As I did last year, I thought it was about time I attempted to summarise my 2006 before embracing 2007 in a couple of days time. I find it slightly cathartic, sometimes embarrassing, but mostly fun to ponder on the past year. Where have I been, what did I do and who did I do it with? This was confirmed just now when reviewing this same post from last year.

So without futher ado, I’ll get on with it.

2006: Early on

The year started on a bit of a downer really. I’d bust my wrist and was in the middle of another flare from the damn Colitis. But, a few weeks later and a vastly improved wrist, it was possibly the highlight of mine and Emma’s year; the week in the Alps snowboarding. This year it was Les Arcs in France and over three feet in powder. Heavenly.

Freelance work was once again picking up and the balance between that and the day job were beginning to get difficult. During this time I also left 9rules.

The highlight of the early part of the year was without doubt SXSW. I enjoyed the panel I sat on with Jason, Khoi, Toni and Liz. It was great to finally meet so many people who I’d only ever read blog posts from. I promise this coming year, I won’t be quite so jet-lagged.

2006: The Middle Bit

The middle bit got off to an exciting start in April. Emma and I travelled to Australia again for a friends wedding in Perth. Whilst there, I gave a talk to those fine folks at Port 80 along with John Allsopp. From Perth, Emma and I spent time in Cairns (in a Hurricane no less) for a week before heading to Sydney to visit old friends a spend a little time in Manly (where we lived for six months).

May brought a redesign (or should it be realign?) of It’s interesting to go back through the comments six months later actually and revisit some of the issues. I may actually do a slight update to address some of issues after living with the design for six months.

It was during this time, I was involved in being a design reviewer for Andy Clarke’s new book; Transcending CSS. It is a credit to Andy, Molly and Peachpit that they decided to expand the remit of a technical reviewer to include a design reviewer as well (given the nature of Andy’s new book). It goes without saying it is an outstanding piece of work. Don’t take my word for it though. Buy it.

June was of course time for a bigger and better @media. Once again, meeting up with friends was the order of the day (and the excellent presentations of course). The football was also, er, satisfactory. I think I’ll carry the look on Colly’s face with me to the grave.

The tail end of The Middle Bit brought the big news; my resignation from the BBC. It was not an easy decision. Given an illness which will be with me for the rest of my life, an uncertain local industry in Wales and several other personal issues, it took about six months of thinking to come around to the idea. But, in July, I handed my resignation in and I would leave a month later for a holiday in Portugal before beginning trading as Mark Boulton Design. Was I scared? Yep. Petrified.

That brings me on to the last few months.

2006: The last few months

Following our return from Portugal, things thankfully got off to a busy start. I began work for my previous employer on a health portal for BBC Wales’ autumn health season.

In the middle of all the work was my first Britpack Geekend to the birthplace of the Industrial revolution; Ironbridge. It was refreshing to chat to that circle of friends outside of a conference context. There was good food, fireworks, some great letterpress printing and a strange game called Werewolf.

Then it was onto a redesign of a News and Entertainments website; Monsters and Critics. From there, things pretty much snowballed. Mark Boulton Design is currently involved in some exciting projects for some great clients. I’m doing some work for a software company in Bristol, an airline, a prestigious publisher and a UI consultancy in Spain on an exciting Drupal project. And then, there’s the new book…

Next year?

Well, selfishly, hopefully I’ll continue to remain pretty healthy. I’ve got a couple of speaking engagements lined up. But first, I’ve got to get this book released.

Thanks for reading and your continued support through the past, rather hectic, year. Here’s to 2007…