The 17 Lessons I Learned in 2017

The 17 Lessons I Learned in 2017


Photos by Tara

River Island Blazer // River Island Black Jeans // River Island Boots

Hello everyone, long time no chat! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas. I took a week off from blogging, but before the end of every year I always love to do a few reflective posts and this year is no different. But before I get into the chatty part of the post, let’s chat clothes! This is a look I recently wore to Cork and I couldn’t wait to share more pictures. You all know by now that I LOVE a good blazer & all-black look so when I spotted this River Island one, I knew I had to have it. The quality & fit are absolutely amazing and I loved pairing it with a vintage belt I found at a market in NYC. Great trick to spruce up a blazer! You all also know that I live in my Molly jeans (the best black jeans in my opinion) and black boots. A very simple style of look but one that will NEVER let you down.


Always at this time of year, the time between Christmas & New Year’s, I take a step back and do a personal recap of the year gone by. Every year has it’s ups & downs, it’s absolutely inevitable, but I always believe that in every year, there are things to be grateful for and it’s important to remember & highlight them to yourself. I really think we are all VERY hard on ourselves from time to time. We live in a society where it’s just too easy to compare and quite often, we forget about all the good things we’ve done or have around us. For me, this year was full of so many amazing new experiences/opportunites that I’m so grateful for. I worked really hard on my business, my relationships and so many things feel like they’ve finally come together. But looking back, 2017 was also a bit of a weird one. I won’t lie. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve felt this way about a year. Some things didn’t go to plan, some things happened unexpectedly….but you know what I learned? It’s all about your attitude. So instead of complaining and listing out and focusing on the bad things, you just have to stay positive. It’s the only way you will get through anything. I learned that first hand this year.

By nature, I’m just not a negative person and it’s definitely because of the way I’ve been brought up. SO thankful for parents who couldn’t be more positive if they tried. Of course, shi**y things are going to happen to you from time to time but the lessons you’ll learn from a tough year will stand with you forever. They’ll change everything and make you more determined than EVER. This may sound a bit bizarre but I actually hope none of you had the ‘perfect’ year. Because there is nothing to be learned from perfect. Ever. So if you’re sitting reading this post and over the last few days have been looking back badly on 2017, I’m hoping that now instead, you’ll focus on the lessons learned.

There are 365 days in every year and I guarantee you, you had more good days than bad if you really think about. If you’re alive & healthy, have family/friends around you, have food on the table…then you’re lucky. Very very lucky.

One thing I absolutely swear by doing is physically writing down everything I’ve learned from a year. It helps me focus for the year ahead and really puts everything into perspective. We’re all human, we’re put on this earth to learn…so we have to make sure we keeping doing that. So this year, I’ve decided to put my 17 lessons into a blog post for you and I really hope after reading, you’ll go and write out yours too. Even if it’s just 1 lesson….grab a pen & paper and just go for it. You’ll be shocked at how much clarity it gives you. Here are my 17…..

1. NOTHING is more important than Family & good friends.
….& the older you get, the more you realize it. Never stop being appreciative of a phone call from your parents, your sister forgiving you after a HELL of a fight, the friend who is always there to listen or anyone who has your back no matter what. Good people are very hard to find so when you find them, catch on tight.

2. Time off is essential.
Even if it’s just that hour in the evening where you watch an episode of sex and the city or the stroll to the park without your phone at the weekend, we ALL need time to switch off. We’re all busy, we all have a million things to be doing, but in order to actually keep going….we need to learn how to stop. I’m really going to be even more strict about this in 2018.


3. Slow & steady wins the race.

It might be a hard thing to hear but the only way you’re ever going to get what you want is through hard work and determination to never give up. I’ve never been one for ‘quick fixes’ to get to the top. It’s just not me, it never will be. I constantly see people take short cuts and it honestly just makes me realize how much I DON’T ever want to do things that way. I’ve been blogging for 6 years now and instead of random bursts of growth, I’ve put in the hours and see consistent growth every year.  Something I’m very proud of. I’m not part of any comment pods, I don’t just meet other bloggers for coffee & a ‘tag’, I don’t buy followers…I just work hard and let my content do the talking. I may not have a million followers but I absolutely adore the followers I do have and I’m so proud of the real & authentic community I’ve been able to build over the past 6 years. I have your back and I know I can count on you to have mine too :)


4. Buy the bag.
Save for the bag, shoes, whatever it is…& buy it for yourself. Even if everyone and their mother is telling you not to, do it anyway. Every time you wear it, it will remind you that hard work ALWAYS pays off and you CAN have those things you always dreamed of.

5. Progress is always better than perfection.
Something I learned the hard way this year. I’m a perfectionist and quite honestly, I wish I wasn’t sometimes. It slows me down, makes me question things a million times over and sometimes prevents me from taking the leap. But 2017 has taught me that things need to change. I just need to jump in and trust that things will always find a way of coming together. Small steps every day and NO fear.

6. Travel is not for everyone.
This is kind of an unusual one I guess, but in the world of Instagram travel photos we live in, there is A LOT of pressure to be doing things and going places all the damn time. And quite honestly, I got a little tired of it this year. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE travel. It’s one of my favorite things to do but I’ve learned that timing is everything. Some years you’ll travel more than others and that’s perfectly OK. Just because that girl you see on social media seems to be in a different place every week, doesn’t mean that you should be too. Some years are for family, some for careers, some for education, some for relationships….everyone’s journey & timing is different. Focus on YOU.


7. You don’t know what people are going through.
If only one of these 17 lessons resonates with you today, please let it be this one. Every single person you meet is more than likely going through something they’ll never even tell you about, so just be a nice person. Always. My one New Year’s resolution is to be a kinder & more thoughtful person. Stay tuned for another post about this soon.

8. Give back.
…& on that note, 2017 also thought me the importance of giving back. Even something as small as writing back to every single one of you who sends me a message, donating clothes to charity, carrying the groceries for the old lady that lives in my building, getting behind a new cause (we all know the power of social media- I’m determined to use it for more good this year) or just sharing some help & advice here on the blog. We all have no idea how much small things can mean to some people.

9. Quality over quantity.
A lesson I learn more about every single year. Whether is comes to clothes, video content, friends, whatever….quality always is and always will be a million more times important than quantity.

10. Nothing worth having comes easy.
2017 was the year of Youtube for me and boy did it teach me about hard work. I now have SO SO much respect for anyone who produces videos every single week. I went into the year promising myself and you two new videos every week and bar 3 weeks in the year, I DID IT. Not going to lie, poor Kaelin had to deal with most of my stress, but as it says above, “nothing worth having comes easy.” If you do one thing next year, set yourself a goal and promise yourself that no matter how much work it takes, you’ll get it done. If I can tackle youtube, you can tackle anything too.


11. What’s meant to be will always find a way.
So after 4 years going out, a 2-year break & a 1-year long-distance relationship (which was TOUGH to say the least) Tommy & I are now finally together in New York. I don’t think we ever thought we’d see the day, haha! But we made it. I truly do believe in fate and that everything happens for a reason and I guess this year really proved it to me. There will always be bumps along the way, but if it’s meant to work out, it will.

12. Opposites do actually attract.
….& 2017 also taught me this one. I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about this, but Tommy & I are POLAR OPPOSITE people and that’s actually putting it mildly, haha. For so long I wondered if it this was a good thing or a bad thing but this year really showed me it’s exactly what we both need. We all need someone in our life to balance things out and I’m so grateful to have Tommy in my life in New York now. I’m a much less stressed person when he’s around :)

13. Team work makes the dream work.
I don’t even know where to start with this one but wow, am I grateful to have Kaelin helping me with all things Retro Flame. Some people say you should never work with family, but somehow we really make it work and I don’t know where I would be without her. Things are getting busier by the day (which is amazing) and having someone by your side who you could literally trust your life with makes EVERYTHING easier. If you ever wonder what Kaelin does every day, be sure to check out this video.

14. Books change everything.
This is a personal lesson for sure, but I really learned that when I’m reading some sort of motivational book (just a few pages every night), I’m SO much more focused. I don’t know what it is, but it just instantly changes my mindset. Here are my favourite books incase you’re on the search for some new ones to kick off the year.

15. The importance of doing your own thing. 
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year – the HUGE importance of just doing your own thing. If you’re a fellow blogger or youtuber, I really do urge you to try your best not to copy. Honestly, no good will ever come out of it. People always see through it. Sit down, brainstorm your own ideas and really work on showcasing YOU in all of your content. Totally OK to get inspiration from other people, we all do, but always put your own mark on it. Respect fellow creators and you’ll always learn a lot more respect for yourself too. No one is you and that is your power.

IMG_021716. Cream always rises to the top.
If you’re good at what you do, you work hard and you’re a nice person….you WILL do well. There will always be a lot of competition out there but the good people will always stand out. Even if it takes a little longer, you’ll always come out on top if you do things the right way.

17. Learn to just accept what you’re not good at. 
As well as realizing what you’re good at and working to get even better, it’s also vital to accept what you’re well, awful, at. In my case? Cooking. Wow, am I terrible at cooking. *hands over eyes monkey face*. But guess what? Tommy is great. I knew that opposites attracts thing was a good idea all along….;)

And there you have it, my two cents on 2017! I know for a fact I still have a lot more to learn in 2018 and I can’t wait to get stuck in in a few days time. Hope this post has inspired you to do the same & I’ll see you in the next post where I’ll be sharing my annual ‘Dream Year’ post.

Have an amazing New Year’s everyone!!
Erika x

*Thank you to River Island for partnering on this post.


  1. Amy

    30 December

    This is an awesome post Erika!! Thank you for your inspirations!! I totally resonate with all of them! Have a happy new year!

  2. Deirdre

    30 December

    An honest & inspiring post 💕

  3. Toni

    30 December

    Loved this Erika. Have just sat down to write down some thoughts of mine from 2017. I asked my 2 girls (aged 8 & 6) what they thought about mam in 2017 and they said I shout a lot :-( So my intention in 2018 is to be more patient, be more organised and spend less time on my iPad. I know that I’m leaving things until the last minute at home and at work, and then I’m shouting and racing to get things done. If the phone/iPad is switched off, then I will be more organised and able to deal with kids not getting dressed when I want (the usual reason by I start shouting!) and we’ll be a happier family too. Thanks!

  4. fiona

    30 December

    Really enjoyed the post. So inspiring to reflect properly on the year gone and give time to think about the one ahead before rushing in to it.

  5. Orla

    30 December


  6. patricia

    30 December

    Such a great and readable post!! love that good blazer & all-black looks amazing it’s really quality & fit are absolutely amazing and love hoe to pairing it with a vintage belt with that jeans and black boots. A very stunning style of look, your are really true stylish girl ever and ever.
    I more learn that 10’th lesson really sounds good.

  7. Liz

    30 December

    Great observations, you are wise beyond your years! I have really enjoyed watching your videos this year. You come across as very authentic and professional. All the best for 2018.

  8. Gemma

    30 December

    I’ve always wanted to be a fashion blogger but have never thought I was good enough (pretty enough, skinny enough, fashionable enough). I’ve been spending the night doing some research, and although I’ve been following you on Instagram for a while now, this is the first time I have read your blog and it has given me the boost I’ve needed reading your lessons learnt this year. I just want to say thank you!

  9. Linda cusack

    30 December

    What a great blog to finish the year to! Wise words Erika 😍

  10. Noc

    30 December

    Really good, honest and insightful post Erika. Looking forward to looking your recommend list of books too. You’ve had an amazing year and wishing you all the success in 2018. Keep up the fabulous work and continue to be the humble and grateful person you appear to be, it’s rare.
    Ps no spiking in Dingle this year lol 😂

  11. Isowa

    31 December

    Very well said Erika. Have a wonderful 2018. 🎉🎉😊

  12. Paula Benson

    31 December

    Think it’s your 17 cents of 2017. What a lovely read. Best wishes for 2018. May the road rise to meet you.. 💕

  13. Rachel

    1 January

    Love this post! Definitely share some of the lessons you learnt this year. Really like the idea of writing them down annually, will have to give it a try myself.
    Wishing you a fortuitous New Year ✨

  14. Skye ak

    1 January

    A new Fan!!! Love love this. Happy 2018 and hugs from Singapore!!!

  15. Charlie

    1 January

    I am in love with this post and your honesty and truth! These lessons are so real and truly show you have a beautiful view on this life you’ve built for yourself! I hope you have a wonderful New Year and that 2018 is blessed for you!

  16. My Dream 2018

    3 January

    […] than last year & truly BELIEVE you can do it. I learned a lot of lessons last year (I shared 17 HERE) and quite honestly, I’m ready for a fresh start now again. Below are the 4 big things […]

  17. Hannah Fields

    4 January

    Erika, Thank you so much for this honest and inspiring post. I have been following you for over 1 year now and you are the main reason I found the courage to start my own blog. I don’t do fashion, but I love your posts, videos, and genuine positive attitude. Thank you for doing things the right way and staying grounded- such a great example to follow. I took away some great tips from this post- keep up the great work!

  18. Kellie

    12 January

    You need to write motivational books 😀 I am inspired and ready for the year ahead, all thanks to you 👌🏼

  19. Diana

    6 February

    I currently live in China and on the 15th of February we are celebrating here Spring Festival. We Expats are calling it Chinese New Year (CNY). So, first I thought it’s kind of late to start on my “what I’ve learned in 2017 and what I plan/want in 2018, but now I actually feel inspired and ready to put all thoughts down! Thank you very much Erika! Please keep up a good work!
    Love from Shanghai, Diana

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