2016: The Highlight Reel

3 January 2017

Here we are, saying goodbye to another year! I wrote one of these 'highlight reel' posts at the end of 2014 and 2015, so in the spirit of keeping up tradition I'm sat with a fresh cup of tea (in a new Christmas mug, of course) to reflect on the past twelve months and close this chapter of my life before moving onto the next.


2016 began so happily and so well. As I nearly always do at the start of every new year, I remember feeling incredibly optimistic and had made lots of resolutions whilst busily planning and filming videos for my channel. I think we had around 35,000 subscribers then, and I knew YouTube was one of my biggest loves of my life. 

Will and I had travelled all over the UK together but we hadn't yet been on a trip that involved a plane, so at the end of January we packed our bags for a city break to Budapest. In a word: magical. I've always been a real homebody and it ignited a spark inside me. I caught the travelling bug after just one trip, and I seriously can't wait for more adventures in 2017 with my favourite person!

Ever heard of a little thing called MTV? Well, they rocked my world in January by naming me as one of their 16 Up & Coming YouTubers Set To Do Big Things In 2016. Quite the title! After working so hard on my corner of the Internet for little over a year it was a real honour to be included in the line-up, especially as I was in the company of some of my favourite creators. Please put '"Meg is so lovely and wise" - MTV, 2016' on my gravestone, thanks.

As I'm typing I'm remembering the beginning of 2016 as pretty negative despite all of these lovely things happening - good one trying to do this without a plan, mate - but that was down to me having a period of being really unwell and unable to function 'normally'. In my head I've built this up as me taking around two months off YouTube, but I've just checked and in reality it was about three weeks... maybe it felt like months as I wholeheartedly love making videos and not being able to for reasons beyond my control was torture. May 2017 be the year of good health and all the productivity!

My wonderful cousin gave birth to a baby boy, and he brought sunshine into all of our lives. He's so cherished in our family and I feel so lucky that I get to kiss his chubby cheeks and watch him learn how to laugh and crawl and stand. In March I attended the 'Build Your Channel' bootcamp at the YouTube Space in London and 'graduated' feeling so inspired and recharged. It makes you realise what a crazy, fun ride it is to be making content on YouTube and fills you with excitement to know that everyone who works there is really cool and genuinely cares about creators and their audiences.

Over the next few months I worked really hard on everything Meg Says - I built a media kit, put my all into creating main channel videos and vlogs and blog posts, showed up to events and focused on positivity. So many amazing things came from doing that; working with some of my favourite brands, being offered presenting jobs, meeting a Kardashian (!!!), travelling for press trips and becoming self-sufficient. I'd thrown myself into this whole online world in 2014 and had quite happily plodded along, navigating the blogosphere as someone who was 'doing it for fun' alongside being a social media manager for a brand, and 2016 was definitely the year where I realised that I could totally ~girlboss it~ and create my own career that was inline with my own morals and my own passions.

July saw me travel to Italy with a group of the loveliest guys ever, and something great happened: I accidentally left my phone in my brother's car when he dropped me off at the train station before flying to Rome. Initially I panicked, yes, but minutes after we arrived I felt like I'd unchained this anchor from my leg and could freely float in the Mediterranean. I'd actually 'unplugged' for once! If I'd had my phone with me you can bet your bottom dollar that I would've been refreshing my emails and having a quick scroll through Instagram when I should've been getting stuck into a good book by the pool surrounded by a tanned Will and friends, so it's pretty great to look back and know that I had a PROPER HOLIDAY. I made a nice video of our trip here that I just love and will watch back for years to come.

Post-holiday I got straight back into Work Mode and marvelled at the things I was able to do thanks to that cracking decision of starting a blog aged 21. As I'm extremely picky and protective of my channel and my lovely audience, I was waiting for the right job came along and finally I worked on my first sponsored video, the payment of which I partly saved and partly invested into an iMac. For me, it was a significant purchase as it was purely to continue building my business and create better content for the people who support what I do, and it makes me proud every time I walk into the office and see it.

August hosted Summer In The City 2016 and after watching from the sidelines for so long, it was a real pleasure to be able to attend as a guest and meet some of the lovely people who watch my videos. I feel like we interact so much online that it's just the best thing in the world to be able to hear your voices, see your smiles and give you a big hug. It was a special experience made better by special people and I can't wait for SITC 2017.

By this point in the year I was working with brands as much as, if not more than, I was making YouTube videos. Some of the biggest names in beauty like Superdrug, Look Fantastic and P&G were hiring me to present and model, and I had more than a few moments of gratitude where I'd sit in an Uber on the way home from a shoot feeling incredibly grateful that I get to do what I love for a living. Waking up knowing that you're going to Paris for the day as part of your job isn't something you should ever take for granted!

In the month that I turned 23 years old we hit 60,000 subscribers on YouTube and it made me overwhelmingly happy, as did finally being able to announce that I was the winner of InStyle's Project 13 Award for 'Rising Star'. Even being nominated was dizzying enough, so to know that an incredible amount of people had taken the time out of their day to vote for me was really humbling. I wish I could thank everyone individually, and stepping onstage to accept my award in front of some of the industry's most influential names as 'one of them' is a memory that'll stay with me until I'm old and grey. As will my award, which is going to sit proudly on my desk as a little reminder that I can, and I will.

In November Will and I attended the first ever BONCAs Awards and it was pretty crazy. Everywhere I looked I saw my YouTube idols who I've watched for years (and years and years, seriously since I was like 14) and it was one of those moments where I just thought, '...who let me in here?' The funny thing is I've started to be recognised by the creators I've looked up to, invited to their parties, called over for a chat - and you know what? It's the nicest thing in the world to know that they're just like me. That's one of the things I've learnt in 2016, actually: people are just people. We're all the same. I feel very, very normal and it's cool that most others are normal as well. Not sure if that makes any sense whatsoever, but I love that striking up a conversation with Kourtney Kardashian or Joey Graceffa is natural and down to earth and easy and they're friendly and it's lovely. LOVE IT.

With the end of the year came the biggest opportunity I've been offered thus far in my online career when the BBC asked me to present at the Team GB Ball and interview our British Olympians. It was the first time this particular division had done anything with a YouTuber before and despite it being incredibly out of my comfort zone, I said yes and I am so insanely pleased with how it went. In the summer I'd been watching these athletes from the sofa whilst eating Coco Pops in my pyjamas and then all of a sudden I'm in Tom Daley's private Winnebago, vlogging us as he says we should do a YouTube video together whilst being filmed by the BBC crew. I discovered a natural ease (dare I say talent?) for presenting and felt completely at home interviewing stars on the red carpet. I threw myself in at the deep end and didn't drown or flounder, I did the flipping butterfly stroke. Not only was the footage on YouTube and the news and iPlayer, but the actual BBC on the actual television on New Year's Eve. Seriously, could someone please pinch me so I stop dreaming?


So, that was 2016. Scrolling back and having a quick flick through everything I've written, it was a stellar year. On the inside it wasn't quite the same story - despite achieving quite a lot I spent most of the year feeling inadequate and even crippled by self-doubt. There were points where I had absolutely no confidence in what I was doing and I think that showed through inconsistent YouTube uploads and being absent from social media at times. I'm sure I'll talk about this in more detail in a video at some point, but for now let me just say that I'm beyond determined to turn that mindset around in 2017 as clearly I'm doing an okay job and I truly need to give myself more credit. Onwards and upwards, starting right now!

I really hope 2016 was a happy, healthy year for you and I'd like to take a second to thank you so much for any support you've given me. Whether you've been watching my videos since that awkward first upload or your friend recommended me to you last week, it honestly makes me do a little jiggy happy dance every time someone joins our Internet family and I wish only the best for you all in 2017. All my love!

Need Super Cute Last-Minute Gifts? Look No Further!

23 December 2016

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December is such a busy time of year and we've all been that person who's in a right tizz because they're spent all of their free time working to ensure they can have some quality time off over Christmas, and making sure the fridge is fully stocked, and attending countless parties (then having to recover because you're not eighteen anymore), and seeing family and friends... then all of a sudden the big day is approaching quicker than you can say "blast this Christmas music, it's joyful and triumphant!", and you still haven't finished shopping. 

It's all good, the list of people to buy presents for grows every year and we can't all be Martha May Whovier - stay calm, pop some of the following gems I've found from Hollister into your basket and get on that life-saving next day delivery hype.

For me, and pretty much everyone I know, you can't go wrong with pyjamas - especially if they're festive and extra cute, like this Printed Waffle Sleep Gift Set. Aside from being the most Christmassy shade of red and fitting like an absolute dream, they've got flipping llamas on them... yes, LLAMAS. I could honestly not love these more and they're so well-made and comfortable that I probably won't take these off until December 2017. Just call me Llama Girl. You can also call my friend Koala Girl as well if you like as I got her these adorable Flannel Sleep Pants, and my other friend Festive Bird Girl (alright, I'm just being silly now) as she's got the Flannel Sleep Shorts. Did someone say sleepwear goals?

If I misheard you and you said loungewear goals, I've got you covered on that front as well with the Gilly Hicks Cozy Embroidered Logo Sweatshirt and the matching Cozy Knit Sleep Shorts. I can't even express to you how much I love these and how incapable I am of wearing them and not saying to everyone in the room, "feel how soft this jumper is, go on, feel it!" I got the sweatshirt in a Medium so it was slightly oversized but it actually fits like a Small, so I'd recommend going a size up... and I'd also really recommend buying these. They make me feel like I'm in a really cute American TV advert (even more so when I'm wearing the Gilly Hicks Pom Knit Slippers as well) and I'm all about it. Obsessed!

A really beautiful present for your girlfriend or best friend is underwear (you might have to have a quick polite rifle through their bra drawer just to make sure you know their size!) and I can't think of anything more pretty and festive than this set. Everyone needs underwear, and the Gilly Hicks Red Plaid Patterned Bra and Patterned Lace-Trim Short are what Christmas dreams are made of thanks to them being incredibly soft and unbelievably pretty. This is definitely what Martha May Whovier has on under that belted Santa coat when she's decorating her house with that big fairylights contraption.

Who doesn't love receiving smellies at Christmas? Okay, please tell me someone else calls them 'smellies' because now that I've typed it, it sounds really weird... anyway, Hollister have a gorgeous range including my personal favourite, the Malaia Perfume. It's musky and woody yet still really fresh and floral which I just love, it comes with the sweetest old-school pump that makes it look so classy on your dressing table and you can also get it in a Gift Set which is currently on sale. Another mega affordable discounted gift set is the Limited Edition Holiday Mist Gift Set which includes the delicious Strawberry & Sandalwood and Raspberry & Magnolia scents, for only £9.

There's a whole other selection of gift ideas other than my favourite picks that I've chosen here if you need some more inspiration, and if you're buying for one of the guys in your life then there's a section for them here. I've found that as I've gotten older giving gifts is way more fun and feel-good than receiving them, so I really hope this post is helpful for you - although I wouldn't blame you if you ordered these items as a special treat for yourself this year either! Merry Christmas!

This post is sponsored by Hollister. All opinions and words are 100% my own and honest. Affiliate links have been used. For more information, please see my disclaimer here

The Best Beauty Advent Calendars That Are Still In Stock!

28 November 2016

Does anyone else cringe slightly when they hear the words 'advent calendar chocolate'? Well, advent calendars have certainly come a long way since we were nippers; we waved goodbye to those stale chocolate novelty ones in favour of 'posh chocolate shop' versions, and in the last few years we've said hello to something truly special... the beauty advent calendar. 

In all honesty I would've chosen a beauty advent calendar over my various Disney ones even as a child, and it's a concept I can't believe wasn't invented sooner. Pretty much every brand brings out their own version these days and unsurprisingly they sell like hotcakes, so I've rounded up the best of the best that are still in stock and available to buy. Nearly all of the following have major discounts as today is Cyber Monday, so don't hesitate!

The first on my list is the You Beauty Box YOU Advent Calendar as it's packed full of my favourite brands and covers every base from an on-trend eyeshadow palette to an Oskia face mask and a festive candle from The White Company. I've had a look through the products within this year's selection and there's honestly nothing in there that I wouldn't use - every single item is something I've either wanted to try for ages or am really intrigued by and want to open right this second, so for me it really is a must-have that stands out from the crowd. With its contents adding up to a whopping £270, it's definitely one of the best value calendars on the market this year and to make it even sweeter, you can get 25% off until the 30th November with the code 'BLACK25'. You're welcome!

If you watched my Vlogmas 2015 you'll know that I opened the Tanya Burr Deck The Hauls Advent Calendar on every other day, and this year will be no exception as I managed to get my hands on the Tanya Burr 12 Days of Christmas Gift Set. Although I enjoyed opening it I found that Deck The Hauls was more suitable for younger people compared to say Tanya's new Autumn collection, so this would make the perfect early present for any YouTube-loving teen and make the run-up to Christmas Day even more fun. Including nail polishes, eye shimmers and lip glosses, the calendar is sold out in Superdrug but you can still get it from Feel Unique with 15% off - just enter code 'MAKEITMAGIC' at checkout, and there's a free Beauty Diary with any orders over £50 as well.

Another Vlogmas 2015 gem I opened every day and truly loved (and you guys did too, judging by the comments section!) was by Johnny Loves Rosie and they've brought out a 2016 version of their Gold Advent Calendar. I'd never heard of a jewellery advent calendar before and the items were surprisingly wearable and well-made, nearly all pieces I'd buy and wear anyway and it was something I really grew to look forward to throughout the month of December. There were dainty little necklaces and adorable delicate bracelets with lots of tiny detailed festive charms to adorn them with, it was truly something special! You can actually still buy last year's here, and if you order this year's from River Island make sure you enter the code 'FREEDEL16' for free standard worldwide delivery.

Molton Brown is one of my favourite brands and their Scented Luxuries Advent Calendar is on another level of lovely - would you just look at that gorgeous drawer design? They have so many scents in their range and I don't know about you but I'd like to try them all, so this calls to me as these mini sizes are a great way of finding out which ones you like best and need in your bathroom all year round. It's pricier than the other calendars I've mentioned so far but as a premium brand it's a lavish way to start every day, and they're offering 25% off with code 'UKBF25'. Do check out their limited edition Christmas range - I'm obsessed with Rosa Absolute and Fabled Juniper Berries & Lapp Pine.

If you're a Soap & Glory fan then you'll love The Vintage Cosmetic Company Luxury Beauty Advent Calendar as it's jam-packed full of cutesy items like gold eyelash curlers and kitsch shower caps. For just over £20 you can get the 7 Days of Clinique Advent Calendar and for just under £30 there's the Benefit Girl O'Clock Rock. The Makeup Revolution Beauty Advent Calendar is such good value for money anyway let alone now that it has £10 off, and the Technic 12 Days of Xmas Advent Calendar is half price.

Amazingly the Charlotte Tilbury World of Legendary Parties Advent Calendar is still in stock! Try as I might I couldn't find a discount code for you guys, but I'd definitely recommend snapping one up as The Tilbs always smashes it out of the park and you won't be disappointed with the goodies you'll find inside. Last but not least there's something for the men in your life - the Clarins Men 12 Days of Christmas Set - and quite rightly too, as there aren't enough of these on the market and I'm really tempted to get one for Will.

Have you got a beauty advent calendar this year? Roll on December so we can start opening!

The Perfect Pair of Blue Jeans? I've Found 'Em!

27 November 2016

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As a long-limbed human being I always found it difficult to find jeans that hit me at the right places and fit as dreamily as I wanted them to - they either hugged my waist wonderfully but swung inches above my ankles, or they were the right length but I needed to create extra notches in my belt. Eventually I discovered a pair which I stuck with, despite them having a tendency to lose their hold and colour after a few washes, until now.

Now, you see, I've found a new pair that tick every box: high-rise, waist-hugging, super skinny, holding power, ideal length. They're from Hollister and are their High-Rise Super Skinny Jeans, and as I nearly always opt for black I decided to switch things up in the denim department and go for a gorgeous rich deep blue that has a subtle fade to make them look nice and 'lived in'. I pretty much haven't taken them off since I got them as they fit like a glove - I ordered a 3 and went for the 'long' leg length - and if I could design a perfect pair of blue jeans in my head, they'd be these!

I've been pairing them with this Grey Lace Hem Sweater that's unbelievably soft, has really pretty detailing around the bottom and is only £17.50 at the moment! I also picked up the same jumper in the Cream version as it's such a 'me' knit. 

As this is something I'd wear for a cosy family day of walking the dog and stopping at a pub for Sunday lunch, I've gone for comfy ankle boots - these tan Western ones are a couple of years old from Warehouse but I've found some similar and affordable ones from New Look here and here. My bag is last year's Kurt Geiger Frances Wine Cross Body Bag, and they have a new version this year called the Serena Wine Cross Body Bag that's just as lovely!

I've finished the look with my Daniel Wellington Dapper Durham Watch, a checked scarf and a dainty sideways gold feather necklace, as well as a swipe of the Tanya Burr Cosmetics Lipstick in 'Big Kiss' for a warm red autumnal lip.  

All of the websites I've featured are running Cyber Weekend deals of up to 50% off, so make sure you check out the links above to ensure you get those discounts!

This post is sponsored by Hollister. All opinions and words are 100% my own and honest. Affiliate links have been used. For more information, please see my disclaimer here