So here we are, almost at the end of January 2018 and here I am, late as ever with my New Year blog post! It's become a bit of a tradition now though and I'm OK with that, not only because it takes me a while to get my sh*t together but because actually... the first few weeks of a New Year can be SO overwhelming and this year has been no different.
Starting to write this post now has also meant that I've had a few weeks to put into practice the some of the goals and habits I'd been contemplating in December. I mean, nobody likes to admit falling off the wagon two weeks in to setting yourself new resolutions/goals/targets or whatever you like to call them... so get into the swing of doing them before you tell everyone! haha!
Admitting my plans out loud after a few weeks of playing with routine again also feels less daunting and reduces the amount of pressure I inevitably put on myself. It's helped me get my thoughts in line and actually focus A LOT. That and my lovely diary/notebook that Pegs has taken a shine to...
Anywho, so what are these daunting tasks I've set myself? What is 2018 going to look like for me and Hello Sunshine? Have I got my shit together? Hah! No! But I do have a little list of things I want to do this year and plans for adventures, projects and personal milestones so I thought I'd share them with you all.
P E R S O N A L G O A L S
I like to think I'm an active person in general, I love going out on my bike, I love walking, hiking and trying new things but this isn't about that... it's about finding my love for running again and it's about making time for stretching, mindful movement and flexibility.
I've had a love/hate relationship with running for a few years now. I've spent a long time trying to figure out where my initial love and enjoyment for it disappeared to because I genuinely missed it. If I'm honest, I think it comes down to the fact I quickly began to feel like I wasn't good enough, strong enough or fast enough. I thought that entering races, documenting all my runs and setting goals would motivate me but instead I just ended up feeling a bit sh*t about how slow or weak I was instead of enjoying the ride, so to speak.
So with that in mind, towards the end of last year I started to put on my running gear in the mornings and jog back from my post office trip - no garmin, no strava, no instgram shots of my feet after, just me, my music and the journey home, however slow. You know what I found? I LOVED IT! I rediscovered my mojo - sounds ridiculous, right?
Since then, I've enjoyed running at least three times a week so far this year and even managed a 7 miler, all in secret! haha! Obviously it's not a secret because people see me, I'm out there and I've just told you but unless I chose to share it (like now), I'm running for me again and have learned to give no sh*ts when I'm out there.
Colourful leggings, adding spotify to my phone, trying to SMILE at everyone I pass on my little outtings as well as putting no pressure on myself to do anything except get that bloody sports bra on in the morning has worked wonders so far... Lets hope I can keep at it!
That's the running part, the other part is about Yoga! Something I've always enjoyed but never made an effort to stick at. I'm too busy, have no money for classes, there's no space at home... blah blah... I'm just lazy! Well no more excuses in 2018! With the help of the lovely Adriene (and Benji!) and her 30 day YouTube videos, I have made space (physically and diary wise) to have regular yoga sessions at home - usually following a run as it feels SO good to stretch out in that way afterwards.
A bit like running, I'm not putting pressure on myself and even though I'm lagging behind on the videos and not doing it every day, I'm bloody loving it and am already feeling better for it - body and mind. Plus, you can't help but smile when you see Adriene's furry buddy on the videos and I have my own furry cheerleaders every time get on the mat...
EAT & DRINK MORE COLOURFULLY
Overall, I would say our diet is pretty balanced but after a few weeks of what felt like eating A LOT of beige food (which I do love about Christmas - cheese, bread, more cheese, baked cheese, bread, pies... you get the picture), I was ready to inject all the fruit and veggies back into our routine!
I'm not vegetarian or vegan but I would say a lot of our diet at home is plant based and I am a HUGE fan of playing with recipes in the kitchen. And let's be honest... I need to balance out all the amazing burgers and cheeseboards we treat ourselves to!
Whether it's experimenting with veggie burgers or trying to invent weird and wonderful one pot things and using ingredients we've never heard of before, I love it and will be doing much more of it throughout the year. Who knows, maybe if I start batch making stuff to freeze in the summer we won't end up with toast or take aways so much come Christmas time when things get mental again!
Do you have any favourite recipes or go to books for evening meals and easy lunches?
As Arnold Schweatyknickers says in Total Recall, "Relax, you'll live longer." It's something that made me chuckle on NYE when we were sat in our pants, drinking gin and seeing the New Year in and it's stuck with me. It's not a bad piece of advice is it?
I like to think I'm getting better at rational thinking and calming my beans before I lose my self into a dark hole of anxious paranoia but my brain gremlins get the better of me far too often so, this quote is something I'm going to keep telling myself regularly. Maybe it will help me question what it is I'm stressing about and how I can face it with a more relaxed mind rather than an anxious whirlwind of beating myself up or getting in a tizz over scenarios I often invent in my head.
Teamed with Yoga (hello 30 days with Adriene!), starting to be more active and a general awareness of how my anxious mind works, I hope to see some improvement in my state of mindfulness of the coming months. I still have a long way to go and have totally ugly cried at least three times this month but in the end it's all about trying your best and I'll keep on trying!
Holy sh*tballs, I'm going to be a wife this year! Although getting married is not (and have never been) one of my 'goals', getting everyone together for a day of fun, food and frolics as well as telling the world that I'm excited to spend the rest of my life with The Beard is a pretty HUGE thing... so deserves a mention here.
With a lot of the bigger bits sorted for the day itself now, I'm currently enjoying hunting for all the colourful decorations and DIY projects. I don't share much about it all on social media or even with friends and family IRL but that's because I want there to be fun surprises for everyone... as well as the fact I honestly have no bloody idea what I'm doing most of the time!
Over the past few years, when I've written these blog posts, making the most of the great outdoors has always been high on my lists - whether it's been a specific 'TO DO' or just a nod towards getting out there more. Adventures of all shapes and sizes, inspire, delight and motivate me in all the best ways!
2018 will be no different and similar to 2012 and 2013 I've decided I'm going to aim to visit 12 new places, one each month, this year. So far January has been off to a good start with a trip to Foxton Locks with the family this year, a hike around Rutland Peninsula (with a trip to the Hambleton Bakery in Oakham) and the end the month I'm off to Edinburgh for 3 days!
Although Edinburgh isn't a new place as I've been twice before, it's going to be a very new experience as I'm going SOLO! Eep! I'm a mix of excited and nervous and even though it will be a working trip, I plan to see as much of Edinburgh as I can, as well as hand-delivering a wholesale order and finally meeting one of my fave stockists in person! A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who commented on my Instagram post with lots of wonderful recommendations too - I have SUCH A LONG list of places to go and things to see (and eat!)
W O R K G O A L S
I'm going to keep it simple with goals for the business this year. With the wedding and some other potential big plans afoot (NO BABIES, before you ask!) I'm rather wary of setting myself too big a list and burning out so although this list may seem a little short, I'll still be working my socks off, bringing you new Sunshine, travelling to craft fairs and offering to draw you all throughout the year as usual.
You know I love them, they're my most favourite part of the job so maybe it's no surprise that they are top of the list here.
Last year I attended some wonderful events with my Live Sunshine Portraits, which has helped to build my confidence no end. It's also made me realise how much I really do love drawing people (and pets!) in the moment so with this in mind I'm aiming to throw myself at more situations where I can pack up my paints and draw lovely folk IRL!
As well as events and fairs across the UK, I'd also LOVE to go to more weddings and after taking my paints to my very first one in November last year, I have another booking for the Summer (YAY!) and I can't wait! I want to focus on the illustrative side of my business more this year and have already started to make some exciting plans (with some amazing accomplices!) to help bring this part of Hello Sunshine to life and make sure I get to wear these shoes a lot... so watch this space!
Now this is going in as a tentative goal for 2018 but most it will likely become a more serious goal for 2019. I've been flirting with the idea of running a Kick Starter for Project Van for a couple of years now but only after brainstorming with the marvellous Menekse of Lintel Studio, have I started to believe that I could actually make my crazy dream a reality.
Not only would this be a MASSIVE project, which would allow me to realise my dream of owning an actual camper van but it would also be a project to bring the Sunshine Van to life for events, hire and all sorts of creative collaborations and opportunities, which makes me do a small excited wee every time I think about it!
Like I said, no plans afoot yet, it's all just a twinkle but if you have any thoughts, comments or feedback on this idea of running a Kickstarter to fund a real life Sunshine Van, I would LOVE to hear them.
Last year I fully intended to pimp my wholesale catalogue, create a fancy new section on the website and update everything to share in the Spring time... that didn't happen. WHOOPS! However, I kept all of my wholesale paperwork up to date and orders coming in so it wasn't the end of the world.
This year though, I am determined to be more organised and already have a solid idea of how I'd like to curate my collections. I have also put some thought into playing around with product styling and have some very exciting plans with the amazing Cat of Twin Pines Creative to cook up ideas for a new catalogue! Along with a photoshoot by the talented Holly Booth in March, I'm VERY excited to see how the colourful, fun ideas and plans in my brain spill out and come to life!
I always try to keep new products and design ideas in the back of my mind and I have started to put some plans into action in the hope to launch some shiny new things, and pimp some existing designs in time for Spring.
Expect to see pin trios, some brand new kitties and new happy campers in the near future, whilst Christmas plans and ideas will be bubbling and brewing for a couple more months...
There you have it, my set of personal and work related ambitions/waffle for the year ahead. It feels nice to have them written down after a month of playing with them in my head and trying to work out what was really important for me to focus on.
Maybe you have some similar goals or maybe you haven't started to think of any yet, either way I hope you've enjoyed reading this post and before I sign off, I'd like to ask you all a quick question...
Is there anything you would like to see from me and Hello Sunshine?
The goals above give you a little insight into my plans but it would be so valuable to hear what YOU lovelies are interested in... maybe it's more blog posts? less instaspam? more instaspam? more cats? less foodie shots? more behind the scenes peeks? less yellow? (haha!) more work in progress updates?
ANYTHING! Name it - I'd love to hear your thoughts... pretty please!