Annual General Review: 2011

04 Jan

2011 was a roller coaster. It began with a freezing cold jump into the Firth of Forth and ended with my 30th birthday. In between I published my first book, wrote and presented a CBeebies pilot, appeared in a fringe show, performed at my first book festival, won a couple of awards and near the end of the year I resigned from my job to become a full-time freelancer.

I’ve done things I never imagined I could do and I’ve felt like a passenger holding on for dear life. It’s been exciting, it’s been scary and it’s been hard. At times I know I’ve forgotten to enjoy the ride. I’ve struggled with finances, relationships, self-confidence and health. I’ve spent most of the year outside my comfort zone but I’m learning that’s the best place to be.

Right now I’m a little apprehensive about the year ahead so I’m reviewing 2011 in top fives, I hope this will help me to make new plans and look forward to 2012. If you want to find out a bit more just click on a link.

5 things I started..
The Zero Waste Podcast series began with the journey of waste, I travelled from bin to landfill (and retched).


5 things I made..

  • A CBeebies pilot with BBC Scotland (finished in the summer)
  • Films as a Freelancer (May and June)
  • A poetic declaration of love to the Number 10 Eco Bus
  • Snowmen out of socks with kids on the canal (Dec)
  • Podcasts, loads of them! (all year)

5 awards..

5 live performances..

You can watch the live stream of my fringe show or listen to my West Port Book Festival event as a podcast, click on the links above for more. Thanks to Chris Scott who took the photo below at the West Port Book Festival.

Edinburgh Books

5 close encounters of the animal kind..

Lots of birds! I was surprised to see my campaign to persuade locals to do the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in the Guardian and I later received a letter of thanks from the head of media at the RSPB! It was only after this that the blackbird started to terrorise my nights…


5 interviews..

I’ve been excited and nervous when people have wanted to interview me. Massive thanks to all of you – you’ve really encouraged me. Thanks to STV local and Edinburgh Reporter for additional interviews too. For the record I’ve never been called a ‘digital maven’ or appeared on an international poetry podcast or been filmed by the Guardian before so I’m still not quite sure how this all happened! Here’s the Guardian film, it’s a project where I designed ‘heroes at home’ engagement cards and masks to encourage pupils and parents to reduce waste.

5 things I finished..

  • Snowboarding (February)
  • My first book, Banana Me Beautiful (March)
  • Paying for my bike on the cycle to work scheme (May)
  • My first three years of a fixed rate mortgage (August)
  • Working for Changeworks (September)
Snowboarding stopped when I flipped over and head butted an Italian mountain. The hospital was an experience “Un-dresse!” they commanded and I started taking my clothes off. “No what is your addressa!”. It’s funny now but I wasn’t laughing when I had to wear a neck brace. After four years of boarding, I’ve had enough. At least I had time to read and take these photos.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Sestriere, Italy, posted with vodpod

5 adventures..

Loony Dook Video

5 things I tried..

  • Scottish Book Trust Mentoring Scheme
  • Edinburgh Book Festival Story Shop
  • Jesting About 2: BBC Comedy Competition
  • Get a Squiggle On: BBC Script Competition
  • Love
I want to point out there were plenty of things that didn’t happen but it’s all part of learning and growing. I hope this will encourage you not to give up if you experience a knock-back. One exciting development is that I do now have a mentor but not through the Scottish Book Trust, it’s the wonderful Elspeth Murray!
5 things I became..
  • Trustee of Speygrian network
  • Co-chair of Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Environmental Education Forum
  • Facilitator for a weekly Community Group
  • A full-time Freelancer
  • An aunty (for the fourth time)

5 hopes for the future

  • Make my CBeebies pilot into a BBC series
  • Publish a picture book
  • Get better at the ukulele
  • Make freelancing work and collaborate too
  • Use my creativity to make the world a better place

Finally here are a few more numbers from 2011….

blog posts produced for Greener Leith (48), podcasts made (30), blog posts on this blog (26), films made as a freelancer (9), guest blogs I wrote (8)workshops on National Poetry Day (6), blogs I wrote about Mooncups, yikes! (5)Films I made for fun (3), Awards presented to schools (2), times I performed poetry on the street due to ‘venue problems’ (2) and I attended 4 weddings and a funeral.

Thank you so much to everyone who’s been part of my 2011. Your support and encouragement have made my year possible. And for those friends who drank tea and laughed with me, you know who you are, you’re wonderful (:


Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Banana me beautiful, Events, Media, Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

18 responses to “Annual General Review: 2011

  1. Milo

    January 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Wowzers what a year! Seriously impressed. And Happy Birthday 🙂

    • auntyemily

      January 4, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      Thanks for all the encouragement this year Milo! (:

  2. Elspeth Murray

    January 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Emily, you’re an inspiration! And you’re on a roll – here’s to more pioneering new stuff in 2012 🙂

    • auntyemily

      January 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      Aw, thank you Elspeth, it’s been so good to get to know you this year (:

  3. aligeorge

    January 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    List making for the win, as the kids pretty much don’t say… Well done, you’re a positive whirlwind of inspiration! Good luck on the future hopes, I’ll check back for them this time next year!

    • auntyemily

      January 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      Thanks Ali. You wrote 12 books in 12 months in 2011 so I’m most impressed with that!

  4. Laura Anne

    January 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    You put us all to shame Emily!

    • auntyemily

      January 5, 2012 at 12:03 am

      Thanks Laura, do you mind me asking how did you come to this blog? Thanks for stopping by and commenting (:

      • Laura Anne

        January 7, 2012 at 2:26 am

        your twitter feed. It also seems like you know my friend Fiona!

  5. Marianne

    January 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    An inspiring blog, Aunty Ems! If I didn’t know you I’d think you’d made it all up 🙂

    Here’s to an adventurous 2012, Mxx

    • auntyemily

      January 5, 2012 at 12:05 am

      Aw thanks Marianne, very much looking forward to writers group with you in 2012 (:

  6. fipea

    January 5, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    So very proud of you lady – excited for what is to come in the future x

  7. Helen MacKinven

    January 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Very inspired by you stepping out of your comfort zone (I appreciate how scary it can be) to follow your career dreams and hope 2012 is even better for you!

    • auntyemily

      January 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks so much Helen, you’re so right. As a friend pointed out “and people don’t realised you were petrified most of the time”, it has been really scary! (:


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