Monday, December 30, 2013

My year in pics - 2013

It's become a bit of a tradition for me to round off the year with a post looking back on the last 12 months, the highlights, achievements and good times - I think it really makes you appreciate what you've got and it's a lovely way to reflect. I started by looking back at my very first post of 2013, and felt it was actually quite poignant - I was talking about 'living what you love' and following your dreams and said how I was planning to continue 'giving things a go' in 2013. Little did I know, about 2 weeks after I wrote that post that my employer would open up a round of voluntary redundancies, which for me, was the perfect opportunity to give my dream of being self employed a go! I officially went freelance in April and haven't looked back, I'm so glad I took the plunge and followed that dream.

Apart from the career changes, I spent the first few months of the year in the final planning stages of our wedding - what a fun time! Lots of people talk of how stressful planning a wedding is, but I loved the chance to get crafty making things for the day and going to lots of markets and fairs gathering props to make our day really special. LOTS of flea market shopping took place, especially with my new found flexible working hours! ;)

vintage shopping - Selina Lake book launch event
vintage shopping - Decorative Living Fair June 2013

vintage shopping - French brocante
vintage shopping - Decorative Living Fair Sept 2013 London

Even though I was in full on 'wedding body' mode by Easter, the hubby (or fiancé as he was at that time!) still carried out the traditional Easter egg hunt for me which he does every year! I'm such a child! :) Spot the Hotel Chocolat melted heart chocolates! He must've hidden those behind a radiator!

Easter egg hunt
Luckily I still managed to fit into my very tight hen do dress, and had TWO amazing hen parties - one back in Belfast and a London one! Two of the best nights out ever!

Bride to be hen party glasses and feather boa
I got back into work mode briefly by speaking at my first ever blogger's conference - Cybher - a scary but exhilarating experience, and another one of those things on my 'giving it a go' list.

Speaking at Cybher 2013 blogger conference
Then it was the home straight to the definite highlight of my year by far... our wedding. It really was the most special time ever - having all our family and friends with us in one of our favourite places in the world, sharing the day we'd planned for for so long. It was truly amazing.

Our wedding in the Dordorge, France - flowers & dress
Our wedding in the Dordorge, France
Our wedding in the Dordorge, France - croque en bouche
Our wedding in the Dordorge, France - peonies and roses
And to top it off we had a wonderful 10 days in Italy for honeymoon - wishing I could be back there right now! Good times!

Our honeymoon in Positano, Italy
Our honeymoon in Positano, Italy
I was totally expecting to come home and have the holiday blues after such a fabulous few weeks, but luckily I came home to find out I'd been shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards for best interior blog! I didn't win in the end but it was an honour to be shortlisted and I had a fab night out at the awards in early October.

Shortlisted for Cosmo Blog awards 2013 - best interior blog
I also immediately launched into what was probably my career highlight of the year - guest editing the Mollie Makes Home bookazine. I spent around 6 weeks working on this, sourcing gorgeous homes and crafty projects to feature and loved every minute of it! It was a proud moment when the finished product arrived on my doorstep!

Guest Editor on Mollie Makes Home
91 Magazine continued to do well, even though I only managed to publish 2 issues this year. Issue 7 which published in October has been the most successful by a mile, and is fast approaching 1 million hits which is just phenomenal! I'm so pleased so many enjoy the magazine, and I'm truly grateful for the talented contributors that help to make it so great. Yes, it is a huge labour of love, it's definitely not a money making venture, but it has opened up so many other doors, and I'm always excited to see what might happen in the future... thank you again everyone for your support. x

91 Magazine issue 7 cover
One of the things I loved about this year was the amazing summer we had. It was pretty special wasn't it?! And I was so grateful to be working from home so I could enjoy my lunch in the garden, which I'd spent a little time sprucing up. Although it's not looking so pretty these days due to the winter months neglect!

Mini garden makeover
Spring flowers in my garden
In October, I turned 32 (blimey!) and true to form, the hubby surpassed himself in the cake making stakes! A lot of time spent watching the Great British Bake Off has clearly paid off!

Cup cone cakes
Also becoming a bit of a tradition, is spending my birthday in a British seaside town, so this year we visited Whitstable. I'd never been before and just loved it, SO many great vintage shops! :)

Whitstable - British seaside town
coloured houses in Whitstable - British seaside town
As the wedding was now out of the way, we turned our attention to some home improvements and tried our hand at tiling. I'm so chuffed with the results in our little porch area, it really makes such a difference. You can see what it looked like before here.

Our porch makeover - DIY tiling
I've really settled into the freelance life now too. In September I joined the AO at Home blog team, contributing craft project posts a few times a month, which has been so much fun. You can see my previous posts here. I've also loved working more with the Mollie Makes team, writing features for the monthly mag. I've also been working with Jacqui Small publishing throughout the year doing picture research and did a fun styling project with First Direct bank, which was great experience in styling.

DIY Embroidery hoop place names - for AO at Home blog
my feature on Ted and Agnes blogger Rachelle Blondel in Mollie Makes magazine
Styling project for First Direct - 3D moodboard for first time buyers inspiration
With all that hard work, we took a couple of little weekends away in November, firstly Paris and then a stay in a vintage wagon in Cornwall. Much needed time off!

colourful meringues in Parispretty ribbons in a Paris haberdasherythe Duke wagon at Spring Park vintage holidays in Cornwall
the Duke wagon at Spring Park vintage holidays in Cornwall
Another thing I've loved this year, due to the fact I'm now self employed, is that I have a little more time to do some crafting. Not MUCH more, but a bit! And I've really enjoyed seeing my hand stitched patchwork quilt take shape! I started it back in June just before the wedding, there is still a long way to go, but it's a nice thing to just pick up when you feel like it every now and then.

my hand stitched patchwork quilt progress
So, that is pretty much my year in a nutshell! I'm glad that I took my own advice at the start of the year, and now think I should write another motivational post for 2014! I've got a feeling 2014 is going to be even crazier than 2013, there are lots of exciting things already in the pipeline which I will tell you about very soon! First things first is our kitchen renovations starting in mid-January. Be prepared for a lot of kitchen related posts! Bye bye to this little kitchen - you've served us well!

our kitchen before renovation
I'd love to hear what you highlight of 2013 has been, and also if you've got any plans or motivational thoughts for 2014! Happy new year all, and thanks as always for stopping by Patchwork Harmony! Your support and comments really do mean the world!

xxx

All photos by Caroline Rowland / Patchwork Harmony - except wedding photos - ©Jemma Watts / Pearl Pictures

14 comments:

  1. A gorgeous recap. I'm new to your blog so I'm looking forward to catching up on some of your favourite posts.

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  2. Lovely pictures. What a recap. Looking forward to reading 2014
    Rosezeeta.

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  3. What a beautiful year you have had! I hope 2014 brings you even more loveliness!
    x

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  4. I haven't been reading your blog that long so it was nice to have the recap.

    May 2014 be even better for you.

    Happy New Year

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  5. Sounds like a great year and so glad to see things are going well with the freelancing. Looking forward to seeing what you get up to in 2014!

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  6. What a year - congratulations! I enjoyed sharing a little bit of it with you.

    Happy New Year and hopefully see you in 2014!

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  7. Wow 2013 was an amazing year for you, may 2014 be even better

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  8. What a great year!!! Looking forward to seeing what you do in 2014. Your wedding was stunning!

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  9. What a fabulous year - so much to be proud of! Wishing you a wonderful 2014! A year of change lies ahead for me - recovering my health and finding a way to bring creativity into my career - exciting times!

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  10. What an exciting year you've had! I do love your photography :) Looking forward to seeing the kitchen makeover progress- I can never get enough of before/after kitchen stories xxx

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  11. Happy New Year! So many lovely photos...what a wonderful year. I'm planning to make more things for my home and buy less stuff...I've already made a few Liberty print cushions.

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  12. Beautiful and sweet year 2014 ... Congratulations on this beautiful wedding 2013

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  13. That is a pretty beautiful, joy filled year Caroline! May you next one match and better it. My highlight has to be spending three weeks in New York!

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  14. What a lovely round up of your very special year, I enjoyed catching up with you. Hope 2014 turns out to be just as good. x

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