2016: The Review

This review is becoming something of a yearly tradition….you can find the reviews for 2007200820092010 , 2011201220132014 and 2015 by clicking through. It’s always nice to take stock at the end of a year and see what’s happened over the last 12 months.

Throughout the post I’ve added pictures (in no particular order) of a year well spent. Good heavens there are lots of pictures, but I’m so happy I have them – this year has been a precious one in so many ways, and these pictures are just a few that show how lucky I’ve been to walk through a busy, happy year with some fabulous folk! Kicking off with one of my favourite selfies – it’s rare I like my face in pictures so I decided to include it 🙂

I spent several happy days exploring the Christmas lights in town

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

It’s been a year full of new things – from travelling to new spots like New York & Boston, to my first bits of paid freelance writing, to interning, to becoming a godmother, it’s been quite an unusual year!

Whether it’s supping beer at the GBBF or flying first class to New York together, I’m so grateful to spend time with Matthew 🙂

Shona and I have been to so many gigs together this year! Love my gig-and-theatre buddy!

 2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make any for 2016 – as it was already a strange year I decided to give myself a little grace! I do have some resolutions for next year; details to follow soon!

Going to see the Blue Jays in Toronto was such fun! We love our hats.

Silent Disco at the Royal Albert Hall was hilarious!

Exploring Boston was such fun – the harbour was stunning on a warm and clear September day

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yep! We live in a world full of cuties 🙂

I’ve loved having so much time with the cats this year – they are such cuties!

It’s also been great fun turning my love of reading into becoming something of a book blogger. Often with ‘help’ from the cats…

(I have retired question 4)

5. What countries did you visit?

The Netherlands, Luxembourg, the USA and Canada.

Blog events have been a constant in my diary this year. Bubbles and good company always welcome – don’t you just love Milly’s hair here?

The Beacon Hill area of Boston gave me such house-envy, in a glorious way!

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

A more solid routine! I’m looking forward to getting back to a well-planned structure.


7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

No day stands out, but there are many pleasant memories in the old noodle.

Time to visit friends and family further afield is always a joy

Always time for wine!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting a new job I’m excited about, making some big decisions, reaching a lovely spot with my blogging and writing.

I love Katy’s grin 🙂

9. What was your biggest failure?

Being a little too self-critical for a good few months. I swear, if anyone spoke to my friends the way I speak to myself sometimes I’d be horrified.

Erica in reportage mode 🙂

Attending more book events has been such fun, and is something I’d like to do even more of in 2017. Zarina invited me along to this entertaining and informative YA event at Foyles.

When your hair looks good, you’re on a plane, and you have champagne? Take that picture, baby!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

The usual occasional cold or tummy bug. Nothing more serious.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My new camera. Stationery and books. Beautiful things for our home. Gifts for lovely people. Tickets for gigs.

This candid shot of Charlie makes me smile!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

So many people. I’m constantly inspired by so many people I get to do life with.

Ascot with the family in July – always fun to connect and spend time together!

Blogging always offers up a wealth of experiences – here Charlie, Katy and I are explroing a cruise ship!

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

I don’t think I get to make that call.  We’re all walking a hard road at times, right?

14. Where did most of your money go?

Travel, gifts and stationery.

I cannot take the cute/silly.

So lucky to have so many lovely friends in the blogosphere. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many talented, supportive and inspiring writers, photographers and creators. There are a good couple of dozen bloggers I’m lucky enough to call friends now, and they bring so much to my world. Thankful.

The first get-together of Pizza Club – excited for more dough based silliness in 2017! 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Books. Theatre. Travel. Writing. New job!

Cute bloggers in a cute teashop? Yes please.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

‘Cheap Thrills’ by Sia ft. Sean Paul. It’s been everywhere this year, including our fun times in the States and Canada! My full ‘best of’ 2016 playlist can be found on Spotify.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?

Happier. Same size-ish (post-Christmas squishiness ahoy). A little poorer.

Loved taking Matthew to Aberdeen to explore – the building above is where the Film Department was based during my undergrad. The chapel below is where I used to sing and worship – such a beautiful building.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reading, writing, time with friends, singing, travelling, dancing – I did plenty of all of these, but there’s always room for more.

Some of the best events have been restaurant reviews with good company. What a pleasant way to spend some time!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying, wasting time, spending time and energy on bad situations/people who aren’t good for me.

Getting to see my darling Christy in Toronto was such a treat! Considering we live on opposite sides of the Atlantic, we’re pretty good at seeing each other at least once a year or so.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

At home with Matthew and the cats. It was a gorgeous time of chilling, good food, long chats and big sleeps. Such a treat to have Matthew home for the whole four days.

Having Ems to stay in the middle of the year was heaven – so much chatting and catching up!

I’ve got to know Emma better this year, and she’s an utter treasure! Plus the girl can rock a headress, no?

21. Did you meet anyone special in 2016?

Yes! One of the best surprises of thirtysomething life is the fact that you keep meeting awesome people as you grow up. I think TV and movies can conspire to convince us otherwise, but I meet so many fab people each year.

22. What was your favourite TV program?

I’ve enjoyed Scandal, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Nashville, GBBO and The Apprentice. Netflix has also been great fun – I’ve watched lots of The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I’m a firm believer in the fact that holding onto hate only harms you, the person doing the hating. I don’t hate anyone, and when I do differ with people I try to move on swiftly to a space of forgiveness and calm – this is a lot easier in some situations than others!

Love hanging out with blogger pals.

Katy invited me along to this event and we both turned up wearing stripy outfits! Way to be on brand…

It’s always such fun to chat and catch up with other bloggers – Katy, Laura and the rest of our table at this dinner were an utter riot!

24. What was the best book you read?

Always a tough question to answer! I think my top three would by Swing Time, by Zadie Smith; A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart; and The Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes.

Our second stay at the Aria in two years was bliss – from gorgeous views (above) to a gorgeous suite (below) it was fun, fun, fun. 

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Probably Rae Sremmurd – those boys can write! Love their music. I’ve also got more and more into country music and have loved discovering new artists like Maren Morris and Sturgill Simpson, as well as enjoying triumphant albums by the likes of Brandy Clark and The Shires.

A quick jaunt to Luxembourg was a springtime treat!

 26. What did you want and get?

So many things – lovely opportunities, good times and pretty things.

I’ll never not enjoy cocktails overlooking the Bellagio fountains and Las Vegas’ Eiffel Tower

27. What did you want and not get?

A few things which I can now see just weren’t the plan for me.

Love a good limo selfie (we only ever get limos in Vegas!)

The Christmas in July events this year were such fun – it was the first year I’d taken part. Loved going to the M&S one with Jaye and Natasha, and the Waitrose one with Miss Pond, as well as attending several others solo.

Lou and I have been going to see Sammy J for years together – so catching him at his one date in London was awesome.

28. What was your favourite film of this year?

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – mainly because of how it surprised me. I was delighted by the fun of the film!

Suh cute.

Getting to bake under the eye of a GBBO finalist was surreal, but fun!

Loved getting to meet the Happy Pear lovelies at this Penguin event.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 36, and we had our Christmas drinks, so I got to sip wine and hang out with some of my favourite folk.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Nothing, really. I’m sure I could break out a list, but the end of this year finds me happy, healthy and focused – what more do I really need?

Cream tea while cruising on the Thames on a sunny day? Perfection.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?


There’s always time for brunch!

Enjoyed cocktails on the roof at Selfridges with the lovely Angie and Emma – looking forward to seeing them both again soon in the new year!

32. What kept you sane?

Books, coffee, cats, and good friends.

Kelly is such a cutie, no? I’ve loved getting into her blog this year – her US trip was AMAZING.

(I’ve retired question 33 too!)

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The need for more kindness, consideration and intelligence in our politics.

I think in 2017 and beyond we’ll all be required to be more active and involved in politics and our communities, if only to ensure that all voices are heard. For the most part I’m a political moderate (centrist as can be, baby) and for large portions of last year I felt that the louder voices of the more extreme elements of the political spectrum drowned out a lot of sensible, open discourse.

I hope next year we see a move towards a more engaged and level-headed era of politics, although with some of the fallout from 2016 that’s going to be very hard to manage. I’m hoping that good, strong, intelligent politicians can find a space to shine.

Natasha is so cute!

Charlie looks like she needs her own cookery show!

35. Who was the best new person you met?

So many, you guys.

Katy & Helen at a fun Habitat event.

Vixie and I being very, very silly.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Be kind.

I already knew this, but 2016 has revealed this to me in ever more depth.

Another month, another gig selfie with Shona <3 i="">

Blurry wonderful.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

The fact that it was a toss up between this ode to kindness and humility and the searing political anger of ‘We The People…’ by A Tribe Called Quest says an awful lot about the rollercoaster of this year! But ultimately the chorus of Tim McGraw’s ‘Humble and Kind’ takes it:

“Hold the door, say please, say thank you,
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie,
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind.
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you,
When the work you put in is realised,
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind.”

As well as the US, Canada, and Luxembourg, we also had a lovely few days in Amsterdam. Looking forward to travelling lots in 2017!


  1. Katy English
    28th December 2016 / 12:26 pm

    So many feels <3 I looooove this post Claire!! xx

  2. Angie Silver
    28th December 2016 / 4:53 pm

    What a fab year!!

  3. Christielli
    30th December 2016 / 4:35 am

    I love this post, the smiling faces of you, Matthew, and all of your friends, and how many photos of Toronto made the cut.I think that the your Jays hats are the best part no doubt.#the6ix#ourmoment#BlueJaysforever

  4. captaincharley.net
    30th December 2016 / 12:12 pm

    So happy to have been a little part of your fantastic year 🙂 x

  5. Connie Consumes
    12th January 2017 / 4:06 pm

    So many smiles! And YES your hair did look amazing in that photo and you did have champagne on a place, so why the heck not?! See you for pizza soon xx

  6. Tanja Db
    18th January 2017 / 10:03 am

    great recap!

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