In 2018

My most long-standing New Year’s tradition is to look back over what I’ve done during the past twelve months. Usually the good outweighs the bad. This year was so, so much better than last year; it wasn’t just about surviving, but about thriving: finding out, as Dolly Parton so wisely said, who I am, then doing it on purpose.

In 2018, I:

celebrated my lovely colleague Faye’s wedding, with other bookshop chums

attended a celebratory black tie dinner at the Oxford and Cambridge Club for the engagement of two more friends


found a new flat, with a new housemate

helped plan my cousin Sarah’s wedding, as her maid of honour, and in company with her brilliant bridesmaids

sang Irish songs, drunkenly, on a rooftop in the snow

received incredibly helpful mentoring and advice on my novel from the infinitely generous Antonia Honeywell

experienced a hen do in Brighton


sang at York Minster (and had some verse solos in the canticles, in the presence of Iestyn Davies. Swoon.)

participated in the Womens Prize Shadow Panel again

sang for, danced at, and generally revelled in Sarah’s wedding to the wonderful Gareth

hosted my mum in my new flat

travelled to Paris for an utterly unforgettable long weekend with my beloved friend Kendall


relatedly: eaten a meal in Paris that I will remember for the rest of my life—seven courses, four hours, wine

started a regular paid Sunday singing gig

visited Chatsworth, home of my employers, for the first time

caught up with my goddaughter Beatrice, and her lovely parents, Esther and Bojan, in Oxford

went to IKEA for the first time in my adult life

celebrated my twenty-sixth birthday with beloved friends and so much sushi I could barely stand afterwards


threw a housewarming party in the new flat, with my excellent housemate Joe

sang at St Paul’s with old college chums, then immediately afterwards attended the reception for Kerry and Alvina’s wedding

hosted my little brother Nick and his brilliant girlfriend Emma on their London holiday

ticked another cathedral (Southwark) off my list of Places I’ve Sung In

heard Susan Graham, live

drank in the private pub for Yeomen Warders of the Tower of London

took myself on my first solo holiday, to Brussels, where I survived on goat’s cheese, baguette, chocolate caramel spread, and ratatouille


…and where I also wrote thousands of words’ worth of my book

chatted to an agent about said book, and promised to send a draft when finished

accidentally insulted Sebastian Faulks

flew home to visit my family, during which time we picked apples, drank coffee (and a lot of wine), strolled in downtown Charlottesville, basked in late autumn sunlight, drove up into the mountains. I also brunched joyfully at Helen and Charlie’s wedding reception, and wrote more thousands of words

attended the Young Writer of the Year Award announcement, along with lots of blogging friends (and where I met the incomparable Sarah Moss)

cooked a Thanksgiving meal for some American (and non-American!) friends

got a sparkly gel pedicure because why not

sang in four Christmas concerts

re-permed my hair, also because why not

celebrated Christmas at Canterbury Cathedral, thanks to the kind hospitality of Sarah and Gareth


finished off the New Year with gigs at Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s

read exactly 200 books

23 thoughts on “In 2018

  1. I love the way you use this post to celebrate your accomplishments and experiences. A very wedding-y year for you! Whereas I haven’t attended one in years and will look forward to possibly going to one in May.

    Great to hear about the progress with your book — I’m cheering you on from the sidelines! (And I really want to hear more about that Sebastian Faulks incident…)

    1. Four weddings this year – I suppose that is rather a lot! It’s that time of life.

      Thank you! I so badly want to finish it this year. Perhaps that can be my single resolution. (The Sebastian Faulks incident needs to be told in person, but it is a very good story, if I say so myself.)

  2. What a lovely wrap up. A seven course meal, my goodness. Incidentally, my first solo holiday was also in Brussels! I adore that city. Wishing you many more wonderful things in 2019.

    1. Thank you! (The meal was AMAZING, and if you ever have the chance to do the tasting menu at Le Bristol, DO IT.) Brussels was a lovely balance of nice things to do without feeling overwhelming – it was a great choice. Happy New Year!

      1. I haven’t had a whole lot of luck with French food since I’m vegetarian so I usually end up eating baguettes and cheese when I’m there, but I suppose life could be worse than baguettes and cheese in Paris.

      2. There was a fair bit of meat on the menu, good point. (Still, yes: bread, cheese, Paris, I see no problems here.)

  3. What a great way to review your year! I like the fact that you celebrated the good stuff and chucked the rest into the bin marked 2018. A great format. Just remember, imitation is the sincerest compliment or do I mean ? oh never mind, I’m useless at quotations. In short: I like ti.

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