After an unplanned break from blogging in December and ten days away from home during the Christmas holidays, I’ve been desperate to lose myself at my laptop and pull together my first post of 2017.

As you may already know, 2016 was an incredibly challenging year for me and my family. My ongoing health problems impacted almost every aspect of our lives and I can say with complete certainty that I’m no longer the same person I was 12 months ago.

Blogger Bianca Bass perfectly captured my thoughts regarding last year when she said:

‘Life often goes from amazing to awful and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. It’s up, it’s down. It’s bad, it’s good. Magical then mundane. Celebrate the awesome moments, accept the mediocre ones and reflect on the terrible. There’s a lesson to be found in even the deepest of downfalls.’- 10 Reminders For Anyone Who Feels Lost

I’m heading into the new year with new priorities. Mothers, and perhaps women more generally, often focus on the wellbeing of others before taking care of themselves, but I’ve learnt that I cannot pour from an empty cup. If I don’t put my health first, everyone suffers.

In 2017, I choose being well before being busy, I choose more energy before more money and I choose self-care before self-sacrifice. As Carl Richard recently said in the New York Times, let this ‘be the year of working hard and resting hard’:

‘I know this sounds like crazy talk, but we can do it. Make it a priority to be human again — to work hard and to rest hard without buying into the idea that we’ll fail at life if we rest.’ – Let 2017 Be the Year of Working Hard and Resting Hard


Looking back…

On January 1st, I compiled a handwritten list of everything I had achieved in 2016. In a year filled with poor health, constant career struggles and what felt like more than my fair share of tough breaks, I was pleasantly surprised when I quickly managed to fill an entire page of my notebook.

For posterity, here’s that list in digital form…

  • Having been forced to cancel a slew of bookings when I was hospitalised with flu, The Wedding Reporter went on to document the heartfelt unions of four incredible couples. While my partner in crime, Emma Woodhouse, has been busy building a new empire, I’ve been flying solo, travelling to nuptials across the country and ultimately writing in excess of 50,000 words.
  • After months of procrastinating, I finally commissioned Becky Lord to produce a digital brochure for my copywriting services. Within days of its launch online, it was generating new enquiries and helping me connect with my ideal clients.
  • Towards the end of the year, I secured two large copywriting projects and ongoing regular work with a handful of smaller clients. I also produced a digital brochure for The Rose Shed and an array of copy for Helen at Pudding Bridge who’s set to launch a brand new wedding planning service later this week.
  • Being unwell definitely took its toll on Love Audrey. After weeks of nothing but tumble weed here on the blog, I’d vanished from the first page of google and my pageviews had plummeted to an all time low. Fearing I’d inadvertently killed my beloved online community, I slowly started to rebuild and by November my stats had returned to their pre-flu levels. I’ve never been a numbers person, but few things motivate me like knowing there are people out there who actually want to read what I write.
  • I didn’t blog anywhere near as much as I’d like to last year, but I’m really proud of this post, this post and this post. Quality, not quantity.
  • Although collaborations were thin on the ground in 2016, I continued to work with Christy, a brand I truly adore. In July, they invited me to join them and a handful of bloggers at Wimbledon for the day. Watching Andy Murray on Centre Court is an experience I’ll never forget! You can read my latest post for them here.

Love Audrey UK Lifestyle Blog Hello 2017

On a personal level, I watched the children grow and change so much in 2016. We’ve all been learning to live with my CFS and I know it hasn’t always been easy for them.

Isabel also made the move to secondary school in September, leaving behind numerous friends along with the familiarity of her primary school years. There have been some bumps along the way, but for the most part, she’s taken it all in her stride. I’m immensely proud.

At the same time, Jesse progressed from Infant to Junior school, moving to a much larger site without his big sister by his side. He seems to be thriving and I’m endlessly fascinated by the passions and interests he’s beginning to develop. Tae Kwon Do became a big part of his life last year and it’s been amazing to watch his confidence grow.  Cornwall Family HolidayCornwall Family Holiday

When blogging fell by the wayside in 2016, many of our greatest adventures went undocumented on the pages of Love Audrey. I managed to share our wonderful trip to Hope Cove and my mum’s 60th birthday party, but the memories of our summer holiday in Cornwall {pictured above} remain confined to their Instagram hashtag.

My beloved Weekend posts were also few and far between, but I’m determined to record the minutiae of everyday life with renewed energy and focus in 2017.

Looking Forward….

I need this year to be gentle with me. I’m craving minimalism and simplicity and I plan to fight hard for continued rest and recuperation. I’m still rebuilding in the wake of last year’s disaster and I don’t want to lose sight of how far I’ve come.

I want my family to flourish and I want my business to thrive. I want to read more, write more and take more photographs. Each day, I hope it is creativity that consumes the bulk of my energy. I believe in the power of words, the magic of storytelling and the positive affect they have always had on my life.

I’m hoping for more adventure in 2017. I want to travel with my family, experience new things and make some amazing memories. At the moment, we have a trip to Amsterdam to look forward to in May. Two of my closest friends are having babies this year, so I’m also hoping to head to London for newborn cuddles on more than one occasion.

How about you? What are your hopes and dreams for 2017?

Love Audrey xxx


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