2012 – A reflection

I love this time of year – everyone seems full of excitement and enthusiasm for the beginning of a new year;  a new start, where optimism is easy and the future is full of potential.

Often, you see people saying ‘good riddance’ to the old year and dwelling on the things that haven’t gone well, in order to improve them this time around.

That is not my way.

On the cusp of the new year for the past few years I have made a list of all the good things from the previous 12 months, and all the wonderful things that I’m looking forward to in the coming 52 weeks.

In 2010, I did this openly on my blog (here).

This inspired my 2011 year of gratitude, which concluded this time last year with a similar reflection.

This year, I intend to do the same. So, as Hendricks is curled up by my feet and the rain pounds the windows outside, I reflect on the positive things that 2012 has brought my way.


My 2012 started with some fantastic news, ending a 2-year long legal battle with one Mr Willetts for money I had been owed since 2008/09.  (Read here if interested in the saga). I honestly don’t think I could have been any happier, and a huge burden was lifted – it certainly started off my year in a positive and champagne-fuelled way!

Musically, this year has been wonderful. I set up ‘The Honeybirds‘ in March, with Daisy and Jenny. We’ve had a great year – gigging after about 4 weeks of existence, working with live bands, making our debut recording and having a great response from our audiences.

Solaris also made a CD which was finished in 2012. Although that project has now drawn to a close, we had some great gigs this year – not least the Chapel Allerton festival, which was wonderful fun.

Gav and I still gig(gle) together often, and working with him continues to be an absolute pleasure.

I have also played quite a few Lindy gigs this year with my quintet, and I truly love doing so. Hullzapoppin‘ was a particular highlight, but Future Sounds of Swing, Leeds Swing Exchange and Groove it Mister’ also provided great opportunities for me to sing and dance and smile from ear to ear!

Lindy hop carries on playing a large roll in my life, with trips to local scenes in Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Hull and braving the big lights (and talented dancers) of London too. I was very lucky to attend some great weekend workshops also, including GNSH in February and the London Swing Festival in May, and have made some wonderful friends through dancing. I was lucky enough to try my hand at a little lindy teaching this year too, which is great fun. I am SO excited about 2013 and all the dancing I have to look forward to!

In May, Jules and I had a go at hosting our own Lindy Hop event, providing free tea, lots of cake and some live music to folks who came to Armley. Teapots and Twirls has been great fun and very successful this year – we are now planning our 4th event for March 2013, and it fills me with excitement. Working with Jules is a delight!

My choir, High Spirits, has gone from strength to strength and I am thrilled that there is now a core group that really care for each other (and sing wonderfully). We’ve been running for a whole year now, after starting initially as a 6-week trial in Jan!

I have had a great year at my various teaching jobs, now running 4 choirs, and took part in some very successful school concerts. My students, both at schools and privately, have been wonderful and inspiring, and I am very lucky to be able to have such flexibility in my work.

International travel has featured highly this year too, with a trip to Paris in May and California in July. Unfortunately, my NYC trip had to be postponed in October, due to the hurricane, but that just gives me even more to look forward to in 2013!

Leeds has continued to provide me with a fun base, giving me wonderful friends and events to partake in. And Twitter!  This year, I went to supper clubs, Bettakultcha, weddings, parties, gigs and won competitions, all thanks to Leeds twitter! And I got to be People of Leeds (AKA The Queen of Leeds) for a week in May (here). A real highlight was Overworlds and Underworlds.  I am very fortunate to live somewhere that has so much going on. 🙂

I am also very fortunate to know and have met such wonderful people this year. My family continue to be tremendous, and I have met some fabulous folk in my 27 years on this earth who have really helped me develop as a person.

This year, I have been fortunate enough to have experiences that have taught me things about myself: what I want (and don’t want) from life and personal relationships, and the kind of person that I want to be. Whether I am still in contact with those people or not, what they have taught me has been priceless, and I am becoming ever clearer about who I am, which can only be a positive thing!

And of course, I sent a lot of mail this year too!


I sincerely hope you have had a good 2012, and that you may see the positives even in the challenging moments.

Thank you for reading, and here’s to a successful 2013!

Tessa x


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