I’ve been writing a version of this post since 2010. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, I’ve always been able to reflect and find something positive to share despite the chaos. This January, it should be an easy task. 2023 was a great year for us as a family. Of course, there were challenges to navigate and hurdles to overcome, but in comparison to the preceding years, it felt like a walk in the park.

However, given the current state of the world, the horrifying amount of suffering taking place, sharing highlights and focussing on the positive feels shallow and pointless. Although joy and pain always co-exist on this planet, the contrast feels starker than ever right now. It makes me feel guilty and grateful at the same time.

Today, I’m choosing to lean into that feeling of gratitude. There are things I want to document and remember from 2023 and it feels important, vital even, that we look ahead with hope.

The Statue of Liberty seen from the Staten Island Ferry


Looking Back…

I wanted plenty of travel and adventure in 2023 and we definitely achieved this goal. As a family, we enjoyed a long weekend in London in the spring and a brief trip to Dorset in the summer. In July, road trips became more comfortable when we were finally able to buy a new car.

In October, my mum took me to Devon for an incredible Agatha Christie inspired adventure that included a memorable stay on Burgh Island. Finally, in December, Carl and I spent four nights in New York. We fell hard for the city and can’t wait to go back.

2023 was also the year I turned 40. I had so much fun celebrating my big birthday in August. There were cocktails with Izzy at Cargo Cantina, a night away with Carl at Outbuildings Dorset, dinner from Dorshi, afternoon tea with my parents at The Alexandra Hotel and a meal with friends at one of our favourite local restaurants, The Red Church. So many treats in such a short time!


I worked on some incredible projects last year, writing copy for ten websites and more blog posts and marketing emails than I can count. I created a lot for my own audience too, writing regularly for both my blog and my mailing list. Long-form content has my heart, so I think 2024 might be the year I finally start a Substack.

Charlie and I shared regular episodes of Friends With Business Benefits and celebrated five years of podcasting in December. I made my second appearance as a guest on Being Freelance and chatted to my pal Maddy Shine on her excellent podcast, Visibility Talks. In June, I also delivered a guest workshop for Maddy’s Visible Vibes Community. I’m hoping to do more of this in 2024. I already have something lined up with Therapists Corner in the spring. When it comes to creating and delivering workshops, I’ve realised I enjoy collaborating with others much more than launching and selling on my own, so that’s where I’m planning to focus my energy this year.

Izzy also celebrated a milestone birthday in 2023. Organising her 18th birthday party was stressful at the time, but it was worth the hard work. Having had to watch her celebrate a couple of birthdays alone during the pandemic, it was wonderful to see Izzy surrounded by friends from school and college. My sister and her family were over from Australia which made it extra special. We asked Helen Lisk Photography to capture the day and I’m so glad we did.

Having finished college in June, Izzy’s been taking a gap year ever since, working part time while preparing for another gruelling round of drama school auditions. As well as being awarded a Distinction+ for her diploma, she made us incredibly proud when she was accepted on to the National Youth Theatre’s intake course. In 2024, she has a six-week trip to Australia with her BFF to look forward to. Adventure awaits!

Jesse turned 14 in 2023 and grew more than a few inches! At 5”7’, it looks like I’m going to be the shortest in our family! Jesse’s current passions include gaming, cooking, Magic: The Gathering and listening to his favourite bands. In September, Carl took him to his first live gig – Nekrogoblikon at Thekla Bristol. Melodic death metal isn’t really my thing, so I happily stayed home!

Scrapbooking and creative play continued to bring me a lot of joy in 2023. I’m still finding my flow when it comes to sharing regular updates, but I set-up a dedicated Instagram account, @LoveAudreyMakes, to document my creations and hopefully meet likeminded crafty souls. If that sounds like you, please join me!


Looking Forward…

As usual, I’m choosing to enter the new year slowly and gently. I do not believe January is the best time to make big changes or overhaul your life. Instead, I like to use this fallow time of year to dream and plan. You’ll find me making lists, creating a vision board and focusing on how I want to spend the next 12 months.

For me, a good place to start is thinking about the words and photos I’d like to include next time I come to write this blog post. I hope I have more travel stories to share. I’d like to be able to say I spent a lot of time writing too. As always, I plan to prioritise self-care and maintain the small, daily habits that make a big difference to my overall health and wellbeing.

‘The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.’ – Carl Jung

My guiding word for the year ahead is ’play’. I want more play and experimentation in my professional life and plenty of creative play outside of work. I want to play around with ‘frivolous’ things like fashion, beauty and the way our home looks and feels. I’m also thinking about playfulness as an attitude or mindset. I’m determined to create lots of opportunities for light-hearted fun, whimsy and magic. Above all, I want to focus on doing things I enjoy with unashamed enthusiasm and exuberance.

How about you? What are your hopes and dreams for 2024?

Love Audrey xxx

P.S. Can you believe I’ve been sharing a version of this post every January for more than a decade?

Pin It on Pinterest