2019 in Review

Looking back at a pretty busy year.

· 8 min read ⏱️

I really enjoyed doing my year recap last year, so thought I’d keep it up. It gives me a chance to look over the last year and relive my favourite bits, while figuring out what to go after this year 🙂

First I get to review the goals I had for 2019, and see how those panned out:

  • Do more community work/mentoring: I feel like I hit this one two-fold, as over the last year I’ve become an organiser of three community events: Tech Nottingham, Women In Tech and NottsJS; and I’ve been mentoring two lovely people on my team 💛
  • Conquer my fear of public speaking: throughout the year I learnt a lot about public speaking, through books, articles and a presentation skills course at work. I think I haven’t quite shaken the fear, but I practiced a bit. I gave short talks at Women in Tech Lightning talks, an internal event at work and at DevOpsDays London; and I gave my first full length talk at Women in Tech in November.
  • Learn more about diversity in tech: becoming more involved in Women in Tech Nottingham has been really great! I am also involved with the Women in Tech chapter at work, and have done my best to help out in this area whenever I’ve had the chance 🙂

So all in all, not bad! It’s so hard to tell what’s coming in the year ahead, but I feel I managed to focus on the things I set out to from the start. Now for the month-by-month highlights:


It was a quiet month, a month of getting back into the swing of things, while dealing with the cold, dark weather 🥶

I attended You Got This conference in London, and had such a great time! The talks were awesome, and I managed to squeeze some time with a friend to go out and eat lovely food.

I also had the pleasure of volunteering for New Adventures, a design conference in Nottingham. It had a stellar line up, and I still think about Ethan Marcotte’s closing keynote often, it’s such an important talk.

📖 Everyday Sexism - Laura Bates, Conversations with Friends - Sally Rooney, Little Black Book - Otegha Uwagba

Collage of January pics


February was a busy month! Went to a Capoeira event in Chester with some friends, had my family come over for a visit, went to see the Moon exhibit 🌕

Then Thom and I packed our bags and headed to Porto for a few days. I volunteered at NDC, and we spent some time exploring the city. It’s such a lovely place 💛

📖 The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman, Men Explain Things to Me - Rebecca Solnit

Collage of February pics


As soon as I came back from Porto, I shaved my head! I had been thinking about it for a while, so decided to just go for it. Turns out my hair is thin and weird, so I’ve had various “fluffy stages” since then 😅

📖 How to Own the Room - Viv Groskop, The Descent of Man - Grayson Perry

✨ Did a lightning talk at Women in Tech called Panic Driven Development - the title totally came from a wine-infused evening with Anna, Helen and Emma 😂

Collage of March pics


April was pretty chill. I attended Frontend NE and Women in Tech’s birthday event, where we had a lovely time with lovely cake 🎂

It was also Thom’s birthday, so we went to see the Kendall Mountain Festival on tour. We saw incredible shorts and talks about nature and sports.

🎮 Rise of the Tomb Raider

Collage of April pics


This May I turned 30! I used to dread ageing, but I’m luckily at a stage of my life where I’m happier by the day, so I don’t really mind anymore 🤷‍♀️

We also had our very own Capoeira group’s annual event, and I went to see the Guilty Feminist live with the awesome entourage of Nottingham feminists pictured below 💛

📖 No Hard Feelings - Liz Fosslien

🎮 God of War

Collage of May pics


Lots happened in June! Started the month with a weekend of Lindy Hop workshops in Leicester 👯‍♀️ then I volunteered at Hopper x 1 London.

After that, I spent a week in Oslo, volunteering at NDC and seeing the sights. Then I headed off to Israel for a week of sunshine, beach and Capoeira 🤸‍♀️

📖 Normal People - Sally Rooney, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

Collage of June pics


Summer is here ☀️

In July I got promoted! It’s the first time I’ve been promoted, so I was excited for that 🥳

I also had a lovely weekend of camping with friends at Whistlewood Common, in Derbyshire, and took part in the Nottingham Pride parade 🏳️‍🌈

📖 An American Marriage - Tayari Jones

🎮 Super Mario Maker 2

Collage of July pics


After all the travel and excitement of the previous 2 months, I was glad to have a quiet August. We spent some time at Thom’s parents’ farm, and chilled out for a bit in the sun 😎

📖 As mentiras que os homens contam - Luis Fernando Veríssimo, I Had a Black Dog - Matthew Johnstone, Living with a Black Dog - Matthew Johnstone, Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

🎮 Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Collage of August pics


Back to full throttle in September 😅

Thom and I took my nephews to Eden Project for a couple of days, I got my first mechanical keyboard 🤩 and went to Alton Towers on a work outing 🎢

🎮Spider-Man, Stranger Things 3, Untitled Goose Game

✨ I gave my first (mini) conference talk! I got selected to do an ignite talk at DevOpsDays London, and I didn’t completely blow it 😄

Collage of September pics


I started October by flying over to Orlando to attend Grace Hopper Celebration. It was quite incredible to see so many women in technology in the same place.

I also visited Harry Potter World ⚡️ at Universal Studios, it was a blast!

To recover from the jetlag, I spent some days in Norfolk with Thom’s family when I came back, and it was lovely out there.

I also attended OggCamp for the first time, where Anna and Jamie both gave excellent talks 🙂

October also saw the first DDD East Midlands! It was a fabulous day, and I think it’s safe to say Jess and Moreton’s hard work paid off.

That was followed by another epic Hockley Hustle, where we saw lots of great acts, my favourite being the UFO Orchestra.

To close the month, I had my first BSL class 👐


🎮 The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Stardew Valley

Collage of October pics


Early November was a blur, mostly frantically writing my talk 😅 Why do I sign up for these things?!

Once the talk was safely delivered, I had a couple of weeks of quiet time, punctuated by going to see Fleabag with friends (Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a queen 👸) and going to see The Dollop live with Thom 🙂

🎮 Heavy Rain, Luigi’s Mansion 3

✨ I was booked in to speak at Women in Tech long before I became an organiser, and having my first full length talk there was incredibly nice and life affirming 💛

Collage of November pics


Christmas started early in Nottingham this year, as we hosted the Tech Nottingham Christmas Party on the 2nd, and I think it was a total success.

Then, I headed to Paris with some tech friends for dotJS. We had a good time, and even snuck into our hotel’s ice bar 🧊

Once I was back, I started settling in for a bit of a (much needed) wind down for Christmas, doing very few “productive things” but having lots of time with friends and mulled wine 😄

I also got myself that cute baby ukulele pictured below, can’t wait to learn how to play it.

Wow, we made it!

🎮Cuphead, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Collage of December pics

What’s next?

I still don’t know what I want to do long term. Every few months I toy with the idea of moving into DevRel, but haven’t decided to just yet.

For now, at least for 2020, I want to focus on my technical skills.

I feel like I gave a little bit too much of myself and my time in 2019. It was beneficial and I enjoyed it, but this year I’d like to carve out more time for myself. I’ll most certainly continue mentoring, running the events I do and speaking occasionally, but I’ll do my best not to overcommit.

I want to learn new things, and work on challenging problems. That’s it, gonna keep it simple this year.

As for my personal life, I have more ambitious goals:

  • Learn how to play the ukulele and guitar, and some music theory basics.
  • Learn to draw, and practice frequently.
  • Find a good balance for my exercise routine, and be consistent with it. I’m aiming for a mix of Capoeira, Yoga and weights 🏋️‍♀️

So if you’ve made it this far, here’s to a challenging 2020! 🥂