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I started this year living – existing – on a £10 a week food budget topped up with five items of food from the Storehouse food bank once a week. I ended it with a recipe book deal, baking biscuits on Woman’s Hour, with a Guardian column, a debate in the House of Commons and regular political and campaign pieces in the Daily Mirror. As I started to write this article, I thought there was no better way to do this than in photographs.
At the end of January, Xanthe Clay came over for the lunch that changed everything…

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…and in February I was offered the position of Trainee Journalist at the Southend Echo, my tiptoe into a career in journalism. I say career with my fingers crossed, here’s hoping!

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I’ve since had my work published in Observer Food Monthly, Independent, Daily Mirror, Red Magazine and The Guardian – not bad for an untrained journalist with four and a half GCSEs to her name and a three month stint at her local paper.

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I made new friends…

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…and said goodbye to one of the most inspiring women I have ever had the good fortune to meet, Hetty Bower.
I joined Child Poverty Action Group as an ambassador, and Oxfam, and worked alongside the Trussell Trust to raise awareness of food bank use in Britain.

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I’ve been in the news *a little bit*…

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…and even made some front pages…

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I came out of a closet that was practically transparent anyway, and was overwhelmed at the outpouring of support from my readers when I did so – Thankyou all so much for sticking with me.

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I stood up for kale against the odious overpaid twerp that is Richard Littlejohn, in a hastily typed response to an ill-judged and poorly researched smear campaign. He responded in a later article, saying my rebuttal was ‘hilarious’. Hmm. I’m still chomping on kale, and judging by my Twitter feed, so are a lot of other people. Viva la pesto!

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I’ve written a book, and am now halfway through the draft of my second.

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…and because life doesn’t always go to plan, this happened too:

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I’ve spoken at the Houses of Parliament (twice!), at Green Party conference, Labour Party conference, Conservative Party conference, South London People’s Assembly, Urban Expression and countless other public meetings.

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Oh, and this happened…

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…and these award thingies happened: Fortnum and Mason, Red Magazine and the YMCA, and was short listed for the Guardian Person Of The Year, Groucho Maverick Award, and the Telegraph’s Britons Of The Year.

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And I raised £3,000 doing the Live Below The Line challenge for Oxfam, and £3,000 for sleeping rough in a car park for a night to raise money for the YMCA. I’ll be doing both of these challenges again in 2014, and hope some of my readers will join me!

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And with the help of the Daily Mirror, Unite, Change.org and the Trussell Trust, this happened…

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And finally…

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And this is all very nice and all very bizarre – but really I’ve just been getting on with what I love, day after day. I don’t really have a plan; I’m just saying yes to the things I can fit in my diary that I think I can do, cooking, blogging, reading, writing, campaigning, exploring, and always learning. (And running for the hills any time anyone mentions a TV series, honestly, I’m far too shy. It would take a lot of persuasion.)
So only new years resolutions are to carry on saying yes, and to learn to play the guitar that has moved house with me 12 times, had 2 new sets of strings, and still can’t do much more than D, C, and E. I don’t know when I’ll fit this in but I’ll give it a go!
And I also have some pretty big new news – but there’ll be a separate blog post for that…
Thanks all of you for riding this year out with me – here’s to the next one and all of the adventures that it will bring. Starting with a Sainsburys advert, a trip to Africa, and a book launch. I think that’s enough to be getting on with!
Jack Monroe.
Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

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