Looking back… 2016

lou-archell-littlegreenshed-2016-22

This is me, Lou. I’m 45 years old, mother of two amazing boys, partner to one amazing guy. Blogger and photographer…. adventure seeker.

My path before I arrived here was wild, messy, sometimes lonely, but always crazy. Turmoil of emotions, depression, living abroad, substance abuse, terrible boyfriends, terrible friends…. But I am a firm believer that all things happen for a reason, that my unconventional path has led me to this point in life. To meet Dan, to write this blog, to embark on adventures through it…. it was all part of the bigger picture, wasn’t it?  Planned? No. Expected? Never. Surprised? Not really.

Hard work, perseverance, falling out with some ugly, unkind people and fighting to keep going – yes this has all led me to this point.  For most this past year has been tough, the world, in parts, has taken on a level of evil, and while this blog seems blinkered to that fact, it is never far from my mind.

lou-archell-atlas-mountains

But world disasters, deaths and politics aside, 2016 for me, was pretty special.  Here’s why….

Financially secure – This year I became the bread winner of the family, allowing Dan to step back from his work, and focus on family life.  It has been liberating for us both.  Our relationship has blossomed and I love him even more! (soppy shit!)

Travel – 2016, trips got bigger.  Both two major overseas adventures in which I travelled solo – Morocco and Thailand.  I was also one of the Canopy & Stars collective again this year, and stayed in several of their beautiful properties.

Self belief – Ah this old chestnut.  This past year I felt that that nagging inner voice was being quietened and I started to believe that actually I am good at it, not just this blogging lark, but adulting and parenting too.

Sisterhood – Sisterhood has grown more than my wildest dreams, bringing women from overseas and the UK to this little retreat of mine.  2016 saw us organise two beautiful retreats over in Fforest, Sisterhoods spiritual home.  With Summer 2017 retreat rushing towards me, I am excited to see how Sisterhood develops over the coming year.

Writing – My work has appeared in printed magazines, 91 Magazine and The Simple Things.  I’ve also contributed to Habitat blog, Rose & Grey Interiors blog plus many more. I have also contributed to articles in The Guardian and the Telegraph too.

Charlie – getting help at the Dyslexia centre, and blossoming at school.  OMG – you don’t know how much of a relief it is to see him enjoying reading now.

Knowing my worth –  with the help of my closest pals I feel that I am now producing some of the best work ever.  My Instagram is growing, and I am loving photography more and more.

Opportunities – we test drove a Volvo XC60 in France and took the Audi Q7 to the Lake District.  And although I am not a rev head, driving these cars (for Dan) was a massive highlight! We also stayed in some wonderful places, reviewed many life changing products (new sofa!).

Shed – Dan built the workshop shed of his dreams in our back yard.  His happiness in building that has been wonderful.  Thank you B&Q for helping him to achieve this.

Don’t get me wrong – life in 2016 wasn’t all good, some of it was pretty dire.  Tears, tantrums and a lot of wailing.  My nana died, it was pretty shit.  It still is pretty shit.


So 2017 – what will you bring.  I’m not one for resolutions. In past years I’ve used a word or phrase to guide me through.

2016 was CRAFT THE LIFE, which I feel we did.  We are living a life that we crafted ourselves.

2017 – FLOURISH

have a great year all…




  • Emma Bibby

    ps – loving your cardie – which brand is that? x

  • Emma Bibby

    Well done Lou…only just reading this – it’s amazing what you’ve achieved. Hope you’re enjoying 2017 so far this year. Say hi to Dan too. I still hope to get along to the Sisterhood retreat one day! x

  • Does any woman get to their 40’s via a different route than ‘wild, messy, sometimes lonely, but always crazy’? I sincerley hope not! ;-)

    Your beautiful blog, your images, your view of the world and your adventures offer us all light, inspiration and community… in fact there is no better word than Hygge to describe what you have created.

    The best achievement is being able to recognise it all.

    Look forward to seeing you Flourish in 2017 x

  • Some wonderful words of wisdom and sounds like you’ve had quite a year full of achievements as well as the inevitable ups and downs. Bring on 2017! Xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

  • Fantastic, Lou. I’m really looking forward to this year. I feel I laid the foundations in 2016 and now I’m going to start building from them.

  • Beach Hut Cook

    And it’s been really blooming lovely seeing it all grow and I can’t wait to see more and more xx

  • It sounds like you’ve had a fab year and I’m really happy for you :-) There are many points I can identify with and have gone through myself (not always with positive outcomes)… Hope the new year brings you more great opportunities and happiness xo