Thursday, 23 July 2015

Happy Birthday to Me and the Blog | My 43rd Birthday and My 4th Blogiversary

Happy Blogiversary Not Dressed As Lamb (& Happy Birthday to Me)
I've been wondering what to write for my blog's fourth birthday post. It's my birthday too(!) - an event which I am always stupidly excited about every year - so I always have double the reason to celebrate. With every year that passes I totally embrace my age, always thinking that my new age is better than the last. (Except that I'll be saying I'm 44 as soon as I can because I don't like being an odd number...!)

Such a lot has happened in the last four years. The blog started out as a little project to give me something creative to do and it's now what I do full time. No one is more surprised than me.

THE BLOG STARTED OUT AS A LITTLE PROJECT TO GIVE ME SOMETHING CREATIVE TO DO AND IT'S NOW WHAT I DO FULL TIME. NO ONE IS MORE SURPRISED THAN ME.

If sometime had told me four years ago that blogging was something you could do as a full time career my reaction would have been "Huh? How?" If I’d known then that I’d one day be self-employed I’d never have believed them. I was a 9-5 girl all the way, and being self-employed was probably the most frightening, never-do-it-in-a-million-years career choice for me. If you work full time and think working for yourself is something you'd never, ever do, believe me: You're still more likely to consider it than I ever was.

It goes to show that change is something we SHOULD embrace. The things that we fear - including the fear of the unknown - can be what makes us when we look back. Had I not chosen to take the plunge, I wouldn't now be sitting on a train writing this blog post after spending a day with a fabulous bunch of bloggers working on a major brand campaign. I wouldn't have gone to Paris last year as a brand ambassador for a clothing range. I wouldn't have appeared in the Sunday Times Style or had a feature written about me and my blogging BFF in Woman & Home.

I could have stayed in my 9-5 that I didn't enjoy and still be sat at my desk wondering "What if...?", but I took a risk and it paid off.

I COULD HAVE STAYED IN MY 9-5 THAT I DIDN'T ENJOY AND STILL BE SAT AT MY DESK WONDERING "WHAT IF...?", BUT I TOOK A RISK AND IT PAID OFF.

Doing things outside of your comfort zone is something I've written about before. It keeps you feeling alive. Even if it doesn't work out quite as you’d hoped, you’re always the better person for it. Life should be about occasionally taking risks.

Not necessarily crazy, stupid, death-defying ones, just steps of varying size towards an end goal.

That end goal? To enrich your life. To fill it with people you want to spend time with. To learn new skills. To help someone else achieve something. To see new places and have new experiences.

THAT END GOAL? TO ENRICH YOUR LIFE. TO FILL IT WITH PEOPLE YOU WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH. TO LEARN NEW SKILLS. TO HELP SOMEONE ELSE ACHIEVE SOMETHING. TO SEE NEW PLACES AND HAVE NEW EXPERIENCES.

I took another big step with the blog (a business decision) just recently. I ummed and ahhed about it for quite a while and of course discussed it with the husband. Eventually I realised that I’d only regret not at least giving it a go. It's early days still, but I'm pretty sure long term it will be the right decision because it feels right.

Something else that's a welcome bonus as a result of doing the blog: The development of my personal style. Sure, I had a bulging wardrobe and a knack for putting together some pretty creative ensembles when I first started out, but I feel that the practice of styling, photographing and studying outfits for the blog has really honed my style. I've always said there's no better way to improve your style than to photograph what you wear and study the photos - not what you (think you) see in the mirror.

I'VE ALWAYS SAID THERE'S NO BETTER WAY TO IMPROVE YOUR STYLE THAN TO PHOTOGRAPH WHAT YOU WEAR AND STUDY THE PHOTOS

So to get all reflective on you I thought I'd pick my four favourite outfits from each year to show you (July '11 to July '12, July '12 to July '13, etc.) - it's interesting that my favourites are all skirts and dresses... I guess that tends to be what you wear to dress up and feel special, doesn't it?

Not Dressed As Lamb | Best oufits ever from the first four years
L-R: May 2012 wedding guest outfit | April 2013 Bath in Fashion Blogger Awards outfit | July 2014 sightseeing outfit | April 2015 UK Blog Awards vintage gown.

I guess that's kind of it really for a rambling post that's void of a main subject (except for wishing myself a happy birthday and blogiversary!) - but it's safe to say that I hope the next four years are as fun, rewarding and exciting as the first four.

I couldn't have got this far without the support, loyalty and friendship of all my readers. I've said it before but it's the relationships I've made along the way - both real and online - that have made it all worthwhile and so enjoyable. Thank you for coming along for the ride.

Who knows what the next four years will bring... I can't wait!


Catherine

P.S. Like this post? You might also enjoy reading what I wrote on my third blogiversary (What 3 Years of Blogging Has Taught Me)!

P.P.S. You have until 25th July to nominate your Blogging Hero - the results will be published on the blog on 2nd August :)

Photos: Silver Londoner (except lead image: pixabay.com) | Linking up to: Visible MondayLet It ShineShare in StyleMonday MingleStyle SessionsTurning Heads TuesdayTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayBrilliant Blog PostsThrowback ThursdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday's Fab Favourites
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52 comments

  1. Congratulations and Happy Birthday!
    Thank you for writing such inspirational blog articles.
    I enjoy reading your OOTD posts and your great blogging tips.
    You have inspired me to buy my .com domain and blogging/reading blogs has now taken over my life...I have no time for my 'proper' job!
    XXX
    Samantha
    Samantha @Fakefabulous

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    1. Samantha thank you!!! I know what you mean about having no time for a proper job - it was just the same for me till I went f/t with the blog...! Thank you for your lovely comments sweetie x

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  2. Happy birthday to you and your blog! I hope you have a lovely day and thank you for your blog! You are an inspiration!

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  4. This is such a beautifully written post and you can tell it's come straight from the heart. Happy birthday to both you and the blog! And here's to many more years :) x

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    1. Aww Jodie thank you!! It was a bit rambling and it didn't really have a subject as such, but I'm glad you thought that about it :))))

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  5. Happy birthday! I can't believe how far your blog has come on in just short years. Here's to next next 4!
    The vintage gown you wore for the UK blog awards is still probably my favourite that you've worn. It's just so pretty and bright.
    Rubi | Instagram | The Den | http://www.the-den.blogspot.com

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    1. I don't think I'm going to be able to beat that vintage gown, Rubi... It'll remain my favourite forever I think! Thank you so much xx

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  6. I have only been reading your blog for the last few months, but it has quickly risen to the top of my must-read/favorites blog list. Happy Anniversary and thank you for the work you do!

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  7. Congrats and Happy Birthday. I agree with you and always really celebrate my birthday (and all the family) - it's a big deal and we should make a fuss of ourselves. Here's to many happy more years blogging! Lorraine x

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    1. Yay to celebrating birthdays!!! Thank you Lorraine xx

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  8. well happy both special occasions, a birthday and a blogversary and both are so worth celebrating

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  9. well happy both special occasions, a birthday and a blogversary and both are so worth celebrating

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    1. Well said, Linda - I agree!! Thank you sweetie x

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  10. Happy birthday and blogiversary, Catherine! You're so right about taking risks and stepping outside your comfort zone. So happy it's worked out so well for you. I hope you have a marvelous day ^_^

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    1. When I look back I'm amazed I did it...!! Thank you hun xx

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  11. Hi! I can't believe, it is a whole year since I started following your blog! I spent all the July mornings browsing your outfit gallery. :D Also you were one of the inspirations to start my own blog (I haven't written anything in a while, but hope the best is yet to come! :) ). A little throwback inspired by your thoughts about how it all started and where it is now. :)

    Also, very happy birthday! :)) Wish you all the best! :) And by the way, it is so refreshing hearing you are happy about your age and birthdays! :) It's great! :) Hope you had an awesome day!:)

    Madara
    www.lookforsmile.com

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    1. Aww Madara thank you so much - that's amazing that you went through my entire outfit gallery!!

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  12. Birthdays are always a reflective time, aren't they? So lovely that your reflections are positive ones. This was such an inspiring post to read and thank you for reminding me that if I keep working hard I might just be successful with this blogging malarkey!

    Happy Birthday to both you and Not Lamb!

    Adele x

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    1. Adele thank you - and yes I agree about them being a time to reflect. It's always doubly so for me because of starting the blog on my birthday. And keep at it, your hard work will pay off eventually!!!

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  13. Happy birthday/blogiversary, fellow July baby and redhead. Hope your day has been spectacular!-T

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  14. Happy birthday and to many more blogversaries! Such inspiration, something to cling onto when you wonder if this blogging malarkey is for me
    Laurie x

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    1. It's all about enjoying yourself, Laurie... I only continued and worked so hard at it because I enjoyed it so much! Thank you for your kind wishes my lovely x

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  15. Happy Birthday and Happy Blogversary! I love your Blog and am always inspired reading and looking at your lovely outfits. Today I am especially inspired by your words. My husband and I are both a little tired of the 9-5 everyday and thinking of ways to start something else. Your blog could not have been more timely! Best to you!

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    1. Aww Arell that's so nice to hear!! It's all about giving something a go as I said in the post... you NEVER know where you may end up! Thank you so much x

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  16. Wishing you a Happy Birthday and Blogiversary!! I always enjoy reading your posts and awesome fashion styles!

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

    Would love for you to stop by & join TBT Fashion link up

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    1. Thank you, lovely Alice - I really appreciate that! xx

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  17. I've still got to go back and catch up with your recent posts, dearest Catherine...but I simply HAD to skip ahead and wish you the happiest set of Birthdays ever!! You deserve every single success you achieve with both your blog and your off-line life; and I feel so blessed to have you in my circle of blogger friends. :)

    P.S. Your encouragement to step outside of your comfort zone couldn't come at a better time for me; my husband and I are in the midst of planning a pretty big lifestyle change for ourselves, and I don't mind admitting that I'm alternately super-excited...and absolutely terrified!! But "nothing ventured, nothing gained"...so we are forging ahead!! XOXO

    www.StyleIsMyPudding.blogspot.com

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    1. Exciiiiiiiiiiiting, Monika!! Hope the big change goes really well, best of luck with that :D

      And thank you for your lovely words... you are a great bloggy friend and such an asset to the blogging community. I can guarantee that anyone who makes friends with you has their day brightened every time you get in touch! You're an absolute LOVE xxxxx

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  18. Happy birthday Catherine! You have such a wonderful perspective to personal style and your outfits always reflect you and that's a rare and admirable thing. You have done amazingly with your blog and its nothing short of an inspiration to us all :)

    Take care and enjoy your weekend,
    Daniella xox

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    1. Daniella thank you!! You have a lovely way with words and I really appreciate those sentiments. Much love to you, hope your new dotcom/blog transition goes well x

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  19. Ah what a lovely round up post- I'm so jealous of you meet Carolyn from the Clothes Show that was my ULTIMATE fave thing growing up! Happy birthdays!

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    1. Susie thank you!! And I wish everyone could get to meet Caryn F - she was absolutely awesome. One of the *nicest* celebrities you could hope to meet. She must have thought I was a nutter, my gushing behaviour was a bit shameful when I looked back!!

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  20. Happy Birthday, to you and your blog! What an inspiring post Catherine, truly as someone who turned 40 this year I do find it so inspiring that you can have such a fresh start in a career doing something you love! :-) xo

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    1. And as I said, Steff - no one was more surprised than me!! Getting older should never be a barrier to trying anything and that includes a change of career. Thank you for your lovely words my sweet! x

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  21. Only just found your blog a few days ago and am enjoying it .
    Congratulations on your birthday and also your blog anniversary.
    Looking forward to becoming a regular.

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    1. Marysia thank you so much, that's so nice to hear and welcome to the blog! I hope you'll come back and say hello again soon :))

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  22. A very happy birthday to you Catherine, and a happy blogiversary to Not Dressed As Lamb. May all you hopes and wishes for both your personal and your business life come true - you deserve it! Michelle xx

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    1. Aww Michelle my lovely thank you!! It was so nice to meet you in person earlier this year, I hope we get to see each other again soon (my blogger meet up perhaps)?! xx

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  23. Happy birthday! Nice blog, wish you all the best!
    Eva, Pimlico

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  24. I'm a bit late reading this, but this post couldn't have come at a better time for me. I'm currently at a crossroads when it comes to my day job and my business. I'm not the biggest risk taker in the world, so it always helps to hear some positive reinforcement about taking a plunge into the unknown. Even if it wasn't aimed at me directly, it kinda felt like it was. Thanks for the much needed encouragement and happy belated birthday and blogiversary, Catherine!

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    1. Aww that's really nice to hear, Chrissi - I really hope that whatever step you take next works out for you! Thanks so much for such a lovely comment (and the birthday wishes) xx

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  25. Missed that then. Sorry. HAPPY BIRthDAY Catherine. And many happy ones to come.
    Greetje

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    1. No problem, Greetje - thank you so much!! And yes, I hope so too...!!

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  26. Oh beautiful (inside and out), smart, bold, daring and INSPIRING (yes I'm shouting) Catherine, you rock and it is an honour to call you a friend, you are a brilliant writer, an incredible model and ambassador and a great friend. You support, celebrate and empower those around you, including myself and your blog is a joy. Here's to a million more years kicking ass with gorgeous style, love your blog, love you xx P.S I'd read it before but wanted to say I adore the feature of you and Rachael, two amazing ladies, testament to the enduring friendships borne from being online xx

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    1. Awwwww Vicki you are so, so lovely!!!!!! You should be a life coach or a motivational speaker or something because you do nothing but spread love and joy around you. Thank you my lovely friend, you're an absolute treasure =MUAH= xxxxx

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