Review of 2014

Published on Wednesday 31st December 2014 by DJ Kirkby

Last year Caroline Smailes wrote on her blog: “I have a jar, it sits on my desk. When a small moment makes me smile, I write it down on a piece of paper. I’ve managed to do this all year. I’ve written down every single moment of happy, I’ve folded each into a tight secret and then dropped it into my jar. These are moments that I’d have forgotten, they are moments that would have been swallowed up by the negatives, by the stresses of life.”

I liked the idea so much I decided to do it too, and here are some highlights from my jar of happiness.


I gained back the rights to My Dream of You and Without Alice from the original publisher, updated the covers and self published them in Kindle and paperback. Huge thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed them!


My Mini Midwife was published by Vie Books (an imprint of Summersdale). Prima Baby & Pregnancy magazine said:“We love it – its an absolute must-have book!”


I won a rather marvellous Heston Blumenthal tea maker kettle which is an absolute must have for someone like me who gets up at dark o’ clock every morning to write before going to work.


My Grammie Kirkby posted me a pair of super soft sock she had knit for me. She turned 92 this year, and she is a Skype-ing, FaceTime-ing, emailing pro, and basically an all kinds of awesome person!


I received several picture books from Maverick to use in my role as Patron of Reading.


June seems to have been a wallflower of a month. Poor little June….


I took some children (from a school where I was a Patron of Reading at the time) on a public library takeover. You can read the newspaper article by clicking here and there are more photos on my children’s website.


We had an amazing staycation in southern England where we enjoyed hot weather, expeditions to castles, sandy beaches, Goodwood, swam in the ocean for hours, ate picnics and went out for delectable seafood, flew across the Solent on a  hovercraft and so much more.


I was hired as the Patron of Reading for Newbridge Junior School, cut the ribbon on their new library (newspaper article here and more photos here),  and set them the Reading Rocs challenge.


Was hired as the author for two events at the 60 Plus Festival – Growing Old (dis)Gracefully and Tweets, Tumbles, Hangouts and More – both of which were well attended, and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.


I was hired as the Patron of Reading at a second school – Copnor Primary – and sent them off on a Global Reading Adventure.

An agent for children’s books has said she would like to read Hoardland – the 4th in my Portal Series – once I have finished writing it.


My dream of starting a weekly timed run for children became a reality when I identified a source of funding to start Eastney junior parkrun.  My time as the Event Director, the time of the Run Directors and all the other support people is given entirely on an unpaid volunteer basis. Because, the health and wellbeing of children are worth it!

And speaking of running, I have done a lot of running too. The two running highlights of my year are:

1. Placing 12th out of 22 cross country teams and the top placed Triathlete club made running through the ankle deep mud worthwhile (almost). Here we are post race looking very muddy indeed!

Tri team post 4th XC race         2. Signing up to take part in a duathlon in March 2015 which Autism Hampshire as my chosen charity. Autism plays a huge part in our family life and it will be nice to be able to give something back to Autism Hampshire. My husband raised £1000 pounds for our local autism support network so I am hoping to do the same! My publisher Summersdale is showing their support in various ways which is hugely appreciated, and if you would like to contribute to my fundraising then anything you can offer (no matter who small) will help me cross the finish line with a smile on my face. You can get to my fundraising page by clicking here.

It has been a wonderful year, thank you all for being a part of it, and I wish you much happiness in 2015.


3 comments so far

  • Wow. What a great way to keep track now that the years whip by so fast, although my jar would be full of unreadable scribbles–have to type.

    Congratulations on the teasmade. I heard an article on Woman’s Hour about the revival of interest in teasmades which made me nostalgic for my own. So I hunted one down and was just about to order it [at vast expense, to say nothing of the postage] before I realized the the plugs were not compatible.

    Ah well, maybe in another of couple of decades I’ll manage to corrupt my fellow Americans into coming back to the dark side. If only they could forget the Boston Tea Party : )

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