Category Archives: Life in the West Country

In which there is a cat in a Christmas jumper wishing you glad tidings


Christmas 2017

Even though I now have a baby to dress up (and believe me, I’ve taken full advantage), it isn’t Christmas without a little Paint on Olivia.

The fridge is stocked, the presents are wrapped, the Radio Times is marked and the Bailey’s is open. Wishing you a wonderful festive season full of good food, good company and good relaxing.


In which there is a look back on 2016


Slightly later than usual, here is my now annual, somewhat narcissistic look back on the previous year.

  1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Went trekking in the Atlas Mountains. Ate soup from a bread bowl. Took part in a childhood memory, The Crystal Maze. Had my home featured on a design blog. Pitched a feature to a magazine I had no prior connection with and had it accepted for actual cash payment! Visited Durdle Door in Dorset. Knitted my first two baby hats, which I’m really proud of. Knitted my first rabbits, which I also love. Cycled to work. Watched an opera all the way through.

Oh, and get pregnant. Yep, I’m having a baby! The ETA of Mini W, as I have dubbed them, is 18th May. So this has also led to a whole load of other firsts: having an ultrasound, wearing maternity clothes, feelinh a baby kicking me, sharing intimate bodily details with total strangers…

  1. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year I said “I just want to appreciate everything I have, continue to grow my freelance work and be the best wife, friend, daughter and sister I can be. I’ve also made a decision to do more of what I want to do and stop saying yes to things I don’t want to do (albeit in a polite manner).” I would say that’s been pretty successful. I read The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a **** earlier in the year and found myself nodding in agreement to everything the author said. Consequently I have really tried to only do things that I want to do, and while it’s not always worked, it’s definitely more in my consciousness. My freelance work has gone really well this year, and I’ve expanded my clients as well as launching a specific subsection of my business with its own website and branding. I’ve certainly been more appreciative of everything I have – global and personal events in 2016 have made this even more necessary – and I hope my friends and family would say that I’ve been a good person to have in their lives. Certainly everyone gave us an amazing and joyous reaction to the announcement of Mini W, so that bodes well! So this year, I want to continue on the same path, with the added addition of being the best parent I can be, and a bit less freelance work.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

We welcomed a new niece in April, then friends’ babies in February (twice), April, May (twice) and November. Next year I have two friends (who handily live just around the corner) giving birth in January and February, and I’m sure (hope) that more will be announced. More hats and rabbits to come!

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

My wonderful friend N, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, died in August. I had the privilege of dancing at her wedding in June, which was the last time I saw her, and I’m glad I have such a happy final memory of her. Her death hit my friends and me really hard, and has really shaped how I view life and ensure that I am even more grateful for everything I have. She was an amazing person – funny, clever, engaged with the world, generous. I miss her a lot and still rail against the sheer unfairness of what happened to her.

  1. What countries did you visit?

Morocco in April for my mom’s 70 birthday, and then an epic Eastern European road trip encompassing Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Hungary and Austria in July.

  1. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Wine, caffeine, unpasteurised cheese. I’ve only lacked these since September but my, it’s been hard at times. Alcohol and caffeine really do make everything taste better.

  1. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

10th September, when I found out I was pregnant.

  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Managing to give up all alcohol for three months straight and then reducing it to less than half a glass of wine beyond that! On a less superficial level, having the confidence to cycle to work. Luckily a lot of the route is off road, by the river, making it a lovely commute, but I’m still really pleased that I’ve had the courage to brave Bristol commuter traffic for the busy sections. Cycling to work is ace, and a great way to bookend the day.

  1. What was your biggest failure?

The fact I can’t think of one either says that I’m really arrogant, or that I had a lucky year. Hopefully it’s the latter!

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope, I’ve been (touch wood) really well this year, even while pregnant. In fact I feel a little bit guilty sometimes when people ask how I am and my response is fine and dandy, especially when I know so many people who really suffered with morning sickness and fatigue.

  1. What was the best thing you bought?

As with last year, we have really tried to cut back on buying objects, as the older I get the more I despair at just how much stuff there is in the world. So again, the ‘experiences’ I bought, such as holidays and meals out, were the best. In terms of objects, I bought a pair of black boots that are the same as my beloved fox red ones, which I do love and wear a lot, plus a second hand cat jumper (it’s freaking awesome). Oh, and paying someone to landscape our garden was a brilliant decision.

  1. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

As always, S continues to be my absolute favourite human being. He has been a rock this year, and I genuinely don’t know what I would do without him. I was also so grateful to have an amazing group of supportive friends this year to cope with various issues that came up.

  1. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Oh, the list could go on for ever here. Trump, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, journalists from The Daily Mail and other such tawdry publications… So much of national and international events in 2016 made me appalled and depressed. It’s important to remember the good stuff, though, which is why I really liked the list of positive news stories that Colonel Chris Hadfield posted on his Facebook page on 31st December. Go check it out and feel a bit better.

  1. Where did most of your money go?

We spent quite a bit to get the front and back garden landscaped, but as mentioned, this was definitely worth it as man, lugging railway sleepers around is hard! Most of our money went to savings, actually, which is good to build them up after the Great House Renovation of 2014 and in light of having an extra mouth to feed this year.

  1. What did you get really excited about?

Telling our family and friends about Mini W. Spending time with one of my best friends in Sarajevo. Winning both of my crystals in The Crystal Maze!

  1. What song will always remind you of 2016?

Lover of the Light by Mumford and Sons, and Made-Up Love Song #3 by The Guillemots, although sadly not for the happiest reasons. The latter was N’s first dance, and the former was played at her memorial service. But as well as being poignant, they also remind me of what a wonderful human being she was. On a happier level, Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling always makes me smile.

  1. Compared with this time last year, are you:

–happier or sadder?
As happy as I was last year, as for the majority, it’s been a good year. Events on both a domestic and global scale make me even more grateful for my life, and my wonderful friends and family.

–thinner or fatter?

I’m 22 weeks pregnant, so definitely fatter! How much is a baby and how much is Christmas excess though is debatable…

–richer or poorer?

Richer as, aside from the garden, we’ve not had to do anything on the house and we’ve been able to save quite a lot. When I stop work this is going to come in handy!

  1. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Dancing, not worrying, going to the allotment.

  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Wasting time on my phone. As with last year, working on evenings and weekends. The curse of the freelancer! But the payoff is that I get to have odd weekdays off from work and also plan nice things such as the now-annual trip away I take with my mom. And I never learn, but stressing about deadlines. It always works out! I really ought to know that now.

  1. How did you spend Christmas?

S and I spent it with just the two of us (and Olivia). It was a sadly alcohol-free celebration for me, but I ate lots of warm mince pies and clotted cream to make up for it. I got given a lot of socks and chocolate (we now have a drawer full), we spent mornings snuggled under the duvet watching TV and I did absolutely no work at all.

  1. Did you fall in love in 2016?

I really understood for the first time what it’s like to feel overwhelming parental love for someone, even someone who’s not yet here.

  1. What was your favourite TV programme?

S and I binge watched series 6 of Game of Thrones over Christmas and New Year, which was excellent. I feel that events are finally starting to level out and nasty people are starting to get their comeuppance.We also got through Stranger Things very quickly, and even went to a DJ Yoda gig inspired by the series. I really enjoyed The People v OJ Simpson, particularly the episode that focussed on Marcia Clarke. The ‘San Junipero’ episode of Black Mirror was superb, and so life-affirming — very different from the usual dark predictions that leave me feeling drained and depressed after watching. I also started watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and have reached series 5. S is not joining in with this, and in fact is not that impressed that it’s the only reason we’ve kept our Netflix subscription going.

  1. What was the best book you read?

Out of the 75 books I read, The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett was definitely my favourite. I loved it so much that I went out and bought it for my friend for her birthday and I keep telling people that they need to read it. I also really enjoyed The Muse by Jessie Burton, which S gave me for Christmas.

  1. What was your greatest musical discovery?

There was nothing noteworthy this year. We continue to listen to a lot of funk and soul, and saw Craig Charles live on Good Friday, who was excellent, and made up for the god-awful phone-in gig we last saw him give in Bristol.

  1. What did you want and get?

Exchange and completion on our old house. A landscaped garden.

  1. What did you want and not get?

To finish the online journalism course I started in April. The trouble with self-study is that lounging around reading paid work has to take priority, so I’m only halfway through. My aim is to complete it by April, however, so it’s done before I start my maternity leave.

  1. What did you not want and not get?

Long periods of unemployment. Hurrah! I had a quiet April but I just used it to spring clean the house and get ahead with regular commissions, so while I could have done with some more income that month, it wasn’t the end of the world.

  1. What was your favourite film of this year?

It doesn’t make me sound highbrow but I really loved Bad Neighbours 2!

  1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 34 and we had a rum and reggae evening with friends at ours to take advantage of the warm weather and the balcony. I made jerk chicken and coleslaw, and we drank several bottles of rum. Then S took me to Go Ape in the Forest of Dean, which was a lot of fun, and that evening we drank a lot of Prosecco and ate pizza while watching Mystic Pizza.

  1. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

.Less worry and more alcohol.

  1. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

I would never really describe myself as having a ‘personal fashion concept’, as I’ve been wearing exactly the same type of clothes for years now — skinny jeans, short skirts, dresses, boots. A few years ago I made a conscious design to be much more aware of where my clothing was coming from, and not to buy from the worst ‘sweatshop’ offenders on the high street. I have kept this up now and will only buy from a handful of shops that put effort into the transparency of their supply chain and that have better ethical ratings than Primark, Asda et al. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it. I also consider that (myself included) people have too many clothes, clothing is far too disposable, and this is something we really need to address as a matter of urgency. I’m halfway through watching The Minimalists documentary on Netflix, which I can highly recommend if this is something you’re interested in.

  1. What kept you sane?

I took up yoga on a regular basis this year, which really helped to calm down the chattering in my head, as well as being good for my fitness and strength. I find regular swimming good for keeping sane too. Mostly though, it’s my amazing husband. He always, always knows what to do to keep me calm. And red wine or gin as a last resort!

  1. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I’m always partial to a bit of Kit Harington.

  1. What political issue stirred you the most?

Oh my gosh, where do you start with this considering the year we had? If I had to pick one, though, it would be the EU referendum. I am still horrified that the UK voted to leave and am hoping against hope that something comes along to block it. I wouldn’t have minded so much if I felt that Leavers had voted for good reasons, but it seems that the majority of them did it as a protest vote without considering the consequences. I was also appalled at the xenophobia that it stirred up.

  1. Who did you miss?

My friend N. We didn’t meet up a fraction of how much I would have liked, but we always had a lot of fun when we did. I still can’t really believe I won’t see her again.

  1. Who was the best new person you met?

I got to know one friend and her partner (now husband) a lot better this year, and I’m so glad I did. I now count her as one of my closer friends and someone I can talk to about so many things.

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Always be grateful for what you’ve got.

  1. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“They say that new life makes losing life easier to understand” — Jack Johnson, If Only I Could. It’s a cliche but it’s so true. I found out I was pregnant a month after N died, and it helped to put things in perspective a little. I like to think that this baby will have some of her amazing characteristics, and I look forward to telling them about her achievements. I’ll probably skip the more juicy tales of us getting drunk at university, though.



In which there is a spring clean


I’ve had a bit of time off work recently, as I didn’t have any production shifts booked in and my stuff to do from home hasn’t been enough for a full nine to five. I’ve taken advantage of this glut of spare time, however, by doing a massive spring clean of the house (and watching two daily episodes of How I Met Your Mother, but shh, don’t tell S), which has been extremely satisfying on many levels.

It’s not exactly been a laugh a minute; I’ve had to motivate myself to snap on the Marigolds (ooh Matron!) and get going, but once I have, no stone has been left unturned. I’m talking dusting under the wardrobes, washing out the recycling bins, taking out everything from the kitchen cupboards to wipe inside, scrubbing the white stone tiles with an abrasive polish, washing the windows with a squeedgee and three cloth system, the full works, all followed by an orgy of rearranging and sorting and organising.


All my cupboards have satisfyingly neat, label front facing and lined up products, although I don’t know how long it will last!

I’ve also gone through my wardrobe and had (yet another) sort through, and this time I’ve actually got rid of the stuff I’ve been hanging onto ‘just in case’ and consigned it to the charity shop bin bag. The result is that I have room in my wardrobe to actually push hangers along the rail, I’ve lost an underbed storage bag and the clothes in my wardrobe and chest of drawers are actually those I wear and like.

This spring cleaning marathon has taught me several important things:

1. Our dust is 90% beard trimmings and cat hair, and it’s necessary for me to wipe my (very white) desk every time I sit at it if I don’t want to stare at muddy paw prints. I’m going to start hoovering Olivia at the door from now on, and try and build an integrated mat for her paws in the cat flap tunnel. And once the weather is warm enough, S is banished to the balcony for his shaving.

2. Despite culling my wardrobe extensively over the last year or two, I still have too many shoes.

3. That having the time to clean the house and get that in order has also been great in terms of having time to look at other areas of my life and give them a whisk over with the duster. This has also been helped by reading of The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight. I’d read an extract from in the Guardian (which S also read and said I needed to buy this book) and then I’d seen other people such as Em highly recommend it. And they’re not wrong — while it is a tad overly sweary, at its core is some very sound advice: you have a finite amount of time and you cannot always do things to please other people. I am extremely guilty of this, and it drives S (and me) mad. This book gave me the chance to sit down, assess what I do with my free time and decide, actually, what I give zero fucks about (in a polite way, natch) and instead ensure I do the things that make me happy. Making the zero fucks list are scheduling catch ups with people that aren’t convenient to me, being overly polite to people in work emails and Donald Trump. There are more, and the list is an ongoing process, but just realising that I don’t have to care so much about stuff that’s not making me happy was so liberating. Fellow people pleasers, go out and buy it!


I’ve still got one more week ‘off’, as it were, which I’ll be using to forge some new work leads as well as actually taking the aforementioned culled clothes to the charity shop. (And, of course, watch some more episodes of HIMYM and wage the continual war against muddy cat prints and beard hair, but that’s a given.)

In which there are some things I’ve been loving of late


REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil

Ren oil

I like this so much, I’ve actually now written about this for two of the magazines I work for. My friend runs a salon that uses REN products, and I got this as my freebie at a Christmas pampering evening I went to there. It’s light but nourishing, and since using it, I’ve been told I look “fresh faced”, which isn’t bad for someone pushing 34! It’s pricey at £24 but you only need a drop or two underneath your moisturiser in the morning to see results.

Croc Odour Fridge Deodoriser

This is such a random thing to include but I really want to share the love for this product! We made a porch for our house by adding a door to the curved brick archway, and use it to keep shoes and coats and recycling in. The upside is more storage, the downside is that it can get a little stuffy and smell a bit like a changing room in there. I was on the hunt for an air freshener but I hate the noxious, artificial fragrances you get with most commercial ones, and also didn’t like the idea of anything too chemical being present to us and to the cat. Then I found this in Robert Dyas, and bought it on a whim. It uses a seaweed-based gel to absorb odours and as it’s designed for fridges, it’s not toxic at all and doesn’t have a perfume. It works a treat and I can highly recommend it.

The Latte Years by Philippa Moore

I’ve been reading Phil’s blog for years, starting out with her writing-based one, Green Ink Girl, and then moving to Skinny Latte Strikes Back, her fitness and general lifestyle one. She’s a fab writer and all-round nice person, so when her first book, her memoirs of weight loss and what happened beyond the ‘after’ photo, was published I bought a copy as I knew it would be good. I deliberately got the bus into work so I could continue reading it and then finished it in a day, which says a lot about how much I enjoyed it! Read if you’re in need of inspiration to fulfil your goals and make changes in your life. It’s currently out in Australia and NZ in paperback and can be bought on Kindle everywhere else. Phil’s new online home is here, if you want to learn more about her and the book.


In which there’s a look back at 2015


After doing this last year, I thought I’d be terrible self-indulgent and do it again, while S is out watching The Force Awakens for the second time.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

A back balance on the trapeze. Work on a quilting magazine and a free-from food magazine. Visit Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark. Complete an ‘official’ bike ride. Knit my first adult garments. Climb the UK’s highest mountain. Be in the audience for the filming of a TV show. See two films in a hot tub. Grow broad beans, brussel sprouts, parsnips and onions.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year I wanted to continue exercising and also eat less free sugar, both of which were pretty successful. My aim was to take part in an official bike event, which I completed by doing a 25 mile bike ride for charity. I also tried to go swimming more often, and continued to climb the stairs at work, and so I feel that my legs are in the best shape they’ve ever been — when I climbed Ben Nevis in August it was a lot easier than I expected. I made oatcakes and rice crackers my snack of choice and ate less of the biscuits and cake that are so often in the office! This year I haven’t made a formal list — I just want to appreciate everything I have, continue to grow my freelance work and be the best wife, friend, daughter and sister I can be. I’ve also made a decision to do more of what I want to do and stop saying yes to things I don’t want to do (albeit in a polite manner).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, eight friends gave birth so the knitting needles have been busy with making booties! I have three more friends due between February and May this year, plus my sister in law, and I’m sure more will be announced.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My great uncle Jim died at the start of the year but mercifully that was it. It wasn’t the best year for health for some of my friends, however, so I’m hoping 2016 is better in that regard.

5. What countries did you visit?

The Netherlands in February, Denmark in June and Portugal in October, plus a trip to Scotland in August.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

A garden that isn’t a mud bath. It’s the next big thing we need to do, and while we’ve made a start this year, there’s still a lot before it’s a garden you actually want to spend any time in.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

9th October, our fifth wedding anniversary. Where has half a decade gone? This year has also whipped past in an insanely fast blur.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Going full time freelance in July and so far, not being out of work. Also getting better at cycling and completing 25 miles in just over 2 hours.

9. What was your biggest failure?

As with last year, I was very lucky in that I can’t remember any real failures from the year. I still hate forward rolls on the trapeze but I think that’s always going to be a stumbling block for me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No, 2015 was a pretty healthy year. Apart from giving myself food poisoning the other week (I think some mouldy Stilton was the culprit), I can’t remember being ill.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I’ve actually tried to cut down a lot on buying things this year, as the older I get, the less I want stuff and clutter in my life. The ‘experiences’ I bought this year were the best — trips away, theatre tickets, meals out. That said, I do love the Nespresso coffee maker S bought the other week, a mint green anglepoise lamp I got for my office and a gold sequin mini skirt in which I saw in 2016.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

S continues to be an amazing human being. He is my constant cheerleader, can always make me laugh, holds me up when I’m feeling low and can be relied on at all times.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

On a national and global scale, so many, including but not limited to our government, ISIS, politicians from other countries, Jeremy Clarkson, Donald Trump and certain newspapers, on issues such as the migrant crisis, social injustice in this country, the biased way news is reported, the bombing of Syria… the list goes on. 2015 was a terrible year in many ways, but I have to stay optimistic that things will get better. Otherwise it’s just too depressing.

14. Where did most of your money go?

No house renovations this year, mercifully — our money went on nice things such as holidays and trips and meals out.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Spending the weekend in the New Forest with a group of my favourite girls. Celebrating five years of marriage. Selling our first house for a sum that exceeded both of our expectations. Seeing Dirty Dancing in a hot tub!

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Bon Iver’s Holocene, as I played it so much. Also Taylor Swift’s Style and Blank Space, Oh My Love by The Score as it reminds me of our holiday in Portugal and as a late contender, Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd.

17. Compared with this time last year, are you:

–happier or sadder?
As happy as I was last year, as it’s been a good year. Events on both a domestic and global scale make me even more grateful for my life, and my wonderful friends and family.

–thinner or fatter?

At the moment, after the excesses of Christmas, as a wee bit fatter. But generally about the same.

–richer or poorer?

Richer, as S got a new job with a pay rise, and I’ve gone freelance which pays more. Not having to shell out for plasterers and electricians has made a big difference.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Playing the piano. I really want to make sure I do this more this year as it’s a shame to have one in the house and not make full use of it, especially as it was a huge effort to get it up the stairs to the bedroom!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing about deadlines and fitting everything in, as it always works out in the end.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

S’ family (mum, dad, sister, brother in law and niece) came down for a couple of days, and then we went to my mum and dad’s to have a second Christmas dinner with them and my brother.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?

I have amazing friends in my life and felt even more love for them this year.

22. What was your favourite TV programme?

We’ve been recording old episodes of Frasier and it’s been great to rewatch these — it’s such a fantastic show. Game of Thrones series five was also good, and my autumn and winter were punctuated with Strictly, which was fab as always.

23. What was the best book you read?

I don’t think I’ve read as many books as last year — I just did a quick tot up and made it 38, but I’m hoping there are a few I’ve missed off as that total is too low for my liking. (Update: just found four more I read to make it 42!) The Crimson Petal and The White was excellent and probably my favourite fiction book this year. The Paris Wife was also very enjoyable. In terms of non-fiction, I started The Emperor of All Maladies without knowing what it was about — I thought it was a novel, not a biography of cancer, but I’m glad I did as it was really interesting and thought provoking. I also read Bad Science which made me think a lot, so I’d like to read more science-related stuff this year. I bought S Ben Goldacre’s latest book so I’ll definitely be reading that.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Our subscription to Google Play means we listen to music more and get to experience lots of different artists, which is great.

25. What did you want and get?

A balcony, which is hands down the best amendment we made to this house. And a buyer for our old house.

26. What did you want and not get?

I went for three job interviews, two of which I really did want, but didn’t get. So I got redundancy and a freelance career, although in hindsight this was better. I also wanted our house sale to go through before Christmas, but it’s been delayed.

27. What did you not want and not get?

Unemployment. Hurrah!

28. What was your favourite film of this year?

No real favourite this year, although I saw The Force Awakens the other day and enjoyed it very much. We also watched some great films over Christmas including The Fault in Our Stars and Ex Machina.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 33 and had a picnic in Queen Square in Bristol followed by drunken pizza in Renatos. On the actual day I met friends for dinner at Canteen and drank far too much rose wine. We went to Copenhagen to see friends and I counted that as a birthday celebration too, as well as going to Hot Tub Cinema to watch Dirty Dancing. S made me an amazing coffee and walnut sponge which was huge!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not having to work on the evenings or weekends, but that’s one of the pay offs for being freelance.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

The same as last year — skinny jeans, dresses, boots. As mentioned above, my gold sequin miniskirt is a welcome addition to the wardrobe! S also bought me a very stylish cycling jacket and I bought my first ever pair of exercise trousers, an area of clothing I’ve never really given any thought to before I started cycling more seriously.

32. What kept you sane?

My amazing husband. Books. A glass of red. Exercise. Pretty much the same as last year!

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

None that I can remember.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

A Conservative government being re-elected and, without a coalition partner to temper them, instantly showing the contempt they have for the majority of their constituents. Climate change and people’s inability to take it seriously and make decisions that could turn things around. The bizarre ways in which newspapers attacked Jeremy Corbyn for being what seems to be a decent human being.

35. Who did you miss?

As with last year, the friends who live in other countries who I can’t see nearly as much as I want to.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

It’s been great to work across different magazines and get to know their teams better, which is a nice benefit to freelancing.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

You never know what’s around the corner. And always be the kindest you can be.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“And at once I knew, I was not magnificent.” The best line from the song I listened to most this year.