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Reflecting on 2023 and Looking Forward to 2024

Updated: 22 hours ago

A bit of a reflective post looking into last year and forward to this year.



The harbour at Whitby framed by the roof tops of houses in the old town. The text is in white and centre of the photo 'Reflecting on 2023 and Looking Forward to 2024



Well, I didn't mean to leave it so long before I wrote a new post! I took the Summer off with my family and then once the new school year started, I dove into my Elsie-Babe picture book project and everything else sort of got forgotten! There is a blog post sat in my draft folder called 'Summer Sketching' where I had started talking about the sketchbook I made and the others I took on our travels over the Summer! (I'll try and get back to that one as I sketched a lot and it was fun!)

It's been worth it though as just before Christmas, I completed Elsie-Babe. I've gone back into it over January to make some tweaks and there's one small illustration I wanted to redraw but other than that - I have a book! I'm really pleased with it too. If you want to find out more about Elsie-Babe picture book, head over to my website here! It's now available to pre-order, with the book being sent out in April! So exciting!

So reflecting on 2023 and looking forward to 2024 then. This time last year, I posted about my word of the year being Consistency and some of the rituals I'd put in place to keep me consistent. Well after a few months, that routine fell to the wayside when other things crept up. I was ill a lot last year too which didn't help. So, this year, I am going to try again. But this time I have split my year up into 6(ish) week blocks and I am going to focus on setting achievable goals. Also allowing for seasonal changes and how they affect my routine and mood throughout the year.

My goals in this first part of the year are to self-publish Elsie-Babe and to rebrand my website. I may also have opened a new Etsy shop of printables (https://aheadfullofdreaming.etsy.com too! Focussing on my Etsy shops and adding new products have been an ongoing project for this month for me.


In the midst of all this writing and self-publishing, my laptop broke and until this week I've been borrowing my partner's laptop in small pockets of time. It's been both a blessing and a curse. No laptop means not being able to work on Elsie-Babe quite as often so that slowed down getting it to the printers. Working in small stints though, did mean that I had to rethink my priorities while I was on the laptop and only work on what I really needed to get done, instead of getting distracting by tasks that weren't helpful.


Picture book Elsie-Babe is sat on a wooden table at an angle. The cove is dark blue with a fairy holding a tooth in the centre.
Elsie-Babe picture book illustrated by Nicola Ellen Illustration

Day to day, I want to focus on building good care habits throughout the day. These include building up a good skincare routine, eating well and exercising more. Having already started working on my daily habits slowly, they are starting to feel at home in my daily routine, which is refreshing and exciting.


As a family we've been spending a lot of time outside and making the most of the lovely weather - even if it has been VERY cold! We've seen some lovely sunrises that make the early starts much easier. We have a very inquisitive and determined child on our hands, so our walks are full of questions and exploring and walking further than we planned! I am keen to get back into make some new videos and animations for my YouTube channel too (There are some videos from the summer of my sketchbooking adventures!) A new process video of Elsie-Babe went up last night and there'll be a couple more over the next month, so keep


I can't wait to get back in to sketchbooking on our travels again this year and filling more of my hand made sketchbook in. It's such a good way to process thoughts and ideas and empty my head on to the page. Looking back at some of my sketchbooks recently, I was surprised by how much I remember from a holiday 10 years ago just by looking at my drawings! They're great little time capsules!


Well I think that's enough rambling on for me this week. I am aiming to write and post every two weeks. Some of the posts I want to share are about how I have found the self-publishing process and sketchbooking from last year and also how I go about sketching out and about. There will be YouTube videos along these themes too which I can't wait to get into filming! If you want to bag yourself a free fairy colouring sheet, fill in the box below and you'll also get some behind the scenes emails all about Elsie-Babe.





A colouring sheet of fairy houses. The black lines have started to be coloured in and there are yellow, red, green and blue pens framing it.
A colouring sheet on fairy houses.

If you'd prefer to buy Elsie-babe without signing up to my email list, you can head to https://nicolaellendraws.etsy.com and pick up your copy there!


See you in a couple of weeks!

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