Review of my year – what was 2011 like for you?

Today seems the right day to review my year in all aspects of my life – it’s a cathartic experience and helps get things in perspective.

Reflecting on life during 2011.....

Professionally it’s been a good year. For Fiona the journalist – I’ve made several films covering subjects as diverse as dementia care, OCD, rising energy prices and the Welsh Assembly elections (now known as the Welsh Government). Many thanks to ITV Wales, the BBC and Available Light for all of those projects. Alongside this, I’ve written articles on numerous occasions, so I thank the Swindon Link, Wiltshire Life and the Swindon Advertiser.

From a Mellow Media point of view it’s been a year of promise with several one-off projects, others requiring discretion and others which can be shouted about. Many thanks to Footdown, Business Scene, Sarah Arrow of Birds on the Blog, the Symondsbury Estate, Tailored For You and some new names which will also emerge in 2012. All of these companies and their people have provided work, new friends, new experiences and personal development, so many, many thanks. For all the colleagues out there in the world of business, let’s hope 2012 is full of hope as well as hard work. Let’s hope that gloomy predictions are not as bad as we’re hearing from various voices.

On a personal front, I’ve seen a child go to secondary school, another child start school and another child become one of the bigger fish in her small primary school pond. I’ve discovered both of my daughters are very good singers and my son sings along too. Both my girls took part in a community radio programme and they achieved many, many things throughout the year. My step-daughter passed her driving test and turned 18. She also presented an eight-minute film for regional BBC programme about tuition fees. There have been many occasions when I’ve been a very proud mum. And I should mention here a husband who has been supportive and loving for another year – we celebrated 11 years married. He’s put up with me for 15 though!

As a family we had a fantastic holiday in Orlando spending two weeks doing the whole Disney and Universal Studio thing. To say the least, it was fantastic. It was all we expected and more. But my biggest tip for anyone considering such a holiday – hire a large villa for a fraction of the cost of onsite accommodation, you get more comfort, better food (you can buy it yourself and actually have a salad) and often get your own pool. Hire a car and pay the $15 parking fee per day to park at any of the attractions. Also if a ride says you’ll get wet – it means you’ll get absolutely soaked so take a change of clothes. And pay the extra for Fast Passes or Express routes (it’s well worth it).

On another personal note, 2011 has been a year of terrible sadness for our family. In December we lost our neighbour and friend Roger to cancer at the age of 53, very suddenly. To look at his widow and see her pain every day is awful. But it was something sadly familiar to us. A big shadow this year was the death of our brother-in-law Peter in April at the age of 49 from heart failure. Pete died very suddenly after collapsing at the gym. He left my sister and three children, the youngest just five months old. To see my lovely baby sister trying to put her best foot forward every day, week, month since his death – has been a humbling lesson in life. And his parents and sister in Australia grieving at a distance is something we feel but can do nothing about…

So it’s with a mix of emotions that I face 2012 – I’m excited and challenged but as my daughter said to me a few days ago ‘Mum I just hope we don’t lose anyone else we love’ and that’s the main thing for me. Whatever bad things happen, put that event into perspective – there is always always someone worse off than you!

On that note – HAPPY NEW YEAR!


11.11.11 – does this date frighten you?

As all the one’s line up and 11.11.11 is here there are theories abounding that the date is really powerful.

Rationally it means nothing but I’m finding that I’m taking an interest when I come across I mentions of it in the media. Have I lost my mind? I can’t be the only person feeling like this, surely.

I’m beginning to wonder if my thoughts have been influenced by one of the greatest ‘word of mouth’ PR campaigns that was never been launched. Many people are aware of the event and talking about it – it’s out there in the wider world and yet it doesn’t seem to be based anything more than some man-made dates. Quite clever really!

There are, of course, many crackpot ideas about it on the internet and as I look at the news it’s not hard to see major portents of doom.

The financial decline of Italy and Greece is coming to a head and it is being reflected on world stock markets as I write. The whole of the western world’s finances are in a state and despite attempts to shore up economies, little seems to make a difference. Many secrets have come out and influential people are having to account for them. And, as well as an asteroid coming within close range of earth, there are predictions of another great earthquake – as if the world hasn’t had enough already this year.

Disaster after disaster is talked about. And yet…I survived the Millennium meltdown. Remember the dire predictions about how all the computers would stop working? It certainly provided people with work in the IT industry. I can even remember 8.8.88 because my mum picked it for her wedding day as she believed the numbers were a lucky combination.

Hopefully, the world will survive this intense numerical combination today as it has done before. Maybe it’s time for global positive thinking.

Now that’s a PR campaign I’d like to be part of.

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