Image Map

That Year...This Year

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

On the whole, 2011 was not a bad year. As recorded on this here blog, holidays to Kent and Portugal were taken, trips to London, Edinburgh, Newcastle and sunny Shrewsbury were made, cultural things got done, many things got bought. I took a ridiculous amount of photos, blogged a lot, got very bad at commenting (sorry, must improve!)

Did a saucy photoshoot. Embraced the topknot and red lipstick. Increased my Irregular Choice collection. Joined Twitter. Became mildly obsessed with Twitter. Even met people off Twitter (brave eh?). I even became honorary Auntie Alex to young Jack. A lot of the year was very good fun. Not all of it was good though, in fact a certain part of it was very sad and painful, but that's not for me to talk about.

Let us move on to listy type things:

Films seen at the cinema in 2011: 27

Best? Can't pick a favourite. Senna was truly wonderful (and I am outraged it wasn't nominated for best documentary at the Oscars). I went to see The Adjustment Bureau twice so I clearly enjoyed that. Source Code was fantastic. Love and Other Drugs stayed with me for a lot longer than I thought it would. Weekend was brilliant.
Worst? Sorry to my beloved Henry Cavill but even he couldn't rescue Immortals from being rubbish. I blame the 3D.

Books read in 2011: 371.

Not bad eh? There were a fair few novellas in that list but if it's longer than a short story, it counts as a book in my eyes. The list is mostly notable for:

  • a massive glom of Suzanne Brockmann's back catalogue at the start of the year
  • Beta reading a book for a Real Life Published Author. That was FUN. I shall talk more of it when it's ready to be released.
  • Barely reading anything at all in October (see below)
Don't even ask me to pick a favourite book because I'm even less capable of that than I am of picking a favourite film, plus there are a LOT to choose from. I will just say that Delirium by Lauren Oliver made me sob with how good it was, Maritime Men and Anchors Aweigh by Janey Chapel have been read and reread and keep improving, A History of the World in 100 Objects is unbelievably interesting and Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson was simply beautiful.

Books written in 2011:

One, in October. Hurrah for me! I started number two this week.

Comedians seen:

7. All very funny but I must strongly recommend Chris Ramsey.

Theatre trips:

13. I still can't get over how good Michael Sheen was in Hamlet. Unbelievable. Lovesong was chuffing amazing too though and Flare Path was excellent. If only we hadn't been sitting so high up we were practically on the Moon.


I'm not really a music person but I went to see Ben Folds in February and sweet jesus, he was astonishingly good. I'll take quality over quantity any day.

So, what does 2012 have in store?

I'm not talking resolutions here, for they are dull. I'm talking things that I will definitely be doing.

An Easter holiday to Hay-on-Wye (my version of bookshop heaven), a jaunt to the Edinburgh Festival and possibly an autumn holiday to France. Haven't quite decided on that last one yet.

OLYMPICS! I have tickets for the cross-country day of the eventing and I am most excited. People who are bah humbuggy about it all: I am not listening to you. Wheeeeee!!! I love the Olympics and I'M GOING!

Whilst I'm on the subject of eventing, I've signed up as a volunteer with British Eventing. I want this to be the year I do some fence judging. For the uninitiated, that involves eating a giant picnic and blowing a whistle a lot, possibly a bit of flag waving too. I can totally do that. Or I shall volunteer in some other capacity. I've bought some wellies and a gilet now; there's no going back.

Wearing more hats. It needs to be done. Is anyone with me?

Doing a writing course this month. Should be fun!

Finally working my way through the to-read pile. It just got bigger and bigger last year and I fear the bottom books will turn to mulch if I don't read them soon.

It's grown since that photo was taken...


  1. ooooh for the wellies and gilet <3
    your plans for the year sound mighty interesting and frankly make my year look distinctly empty.
    I count myself lucky if I get to the cinema a couple of times a year and I've never been to the theatre.

  2. Omg 371 books! I envy you, I probably read the same amount of academic papers last year... I endeavor to read at least 12 books this year.
    I'm going to the olympics too, off to see the basket ball! Very exciting stuff.
    Happy new year! x

  3. Wow awesome stats! Especially with the book reading, insane! If you do that well again this year the book pile will disappear in no time! :)

  4. Amazing book work! I love looking at books it makes me so happy. looks like you have had a really great year, seriously busy and seriously fun.

    Have a great 2012!

  5. I'M WITH YOU ON THAT HATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Let's start a revolution!!!!!!

    I'm sorry- 371???????? HOW is that even possible????????????? I am beyond impressed!!!!

    I went to Hay in August! I went there every summer for about 6 years as a teenager and adored it, so we returned this summer for 4 days and it was just as wonderful as I remembered! Book heaven!!! We stayed at a GORGEOUS place we found on the organic places to stay website called Racquety-lodge, just outside the town (literally 7 minute walk)- sooo near but so idyllically rural and quiet!!!

    Happy New year!!!

  6. I bought my step dad A History of the World in 100 Objects for Christmas, he looked so gutted to get a book for Christmas haha. I pretty much bought it so I can borrow it from him!

  7. HAY-ON-WYE! I dream of my return. I recommend Tinto House!

  8. Happy New Year, Alex.
    Wearing hats is always on my agenda although with the weather we're having they are mostly of the knitted, slouchy variety.
    Your reading achievements for last year are amazing. x

  9. Oh good grief. 371 books. But that's one a day. HOW DO YOU DO IT!!! I read a heady 17 - an all time low for me. We've got tickets for handball - haven't got a clue about handball but I'm hoping that the day should be a good experience.

  10. Sounds like you will never have a dull moment in 2012. Good luck with all your intended plans and may 2012 bring you and your family much happiness.

    X x

  11. 371 books?! Jesus christ! Fair play. I need to read more, I have 3 books waiting on my eyes. :)
    And agree about Senna, amazingly touching and a well thought out documentary.

  12. I am always amazed at how many books you have read throughout the year. To have written your first book is more than a remarkable achievement xxx

  13. AHHH look at all those books! I like this post, its lovely and positive! 2011 has been very busy for you x

  14. You've done so much, I feel so uncultured compared to you! I really must read more and go to the theatre more this year, I only went twice last year I think and really haven't read enough... x

  15. Love that first photo.
    You're starting your second book? Alex, you are my hero...
    All of your plans sound fabulous, I'm not sure I can join on the hat thing though...

  16. 371 books is truly impressive. I thought I did well for the year, but you read more than twice as many books as I did. I think you'll love Hay-on-Wye. I don't know whether the children's bookshop is still there, but it's worth a visit if it is.

  17. I'm not sure if I even read 20 books last year! :o I didn't even do anything last year apart from seeing Alan Carr in April, I need to get out more...

  18. second boook started?!? MOG, i'm not evene halfway through my first - big fat fail there :/
    and double-MOG about the reading stats - do you have speed eyes? :)
    and a trip to the TATE for Alice! and a greenday musical !! :) they are about the only things in my diary as yet this year.

  19. Yay to hat wearing. OMG to the books read - I can't even envisage that many books.

  20. Hurrah for you! I hope 2012 is amazing for you Alex (we must hangout at some point, oui?!)

  21. Most impressive achievements Alex, especially in the book department - reading so many is amazing but writing one too? Awesome!
    We applied for Olympics tickets but didn't get anything, I would have loved to see some athletics. Lucky you, I bet you'll love the eventing. xxxx

  22. You know you're the awesomest. Or if you don't, you should.

    Thank you for helping to make 2011 a great year!

  23. Resolutions are dull – your year ahead sounds amazing. You’re putting me to shame *gazes sadly at empty diary*

  24. Clearly you have access to some kind of time bending machine which allows you twice as many hours in the day as everyone else, it's the only explanation!

    My books total for this year is so pitiable I'm not going to write it anywhere it can be seen. And I consider myself a big reader generally, and pretty fast. I'd blame blogging and the commenting which goes with it, but you've written a book this year too! I managed to read The Hunger Games trilogy in a weekend, and that was with kids on hand. I can't keep it up every day though - have you done that Paul McKenna speed reading thing?!

    I'm also mighty impressed by your culture vulture credentials, I think I managed the theatre ONCE last year, not counting a few gigs and some stand-up. Films are definitely going to be on the up this year though, as soon as I move and have babysitter access.

  25. Congrats on writing a book, what an achievement. I'm definitely impressed with your books too xx
    Ella @ Belle Vintage

  26. It sounds like you've had an absolutely incredible year - good luck for 2012!

  27. Loved this post! Love the wellies! Love the sound of whistle-blowing and flag-waving (got my fingers crossed for you)!

    If I can read one tenth of what your read last year in 2012 I will be bloody pleased with myself, you're unbelievable!

    Plans for this year sound ace :) So far I have War Horse in May, New York in October and some runs planned... xxx

  28. Isn't it strange to look back on a year and see so many good and bad things? I know looking back on 2011, I was so quick to think of so much good that I'd forgotten just how awful some of it was, and sometimes it's helpful to remember the lessons learnt from the difficult times.

    Loving the sound of your 2012, I don't know if you've been to Hay, but it's awesome. My grandparents live about 20 mins away, and everytime I visit I fall a bit more in love with the place. And yes, bookshop HEAVEN!

    I'd really like to meet you in 2012. I so bloody wish I could get to Liverpool on the 21/22 Jan, but unfortunately I can't. So frustrating, but I hope there will be other opportunities. Happy New Year Alex.

  29. Impressive!!!

    Also, nice wellies ;-)


I'm easily pleased - a simple comment will cheer me up no end. So do drop me a line below...

Sorry to readers who prefer to comment anonymously but I am getting clobbered with spam at the moment so have had to disable anon comments. Feel free to get in touch with me in another way!