Firstly, thank you so much to everyone who got in touch with me after I posted my blog ‘One For Sorrow’ last week. It had an incredible response, and one which I wasn’t expecting. The messages I’ve received about it from both friends and strangers have been very touching and really meant a lot.

On, now, to the good things of 2013.

I wrote. A lot.
In 2013 I wrote two novels (first drafts),one while working full time, the other later in the year. I also wrote a new feature screenplay, short stories, and a song or two.  The best thing about this is that I’m actually happy with what I’ve written, for the first time in a long time.

I spent time with people I loved
After my brother’s wedding my partner and I stayed near Fort William and had a relaxing, happy week with (some) sunshine, and a weekend glamping at Loch Tay later in the year. I went on a long weekend with friends and tried my hand at archery (amazing!) and had a few massages (also amazing). I caught up with old friends who I haven’t seen in years, I made new friends, and I spent lots of time with family.

I read some amazing books
The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness was the first book I can really remember reading after losing my sister, and it touched me very deeply. (Unfortunately I told Ness this at the Edinburgh Book Festival and proceeded to cry in the book signing queue, which was MORTIFYING but by no means the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done in front of an author.) I re-read Michael Palin’s Python Years Diaries, which were as uplifting and inspiring the second time around. I finally read and loved the astonishing The Crimson Petal and the White. I took some comfort and joy re-reading all the Witch books from the Discworld series, and really enjoyed Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.

I went to the Edinburgh Film Festival
I attended EIFF as a delegate, and had a blast. Made some new friends, watched a whole heap of fantastic new films, mingled quietly at parties, turned up on my own for a couple of red carpet events (fake it til you make it!) and generally had such a great time that afterwards I knew I had to write full time. Favourite film was Desert Runners by Jennifer Steinman.

I lost myself to music
I bought an album which was actually in the charts for the first time since who knows when (probably the nineties) – like everyone else of a certain age I listened to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories too much. Also fell a bit in love with ‘Crown on the Ground’ by Sleigh Bells, the Filth soundtrack by the always amazing Clint Mansell, and have listened to a massive amount of favourites from the Decemberists, Beatles, Nirvana and Grimes.

I decided to follow my dreams
By which I mean I quit my job to dedicate myself to writing. It’s been 3 months and I’ve not once looked back, even when it’s felt like a diet of baked beans and spaghetti was on the cards.

Hope you all had lots of positives from your 2013. Here are a few photos from mine.

Top: Rediscovering the joy of doughnuts. Not even kidding.


Holding an Oscar which isn’t mine but enjoying it all the same. 


Taking a solo hike (with a whisky) to reflect on things and think about the future up North.


Writing! Sparkly nail polish!


Glamping, darlings.


Archery. I was very bad at it, but it was great fun.


Looking for the Hogwarts Express at Glenfinnan Viaduct.


My brother, Dad and I went to the Dogs Trust in West Lothian. £2,500 was raised for Dogs Trust in memory of my sister.

2 thoughts on “Two For Joy

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