We're just back from a wonderful wedding in New York. Only one small hiccup of a missing suitcase (which is still somewhere between New York and Paris), but I can think of many worse places to be without clothes..
So we're already off and running into the New Year, but maybe you could indulge me just a moment to look back on 2010.
In about 6 or so weeks from now Famille Summerbelle will be 3yrs old, so I guess 2010 was the year we/it stopped being a baby - it became an independent little thing, and I can say with absolute certainty, we struggle to remember life before Famille Summerbelle!
What did we learn this past year? Plenty, but here are a few highlights:
1. Running a business and having a family is all about juggling. 2010 was mostly a story of survival for us - a year dominated by the arrival of Lucien. Having another baby, we now know, is a little more than 1+1 - and particularly when you have a small business.
As I write this (on the train back to Paris) it serves as another reminder of how much juggling goes on with little children: snapping up the only free 30 mins whilst Lucien sleeps and Ophelia is plugged into her headphones.
When you're working on a meter, it certainly makes you efficient, but it can also be really exhausting. So no more children for a while(!) and with a bit more time in 2011 we hope to have plenty of new products coming along!
2. We became really well known for maps! Our city maps were definitely our highlight of 2010, with the new World Map, lots of new colours and the Tote Bags joining the range. The reaction has been fantastic, with truly lovely blog posts, comments and extensive press coverage.
3. We could survive on maps alone..! We had so many requests for different cities, towns, villages - even adding districts, buildings and people to existing maps. And from all across the world. Very flattering for Julie and lots of fun. We'll definitely do a few more maps, but I think we'd like to try and few more things first.
4. Living in France proved a great decision. Between us, we've changed our mind many times about whether we continue living in France, make a move back to London or even do something a little more wild and crazy.
So much of our working life is still based in London - and we are still very much in love with the place. But in Spring, we decided Paris was the best place for us right now.
We've had a fantastic year of mini breaks, local discovery (stunning walks and views) and nice summer evenings sat in our garden appreciating the weather (a dim and distant memory right now!).
5. Commuting between Paris and London is fun, but the jury is still out. So despite loving our family life in France, we still spend a lot of our working time in London. We're regulars on Eurostar, and by and large, it's a painless service. But it eats up your life - especially because my commute in London was a 10 minute cycle ride...
6. Family and friends matter more than everything. Not a real insight, but this last year we lost someone very very close. Through all the terribly sad stuff it becomes awfully clear who matters most - and just how much they matter. So thank you (I'll be terribly English here…clear my throat and just say….you know who you are…! x)
We wish you all the happiest of years. Thanks so much for supporting us - we really appreciate it!
Julie + Simon