see ya 2016, howdy 2017


I seem to have lost my blogging mojo huh?! Six whole months since my last blog but today I felt the urge to write. Maybe it's because I actually gave my brain (and body) time to relax over Christmas! Hopefully this will be the start of things to come and I'll start blogging a little more, including a series of posts with business tips and advice to help my fellow small business owners.


Over Christmas I completely switched off from work, both the day job and Twin Pines. Granted being away from home (and the laptop) up on a tiny little island off Scotland helped. During this time I ate all the yummy Christmas goodies, played countless board games with the family and napped A LOT, like two, three times a day a lot. I also took the time to reflect on the last year and took stock of what has happened both for me personally and for my little business. 


Let's rip this plaster off quick and start off with the bad 👎

〰️   This year saw not just one, but three of my designs copied by other 'designers' and although you could see it as a compliment, to me it's just bloody rude and downright disrespectful to repurpose someone else's work as your own!

〰️   To say I'd been pretty poorly in 2016 would be an understatement but more about that later

〰️   2016 was also the year one of my clients and I parted ways halfway through a project. It was a completely amicable decision as it was clear that it just wasn't working. That being said it's definitely not something I want to repeat

〰️   Family wise we've had some difficult times that have hit everyone pretty hard but in a way have brought us a little closer together

〰️   And last but not least, you know the whole work/life balance thing? Yeah, well for me it was pretty much just work, work, work all year long and very little life.


Enough of the negative nelly over here, let's get to the good stuff 👍

〰️   The year started with Hello Sunshine (aka Jo) and lots of plotting and planning for the next big step in her business, a trade show. Together we worked on a wholesale catalogue, postcards and a number of other documents she needed behind the scenes (you can see the results on the blog). One of my favourite parts of the whole process was getting to collaborate with Jo and Holly Booth on the product photography that would be used in Jo's marketing collateral.

〰️   This year I also undertook a complete rebrand of Twin Pines including all collateral and rebuilding the website from scratch. You can read all about the process here and even now I'm still so pleased with the outcome, especially that cobalt blue ❤️  

〰️   In June I attended my first ever Blogtacular and wow, what an experience. In order to go I had to get past some major fears of mine but damn was it worth it! You can read my full debrief on the blog.

〰️   2016 also saw me learn a couple of new skill sets as well as meet two of my favourite creatives. First up was a lampshade Origami workshop with Origami Est.


Second up was a brush lettering workshop with Lola Hoad and boy was it fun and incredibly therapeutic. Not bad for a first attempt huh!


〰️   Celebrated my brother in law and his lovely wife's wedding day and damn was it good fun.

〰️   I worked with some AMAZING new clients and created some brilliant work that I'm really proud of, including the branding for Cheerfully Given, the rebrand of Talulah & Tup and Sophie Kinns shiny new website (project spotlights coming soon). Not to mention all the other lovely clients I'm currently working with but just can't share anything with you just yet.

〰️   This summer I even turned the big 3-0 and what better way to celebrate than going to Disneyland Paris


〰️   Celebrated Ellie's 1st birthday (same day as mine no less!) as well as a whole year with her in our lives. And boy has she made it some much richer!

〰️   At the end of 2015 I paid my first visit to Studio NL, little did I know how much of an effect that would have on this year. Since meeting Rox and attending the HUSTLE sessions I've come on leaps and bounds when it comes to building my confidence and actually going places on my own, without the husband or another friend for support. Stupid I know but it's something I've never really done until this year as the mere thought of not having that security blanket of someone I know who I can hide behind terrifies me. Typical introvert huh?! But this year has been different and I'd credit it to the confidence the HUSTLE sessions have given me. A mahoosive thank you to each and everyone of you.

〰️  I've not been on as many trips as I'd ideally have liked but did manage to go to London and couple of times, the Isle of Coll twice, Norfolk, Brighton and Disneyland Paris!

〰️   After years of saying 'we should get a nice plant for the house', the husband and I actually got a few and most of them are still alive too!

〰️   Started making some major progress with our home renovations with a new boiler, new doors downstairs (upstairs this year) and sorting the electrics too.

〰️   After years of dreams I also launched my first collection of products just before Christmas and I couldn't be more proud. Getting my first stockist so quickly in the form of Studio NL was bloody exciting too.


〰️   I even did my first ever craft fair too in the run up to Christmas which was so much fun. I can't wait to do more next year!



As you can probably see although there were some pretty pants moments in 2016 for me, but the positives FAR outweigh the negatives and I am definitely taking 2016 as a win. In the last 6 months of 2016 however I well and truly put work first in order achieve my dream of designing and making my own collection of paper goods and homeware alongside my design studio and day job and although it was worth it, it was at a cost. A cost to my health. Now don't get me wrong I didn't suffer from anything serious but just a constant series of health issues with no let up for over 4 months, ranging from knock you off your feet colds to a nasty shoulder injury meaning I couldn't turn my neck for a week, to the cherry on top, shingles! After taking some much needed time off over Christmas to rest and recuperate, I've finally listened to the mahoosive hints my body has been dropping for the last couple of months and I've decided things need to change before my body totally gives up on me. 


Now I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, and in a way I'm still not, but this Christmas break has given me the time to reflect and given me the energy and motivation to make changes and in the simplest terms get some balance to my life. To do this, things will be changing over the next month or two here at Twin Pines including taking on less clients, being a little pickier about which clients I do take on and making sure we are a perfect match.


Still working a full time job on top of client and my own work can be pretty crazy and does require me to work lots of hours at the weekend and weekday evenings, but this year I WILL have a much better work/life balance, starting with me setting aside an entire weekend each month where I do not work at all and go on adventures with the husband, see friends and family and take time out. This year will also see me be more efficient with my time rather than waste time on busy work that I don't need to do.


All in all 2016 was pretty good and I cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store.