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


Gratitude: October

I’m grateful for seeing the season change during my favourite month

I’m grateful for celebrating yet another year of this wonderful life

I’m grateful for having my birthday dinner in Purnells  which if memory serves me right, is only the second Michelin starred restaurant I’ve eaten in

I’m grateful to share my birthday with many of my new Birmingham friends mixed with a couple of old ones

I’m mightily grateful to add yet another travel adventure to the many I have already experienced. A break in Milan was also just what I needed to refresh mind, body and soul.

Gratitude – August

Wow, it’s a hard month to be grateful but alas, there is always something:

  •  5 days in Glasgow for book writing & getting to 32000 word target
  • Meeting the lovely & talented Marsha Moore
  • Having a light work month so more time for writing
  • Match of the Day is back!

Gratitude List – May 10

  • First on the list; I’ve now been in my lovely new job for 3 months
  • I’m grateful for the successful roll-out of the Believe programme including having novices experience event organising at our own Fundraiser. I’m grateful it all went pretty smoothly and hopefull we’ll find some jobs for the long-term unemployed (the point of the programme)
  • The book I’m writing is now up to 13,817 words
  • I’ve been to Glasgow for the first time (see book writing)
  • I’m grateful for the encouragement of writers, ones I don’t even know especially @marshawrites
  • My crush tally has gone up to three. I feel I’ll be back in the dating game soon

Gratitude – April 2010

Project – my first project with Springboard was a bigger challenge than anyone expected and in different ways. Thankfully it launched and I’m 70% through training the group.

I’m also grateful to the staff of the Y Centre, the community centre where I am training a group of long term/disadvantaged unemployed. Not only is finding the building a stroke of luck, but the staff are unbelievably lovely.

All this made me even more grateful for a long weekend to Edinburgh. After all these years of transatlantic holidays, I finally jump on a train for the five hours to Scotland. Admittedly I can get to New York in six but that’s after the journey to the airport and the three hours waiting at both ends not to mention baggage reclaim and delays. This little trip meant walking 15 minutes to the train station, jumping on a train, seeing the also undiscovered north east of England and jumping off 5 hours later, having written 700 words and straight into the Edinburgh sunshine for the two minute walk to the hotel. It was glorious.

Book The point of disappearing for a long weekend was to start on the long awaited – by me, anyway – book. The target 5000 words duly achieved against a magnificent backdrop of discovering yet another city on this fine planet.

There’s also one more thing; I’m grateful for a little crush I have developed. There is nothing to tell, I am blissfully ignorant of his situation and not looking for anything to happen. I’m just grateful to have my mind taken off the ex-BF. At least for some of the time.

Gratitude List – December 2009

Thankfully it’s over and I’ve survived.

Yes there were some good bits in 2009, three of the months were spent in New York after all. I attended writing school, wrote almost daily, made some New Yorker friends and got to know the BF. Other than that, I never want to relive any of it.

Not one normally for wishing my life away as I treasure every minute, this month I’m mostly grateful that the year is over and 2010 has started. The only way now is most certainly up and I can’t wait to get going.

However, albeit very different this year and hardly recognisable, Christmas is still my favourite time of the year. Christmas day is just part of the festive period; the days leading up to it are much more special to me and always have been. For the last four years, I have celebrated the big event 3300 miles away in New York after all.

This Christmas, I spent 8 gorgeous days with the BF in snowy and festive Montreal so I’m most grateful for that.

Finally, I’m extremely grateful to all of you who have read and especially those that have commented on this blog over the last few months. And those of you that will in 2010!

Wishing you a fantastic new year with 365 wonderful days to come x

Follow my updates on Twitter in 2010