A new year can be a beautiful thing; for me, it's being able to look back on a whole year and see how things have changed, how much we've all grown and the huge milestones we've surpassed (this year, I turned *drumroll* thirty!). We don't tend to go out to celebrate anymore (because, kids) and I haven't seen midnight in about four years (without a babe-in-arms, that is), but it's still the perfect time to start looking forward to what we want from the year ahead. Here's what 2018 meant to us, featuring a few of my favourite festive photos from this year..
01 My blog became mine again.
2018 was the year my blog really became mine again. For a while, I became consumed by the idea of blogging as a career, so much so that I would take on any and every opportunity that presented itself, often undervaluing myself and agreeing to collaborations I wasn't entirely happy with. I was publishing posts I wasn't proud of simply to fill a weekly quota that I was adamant I had to stick to for growth and eventually I realised it just wasn't fun anymore.
I took my passions—design, photography and kid's fashion—and started to post when I wanted to; I turned down the opportunities that didn't appeal to me and focused on the things that mattered to me—recording our memories. I can now happily say I am proud of every single post I hit publish on, I won't take on any sponsored work that I'm not able to write or film myself and I put as much into the work I do get as the personal posts that are mine.
02 I started a business.
Probably the thing I am most proud of this year is starting my own business as a graphic designer. For years I've wanted to freelance, to share the other side of my life with my community and to work with other bloggers and small businesses, but I didn't know how. This year, I've worked so hard to build a portfolio of work,to brand myself, to promote my designs and to push my little business as far as I possibly can and though I still have a long way to go (freelance is tough, I have come so far in one year that I'm excited to see where another year takes it.
03 Archie started school.
It's kind of a big one and I still can't quite believe it. Just as I knew would happen, he's taken every single day in his stride, bounding into the school gates long before I'm able to catch up with him. He loves school, he loves his friends (and his girlfriend, adorable) and he loves to write and to learn. Every single day he surprises us and I can't express enough how proud of him we are. This year he's grown so much in every way and I am so happy that he is happy. Now to accept that Jesse will be starting pre-school this year..
04 I took photos.
This year, I wanted to continue to improve my photography. I invested in a new camera in February and upgraded my lens to a much better [and pricier!] one later on in the year. It was all worth it because I feel as if my pictures are at their best right now and I love taking photos more than ever. I've been putting myself in front of the camera as often as I can and it's also helped with my confidence, this year I've started to feel like more than a Mum again. Next year, I aim to focus on improving my indoor photography, it's something I struggle with but in the Winter months, getting used to taking photographs in darker conditions is integral. Tips welcome!
05 We lost my Nan.
Sadness is a part of life, as we all know, and this year was no exception with the sudden loss of my Nan at the end of September. It still feels surreal and I often find myself driving past her street with the boys, thinking about how I should pop in before remembering what's happened. We miss her so much, but know that she is out of pain and will have been delighted to be reunited with our wonderful Grandad. We'll certainly be toasting to them both, and my brother, this evening.