Sunday, 22 December 2013

2013: A Year of Change

About a year ago I wrote a round-up of 2012. Whenever I've read it since, it takes me right back there, to those moments, so I thought it might be nice to write a round up of 2013 too (apologies for the length!). It's been a year of ups and downs, of strong emotions and of meeting strangers who become friends. A year of change, but of feeling that everything this year has happened in order to be a foundation for the future.


When I left off, I was waiting to hear about whether I would be staying at my old firm upon qualification. As many of you will know from my angsty interview tweets, I didn't stay. It makes January a little tough, but I don't regret it. I still don't.

The first of my wedding dress fittings - slight anxiety about whether the dress will look how I want it to by May.


I finish my training contract and leave - to what, who knows?

A week's holiday in the sunshine of St Lucia - we climb the Gros Piton, but also spend plenty of time on the beach, reading - a new book courtesy of Any Other Woman's #AOWBookSwap and the lovely Lorna of The Lala Diaries who sends me "Life: An Unexploded Diagram" by Mal Peet. Well worth a read.


Interviews - some good, some less good. Nothing comes of any of them, although a firm in Bristol invites me to a second interview, which I end up turning down, and then angsting over whether I am doing the right thing.

We start finalising wedding details with various suppliers - it's all taking shape. Another dress fitting - starting to feel more positive about it now.


One month to our wedding and things are coming together. We meet our photographer for a wander round the local country park and some pre-wedding photos. It is a beautiful spring day and the daffodils are out in full force.

My hen party, a wonderful afternoon tea at the aptly named Chesterfield Hotel in Mayfair. They bring us extra sandwiches and scones and let me take home the few remaining cakes. This is followed by a night in watching films with my maid of honour, and then a spa day (my maid of honour has been busy!) so the two of us can have a proper catch up.

More interviews and rejections. Do I even want to be a lawyer any more? This is the happiest but also the most frustrating time.


Finishing all the details; spending a hilarious evening printing menus and orders of service, making sure we have enough that aren't offcentre/printed upside down/smudged. They look good.

Picking up the cheese. Picking up my dress and the suits. Picking up my mother. My maid of honour arriving. Sending Alan out for wine and snacks so us girls can paint our nails and watch countless episodes of Don't Tell the Bride.

Packing up the car and heading to our hotel and reception venue. Mini-smugness at bagging the bridal suite for two nights instead of one. Friends and family arriving. The 'doh' moment when my father rings from outside our house wondering why there's no-one there. A lovely evening meal with all the early arrivals; feeling a little emotional that all these people are here for us.

OUR WEDDING. The best day. I am beaming with joy just writing this.

A few days down in the Tamar Valley, just the two of us. We survive on cheese, cake, champagne and stories from the day. It rains. We don't care.

Picnic/drinks on Blackheath for my maid of honour's birthday. Relaxing in the chilly sunshine.


A party with the family-in-law as Alan's father celebrates a milestone birthday. I enjoy making the birthday cake and catching up from our wedding.

Time to enjoy summer in London - Pride and Prejudice in Regent's Park open air theatre. Magical fairy lights as night falls.

Race for Life with the ladies of Any Other Woman on one of the hottest days of the year (I don't run but provide cakes instead) - a chance to meet new friends, sit in the sunshine and eat burgers.
After so many hours of house viewings, we find one we love. We make an offer - it's accepted but we have to wait for them to find somewhere to move to. Fine. We're still excited beyond belief - no more house viewings! Hooray!

Interviews schminterviews. The one part of life that puts a dampener on things sometimes.


Interview; job offer, team lunch and first day in the office, all within a week. Panic - what to wear? Will I remember anything? It goes well and I'm enjoying getting back into the swing of things.

The house purchase is all quiet - but the house sale is going ahead so packing begins in earnest. Boxes, boxes, all around. We find somewhere to rent in the meantime.

A break in the form of afternoon tea for the two of us. There is a 'book of tea' to choose from - my kind of place!


We move house. The house purchase is quiet until the sellers suddenly say they may ask for more money. Alarm bells should have started ringing, but they are still quiet.

A wonderful weekend full of laughter,cider and a gazebo which nearly takes off in the wind, spent in the garden of my Aunt and Uncle with all my family, a rare chance to catch up with everyone.

A meeting for cake with some of the AOWettes. I'm glad these ladies are in my life.

Our anniversary weekend, spent wandering round Bath in the sunshine. Happy four years together!


My birthday and a frankly amazing 'Elmer the Elephant' birthday cake made by Alan. A lovely, quiet day with lots of cake.

We start the house viewings again. Fed up. Will we ever find another house we like?


Off to Birmingham for afternoon tea with some of the ladies (and adorable babies) of AOW, this time organised by Hollie of Tulips and Tea . A lovely relaxing afternoon with smart,funny ladies who I feel like I've known for years.

The email from the sellers (via the estate agent!) saying that they are no longer selling their house. Deflation. Tears. Now what? Do we go for the house we saw which was nice enough but which we'd want to sell in three or so years and which definitely isn't our forever house. Do we want to stay in London? We're not so sure anymore, it suddenly seems like the city is no longer for us. But where else?

A chance viewing of a couple of houses in Bishop's Stortford. We like one a lot, and arrange a second viewing. We love it. We make an offer. It's accepted. They want to complete before Christmas, but is this possible. Have we been here before? Trying not to get too excited.

Alan picks up some horrible lung infection/cold/unknown virus thing, and cannot stop coughing. It's heartwrenching to see him not being well. Lots of hugs and lemsip.


New Zealand, our honeymoon. A fortnight of amazing. A fortnight of us together, cruising the roads surrounded by mountains, rivers, volcanoes and vineyards. A fortnight of knowing more than ever that I have the best husband. Sorry. It's true. I got him.

The house purchase is steaming ahead. Can we feel hopeful yet?

Alan's birthday - a weekend of curry and the Science Museum to celebrate. Solar system birthday cake.


Decorating the tree and making gingerbread biscuits - beginnning to feel Christmassy, but not quite settled and it doesn't always feel quite as festive as it should. An evening catching up with friends over mulled wine brings more festive cheer.

A reminder that strangers can become friends, even when you first meet them online - beautifully thoughtful gifts received via #ODSS13 (organised by Olive Dragonfly) and lots of heartwarming blog posts, photos and tweets from people participating in #ShareAdvent (organised by Skin and Blister Blog, who incidentally is also my Secret Santa and has sent me such a thoughtful cake-related gift!).

A stressful couple of days as the sellers are still packing on the day we are supposed to complete but finally, the house is ours, we have the keys and we own our first home together. The more time we spend there, the more we love it. We will be moving to our forever house at the beginning of 2014, and I can't wait.

A wonderful Christmas to you all - and here's to 2014.


  1. Amazing year of highs and lows- so glad you have your house for Christmas! x

    1. It's been a special year! I'd like fewer emotional ups and downs in 2014 please.

  2. So glad you have your home for Christmas!

    1. I think the whole of twitterland is glad, I can stop ranting about house-buying dramas now!