My Top 5 headlines of 2018, I will write in Neon for 2019

Everyone is doing these reviews of the years on Instagram, I am a believer of looking back because there is always so much to learn, and I’ve been working on my post, I really am, but you know what, I’m finding that it’s a huge distraction. What I want to be doing is be planning the next twelve months breaking it down into months, quarters and weeks and days, I feel like I have so much to do and I’m soo itching to get on with it! I don’t want to leave Christmas but I’m keen to get going again. I love a whole new clean diary, it’s a thrill.

What have you learnt this year that is going to shape what you do next year? If you had the chance to write a headline in neon for 2019 what would it be.  I am really cool with the realization that my life is perfectly imperfect, that I don’t need to sweat the small stuff. I try really hard, listen to everyone (that is not the same as doing what they say) and I just try to be the best person that I can be. I then hope that this will pour out into my life, my work and everyone I meet. And that is enough.

I think I can sum up the last year in five headlines, five big things that I have learnt and am going to completely hard wire into neon throughout 2019 so I don’t forget them.

1.You love where you live, so do we.

By far the majority of signs that we make are about how much you love your homes, and your families and the cocoons that you are building for them. It is by far the over whelming theme of the custom neon’s you have designed this year. We make whatever it is you want, your dream neon and mhyou want love, you want nice homes and you want your loved ones with you, understood. This year “this house was built with love” was our most popular sign.

We continue to reside on the top floor of the Lilliandaph store in Saltburn by the sea, our home. We are thrilled to be part of Chrstina and Craig’s story, and we congratulate them on their new addition. You are welcome to come and see us any time our workshops are open to the public, as we create all that is great about handmade British products. Come up and see us.


2. Sharing an opportunity doesn’t half its potential, it doubles it.

Collaboration still remains the vital life blood of Light up North, we would be nothing with everyone we have the good fortune to rub shoulder’s with. Turtledust comes to spend as much time with us as his busy life allows, we wish we could hijack him and keep him in our workshops all of the time! 2019 goals!

The Divine Savages, I’m  also looking at you. When Phillip Watts design nominated Light up North for the 100% forward feature at 100% design interiors show in September, delightedly I was determined to take this huge opportunity by the horns. I didn’t want to just rock up and hang a picture on the wall, I wanted to do something completely new. So we decide to illuminate wall paper. A world’s first as far as we know, and we are claiming it as so.

Working with Tom and Jamie was a dream and really felt like a partnership, I hope that we all get chance to do it again in 2019, maybe some where even cooler, although Olympia was not at all shabby. Watch this space as I persuade the Savages back!


I have the trade fair bug. Four days of talking to our customers, to people who were interested in our product, and what we are up to, once you get over the fact that your feet are going to hurt, I loved it. I love to chat. I really enjoyed myself.

I took part in a panel talk hosted by Barbara Chandler, editor of the evening standard, design and homes section. Completely proving that he best cure of imposter syndrome is just to kick it up its arse.


3.Building a website is harder than you think.

We worked with local team We are modest, to get our website going in summer this year. We needed a better way to show off our wears. It’s definitely harder than it looks, until know I have been completely trawling the web naively, totally underestimating the hours and hours of work people have poured into the pages in front of me. I want our website to remain a living breathing shop front, so please do keep a good eye on it as we launch new products and improve huge sections of it very early in 2019.

4. Building a brand is a marathon and not a sprint.

There are not enough hours in the day, there really aren’t. If I slept less and looked at my children less, there would still not be enough time. I’m certain I would also become the vilest of human beings. I don’t want that. We would not get it right either, imagine, the mistakes and the dropped balls, it’s hard enough when we are on it. So I work hard and sleep well at night, knowing that I am trying my hardest and that this is my best effort. It’s completely frustrating that 3pm comes around every day in the flash of an eye, I wish for a few more hours. But then at the school gate I am reminded that I’m building a brand that works for me. That stands up for all that is good about my life work balance. That my staff get to go to their children’s nativities, or to visit their girlfriends in Dublin, or the flexibility that they need to attend a course. Whatever it is. We are the future of British design, and we are trying to do that in a way that is good for our staff, good for our town and  good for our corner of the north east, I want to be a good advocate for the agencies that have supported us get this far, The Redcar and Cleveland Business growth team , the Tees Valley Business Compass, and Tedco. These agencies and the individuals are cradling us as we build on good and strong foundations. We value their support and want to shout loudly about the work they are doing so others can benefit.  

For all the times we have been less than perfect, I’m sorry and I have really learnt from your feedback and have thankfully grown. Graciously though, these incidents have been far less than the overwhelmingly positive love and feedback from you for our work. We are very humbled. Thankyou.

5. The numbers and names don’t mater, each one of our supporters is massive. Please keep the tags and share coming, they literally make our day/ life.

Our success really has been down to the cool community of interiors supporters on Instagram. All of our followers have been amazing. I know that it is said often, but please believe me it’s not meant with any less sincerity.  We love it when you post pictures of your Light up North originals on line. Your reviews and feedback have been such a thrill and have supported our growth. Thankyou so very much, from the biggest to the smallest, we don’t care, we are grateful to you all. Much love.