Gratitude list for 2010

Ok it’s not Gratitude for December this month mainly as I was uncharacteristically ill over Christmas and while I was in one of my top three favourite countries, Italy. Hey ho.

So let’s give some love to all of 2010 instead.


I finished my very first draft of my very first book. I have lots to do now but I have adored working on it and look forward to organising it and rewriting it, possibly into two books.

For this I’m grateful to my school English teachers, Mr Thomas and Ms French, Rosa Guy, Kimmi, my writing tutor in New York, AA Gill, India Knight, Jeremy Clarkson and lately Matt Rudd of the Sunday Times and loads of authors, brilliant ones and ones I haven’t enjoyed for inspiring me one way or another. Finally I’m grateful to Marsha Moore for her advice and encouragement.

Mostly, I’m grateful to Zoe Heller who inspired me to write articles when she was a Sunday Times columnist based in New York, way before she became a novelist.


A few highlights of 2010

Birmingham Jazz Festival. I fully embraced and loved every second of it and can’t wait for this year. I think I’ll be taking a few days of during that week.


Brumnotes Christmas Party

The Victoria

Tom Peel. I saw twice for which I‘m grateful to Lyle Bignon for the heads up. I still owe this man a drink.

And the absolute highlight, seeing my favourite band of the last few years not once but twice, Cherry Ghost. A massive bonus was that on one of the occasions they supported the rather excellent, The Coral.


I didn’t get my three trips abroad this year just because I was so busy but this will be rectified in 2011 with at least two trips to Canada. I did get to see Scotland for the first time for a few book writing jaunts so I appreciate Bean Scene in Glasgow and Peters Yard in Edinburgh. Thanks for the coffee.Peters Yard coffee shop coffee cake Birmingham Edinburgh New York

I did make a return trip to Milan and Verona at Christmas. I was ill to start with but definitely perked up when I got to Verona, prettier than I remember it from 11 years ago.

Verona Juliet balcony Christmas tree


I went to my first and only book signing, Dara O’Briain to sign one of favourite books of the year, ’Tickling the English’.

Work stuff

Grateful to Springboard for giving me lots of lovely projects to work on (and some horrid ones but makes me appreciate the lovely ones more).

On that note, I’m grateful to Kiss Me CupCakes who lent me spare car to run events across the country.


I’m grateful to have the friends I have known for 5, 10, 15, 20 + years but also to MeetUp for all the new ones I have made this year with whom I’ve had so much fun, frolics and shared new experiences.

Talking of social, each year I’m more grateful for the Twitterati. You know who you are

Of course I’m grateful for Urban, for the friendliness and particularly for opening a long awaited second coffee shop 10 minutes walk in the other direction from my house.

It’s been lovely to visit some new to me restaurants this year, the gorgeous Opus from which I have developed a serious risotto addiction, the friendly and value for money Syriana and of course the luxurious Purnells for the birthday dinner. I am indeed truly blessed.


The World Cup; I love World Cup years and I’m contented with Spain winning.

Pretty in Pink (the girlie stuff)

Grateful for India Knight for introducing me to the Babyliss hot brush. I had a hot brush years ago and was not impressed and have only thrown it out a couple of years ago but on her say so, I buy this new one. It’s the ceramic coating that makes 100% difference. I don’t compare washing my hair to the nightmare of being locked in a room with Cheryl Cole and/or Robbie Williams now. In fact, I quite look forward to ‘doing my hair’.

For my hairdresser of two decades (even when I was in New York) Franco Russo in Bedford for introducing me to the wonder product that is Argan oil; sounds horrid but is a dream. Between these two introductions, no more bad hair days


I’m truly grateful for another year on this fine planet and to celebrate by visiting another new city; Milan.


Birthday cards & flowers

Birthday cards & flowers



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