In a moment of madness I thought I’d look back on what I’d achieved in 2022. It didn’t really seem like much but then last year was all about exploring new things and educating myself to be better at my job. So I created two lists I’m calling 7 x 7. Here are some of the things I’m proud of. My ta-da list if you will. 🎉


  1. I got featured in a business book. Power Up Your Creativity by Rachael Taylor is a beautifully art directed creative book full of tips and creative exercises to challenge your thinking. It’s so weird seeing your name in print and in the index. I read 30 books last year including Rachael’s. They were a mixture of fiction, non-fiction, business and children’s books (because why should they have all the fun?)
  2. I continued to learn German. As of today I hold a 1139 day streak on Duolingo. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from being fluent but I know more than I did 1139 days ago. Why did I learn? I loved it at school, I missed it and also there are a few art books I’d like that are only printed in German. Ha! It always comes back to art eh? Natürlich.
  3. I won another award. For the last 3 years I’ve been nominated for a Northern Enterprise Award. On a whim late last year, I accepted the latest nomination not expecting to hear anything back from them. Anyway,  I only went and won the award for ‘Most Creative Freelance Illustrator’ for South East Northumberland. It was announced in that awkward bit between Christmas and New Year, (‘Betwixtmas’) so I waited until this year to shout about it. I haven’t really done much shouting but it’s nice to get a pat on the back and some recognition for the countless hours I sit at my desk doing all the things.
  4. I took a lot of courses last year and learned something from each and every one of them. Things that I can continue to work on either for clients or for personal projects. I created extensive pattern collections, worked on upcoming trends, painted florals and botanicals, made animated gifs, created brand packages, learned and drew about Black history, created 36 days of type in 36 different ways and discovered my ideal customer through research and developed a surface pattern collection based on those results. And a whole lot more. It was definitely time well spent.
  5. I was honoured to be asked to road test a watercolour florals course* by super talented Kris Lauren of Pretty Little Lines thanks to my continued involvement in the Design Cuts* community. I’d never painted digital watercolours (or regular watercolours for that matter). I’d also not really drawn flowers. There was a lot of trust involved. Turns out I’m not too shabby at it. It has also fuelled an obsession of florals that will never leave me.
  6. I was chosen as a Top Pick by trend consultancy Porter & Brawn for my surface pattern collection entitled The Catch. Read my previous blog post about it here.
  7. I kept my head when times were tough. In a world of perfect Instagram filters, sometimes honesty is the best policy and it’s one of my brand values. Personally and professionally, 2022 pretty much sucked. As long as you pick yourself up one more time than you fall down, you’re doing okay.


Books I read in 2022

Books I read in 2022


Okay, so it’s not a massive list. Next years will be bigger and better. Now for my goals for 2023. Or rather, my to-do list. 🙌🏻


  1. Make more money. Financial freedom is not just a dream, it’s a necessity. Just getting by is no longer an option.
  2. Continue to educate myself to improve my skills and expertise which will in turn help me to best serve my clients’ needs. Education is always a good idea. I also need to be kinder to myself. My self talk can be brutal.
  3. Get some of my surface pattern designs licensed and onto products that people can actually buy.
  4. Practice my hand lettering skills and finally be able to tick ‘learn calligraphy‘ off my list. It’s been on there a while.
  5. Upgrade my equipment. Although my Mac is in perfect working order, it’s time to upgrade. But have you seen how small the new monitors are? It’ll be like looking into the distance. I’d better add binoculars to my list.
  6. Work for at least one of my dream clients. Okay, that should definitely be more but once I have one, there’ll be no stopping me.
  7. Explore Print On Demand options as well as other ‘passive’ (it’s never passive) income streams. The dream is to be making money while I sleep.


I’m sure this list will increase as the year ticks by but it would be lovely to tick some, if not all, of these off by the end of the year. It’s not about dreaming big, it’s about dreaming bigger. 🌟

Don't Call It A Dream, Call It A Plan framed die cut on red glitter background

Don’t Call It A Dream, Call It A Plan framed die cut from my Slinkeee Handmade days


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