Exactly 5 years ago today little Lucy Jane started this blog as a 13 year old with a whole, limitless life ahead of her. I started this blog as a way to express my style, let out all of my thoughts and have a space of escapism where I could truly be me. The first post still public on my blog is a lovely piece titled 'Decisions' which is all about GCSE's. Lets be honest, 13 year old Lucy had very little to worry about but GCSE options seemed a big deal at the time! One thing I wrote that still really resonates with me 5 years later is...
'Because I've chosen my options doesn't mean I'm any closer to realising my future because life will take you where it wants to take you'.
13 year old me was right. 

This is a post for me, a reflection of the past 5 years both through my blog and within myself to see how I've got where I am today. Life has definitely taken me to the highest highs and the lowest lows, but honestly I wouldn't ask for it any other way.

Technically, I started my blog in January 2012 but I was so traumatised by my content that it swiftly got deleted. 2013 was the year it all properly began, fashion was always the biggest interest in my life so it made sense starting a fashion blog and being able to share my style. I was at a point in my life where I was slowly becoming more and more care free. If people didn't like my blog or found it weird, then they didn't have to read! The majority of people at school or that I knew were intrigued by my blog, I was quite a shy gal but would always light up when asked about it! Blogs were only just becoming 'relevant' and being a 'blogger' didn't have the same impact is does now.  I do miss the days of a nice, quiet blogger community as having followers wasn't a motivation to blog, people did it because we loved it!
I think 2013 was my year of experimenting, finding my style to share and building my confidence!

2014 started with an exciting event for Lucy Jane, my first ever brand collaboration and first ever freebie! I partnered with a wholesale company who sent me out a few items to style, it was the most amazing thing to 14 year old Lucy. Throughout the first few months I carried on with my blog, having the occasional brand e-mails and some strange offers. I would definitely say my blog was prominently focused on style at this point. I was uploading outfits all the time and people seemed to love what I was wearing. My confidence grew so much and I matured a lot! I also started my youtube channel in February 2014 which sadly only survived till June 2015. I always consider revisiting youtube but blogging was my first love and I don't think I could change that!
Septemeber 2014 rolled around and I'd become a little bored of my look, so I chopped half my hair off! I honestly think of this as a huge point in my life as this hairstyle gave me my signature look. It wasn't the nicest of hairstyles to be wearing with a school uniform but as soon as I put on my favourite outfits, it just worked so well!
The fringe and lob will forever be the Lucy Jane look!

January 2015 was the birth of #Embracethebareface. I'd decided I'd had enough of lacking confidence in my own skin and seeing others in the same position, I wanted to do something about it! 
The idea behind this was all about feeling confident in your own skin because people are criticised so much, especially as your growing up.
I'm proud that as a 15 year old I'd already noticed the negative effect of societies standards and was trying to do something about it. Everything about the natural you is so beautiful and nobody should ever tell you any different!
Summer 2015 was the longest summer I'd ever had, I left high school in June and had so many weeks of doing what I wanted. I love looking back at this time in my life as I was definitely shaping into the gal I am today. Leaving school did so much for me, I hated going and really didn't thrive off the people I was surrounded by. Don't get me wrong, I adored my friends and the people who made me smile but as a wider picture school just wasn't my vibe. This summer I was definitely going through a huge bohemian trend with my style and I kind of love it! Being free from the stresses of school, I began to spend time learning about myself. I started journalling all my thoughts and really trying to pinpoint who I was or wanted to be. I was living my happiest, healthiest life and I ended the summer on a huge high so ready for a new start, new people, new places and new me!
 I also ran my first giveaway with a wholesale brand this summer, that was exciting!
November 2015 was the month I entered a competition called 'The Northern Youth'. I'd been emailed asking if I was interested in a partnership with a student run magazine at University of York named 'Hard magazine'. I was told they were running a blogger competition linked to this huge fashion event running in January 2016 and that to enter, all I needed to do was write a blog post embodying 'The Northern Youth'. So me and my Mum chose me an outfit, phoned in sick at college and took off to Manchester to shoot the pictures.  I'm so glad I made the decision to enter as it lead to the biggest achievement of my blog. 
Long story short, I won!!!
But you'll have to carry on reading to find out what...

2016 crept up on me and #Embracethebareface finally made a comeback. A post in January focused on my journey with Acne. I'd suffered from Acne from the age of 12 and I'd never really spoken much about it. Some periods of my life it calmed down and others it was extremely flared but nevertheless, it was part of me. I decided to spread the message of 'Your insecurities do not define who you are' which lead to some of the loveliest feedback I've ever had. 
I was starting to accept the skin I was in rather than battling against it, I'm proud of that. 
The Northern Youth event rolled around and it was the most exciting day of my life. I ended up in a Limo with the Mayor of York, became a VIP and sat opposite the Queen herself, Anna Wintour, at a fashion show! When I think about this day it still feels so surreal, it was such an overwhelming experience that it does feel like a blur.
All I know is that I will forever be so proud of myself for achieving that!
I felt like I needed to include summer 2016 because it was the best time of my life!
It was a time where everything felt so close to perfect, filled with the prettiest holidays, the messiest festivals and the best of friends. What more could you ask for? 
Looking back now, it stands out because it was the last care free summer I'd get before being faced with the battle of my chronic disease. I wish I'd have been so much more grateful for my happiness and health at this point as everything was going so smoothly.
Honestly, this was the last time I felt like me and I'll cherish that forever. 
The end of 2016 was pretty hectic in my life, I was trying to branch out in too many new ventures and ended up so SO stressed. This stress must have sparked a creativity as I decided to change things up with the layout of my blog. I made it more of a magazine style and people seemed to love it! Charity Shop Bops were born and I started to really build and develop my individual style. I became aware of the sustainable side of the fashion industry and wanted to promote that through my blog. 
I'm proud of this point of my blog as I started questioning the norms and opening my eyes to a wider picture. I wanted to create content that wasn't just pretty, I wanted it to be different, insightsuful and unique like the person I was becoming.

2017 was the year I got diagnosed with my lovely chronic disease, Ulcerative Colitis. Writing that still brings a tear to my eye because as much as I've learnt to accept it, I still wish it wasn't true. Although my blog was pretty much abandoned for a good portion of the year, there are still things I am proud of. 
The series of posts titled 'My Disease' will always be the most rewarding posts to me. It showed the point when I realised that if I have this disease forever, then why don't I shout about it? Through these posts I've received the most amazing feedback, support and the most rewarding part of it all is hearing the increased awareness of IBD that my readers now have. Through all the shit that was thrown at me in 2017, I turned a negative into a positive and kept striving to raise even more awareness and I am so proud of that. 
2017 was not my year to shine, but I still did even when the world didn't want me to...

We're here and now, in 2018 and I am proud to say that.
Last year was awful and who knows how I got through it, but I'm leaving that all behind and searching for the version of myself I know and love. I'm proud right now that I get up everyday, that I  don't want to give up and that I'm still blogging. My blog is becoming a lot more personal and I really, really like that. I've never really been someone who realises the extent of their own achievements as I'm always striving to do more, but I can look back at my 5 years of blogging and say 'I DID IT AND I SMASHED IT!'.
Infinity of Fashion/Lucy Jane is one of the biggest achievements of my life. 
I may not have the biggest following or the fanciest blog, but I'm here, I have been for 5 years and my voice is not going anywhere!

Lucy Jane