Friday, 1 January 2016

Personal | 2015 Reflections

I have umm'ed and ahh'ed over whether to write this post, as lets face it my blog has been very neglected. This is due to time and commitments in other areas of my life but also lack of inspiration on what to post. I have written this blog post about 3 times now... and I thought I made a decision to skip writing a reflections post of the year. However I also reminded myself how much I love to read the past year's reflections to remind myself of where I have been and how I have grown as a person.

So here we go again... third time lucky!

The reason I was hesitant in writing this post is due to 2015 not being the best of years. I mean there has been some major highs (which I will get to in a minute) but also some super lows. I have had friends wonder where I have got to as I have kind of taken a step back. Not due to not wanting to spend time with them, but due to the fact that I have had to prioritise what is needed and important and this year it was spending time with family.

For those of you who don't know my family has been surrounded by Cancer. I have pretty much grown up with it surrounding mine and my families life. I think the first time I felt it's presence was when I was about 13/14 when my mum was first diagnosed with Cancer. Ever since then it has hit many members of my close family whilst I have looked at a distance. I have seen how my family has tried to cope with each blow and it amazes me at the strength that they all hold. I say this, as its no secret that I am the BIGGEST wimp when it comes to needles, blood or anything to do with hospitals, so I have the biggest respect for anyone that is going through it. I think I make them all laugh at my shudders especially when a drip is involved (Vom!!!).

So it came as an absolute blow to my whole family in July to hear my mum's cancer had come back after a 10 year break and it was here to stay. I was actually on holiday in Morocco when my mum told me and this time felt different, as to hear she would never be able to get rid of it is a hard thing to take in. It was one of those moments when I felt the world changed in an instant. Devastation is the word that sums it up. I am devastated for my mum, she had already fought many battles of cancer it just seemed ridiculously unfair it has returned. I would never wish cancer upon anyone else however there was a moment when I thought... why can't it go and bother someone else's family as we have had so much more than our fair share but then I know that isn't how it works.
There is nothing like cancer to remind you of what is important in life. My mum's strength and courage amazes us all each day as she undergoes chemotherapy. I don't know how she does it, but she does and we all love her very much so for it.

However to balance this major blow, is the best thing to happen in 2015. We had a huge blessing in our family with a new addition, my beautiful nephew Travis. He has brought so much love and laughter to our family at a time when we needed it most. He is most beautiful baby boy I have ever met and his smiles are the best thing ever. The joy he brings to our family is insane... and he brought our family even more closer together.

Also with all this going on, we have found out who our true friends our. The love, support and understanding we get from them is amazing and this year would of been very different if our friends were not involved. Also to new friendships... we have lived in Falmouth now for over a year and we have never felt so settled before. We have been made to feel so welcome by so many people and we have both made some amazing new life-long friends. We are currently on the hunt for our first home and although we have been out-bid on two houses we are not losing hope. We know the perfect home is out there!

There have been some other big positives for the year too, in regards to my business Sincerely May. This year has been a challenge in trying to learn how to balance a full time job alongside running a business that is growing every day. I wrote a list at the start of 2015, and I over achieved everything that was on the list. I could never of predicted what Sincerely May would become! I have so much gratitude to the couples and suppliers that I work with, as I would not be in the position that I am in now, without them. Don't get me wrong, it has not been easy... working late into every evening after a long day at work and working most weekends. I have learnt some hard lesson's along the way but when I look back at what I have achieved, it makes it all so very worth it. I am so thankful for all the love and support I get from my family, especially that husband of mine. He has helped me grow my business to where it is. He is head of post office runs, envelope lining, photo taking and tea-making. I really couldn't do it without him!!

We didn't get to travel as much as we wanted to this year due to Sincerely May taking up all my free time, however when we did, we made it worth it! The highlight trip for me, has to be Isle of Skye. I had been wanting to visit Isle of Skye for many years, and I am so glad we did. It is my happy place. I have never seen so much beauty before, and that is saying something as I have seen a fair bit of this world. To think its right on our doorstep is crazy, as it felt like a different world! If you ever get a chance to visit, then you must go! You really won't regret it.

Also this year has been turning my hands to new skills. Earlier on in the year, I tried my hand at letter-pressing in Bristol. It has been something I have wanted to try for such a long time and it ignited my love and respect into this art form. I wish I had the space to buy my own press, maybe one day we will! I also tried my hand at wreath making with my mum which has been on the list of things I wanted to do for a while. It was such good fun and we made some beautiful wreaths for our front doors.

I am looking forward to 2016 even though there are some major hurdles in the way, I still feel there are some exciting things planned.

So here are my intentions for 2016:
  • Keep spending more quality time with my family.
  • Keep growing Sincerely May. I have lots of exciting projects lined up which I can't wait to share with you.
  • Live more in the moment and try not to sweat the small stuff.
  • See more of this world we are living in whether this is more city breaks, or road trips! Who knows but I want and need to see more of this world.
  • Be more mindful and kind to myself by doing more of the things I love. Yoga, reading and just sitting on the sofa watching TV with my husband and not being tucked away in the studio.
  • Declutter my wardrobe the amount of clothing I have vs the amount of clothing I actually wear needs to be reviewed!
  • Stepping away more from social media. Running a business means I need to be on these platforms but more so on a personal level. I have taken a step back from Facebook slightly but I feel I can do more of this. 
  • Drink more water - this might be my trickiest intention...
  • Find a house to buy - we have been looking for the past 5/6 months and put in offers on 2 properties to be outbid. We are hoping by Christmas next year we will be in our own home.
Happy new year to you all!!!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Personal | 2014 Reflections

What a year 2014 has been! It has been pretty quiet here on Pencil Stitches but that just means life in general has been busy. I wanted to do a 2014 post, as one of the reasons I love to keeping this blog is being able to look back across the years and see what was happening in life at that moment in time.

2014 has been a CRAZY year.... its up there with 2013! We learnt a lot from this year. Australia taught us to be more open. Whether this was more open to meeting people or more open to what we wanted to do in life, or just to keep our hearts open as you never know what adventures are around the corner for you.

Moving abroad to live and work was a huge shock to our system. One that we love and one that we don't regret doing. We have seen and done things, most people will never get to experience in their lifetime. People don't truly 'get' it unless they do it themselves. Alex & I have learnt to aways try and step outside of our comfort zone as we know great things come from stepping outside of it. We do things that are right for 'us' as at the end of the day, we are the ones that are living this life and thats the greatest thing we have learnt.

Moving back to the UK was a large shock for the people around us as they couldn't understand why we would want to leave such a beautiful country to come back to the UK with no jobs. We knew it was the right thing for us to do though. We made sure that it worked for us. It was one of the hardest decisions to make, but if we knew what 2014 had in store for us back when making the decision. We would of made that decision with a lighter heart. Hindsight is always a good old thing...

2014 was the year for:

• Taking a big jump and leaving our home in Australia to move back to the UK.
• Travelling to new parts of the world to open our eyes to new cultures and new ways of thinking.
• Ticking off things on our bucket list.
• Settling back into UK life.
• Reflecting at what we wanted out of our lives.
• Learning new skills & passions.
• Starting my business Sincerely May.
• Moving down to Cornwall to create a new home & life for ourselves.
• Meeting like minded people.
• Living life and living the adventure.

2015 is going to be a year for:

• Pushing my business more
• Illustrating more and just trying to be more creative in general
• Capturing more moments as they happen
• & most importantly exploring this world we live in more....

Happy 2015 to you all! I hope this year is kind to you :)

Friday, 5 December 2014

Travels | Part 5 of the East Coast Aussie Road Trip - Noosa & Fraser Island

I can't believe its nearly a year that we left this beautiful country (apologies for the large delay in getting those photos up on the blog) but I am determined to finish it as I treat my blog as a virtual diary. I love looking back at old posts to see what I was thinking and doing at that particular time and I know I will kick myself if I don't carry on with this in a few years to come.

So we are on to part 5! Fraser Island & Noosa! The higher we got up, the higher the temperatures rose! I class myself as a sun junkie, but we were experiencing Australia's hottest summer ever recorded so to say I was starting to wilt was a little bit of an understatement ha! One thing I loved about our trip is the fact we had so little planned out. We knew three things about our trip before we left:

1. The day we were setting off.
2. How we were getting from A to B. Our Jucy camper
3. The day we had to be at Cairns airport.

Everything else in between we just made up as we went along! We had set ideas of where we wanted to go but nothing was set in stone. One trip we didn't think we would do was visit Fraser Island, which is a world heritage site. (Fact of the day: It is the worlds largest sand island!) However the closer we got to the island, the easier the decision was made that we had to visit even if it meant eating on a tighter budget than already planned. It was worth every penny though as it was absolutely stunning. My body temperature was actually thankful, as although it was super hot we spent the majority of the day either in a super air conned coach or swimming in the coolest waters!

I wasn't sure what to expect from Fraser Island but I came away with a lot more memories and reflections than I thought. We saw such beautiful scenery and SO much wildlife including wild Dingo's which lists on our 'top 10 moments'. We swam in the fresh water 'Lake McKenzie' until our skin looked like prunes and waded in fast flowing creeks that just carried you down the way.