2020 review

2019 review. All annual reviews.

Highlights of 2020

  • Marco Polo with friends and family overseas. Watching a new baby grow up through video calls. My friend's regular updates of the geese that roam her neighbourhood.
  • Austin Kleon's blog. Reading about existential philosophy.
  • Clouds and Thorns. WILD. Happy music. Pop music with lots of banjo.
  • Digging out my fountain pens again. Hobonichi Weeks. Sticky notes. Felt tip pens and brush pens. Copic markers.
  • Learning a bit of Danish. And Swedish. And Norwegian.
  • Home gym. Exercising every day (for a while). Seeing my body change. My regular gym routine before the pandemic hit.
  • Expert doctors for specific needs. Getting to know the receptionists at the different doctor's offices. Becoming a regular at the chemist. Making progress on health issues and feeling better.
  • Cooking BA's best parma for Josh's birthday dinner and not screwing it up.
  • In-jokes and references with Josh. Rewatching Rick & Morty. Reminiscing about The Hollowmen.
  • Books I couldn't put down even if they weren't actually very good. Enjoying reading again. Supporting Kobo because a duopoly is (slightly) better than a monopoly.
  • Going to the Australian Open with my sister and my mum. Time spent with my mum at the tennis and brunch and dinner. Mum loving my baking and encouraging me to do it more.
  • Making bread before it was pandemic-cool (ciabatta, not sourdough, though). Making BA's best choc chip biscuits over and over and over again.
  • Video calls with my little sister. Being impressed at her modern, liberal, woke values. Being proud of her for being open-minded.
  • Learning to like hospital formula Sustagen, chocolate flavour, made with hot milk, and looking forward to it when I couldn't eat enough. Being told to eat whatever I wanted at my first dietitian appointment.
  • Composting. Seeing worms show up as the dirt changed.
  • Seeing Vic Socialists popping up in our local area. Seeing more people pushing for socialist policies as the pandemic laid bare the inequalities in our society.
  • Working with SwiftUI. Working on Apple Watch apps and iOS 14 widgets. Answering questions for women learning iOS.
  • Letting my toes breathe. Walking barefoot. Avoiding the squeeze of normal shoes and socks when I can. CorrectToes (braces for your feet).
  • How quiet the streets got during lockdown. Seeing everyone in masks the day it became mandatory. The family across the road playing in their front yard when the kid couldn't go to school during lockdown. The aggressiveness of our government to flatten the curve.
  • AFL with realistic fake crowd noise. Eerily quiet AFL before they had fake crowd noise. Hearing the players talk to each other because it was so quiet.
  • Nerd Nite with friends before lockdown.
  • Scandinavian TV: Beforeigners, Norsemen, Caliphate, BΓ€st i Test, Stormester, Kongen Befaler. Watching enough Scandinavian shows to start recognising the actors.
  • Mike Lowery's drawings. Katrin Wiehle's drawings. Drawing in Procreate on my iPad Pro with a Paperlike screen cover. Drawing on paper again. Posca paint pens.
  • Personal blogs. RSS. Spending hours in the archives of new blogs I discovered this year.
  • Animal documentaries, especially Australian-specific ones.
  • Orangutans! Oranguton Jungle School. Big Boy Beni.
  • Hankies. So many hankies I have one in the pocket of every pair of pants, and still have spares.
  • Growing my hair. Sticking it out through the boredom and frustration without giving in and cutting it.
  • Bizarre foreign TV like Running Man from Korea. UK panel shows. Lots of documentaries.
  • Painting my nails.
  • Learning maths again. Algebra practice.
  • TikToks on Twitter. Hilarious parody songs.

The good and bad

(Inspired by Stefan Vetter's review format)

πŸ‹οΈβ€β™€οΈ Health and fitness

πŸ’ͺ Cancelled my gym membership and set up a home gym

πŸ’ͺ Some periods of super-consistent daily exercise

πŸ‘Ž Some irritating-but-not-serious health issues started just before our first lockdown in March and became the focus of much of the year

πŸ’ͺ Lost a few kilos and saw my muscles start to show themselves. A nice pay-off from all my workouts

πŸ‘Ž Motivation for exercise (as well as everything else) tanked towards the end of the year

πŸ’» Work

πŸ’ͺ Shipped a work-related side project

πŸ‘Ž Continued stress about Apple's unfair and inconsistently-enforced rules

πŸ’ͺ A glimmer of hope in seeing anti-trust cases brought against Apple

πŸ’ͺ Improved my understanding of SwiftUI and increased my confidence of working with it

πŸ’ͺ Played with Jetpack Compose a little, and found it easy to pick up based on my understanding of SwiftUI

πŸ‘‹ Friends and community

πŸ’ͺ Reconnected with friends and family overseas

πŸ’ͺ Small progress in developing existing relationships

πŸ‘Ž Didn't make any real-life new friends

πŸ’ͺ Answered questions for some women learning iOS development

πŸ’ͺ Did make a couple of potential online friends

πŸ’ͺ Volunteered at a CocoaHeads meetup while IRL events were still happening

🎡 Music

πŸ’ͺ Spent more time learning a little bit of piano

πŸ’ͺ Started learning clawhammer technique for ukulele

πŸ‘Ž The rental period on my drum kit ran out and I returned them, but haven't bought my own kit yet

πŸ‘Ž No live gigs, thanks to lockdown

πŸ€Έβ€β™€οΈ Hobbies and learning

πŸ’ͺ Spent more time drawing

πŸ’ͺ Spent time learning languages (mainly Swedish, and a little French and Danish)

πŸ’ͺ Read more books

πŸ’° Money

πŸ’ͺ More savings

πŸ’ͺ Slightly better at holding off on impulse purchases

πŸ‘Ž Spent a lot more on medical/health-related purchases

πŸ‘ Best things I did this year

  1. Made a lot of progress on a personal side project
  2. Took control of my health and got the help I needed
  3. Put more time and effort into connecting with others

πŸ˜“ Biggest challenges

  1. Continued existential dread
  2. Health issues
  3. Work stress


βœ–οΈ Make a web app

I didn't work on any web programming this year. I'd still like to learn more about it in future, but it's not a top priority right now.

βœ–οΈ Pass a Danish test

When we had to cancel our trip to Europe due to the pandemic I stopped practising Danish.

βœ”οΈ Make an Apple Watch app

I haven't launched this yet, but I have a very basic watch app done for a side project I'm working on.

βœ–οΈ Book orthodontist appointment

Dentists were closed except for emergencies for most of the year, so I didn't end up even getting a checkup all year. But I plan to get this done in 2021.

βœ–οΈ Master the E chord on ukulele

I did practise this some, but I didn't make it a priority and didn't make a lot of progress.

βœ”οΈ Take a drum lesson

βœ–οΈ Give a talk

I did start planning out a couple of ideas for talks, and made a whole draft of one, but didn't get further than that.

βœ”οΈ Grow a plant

I grew some parsley!

βœ–οΈ Master one type of food/recipe

I didn't end up doing much baking or cooking this year at all, let alone trying new recipes. But I did try making a chicken parma from scratch that turned out well, and will definitely keep that recipe in my arsenal in future.

βœ”οΈ Enquire about local women's AFL

I joined a training session for our local team in January, but I didn't enjoy it too much. It was all a bit overwhelming for me! The team members were really nice and supportive of each other (and me), though, which made for a nice experience.

βœ”οΈ Try a local co-working space

The one I tried was okay, but there wasn't a lot of community vibe there, which is what I was looking for.

βœ”οΈ Get more involved with CocoaHeads

I volunteered at one of the few IRL meetups early in the year and had a good time. Once events are able to run again I'd like to keep attending and volunteer some more.

βœ–οΈ 1 unassisted pull-up

I did work on this some, but I didn't focus on it entirely and didn't make a huge amount of progress.

Favourite media



I love David Tennant in pretty much anything, but this lockdown-based video-call show was a fun meta series to watch during the pandemic, and I look forward to more of it.

Feel Good

This show wasn't amazing, but it was one that stuck with me for a long time after it finished.


This is one of my favourite shows EVER. I remember watching the first episode sceptically, thinking it was bizarre and maybe not for me, but by the end of that episode I was hooked and now I've watched most of the spin-off seasons from other countries, too.


An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

I knew almost nothing about Bipolar before reading this book. It's a memoir of someone dealing with Bipolar, but since she's also a doctor and researcher, there's plenty of that side of the illness described as well.

Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah

I read a couple of pandemic/disease books this year, but this one was my favourite.

Thanks for reading! I love reading personal annual (and monthly) reviews, so if you wrote one too, I'd love to read it. Send it to me on Twitter at @bellebcooper.