Yearly Round Up

Saying goodbye to 2016.

Oh blog, how I’ve neglected you. Just one post in 2016, my look back at 2015. I spent much of 2016 wondering whether I’d ever come back to blogging, but it turns out I’m just not ready to stop yet so I’m starting January with plans and already written posts in a hope that in blogging terms at least a new year will bring a new me.

Before I get completely new though it’s time for me to do my annual look back post and say a proper goodbye to 2016 (previous years’ can be found here).

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I did a resort holiday solo, I visited San Francisco, I attended YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention), I learned how to do papercutting and rag rugging and how to make flowers from felt, and I was part of a team that taught people to knit at the same time as yarnbombing a phonebox.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next this year?
I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions. I did choose a word for the year – Create – and while I didn’t create as broadly as I’d hoped to I definitely kept in mind throughout the year. I’ve chosen a word for 2017, more on that tomorrow.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, my cousin and his wife had a little girl, and one of my oldest school friends had a little boy.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
This year no one close to me died, but sadly many people close to me lost loved ones.

5. What countries did you visit?
I was very lucky in 2016 in terms of travel. I went to America, to spend a week in San Francisco, and I went to Mallorca for a week. Both holidays were wonderful, very different from one another but both very loved.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
More time with my family. This year I really felt the distance between us and I hope in 2017 to be able to spend far more time with them.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I’m not sure there are any actually.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
It’s been a pretty quiet year in terms of achievement I think – it’s been more a year of carrying on with everything and steadily improving. There’s certainly no stand out thing.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Still not answering this one!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
This year was, for me, a pretty healthy and safe one. I did start the year with Hand, Foot and Mouth which was a pretty sore and itchy week, but after that it was pretty easy going.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My holidays, and my craft workshops. All experiences which I appreciated so much.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, and travel.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Attending YALC this year was really exciting. In previous years I’ve always had prior commitments that have meant I had to just enjoy all the tweets and photos, so being able to go in person was brilliant. I had such a lovely weekend catching up with friends I don’t get to see anywhere near often enough.

14. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Just Hold On by Louis Tomlinson and Steve Aoki, a release from the very end of the year but a song I love very dearly.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
These questions have never bothered me before, but this year they do. I’m not sure comparing the years in this way is particularly helpful for me (and I’m definitely done with questions about weight) so these are joining the question on failure in my I won’t answer that column.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Seen my family more, seen friends more, read more, written more, made more. Just generally done more of the things that make me happy.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Like last year commuting is the thing that comes straight to mind. Spending a couple of hours a day on buses, trains and tubes feels like such an inefficient use of time.

18. Did you fall in love in 2016?
No. But I did spend a lot of time thinking about love, about romantic love, about family love and about friendship love.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
20. What was the best book you read?
21. What was your favorite film of this year?
So, so many of all of these. Next year round ups will be part of my December blogging for sure.

22. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
It was my birthday two days ago, I turned 34. I spent the day seeing family members, and went out for a wonderful lunch with my parents. It was quiet but filled with so much love.

23. What kept you sane?
Making things, and my friends. This year I reconnected with an old friend and she introduced me to new friends, and I really don’t know where I’d be without her and them.

24. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Like always there are too many candidates to choose a ‘most’.

25. Who did you miss?
When I was away from my family I missed them, when I was away from friends I missed them. And like always I missed those family members no longer here.

26. Who was the best new person you met?
I can’t possibly choose a single one. There have been some brilliant additions to my life this year and I value them all.

Yearly Round Up

Closing the door on 2015.

Last year I really dropped the ball when it came to blogging. The first part of the year was spent pretty much non-stop job hunting, and then once I’d found a job moving and starting to settle into life in London. The energy drain all this caused meant that some things in my life had to slide and blogging was one of them. To the point actually where I wondered whether it was time to accept that blogging was no longer something I wanted to find the energy for. After much thinking I’ve decided I do want to still find the energy to blog, and I want to find my voice here once again – I want to work out what I have to say, and the best way to say it.

First things first, I didn’t complete my annual round up of 2015 and that doesn’t sit well. I’ve done it for the last few years here (2014, 2013, 2012) and so I’ve decided to do it belatedly in the interests of completeness and consistency!

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
I moved to London and took the first step to forge a career in university administration.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next this year?
No, these were more things that slipped by the wayside. I did however maintain 2014’s focus on looking for the positives and being grateful for the small things.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not this year though there are already a few babies expected this year so 2016’s round up will be pretty different on this score!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
This year we sadly lost my dad’s cousin, a wonderful man who we were all very close to.

5. What countries did you visit?
In 2015 I travelled to Antigua to watch my oldest friend marry the man she loves. It was a truly wonderful holiday, our resort was like a little slice of paradise, and it was made all the better for the event.

Reception cocktails, as the sun is starting to set over the Carribean sea.
Reception cocktails, as the sun is starting to set over the Carribean sea.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
More energy – on top of the challenge moving posed to my existing health issues I managed to develop another, temporary, issue that has attacked my already poor energy levels. So I hope that as I get completely better from this new short-term challenge I’ll see my energy pick back up again. I’d also like to have more usable time, I think improving energy will also boost how much time I have in my day to devote to the things I love.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
11th April – the day I moved to London, 13th April – the day I started my job.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Seeing my dream of finding a job I enjoyed and relocating to London for it become a reality.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Nope, another year on I still hate this question and refuse to devote time thinking about it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Illness, well my on-going stuff plus my new, minor and short term issue. Injury, yes I fractured my finger by squishing it between two boats. The sort of injury only someone with my lack of grace and coordination can manage I fear.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My Big Shot die cutting machine. 2015 has seen me start to explore paper craft and buying a die cutting machine was a big part of that. It’s completely expanded my crafting repertoire and I have so much more to learn and try.

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12. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, and of course my trip to Antigua.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Moving to London and being in the same city as so many good friends, the trip to Antigua, becoming a guide parent to Tom and Ollie, the NineWorlds convention…loads of things really.

14. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Take Me To Church by Hozier, A Life That’s Good by the Nashville cast (the On the Record live version in particular).

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?
Happier, much happier.

b) thinner or fatter?
About the same.

c) Richer or poorer?
About the same.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Always to have spent more time with the people I love most, in moving closer to some I’ve moved further away from others and so the balance remains one I have to carefully juggle.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Commuting. It’s a necessary evil, I just wish it didn’t eat up a couple of hours of every work day!

18. Did you fall in love in 2015?
No.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
20. What was the best book you read?
21. What was your favorite film of this year?

I’m grouping these together and using the same cop out answer, I have far too many to choose from for each of these. Stories in all their forms, text and visual, are still my favouritething and this year I’ve consumed hundreds and loved dozens and dozens.

22. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 33. I spent a lot of the day road tripping with my parents, first to London to drop off my stuff after Christmas, and then to Bournemouth to see my awesome friends Sarah and Al, and their amazing boys Charlie, Tom and Ollie. We had a Chinese takeaway, the boys helped me unwrap my pressies, and it was all just chilled and perfect.

23. What kept you sane?
Friends, crafting, stories.

24. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
That list is just too long.

25. Who did you miss?
Adjusting to having moved to London meant I spent a lot of time missing a lot of people to some extent or another.

26. Who was the best new person you met?
I met loads of wonderful people for the first time at NineWorlds, it’s hard to pick a single best.

Yearly Round Up

2014 round up.

Time to say goodbye to 2014 with my annual yearly round up.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I graduated from university with first class honours (my previous degree was not such a good result), I earned my Wood Beads in Scouting

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I changed my first nappy (and then continued to practice that skill on and off through the rest of the year), and I fed lorikeets.
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2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next this year?

Rather than making specific resolutions I tried instead to make a couple of broader changes to my life – focusing on the positives and being more grateful for the small things. I think these have had a really good impact on me, I’m happier with the person I am finishing the year. For the coming year I’m going to try something a bit different again – I’ll be blogging about that some time tomorrow.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, my good friends Sarah and Al added lovely twin boys Thomas and Oliver to their family that already included adorable toddler Charlie.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, this year was thankfully free of any close losses.

5. What countries did you visit?

Like last year Wales was the furthest I went from England, visiting Aberystwyth twice. This coming year is definitely going to be better, I have one trip abroad booked and the beginning of plans for a second.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

2015 will be the year I find a full time job in London and get to move closer to many of the important people in my life. I will also finish the book that I’m writing – a finished book is something I would really like.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

18th July, the day I graduated. 5th September, the day Thomas and Oliver were born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Definitely completing my degree and graduating with first class honours.

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9. What was your biggest failure?

Many things went differently to the way I’d expected or wanted them to, but I can’t say any of them were failures. I’m not sure how much I like this question in any case – failure’s a word I don’t feel very comfortable with.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

2014 was another blissful year of just ticking over. I had a few minor things, mainly related to my Hypermobility Syndrome, but they were all very manageable and had no lengthy impact upon me.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

These answers seem to follow a theme, last year I answered my iPad and this year I have to say my laptop. It saw me through many assignments and my dissertation, has seen many blog posts and thousands of story words written, many hours of Netflix streamed and much more.

12. Where did most of your money go?

University expenses.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Seeing my lovely friend Liz de Jager’s first two books Banished and Vowed published. I know just how hard she’s worked to achieve her dream of being a published author so seeing all that hard work pay off was brilliant.

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14. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons, Pompeii – Bastille, and of course Happy – Pharrell Williams and Let it Go – Idina Menzel.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

Happier, much happier.

b) thinner or fatter?

Thinner.

c) Richer or poorer?

Poorer.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

There are people I wish I’d been able to see more of, but I know this year I’ll be able to make this happen. I also wish I’d spent more time reading, but at various times this year it either hasn’t been possible or just hasn’t clicked for me.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying about things that are actually of minimal importance. I got much better at letting go of things as the year progressed, hopefully I can continue this in 2015.

18. Did you fall in love in 2014?

No.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

So, so many including; Orange is the New Black, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Walking Dead, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, How to Get Away With Murder, The Flash, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Nashville, Teen Wolf, Supernatural, and Arrow. There will be so many I haven’t thought of on that list – between the steady stream of new and continuing shows on the telly and a subscription to Netflix I’m a very content tv lover.

20. What was the best book you read?

I find this question even harder than the TV one! This year was my worst reading year for a while, I read fewer books than I have in recent years though I was pretty good at walking away from books I wasn’t reading. Favourite books included; Better Nate Than Ever – Kevin Federle, Far From You – Tess Sharpe, Trouble – Non Pratt, Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel, Shadowboxer – Tricia Sullivan, Vowed and Banished – Liz de Jager, Starring Kitty – Keris Stainton, and Gracefully Grayson – Ami Polonsky. My absolute favourites though were the Marked Man series by Jay Crownover, I read the first four this year and loved them all dearly.

21. What was your favorite film of this year?

I didn’t see so many films this year, my favourite is an easy answer – Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

22. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

It was my 32nd birthday on Tuesday. Whereas I normally start my birthday with my family and then go to London to see friends I did it the opposite way round this year – I went to London on Monday and had a lovely time with Gemma including a theatre trip to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and then travelled home to spend the rest of the day with family.

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23. What kept you sane?

Same as last year – good friends, crafting, gallons of tea, the Beavers.

24. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

That list is just too long.

25. Who did you miss?

My maternal grandparents. There were many times this year when I wanted to see them, talk to them and had to be okay with the fact that I no longer could.

26. Who was the best new person you met?

Not one person but two. Thomas and Oliver, who’ve already had a couple of mentions in this post. They’re utterly lovely bundles of wonderfulness.

Yearly Round Up

2013 End of the Year Meme.

Time for my annual end of year meme. I decided against doing round up lists this year, the questions in this will suffice.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Attended a District Beaver Scout sleepover. The idea of a sleepover for 150 6-8 year olds was a little daunting but it was an amazing experience and one I’ll remember for a long time. Attended a prom at the Royal Albert Hall, the Doctor Who prom to be precise – one of the best live experiences I’ve ever had.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next this year?

I didn’t make any this year but I’m considering a couple of sweepingly general ones for next year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

After lots of babies towards the end of 2012 this year was new baby free.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, in September my wonderful grandad died.

5. What countries did you visit?

Other than a 24 hour visit to Aberystwyth and a weekend in Cardiff I didn’t leave England this year. I’m hoping to do better next year.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Last year I said I wanted a completed degree and job in 2013. Due to bureaucratic rubbish I didn’t manage the former, and despite my best efforts the latter has not been forthcoming either. So for 2014 my wishes are the same, I hope to finish my degree as quickly as possible now, and to find a first professional post.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

13th September, the day my grandad died.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
9. What was your biggest failure?

Like last year I don’t really feel like I’ve achieved or failed in anything this year, I’ve just carried on.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing major, a few minor quibbles and the usual irritations that come as part and parcel of my Hypermobility Syndrome.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My iPad, both because it’s been incredibly well used and because I paid for it using money I received from various family members for my 30th birthday.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Tuition fees.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Two things spring to mind, both Doctor Who related. Getting to go into the TARDIS set was an amazing day and a truly wonderful experience, and attending the Doctor Who prom completely revitalised my love for the show, its soundtrack and its fandom.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

That this question is so difficult to answer compared with last year makes me very sad. I attended the Doctor Who prom which was amazing, but I don’t think I have one song that’ll make me think of the year.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

A little sadder, but full of hope for happiness in the new year.

b) thinner or fatter?

Thinner.

c) Richer or poorer?

Poorer.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time with friends, no matter how much time I get to spend with friends it’s never enough. And this year I have to say reading, I had a few months where I didn’t manage to get through many books at all and it was most unpleasant.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Frittering time away. Over the last few months I’ve tried to be more mindful about how I use my time, it’s definitely a work in progress.

18. Did you fall in love in 2013?

No.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

So, so many including; Chicago Fire, The Walking Dead, Broadchurch, Sleepy Hollow, Sons of Anarchy, Nashville, Teen Wolf, Supernatural, Defiance and Arrow. I also finally got to love Justified, it took until season 4 but finally I clicked with it and saw why people loved it as much as they do. A special mention must also go to Wizards Vs Aliens, its second series was such a wonderful example of storytelling for children done right.

20. What was the best book you read?

Always a really tough question. Pantomime by Laura Lam, Sorrowline by Niel Bushnell, Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan, the Lynburn Legacy books by Sarah Rees Brennan, The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black and This is What Happy Looks Like by Jen E Smith were all books I enjoyed loads. I loved the Pushing the Limits series by Katie McGarry but I think the best book I read this year was Something Like Normal by Trish Dollar. I loved so much about it, I couldn’t bring myself to review it despite having written a couple of pages of notes once I finished reading, I knew there were no words to do it justice.

21. What was your favorite film of this year?

Thinking just about cinema trips, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Despicable Me 2, Much Ado About Nothing, Fast and Furious 6 and Thor 2. I think my favourite cinema trip though was to see Pacific Rim, a film that absolutely lived up to my hopes and expectations.

22. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

It was my birthday yesterday, I was 31. After seeing family in the morning I went to London and saw Coriolanus with friends.

23. What kept you sane?

Friends, crafts, tea, Beavers.

24. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

There are far too many to even begin thinking of narrowing it down to just one.

25. Who did you miss?

Same as last year, friends I didn’t manage to see enough of, there are so many I only managed to see a couple of times over the course of the year.

26. Who was the best new person you met?

Finally an easy question. Charlie, the son of close friends. He was born at the end of 2012 but I didn’t get to meet him until the beginning of this year. He’s awesome, and I’ve had lots of fun playing with him on my visits throughout the year.

Yearly Round Up

2012 in review.

CalenderAfter having a wonderful 30th birthday yesterday it’s time to turn my attention back to it being the end of the year, and posting my year in review meme entry. I thought I’d done this meme in the last couple of years but I think it must have been on my old blog instead, that blog doesn’t exist any more so sadly I can’t credit where I first saw the meme – if anyone remembers it please let me know so I can give appropriate credit.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

Went to a couple of Doctor Who conventions, ate Thai food, read digital comics.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next this year?

I didn’t make any, I did however fail miserably at my Things Before 30 list which seemed like a good idea at the time but faded over the year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, November and December saw the births of Paula, George and Charlie – the children of a cousin and of close friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

5. What countries did you visit?

Does Wales count? Spent a lot of time visiting there! Also the USA for my New York holiday.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

A completed degree, a job as a librarian.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Specific dates? Not sure there are any, though there are lots of moments I’ll remember even if I don’t remember which date they happened.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
9. What was your biggest failure?

I’m answering these together because it doesn’t really feel like 2012 was a year of either big achievements or failures, I’m partway through my degree so it was a year of just carrying on.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing major, obviously continued to experience my usual health issues but didn’t have anything new.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Convention tickets, this year I went to three conventions and each was a wonderful weekend.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Rent and tuition fees.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
NYPL
My holiday to New York, especially getting to eat proper pizza and cheesecake and visiting the New York Public Library.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?

Good question, probably two of the songs I saw Brian Nutter perform at Con-2 – his cover of Pink Houses by John Mellencamp (which was a duet with Christian Kane) and his song Red Sundress.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

Happier.

b) thinner or fatter?

A little thinner.

c) richer or poorer?

Poorer.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time with friends, writing.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Watching rubbish shows in the hope they might improve.

18. Did you fall in love in 2012?

Yes, with the Avengers film and cast.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

My favourites were; Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, Arrow, Elementary, Chicago Fire, Castle, and more.

20. What was the best book you read?

I loved so many, but particularly A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne, The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, Hollow Pike by James Dawson and the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.

21. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Avengers, and then The Hobbit was a late entry and love.

22. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

It was my birthday yesterday and I was 30. I had a wonderful weekend, Friday evening I saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for the second time (and loved it just as much as the first time), Saturday evening was spent at my favourite local balti house and then the day itself included a family gathering and much cake.

23. What kept you sane?

Friends, books, cross stitching, Twitter.

24. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
TomHardy
The absolute most? Hmm, I think it was probably still Tom Hardy though there are a fair few contenders.

25. Who did you miss?

Friends I didn’t manage to see enough of, there are so many I only managed to see a couple of times over the course of the year.

26. Who was the best new person you met?

I met lots of new people this year, people who were entirely new to me and people who I’d known online for a while and got to meet in person at last. Don’t think I could possibly pick just one!