2017 | A Recap

So basically all of my blog posts start the same. Usually, an exclamation involving how quickly the last (insert timeframe here) has gone by and then an apology for how LAME I am at keeping up with my blog. Although these end up being empty promises I am TRULY sorry. I have all these grand plans to keep up with my blog and ideas to write about (because I also truly love waffling on here) but I am truly crap at prioritising it and in my crazy unscheduled working days it gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. Usually along with accounts too. Oops. I am not going to say that I am going to try and be better next year (because you've heard it all before) but I am…..

Anyhow today is New Year's Eve - the last day of 2017. WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL (see I told you - I am so predictable). It really doesn't seem like a whole 12 months ago that I was looking at the rear end of 2016. Beyond mental. However quickly this year has passed it has also been a crazy one. 2017 is/was my second year in business with Oh Wonder and it has pushed me further than I thought possible and whilst I have had some pretty crappy moments I have also had the most amazing ones too.

In Business…

2017 was the year that I stood up in front of 100 people, three days running, and taught modern calligraphy. It still blows my mind that I did this. I am not a naturally confident person - I don't like standing up in front of people and I am much more comfortable sitting on my sofa than in a big group of people I don't know. There is a story about me playing Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at primary school (god knows why I am admitting this on the internet)….. and it basically ends in me not singing at all. Not one single word. And just standing in the middle of the stage staring at my parents with hate in my eyes as if it was all their fault. My dad filmed the first 10 minutes then it got awkward so he turned the camera off. The outcome of this debacle for small Lauren was that I have never got up on any kind of stage since (except potentially a couple of drunk group karaoke incidents when I was a teen). At the end of 2016 the lovely Megan from The Handmade Fair, unaware of the Joseph debacle, asked me to be an expert at the fair held in May at Ragley in the Midlands. Completely blown away I said yes and felt fine about it until the night before when I had a total meltdown on my best friends sofa. Cue nausea, hysterical crying, refusing pizza (SAY WHAT) and begging her not to make me go. After a sleepless teary night, however, I put my big girl pants on and travelled up to Ragley and spent three days making the nicest of friends and having in all honesty, a load of blooming fun. I felt like I was going to pass out before the first workshop and was sure my voice and hand were both shaking I stood up there like a boss and taught 100 people how to do modern calligraphy. The feeling after was totally euphoric and the next two days of teaching were really fun. Having people come up to me after and tell me how much they enjoyed it honestly made me want to cry. It is one of my biggest achievements of this year (and potentially my life?!) and the good it has done for my confidence and self-belief I cannot even put into words. Also, they have asked me back for 2018 sooooooo seemingly I did okay. 

After this, I went on to teach 6 workshops at The National Wedding Show, one of the biggest bridal shows in the country, at London Excel. Mind-blowing. Talking of the National Wedding Show, in 2017 I also exhibited at three wedding fairs. Starting off small at The Chosen Wedding Fair getting bigger at Most Curious and then finishing off with the biggest at Excel. I love working for myself and being my own (I am a closet loner) but meeting people face to face and speaking to them about the work that I truly love gives me such a buzz. It's exhausting but the most fun and I can’t wait to do more shows next year. I also got to do two of the shows with two of my business besties which made it all the more awesome.

This year I have also had a load of styled shoots published (mental note to actually keep count of them next year) some of which are in print which is WILD. I am such a lover of magazines so to see my work in them is just beyond humbling. Through working on styled shoots I have met the most wonderful array of wedding suppliers all of whom are a total joy to work with. Being able to work to such creative briefs for styled shoots is one of my favourite things to do and seeing the professional images is always so exciting.

2017 was also the year that I met and worked with some truly gorgeous brides and grooms. I nailed down who my ideal client is and then I worked with some who blew my socks off at how perfect for Oh Wonder they were. I worked on two weddings at my favourite wedding venue - Aynhoe Park and the pictures were just breathtaking. I had my biggest on the day wedding order for a wedding in August with whom I worked with one of my favourite Planners Krysta from For The Love Of Weddings. We were both having a pretty awful time when we were pulling this together and she showed me the true meaning of sisterhood as we helped each other pull off the most EPIC of weddings. I also worked with the amazing Kat Otter and Jay Archer flowers who created the most breathtaking of weddings and to see my work in the middle of their insane talents was just incredible.

In 2016 I became a part of the fantastic communities….and in 2017 my community turned into my friends. I am so grateful to be able to call some of my greatest competitors my closest friends. The undying support, laughs and love these ladies give me is overwhelming and they fill my heart with so much love. During my lowest OH F*** moments they are always there to pick me up and they are first to raise a glass to me for my wins. Quite simply without these ladies I don't think I would have achieved (or survived) half of what I have.

Along with all this, I have also taught countless private and group workshops, been interviewed by the lovely She Can. She Did, launched four new collection suites, grown my Instagram following by FIVE THOUSAND followers, worked with some incredible brands such as Fresh beauty, The White Company, Heaps and Stacks, Ferrero Rocher and Laura Mercier, made some baubles which went crazy and the reaction to them filled me with all the love, and I had an amazing brand shoot with the wonderful Holly Booth. Phew…..its been a busy one for Oh Wonder.

In Life…

I have spent the year watching my baby turn into a little boy full of love life and a lot of sass. Every time I look at him my heart wants to burst he is such a perfect little being. Watching him grow is a true wonder and I am forever grateful that he came into my life. My goal when I started Oh Wonder last year was to be full time by the time Oscar started at school….things have gone much much quicker and I am now finding myself trying to balance still spending time with him. Whilst there are plenty of times when I am half on my laptop and half paying attention to him I have tried to switch off and spend lots of quality time exploring and teaching him new things. Mum guilt can be a total hoe sometimes and I definitely find I have moments when I question if putting so much time into my business is the right thing to do when I have a little human. But undoubtedly having my work makes me a much better and well-rounded person. I think it is important for him to see that you can do anything you want to if you put the time and hard work into it, being a good mum is the most important thing in the world to me - but it isn't my only role and I never want it to be. I have learnt that taking time for myself to be Lauren, not just mummy makes me much better mother in the long run.

As some of you might know I have an intense fear of flying and whilst I have had it since I was 12 over the last few years it has really taken hold and got a lot worst. One of my personal goals this year was to try and face it. I spent my childhood travelling the world with my parents and the thought that I couldn’t do that for Oscar hurts me. So in the summer, I booked on to the Virgin Flying without Fear course which I took in November. The week leading up I had 3 panic attacks and I was a bundle of nerves on the morning of the course. Not only did it 100% help, it was actually a really enjoyable and interesting day. My plane knowledge is now second to none (bring on the aviation quizzes) and whilst I won't be taking my cabin crew exams anytime soon I am planning holidays for 2018. 

Speaking of holidays we took a wonderful baby-free (and plane-free!) 12-day break and drove through France into Spain and then back to France for one of my best friends thirtieth birthdays. It was the most relaxing trip spent in great company and definitely very good for my mind and soul.

This year, however, wasn't all highs. In July we said goodbye to my darling Grandma. It happened quickly and it was beyond devastating. My Grandma was one of my greatest inspirations, fiercely creative and even when she lost her sight she would find new ways to create art. She used to be a great calligrapher and some of my favourite books were given to me by her. She and my Grandad had the most wonderful of lives together and their story was the greatest of romances. Seeing him without her makes my soul ache and ending the year without her and with him also in bad health fills me with sadness. Their love will forever be an inspiration to me and they have been and always will be the reason why I am so in love with love. To have what they have is a gift, that can be taken away in an instant and should never be taken for granted.

So there we go….if you have stuck with me through all that then THANKS, 2017 has been pretty wild and I am really looking forward to what 2018 has in store for me and Oh Wonder. Not only do I turn 30 (I know, I know I really don't look it) but I have an INSANELY exciting project coming out which I cannot wait to share with you all. It is killing me not being able to write about it in this post. 

I want to thank each and every one of my followers, friends, clients, supporters and colleagues for their continuing support. Without you, all Oh Wonder wouldn't exist and I am forever thankful to you all. Wishing you all a New Years Eve filled with love, laughter and lots of bubbles and a prosperous 2018. See you the other side. 

The top five lessons I have learnt in 2017
1. Sometimes the right thing to do is to say no.
2. Community is THE most important thing.
3. Sometimes stepping out your comfort zone can make the world of difference in your business and life.
4. Don't take love or life for granted.
5. If you don't look after yourself you can't look after anyone else.

L x

Monthly Recap | March

Erm. Right. So the first QUARTER of this year is now done. How? Is there some kind of time lord shenanigans happening here? Because days, weeks, months, QUARTERS seem to be flying by. 

So moving on swiftly from those scary thoughts - March has been a super fun month - with the main events being that I exhibited at my first two wedding fairs which I really enjoyed! The first Sunday of March was spent at the Chosen Wedding Fair in Islington. It was such a nice day and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting lots of lovely couples and suppliers. As it was my first fair I didn't really know what to expect and it was the first time that we had properly set up my stand background and shelves (lovingly built by my darling baby daddy) so I was a bit nervous but I was really happy with how it turned out. A couple of weeks later I exhibited at Most Curious with all the cool kids and although it was the looooongest weekend - I was totally exhausted by Sunday - it again was so fun, I met loads of lovely lovely people and discussed lots of amazing wedding plans. I had the same stand set up but this time the AMAZING Gee from Bloom and Burn gave it a little spruce up with some florals which were total PERFECTION, I literally sent him one inspiration image and he nailed exactly what I wanted. Total Babe.

During March I also did the March Meet The Maker Instagram challenge which was great - I had been in a little bit of funk with Instagram during Feb so this really picked me up and I really enjoyed all the daily prompts - in total honesty I didn't quite manage to get all the prompts but I actually did more than I thought I would, so well done me :) 

I have had two shoots out in March - Secret Garden Banquet on Rock My Wedding and the Victorian inspired Horniman shoot on Bloved both of which I loved and will be blogging about this month (promise). I also took part in a couple of shoots which I can't wait to share - so watch this space for them too.

Along with generally getting prepped for the fairs March was also full of lots of client work - some for private wedding clients and some corporate work. Both including lots and lots of envelopes which I really enjoy because it's just doing calligraphy for hours no faffing about on the computer, which in a life full of admin, is nice from time to time.

April is yet another busy month but the sun is shining and I feel pretty ready for it (I think....maybe....kind of?) it is also full of lots of fun 'life' stuff as well as work with Oscars second birthday this week, a trip to the New Forest for Easter planned and also a girly weekend to Oxford with my sister at the end of the month - so lots of exciting things to look forward to. Work wise I have quite a few exciting on the day projects to get started on for early summer weddings along with some new collection plans....ooooooo. I feel like I need a lie down just thinking about it....

So here we go....April, Spring, Quarter Two....I am coming for you! 

L x

Monthly Recap | February

Well well March you snuck up on me startling me into totally panic/meltdown mode. Things are not so chill over here at the moment that is for sure. But for now it is time to look back and February, not to sit in the corner rocking to and fro whimpering about the fact that it is March al-bloody-ready.

SO. Feb feels like it was about 3 days long (I have a feeling all these monthly recaps are going to start with mild panic....) and it has been a bit of a funny one. It has been very busy but I have also been in a bit of a rut, mainly with Instagram - which I use as my main platform for saying HEY I'M HERE COME SEE ME - which is also part of the reason that there hasn't been a WIHL post this month because it was meant to be on Instagram. I am not sure what has happened but I haven't felt the urge to post stuff which I normally do, normally I LOVE Instagram (too much some might say). However I am now taking part in Meet The Maker for March so hopefully, that will give me a kick up the bum and get my back into the flow and that WIHL post will be coming soon.  

I taught a few workshops in Feb which were all lovely, I really do enjoy teaching - I get so excited about meeting people and sharing my love for calligraphy and seeing people realise that with the right tools, practise and patience that they can succeed at calligraphy. I also made a load more coloured inks and sold lots of starter kits.

The amazing shoot that I was a part of at the end of last year in Puzzlewood was published which you can see here...I absolutely loved this shoot and that silk background is honestly one of my favourite things ever. Along with that the first ever shoot I worked on, which you can see here, was published in Wedding Ideas magazine! Such a happy shock to have another shoot in print!

I have also been working on some exciting branding projects which I haven't done in a while so it is fun to get my graphic designer hat back on and get into the nitty gritty of logos, fonts and colours especially as now I can add little calligraphy touches into my logo design. 

I spent a day at London Zoo handwriting guest names on their invitations. This was one of my first ever calligraphy jobs last year so it was really fun to go back there and do it again - plus one of my close friends is a designer there so we got to go get boozy after. This month I also turned 29 (I know I look so youthful) and went and celebrated in Edinburgh with my nearest and dearests which was fabulous. I also got four piercings and chopped off the hair that I have been growing for ten years. So wild in my old age.

It's not been a bad month - but it has felt like a stressful month. I feel overwhelmed at the moment and slightly like I am drowning which is not overly pleasant. I feel like my to-do list is never ending and I don't have time to do anything other than work, but then when I am working I don't feel like I am being productive and getting as much as I should be, and need to be, getting done. And then all in all that makes me feel very exhausted. I don't like to complain about having too much to do because I am EXTREMELY grateful for the fact that I have this opportunity and the support to follow my dream. I am just tired and want to just get on top of things ya know? Also the time to relax and read a book would be nice. Real nice.

Anyway enough of that onwards and upwards I say. March how are you doing? This month promises to be very full - my schedule for work is already pretty much jam packed and I also have two wedding fairs, Chosen Wedding Fair this Sunday at Islington Town Hall and then Most Curious on the 18-19th March at Truman Brewery. I am scared but very excited to do them, my first ones! Eek! If you are heading along then please let me know I would love to meet you...and maybe you can bring me snacks? Ta ;) 

Here's to Spring!

L x

MONTHLY RECAP | JANUARY

As we say goodbye to the first month of this glorious year I am looking back at the last month and planning the next month - I say planning - it is more like OMG S**T I HAVEN'T EVEN BEGUN TO GET MOST OF THE STUFF DONE I WAS SUPPOSE TO THIS MONTH and then furiously writing a list and working out how I can exist on 5 hours sleep for the next month (lols that will literally never happen). However, it may have flown by but January has been a bit of a babe.

Firstly the Lake Como shoot got published on my favourite blog Wedding Sparrow and all the pretty was finally out there for everyone to see and for me to shout about. I still can't get over how stunning it is. Then my Mollie Makes feature came out...say whaaaaaat...I am still pinching myself/doing a happy dance. I am such a magazine fanatic that it truly blows my mind that I am in one. Me, my little top knot and inky hands. The fact that people want to actually think what I have to say is worth putting in print makes my heart and head nearly explode with happiness. If you have managed to get a copy of it then let me know what you think (if you can find it anywhere - I think my mum bought all the copies in the New Forest). Talking of magazine features, my work was also featured in Perfect Weddings who shared the stunning Wrest Park shoot that I was a part of last year. 

I also shared my 2017 goals and shared my first WIHL post about my first year in business which people actually found useful which again slightly blows my mind and makes me SO HAPPY. Honestly, it's a wonder that I haven't already reached my goal weight with all the happy dancing that I am doing. 

I completed and delivered two wedding invitation suites and taught two workshops, one with the lovely Kimberley from My Wedding Fair which we have been planning since last summer and the other in Greenwich both of which were sold out!

On a personal note, my little love Oscar can now string words together and says 'Hello Mummy' when he sees me which makes my heart feel like it is going to burst. He also says poopies and weewees which is overly hilarious.  

So February you are coming and I am ready for you! Not only are you birthday month (YAY) but you are also the month that I am going to get all my accounts in order (not so yay) and prep for my wedding fairs in March by creating some AMAZING new collection designs. I also have a pretty stunning shoot that comes out tomorrow...follow me on Instagram to be the first to see that! 

I hope you have all had a fantastic January and here's to a brilliant February!

L x

Note to self....make sure to post a number of posts that is divisible by three in all months after this one..because that grid is SO ANNOYING.