As explained in my previous post, my blog was private for a few months and, therefore, I didn’t get the opportunity to review 2014. All told, it was an amazing year so I’d like to recap it now.
Wishing you all the best for the remainder of 2015 and, remember, it’s never too late to make a positive change.
2014 was a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?
There are a few! Following a performance evening in 2013, where the theme was Thrills ‘n’ Chills, Wild Wolf Publishing offered to produce an anthology of work written by members of my Creative Writing groups. Receiving my copy of that book, which featured poetry and short stories, was exhilarating but the highlight was seeing the reactions of the writers when they received their books.
Some of the writers featured in ‘Thrills ‘n’ Chills’ with Rod Glenn of Wild Wolf Publishing.
In December, I was invited to give a talk about writing at Dar Al Atta’s Let’s Read bookshop in Muscat, Oman. I wasn’t expecting many people to come but there was standing room only and it was incredible being able to discuss writing with people from lots of different cultures. I found it really interesting to have so many people with differing religions and experiences from a range of cultural backgrounds who found that the experience of writing was something that they had in common.
Me following my talk in the Let’s Read bookshop, 30/12/14. Photo courtesy of Cio Datan, Times of Oman.
And how about a favourite moment from 2014 generally?
My highlights were the bookshop talk, the performance evening I arranged in July thanks to the lovely folks at the Avalon in Whitley Bay, ‘Thrills ‘n’ Chills’ being released and completing my PGCE. It was great to finally go to the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and meet up with lots of writing friends.
However, I will remember 2014 mainly due to the amount of travelling I was lucky enough to do. I went on three amazing holidays as well as visiting London a couple of times. The first was to Vegas with my friend to celebrate my 30th birthday. The second was a family trip to Florida and the Caribbean and the third was to Oman to visit The Boy Wonder’s family.
Vegas was everything I’d hoped it would be, and more. I read some awesome books during the flights there and back (come on, you must have known books would feature somewhere in there!). I tried IHOP for the first time, wandered around the incredible malls and hotels, spoke to a man called James Pond and played a touch screen Sex and the City game that I still don’t understand (but I did win $32 on it).
The night before I turned 30, my friend and I were ID’d at the Britney Spears show in Planet Hollywood so ended up drinking pop. Lady Gaga was also in the audience and we just had an absolute blast, even though we were totally sober! I was privileged enough to take a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon on my actual birthday as well as doing the SkyJump at the Stratosphere and having a steak at the Wynn Hotel.
I loved Florida because I got to ride a lot of incredible rollercoasters, do a lot of shopping and experience another aspect of America. We stayed in a brilliant townhouse that was central to everything we wanted to do. I loved Universal and, even though there were some pretty serious storms while we were in Florida, it gave us a good opportunity to shop without feeling guilty about wasting the sunshine! The Boy Wonder and I went to see The Blue Man Group – it is a show that I would encourage everyone to go and see. It’s family friendly, very clever and lots of fun. On Thanksgiving Day, my parents and I went to a town called Celebration which reminded me of Wisteria Lane!
Following our week in Florida, we jumped aboard Oasis of the Seas for a Caribbean cruise. I really enjoyed visiting three beautiful locations – the Bahamas, St Thomas and St Maarten. Each of the islands were unique with their own attractions, we visited Blackbeard’s Castle in St Thomas for example. I loved St Maarten, it was so laid back.
And as for Oman, it was as beautiful as usual. Going to Oman, for me, is like going home. ‘Nuff said.
Favourite book in 2014?
Although ‘Gone Girl‘ was a big hit last year, and I thought it was a good read, I preferred ‘Dark Places’ by Gillian Flynn. That said, I also really enjoyed ‘The Miniaturist‘ by Jessie Burton and I loved ‘Lies We Tell Ourselves‘ by Robin Talley. Oh, and I can’t miss out ‘Yes Please‘ by Amy Poehler and ‘Girl Walks into a Bar…‘ by Rachel Dratch. 2014 was the year I discovered the joy of audiobooks.
Favourite film of 2014?
I actually really enjoyed ‘Gone Girl‘, I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a more faithful adaptation. ‘Nightcrawler‘ was also really creepy. My guilty pleasure was ‘Jersey Boys‘ on the flight to Florida.
Favourite song of the year?
‘Uptown Funk‘ by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars. I also loved the latest albums by David Gray and Coldplay.
Any downsides for you in 2014?
I was disappointed that my blog was on temporary hiatus but it was for a good reason.
Are you making resolutions for 2015?
Keep on keeping on. Although I do like the idea of a happiness jar.
What are you hoping for from 2015?