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2019 (ish). A YEAR IN LISTS

After the runaway success (for ‘runaway’ read ‘moderate’) of 101 things about 2017 a couple of years ago, I’ve decided to shake up the format.

Yes ladies and gents, here are NINETY-NINE THINGS about 2019(ish – you’ll see). After all, 101 is so 2017.

And if you get that far, number 34 might explain why I’ve been a bit quiet lately.

It’s been quite a year.

Five business highs

  1. Getting proper photos done at last. Thank you Alison! This is my face…
  1. Starting work with 26 brilliant new clients
  2. And continuing work with plenty of returning ones
  3. ONLY having to deal with three potential clients who were awful (and I didn’t work with any of them)
  4. Hosting #ContentClubUK on Twitter – twice!

One business low

  1. Having to learn about small claims courts (and still not getting my money back thanks to a client’s bankruptcy)

Nine types of copy I’ve written for money

  1. Web pages
  2. Slogans and taglines
  3. Adverts
  4. Packaging
  5. Case studies
  6. Brochures
  7. Articles and blog posts
  8. Social media posts and captions
  9. Bios for social, conference brochures, art exhibitions etc.

Go on, be nice. Take a look at my portfolio.

Two things I wrote not-for-money

  1. Theatre review (written for tickets, not money)
  2. Charity website (because each year I set aside a set amount of time to work on community projects locally)

My six most popular blog posts of the year

  1. Copywriting: from A-Z
  2. 101 gift ideas for freelancers (not from 2019 but still one of the most viewed)
  3. What’s it worth? The mysterious world of freelance pricing
  4. Repeat after me: “My own business is at least as important as my clients’ businesses”
  5. Balance… and flex
  6. Christmas copy: dodging the cliches and ducking the puns

Eight happy moments

  1. Lots of babies being born! Welcome Joshua, Imogen, Astrid, Freya, Molly and Jessica (wow, that’s a lot of girls now I come to write them all down – poor Joshua)
  2. An unexpected, last-minute visit from the American part of the family
  3. A glorious hamper of goodies from my freelance friends (you know who you are)
  4. A gift of excellent pens from Social Pip
  1. Taking my niece and nephew to see the new Lion King film (they grumped all the way there but had a great time in the end)
  2. Seeing Margaret Atwood talk ‘live’ via video link for the launch of her new book – utterly inspirational lady
  3. Going to the panto!
  4. A much-needed, lovely long weekend in Suffolk to recharge the batteries

Three dramas

  1. My neighbour leaving his gas on and trying to blow up my flat (thank you to the wonderful gas safety phone number people for sorting it)
  2. Spraining my ankle BADLY in June. Two torn ligaments and a torn tendon. Ouch. Still in an aircast boot in December…
The boot does Christmas
  1. Being told by another consultant that my symptoms (not the ankle ones!) and blood test results suggested I had a tumour growing next to my brain and that I may need brain surgery in the new year. And then hearing just before Christmas that I don’t. Woop. Scary times, HUGE relief.

Three annoyances

  1. One dead washing machine, and a replacement that was a nightmare to get installed
  2. And which was then recalled by Whirlpool (and then unrecalled again, thankfully)
  3. More physio than you can shake a stick at (NB I don’t shake sticks at my physio, she’s lovely)

Six things I learnt

  1. How to crochet
  2. To make a rag wreath (thanks Charlie at The Mill House!)
  1. How to make a white sauce – after more than 20 years of trying and failing
  2. How to walk in an aircast boot
  3. How to walk with crutches

Five things I learnt you can’t (easily) do in an aircast boot

And I learnt all these the hard way.

  1. Shower
  2. Change a lightbulb
  3. Change the clocks (well, the ones that are high up)
  4. Deal with a beeping smoke alarm
  5. Basically anything on a ladder. Grr.

Medical fun and games in numbers

  1. Over 30 blood tests
  2. At least six appointments with consultants in different departments (I lost count, but it’s definitely fewer than last year)
  3. Two MRIs (to add to last year’s three – I swear the hospital are gradually scanning every bit of me so they can create a clone)

Speaking of which, seven great online business-people-friends on social media

  1. Laura Parker, copywriter extraordinaire and all-round superstar support in times of crisis. Thank you Laura
  2. Andrea Boughton, brilliant brand designer who I’ve worked with on all sorts of projects and who’s a lovely friend
  3. Carla Brown, social media wonder and life-saver when you injure yourself (she was there for ankle-gate), when your washing machine breaks down, when you can’t get to the shops and have run out of loo roll
  4. Charlie Bentley-Beach, genius behind The Mill House in Hertford, brilliant friend, excellent chauffeur when you can’t drive, wonderful drinker of coffee when you’ve been stuck inside on your own for too long
  5. Kate Ailey, pasta queen, lovely friend and bringer-of-new-kettle when mine broke and I couldn’t get to a shop. Tea is everything, so this was huge!
  6. Rachel Balchin, accountant to the stars (well, to me at least – check her out here) and more importantly, fabulous friend, support and pub-persuader
  7. Everyone at #ContentClubUK – tooooo too many to mention but all of you, you’re wonderful
  8. The whole Mama Hive, past and present. I love our meetups, the fact that we don’t just talk business, and that I’ve made some awesome friends there

Nine books I enjoyed

  1. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  2. The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons
  3. Brick by William Hall and Dan Cruickshank (I know, I’m weird)
  4. Predatory Thinking by Dave Trott
  5. Damn Good Advice by George Lois
  6. Failed It! By Erik Kessels
  7. The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown by Vaseem Khan
  8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling
  9. After You by Jojo Moyes

Eight TV highlights

  1. I Was There: Kate Adie on Tiananmen Square
  2. His Dark Materials
  3. Mad Men (the whole lot, for the first time)
  4. World on Fire
  5. Shetland (I love Shetland, depressing as it is)
  6. The Bay
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale, as always
  8. Killing Eve

Six films I enjoyed

Be warned. They’re not going to be recent… or trendy.

  1. Saving Mr Banks (2013)
  2. Miss Sloane (2016)
  3. Arrival (2016)
  4. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017 – getting more ‘recent’)
  5. Paddington 2 (2017, and yes, I have the brain of a child and I’m very happy that way)
  6. Holiday Inn (1942… hmmm. BUT Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and the first outing for the song ‘White Christmas’ – what’s not to love?)

16 things I drafted to put on a 2018 list but never published (check the title – 2019ish…)

Plus, I’ve been stuck in on crutches for over half this year so I have to fill the list somehow.

  1. Discovered that I like tuna
  2. And marmite
  3. And that I love a mocha coffee
  4. Learnt that Trello is my saviour (thank you Amanda Appiagyei!)
  5. Learnt to make pasta from scratch, twice over (thank you Cooking & Carafes!)
  6. Learnt how to hand sew a stretch hem (er, thank you YouTube?)
  7. Learnt how to replace the wiper blades on a car
  8. Re-learnt how to make pompoms (a lost childhood skill)
  9. Unexpectedly found that happiness is being sung to by a group of mechanics on my birthday
  10. Discovered the Rivers of London books
  11. Read Hidden Figures (and found there’s way more to it than is in the film)
  12. Read All the Light we Cannot See
  13. Read The Radleys by Matt Haig
  14. Read Sourdough by Robin Sloan. Loved it.
  15. Got totally addicted to Little Drummer Girl on telly
  16. ‘Met’ the (wonderful) Megs. Catch up here if you missed it.

And finally… two wishes for the next 12 months

  1. Less health nonsense, pretty please
  2. More brilliant, exciting, unexpected and fun things to put on next year’s list…

…and to enjoy along the way, of course – life isn’t about lists, people, despite what you’re reading right now. Happy New Year!

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