Goodbye, 2019. Please Leave Already! (Yearly Wrap Up)

We reach another year-end so it’s time when I take a quick peek at what has happened over the last 12 months.

After some sorrow and stress in 2018, I had high hopes for 2019. 

Let’s just say, it didn’t start out that well but as I look back over the year, I’m able to appreciate the high points even if there weren’t that many. 


Personal Updates header

Out and About

So, we didn’t get out much this year.  But here’s a few things we managed:

Boardgames, Collaboration games. Pandemic, BoardgamerEarly in the year I went back to England to visit family and spent time playing boardgames with my brother.

I am now adding Pandemic to my fave games ever.

Boardgame nights are one of the big things I miss since we moved.

Most people just aren’t into these types of games and even the places you can go, they are only in the bigger cities and they can be a little cliquey.

Large Hedge maze, labrinyth

We visited a park and ended up in a hedge maze, that we were rubbish at.

We ended up further away from the middle than when we started.

By the end, we were getting cold but refused to be defeated by the maze!  Eventually we managed to get through and here is our victory photo above the hedges.

Pumpkins in a wheelbarrow. Pumpkin fest. Castlewellan

In October we went to a Pumpkin fest, it was a little disappointing but the day before had apparently been the better day.

We did have a grand time walking around and getting giddy.

We saw very few pumpkins, but I did find this elusive barrow of several and snapped a photo to prove there were ACTUALLY pumpkins at the fest.

I also had the enjoyment of getting stuck in the mud because they made us all park on a hilly field and when I tried to drive back up, the tyres just spun due to all the wet grass and mud.  I think we’ll skip this next year.

Nature reserve, water, lake

We did our usual, visiting the local parks to feed the ducks and swans.

I took way too many photos of lakes, rivers and pools, like the one above.

I have a thing for water so I am always taking photos of the sea and rivers etc.

Next time, I’ll try and take some photos of the wildlife too! 🙂

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Home Life

The big home life change, was my partner and I bought our first home together.

The process seemed to take forever, but finally, in February after waiting months, we completed the sale and got our keys.

Open fire, flames, toasting on an open fire

We totally love the house.  It is warm and cosy and very solid so you don’t hear much from the neighbours.

I also LOVE that it has an open fire, which is lovely in winter and great to sit and read in front of (the cats love it too!)

We have yet to make toast on it, but that will definitely be done next year.

The first time we lit it, we just sat in silence for like 3 hours, staring at it.

Nature, back garden, lawn, hedgesI also LOVE that we have a front and back garden. A garden was always a must when we rented houses.  I need that little piece of nature close by.

And now, because this is our house, these are our gardens, we can do what we want.

Currently, we have just trimmed the hedges, cut the grass, added a washing line and a bird feeder.  We are giving it a year so we can see what we have growing, which areas have sun etc

Black and white rescue cat, elderly catWhile the loss of my cats from 2017 and 2018 was still raw, we were made aware of an elderly cat whose owner had died and the man’s wife had dumped their four cats in the street.

I had some choice swear words when I heard that.  The cats were left as strays before being found and rescued.

The other 3 cats were rehomed, but this one, was considered “not as handsome” as the others. (We think he is very handsome).

He had never been to the vet in his whole life, so ended up with all but 3 teeth being removed.  He also has a pretty dodgy digestive system.  Despite all this, he is super cute, super loving and we were happy to give him a forever home.

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In Health

Ambulance, inside of an ambulance, Emergency services, medical emergencyThe year started badly with me being rushed to the emergency room several times in January.

To their credit, the A&E doctors and nurses were brilliant, they took good care of me.

My partner also did a wonderful job of keeping my through-the-roof anxiety from skyrocketing any higer.

I also got to ride in an ambulance which was fun… even if I was partially out of it on painkillers.

However, with all the drips and blood draws, my arms were so sore and bruised by the end of the month.

By May, I ended up with serious burn-out and had to take the whole of May off to recover and rebalance myself.

The year then ended with me suffering from SAD Syndrome.  Ahh yes, a year for being kicked in the gut healthwise, it seems.  But I’m managing it okay, for the most part.

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In Sorrow

In sorrow, cala lily, remembranceSadly, in April, our family member who had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer the previous year passed away.

We are truly grateful that they were no longer in pain but as with all death, this passing filled us with sorrow.



Writer Updates

Author Life

From Ashes to Magic, supernatural beings anthology, fantasy anthologyI was invited to participate in a fantasy Anthology with the theme of Magic and Supernatural Beings.

I agreed and wrote my first real short story (not counting Flash Fiction) called The Locksmith.

The anthology, From Ashes to Magic, was published on the 2nd December which was awesome.

We have received wonderful feedback and lots of positive reviews which has been a real boost!

Big thanks to all my followers who encouraged me and who bought the book!  I truly hope you enjoy it. 

(Now for some additional pimping… you can buy it here —> Amazon UK / Amazon US )

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Novel Progress

Fountain pen, writingWith this year’s stresses and family emergencies, my novels took more of a back seat than I had hoped.

I made the hard decision to put Dark Hart on the back burner and focused more on my fantasy, The Blessed.

I have made significant progress on The Blessed, and yet still not nearly enough as I wanted.

I have big plans for getting much more done, writing-wise, next year.  So stay tuned for that! 🙂

☆  ☆  ☆


85kI failed miserably on the 85K Challenge.

It probably didn’t help that I spent several days in the hospital during January, moved house in February then went back to England in March.

However, I never let that get me down and I’ll be jumping into the 85K challenge again next year.

☆  ☆  ☆

Blogger Life

Image: Award Top 10 UK Writing blogI gave my website a bit of a make-over with a new theme and structure.

Later in the year, I eased off doing Monday and Sunday blog posts and finally made the decision to end Wednesday guest posts, at least for the time being.

I was, once again, ranked as being one of the Top 10 UK Writing Blogs by Feedspot.


Looking back, I can see the things that went well and I am heartened by them.  This was a tough year, but I try not to let those tough times get me down.

Instead, I like to learn from them and see if there’s anything I can do next year to make things easier/better (at least, in the things I have control over).

So, how was your 2019?

Share your Thoughts image.

Happy writing

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27 thoughts on “Goodbye, 2019. Please Leave Already! (Yearly Wrap Up)

  1. I’d definitely play board games with you!
    Even thought 2019 wasn’t your best, I’m glad to see that you were still able to have some great moments. CongratZ on all of your accomplishments.

    1. lol I think I need to get all you people over to Northern Ireland for board game evenings. Seems everyone who likes board games lives miles/countries away.

      Thanks 🙂 I like to focus on positives as much as possible and while the bad stuff needs to be noted, especially if it gives me lessons for doing better, I always like to remind myself that it’s not 100% bad 🙂

  2. (Kitty) Cat Strawberry - Meow!

    I’m so sorry you’ve had such a tough year. Lovely things happening but so many sad or painful things too. I really hope 2020 will be a much more positive and happier year for you Ari and that your health and the health of your family is good throughout the year. ❤

    I love board games too, I always have and still own so many at home, both British and foreign! The trouble with board games is finding people to play and there aren't many places near where I live that have board games to play which is a shame. In fact I only ever came across one cafe but it's out of the area where I live and I wouldn't travel all that way just to play, lol. I've never heard of Pandemic by the way 😮 What's it about? What other board games do you like? 🙂

    I can't believe somebody threw those cats out, how could they!? 😦 He is so very handsome, I love that little white tip on his ear! 🙂 🙂

    Happy New Year and I hope you have a lovely 2020! ❤ 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Cat. I am throwing myself into the New Year with gusto. I have informed it, quite forcefully, that it WILL be a good year, because I feel it’s time. We’ve been lacking good years and it’s damn time we had one.

      You are so right, I miss my brother and his girlfriend as we often has board game nights, so far we haven’t found anyone in NI who is into board games. *sigh*

      Pandemic is a collaborative game, it’s about viruses getting out and how you have to stop them spreading. It’s really good, I highly recommend it.

      I know, it always boils my blood when I hear of people who do that. It’s like with one of our other cats (rest his soul) he was going to be put down because his owner died and the family “didn’t want to bother with him”. Thankfully I learnt of this and took him in.

      Wishing you a wonderfully happy New Year

      1. (Kitty) Cat Strawberry - Meow!

        Pandemic definitely sounds interesting. A shame I don’t live in NI, I’d come over and play board games all the time, lol, I’m quite competitive when I get going. Plus my family collected quite a few board games over the years, both foreign and UK made.

        I think everyone wants 2020 to be a good year, so much mess in the world as well as personally. You’re right, it’s about time we all had a good year and I’m thinking positively too – it will be a good year, it will 🙂 🙂

      2. lol if you ever move to NI I’ll hold you to that, board games are always so much better with more people 🙂 Don’t worry, we’re competitive too – we all usually end ups (friendly) shouting and cursing at each other. 😀

  3. I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough time healthwise this year. Having spent most of 2018 in hospital, I know what that’s like. You think your arms were a mess after your time in hospital in January? You should have seen mine after a year of blood tests and blood transfusions. Thankfully though, my health has been much better this year. At least, it has since they finally did what they should have done all along in February. I hope whatever caused your health issues back in January have been resolved, and 2020 will be a better year for you healthwise.

    Congratulations again on the purchase of your house. I’m glad you’re loving it so much. I’d have been sat for hours in front of that fire too. Also, I’m glad you were able to give that cat a forever home, though sorry he found himself in that situation to start with. Poor thing. If he’d like to come be a guest on my “Friends Of Furkid Friday” feature to help promote your book, give me a shout. His story would be a nice reminder to people not to pass up older animals who need homes. To find out what the feature is all about, go here:

    Speaking of the book: I just brought a copy. Not sure when I’ll get a chance to read it, but I’m looking forward to doing so. Good luck with the 85K90 challenge in 2020. I hope it goes to plan for you this time around.

    1. omg I could not imagine the pain and damage of a year of blood tests and transfusions. I am so sorry you had to go through that and I’m really happy your health has been better.

      Aww I would love to get my cat featured on your Friends of Furkid Friday, that would be awesome!! We specifically wanted to get an older cat as we know how hard it is for them to get adopted. I’ll check out your link.

      *MASSIVE HUGS* Thank you so much for buying From Ashes to Magic, I really hope you enjoy it. lol honestly, even I hadn’t fully read it yet – it came out in December and I’ve been so hectic I just never got chance to get through all the stories. So don’t worry, read it as and when you can.

      Wishing you all the best for 2020, Victoria.

  4. We almost ended up adding Pandemic to our board game closet! Ever since a game shop opened in our town, we have loved finding new games to play. My favorite so far has been Unearth.

    As for 2019, it has treated me very well. I travelled for the first time in my life!
    Here is to an epic 2020.

    1. Oooh I’ve not played Unearthed, I will add that to my list to check out. I love the Forbidden ones (Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert and omg they have just brought out Forbidden Sky!!) Over Xmas I played Mechs vs Minions which was frustratingly good, Fluxx (love it!) I have the Cthulu version.

      I also love Smallworld and Bunny Kingdom.

      Glad to hear 2019 gave you some travelling time, that is awesome. I hope 2020 is just as awesome!

    1. Thanks Brooke, when I first starting writing that blog post all I could see was all the negative things that had happened in the year (we lost more family in the last month too). But I had to give myself a shake and remind myself of the positives too – it’s so easy to let the negatives sweep you away.

  5. 2018 and 2019 were pretty devastating for me as I lost both my parents. The Austin family, that was five members strong for 63 years, is down to three. On the positive side of things, I finished the first draft of “Blue Cottage” and I’m at chapter three of draft two. Revising and rewriting is murder! But draft 2 is so much better than the original which, in spots, is simply awful. But the foundation has been laid and I’m currently working on the sub-floor. I can’t wait to work on it today. Happy new year Ari.

    1. I am sorry for your loss, Tom. It is always hard to lose people.

      It’s great you completed your first draft and good luck on completing draft two. lol oh yes, first drafts are PAINFUL but it’s nice when we get through a few more drafts and get them sparkling. Wishing you a Happy New Year

  6. I’m sorry for your losses. I hope the new year will be better for you. Writing wise, my biggest highlight was Mystical Greenwood was a finalist in a contest I entered, though I’m still trying to work on the sequel.

    1. Thank you Andrew, it was a tough year. We even had several family members pass right at the end of the year too. I just want to keep higher hopes for this year.

      That is awesome about being a contest finalist, congratulations!!

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