This time last year, I was waking up at home after a long night spent in A&E. A cyst on my left ovary had ruptured and I’d nearly passed out from the pain, the like of which I’d never experienced. A few weeks later, still recovering, still feeling fragile, I wrote the following:

‘Lying in bed over the last couple of days has given me plenty of time to think. I scribbled down a quote in my planner recently. I can’t remember where I heard it, but I know the speaker was talking about what they’d learned from living through a pandemic. ‘We need to build and develop our resilience to routine disruptions,’ they said. ‘It’s what we do next that counts.’

In the end, 2022 turned out to be a year defined by disruption. Three more ruptured cysts and a long {ongoing} wait for a referral. Covid for Izzy and Carl in the spring, me in the autumn and Jesse just before Christmas. And then there were other health issues that aren’t mine to share. While the summer months and my planned sabbatical were an obvious highlight, this dreamy, unforgettable season of life was sandwiched between huge challenges and a near constant state of worry behind the scenes. By the time I activated my ‘out of office’ email in the middle of December, I was exhausted and in need of a break.

Thankfully, Christmas was gentle and joyful. We welcomed 2023 with good friends, good food and far too many cocktails. Here I am now, a few days later, back at my desk, ready to face another year and continue putting one word after another.

Sydney Opera House


Looking Back…

My biggest wish at the beginning of last year was for Australia to reopen its borders so we could finally visit my {at the time, heavily pregnant} sister again. My wish came true. In July, I took six weeks off work and made the long journey to Sydney to meet my new niece, Mila Frances. Carl and the children joined me and my parents a few weeks later and together we had the most amazing time. It was a summer/Australian winter I’ll never forget.

The various disruptions mentioned above meant we were forced to cancel a lot of plans in 2022. There were some trips to London that never happened and a childfree minibreak in Norway that fell apart right at the last minute. The good news is we made it to Wales for our wedding anniversary in January and had an amazing time visiting the Holy Island of Lindesfarne in Northumberland with my parents in May.

Somehow, I celebrated ten years in business. In hindsight, I wish I’d marked this important milestone with a little more fanfare. I worked on some great projects last year, writing copy for seven websites and more blog posts and marketing emails than I can count. I created a lot of content for my own audience too, writing regularly both here on the blog and to my mailing list. Charlie and I relaunched Friends With Business Benefits and we’ve been releasing fortnightly episodes ever since. We were also guests on Liz Mosley’s excellent podcast, Building Your Brand.

Unlike previous years, I didn’t have the capacity for much more beyond this. There were no workshops, no elaborate launches and no passion projects. I spent a lot of 2022 surviving – doing just enough to get by while chaos swirled around me.

Izzy kayaking below Sydney Harbour Bridge




Family life continued to shift and change. Jesse became a fully-fledged teenager and Izzy ended the year applying for degree courses at a number of drama schools. We’ll be celebrating her 18th birthday later this month. I know, I can’t believe it either!

After picking up a new hobby towards the end of 2021, creative play became an even bigger part of my life last year. In many ways, it sustained me. I am now well and truly in my ‘craft era’ and enjoying every second! I spend all my money on supplies and most of my spare time playing with paper. I collect stickers, I make mail art and I always have a project on the go. In 2023, I want to keep trying new things, learning new skills and having fun.

Franky's reflection in frosty car wing mirror


Looking Forward…

As I’ve said many times over the years, I don’t consider January the best time to overhaul my life. Nature is still hibernating, the days are short and the weather is generally miserable. Rather than reinvention or restriction, I crave calm, routine, rest and sleep.

That said, this January, I find myself eager to embrace the fresh start feeling of a new calendar year. I’m not ready to set ambitious goals or make any big changes, but I am dreaming and planning. Softly, softly. Gentle does it. By the time spring arrives, maybe I’ll have planted some seeds. Maybe they’ll be ready to bloom.

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.

I hope travel and adventure will feature heavily this year. I’m turning 40 in August and I can’t wait to celebrate the beginning of another decade. There’s talk of a trip to New York!

‘I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.’ – Brené Brown

My word for the year ahead is ‘connection’ and I’m feeling very inspired by Brené Brown’s work in this area. ‘Connection is why we’re here,’ she says. ‘It is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.’ I want to nurture and deepen existing connections and create some new ones. I’m also interested in connecting with myself, being authentic and embracing the things that light me up.

How about you? What are your hopes and dreams for 2023?

Love Audrey xxx

P.S. Can you believe I’ve been sharing a version of this post every January for more than a decade?

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