To see in the new year, we caught up with some well-known Kiwis to see how their 2018 went - from what they ate to who inspired them. Today, we stroll down memory lane with Sam Hayes

My guilty pleasure of 2018 was...

Crime thrillers. I love page turners and always read before I go to sleep, often late into the night. Stand out books include: The Other Wife by Michael Robotham, The Nowhere Child by Christian White and Until You're Mine by… wait for it… Samantha Hayes! A British author who shares my name and has to deal with many confusing tweets aimed at me but sent to her.

The highlight of my year was...Winning Dancing with the Stars with Aaron Gilmore. As I said at the time it was a beautiful surprise. I loved being on the show and sharing the experience with the other dancers and everyone who worked alongside us to get two live shows to air every week for 10 weeks. It was a one of a kind experience; challenging, exhausting and rewarding and to raise $120,000 for NZ Riding for the Disabled was yet another beautiful surprise.

But the lowlight was...Funnily enough, my highlight also led to my lowlight. After an adrenaline filled few months - I worked out afterwards I had worked 104 days in a row without a day off - I was exhausted. The come down after dancing live on TV each week was tough. I was physically and emotionally drained and took a couple of months to get back to my usual happy self. I took up mountain climbing which has helped a lot.


One thing I did/read/watched this year that made me feel smarter was....Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Ingrid Hipkiss (our Newshub weather presenter) loaned me her copy and I'm enthralled. I'm still reading it - in between my usual page-turner novels - and I'm looking forward to the next two from the same author; Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.

The most delicious thing I ate this year was...Whittakers Dark Salted Caramel chocolate. Yum.

My hero of 2018 was....My Mum. As always, she's my biggest supporter and I don't think I would have made it through the year without her. Love you Mum x