Uh Oh!

About me, Hannah Nicklin, Founder, Imagine Sew Beautiful

I know I already have an About Me page but thought I’d expand on everything a little bit more so you can get to know who I am and where this passion and enthusiasm is drawn from.

I could give you a standand spiel about me – I am serving my last 5 months in the British Army, my husband and I have been together for 11 years, 9 of those we’ve lived apart (!!), we have a nearly 3 year old and I suffered from a type of depression for over 2 1/2 years, etc etc but that doesn’t tell you much neither would it want you to read more.  Hopefully this blog will give you a little bit more insight….

About me, Hannah Nicklin, Founder, Imagine Sew Beautiful

Hi, I’m Hannah, I’m 31 years old….just…my birthday was last month!

My father encouraged my sister and I to join the military when we were 18 and 16, so she joined the Royal Navy and I joined the British Army. My reason why was I get sea sick and my eyesight isn’t 20/20 for being a pilot – ‘simple’ reasoning of a 16 year old!!  While studying a computing and management degree at the military university I met Andy, a good-looking but way too brainy bloke – fast forward 11 years and he is my husband!

Jobs around the world - About me, Hannah Nicklin, Founder, Imagine Sew Beautiful

Clockwise from top left – Giants Causeway and the Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland. Stood next to the pro photographers to get this shot of STS-132 Space Shuttle Atlantis taking off from Kennedy Space centre, Fl. Alligator chilling out in Hillsborough River, Fl. York Cathedral, UK, in winter.

During my time in the military I have been very fortunate enough to choose some interesting jobs and deploy to fascinating places:

  • York, Northern Ireland, Nuneaton and Corsham, UK
  • Baghdad, Iraq,
  • Florida, USA,
  • Helmand Provence, Afghanistan,

At the beginning of my career, aged 23, I had to deal with the very sudden and unexpected death of my father.  He was an amazing and inspiring man, and a true gentleman.  He was the man who had always wanted to be in the Army full time, my best friend I had wanted to be proud of me and to share my career with him.  Sadly this was not the plan in life. 

In March 2012, Andy and I got married in Moreton-in-Marsh, North Cotswolds and 2 months later he went to Kansas, USA with work.  I was desperate to join him – it was going to be the first time in 7 years we would have the opportunity to live together!  A couple of months after Andy left, I left my job and, along with our crazy loveable springer spaniel Merlin, we left the UK.  

Our engagement shoot at Blenheim Palace, David Purslow Photography

Our engagement shoot with Merlin, the puppy, at Blenheim Palace. David Purslow Photography

Kansas, USA – living together, having a baby and living a semi-normal life!

Wow!  What a difference living in America was to being in the UK, the way of life, the expanse of space and people is just eye-opening.  We were very fortunate to find have a fab international community based in Kansas and I got fully immersed in learning from individuals – making Korean Sushi, Bahrain curry, ribbon bows, christmas decorations, croissants and I expanded my ability to make and design cakes (including ice-cream cakes!)… enthusiasm definitely outweighed my ability!!

Collage of photos of cakes, snow and sunflowers

Teapot pinata cake, icecream maple leaf cake, bunch of roses cake, sunflower cupcakes, Kansas is the sunflower state. The temperature ranges from -23 (feels like -32) to 45 degrees celsius

For once we had luck on our side in our relationship and were extremely Uh oh! I am I really part of this crazy family?!fortunate enough to have a little girl in the States.  When referring to giving birth in the USA I used to frequently mistakenly called the hospital, the hotel, rightly so as it was a 1st class private hospital!  As amazing as it was to have private health service, if we lose the NHS and follow in the footsteps of the USA privatised healthcare then it will be crazy expensive – my time in hospital cost $50,000 and I didn’t use an anaesthetist or have an operation!

Our 2 years in America ended abruptly with Andy going away for 13 months with work. We came back to the UK and within two weeks Andy had left us and gone abroad.  Feeling utterly alone, I started doing up our house in evenings and nap times to make it feel homely.  I also worked on settling into life in the UK with a 1 year old, in a town I didn’t know and with locals who aren’t used to married unaccompanied young mums.  I’d be lying if I said it was easy, it was most definitely the hardest time in my life, ever.

In July 2014, Merlin drove me to despair when he suddenly got seriously ill.  Only after 2 weeks of being in and out of the vets, turning into a skeleton due to not keeping food and water down, he was finally diagnosed with a perforated gut from chewing sticks and had emergency surgery. The vet had absolutely no idea how he was still alive at that point as there were scars, signs of where he had perforated his gut previously.

Merlin with a perforated gut

A super skinny Merlin with a perforated gut

Somehow, I have absolutely no idea how, we survived the time my husband was away and he came back to his (broken) wife, daughter and dog in June 2014.  I’m only skimming over this part because when we get to Mental Health week in May I am going to talk more about this period of time, it’s a very important subject extremely close to my heart.

In September I went back to work for 12 months, with our daughter and dog living with me due to my husband working 3.5 hours away from us.  For our daughter it was a bit of a shock to the system as she found herself in full time nursery!  Merlin has been spoilt with two days a week walking with Charlie, Woodland Walkies.  It has also taken the pressure off me to leave work every lunch break to cycle back to the house to walk him, plus he gets his social dog-time. Work have been extremely supportive of my situation as a married unaccompanied serving spouse with a toddler under my care, I never expected the support and understanding I have received and it has been very refreshing.

Why I created Imagine Sew Beautiful

The seed of wanting to feel appreciated was planted while Andy was away, and I crave to feel like I have a place in this world.  I have found, personally, that being a stay-at-home mum is a very unthankful and lonely task so I wanted to do something once I gave up work.

I launched Imagine Sew Beautiful in December 2015.  I have been working on it during evenings and any free time to build and create this fantastic business into the customer focused and customer driven success I truly believe it can accomplish.  I have loved getting to know my new and current customers through all the different social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Every time a customer receives one of my pieces and can see for themselves how stunning it looks in life and they express their huge amounts of gratitude….words cannot express how I feel, it is an amazing buzz.  I am truly honoured to have the opportunity to be able to design and produce beautiful gifts for you.


This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Thank you so much for sharing a glimpse into your life. What an incredible story. Tons of love to you and your sweet family. Excited to see your business thrive and grow. Cheering you on from across the pond. Always.

  2. Such a beautifully heartfelt post Hannah, can’t wait to read more. I’ve been through some pretty similar times regarding mental health and find blogging really helps me and hopefully helps others x

    1. Thank you so much Fay, it was a risk to write! But I find it’s such a tough thing to deal with and we never talk about it because it’s just not talked about or if you dare mention it, it’s frown upon – I was told to think positive and get a grip! At the time I was trying my best to just survive each day! So I decided to start talking and make sure others don’t feel alone! I can’t wait to read you blogs! x

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