Today I wanted to share a few personal highlights from my year on Instagram. I know, I know, I’m really behind on all the yearly recap stuff and everyone’s bored of it already, but I wanted to round things off before we forged ahead with 2016.
How was your Christmas break? Mine was actually pretty stress free for once. And quiet. We went for family walks, the kids were happy to sit and do colouring at the table. I was allowed to potter around, bake, I actually picked up a book (and nearly finished it) and most importantly, I didn’t really think too much about what might lie ahead, I stayed in the moment which, for me, is an achievement.
Guts Over Fear
2015 was a real milestone for my own personal development. Not to go into it too much, I went through a very tough time with my depression over the summer, which I wrote about here and reflected in my feed. The worst part came when we were away staying with family in France, and it didn’t matter where I was, I just couldn’t get inspired or find a happy moment. I did a lot of counselling over the following months which was intense but really helped me get through it; facing issues I tried hard to keep buried, how to be more present in the moment, let go of things I know I can’t control and work towards the things I can. I can’t recommend it enough, having the space to talk to someone impartial can give you the perspective you need. So it turned out that my phrase I’d chosen at start of the year, ‘Guts Over Fear’ was quite prophetic. Do you do that when you start a new year? I’m rubbish with resolutions, but I can keep a word or phrase in my mind to keep me on the straight and narrow.
If there was one thing missing from life that I’d realised during those unhappy times, it was a sense of belonging. Working as a freelancer can feel really isolating at times as you might know and even if, like me, you enjoy your own company, sometimes being a part of something bigger is important to take you out of your own bubble. So I took a deep breath and approached Annie from Style Juicer who like me works from home and has two kids almost the same age as mine. Over the coming months we talked (a lot) and in November co-founded and launched our very first Function+Form gathering; an offline community connecting like-minded design and interiors lovers together over food and handcrafted design. The event took place at the new Forge & Co cafe inside London’s Heal’s with the help of our brilliant sponsors (also mothers of two) AtMine and we spent the morning hearing the stories of makers Jono Smart and Enrich & Endure. And there will be more, in fact, we are in the early stages of planning our Spring and Summer events, so if you’d like to join us as a designer or member of our community, get in touch with us!
It was a year of firsts. Thanks to a brilliant friend, I had the opportunity to be published in a beautiful collaborative interiors book by Callwey and joined 14 other European interiors bloggers in Munich in September when the book was launched. A whirlwind two night trip, I met some wonderful new friends (some of whom I’m collaborating with this year) and explored some of the city of Munich. I’m more than ashamed to admit that as yet I still haven’t featured the book here (what?!) although I covered our tour of the porcelain factory, the botanical gardens and our styling afternoon with By Lassen at Room To Dream. Hang in there though, I’ll be featuring it this month and giving away a copy so that you can see it in the flesh. Even if you don’t read German, the photos alone are inspiring.
My not-so babies have had an amazing year between the two of them – Reuben left nursery in July (he took in bunches of sweet stocks to his teachers) started at a small village school and turned five in September. Suddenly he’s a proper little boy, learning to play the guitar with his dad, writing real words and finding a passion for Roald Dahl books. Although he definitely shares my…somewhat short temper…he’s such a sweet and considerate boy, I hope he doesn’t change too much.
I took this of Tabby the day she came home from her last appointment with the consultant in London. She developed Plageocephaly when she was four months old, a condition of the flattening of the head caused by sleeping in the same position while the bones in her skull were still soft, so while it didn’t affect her developmentally, it did mean that her head was visibly out of shape. After months of deliberation we chose for the sake of her own self-confidence for her to wear a helmet to correct it while she grew for almost a year which she had on for 23 hours a day, including at night. It didn’t bother her at all and she was so brilliant with it, even if it took us time to get used to people staring. All in all it made such a difference to her and when they took it off we went to buy hair clips to celebrate!
In spring I finally got my tiny workspace finished. Sure, there were no major changes and I still haven’t enough room to swing Moe-Moe, but it made such an impact on the space on a very limited budget. It’s bright, clean and feels a lot larger thanks to simple storage and a fresh lick of white paint. It has since been featured on Design Sponge, Brit+Co, MADE.COM and published in the book, and if you work from home, however small your space is I can’t recommend enough taking a little time to give it a refresh. You don’t need to get the paint out even, just the tiniest update can make all the difference to your overall mood and productivity. Trust me.
And my phrase for 2016? Well, it’s not so much a phrase this time, although I’m keeping ‘Guts Over Fear’ with me as it’s helped to push my confidence, but this year I’m using ‘Focus’. If 2015 was about working out what I wanted to achieve and developing both personally and professionally, then this year is about refining and focusing that journey, continuing to embrace slow living even if the day to day stuff gets crazy and trying not to look back anymore.
What were your highlights in 2015? Do you have a word or phrase for this year too?