Tuesday, 9 January 2018

So long 2017 and thanks for all the fun!

In my usual style, I'm a tad late with my yearly 'reflective' blog post, mainly because I've felt so overwhelmed this month and my brain hasn't really had time to process much other than how to pop the kettle on and doodle pretty nothings in a new note pad.

I also think that this time of year is tough on everyone with mixed messages constantly filling our screens/ears/eyes with what you should and shouldn't be doing or should and shouldn't be eating/drinking to kick off a new year. I find it rather exhausting and in a lot of ways 'mind bottling' - I mean you should just do what's right for you surely?!?

I've seen a lot of similar thoughts and feelings crop up amongst friends and family too this month and with that in mind, (and in my usual 'la la land' way) I'm just going do my thing here and if you enjoy the read, it's a bonus!

print by Rachel Read

Last year I was also late to the party and started my 2016 review in February 2017, I also felt a little lacklustre in the goal setting department but eventually left myself a little list of habits to try out for 2017, (I never did get around to writing a business themed post in the end though! Ooops!)

Anywho, I thought I'd start off this post by re-visiting those little habits and seeing how they worked out...

D R I N K  M O R E  W A T E R
Sounds simple, right? But when the kettle is the first thing I reach for in the morning or any time I'm thirsty it's pretty hard to drink plenty of plain H2O throughout the day. I certainly drink more water now, starting every day with a big ol' glass to wake me up (swiftly followed by a trusty brew!) and I try to alternate brews with glasses of water but in recent months, especially when it's cold, I'm aware all I opt for is a nice hot cup of tea most times. Overall I've made a little improvement and that's OK because just being aware is a good thing and I can continue to try and improve over the coming year too.

W I W T  D O O D L E S
YAY! I successfully rekindled the little monthly doodles I used to do but this time tried a slightly more fluid style, using ink pens and watercolour paints. Also, 2017 marked the ten year anniversary of finding my Sunshine style - when I started to draw people like this back in 2007! Eek!













It’s so nice to have a little collection of 12 watercolours reflecting some of my fave outfit choices from 2017... and it's quite fun to see my hair change too. I might have to continue this into 2018 as it was genuinely an enjoyable task.

W E D D I N G  P L A N N I N G  T I M E
Well, I guess that fact we have a date set for this May (YIKES!) and a lot of BIG things booked, you could say planning has well and truly been started and smashed. Don't get me wrong, there's still A LOT to do and I have mild heart palpitations when I think about it all but it's GOOOOOD! I have my weekly time slots still going strong in my calendar and have found the Rock n Roll Bride x Veronica Dearly Planner and absolute god send to help keep me on track.

Roll on May 2018! Eep! 

B E D  T I M E  R E A D I N G  
Although I haven't read many books, and may have cheated slightly by signing up to a couple of months of Audible to have The Lord of the Rings read to us, I have still found reading before bed time (when I can keep my eyes open), the best remedy to a more relaxed night's sleep.

Usually I have a Toby Cat sprawled on me, trying to nuzzle the book out of his way, but it's all part of the routine and anything that's not screen time before sleep is a win!

G E T  O U T D O O R S
I like to think I nailed this one this year, from daily Post Office trips on foot or bike (sometimes even running), I have enjoyed plenty of outdoor time. I'll be honest, there were a few days when I didn't leave the house for one reason or another but overall fresh air time won over hiding away. I also enjoyed plenty of outdoor adventures with The Beard this year too, from National Trust and seaside day trips to camping holidays and a stunning trip to Norway.

2018 is already looking promising for outdoor time and adventures too...  but more on that in my New Year blog post, which I will write soon... honest!

C L I M B I N G 
So this one died a death in May unfortunately, as much as I genuinely enjoyed my weekly rope lessons with Will, the two hour journey from Cambridge to MK killed my enthusiasm pretty quickly and I haven't been climbing since. That's not to say I won't ever go again though because I enjoyed the challenge and was pleased with the small steps and progress I made when I went- I especially enjoyed wearing all the colourful things to help distract from my nerves!

Cambridge has a new climbing centre opening soon though, so who knows, maybe The Beard will take me bouldering in Cambridge instead...

In 2017, I drove A LOT more than I have done in the past few years but I wouldn't say I'm in the habit of it so I'm determined to work on that way more this year. I'm aiming to get in the car at least once a week - so far so good this year. I just can't shake the fear though so avoiding driving, especially as I don't need to every day is too easy! I just need to make sure I keep at it and force myself out more.

I would tell you I'm doing way better at flossing and taking care of my mouth... my dentist may tell you otherwise though because I'm certainly not flossing every day! Still little improvements are better than none and the Dentist is often very complimentary about my teeth so it's not all bad. Now where did I put those flossing harps...

I may not be able to tell you that I have a fresh new set of habits at the ready for the new year but I guess it was never really about ticking these things off one by one. In choosing little habits and acknowledging what I wanted to work on personally, I wanted it to make me think more about day to day things and I think it actually has made a difference throughout the year. It's been nice to take a look back and see what I have/haven't managed too - even if they do seem mundane and rather trivial to other folk.

Looking back through photos for these 'habits' and thinking about the last year has also reminded me of some bloody AMAZING times I've had with friends, family, The Beard, kitties and with work.

Overall, my photo library and social media is a lot of sunshine, happies and rainbows. I know I've said it before but I use it all as a bit of a selfish visual diary and my Instagram accounts in particular (both of them!) are what pick me up on darker days, when I'm feeling blue, lost, hopeless, desperately unmotivated or all of the above.

Today was one of those black rain cloud days, and until I started writing this blog post (after almost a whole day of procrastination), I felt rubbish - rubbish about my body, my mind, my work, MYSELF. I have plenty of darker days like these (like many other folk) but I try to make sure that there are a lot of Sunshine moments and that I document them - no matter how big or small they may seem. So on days like today, looking back through my 'highlight reel' of fun times I've had with people I love, seeing comments, feedback and customer photos of my work and realising that my company and creations can make other people smile has perked me right up!

Aaaaand... it wouldn't be a yearly review if I didn't share some highlights so here are some of my fave bits from 2017:

F R I E N D S F E S T . . .  T W I C E

Jen's 30th Birthday surprise : July, Sheffield

Becky's Birthday : September, London

P H O T O W A L K  H O S T I N G  W I T H  C L A I R E

Cambridge Creatives : Spring Photowalk
Photo : DaphneRosa

Cambridge Creatives : Autumn Photowalk
Photo : Diana Hagues

A F T E R N O O N  T E A

Mother's Day treat with Mum, Squidge and Mama

C O L O U R W A L K S 

In Colourful Company Photowalk : Nottingham

In Colourful Company Photowalk : London
Photo : Samantha Eynon

Dreamland, Margate

W E D D I N G  P O R T R A I T S

My first booking, drawing beautiful wedding guests!

...and new shoes!

P U N T I N G  A N D  B I K E S

Beautiful day out with Claireabellemakes and AndSmile 

A U N T Y  J O J O  T I M E

L I V E  P O R T R A I T S

Nottingham Independents Festival : July

Studio NL Pop Up : July

HMN Spring and Winter Markets : April and November


Caboodle x Hello Sunshine

Lucky Dip Club x Hello Sunshine

Crown and Glory x Hello Sunshine

P U M P K I N  P I C K I N G

Undely Pumpkin Patch

N E W  S U N S H I N E

Plus much more over at hello-sunshine.shop

A D V E N T U R E S  W I T H  T H E  B E A R D

Glen Nevis

Rutland Water



Scafell Pike





Holy Island

Mam Tor

Kinder Scout


When I look back at these happies, 2017 has been a bit of all right overall and I am genuinely excited, happy and proud of all that I've achieved and all the wonderful memories with special people I've made over the past twelve months. "L for LOVE!"

What were your favourite bits from the year? Do you write a review? Or create a photo album? Or do you keep physical reminders? Like a memory box? I love reading other people's yearly reviews (something I am looking forward to ticking off my 'to do' list soon with several cups of tea!) and I often feel super inspired afterwards so I hope you've enjoyed the read and if I've inspired you at all then YAY!

Jumping in to 2018 like...

I've said this many a time but it never loses it's meaning or importance - THANK YOU ALL so much for your love, cheerleading and overall support for me and my business. It means the world to me and as long as you guys keep the odd like, comment, feedback and order coming in, I promise to bring the Sunshine, sillies, yellow and smiles coming atcha!

Phew! This has turned in to a bit of a beast of a post so I'm going to sign off now with a big virtual hug for anyone who's made it this far and a promise to be back soon! However, this will be the last post you see here on jowant.blogspot.co.uk as I'm planning to move my blog over to hello-sunshine.co.uk so get ready for a fancy new layout and New Year blog post soon... ish!


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