New Year, Same Year!

It may feel very exciting at midnight when the Big Ben chimes ring out, but does a New Year really feel “new” once the initial flush of resolutions and bank holidays have passed?

Coping with normal life resuming once the buzz of the festive season has passed can feel quite tough. Back to busy commutes, school runs, fighting with children to get coats, boots and scarves on in the bad weather, and getting your brain switched back on for another year of work. On top of all of this, some people choose to use January as a time to reset their physical selves, either by joining the gym, giving up alcohol or certain foods, and denying themselves the things they may have indulged on a little too much throughout December. But it isn’t all doom and gloom! We are here to spread a little cheer throughout the grey January days!

January can feel quite tough!

Top Tips To Make January Less Grey

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself! It’s easy, after a, perhaps slightly overindulgent festive season, to feel a little unhappy with yourself, or your appearance. The sun isn’t shining as much, the days are still short and you may have put your gym gear on for the first time in a while. Don’t be disheartened! You’ve done something amazing: you’ve seen in another year. Without being too morbid about it, lots of people would love to see in a new year, and some people have had to see it in without loved ones. Be thankful for being here to see it, and try to see the positives in a fresh start, even if you have had a tough 2019. You’re still here and people do care about you.
  • Take up a new hobby. Here at Happydesigner we’ve taken up a couple of new hobbies for the new year. Sarah has been working on her felting (mostly making animals, of course!) and Nicola has been trying to teach herself knitting again. Don’t be afraid of sucking at it! Just having a go and persisting will make you feel good. Practise is fun, and even if it feels like your paintings or photographs or guitar playing absolutely sucks tennis balls, it doesn’t matter! Enjoy it. Use it to get some downtime. Embrace the time to yourself, even if it’s for ten minutes after the kids are in bed, or when you sign off your work e-mails.
  • Get out! Ok, so the weather isn’t great this time of year. We’ve had a lot of rain and a lot of wind. But, as your favourite grandma always said, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes! Or something like that! Wrap up warm, dig out the hats and scarves and polish off the wellies. Go and splash in some muddy puddles or walk along the beach, take the dogs. Get cold and wet and enjoy the fresh air! Then when you get home, put everything in the wash, dry off and make a cup of tea. Embrace the red cheeks and watery eyes!
  • Make some achievable goals for the year ahead. It’s so, so tempting to make huge lists of everything you’d like to get done in 2020. Write that novel, paint a masterpiece, start a new business, get a new job. Sometimes it’s better to have a list of things you want that are HUGE, but it’s better for your brain if you make a list of achievable and specific goals. Maybe you want to travel a little more, but can only afford a train journey. See what you can do with that! Perhaps tie it in with visiting an old friend!

“As the old saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Shift your focus from the ultimate goal to a series of doable intermediate tasks. Specific goals allow for better monitoring of progression toward the goal. Setting specific goals (e.g., write 3 pages every day) is more motivating than urging people to do their best.”

Psychology Today
  • Aim to read more. Along with achievable goals you can add “read more” to your list. Whilst you may be a hugely prolific reader already, it doesn’t hurt to try to fit a little more in! If you already read a lot of fiction, perhaps try a little non-fiction. Did you read a great fiction book on the English Civil War? Maybe find a non-fiction book that covers the topics you found interesting, and read a bit further into it. If you read a lot of non-fiction, or magazines, maybe try a novel. You can find lots of places online to help choose new books, or head to your local bookshop and ask them what they would recommend.

Whatever you choose to do with your new year/new start, stay positive, try to focus on achievable goals and make an effort to be thankful that you are able to make goals, see friends, earn money, or even just have a bed to sleep in. It’s easy to say, but less easy to do. Look beyond the grey skies of January and search for the first daffodil!

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins