2010: A Year of Fireworks

I don't write as much as I used to. I don't remember as much as I used to.

As the wonderful Field Notes notebooks remind me:

I’m not writing it down to remember it later. I’m writing it down to remember it now.

2010 was an epic year for me, for many reasons and while on one hand it's a good thing that I lived it so thoroughly rather than stepping back and being an observer, I don't want to forget it either, so inspired by the incomparable Jon Tan, and with a little nod to the "Agile" world in which I work, I'm writing my retrospective.


2010 began with Fireworks, setting, though I didn't realise it at the time, the theme of the year. After many, many years of watching them on television, I finally saw the London New Year fireworks in person (despite having lived here for more than eight years), courtesy of the Royal Festival Hall's New Year Party.

However, Pirates, Ceilidh-dancing, Fireworks and Bellinis all too quickly gave way to Airports and International Travel as I jetted off to Singapore for the second time in a month on the 2nd of January.


I've travelled for work a bit before, but never so far, or in such relative luxury, so the experience was quite the culture shock. As if the travel culture shock and jet lag wasn't enough, I then spent a week 31 floors above Singapore in one of the noisiest working environments I can imagine - the trading floor of a major international investment bank. I left there every day with a blinding headache from all the noise, and at the end of the week with a much better understanding of the needs of the people it's now my job to design applications for.

Zoom Zoom

Eggs Benedict

Sunset over the Marina

On a personal level, I got geekily over-excited about staying at the Fullerton Hotel, which sits on one of the most exciting parts of the Singapore Formula 1 race-track, ate amazing food (seriously, didn't have a crappy meal the whole time I was there), saw some stunning cityscapes and took lots of photos.

Starburst Gradient

Commuter Cloche

Two weeks later, another bank, a crocheted hat and January gave way to…



February started well. I was on a high from the successful end of the Singapore assignment at work and learning to use my new Sewing Machine with a cushion-making class at The Make Lounge.

Sweets with my Sweet

Valentine's Day was spent with my fiance and a Champagne Tea at Liberty (a new tradition) and all was well.

Then work got a bit more complicated and stressful and my third attempt to do a 365 Photo Project came abruptly to a halt a mere 46 days into the year.


Wearing The Ring

The beginning of March is probably best forgotten, though I've learned a lot from what went wrong in those two weeks. It picked up mid-month when we visited the incredibly talented Chris Parry to collect the engagement ring we commissioned for me from him.

K Knitting

It ended fairly quietly, with some gentle knitting with friends, and a trip to North Devon to spend Easter with my soon to be in-laws.


Bristol Planetarium

April was a pretty eventful month. A couple of days after Easter I was admitted to hospital to have my gallbladder removed. It had been giving me problems for a while and had (I realise now) packed up completely a few weeks earlier, so it was good to get rid of it when I did, even if the timing was a bit off, coming, as it did, a week before the Big Scary Gathering of The Families, where our combined families all met for the first time.

It was quite a momentous weekend for other reasons though. Thanks to the lovely Laura Francis, who dragged me to Collage Green Bridal, I found my wedding dress. I've never been a super girlie-girl, but the second I put that dress on, I knew it was The One. An unexpectedly emotional moment.

We spent the weekend as a combined family, getting to know each other and viewing wedding venues and the business of organising our wedding began to get underway properly.

The rest of the month was spent recovering from my surgery and easing back into work.


UX London

In May, still recovering from surgery, I started a new long-term assignment at work and went to UX London and took my first, faltering, sketchnoting steps.

I whooshed past my six-month anniversary at work and began down the road of really trying to make UX work in a large, agile project, in a domain where I had no previous knowledge or expertise, so things were a bit quiet as I tried to get my head around all the new stuff I suddenly needed to know.

Shiny Red Bicycle of Awesome

I did manage to get myself a shiny new Bicycle though.

K's birthday at the end of the month brought some new excitement as we headed into…


BMW Alpina B3S Convertible

K took delivery of his dream car, a BMW Alpina B3S Convertible, bought from a friend and ex-colleague a mere hour before midnight on his birthday and so began the summer of headscarves and remembering to put sunscreen on before getting in the car.

Wedding planning continued apace, and I scared myself silly on the company summer outing to Go Ape. I'm really not good with heights.

I got an iPad and amazed myself at how awesome technology is now, by watching the European Grand Prix Qualifying Session on the iPad, via 3G while sitting in the passenger seat of the car, en-route to stay with a friend for the weekend.

Sketchnotes about sketchnoting

The month ended with some improved sketchnoting at a London IA meeting and a trip to Macclesfield.


East London from Above

July was Working, Wedding Planning and Weekends with Friends.

It rained a bit, and I got up the confidence to start cycling to work.


On the Thames Path

Shadwell Basin

By August, the toll of Working and Wedding Planning was beginning to tell, but the cycling was getting easier, and I started to really enjoy it.

Attending a friend's wedding mid-month made our own impending wedding seem so much more real and was a really lovely event, especially seeing the parade of hangovers the next day.

Wedding Invitations

After much dithering about the design, the Wedding invitations went out, and the Fireworks made a re-appearance.

The end of the month saw us in Crete, for a desperately needed holiday. Unfortunately, Murphy's Law of not taking holidays kicked in and I spent most of it in bed with a flu type illness which was so bad I wasn't even well enough to celebrate my birthday.


is in a room with a VIEW  on Twitpic

September saw us take a trip Up North to spend one of our last precious weekends before the wedding with friends and pretty much directly led to the purchase of a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes for the wedding.

I got my make-up done professionally for the first time and came out of the shop significantly lighter in the wallet than I went in, but looking the best I think I've ever looked. What a revelation.

A meeting at the end of the month reminded me how awesomely cool some of the views in Canary Wharf can be, and how lucky I've been to be able to see them.


Rush hour on the Wharf

October started with a mad rush to Bristol to finalise the details for the wedding. I went back to the dress shop to get my dress fitted and fell in love with it all over again.

Slightly squashed sanity



I discovered Instagram and the month flew by in a blur of Work, Emergency Cake and Weddings (the planning of ours and the attending of a Uni Friend of K's), ending in a trip to Bristol for the final dress fitting and wedding hairdo trial, via a Zombie attack.

The amazing Mike and Christine arrived from Houston, Texas to photograph the wedding (and stop me from going batshit mental in the week before the wedding).


she read to him

I managed not to freak out (too much) getting all the bits and pieces together to take to Bristol for the wedding and at 5pm on the 5th of November - Guy Fawkes Night - I married the love of my life in a candle-lit ceremony in Byzantium Restaurant in Bristol surrounded by family and friends.


Later, the fireworks made another appearance as we cut the cake.

Photos by R

The party went long into the night (and for some, into the next morning) and we staggered back to work a few days later a bit giddy with the excitement of it all.


The tail end of the month saw work kick back in big style with the first public release of the software I've been working on and me doing a workshop on Agile UX at the UX People conference, which started off rockily but improved exponentially as the day went on and which inspired me to get out and do more next year.


Party Frock and Wellies


Bucks Fizz and Presents

December began with snow and party frocks and wellies, continued with more snow, another public release of our software at work and slowed down for a quiet family Christmas with the in-laws.

As I write this, my husband is packing the car and we're about to head off to spend the New Year with friends.

It's been an amazing year and these are only a fraction of the memories that I'll be taking forwards into 2011.

Have a fabulous New Year.

See you on the other side.