Well, pals. It’s been a year, hasn’t it. How hopeful I was at the opening of this brand new year, and how strangely it all turned out.
As the whole world perches on the edge of a new year that promises to be even stranger than the one we’ve just had, I find myself teetering on the edge of a brand new year of my own. You see, tomorrow, the 31st of December 2016, will be my 25th birthday.
I wrote a little last year about that peculiar, particular type of magic that cuts through a Scottish new year, about the sense of bittersweet change that shivers through you as the bells chime midnight and the lonely bagpipes are drowned by a chorus of yelling and singing and wishing. About that quiver of possibility that curls in the pit of your stomach, the tiny voice that whispers maybe this year, maybe this year. As the calendar flicks from one year to the next, my life flicks to the next page along with it. This has always appealed to my aforementioned love of whimsical order.
This neat turning of the page tends to turn me reflective and while there are parts of this year I wouldn’t relive for the world, it deserves to be reflected on as much as any other year I’ve lived through.
I know that this year has been world-changingly difficult for many and that even worse times loom not too far ahead of us. I promise that I will continue to stand with those who are less lucky than I am and to use my voice for good wherever I can. I hope that reflecting on the ways that I have been lucky this year doesn’t trivialise the genuine pain suffered by so many.
It’s been a funny old year, folks, and I’m so grateful to have shared it with you. Take my hand, we’ll go together.
The Oslo Whirlwind
This year kicked off in an adventurous fashion, with the boy and I bagging a pair of £2 flights to Oslo in a freak Ryanair sale. Sleds, snowdrifts and air so cold it literally sparkled made for a genuinely magical 24 hours.
This is Milo. Milo is my Borrow my Doggy doggy. I decided I was fed up pining after my dog in London, so signed up to walk someone else’s. This little furball was responsible for most of my 2016 exercise and lots of the laughs.
The Ultimate Diva
This year, Sunset Boulevard came back to London, starring *hyperventilates* Glenn Close. Yes, it was incredible. Yes, she was incredible. Yes, I cried all the way through. Yes, I’d have done that even without the bottles of wine the Escapologist and I put away before the curtain rose.
That JK Rowling Thing
Remember that time that I wrote a blog about Hermione and JK Rowling retweeted it? And then I got loads of awesome Potterhead followers and scared the bejesus out of them with my angry feminism? Ah, halcyon days.
This year, I started to conceive The Book. Next year, I will write The Book. It will be set in my hometown and have witches and curses and the war and the girls of the cotton mill. This is a photo of me bravely standing on a real hidden witch’s grave in my hometown. Tis secret though, don’t tell anyone.
The Other Book
Lots of you were excellent cheerleaders during last year’s NaNoWriMo (if you’re a BNA judge, don’t click that link, it’ll give away which book is mine), during which I wrote a book I was rather proud of. And well, that book has now been longlisted in the Bath Children’s Novel Awards. I know. I KNOW. I am utterly failing to be cool about this and it’s probably the most exciting thing that’s every happened to anyone ever.
This year, after approximately a million years of fighting with myself over it, I finally bit the bullet and booked myself a photoshoot with the incredible Alex Cameron. You can check out some more of the amazing results and read about my strange relationship with my face right here.
That TV Thing
Remember that time I was on ITV talking about summer diets and the whole beach body fiasco? Mad times, y’all.
I made some thoroughly excellent new pals this year, and fully intend to hang onto them for as long as they can stand to put up with me. It’s a funny thing, making friends when you’re an adult. I promise I’ll write about it when I’m feeling less shy. But basically, girls are brilliant. If you don’t have a girl gang, you should get one.
What can be said, really. I am my family. They shape every single bit of who I am and I don’t know how I’d survive a day without them. They really are the best people in the whole world. Have a look at this lot: