The AOW Round-Up of 2012

We seem to have missed a trick, here at AOW.

Loads of other blogs have done round-ups of 2012, the places they’ve been, the things they’ve achieved.  They make for impressive reading.  Books were published, workshops were run, holidays involved long-distance flights, outfits were photographed.

It made us realise that our readers deserve a round up, too.  One AOW-style.  With a lot less polish and a little more fuck-up.  And of course, some of the brilliant achievements of our readers.  Because that’s what we are – a community.

And here you go.  Here was 2012.


Clare spent the entirety of January in a fatigued daze, covered in baby vomit, and unable to remember where she’d put the car-keys. It got better though. By June there was less vomit.


Anna failed yet more job applications and spent much of the month in the foetal position, trying to eat her CV.

There was something called the Pen Do.  We sang karaoke, ate too much brunch, had hi-jinks in the Premier Inn and all fell a little bit more in love with each other (well, Anna did).


After sleepless nights and overdosing on excitement, we re-launched the blog.

There were 30 stories of Anna K and a hell of a lot of pompoms, and lots of dancing to Love is a Battlefield.


Aisling learnt that one week post-abdominal surgery is NOT the right time to try and get into your skinny jeans. Duh.


Anna changed job and was in WAY out of her depth.  Just where we like to be when…

Anna moved house, rowed a lot with Mr K about things like rivets, stomped around her new house whilst Mr K did useful things with the boiler, and then said sorry the only way she knows how, by baking him cheesecake.

Treehouse…or more technically, “den on stilts”

Aisling wrote a post. You, you wonderful Care-Bear-starey, twinkly, thoughtful, loving bunch of BRILLIANT people, made her smile.


As the vomit levels subsided, Clare decided it was the ultimate time to wean Emmi. She traded being covered in regurgitated milk, for being covered in mushy chicken and sweet-potato.


This was the London 2012 Games.  The month in which time stopped for most AOW readers and we all became pundits on Twitter.  Coxless eight for 2016, anyone?

Clare and Anna saw a picture, and cried.  A lot.


Aisling came back to the blog.  Clare and Anna did a dance, and haven’t stopped since.


Anna ended Any Other Party crying on the stairs.  What a party animal!  Although, to be fair, there was stress, and an excuse.


You all read about a certain ultrasound scan, and cried.  A lot.

Anna got a promotion, and was again out of her depth (but in a good way), and started working crazy hours.  As in “I haven’t seen daylight for MONTHS” hours.

Clare had a blog-related meltdown, was informed by Anna and Aisling that it was actually ok to have a blog-related meltdown, and took three glorious weeks off.

It was Lucy Stendall’s 30th birthday and Aisling and Anna road-tripped it to Nottingham for cheese and swing-dancing.


Then, Anna had a blog-related meltdown, was informed by Aisling and Clare that it was actually okay to have a blog-related meltdown, and took three glorious weeks off.

Babies!  So many of you are having babies!  (Anna wanted to put a moratorium on all AOW readers having sex.  Aisling and Clare informed her this may be seen as unreasonable)

Clare spent the day before her 30th moaning and whining, eating macaroni cheese and crying about the unfairness of having to turn 30. And then she did, and it wasn’t so bad after-all.

Aisling and Anna spent the night before Clare’s 30th on WhatsApp telling Clare that eating three Mars Bar icecreams in a row was absolutely rational.


The moment we decided to take a step back and stop pushing the blog, due to aforementioned meltdowns, don’t you know it we got approached by some amazing sponsors.  As in high-pitched squealing amazing.  Don’t worry, it’s not changing around here, but it was good to know our hard work paid off and that we weren’t as rubbish at business as we’d thought.


Any Other Christmas Party involved an Elmo cupcake, dirty talk in a posh hotel, rum before midday and lots of love.

Bella, looking a natural drinking early-morning rum

There was an, ahem, slightly controversial post about motherhood,  responded to with nearly 300 comments.  That was beyond anything we could have imagined.

There was a hastily-put-together Any Other Dinner with some rank cocktail (about which Anna still has nightmares), brilliant conversation and a fight at the bar.  We know how to roll.

Aisling started maternity leave. She sends regular reports about it’s awesomeness, Anna’s favourite so far being, ‘No, I don’t know what day it is. Every day is Saturday since I stopped having to go to work’. If you need Aisling, she can be found on the sofa, under a duvet, cat in lap and Harry Potter in hand. It’s a hard life.

Then we had a well-deserved Christmas break.

And in amongst all of this, you guys were busy doing your own things too. You know who you are. You achieved huge things. You got married, got promotions, started blogs. You qualified, started new businesses, got pregnant, had babies. (As if supporting evidence were needed – our darling Rach and her wonderful husband welcomed the delicious Esme Mary into the world at 11pm on New Years Eve – there’s an awesome way to end the year, no?!) We were all there, cheering each other on. For some of you though, 2012 was a tough one. Redundancies, losses, miscarriages, break-down of relationships – we hope that the AOW community in one form or another was able to help in some way, to make things that bit easier to manage.

2012 has been a great year. Here’s to 2013 being an even better year for everyone in this wonderful community. Cheers!

Categories: Behind the Scenes at AOW
40 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    AOW makes the hard stuff a lot easier to handle and the good stuff a lot happier to share and celebrate.
    I just recently started commenting (though I had been reading and lurking in the background for a while), and now I can’t stop.
    Thanks for this space, thanks for the hard work you do, thanks for this community.
    And a happy new year to all of you, AOW staff and community. May 2013 bring on the magic.
    Cheers from The Netherlands.

  2. Mahj
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I love you guys. I love this blog. And I freakin love the AOW Community.

    That is all.


  3. Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I think in 2013 there should be less meltdowns. The sick is inevitable… But there should be more cupcakes and rum.
    And massive pants for all.

    • Vivienne
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      I have many pairs of massive pants – they are reassuringly comforting

      • Becca
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Disagree. When I wear massive pants I ooze out the side and bottom of them. Much better to be in small pants and just let it all hang out.

        • Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          HA! Love this comment :D
          OK, but massive pants are necessary when you’re wearing tights and double panting. Or if you’re body condom-ing!

          • Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

            It was only a matter of time before double panting was mentioned. I for one am sad it didn’t make the round up. Sob.

        • Katielase
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          Massive very loose comfy pants. I always buy pants at least one size bigger than I actually am. For the roominess.

          K x

          • Becca
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            If you buy your pants from M & S you can buy them in the right size because they are amazing pants. I only EVER buy pants from M & S because (a) they wash well and (b) they don’t go up my bottom.

            I even bought a special M & S pair on my wedding day because thats the one day you most definately don’t want to be pulling pants into comfortable places. You know what they say….you should just be a more glam version of you. Well I might be more glam but I’ll still be wearing a pair of £6 pants.

            • Katielase
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

              After all, there is nothing glam about a bridal wedgie (my moto when deciding on wedding undies)

              K x

              • Becca
                Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

                Did you go for M & S. Maybe we should have a bit on AOP where you add whether you wore big pants or not and whether or not it was a mistake #obsessed

                • Posted January 9, 2013 at 1:40 am | Permalink

                  The main thing I miss from the UK is M&S pants… don’t know where to get anything as wonderful over in Aus!

  4. Vivienne
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    It was quite a year huh? I foresee 2013 being another amazing journey for all of us! And I can’t think of a better group of women to share it all with

  5. Frances
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I love reading reviews of the year and found it really interesting and almost therapeutic to write my own! 2012 was one of my favourite years to date (obviously mainly because I discovered AOW of course).

    2013 is going to beat last year hands down though – although whose idea it was to change jobs, get married and aim to move house all in the space of a few months I don’t know…

  6. Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Love this post!

    (have to tell you though…there’s no such thing as a coxless 8. Health and safety and that. Sorry guys. )


  7. Peridot
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Happy New Year to everyone! And may it indeed contain many cakes (and thus by default, bigger knickers, sigh!)

  8. Posted January 8, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Ah sweet AOW love.

    What a year, indeed. Thank you all for being incredible friends, mentors, counsellors – I wrote ‘lovers’ but that is incorrect….

  9. Becca
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    This is my favourite blog on the interweb because its about people in real life – the highs, the lows and the lemon drizzle cake.

    Long may it continue.

    Didn’t get an email about #aowhd. Did I get culled or are we delaying and planning?

    • Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      and the lemon drizzle cake :)

    • Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      We will plan and send out an email. No one gets culled, ever!

      • Frances
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Does this mean what I think it does? I think I may need to join twitter simply for this…

        • Yanthé
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          Does one have to be getting married to come to #aowhd??

          • Becca
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            NO!!!! You can’t have a hen if its JUST brides. Non brides HAVE to come otherwise its not a proper hen do. Someone said it might even be THEMED.

            Please note the correct hashtag is #aowhd and not #aowhendo (#hashtagpolice)

            • Frances
              Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

              I keep reading #aowhendo as innuendo. Coincidence?

  10. Alice
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Yay AOW! Having been an avid reader for most of 2012, I plan to get a bit more involved with this wonderful community in 2013 – big blog love to you all xxx

  11. Katie
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to join the AOW love-in. Thank you Clare, Aisling and Anna, for such a brilliant blog.


  12. Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The other ladies have said it all really. AOW is my favourite place on the internet and 2012 was a brilliant year for the blog. Thank you for all the hard work. I forsee even bigger things in 2013, if that is possible, including the pants. And please schedule in your downtime like holidays from any other jobs this year, you deserve a break from our endless demands x

  13. Sharon
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Love this blog and the AOW community. You keep me sane. Roll on 2013 xxxx

  14. Katielase
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I love you all. Fact.

    Cannot wait to spend 2013 systematically meeting you all, shrieking about knickers, putting the world to rights and eating myself into a lemon drizzle cake coma. Bring. It. On.

    K x

  15. snowshep
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Oh AOW, how did I spend coffee breaks before I discovered you? One of my favourite people in the whole world (@cyclingbride) provided her AOP, and once I’d found your peachy pages, I had to go back and read ALL.THE.POSTS. Amazing!

    @Amanda: ‘AOW makes the hard stuff a lot easier to handle and the good stuff a lot happier to share and celebrate.’ That’s it, right there. The posts are talking about real things, in real, painful words, but having an extended (virtual) group of smart women talking about them, makes it seem more manageable. And the JOY in the good times is just palpable.

    @Bella: If you say ‘my lovers’ in a West Country accent, I think it sums it up about right …

    2013 is going to be good. It really is. Now, if I could just find a star trek-esque beaming device so that I could actually attend an AOW event, it would be even better.

    Much love AOWers, H x

  16. Yanthé
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I adore AOW for all the reasons already said above and long may it continue!

  17. Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Massive hugs to all. Love especially to Anna, Clare and Aisling for creating something incredibly beautiful and magical for so many of us xxxx

  18. Hannah
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    AOW is the highlight of my day. Fact.

    Keep up the fantastic work, ladies.


  19. Posted January 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    You all know I love you! AOW kept me sane in 2012, and in 2013 I hope for more sanity, more cake and one hell of an AOP :)

    • Katielase
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      There is a small chance I will pass out with excitement on Amy’s AOP day. Just a head’s up.

      K x

  20. Roz
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Just commenting to add my love!!! AOW is such a fabulous place, highs, lows, tears, laughter and such an amazing community. Anna, Clare and Aisling thank you and bring on 2013 :) xxx

  21. Steff
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Super late to this game, being on maternity leave apparently means I don’t even turn my computer on for the best part of 2 weeks!

    Couldn’t resist adding my tuppence worth though… love the round up, love the blog and love love love all you ladies, you’re amazing every single one of you. xx

  22. Kate G
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    AOW is a very special place. Creator Ladies: WOW. Your incredible hard work, honesty and committment to this space is inspiring and you should be immensely proud. AOW-ettes, Wow. You ladies are all amazing and this year I plan to lurk less and get more involved coz you are all frigging awesome, and I need more frigging awesome in my life after a year containg many meltdowns!

    AOW provides a place of safety for us to all just be, and that is quite simply, priceless.
    Heres to 2013 being even better for us all :)

    Big hugs from Oz.

  23. Posted January 9, 2013 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    2012 really was an awesome year – both hard and amazing. There was a comment on Anna’s “What 2012 Did” post (I think it was Becca…) about how AOW really came into it’s own in 2012 – I think that’s so true, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it develops/continues this year.

  24. Zan
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Didn’t get a chance to comment yday, but it’s pretty simple really – AOW is fab, you’re all fab, just carry on being fab :)

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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image by Lucy Stendall Photography

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