Written by Various Artists


QOTM: What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this year?

Annus horribilis doesn’t even begin to cover it but we figured the best defence against this year’s shitslaught was to celebrate the (even tiny) good things about it. In your face, 2016, we’re making like Beyoncé.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Sooz Kempner
Watching Nick Skelton, who broke his neck in 2000, win Olympic gold aged 58 on a horse that had been written off with injury for several years. It was a fairy tale and I cried my fucking eyes out.

Margaret Cabourn-Smith
I got to work with all-time hero Paul Whitehouse and do Donald and Davey Stott voices between takes. Not quite worth Trumpageddon but pretty awesome nonetheless.

Cariad Lloyd
Lemonade? I mean Lemonade guys? Beyoncé and lemons? It was really great.

Ruth Bratt
We won an Olivier award. I keep forgetting it. Every now and then I see it on the shelf and am surprised it’s there. And we did Showstopper! off-Broadway. That’s some life goals achieved. Talking about it feels like boasting but if it helps in this clusterfuck of a year…

Julia Morris
I have so much to be thankful for but seeing my funny, brilliant husband get the success he deserves this year has been truly lovely.

“I finally saw Billy Connolly live on stage. Big bucket list of happiness right there.”

Sarah Ledger
The best thing that happened to me this year was Jesus. Well, in his earthly form as Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Theatre. It was a gorgeous glittery production and the singing was extraordinary. The one problem was that it was sold out and I could not take my daughter Jessie to see it.
But a week or so later, I saw a competition for two tickets on Twitter. I spent the weekend planning every detail (including how much money I’d need to borrow off my mum to get to London and back at short notice) just in case we won. Jessie was scathing: “You’ll only be disappointed when you don’t win,” she said and she’s right, I would have been. But I wasn’t, because we did!
We had a round trip of 600 miles, we both had to hustle straight back for work the next day, and it cost a bloody fortune (thanks Ma) but it was worth it.

Susan Hanks
I learned how to make flapjacks, and really enjoyed the practice to produce perfection.

Gabby Hutchinson Crouch
I bought a house for the first time, which was pretty great, and then adopted a cat to go in the house, which I’ve wanted – and not been able – to do since I was little.

Hannah Dolan
I’m finally in a place where I can have a dog. We pick up our rescue fluff on 17 December… It’s not real yet.

Suze Kundu
My fiancé Karl proposed to me in Michael Faraday’s preserved lab at the Royal Institution, next to the first ever nanoparticles and the very place that the structure of diamond was discovered. The proposal had to be risk assessed in advance.
Everything about the whole thing makes me smile inside and out, and I love him to bits, even though tonight I am being kept awake by his epic Christmas-party-induced snoring from the spare room next door at 4.15am.

Mickey Noonan
This happened (choose your own theme tune):

OK, OK… I made it happen, but still. Oh, and my excellent brother asked me to be best man when he gets hitched next year.

Jane Hill
While off work with mental health issues, I went to Dartmouth in Devon for a bit. I hauled my unfit, achy self out for a coast walk that ended up on a hill overlooking Dartmouth estuary. I sat on the bench in awe of the beauty, watching the little ferries go to and fro. And that’s the moment I started getting better.

Sophie Scott
Probably my son being obsessed with Dr Jillian Holtzmann, and more generally that the new Ghostbusters was such a fantastic, joyful film.

Jessica Fostekew
Cookie Dough KitKat Chunky. And my son learned to do impressions of cows, fish and lions. But mainly the invention of Cookie Dough KitKat Chunky.

Daisy Leverington
I finally saw Billy Connolly live on stage. Big bucket list of happiness right there.

Ashley Davies
This year we moved from a flat to a house, and our 15-year-old cat, Stockwell, got to walk in a garden for the first time in eight years. Being able to hide in bushes and eat grass (and puke it up all over the place) has given her a new lease on life. And now we’ve got a nice place to bury her when the time comes. (That last sentence – brought to you by 20-effing-16.)

Vix Leyton
Standard Issue is mine. The amazing friends I’ve met, the kick-ass women that inspired me, the joy of having people say ‘me too’ to the things I write.
It’s made me braver, better and reaffirmed my view that the world is actually pretty amazing underneath all the bollocks.

Fiona Longmuir
Very late goal for 2016, but I’ve just been longlisted for the Bath Children’s Novel Award, which is probably the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me ever.

Dotty Winters
Wrote a full first-draft novel, which was nice, but more importantly on 15 August at 4.53pm, after weeks of effort, I finally got that annoying hair on my chin. No triumph like it.

“I bought TWO new clothes maidens, or clothes horses depending where you are from, aka wet clothes danglers. Pure joy. What a year. Hurry up 2017…”

Claire Goodwin
I went back to full-time work as a clinician this year after a long time off due to a breakdown. I got another job two grades higher and I absolutely adore it.

Camilla King
Leaving London after 18 years. I miss my mates but having my husband home for dinner (and managing his bipolar better) for the first time ever has had the most incredible effect on our kids and life in the country has made us all happier. I wish we’d done it years ago!

Vicky Lindsay Warburton
I bought TWO new clothes maidens (or clothes horses depending where you are from), aka wet clothes danglers. I have survived with a Munchkin-sized semi-rusting concertina-stylee one forever. I made the leap to the X Wing 120 this year. Pure joy. What a year. Hurry up 2017…

Alice Fleetwood
I shared a platform (a fire engine, in fact) with Jeremy Corbyn, my political hero. I gave the first speech to a crowd of possibly 10,000. His publicity team captured part of it and used it in his leadership campaign. That will do nicely.

Juliette Burton
My friend Bernard messages me every day to check in when I struggle seriously with depression. Just to check in and helps me feel more connected. This is a good thing.
Professionally touring in Australia and NZ, having articles published on SIM and one in Cosmopolitan and selling out every day in Edinburgh fringe were good things. My friends Mike and Mairi got married after battling breast cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. That was an awesome thing.

Hazel Davis
One of my musical heroes played a gig in my back garden (and he’s coming back next year too). My daughter started violin lessons and I bought a clarinet.

Sarah Millican
I managed to read novels again. My concentration has been shot to shit for many years, I’m assuming due to Twitter and non-fiction books you can dip in and out of. But on holiday, I sat in a park and read properly. A novel. And I feel like I got the world back.


Standard Issue
We won the Book and Publishing award at the 2016 Chortle Awards. Hurrah!

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Written by Various Artists

Some of Standard Issue's brilliant women's carefully crafted words for your reading pleasure.