I’ve been writing a version of this post every January since 2010. There have been highs and lows, years filled with countless happy memories and some peppered with pain and heartache.

But none of them have been anything like 2020.

In many ways, there’s not much to document. Trips and adventures were postponed, there were no family gatherings or big events, and we spent minimal time with friends and loved ones. Along with the rest of the world, we stayed home.

At the same time, there’s so much I want to remember. Even in lockdown, life, with its many twists and turns, continued apace.

Children in pyjamas and dressing gowns take a video call curled up on the sofa

Looking back…

Long before any of us had heard of Coronavirus, 2020 had a rocky start. In January, my mum underwent surgery for breast cancer. Given how much time we’ve spent apart since, I’m glad I was with her at the hospital and in the days that followed. The good news is she recovered from her op and made it through radiotherapy a few months later. Since then, she’s been back at work, nursing through a pandemic and being generally amazing. My Bonus Dad’s journey with cancer has been a little more complex, but he’s due to start chemo shortly.

For obvious reasons, it was a challenging year workwise. Many of my clients are from the wedding and events industry, a sector decimated by the pandemic and woefully unsupported by our government. While their livelihoods have been hanging in the balance, mine has felt precarious too. Projects were cancelled, paused and postponed and at one point enquiries hit an all-time low. The work that remained was completed around home schooling two children, a task Carl and I shared while he also fought to keep his business afloat.

At first, I didn’t know how things would play out. Thankfully, the situation improved as the year progressed and I ended up working on some incredible projects. Despite the stressful circumstances, I believe I produced some of the best copy of my career so far. I’ll always be grateful to the clients who stuck with me in 2020, the colleagues who recommended my services, and the people who cheered me on.

Kirsten and I were obviously unable to host The Wedding Sessions last year. Cancelling our spring workshop was a real low point, so I was delighted when I was asked to deliver a couple of online workshops for Val Mattinson Coaching and Sarah D Rees. Buoyed by the success of these sessions, I finally created and launched something for my own community. Hosting ‘Why Good Copy Is Key {and How to Write It}’ at the beginning of August was my proudest achievement of 2020.

In December, Charlie and I celebrated two years of podcasting. Episodes were a little sporadic during lockdown, but Season 4 is going well. We even managed to record our annual reflections and intentions outside, sitting on a park bench, two metres apart.

As well as co-hosting Friends With Business Benefits, I was invited to appear on two other podcasts last year, Bodycons and The Co-Working Club, both of which should be added to your regular rotation.

Child with headphones on gaming

Two children paiting outside while laundry dries nearby

Children playing outside

Children reading books on the sofa

It’s difficult to distil everything the children went through, coped with and achieved in 2020 into a few short sentences. Due to the severity of Jesse’s asthma, we spent five months shielding as a family. We cooked and baked, played games, read books, clapped for carers and gave online learning our best shot. We found quiet outdoor places where Jesse could venture safely and we watched an awful lot of Disney+.

Away from the children’s gaze, I spent a lot of time feeling helpless, anxious and worried. None of the parenting books I’ve read offered any advice on supporting your children through a pandemic! My instincts told me to focus on the basics and control the things I could. I cooked nourishing meals. We went for long walks. Creativity and play were our top priority. I looked after myself so I could look after them.

When moods dipped and the children’s mental health suffered, I tried to be their safe place. Someone with whom they could share their most overwhelming emotions and feel their biggest feelings. I spent many evenings in bed with a large child curled beside me, listening as their panicked thoughts unfurled. Hugging, holding, comforting and reassuring, whether I had the solution to their problem or not. I was {I am} by no means a perfect pandemic parent, but I know I did my best. I’m sure you did too.

Man in high-vis workwear on a large boat

Two children laughing and hugging on a garden bench

Two children sitting on grass in the distance surrounded by trees

During the summer, Carl spent six weeks filming for Greenpeace aboard the Esperanza. To be honest, my memories of this period are a blur. We did manage to escape to my parents’ house in Dorset for a short holiday. Dodging crowds and avoiding beaches made for a very different trip, but it’s one I’ll always hold dear. The children spent hours playing in the nearby river and we even managed a meal out. For a brief moment, life felt almost normal.

In September, the children finally returned to education with Jesse starting secondary school and Izzy moving into Year 11. Despite changes to the school day and many unfamiliar experiences, reuniting with friends and getting back into the classroom has been transformative. Having struggled so much during lockdown, Jesse has settled well and appears to be thriving academically.

Izzy is busy preparing for her GCSEs in the summer. Whether or not exams will go ahead remains to be seen, but I’m incredibly proud of all her hard work so far. In December, having attended two gruelling auditions, she was offered a post-16 place at Bristol School of Acting. Watching her realise what has been a lifelong dream is something I’ll never forget.

Mother and children Stoke Park Estate Bristol

Looking forward…

‘Although January can be a useful jumping off point for change, I’m not convinced it’s the best time to overhaul my life. In winter, I crave calm, rest, and sleep. I think I’ll leave the goal setting till spring, when my energy starts to shift as much as the earth’s.’ – Hello 2019

Quoting myself makes me cringe, but these words feel particularly relevant this year. We are still in the midst of a pandemic. I have some loose plans for the month ahead, but we’re back to home schooling again. While the future feels uncertain and everyday activities require a detailed risk assessment, I’m reminding myself that survival is enough. My big dreams will still be there when things calm down.

In the meantime, and throughout the rest of the year, I plan to maintain the small, daily habits that make a big difference to my overall health and wellbeing. Primarily, reading, writing and resting when I need to.



  1. hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, especially as a sign of affection.
    Similar: hug
  2. accept (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically

My word for the year ahead is ’embrace’. Both of its two meanings feel relevant. I want to hold myself gently and kindly as I navigate whatever’s coming next. I want to embrace change, opportunities and new ideas, follow my curiosity and pursue things that light me up. I also want to hug people, especially my mum. Wouldn’t that be nice?

How about you? What are your hopes and dreams for 2021?

Love Audrey xxx

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