30 // THE YEAR OF THE LEVEL UP

It’s that time of year. Standard British winter has hit with the grey skies, wind and rain… although it’s surprisingly warm for this time of year. But hey, Christmas has been and it’s be a brand new year very soon, so who cares about the weather with family, fun and new prospects on the horizon.

I’ve been busy making presents for my loved ones, I feel like I’ve been shackled to a computer since August, so I decided that I needed to get my craft game on for presents. Plus it eliminated my crazy need to want give people perfect gifts that reflect something meaningful with my limited budget. This way just putting the time in made them meaningful. I made dreamcatchers, plant wall hangers, air plant holders, trays, coffee table bowls and home spa kits with sweet orange body butter, lavender foot soak and tea tree & eucalyptus body scrub.I wanted to do a review of my year, I love looking back. This year has been a good one. It’s been a year of growing and change and I feel like I’ve levelled up in all sorts of ways. Here’s a run down of things that happened…


BUYING A PLACE
As soon as I returned to London in January my housemate of six years moved out which I was pretty sad about, but it marked a year of new beginnings. On the third of January Mikee, my mum and I went to look at houses, resuming the search for somewhere to live. The first place we saw that day was the place that ended up being ours two months later… Crazy times. I never imagined I would ever buy a flat in London. If you had have asked me this time two years ago where I saw myself it’s not what I would have thought for myself. We spent a good few weeks just painting it white to mask the smell of ten years of smoke and making it a blank slate ready for us to make our mark on it.

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DIET AND HEALTH
I’ve never really been concerned with this stuff so it’s been a bit of a learning curve which I’ve really enjoyed pursuing. I’ve learned I really like pilates, it’s such hard work but so beneficial for someone who spends most of their time sitting as it focus’ on your core muscles and getting those engaged. I want to find some more areas of exercise I enjoy so I can create a routine to get to a state where my body is happy and humming with life.
It was one of my priorities to not get ill this year. I’ve been notoriously bad for getting sick, this time last year I had already been ill 4 times since September and I got an ear infection in January of this year, after that I started trying to take as much care myself as possible because wasting so much time on being ill is not fun.
One massive triumph has been my skin, which has been a big issue for me since I was thirteen. At twenty six I can finally say I think I’ve cracked how to take care of it which I am so happy to have done – through lots of research. I used to have acne, I got teased for it, I saw a terrible GP when I was younger who didn’t take my cry for help seriously and just told me to wash my face, and as an adult you expect it to go away and mine just didn’t. It turns out for me it was a lot to do with what I was putting on my face already and not understanding the needs of my skin as well as what I was putting in my body (it’s crazy what you eat can do to you).

WORK
OMG I worked like crazy this year. My current job means I frequently work late, I’ve had two or three days this year where we’ve worked into the early hours of the morning and more so the late hours of the evening. Although this has been the case I’ve still managed to design an e-commerce website for Hubbub Catering where I designed the website, art directed, illustrated and photographed all assets for it. It was such a fun project being able to follow my own intuition and create something they were genuinely happy with, makes them stand out and that will last them a long time.
A friend asked if I wanted to work on a site for a publishers with them, and it was great to collaborate again. I also did lots of lovely work for the charity First Story, anthology covers, flyers and most recently I’ve had the pleasure of working on their annual report. I’ve also had the opportunity to work on Lagan Candles, this has been a really nice branding and packaging project which I can’t wait to share with you. Hopefully this will lead on to lots more wonderful work next year.
Finally, the biggest things I’ve worked on have been two campaigns for Musicroom. The projects had super short deadlines, and I needed to produce a lot of assets and content for them. It was quite a lot of stress due to the time scales I had to work on the briefs, but I was very happy to get the work out and very proud of myself for working as hard as I did to get everything done.

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TRAVEL
This was the highlight of my year. Mikee and I went on our awesome ten year anniversary trip to California, exploring San Francisco, Los Angeles and going to Palm Springs and Coachella. It was the best time and has left me feeling very inspired creatively even still now, eight months after. Travel is such an important thing to do, getting out of your comfort zones and seeing new sights and having new experiences. It makes you appreciate the beauty of this planet we’re on.
I also went on a whim trip to Canada to see my best friend in Toronto where I also got the chance to see my dad, I haven’t seen him in person since 2012 when we visited Michigan on our road trip, and thought it would be awesome to see him before Christmas. It was a spontaneous, last minute decision and I’m so glad I did it. I only went for five days but it was well worth it to see him and Christina, and to have a well deserved opportunity to get silly drunk (it doesn’t happen often with all the work) with my best friend at the beautiful bar Miss Things and then eat Canada’s delicacy of poutine with her for the ultimate comfort food.

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31FRIENDS & FAMILY
Some notable highlights were random meet ups with Antonia and Aaron and two planned ones with them – dressing up for Rocky Horror Picture Show, Gay Pride, Halloween and then the first London Family Christmas in our new flat.
I got to live with our lovely friend Emma for two months which was awesome.
I made lovely work friends who have become Piggy’s second family.
I got to see one of my favourite friends marry his true love in August – may you both have a very happy future Dan and Nicola, and at the wedding it was wonderful to see our friends James and Fridha again who came all the way over from Sweden, as well as hanging out with some lovely friends from home who also live in London.
Spending time with Christina in Canada and meeting her lil dog Frannie and her boyfriend Dorian, as well as seeing her lovely mum.
Mikee and I went to Sky Garden as one of our dates, the views were pretty lovely up there, as were the cocktails. We also made friends with a hawk in Canary Wharf.
I had many lunch dates with Juliette and the occasional one with Beth, it was nice to be able to do that again!
I went to see the CSM degree show with my friend Clementine, and we even went to the design junction event that was part of design week, which was held in the old St Martins building where I studied for my degree, it was AWESOME being back there after four years. So many memories.
We spent a lovely day walking around Richmond with our friend Josefine, taking Piggy to her first proper park to see the dear – luckily no Fenton event happened.
My mum came up to London a lot to help us with the flat move which we’re so appreciative for. I also got to see my dad in person which was awesome, and I spent time with my brother and his lovely lady Sarah. My family came up to see us in London with my nieces and nephew and we went to the London Dungeons. Mikee’s sister also moved up to London from Brighton, so it’s been awesome seeing her and his niece and nephew more – having Friday craft time, nerf gun battles and seeing the Victorian dinosaurs in Crystal Palace park.
Another highlight was spending time in London with my old friend Nicola. I miss her loads and wish for the coming year to spend more time with her.

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MUSIC
Less gigs this year but we went to Coachella, where we saw the delights of Jungle, Glass Animals, Kasabian, Jack White, Brand New, Tame Impala and Jenny Lewis.
I walked out of my first gig ever as it was so disappointing sound wise, and saw some amazing acts as well as discovering a whole bunch more. Back in England we saw Vaults, Best Coast, My Morning Jacket, Best Coast, Django Django and spent some time back stage at a Lucy Rose gig with Piggy as Mikee was playing violin for her. Mikee played with Lucy on Radio One earlier this year, he played the last night of her tour in London and got to play at Maida Vale and Shepherd’s Bush Empire with Ghostpoet *proud girlfriend*.
I started the new playlist, but I got overwhelmed with work and need to start it again in the new year. This is something I’m committed to doing next year as I plan on creating more time for myself. The last gig of the year was probably the best, Django Django with my wonderful friend Dan at the Roundhouse and we had a friend date and danced the entire gig. Pure joy.
The best message taken away from music this year was from Jack White reminding us that it is a sacred thing which I wholeheartedly agree with.
I really loved a bunch of albums released this year. My top ten were Rituals by Other Lives, What Went Down by Foals, Currents by Tame Impala, Oh Wonder by Oh Wonder, In The Cards by Robert DeLong, In Return by Odesza (this will make me remember friends, travels and summer), Born Under Saturn by Django Django, That’s The Spirit by Bring Me The Horizon (this one helped when I was annoyed!), Depression Cherry by Beach House and lastly, this is from last year but I listened to it a LOT this year, when we moved in to our new flat it was the first thing on our stereo which was the first priority to get working, I made Christina put it on in Canada, we saw them play at Coachella, Zaba by Glass Animals has probably been my album of the year. Much bass, many good. Hopefully 2016 has some awesome releases because this year has been pretty darn awesome.

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PIGGY
We got Piggy! It’s been the best thing ever and I can’t imagine not having her in my life. She’s helping me and Mikee settle in to our home and marks the start of us building a life together. She’s already got 2000 followers on instagram which is insane, and she’s been in a Buzzfeed video and featured on Sausage Dog Centrals Facebook and Instagram, and she’s only 6 Months old. I wander what our wonderpup will do next year? She’s just the cutest, #piggyforqueen.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with lv03 presetTHE FUTURE
I’m really looking forward to next year. I’m formulating plans which should make 2016 a scary and exciting year for my personal ambitions. I’m going to be working with my old mentor Sabine on a project which I’m really looking forward to and I’ve booked a trip to Barcelona for me and my mum in March to say thank you for helping us with our house stuff. It’ll be really nice to have some time with just my mum, seeing a place neither of us have been to before.
I’ve learned this year that following my heart will take me to places I love, next year I imagine will be a whirlwind. I have so many ideas I want to pursue, part of that is to benefit my little space on the internet and fingers crossed 2016 will allow me to do that.

Happy New Year my darlings.

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