December 31st, 2014


Tonight of all nights, I need to focus on the good parts of a year I’ll be glad to see the back of and maybe positive thinking’s what’s needed.  There aren’t many things I loved about the year, but here’s my best attempt.


1)    Developing a pupil’s writing skill so much over the course of five mornings that he won the writing prize at school assembly on the Friday. I felt like his mother, i was that proud.

2)    Bologna. 9 days of escapism and sheer pleasure.  I felt like a different person for those 9 days and the only thing I didn’t like was the graffiti and the begging.  Found my favourite place on earth now from which to people watch and sip the most divine concoction on earth – Aperol Spritz.  Must also mention the wonderful town of Ferrara, meeting my publishing friends Toby, Abdul, Sam, Gwen and Gloria and the lovely smiley mini-bus driver at my hotel & the waiters who took good care of me. Climbing a very steep learning curve has never been so much fun and I went away and implemented everything I learnt.

3)    UKTI training – absolutely loved the SEO optimisation and LinkedIn courses and have implemented all of that in the business.

4)    London Book Fair – can’t say I necessarily ‘loved’ the rights selling seminar, as I was truly ill at the time, but again I learned so much.

5)    Partly helping a friend be nominated for a national award again by writing an entry form for her.  Hope she’ll scoop the prize.

6)    Afternoons spent translating the Befana Drama website materials and marketing collateral into Italian with my old teacher.  When I first went back to her, she told me she had Lymphoma and she was very ill, but very brave and breezy.  Those afternoons were joyous, as she threw herself into the translation and I felt uplifted every single time I came away and drove back from Fleetwood.  Seeing her get the all-clear and arranging her leaving party, to which I invited back friends I’d met in her class over the many years of study, was just wonderful.

7)    Dorset – heatwave, blue sea, beaches, coastal walks, Durdle Door, great house to live in … bliss. No wonder I tried to stay.

8)    Freelancing – have loved every minute of being in Manchester over the last few months and it’s spurred me on greatly.  Have felt stimulated and satisfied, even though very tired when getting home at night.  It’s so good to be recognised for the contribution you make.

9)    Meeting a true community hero and helping him get a long way down the road of realising his dream and vision.  The fact that it’s produced my favourite children’s book to date is just a bonus.  Hope he gets his funding very soon.  I’ve also managed to find myself some really lovely clients of late, so am incredibly lucky.

10) Frankfurt.  Hard work, but great to get an agent in Italy, stage a whole meeting in Italian (still so proud of myself), meet old friends and have a night out in Claudio’s restaurant that was sublime and so much fun.  Amazing what a time you can have on your own!  Also met a truly lovely children’s book scout from Italy, who I am still in touch with and who had manuscripts in her inbox!


That’s about it, other than to say that hearing my Nan tell my Dad that she thinks I work far harder than even she did was just amazing. I’ll never forget that.


We will not now be opening on January 2, due to changed circumstances, but I’m sure everyone will have had a wonderful time, if or when I catch up with them again.