2014: A Year in Review

1920336_10152035606485698_205299555_n2014, for me, was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of year. There weren’t any big life-changers. Time just passed me by and before I knew it, we were on the cusp of a new January. Looking back over the events of the year is a happy reminder that it wasn’t all just a waste of time, so allow me to reflect on the last 12 months…

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

I went on a little holiday without the parents. It only took 22 years. You quickly realise that within a group of friends, everybody quickly adopts the archetypal family roles in a holiday situation. I think I was probably the dad that no one really listens to and often mocks, but who still gets to sit in the front seat of the car. My friends might argue I was the grumpy teenager but don’t listen to them, they are all known liars. These kids don’t gimme no respect!

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

I’m not really a new year’s resolutions type of gal, but I definitely went into the year with the hope that I would continue to progress in my running, having run my first 5k on Christmas Day. I can happily say that all of my fitness goals were achieved. I’m training harder than ever and I’ve run nearly 40 races this year. And I won my little trophy for my efforts.

For next year, I have no resolute goals but I would like to keep the running going strong. I hope to run further and faster over the course of the year, with my eyes on a quarter marathon or perhaps even further.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

  1. What countries did you visit?

None. I’m rather deficient on the wanderlust. Also quite poor.

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

Given that I’m about to drop off the end of a big ole cliff, finally reaching the end of my degree, a heavy dose of confidence wouldn’t go amiss. I can feel the anxiety rising in my body, stress coursing through my veins as though my transformation into the nerve-killing superhero I always knew I could be is imminent.

I hope that finishing university will also give me a little time to just enjoy being a person in the world again. So much of the last five years has been consumed by essays and exams and journal articles; I can’t wait to just take a breath. Not that the prospect of finishing education isn’t also terrifying.

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

March 14th. HAIM. UEA LCR. Not only was it an incredible experience to watch my favourite musicians absolutely slay on that stage, but seeing three incredibly talented women at the top of their game was energising. They can do anything with their guitars in hand, and why shouldn’t I be able to do the same with a pen in mine? Sharing it with my best friend, my soupsnake, the platonic love of my life made it every bit more beautiful. I believe that seeing the band you love the most is one of life’s greatest pleasures. The hope that we’ll be able to repeat the experience enthuses me no end. Este, Danielle, Alana – your move. Tickets please.

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Este Haim performing Go Slow at the LCR. Photography by me.

  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Probably my little running trophy. Surviving my second second year of university was no small feat, though. Both of my experiences in second year have been rough but knowing how much more it mattered this time, both personally and professionally, made the knocks harder to take. I’m proud of how I dealt with it, though – by taking the advice of the wise women in my life and lacing up my trainers, which brings us full circle to my original answer: my little running trophy. Not only was it an acknowledgement of my efforts on the track, but it represented overcoming the challenges I faced and continue to face at university. It made me feel like I could accomplish anything I wanted. I felt strong.

  1. What was your biggest failure?

Maybe the mark I got in February for an essay that I thought I’d nailed. I remember picking it up first thing in the morning and having it hang over me throughout a day of lectures and seminars. Nothing stifles creativity like being on the verge of tears, and so I left my creative writing seminar feeling totally defeated and spent about an hour in the uni toilets. The real kicker was that I was weeping in the cubicle so long that the motion censor lights switched off. Picture me sniffling away while performing star jumps in an effort to get the lights back on. I wish I could say it was the most pathetic moment of my life.

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I went over on my ankle at the end of a Parkrun in April, landing arse-first in a muddy puddle, putting me out for a few weeks. Later in the year, the saga of my terrible toe began. No, Taylor, we are not out of the woods yet.

  1. What was the best thing you bought?

Cinema tickets for Guardians of the Galaxy. Spending the last hours of my birthday with a giant Chris Pratt, watching him dance-off into a new day was very special. It was a new dawn, a new day, a new life for me. And yeah, I felt pretty good about it.

  1. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

This answer would probably remain constant whether you asked me this year, last year, next year. My best friend, Hannah. She is there for me day in, day out. No matter what is going on, I have someone to go through everything with me. Every best memory I have from this year, and from the moment I met her for that matter, has Hannah at the heart of it. And if I think about my bad memories from the year, it’s Hannah who was helping me deal with them – that, or texting me cute things about Josh and Donna (e.g. “Today I thought about Josh and Donna’s child having a first crush and Josh offering advice. I did other stuff too but that was important.”). On top of that, she really nailed my presents this Christmas. I’m still reeling from her gift-giving prowess. (more…)

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7 Reasons To Watch Season 7 of The Mentalist

6x19-5After seven years of Patrick Jane getting himself into endless pickles and relying on the impossibly patient Agent Teresa Lisbon to come to his rescue, The Mentalist’s finale date sadly beckons. After a late renewal, it’s the season fans were lucky to get at all – though that makes the goodbye no easier, especially not when it looks to be one of the best years of the show ever. Here are seven reasons why this final season is the perfect time to watch…

1. Throw caution to the wind and let go of all the Moonlighting anxiety, Jane and Lisbon are together and damn, it feels good. The aftermath of, “That woman in 12-B, I love her. You take care of her!” seems, so far, to be even more enjoyable than the many years of build up. There’s something impossibly charming about the walking heart-eyes emoji that Patrick Jane has become. Since shaking off the Red John albatross, he’s been floundering around the small matter of his deep, abiding love for Lisbon. Now, we see the sunniest incarnation of the man whose darkness has always been driving the plot. Sure, it’s different but, as someone who’s watched many an angstfest of a TV series, letting the light in for this ‘encore season’ is the biggest treat for both the characters and the loyal viewers. Whether we’ll get engagements, marriage, babies, etc. remains to be seen, but no matter how much of this relationship we are witness to, I sense it will be romantic as hell. It is romance that, so far this season at least, has proved to be more entertaining than indulgent, more charming than saccharine.

2. Simon Baker’s hair is majestic as ever. That’s just science. He is more beautiful than Cinderella. He smells like pine needles (I imagine) and has a face like sunshine. Slip your shades on, because Sunshine Baker…

3. Showrunner Bruno Heller is the gift that keeps on giving. With only 13 episodes before we’re forced to say goodbye forever (do you hear my gentle sobs?), Heller’s laid on a spread of nothing but blue skies. (Yes, that is what the premiere was called. It was accurate.) The final season has also been referred to as “Season of Jisbon” so, y’know, if that doesn’t make you want to watch while also breaking into a chorus of ‘Seasons of Love’ at every commercial break then I don’t know what will. Having read spoilers for what is coming up over the next couple of months, it very much seems like Heller’s kept a tab open on the fandom wishlist and is doing his utmost to tick off each item. Their every interaction thus far reads like the greatest effing fan fiction you’ve ever read. If you do that kind of thing. *shifts awkwardly in seat, closes all windows*

4. Time is running out, yo. You gotta get on the bus before it leaves the station. There’s no need to do as I did and marathon all six previous seasons, though it helps. Seasons 1 and 6 would be good for context, but procedurals are designed to be accessible. What I’m saying here is, you can do this. I believe in you. Watching Season 7 as it airs would come with all the joys of social media freak-outs over smitten Jane and Lisbon (aka my Twitter timeline constantly) and week-long periods of wondering what they’re getting up to after each episode ending. If you’re an old viewer who hopped off the bus before the journey’s end then now’s the time to catch back up. It’ll be worth your while, pinkie swear.

5. Bunney game strong. The best shows usually come with the best cast friendships, and The Mentalist is no exception. I would be remiss not to mention offscreen BFFs Simon Baker and Robin Tunney, whose delightful friendship has translated onscreen with added intimacy. Season 7 sees the pair with a new challenge on their hands – that of exploring the romantic sides of their characters. So far, the balance of new-relationship-awkwardness and happy-relationship-glow has been played to perfection. Having been friends for so long, it would be insincere to ignore the adjustment for Jane and Lisbon, but the similarly enduring friendship between the actors plays into this exceptionally well. Tunney, in particular, pulls some brilliant nervous-Lisbon faces (see below) as they attempt to navigate their new situation. Long may this continue! (I mean, 13 episodes…*more crying, crying gets louder*)

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6. Old school Mentalist vibes are back. With the Big Bad dead and gone, the cases this season are going to feel a lot more like the fun Season 1 cases, before Red John really took hold. I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing Jane at his most theatrical and Lisbon being pulled into many a scheme, all while Abbott gives an exasperated sigh (what a gift Abbott is, while we’re at it). It’s exactly what I enjoy most about the show, and what separates it from other procedurals. The promise of Jane and Lisbon as fake psychics, in particular, has me pretty darn pumped.

7. If you’ve ever had a favourite show prematurely cancelled, you deserve this. You’ve earned it, baby! From the sudden, cruel cancellations of shows like Firefly and The Hour, to the shows I simply wasn’t ready to let go of like The West Wing (Josh and Donna had only just begun!), this is retribution for every one of us who has ever experienced television show heartbreak. It’s time to let the sunshine in. I prescribe a 13-episode dose of an ‘encore season’.

What are you waiting for? Go, do, watch.