2017 – It’s a Wrap

One of my fave photos of the year – one of the many I took of lanterns in Hoi An

I sometimes think my annual wrap up or year in review posts are my favourite ones of all. You’ll find last years here. As for 2017? I’m going to wave it goodbye fondly – not in the way I waved 2016 goodbye, which was enthusiastically (and don’t ever think about setting your foot inside this door AGAIN…SLAM!) On the whole 2017 has been, relatively speaking, good to us.

Ok…let’s get on with this…settle in, it’s a long post…

1.What did you do that you’ve never done before

Believe it or not, up until this year I’d never spent a night in our house alone. I’d also never “lived” alone. I did both in 2017 when hubby and daughter moved to Queensland six weeks before I did. In addition to that, I also:

  • Went Whale Watching
  • Did a joy-flight in an open cockpit bi-plane

On my bucket list is to go to an AFL Grand Final – with extra points if Richmond or St Kilda were playing. We got pretty close to that this year – being in Melbourne on Grand Final day and joining in with the pre-match fun stuff in Tiger town aka Richmond.

2. What was your word for the year? How did you go with that?

My word for 2017 was Adventure, and that’s what it was. Moving was an adventure, and once up here I’ve tried to approach exploring the region as a whole series of new adventures.

3. What countries did you visit?

Vietnam and New Zealand.

4. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions?

Are you kidding? You’d think that I’d know better by now.


  • My pack pain is heaps – and I mean heaps – better.
  • I have no idea what my blood pressure is, but given that my heart no longer feels as though it’s beating its way out of my chest, that’s a good thing.
  • I hit the fattest point I’ve ever been in 2017, so enough said about that one.


Actually, I did pretty well on this.

  • I revamped this site in October, and the astro site on the weekend.
  • I kept a fairly consistent blogging schedule, although let the content slip on the astro site during November.
  • I won’t look at the visitor stats until next week but suspect they’re down as I lost many readers from and anyways when I switched blogs and lost a heap from the astro blog when it was down for an extended period in the beginning of October.


  • I wrote one book – I Want You Back – and am yet to publish it. It’s sitting there needing a blurb and some formatting.
  • I finally released Baby, It’s You and Wish You Were Here onto ibooks
  • I haven’t looked at my sales figures since March, but given that the “royalties” are dribbling in, I’m still selling nowhere near what I should be. Having said that, I’ve done very little to attempt to change this situation and don’t want to talk about it again until 2018 thank you very much.
  • I’m almost done with the first draft of my 5th novel.


Hoi An Faves
  • Nailed this. We had 2 weeks in Vietnam in April – immediately after moving house. Man, did we need it!
  • We also had a couple of long weekends in Melbourne, an over-nighter to Bundaberg, and I had a mini-break in Wellington.

5. Did anyone close to you give birth?


6. Did anyone close to you get married?


7. Did anyone close to you pass away?

Thankfully no.

8. How did you spend New Year’s Eve 2016?

On our neighbour’s deck. We had nibblies, drank a lot of champagne and did everyone’s tarot cards for the year. She’s a scientist andI’m an astrologer so go figure. On a side note, they were pretty spot on. The two of us are available for hire.

9. How did you spend your birthday this year and how old were you?

I came to Queensland for the weekend but on my actual birthday (Sunday) I had an early brekky with my family and then was on the mid-morning Jetstar flight back to Sydney to keep packing. My parents and two sisters came over in the afternoon for cake, I sold the sofa bed we’d been trying to sell and helped the buyer load it onto the trailer, and I had a couple of other potential buyers come in to look at some of the other furniture we were selling. Then I went next door for dinner and bubbles.

It wasn’t by any means what I’d planned for my fiftieth birthday. I was all set to have a party, so I let one of my characters in I Want You Back have my denim themed party instead.

10. What would you like to have more of next year that you lacked in this one?


11. Did you tick anything off your bucket list this year?

  • Whale watching
  • Cruise Halong Bay
  • Have pho in Vietnam
  • Speak at a conference

12. What dates from this year will remain etched in your memory and why?

March was mental. All of it. We moved, we unpacked, we went to Vietnam – all in the space of less than a week. Oh, and the day after we went to Vietnam leaving our 19-year-old in a brand new house ex-Cyclone Debbie hit and took out the power for 3 days – and the contents of the fridge and freezer we’d just stocked. Sarah wasn’t worried about the lack of power but was concerned about the number of geckos.

21/1/17 We inspected the house we now live in and after 5 minutes of earnest discussion at Mooloolaba Surf Club put an offer in on it. We love it to pieces.

14/2/17 We exchanged unconditional contracts on the sale of our Castle Hill Home

22/3/17 Watching the movers drive away from Castle Hill and our home of nearly 18 years. Mum came and helped me clean and after she left I remember sitting on the carpet in the empty lounge room with my laptop, drinking red wine out of a coffee mug. Shutting the door and leaving the keys on the bench was surreal. Again my neighbour came to the rescue with dinner, bubbles and a lift to the hotel I was spending the night in. I flew out early the next morning to join my family in Queensland. I didn’t cry until I saw Grant at the airport the next morning – and I’m sure that was more tears of exhaustion than anything else.

24/3/17 We moved into our new home – and it was Sarah’s 19th birthday

14/7/17 Whale watching with Sarah – I’ll never forget the look of sheer joy on her face

26/8/17 “Buzzing” the Pt Cartwright lighthouse in the bi-plane. Such a, (sorry), buzz.

13. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting the nod to speak at this year’s Romance Writer Conference – and getting paid for it!

14. What did you learn this year?

  • That I’m busy, but not necessarily as productive as I could be.
  • That we have enough.
  • That we are enough.
  • Even though I took 2 weeks off in 2017 and went to Vietnam, I had freelance astro commitments and self-imposed book deadlines that meant I was still working. I need to completely stop at some point in 2018.
  • Self-care is an entirely different concept from self–nurturing. I’m good at the latter, not so much with the tough love aspect of the former.
  • Losing an entire salary for the first 7 months of 2017 proved to us the importance of financial planning and having a buffer.

15. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope, touch wood…just a few days with a head cold in May.

16. What was the best movie you saw all year?

Didn’t go to the movies all year…next question?

17. What song was on high rotation this year?

I’m in the middle of writing, and Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” and Katie Melua’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” are on the playlist for the new book.

When I was writing I Want You Back, Adele’s “When We Were Young” and Mika’s “Any Other World” was being played a lot.

I’m loving Vance Joy’s “Lay It On Me” and I’ve just downloaded a couple of albums by Danish Singer/Songwriter Agnes Obel. This year I’ve also added albums by Vance Joy, Ed Sheeran, Nick Cunningham, Ziggy Alberts, Ben Howard, Mark Wilkinson, Angus and Julia Stone, Jack Johnson, Jamie Lawson, Passenger, Oh Wonder, and The London Philharmonic Orchestra.

18. Where did your money go this year?

Ummmm books and music! And travel – mostly for my trip to France next year. Did I mention I’m going to France in April?

19. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder?

Happier. Definitely less stressed, less anxious and more contented. There’s no comparison.

Thinner or fatter?
Fatter – about 3kgs fatter

Richer or poorer?
Poorer, relatively speaking, but richer in terms of contentment.

20. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing and exercising.

21. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Beating myself up for eating too much, drinking too much, not exercising enough, and not being productive enough.

22. How did you spend Christmas?
Lunch was with my extended family at my sister’s house. The evening was spent at our place with our neighbours, a bucket of prawns and about the same quantity of bubbles. There’s a pattern here with my neighbour and bubbles.

23. Did you fall in love this year?

Yep, with the Sunshine Coast. For the first time in my life, I feel as though I’m home and settled. It doesn’t mean that I’m done travelling, but that I’m done wondering where I belong – because it’s here.

24. What was the best book you read?

According to Goodreads,  so far I’ve read 94 books in 2017 – that doesn’t count the short genre romances I didn’t bother popping into Goodreads. According to my ratings, it was a fabulous reading year. I did have a few books that I put aside without finishing and without a rating – but we’re not mentioning them.

I apparently had eight 5 star reads:

  • “Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay,” Jill Mansell
  • “The Word Is Murder,” Anthony Horowitz
  • “The Shape of Us,” Lisa Ireland
  • “One More Song,” Nicki Edwards
  • “Best Day Ever,” Kaira Rouda
  • “A Deadly Kerfuffle,” Tony Martin
  • “The Break,” Marian Keyes
  • “Numbered,” Amy Andrews and Ros Baxter

25. What TV shows did you watch?

I’ve just finished binging on Season 2 of “The Crown”. Other than that I loved “Shetland”, “Hinterland”, “Doctor Blake”, “Designated Survivor”, and “Victoria”. I also re-watched “The Good Wife” and “Midsomer Murders”.

26. Who did I miss this year?

Friends and family left back in Sydney…but not enough to even consider looking backwards! What I certainly didn’t miss was the daily 3-hour commute. I still try and have a Friday night vino with my neighbour – although these days it’s a virtual vino. I also missed dumplings…does that count?

27. What kept you sane this year?

Kali, Adventure Spaniel snoring under my desk and walks along the beach most weekday mornings. It’s such a treat living so close to Mooloolaba – we’re about 10-15mins drive away. I never thought I’d be able to see the beach every day, but now I can.

My 9 most liked photos – according to instagram

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.

25 Replies to “2017 – It’s a Wrap”

  1. That sounds like a damn fine year, and given we are planning to move to the Sunshine Coast in 2018, your palpable enjoyment of the area is inspirational. Happy Christmas to you!

    1. I love this format – I used it last year too & it’s cool to track through – puts things into perspective. So much to love.

  2. Now that is what I call a wrap! You are an extraordinary person to have accomplished all that you have in a year. Moving house, two overseas trips and written a book. I’d say you’ve had a cracker of a year. Merry Christmas Jo! #TeamLovinLife

  3. What a fabulous year you’ve had! I’m so glad you are happy and content in your new home on the Sunshine Coast. It looks like a gorgeous house and it certainly is in a gorgeous spot! I look forward to meeting you in person in February! 🙂 xo #TeamLovinLife

    1. Thanks Natalie, This is the 2nd year I’ve used these prompts & I can’t even remember who I stole, sorry, borrowed them from in the first place. It’s been a cracker of a year.

  4. Awww, this is lovely. Lots more positives than negatives and you certainly did a great job on the blogging and writing front and settled well into life on the Sunshine Coast. There’s just a different feel about life outside of the city and even when I worry I’m falling back into focussing too much on work (now I’m working FT) I realise that my life outside is different and the environment is different.

    I actually really love these prompts and would totally steal them if I hadn’t already kinda done my wrap-up post!

  5. A fabulous year Jo and to top it off you met me! LOL:) I have never been whale watching even though I’ve lived in Qld for 30 years! That bi-plane looks amazing and I gave up making New Year Resolutions a couple of years ago. I wish you and your family Jo a beautiful Christmas in your new State and look forward to reading and connecting with you more in the New Year. xx

  6. I love this post, Jo! Especially the whale watching and the open cockpit flight.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours. It’s been lovely getting to know you through Lovin’Life.

    SSG xxx

  7. Wow! It has been quite the year hasn’t it? I am sure I felt quite a few of your emotions when you were selling up and moving…and I did like us connecting and finding we actually had lived close-ish by in Sydney and might have been passed each other at Towers a few times. However, all that aside, this move does seem to have been the best! So happy for you. One day we will meet up! For sure. Denyse xx PS Thank you so much for your support of my blog link up in 2017 too!

  8. What an action packed year Jo, fingers crossed you get to slow down soon? Your massive sea change to that beautiful looking home, seems to be providing the change you desired. We’ve been in our city fringe apartment for nearly 2 wks now and love it. We are so close to everything that we love, without the need to battle the traffic. All I need to do now is motivate myself to get the walking shoes on and climb Mt Eden each morning, and I’ll be back on track after the crazy few weeks of downsizing and moving. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and yours, Jo. Jenni xxx

    1. That position sounds perfect, Jenni, the best of all worlds. Yep, it’s been a massive year, but after the chaos that was 2015/2016, it’s been a good one overall. I’m used to dealing with a lot – hubby jokes I wouldn’t know what to do otherwise – but my astro transits for the next couple of years are about taking downtime too – proper downtime – or the Universe will find an alternative way of making sure that happens…and that’s not the preferred scenario. To Mt Eden & beyond!

  9. This was great Jo – there were so many similarities in what you wrote and things I’ve felt that it made me smile – especially when you mentioned learning about being and having enough – my theme for 2017 in a nutshell. Also that you were listening to Ed Sheeran’s Perfect – I’ve been slow to jump on the Ed bandwagon but I watched him singing Perfect with Bocelli and I keep going back and re-listening – just lovely. (https://www.facebook.com/jesa.sebastian/videos/10212244782247085/) Happy Christmas and here’s to 2018!

  10. OMG…I love that you said we are enough.
    Because that’s going to be my word for next year!!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    And what a fabulous year (and a little crazy with the move) for you, Jo!

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