2016: My Year in Review

What, for you, was the high point of 2016? Were there any other highlights?

There were two high points this year – one was being asked and becoming a godmother for a second time. This was made more special by getting to help a little bit with all the preparations which definitely made me feel more ‘godmothery’. And 8th October when I heard Holly got her transplant call and it was definitely going ahead. The whole day at work I was between manic excitement and tears of anxiety until I heard she was out of surgery.

What, for you, was the low point of 2016?

That would be the last weekend in May. Literally two years to the day I got told that the pregnancy crisis centre was being shut down and I was losing my job, I went into work to find out that our branch was closing and I was losing my job. The organisation I volunteered with failed to give me a letter saying they consented to let me research them for my Masters Research Project, and I found out (a little) of how my tenants had trashed my flat…only for the full extent to be revealed a few weeks later the same week I was interviewed for 3 jobs.

2016 has been one filled with rejection. It’s also been awful from a global standpoint. My losses pale into significance to people in countries that have been destroyed by war, by right wing extremists, racists etc.

Tell me some things you learned this year.

I learned how to chop an onion. I learned how to sew up bears. I learned how to use an overlocker.

I use the term ‘learned’ loosely.

 Who would be your “person of 2016″? It could be someone you know or a famous person who’s inspired you.

I think it would have to be Jo Cox. I wish I could have met her. I have such admiration for her desire to serve, to reach out and stand against ethnic and cultural prejudice. I also think the way her husband and family have dealt with the loss of their wife/daughter/sister in the public eye with such dignity and grace.

What was the best film you saw this year?

Spotlight

It is a film everyone needs to watch in my opinion. It’s heightened even more my desire to empower young people and children to never be afraid to speak out and stand up for themselves. And to speak up when you think something isn’t quite right.

And what was the worst?

Again, I so rarely get to the cinema now so I tend to choose carefully. I think I saw Star Wars Episode VII, Spotlight, Ghostbusters, Fantastics Beasts and Where to Find Them, Moana. They were all great!

What was the best book you read?

It’s tie between Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem.

What was the best thing you saw on TV?

For the first time, I watched The Great British Bake Off this year after meeting Sue Perkins at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and one of the Girlguiding groups I run making me play the part of “Sue” at their own Bake Off Night. (They videoed me. I hope never to see the footage – sorry Sue!). I don’t usually have time to watch it, but when I do catch an episode of QI, I have loved seeing Sandi Toksvig now hosting it. Another awesome lady!

What, for you, was the sporting highlight of 2016?

I was going NUTS in a queue for an event at the Book Festival when I was following Ollie Williams’ twitter feed reporting live from Rio when Max Whitlock won 2 Gold medals in the space of an hour.

But for me it was all about the Paralympics. Seeing Dame Sarah Storey win even more Gold medals, and Kadeena Cox win Gold medals in two different sports at one Paralympics? That was pretty darned special.

What was the best album or song you heard in 2016? What song did you play most?

Without a doubt Hamilton: An American Musical. The broadway cast recording kept me going throughout a summer where I really struggled to keep going. The songs ‘Alexander Hamilton’ and ‘The Schuyler Sisters’ are probably the most played, and I do have fun playing King George in the car.

What are you looking forward to in 2017?

I’m looking forward to taking some time out to see friends (which I hope to be able to do), writing more and having fun with my new camera.

2015: My year in review

What, for you, was the high point of 2015? Were there any other highlights?

There were two highlights – one was the Guides’ doing their Free Being Me photography project and exhibition. It was a lot of hard work and involved a lot of extra hours, but so worth it. The other was going to see the World Gymnastics Championships in my home country – something I had dreamed of since I was 12.

What, for you, was the low point of 2015?

Unemployment and watching so many lose parents and children.

Tell me some things you learned this year.

 

I learned that I’m terrible at making milk foam, I learned how awful the Job Centre is and that you can work as hard as you like but it’s more about luck and who you know than your abilities. I learned that I still have the ability to rock a baby to sleep, that I can love something I’m not very good at, and that I can still lead worship with my voice.

 Who would be your “person of 2015″? It could be someone you know or a famous person who’s inspired you.

 

Hmm…I think that Malala Yousafzai continues to keep coming back as my person of the year. Though I’ve been impressed and inspired by Emma Watson too and her He for She campaign.

What was the best film you saw this year?

Inside Out.

It was one of the few times I got to the cinema, and I got it on DVD the day it come out and I’ve watched it several times since.

And what was the worst?

I choose the movies I see very carefully as I so rarely get to the cinema!

What was the best book you read?

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

It really inspired and encouraged me, and had me thinking about everything I’ve learned in the last two years.

What was the best thing you saw on TV?

I still love The Graham Norton Show – it’s really the only thing I’ve watched on TV this year.

What, for you, was the sporting highlight of 2015?

 

Watching our British women win Bronze together at Worlds. I did cry.

What was the best album or song you heard in 2015? What song did you play most?

 

I bought Death Cab for Cutie’s Kintsugi album, then I got to go see them play live in Glasgow in November. It was amazing.

As for the song I’ve played the most it probably ended up being ‘Uptown Funk’ by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson…I don’t know what it is but I can’t not dance to that song.

What are you looking forward to in 2016?

I’m hoping to have more weekends free in 2016…and I’m looking forward to that possibility. And I’m hoping the same as last year – to graduate in December. I got my diploma, now time to get that Masters!

2014 in Review

On my old blog, I had a tradition of answering the same questions each year at the end of the year. I feel it’s a good tradition to uphold, as it helps to give perspective on the year as I had into the next one…!

What, for you, was the high point of 2014? Were there any other highlights?

There were a number of highlights. Erasmus Winter School in Würzburg, Germany. My 30th birthday party which I got to  have with so many of my friends coming together. Easter Sunday breakfast in Davina the Campervan. Visiting my friend in Paris. The Picturebook conference. Having fun at the Edinburgh Festivals with Holly. An unexpected gift at a Book Festival event. Getting to judge the Green Pencil Award. Taking the Guides ice skating at the Edinburgh Christmas Market.

What, for you, was the low point of 2014?

My Dad going in and out of hospital with life threatening conditions is up there, but 6 months of unemployment after being made redundant is probably going to come out the winner just because of the continued state of monotony of the experience.

Tell me some things you learned this year.

I already knew how amazing my friends are, and I feel like this year just reinforced that. While my self esteem has taken a real beating with constant rejection while job hunting (something I had been fortunate enough to never really have experienced before) my friends have constantly encouraged me and helped me create so many fun, silly and fond memories this year that outweigh all the rubbish stuff.

Oh, and I started re-learning Spanish and trying to play a ukulele.

Who would be your “person of 2014″? It could be someone you know or a famous person who’s inspired you.

My next door neighbour. She is 97 feisty stubborn and kind woman who is just awesome. This year my Mum brought her down to the War Memorial Service on Remembrance Sunday – and then she told my Mum off for waving at me as I was walking behind the colour party…!

She has had an amazing life, started the Scottish equivalent of the Chelsea Flower Show and never considers herself as ‘old’ and just looks at everything she has the ability to do. She’s even invited the local Girlguiding units I run to come visit her so she can tell them about her life story growing up in the Himalayas and being a nurse in India during WW2. She’s been sick during December (please be thinking of her) and I hope she will be well enough to organise something in the new year.

What was the best film you saw this year?

12 Years A Slave.

No question. The Oscar went to the right movie!

And what was the worst?

I’m trying to remember what other movies I’ve seen – I’m now pretty good at picking movies that are decent to see, and avoiding the bad ones! My brother and stepfather made me watch a movie called Stretch last week which I ended up giving up on and going upstairs to read a book instead. It was awful.

What was the best book you read?

Fly A Little Higher by Laura Sobiech.

The book Laura has written is a wonderfully honest story of how her son, Zach battled osteosarcoma and how the Sobiech family tried to live life while they knew Zach was dying.

What was the best thing you saw on TV?

I’ve been loving The Graham Norton Show. It’s probably the only thing that both my Mum and I enjoy watching, and if we are both in on a Friday night we’ll watch it together.

What, for you, was the sporting highlight of 2014?

Max Whitlock getting his All-Around Silver medal at the World Championships. He’s got the closest anyone has ever gotten to Kohei Uchimura – the current king of gymnastics & arguably the best gymnast the world has ever seen.

To have  British gymnasts on the medal podium was unheard of a decade ago!

What was the best album or song you heard in 2014? What song did you play most?

I don’t think I’ve really downloaded or bought any music this year. Those are the sort of luxuries that are simply unaffordable at the moment. 😦

I’ve probably continued to listen to Sam Amidon, Ben Folds, Ben Howard and Noah and The Whale the most!

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

I’m looking forward to hopefully graduating at the end of the year!