So it turns out I took an unintentional blog break for most of December. Life took over with lots of work to finish up before Christmas and I also seem to have been experiencing a bit of a lull in creativity and motivation. I'm putting that down to the weather and the lack of light, which seems to result in me barely picking up my camera for weeks on end, and instead opting for a cosy blanket, a glass of wine and Netflix! But hey, 2018 is here, the nights will be getting lighter soon, and going through my pictures from the last year has started to reignite my creative spirit! 2017 was a slightly challenging year for me in many ways, but lots of great things happened too, so here is a little run through of how the year panned out at Patchwork Harmony HQ!
We actually saw out 2016 with the exciting news that I was expecting our second baby. But sadly, less than two weeks after finding out, I was in hospital having surgery to remove one fallopian tube and the embryo that was developing there. I never ever contemplated having an ectopic pregnancy, I thought it was such a rare condition, and while I dealt with it well at the time, over the year it's often left me feeling reflective and sad about what could have been, particularly as falling pregnant again hasn't happened so easily. (if you want to read more about what happened you can in this post) In the weeks of my recovery I also had to deal with the news that the company I had been working for on a freelance but permanent basis could no longer afford to keep me on, so this meant facing the year with not only the loss of the baby but the loss of a substantial amount of income.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though, and I felt so lucky that we had managed to get moved into our new house beforehand, and family were helping out to get the place into shape. I wrote a separate post about what we've done to the house in our first year here if you fancy a peek. There's still lots to do but I'm chuffed we've done as much as we have so far.
Once i was back on my feet, I got back to work on 91 Magazine, and had a few trips lined up - firstly Belfast to visit family and do a photoshoot for the magazine, and then in April I got to go to Milan with some fellow bloggers with DFS to the Salone del Mobile furniture fair. You can check out the post I wrote about to see if the trends we spotted have took hold in the interiors world!
Blogging really can bring some fab opportunities such as the trip to Milan, and this year I also got invited along to Chelsea Flower Show by Marks and Spencer. I didn't get to spend long at the show as I had to rush back to pick Ruby up, but it was so fun to see, and I really enjoyed the second part of the collaboration - styling my home with Marks and Spencer's flowers! If you're a flower fan do take a peek!
The third print issue of 91 Magazine published in May, and this was our first one that was sold in WH Smith travel stores. It was quite a surreal experience to see my little baby nestled next to the likes of Elle Deco and Living Etc on the shelves of a London train station shop!
Thankfully freelance work started to pick up too and I was asked to write the Living column for new magazine In The Moment. It's a lovely lifestyle magazine focussing on well being and creative living. If you haven't checked it out do have a look. It's my first time ever writing a column so I'd love to hear what you think! ;)
In June, we took a much needed week away in France, relaxing by the pool and of course a flea market visit or two! And in July, we celebrated Ruby's 3rd birthday! Looking back at photos of her from the last year I've realised just how much she has grown up in the past twelve months - it's incredible. Her thoughtful and caring nature and sunny disposition make her a joy to be around, I'm such a proud mama!
At the end of July we took a bit of an impromptu trip to Bristol. I'd never been before, and as I suspected, I really loved the city. If you haven't been, do take a look at my post about some great shops to visit. It's also a bit of a review of my new camera - the Olympus Pen E-PL8.
September brought another impromptu trip away when I was invited to stay at the fabulous Barford Beach House in Cornwall. It really was the most spectacular house I've ever stayed in - floor to ceiling windows in every room with sea views and the decor was fab - lots of interesting vintage finds and luxury touches - like the brass roll top bath! Do have a read of the post I wrote over on the 91 Magazine blog.
I took part in a lovely event in North London selling 91 Magazine amongst a fantastic group of independent businesses at the Occasional Home Store. It was so lovely to get out and meet some of the sellers who often advertise in the magazine and to meet some of our readers. See who else was selling at the event in this post and also keep your eyes peeled for more of these events in 2018, they are definitely a must visit for interior lovers!
If that trip was a personal highlight, then winning an Amara blog award is my professional highlight of the year! Myself and the team were over the moon to be awarded Best Interior Magazine blog amongst a strong category of mainstream magazines. We were thrilled that the indie magazine market is being recognised in this way. October also saw the AW17 issue of 91 hit the shelves, and it's been the fastest selling issue yet! I'm so happy that more and more people are hearing of us and enjoying what we are creating.
I also added a new product to the 91 range with our free quarterly e-zine. If you haven't seen this yet, then you just need to sign up to the mailing list as it is exclusive to these subscribers. It is a free mini digital magazine that comes out in between when the print issues are out, for an extra little dose of 91 loveliness! It's proving a popular little coffee break read! You can register here if you'd like to receive it. You can still get the current one when you register, and the next one comes out in Feb.
The rest of the year was taken up by school open days (because unbelievably Ruby is starting school this Sept!!) and trying to complete work deadlines before we headed to France for Christmas. And there we are! 2018 rolled right in! While it wasn't the best start to the year, 2017 did get better and we've made some lovely memories with many highlights along the way.
If you made it this far, well done! I tend to do this annual post as my own little recap and reflection of the past twelve months, so it's a bonus if anyone else is interested in reading it!
Finally, I'm keen to keep writing posts on here that my readers really want to see - I'd love to hear what you enjoy seeing here. Is it mainly our home renovations? Or would you like to see other home tours? Are you interested in the Editor's Life posts? Would you like to see more lifestyle/family related posts? Any comments you have I'd really love to know so I can tailor the content.
Happy New Year peeps, here's to a creative, productive and happy 2018!