Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Time to reflect on 2015

New year is always quite a reflective time for me and while I've been enjoying the luxuries of being back home in the UK this week I have been thinking a lot about 2015.

As with every year there are a mixture of memories I will cherish and ones I will try to forget, but thankfully I can say that in 2015 I had more of the former and less of the latter! 2015 has been the first year in a long time that I have felt the fragments of my life falling into place.

2015, for me, has been a year of growth; of figuring out what I want to do and actually making moves towards doing it(still a long way off of course). I've finally managed to start creating work I'm actually proud of(see below) and instead of leaving my artworks on scrappy bits of paper on my floor I've starting putting them onto products.

Christmas presents for my family: Elephant print neoprene clutch from Print all over me (www.paom.com), patterned headphones from Origaudio (www.origaudio.com),  Elephant phone case design from asda (http://www.asda-photo.co.uk/category/79-cases).

I decided, in my reflective mood, to put together a collage of the illustrations/work I have done this year that I am most proud of. Anyone who has seen how my work has progressed will probably be shocked to see colour finally emerging in my illustrations. This is one of the things I intend to work on next year. My main Christmas present from my parents(Father Christmas) this year was a selection of art materials, handpicked by me, to encourage me to add some colour into my work. 2016 will be a colourful year....hopefully!

I also finally got my act together and started working on a new logo(below middle) and website which I am hoping to Launch in time for my birthday at the beginning of February.....watch this space...


Other than the work I've done this year, It has also been very interesting in terms of where I've been living and where I have travelled to. Getting out of London may well have been the best decision I ever made. I love London; I love the people I met there, the diverse culture, the social atmosphere and EVEN the guys I dated there. However, in London it is very hard to save money, the quality of your life is limited by your salary....and I work in the fashion industry so..... I lived in some 'quirky' warehouse conversions, which caused some people to assume I lived in an uninhabitable warehouse/crack den but, because rent in London is sky high, this was all I could afford. London s great if you earn a lot of money and can afford to have a social life; it's great if you want to start up a creative business(there are so many platforms for this), but if you work in London for less than 19k/yr you will get in debt and you will have to leave to maintain some form of balance in your life.

So I left. I move to Dusseldorf in Germany and then to Brussels(Belgium). This year I have travelled to Cologne, Antwerp and Amsterdam- none if which would have been possible had I stayed in London. I could not feel more blessed. Moving to Europe for work has enabled me to finally make a dint in paying off my overdrafts(they will be completely paid off before my birthday in February 2016). So here are a few photos from my travels...

1st column top to bottom: Dusseldorf Konigsallee, Cherry blossom on my street in Dusseldorf, houses by the canal in Amsterdam. 2nd column top to bottom: St Pauls Cathedral London, Countryside in Yorkshire, Church bells in Corfu(Greece), beach in Corfu. 3rd column top to bottom:  Brussels Grand place, Antwerp city centre, Brussels Grand place at night.

I have made some amazing friends this year, both in Germany and in Brussels, that have made moving away from home so much easier than I thought it would be. I have also been so fortunate to have friends from the UK come and visit me in my new surroundings.

On a rather serious note(generally I like to keep my more personal blog posts fairly lighthearted) I think everyone who has ever had a serious break up will know that it leaves you feeling empty and unsure of who you are. When you spend the majority of your time over a period of several years with one person, planning a future together, and then somehow it goes wrong(as many relationships do) you are left with a fragmented vision of the future that no longer includes the other person. This can be a great opportunity to re-design your life, it can also be extremely daunting. I found it to be the latter. 2015 was the first year I have felt like myself again; the first year I have felt completely happy and content with myself and the direction my life is heading. I am more confident in my creative abilities and my ability to form firm and lasting friendships and I am quickly discovering that I am a great deal braver than I thought. To all the friends that have emotionally supported me and excercised a great level of patience with me over the past few years- thank you, and to all the new friends I have made this year- I am so so glad our paths have crossed.

It was hard to select memories with friends for this year as I have so many, but I decided to choose snapshots from where I felt the happiest...

As dramatic as this may sound, 2015 has been a life changing year. I have lived in 2 different countries; paid off my overdrafts; FINALLY joined a gym and embraced a healthy excercise routine. I even took a break from dating(pretty serious for me...being in a country where I am attracted to very few people helps a bunch). I have learnt a lot about myself; my personality and my aspirations for the future. I am realising, as delayed as this epiphany may be, that I am me...and that's okay, in fact its pretty good. As a child I loved Dr. Seuss and my current feeling can be summarised in this quote...


So in 2016 I intend to be the most me-est version of me I can be.

Here are my resolutions/promises to myself for the coming year:

- Firstly I WILL learn French
- I will make steps towards setting up my own business. By the end of this year I would like to have a Website, Business plan and some loyal customers that aren't just family and friends.
- I will maintain my healthy eating/excercise routine
- I will save money towards setting up a creative business
- and lastly, but by no means least, I will make sure I get dressed and out of the house every weekend, I must not stay in my Pyjamas all weekend pretending to draw.

All are attainable goals.


Also 3 pieces of advice to myself for 2016:

- If you're feeling drunk on a night out- stop drinking
- If you don't like a guy you're on a date with you don't have to go out with him again- you're allowed to say no!!!
- Finally, Live colourfully!In clothing choices and in illustration work- no more black and white unless its commissioned.


Next year I already have plans to go to Amsterdam and Dusseldorf in January, Paris in February, UK in April and Italy in October so I have a lot to get excited about. As those of you who follow me on instagram will have seen, I posted this definition on my instafeed:


This is how I feel about next year.

I hope you all have a great start to the new year,whatever you may be doing! Let's make 2016 colourful, exciting and a year to be remembered and looked back on with joy and fondness! Speak to you next year ;) x
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