questions every now and then. You need a £5.00 minimum payout for this app but for instant earnings, try CitizenMe. Each short survey earns you between 5p and £2.00 and is paid into your Paypal account immediately upon completion. I’ve earned £9.21 so far, but haven’t been using it much in recent months so that’s still a fair bit since the summer. Finally, ReceiptHog. I haven’t been using it for long – and it’s clear to see you need to gather a lot of receipts to earn enough points to withdraw – but if you’ve got them sitting around or save them from a shopping trip, you might as well scan them in!
MATCHED BETTING
This one can take a while to get your head around but as long as you go slowly and follow a guide, you’ll realize how easy it is to win with matched betting – and it’s totally legal. I’m certainly no expert on this and I’m still learning, but a general way to put it is you put two opposite bets on the same game/match etc so that whatever the outcome, you win something. It also relies a lot on new sign up offers with betting websites so that you don’t lose any of your own cash. People have claimed to earn up to an extra £1000 a month through this means. OddsMonkey is particularly helpful – you pay a small fee – but it offers training videos and essentially does a lot of the work for you so it’s perfect for beginners.
SELLING OLD SMELLY SHOES
This might sound silly, but there’s a whole world out there when you think about who can benefit from buying your old smelly shoes you no longer wear. Yes, it’s people with foot fetishes. I’ve yet to make a huge lot from this method but being that I’d usually just throw my old shoes away, it’s nice to sell them on even when they’re in terrible condition. Try ebay first – but be careful of what words you actually use to sell your shoes – then look into selling on specific websites or even setting a persona up on Tumblr or a similar site. There are tons of helpful guides online so if you have some old shoes lying around that you want to get rid off, definitely consider selling them for some decent cash instead of just throwing them out.
ONLINE GAMING
Bingo is actually really popular these days to people of all ages – both online and offline. People love the thrill they get from winning bingo and I especially love that I can sit at home and play in the comfort of my own bed. Off course you need to be careful when venturing into online gaming, but as long as you only see it as a bit of fun or an opportunity to win – not earn – a bit of extra cash, you’re good to go. I tend to only deposit £30 or less every now and then – when I can afford it – and go through it slowly. I also tend to stick to less empty rooms later at night – so there’s less people to play against – and for smaller wins as these all add up in time. Also, I don’t know about anyone else, but I always tend to win with beginners luck!

TREAT YOURSELF AND BE REALISTIC
Finally, you can’t be strict all the time. If you meet your saving goal for a month, treat yourself to something small (whereas I treat myself throughout the month which doesn’t work): this will help motivate you to not spend unnecessarily and will also give you time to think about what’s really worth spending your money on. If you’re saving to pay off debts, do what my brother did. Once you’re done, cut up your credit card, pop it on a nice background and frame it. His cut up credit card now sits proudly on his hallway wall and not only does it look awesome but it’s a great achievement to look at whenever he enters his flat. Hard work needs to be recognised sometimes – good luck!

What do you think? Do you use any of these methods to save money? Let me know!

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*sounds klaxon* Christmas is next week. ARGH. Well, it’s more like this week really, since Christmas Eve is on SUNDAY. How bloody scary is that?!
Anyway. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been working tons in the lead up to Christmas and have been stressing and dropping money left right and centre for last min gift ideas for family and friends.
But do you know who really deserves some gifts this year? That’s right. You.
So check out my one and only gift guide of 2017 and see what small stocking fillers you can still treat yourself to this year. They might not be grand and expensive. They might be pretty and never used again after Christmas. But hey, treat yo’ self anyway, am I right?!

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Stocking fillers from you...to you | Christmas | Stocking Fillers | Gift Guide

ONE
Well everyone loves unicorns and everyone loves facemasks, am I right? To be honest, I couldn’t give a crap at how well a facemask makes my skin look – as long as it’s a relaxing process to wear it and it’s super cute and funky like this one.

TWO
I love this iPhone projector – and how cheap it is. It’s a really quirky but sweet stocking filler, perfect for watching videos on your phone. To be honest, I don’t know anyone who has enough space on their phone for a full movie, but I think it’ll be great to use to watch things on Youtube or scroll through holiday photos.

THREE
You can never go wrong with a pair of soft, fluffy socks, let’s face it. Perfect for lounging around the house in and also venturing outside and wearing with a pair of winter boots. Being an adult is all about losing matching socks and never getting around to buying any new ones, so why not treat yourself to a cute pair now?!

FOUR
Candles for everyone! This is a little generic as you can buy candles pretty much anywhere but I love this particular brand from TK Maxx. They always smell lush and they look super cute and stylish in a home too. Perfect for warm cosy nights spent inside this winter!

FIVE
I actually picked up one of these sweet four piece lip kits recently and can’t believe that they’ve got TopShop stuff for sale in TK Maxx. This set is so cute; it includes lip liner, lip paint, lip mattifier and lip glitter. It all matches too which is great as I find it super hard to find a lip liner that matches my lipstick. It’s available in a few different shades also.

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So there we have it. Five cheap as chips ideas for little stocking fillers for you and only you this Christmas – enjoy! 😉

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I’m afraid I’ve jumped onto the latest bandwagon and that is the #2017bestnine – aka your nine most liked photos on Instagram in 2017. Of course it’s always fun to see what content people have liked the most and it’s nice to look over old photos and memories from throughout the year.
Mine told me that I received 8,665 likes across 124 posts in 2017 – I thought I posted more than that! Anyway, here’s my top nine and a sum up of what each photo is. 
Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | #2017bestnine | Instagram | Year In Review
ONE
So from top to bottom, left to right. My first photo is a veggie haloumi burger from a place called Relish Real Burgers in St Albans. I’d met my brother after work one afternoon, having not long started my job in H&M. The burger was delicious, if a little messy! 
TWO
My second photo was my first full vegan lunch from Prets. I do struggle with Prets because I find they have a lot of choice but some of it is so varied and out there – to be honest more often than not I’m just happy with a vegan alternative to a cheese and onion sandwich! But this falafel salad was surprising and I actually really liked it, despite the beans in it. It filled me up too.
THREE
Next up is a smoothie I made back in January when I was on a health kick. Despite actually losing weight and getting healthier that January, I can safely say I did not keep up with my smoothie obsession. Mainly because I can never be bothered to buy all the ingredients and then I get really excited to see the ‘four ingredient’ smoothies which actually just don’t taste of anything. I even brought enough fruit for a few more servings of this particular smoothie and I froze it all and labelled the bag. That bag is still at home in my Dad’s freezer…hey, maybe next January, eh?
FOUR
Fourth is a fairly recent photo of my desk set up at my boyfriend’s flat! There’s not much to say about this really – it’s an inspiring space with a beautiful desk from Kit Out My Office and I actually feel really grown up and sophisticated having my own ‘blogger space’.
FIVE
Following on from that photo is a quick snap I took of/at the Milton Keynes Christmas display. It’s only a small one but it’s ever so pretty and means a lot to me as I’ve visited every single year since as long as I can remember. Going with my family used to be a huge highlight for me at Christmas and my parents used to often surprise me by taking me there. These days I tend to go with friends or my boyfriend but it always brings back really nice memories – I’ll always remember going there to meet Santa with my cousins or, when I was older, doing Christmas shopping too with my parents.
SIX
OH MY GOD VEGAN PIZZA. This pizza from Purezza in Brighton was soooo good. My boyfriend and I popped down to Brighton for two days/one night for a gig and to just visit the seaside and of course made a visit to the heavily recommended restaurant. They’re about to (or maybe just have, I can’t quite remember) open another branch in London, too. This makes me both happy and sad because it’s great that it’s nearby but it means I can no longer talk my boyfriend into a trip to Brighton just to visit. Still, the food was AMAZING and I’d definitely recommend everyone visit (vegan or not).
SEVEN
Ahhhh, fond memories. Here’s me standing in front of a pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico and CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE I ACTUALLY WENT TO MEXICO AND HAVE THIS PHOTO?! I still can’t believe I had the guts to book onto my Mexican BLT trip with TrekAmerica, let alone actually go on it! Still, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I feel so lucky that I managed to go on such an amazing tour.
EIGHT
Another one from my Mexican BLT trip! This is a beautiful sunset taking place in Campeche – what a wonderful experience to have.
NINE
And, my last most popular photo of 2017 is me posing with a ‘unicorn’ of course. This was at a really fun event with Bompass & Parr where I got drunk in a hot tub, slid down a waste chute and peed in a park on the way home – and that’s just what I remember. Classy as always.
So there we have my top nine. They seem to mostly focus on food, fun events and travel but I’m surprised no photos of my boyfriend and I made it up there nor more photos of my time in Mexico! Still, it’s nice to look back and see a snapshot of how I spent my 2017. 
Have you seen your #2017bestnine yet? Let me know with a comment! Oh and by the way, if you’re interested in my 2018 adventures, you can follow me on Instagram here 😉
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In light of my first LOTW in like, ten years (okay, I lie, a few years!), I must admit I’ve slowly gotten back into blogging about fashion. So when JD Williams got in touch to ask me if I wanted to review a few of their items, I was pleased as punch!

I’ve definitely gotten more into fashion again since working at H&M again too, choosing to style and mix up my outfits more instead of just choosing clothes based on comfort.

It didn’t take me long to decide what I wanted from JD Williams; two cute jumpers for winter and a gorgeous feminine pair of winter boots. I only really have ‘biker’ boots or my Converse to wear during winter, so I knew a more durable but stylish pair of ankle boots would go down well.

I’ve wanted a pair of boots like this for a while but could never find a pair quite right and I was always worried they’d end up being uncomfortable. These ones are a dream though; they’re really warm and comfy on the inside, keeping my toes nice and toasty. They’re super versatile too and you barely notice the heel. My feet only started to ache a little after a long day walking around Waddesdon Manor, which is a feat for me as usually any form of heel has my feet in pain within the hour!

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Fashion | Stepping into winter with JD Williams | JD Williams
I also chose this sweet Oasis embroidered jumper. I bought a lot of thick and oversized jumpers for work recently so I thought it would be wise to pick a lighter and more stylish jumper for days out or when the weather isn’t too cold. Floral embroidery is really in right now so not only is this jumper really versatile but it’s bang on trend too. It has a sweet bow detail at the back and I also love the ruffle cuffs; so simple but sweet.
Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Fashion | Stepping into winter with JD Williams | JD Williams
As well as the black floral jumper, I also chose a looser light blue one with similar cuffs. This one is really soft and girly which I like and it’s so simple but stylish that I wish I’d ordered it in a few other colours too! It’s a really comfy fit and although it looks bright in the photos, in reality it’s not so harsh on the eyes and is more like a versatile icy blue – perfect for winter.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Fashion | Stepping into winter with JD Williams | JD Williams
Overall, I’m really pleased with my picks. They’re good quality timeless pieces and I’ll certainly be getting a lot of wear out of them this winter. I think JD Williams are fast becoming one of my new favourite brands too – especially for footwear!
What do you think? Have you ever styled anything from JD Williams before? Let me know! 
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