2014: A Better Business and a Better Me

team love my dress

Happy New Year!  So much love to you today, it’s the start of a brand new year and so much opportunity lies ahead. I’m feeling full of optimism, happiness, hope and joy – I hope you’re feeling the good stuff too 🙂

Firstly, to those of you who’ve been visiting a little while now – thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support in 2014.  You have been amazing, and I’m so very grateful for all your comments, likes, follows, submissions, kindness, joy and amazing, inspiring love stories.  I mean this in all sincerity, and I promise my team and I are going to work as hard as we can to continue inspiring you through 2015 and be one of the most beautifully written and curated, most reliable and trustworthy wedding blogs in the world.

2014 was a standout year for me personally, and for Love My Dress® –  there were amazing travel, adventure and memory making opportunities, beautiful new friendships (the kind that will last a lifetime), 12 months of good health and precious time with my family.  There were even some awards thrown in for good measure (for which we are immensely grateful!).

The year ended on a bitter sweet note as we lost my dear Grandpa Norman – I take comfort however knowing that he wanted so much to be reunited with his beloved wife, my sweet Grandma Edna.

Grandpa Norman

Happy memories, circa 1979/80?
From left to right, Grandpa Norman, my sister, me and Grandma Edna

2014 was a year for several personal and significant milestones for me – I celebrated my 40th birthday with wonderful friends in September and got through a whole alcohol free calendar year.   I become a non-drinker half way through 2013 when I realised I’d become an exhausted, stressed, burned out wreck.  The many late nights spent working on running a growing business, writing and self-promoting my first book and trying to be a decent mum and wife had taken their toll.  Publicly I put on a brave face. Privately I had completely depleted my coping strategies and I felt like a rabbit in the headlights – caught out, scared, vulnerable and unsure of which way to turn next.  Something had to give, so, 17 months ago, I quit alcohol completely and decided to throw my all in to living a more mindful and healthy life, fostering better friendships and being a better mum, wife, daughter and business owner.

What I’ve learned since, is that accepting  and being honest about your weaknesses is the boldest step you can take in learning to truly overcome your vulnerabilities.  It’s OK to fluff up or fall to pieces in your life. We’re not all super human. We don’t all live the Instagram perfect lifestyle (remember folks, people will only ever share what they *want* you to see on Instagram).  But all jigsaw puzzles can be put back together again with time, patience and commitment.

It’s OK to admit that you’ve completely over committed and set yourself unrealistic targets (er, hello end of 2013 year post!).  How, after all, can those that love and care for you know that you might be in need of some help and support?

40th birthday

Photograph taken by my dear friend Naomi Kenton at my 40th birthday party 
Click here
or on the image to see more photos and read my reflective post – I also adore this post by my friend Emma

In 2014 I took a little rest from sharing personal posts as I focussed on healing and becoming stronger and healthier.  This year however, I am excited about sharing more personal thoughts and musings with you – Love My Dress is just as much a place for me to document my experiences in life and business as much as it is a place to share beautiful love stories.  This kind of honest and authentic way of writing, of being ‘me’, is what I know truly inspires others and makes authentic connections with our readers. Writing openly already about my journey into motherhood and experiences in self employment are proof of this.  It feels right now to think about sharing some of the valuable business and life lessons I’ve collected up to this point in time – I love to think that what I’ve learned might help or inspire others.

I’d also like to formally introduce you to my new, extended team! In 2014, I took on my first ever Interns as I set out to explore ways I could better support and grow Love My Dress ‘the business’, as well as insure I was leaving time for my own personal growth and development. It was a pretty tough call to be honest – I was frightened about letting the opportunity to write from my perspective go to others, that readers would abandon the blog because they didn’t like the change.  It turned out to be the best thing I ever did. I kept on 3 of the writers as permanent members of my team and took on 5 new paid Interns in December this year.  Meet my team…

team love my dress

You can visit our ‘About’ page to learn more about each individual team member


An extra special set of love and thanks to my two right hand ladies, Lyndsey and Tamryn – two dear friends, two brilliant, fun, loyal and hard working women who truly understand and embrace the notion that when women support each other, incredible things happen.

We’ve worked really hard this year to ‘bed down’ and make Love My Dress a much better version of itself.  It was always my strategy to stay grounded and focussed on improving our content and customer service levels before branching out in to new projects that would develop our ‘brand’ and make us ‘bigger’.  I wanted to be ‘better’ before I thought about getting bigger.  Better email response times.  Better submission to blog post publication times.  Better quality written content. Better considered in the wedding community.  Better reputation as a great business and blog to work with. Remembering how hard my Grandpa worked as an entrepreneur is part of what drives me.  His work ethic and values have influenced me hugely…

grandpa norman 4

I’m immensely proud that through focussing on getting these important basics right in 2014 and putting our readers and sponsors before our own business aspirations first, that we have become much better than we were 12 months ago.  Love My Dress now feels like a well-oiled machine – everything works beautifully and everyone who works with us, hopefully, has a really good experience.  Which means that now, it feels right and ready to start exploring new projects and opportunities.

We will soon be launching ‘Annabel Adores‘, a beautifully designed, styled, helpful, informative and trustworthy supplier resource like no other. We have bigger, bolder adventures up our sleeve too, but I’m being sensible about shouting about things too soon.  All in good time my friends, all in good time 🙂

I’d like to finish this post by announcing the winners of my recent Instagram competition to win a framed piece of Love My Dress art.  It was my way of celebrating 5 years in business – and I’m so touched at some of your responses.

The winners are, @gooseonluce@reallovespink@kragnarsdottir@emilythompson1992 and @mrsleaneys.  I’ll be connecting with you on Instagram later lovely friends, so that I can organise shipping of your prizes next week – I hope you love them 🙂

I wish you all the best and so much love for 2015 – I hope you’re feeling the same sense of hope, optimism and joy as I am right now and if not, then I hope you can draw some strength and comfort from this feature.  Don’t be afraid to be you. Don’t be afraid to admit your vulnerabilities and reach out for help and support. None of us are perfect but we all have a chance just being here today of making our lives more loving and meaningful, of living a more mindful, authentic and personally rewarding existence.  I’ve got your back – always 🙂

That  just leaves me to say – don’t forget to bookmark our 2014: A Year of Wonderful Weddings post to enjoy over a long cup of tea and slice of Christmas cake – it’s my ‘labour of love’ post for 2014, packed full of a year of beautiful blogging memories.

2015 is going to be a magical year, I believe it in all my heart.  There’s no holding me back Grandpa…

grandpa norman 3

Peace and love to you all,

Annabel x x



Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.

19 thoughts on “2014: A Better Business and a Better Me

  1. What a beautifully written and as always inspiring post, I still read LMD despite getting married ‘ahem’ nearly five years ago – adore it and look forward to good things in 2015 x

  2. Lovely Post Annabel. Very heartfelt and it really struck a chord with me. You’re right. It really is so important to see when things aren’t right and re-evaluate. Certaintly, i realised this when I had to have a short break, ask people for help and advice, to re-charge and come back better and stronger. Here’s to an amazing 2015! x

    1. Thank you so much Amelia, so kind of you to leave some sweet words.
      Like you I’m feeling so much stronger and ready to create some wonderful opportunities in 2015. Heres to both of us! 🙂
      Love Annabel xXx

  3. What a beautiful post Annabel. I always admire you and the blog so much from afar (and not so far!) and it’s always such an honour to have my work featured. One of the massive highlights of my year was working with Mads, one of your Lovettes. What an amazing idea, and she’s now a friend for life. Thank you for bringing us together. I can’t owe you enough. So excited to see what 2015 will bring us all. All my love, Claudia x

    1. Hello lovely Claudia,

      I love featuring your work too, and that you got to shoot Madeleine’s wedding this year was a real treat for me. I could feel your energy in NYC! We were there just a day or two after you/Madeline + Tim left. Amazing! I heard you are both friends now too which is wonderful, completely wonderful.

      Thank you for taking time to leave a lovely message – so kind of you.

      Happy New Year Claudia!

  4. Crikey, that’s quite a year!
    I am so sorry you lost your grandpa, but it’s great to see how he continues to inspire you as I am sure your success & endeavours inspire others in return.

    Well done on another brilliant year of beautiful things, beautiful images, happy people and, above all, heart. May 2015 be equally brilliant xx

    1. Hehe! Indeed it was! 🙂
      Thank you for your very kind words Angela – I’m most grateful – and it’s lovely to think what I do might inspire others too, really lovely.
      I wish you all the very best for 2015 too.
      All my love, Annabel xXx

  5. So sorry for your loss Annabel, I lost my grandpa in november and it was truly heartbreaking. I love your positivity & I love all the work you do. And how lucky to be able to have 40 years with your grandpa… that is amazing! This quote got me through the bad days and I hope you find some light in it too. “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” xx

    Much love, Zoe x

    1. Oh I’m so sorry for your loss too Zoe – and thank you for being so kind. I really do consider myself exceptionally lucky to have had Grandpa for 40 years of my life! It’s amazing really when you think of it from that perspective.

      Thank you for sharing this lovely quote too Zoe – I’m keeping that one safe and somewhere very close.

      So much love, Annabel xXx

  6. What a beautiful, honest, inspiring, and heartfelt post. I’m so sorry for your loss; these photographs are fantastic – such treasured memories. I will be taking your words ‘Don’t be afraid to be you’ into 2015 with me … a simple phrase with great power. I wish you all the best for 2015 and can’t wait to read all forthcoming posts – I get married this year and will be/have been relying on Love My Dress for inspiration!

    Oh, and I know you already have a fantastic team (including the very amazing Sarah-Leigh Bunting) but I do hope you’ll be on the hunt for more interns again soon 🙂

    Happy New Year. Ciara x Keep on inspiring.

    1. Hello Ciara,
      Thank you so very much for taking time to comment – so kind of you and such kind words too. I’m so glad to see my post resonated with you too.
      When do you get married? How exciting! Bet you’re on count down now. I’d love to hear back from you and hear a little more about your plans 🙂
      All my love and, I promise to keep on inspiring 🙂
      Annabel xXx

  7. Beautiful post. Even though you have that whole team working together it still feels such a personal touch. Sorry about your grandfather but I should imagine he would be so proud of you. All the best to you and your team for many more anniversaries. Thank you

    1. Thank you so much Anna, I’m most grateful for your kind words, and it’s such a relief to hear it directly from a reader that despite our new team size, we still have a real personal vibe – that is so very important to me!

      Thanks for your kind words about my Grandpa too – he was so proud of me, I like to this he still is.

      Have a wonderful start to 2015 Anna,

      With love, Annabel xXx

  8. Thanks Annabel for that lovely post. I am just back in my ‘Hot Seat’ today with the Cat and the Mouse editing and planning for the new year ahead. So what a lovely inspiring note to start off my 2015! Sitting here feeling calm, relaxed and smiling… As opposed to stressed and anxious.

    In 2015 I intend to remain in this space – whereby I creativity can flow and one can focus on the important things in life.

    Looking forward to being a part of your content in 2015!

    Best wishes x

    1. Hi Heather!
      Gosh I can *still* feel the excitement at being able to blog the incredible 20’s/art deco inspired wedding last January – so perfect for Love My Dress.
      So happy you’re not feeling stressed or anxious too – I am practicing mindfulness and being in the moment every day – it makes such a HUGE difference to my whole entire outlook, productivity and emotional health too.
      Really genuinely excited about getting to share more of your work this year too 🙂
      Much love,
      Annabel xXx

  9. Annabel, I didn’t have time to read this when you published it but I’m so glad I remembered today to go back and read it. What a beautifully, well written, heartfelt and thought provoking blog post. Your Grandpa would be immensely proud of you.

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