65 // Time To Look Back

Every year I reflect on what’s happened. I actually really enjoy it. I’ve spent the last few days writing this post – looking through photos and while I know for part of the year I felt quite low, looking back I’m amazed at how much I did, how much I loved, there were so many special moments. I love reading back what’s happened across the years. Things change and it’s important to me to document this stuff, the good and the bad. I’m excited for 2019, and I hope you all have a wonderful year! Enjoy the read if you’re at all interested.

2018: WHAT WAS THE SINGLE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED THIS PAST YEAR?

Over the past two years I’ve not felt very much like me because there have been a few things going on and this year I started feeling like I’m myself again, so that’s probably the single best thing, but I can think of a few events from the past year that rank very highly… When we finished our kitchen that was amazing – seeing the progress every day and it finally coming together. Also the brilliant weather we had over the summer was pretty special. Going in a hot air balloon after so long. Seeing my brother get married and introducing a new baby nephew in the last month with all my family in one place. Releasing the Fearless Types project into the wild and seeing it make some dollar for badass.gal. I am equally grateful for all of these things.

WHAT WAS THE SINGLE MOST CHALLENGING THING THAT HAPPENED?

Facing some tough conversations with Mikee about our relationship to the point we felt we might break up, but those conversations led to us working things through and we’re in a much better place ending the year than where we started. My friends also had their own things going on for the majority of this year, and overall I’ve felt a lot lonelier than I have in others while I’ve been going through that process with Mikee which was difficult. I spent at least six months daydreaming about moving to another country and starting from scratch as I felt there would be very little keeping me in London if we had broken up. But we got through, I’ve communicated with people. Things are good.

I’ve also felt quite frustrated with some aspects of my work this year which is making me contemplate my future a lot at the moment – it’s nothing crazy and I still absolutely adore making things – but what I do has been something I’ve felt so sure about since I can remember, so feeling a bit unsteady on that front is weird. We’ll see how this plays out.

WHAT WAS AN UNEXPECTED JOY THIS PAST YEAR?

Two things – Scotland with Dan & Nicola, and Theo being born. Neither of those ideas existed at the start of the year.

WHAT WAS AN UNEXPECTED OBSTACLE?

Feeling lonely. I usually like being alone – I recharge energy from it. But feeling lonely was a different thing, I haven’t felt that since 2012 and it’s definitely a kick up the bum to build some different friendships. 

PICK THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS PAST YEAR.

Do it Yourself. 

WHAT WAS THE BEST THING YOU READ THIS YEAR?

Oooh. That was either the Dark Materials trilogy, I should have read that many years ago but I didn’t, and it was good. Ooooor This Is Going To Hurt – I read that one in a day while I was poorly and couldn’t put the book down. 

WHO WERE YOUR MOST VALUABLE RELATIONSHIPS WITH?

Hmm personally the people that come to mind as the most present are Mikee, Juliette, Aleksandra, my family and Olly. 

Professionally I’ve made so many wonderful connections and I was extremely grateful to a lot of people who came and helped out on our badass.gal project – I called in an awful lot of favours from people I know and even people I don’t and that project breathed a lot of life back into me and taught me a lot of things. 

WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE MOMENTS SPENT WITH YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY?

So many: Paris with my mum – visiting the Catacombs. Going in a hot air balloon with my brother. Meeting my new baby nephew Theo and having all the cuddles. Seeing my brother get married. Seeing my dad in person after two years. Seeing Foo Fighters with my brother. Scotland with Dan & Nicola. Exhibitions with my mum, Mikee, Audrey, Juliette, Alice, Aaron, Emma H and Emma S. Walks with amazing people. Brighton & Purezza with Emma H. Doing a small act that helped my mum give up smoking. Fondu with Juliette.  Going plant pot shopping and drinks for Cathy’s birthday. Star Wars VR with Juliette and Mark. Treating mum to a girly night complete with cheese snacks, a film and facemasks.

Working with Cathy on her 12 Months of Myself project. Harry Potter in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall with my sister-in-law. My counsin Santu visiting with his friend Elina. Working with Aoife, even though we’re currently in two different continents. The Reed family cook ups with ALL the food. Seeing Django Django, Little Comets and Ólafur Arnalds. Making perfumed candles with my mum in Paris. Birthday drinks at Be At One with all the lovely people, followed by drunkly eating the best 3am chip sandwich at home. Dinners, drinks and lunches with all the amazing people. Columbia Road with Mikee and shooting still life florals for a client. Crepes and tasty wine with Audrey. Going to see the Wes Anderson Isle of Dogs Exhibition with Mikee and Piggy. Walks in Greenwich park, and meeting all the local doggies. 3D Burn and getting to know people in class. Ikea trips with Mikee. Fun By Sarah workshop with Emma A. Seeing Antonia move into her new home and welcoming her to this side of the river – nice to have more catch ups. Welcoming Aaron back to London. Learning to Lindy hop with Mikee. Ikea with mum and Mikee and the crazy chaos that was April and all the kitchen happenings – help from mum, help from Rupert and Stella. The Queen’s Garden Party with my mum – masquerading as fancy folk for a day. Daytime adventures in central with Mikee post therapy. Bucket BBQ picnics out on the walkway. Eurovision – watching across three parts of the world. Winning an award with Olly for our work. Making dinner for people. Meeting everyones babies. Going to a Michael Beirut talk with Olly which was incredible. Doing work with Olly and taking on the world.

Using my camera to shoot more portraits – including of Emma. Dinner at Emma S’s with Jenny and celebrating both their birthdays later on. Being surprised by Dan after a trip to the dentists. Getting to know Penny better. Madam Tussauds & by.Chloe with my family. Vegan afternoon tea with Swedish Emma. Going on a pedal boat in Hyde Park, visiting the design museum, getting sunburned and eating tasty food with Emma H. Meeting the guys from YCC and doing the Fearless Types project. Meeting amazing people to get advice. Seeing Dave off to Canada from Brighton. Citadel with Mikee. Going to the local pub for Pizza with Emma, Nathan and Will. Family dinner for Grandad’s 92nd birthday. Meeting Mikee’s reddit friends.

Secret Cinema with Mikee, Laura and co. Taking Mollie to Airbourne – we saw the red arrows, she swam in the sea, I read my book and we ate ice cream. Walthamstow day with Juliette – visiting the William Morris museum, eating delicious food and visiting Gods Own Junkyard. Creative challenges with Aleksandra and Juliette. Nice Korean dinner with Mikee to celebrate our anniversary. Everybody being amazing on the badass gal project with Grace kindly helping us find incredible people to shoot. Hang out time with Liam watching horror films. Seeing Cathy play. Walking in the People’s Vote March. Mikee’s mum’s 70th birthday. Visits to L’Emporio with Mikee and the lovely owner there. Juliette’s Halloween dinner. Sarah’s hen party and all the willy’s. Isabel’s cheese and wine party. Christmas with EVERYONE. Playing chess with Callum. Visiting the Tower of London with Dad and Debbie, followed by a feast at Dishoom. It’s been quite a year. 

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE COMPLIMENT THAT YOU RECEIVED THIS YEAR?

‘You is very beautiful, you is very tall’ – a teenage stranger on the street in Brick lane. 

IN WHAT WAYS DID YOU GROW EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY?

Physically – I hope I’m a little stronger than where I started as I’ve been exercising the whole year and also working out my nutrition so my iron levels, cholesterol, vitamin levels are all fine. I was shook when I compared a picture of myself halfway through this year to a photo of myself when I first went freelance and actually saw how obvious the difference was. I might start taking regular photos in 2019 to compare as I actually couldn’t believe what I saw and I want to be in my prime when we go to Mexico hah. 

Emotionally – I’m more conscious about drawing boundaries and more aware of tackling small problems to prevent them from becoming big problems. Mikee and I went through therapy together and we’ve learned a lot more about how we both approach life, and discovered things we weren’t aware of before about ourselves and our upbringings and both realise that not facing an issue in order to protect ourselves does just the opposite of protecting ourselves. 

WHAT WAS THE MOST ENJOYABLE PART OF YOUR WORK?

Doing the Fearless Types project and the small challenges I did this year. From the Fearless Types project I learned I love working with other people, to do good things for both them, and for a cause, and I like being a part of the process of making things happen on a bigger scale and helping make those decisions. Honestly working with Olly on this project I’ve felt like we can achieve anything if we put our minds to it. 

The personal work challenges have also reminded me about things I want to do, things I’m passionate about. The gratitude illustration project – I was really pleased with how some of those turned out in the way I used some simple ideas to represent things or just the way the images were constructed, I also felt like I developed a sort of style from working on that. I have started using my studio branding a little, which has also been really fun. I have also REALLY loved using my camera and shooting portraits, editing photos, editing videos with it – I even just ordered a new point and shoot so I can make more videos and have something on me whenever I venture out the house. I spent a month trying to come up with random ideas and solutions for world problems which have got some ideas whirring in my mind for future projects. And inktober reminded me how to draw and that drawing is something I quite enjoy the challenge of. 

WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF YOUR WORK?

Feeling frustrated with some aspects of my paying work. I want there to be harmony and a lot of projects went on too long, some were chaotic. I had to turn down a dream job. I also have had people not wanting to pay me when I’ve completed the work – which isn’t on. Others not replying etc etc. It’s not going to be perfect all the time, luckily I’m patient but these aspects have been very demotivating which has in turn made some work even more challenging. 

WHAT WAS YOUR SINGLE BIGGEST TIME WASTER IN YOUR LIFE THIS PAST YEAR?

Youtube. To the extent I’m thinking of how I can make it a non-time waster ;). 

WHAT WAS THE BEST WAY YOU USED YOUR TIME THIS PAST YEAR?

There are three ways. The month spent redoing the kitchen, such an achievement and it’s brought so much happiness to our home. Therapy – tough but worth it. Personal projects – reminding me why I like making. 

WHAT WAS BIGGEST THING YOU LEARNED THIS PAST YEAR?

To be a little more to the point. I think this year I need to learn to be a little less flexible as it’s meaning people are walking all over me time wise. More boundaries. 2

2019: WHAT DO YOU WANT THE OVERARCHING THEME FOR YOUR 2019 TO BE?

The beginning of a great decade – starting as I mean to go on.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR?

  • New York with Mikee for our anniversary – it’ll be half our lives together, gotta celebrate that.
  • Mexico for my birthday – bring on the beaches, Mayan ruins, jungle and sunshine. 
  • Seeing Emma and Rowan get married. 
  • Finally visiting Cornwall with my mum. 
  • Turning 30 and having learned how to do a handstand again, and standing on a moving skateboard… (basically achieving all my 30 before 30 items.)
  • Launching my studio and continuing on fun projects.
  • A girly weekend with my mum in Bath.
  • A new creative challenge. 
  • Maybe visiting Germany if I can swing it. 

WHO DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH IN 2019?

The people who I didn’t get to spend enough time with this year. 

WHICH PERSONAL QUALITY DO YOU WANT TO DEVELOP OR STRENGTHEN?

I want to refine my inner Neal Caffery (I’ve been watching White Collar recently).

WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE TO BE LIKE?

More focussed, more productive. 

WHICH HABITS DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE, CULTIVATE OR GET RID OF?

I see so many people with bright, brilliant, positive personalities who are absolutely warm and inviting, and would love to to channel more of that within myself. 

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE CAREER-WISE?

Same as last year as I didn’t do it, however I now have a mentor and think I can achieve it easier with that back up – I want to set up my studio and level up my practice. I also think I had too much personally that I needed to work on this last year. 

HOW DO YOU WANT TO REMEMBER THE YEAR 2019 WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON IT 10/20/50 YEARS FROM NOW?

A pivotal year. 

WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER ONE GOAL FOR 2019?

Happiness. Always happiness.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that 2019 brings you all the happiness and success you’re looking for.

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