Wrapping Up 2023

2023 scrolling out to the left, 2024 scrolling in from the right

I’ve held off publishing a “year in review” post until now because, to be honest, towards the end of last year I wasn’t feeling too optimistic about the state of the web. Normally I like to end the year with a (mostly) upbeat reflection on my experiences, and on new developments in CSS. But for the first time, I feel a sense of trepidation for my chosen profession, and the industry as a whole. It seems every week the headlines are filled with new ways that companies are using AI to exploit workers and fill the web with soulless marketing soup. Additionally, I’ve seen several friends and acquaintances laid off this year, and I have a feeling that trend might continue a while yet. It’s taken a bit of the shine of my enthusiasm for the web, even to the point of questioning whether my chosen profession is still where I want to be.

Thankfully a few weeks downtime and reflection (read: parenting and clearing out several years worth of junk from my house) has left with me with a renewed enthusiasm for creativity and coding, even though it comes with a healthy dose of skepticism (or cynicism?) for the tech industry. So let’s proceed with a belated 2023 in review, and a little peek into 2024...

Personal achievements

Let’s start with some positives, shall we? I’m proud to have met a few personal goals this year.

Learning to drive

I passed my driving test (on the first attempt, if you’ll allow me to brag a little 😊)! My goal was to learn by the time I turn 40, so I’m well within that window. I still don’t like driving, and begrudge the fact that I have to, but it means I can take my son places without relying on friends and family for lifts.

No new clothes in 2023

I set myself the goal of buying no new clothes (except socks and underwear) for myself for a whole year. This is mainly for environmental reasons — the fashion industry is incredibly polluting and exploitative. Happily I achieved that goal, although I did buy a few things from charity shops and secondhand sites. I also allowed myself to buy new clothes for my son and husband. Next year I’ll try to keep to the same goal, but also aim to source more of my son’s clothes secondhand.

Reading instead of doom scrolling

I made a conscious effort to read more books and be less online this year, in part because I wanted to model positive behaviour for my son. It’s been difficult at times as the allure of the screen is strong, and there have been plenty of days when I’ve fallen prey to it. But I’m definitely heading in the right direction. I’ve certainly read more books than the previous year, and feel better for it. One of my favourite books I read this year was The Ship by Antonia Honeywell. I’m a sucker for dystopian sci-fi, and this is right up my street.


I learnt to play Cherub Rock, one of my favourite Smashing Pumpkins songs, on the drums! 🤘 I also joined a band! We mostly play 90s grunge covers. It’s a pretty casual affair, but really nice to play with others again.


I spoke at three events in 2023: Beyond Tellerand in Düsseldorf, All Day Hey in Leeds, and Smashing Meets Goes Green, an online event. These were all great conferences. Beyond Tellerand had an awesome, inspiring mix of talks that went beyond code, into various other realms of creativity. All Day Hey had a fantastic atmosphere, and really great talks for front end developers and others working on the web. It was my first time in Leeds, which seems like a very cool city.

It was also the first time I gave a full-length talk on web sustainability, and I really enjoyed preparing that talk. My only regret was agreeing to give two completely different talks at two events within such a short space of time. It definitely made the preparation a little stressful!

I gave an updated version of that talk at Smashing Meets Goes Green, and was really pleased with how it went. I normally find online events a bit more stressful, but this one went without a hitch (from my perspective), and I thought the format of two talks followed by a panel discussion worked really well. It was a very enjoyable event.

In June I was back at CSS Day in Amsterdam, this time as an MC (alongside Adam Argyle). I have to say, it was great to be able to enjoy all the talks without stressing about my own! It’s got to be one of my favourite conferences, everyone there is so enthusiastic about CSS. My kind of people! It was great to see a whole lot of familiar faces, and meet some internet friends (especially Miriam Suzanne and Stephanie Eckles) for the first time.

I also got to attend State of the Browser and FF Conf. They had some of my favourite conference talks of the year:

Conferences in 2024

In 2024 you’ll find me speaking at Middlesbrough Front End, and Pixel Pioneers in my (sort of) home city of Bristol. I’ll be speaking about CSS, although I wouldn’t mind giving my web sustainability talk somewhere. Give me a shout if you have an event you think it would suit!


I’m writing fewer long-form CSS articles on CSS { IRL } these days, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing about CSS. I wrote several articles for MDN in 2023, and hope to continue with a few more this year. I was particularly proud of Introduction to Web Sustainability, as I feel it’s really important to bring these ideas to a wider audience.


November was National Blog Posting Month, and I managed to publish something every day! This is the first time I’ve done it, and I don’t know if I’d do it again. But it was surprisingly enjoyable, and got me out of a bit of a rut by forcing myself to publish something every day. Sometimes the best creativity is forced creativity 😆 I plan to channel some of that energy and be less hesitant about publishing in 2024.

Work stuff

It’s been rewarding to work on the Windscope platform with the Ada Mode team, and finally see it being used by paying customers. Although it’s a small team, I’m enjoying the mix of design, planning and development work that the job allows me. I don’t have any grand work ambitions for 2024, other than growing my data viz arsenal.

Looking ahead

I’m not one to set out huge goals and resolutions — I prefer to keep it small and manageable. Beyond what we’ve already covered, I have a couple of aims for 2024:

Web sustainability

I hope to continue to be active in the web sustainability community and further educate myself in this area. There are a tonne of people doing fantastic work here. I’ll try to publish what I learn on this blog.

Disable the cookies

One small goal for 2024 is to disable cookies (if possible) on every site I visit. Like many people, I’ve become a lot more privacy-conscious and less trusting of tech companies these days. It feels like a tiny strike in the war against the enshittification of the web.

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