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Bright Green Penguin's 2016 Review

Wow, what a year 2016 has been. What with Brexit, Trump and the seeming endless list of celebrities who died it doesn't appear to be a good year. BUT I want to focus on what I think was good about 2016.

Favourite Highlight of the Year

The South Coast Challenge. Walking 100km / 60 miles in 24 hours 22 mins was the main highlight of the year. Especially raising £1461.03 for the great Sussex charity RISE.
Walking from Eastbourne starting early morning, along the cliffs at Beachy Head, and then along the South Downs to Brighton, and the half way point in Hove, where we had food and set off again with headtorches for the 2nd half where you were walking through the night, until you reached Arundel.

Highlights include

  • The beautiful scenery of the South Coast
  • Joining up with another Nick for the 2nd half, who really helped me when walking through the night.  
  • The amazing support from people, on the walk, as well as friends and family before and during.
  • The amazing support from RISE and giving me the cool orange hoodie
  • The training walks, getting to discover Sussex, as well as listening to lots of great podcasts

Favourite Podcast

The Cycling Podcast - All about cycling, and having been a Tour de France fan for years, this has really help me expand my knowledge about this great sport. Hosted by three journalists and some friends, they give a friendly and enthusatic telling of the news and issues in the cycling world. Also by donating £10 a year you can become a friend of the podcast and have access to special podcasts. Some of the 2016 highlights include Ep2 The Rise and Demise of HTC-High Road, Ep 7 Operacion Puerto: The Day the Tour Almost Died, and E8 Mount Ventoux: Heat, Wind & Fear. Read More. Available via iTunes

A few other favourite podcasts

  • Serial
  • This is Not A Fish 

Favourite Films of 2016

Things That Prove Life in 2017 Will Be Better Than We Thought

  • Library of Things - Friendly space in West Norwood where you can borrow, share and learn with your community. Read More
  • Share Your Story - Not for profit group in Brighton and Hove providing a space to hear people's stories, to inspire us to live better ones ourselves. Read More
  • Foodshed Cook & Creche Course - Foodshed running courses for families who want to learn how to cook, whilst their children play in the next room. Read More
  • Brighton Etsy Team - One of my highlights was the Brighton Etsy Christmas Market at the Corn Exchange in Dec. If you are a creative, and on Etsy but don't follow them, then do so now. Read More
  • City Reads - Promoting shared reading across communities in Brighton and Hove. Read More
  • The People's Fridge - Community Fridge in Brixton where people can give and take spare food. Read More about them on Twitter
  •  #justacard - a Brilliant twitter campaign to encourage people to support local shops & independent creatives 
  • #Bright50 & #BrightFuture Campagin by ZSTa an architect firm based in Brighton, all about how we can improve our city  

Favourite Articles of 2016

Some of my favourite articles/news stories I shared via Twitter/Facebook this year, and via my Flipboard book

  • Artist Turns A Cement Mixer Into A Giant Disco Ball - via Bored Panda. Read More
  • The Good Gym appear on the BBC. Read More
  • 6p a Minute Cafe - via BBC. Read More
  • Artist wearing every piece of trash he creates for 30 days. See More
  • Brighton For Nerds (featuring my Brighton Bricks) via We Love Brighton. Read More
  • 7 Things To Say To Young Girls That Isn't About Them Being Cute - via Buzzfeed. Read More
  • Street Pantry Invites People to Leave Goods for Those in Need - via Huffington Post. Read More
  • Haircuts for the Homeless - via BBC. Read More
  • Host A Silent Reading Party - via Book Riot. Read More

Favourite TV Shows of 2016

Comic Book

One of the things I have got back into this year is comic books, and below are some of the series I have enjoyed.

And a few other highlights 

  • Heroes Run - I ran this race as The Flash this year. Race is raising money for education projects in Africa. A rest in 2017 but will be back for 2018. Read More
  • Lou Reed's Drones - part of Brighton Festival. Read More
  • World Book Night - I gave out books as part of a care package to rough sleepers in Brighton. Read More about World Book Night

Bright Green Penguins Guide to Christmas Cards

Why send the same Christmas card as everyone else, why not send something different, and you can also help support independent designers, shops and galleries

So I am going to post lots of great card designs, which can be bought of sites like Etsy, from craft fairs, galleries or independent shops.

So click on the card you like to take you through to the site which sells the cards

Part of the inspiration behind my Christmas Card blog is the #justacard campaign to encourage people to buy from independent shops, galleries & designers.

Part of the inspiration behind my Christmas Card blog is the #justacard campaign to encourage people to buy from independent shops, galleries & designers.

#Justacard - The Avant Card Co

As part of the #justacard campaign, I will be featuring cool and interesting designers, who happen to make greeting cards. So you have no excuses not supporting them. So read all about The Avant Card Co

You can see all our products at

The Avant-Card Company was created in West Norwood SE London July 2013.  We are a husband and wife team.  The illustrations are my own, but my wife plays an important role behind the scenes with, in her own words “the more mundane” part of running a business.  However, she is also a really helpful source of ideas and a great sounding board for me for my design ideas, and has a fantastic eye for colour.

The name for the brand was taken from the phase ‘avant-garde’ because I like to think our greeting cards are a little different or innovative to most, particularly the illustrations. Each of our greeting cards begins with the illustration, which I like to do by hand with as little technology involved as possible.

When it’s time to turn the illustration into a greeting card we like to keep things simple and local and eco friendly.  The card stock is sourced from an amazing paper factory just down the road in Brixton (John Purcell Paper), an Aladdin’s cave for paper and card stock.   The card stock we use is unique to John Purcell Paper which is a nice thought – that we are using something original to SE London.  Then it’s on to the printing and making stage.   Again not far from us, up the road in Crystal Palace, is the printers, Words & Pictures.  So as to ensure that the quality and look of the original illustration remains true to my original artwork, I work closely with the guys at the print and design company through the printing process, -  cutting and creasing the cards myself, on occasions.

The appreciation for handmade and craft products in the UK has improved in recent years which is great to see and to be a (very) small part of this is exciting.

SE London is brilliant for independent gift shops and boutiques that really appreciate the independent makers, and show this by regularly stocking our greeting cards.

We were surprised to have The National Trust  also take interest in our greeting cards and stock them in numerous shops thoughout the UK only six months from starting out The Avant-Card Co. Along with my wife and local support we plan to keep creating unique illustrated greeting cards and expanding to illustrated gifts, which we have just started to do with a small range of handmade acrylic pin badges.

You can see all our products at

#fridayheroes Little Beach Boutique @littlebeachbout 9th Oct 2015

Last week my #fridayheroes blog was about Good Gym, this time is about an amazing little shop in the North Laine area of Brighton

They are based at 74 North Road, Brighton


Twitter @littlebeachbout   

Discovered it when I moved into the area, and it is a real treasure trove of goodies


The stand out items have to be the glass work, like below 


But there is so much other cool stuff from jewellery to glass coasters to baby stuff to cool felt slippers (pity they don't make my size!!!) See photos below 


One of my previous blogs was about the importance of the #justacard campaign, so even if the only you buy from here is a card, you helping to support a really great small businesses (you will end up wanting to get more than a card though!)


And they have a cool dog


#Justcard Part 1

Quick recap of what the #justacard campaign is about for anyone who doesn't know


I will be featuring some cool greeting card designs, giving you ideas of what you can buy from craft fairs, online stores like Etsy & Just Daydreaming

Manic Minotaur 

Hello DODO Shop on Etsy

Two Black Cats Studio


There is a great campaign on Twitter to encourage people to support local shops, galleries, designers & makers. 

So when you next need a greetings card, check out local shops & designers rather than getting something from a chain store  


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