Sunday, 22 December 2013

28. Top fives of 2013!

Hello everyone, hope you're all ready for Christmas and have done all your shopping and wrapped and distributed your presents for everyone! As you all probably know, I love lists and as we draw closer to 2014, I thought I would look back at some of the highlights of 2013! The lists are ranked with 1 being the highest and 5 being the lowest. Enjoy :) 


1) Arctic Monkeys-  Do I Wanna Know? - I'm just chuffed that the Arctic Monkeys are back and I really hope to see them live one day! Had this song on repeat and I enjoyed listening to it with my air guitar.

2) Macklemore and Ryan Lewis- Can't Hold Us - I don't usually listen to rap music but there's just something about Macklemore, he's really talented! I've not linked the official video because it's 7 minutes long and it takes ages to get to the song!

3) Lana Del Rey- Young and Beautiful - Love Lana's distinct voice and style and the fact that this is from the Gatsby soundtrack makes it even better :D

4) Jake Bugg- What Doesn't Kill You - I saw Jake live a few months ago and he was incredible. This song is short and sweet.

5) Bastille- Pompeii - I love all the Bastille songs that I've heard but this is just ridiculously catchy. Random fact- Dan from Bastille and I share the same birthday!


1) Cath Kidston bus pass holder- Stagecoach do provide a free bus pass holder which is very kind of them but sadly, it started to split in half so I bought this and it is really sturdy! 

2) Living Addington bookcase from Argos- I have well over 100 books and the main reason I had my room decorated over summer was so I could provide them with a proper home because they were in lots of various drawers in both my Mum's and my room before that and I felt sorry for them and was worried about bent corners!

3) Accessorize sterling silver deco turquoise disc ring- I have worn this ring almost everyday since buying it, it just goes with everything and because it is sterling silver, it will last!

4) Umberto Giannini Frizzi Miracle Worker With Argan Oil- I have very thick and long hair (call me Hagrid but I prefer Snape) and it is an absolute nightmare to keep under control but since I bought this, my hair looks nice (even though I might say so myself). I bought this and the John Frieda Frizz-Ease Thermal Protection Hair Serum during the same shopping trip and that was useless and made no difference to my hair.  Although this contains argan oil, it will not leave your hair feeling greasy whatsoever. This product smells wonderful, it can be used on both wet and dry hair but I tend to use it straight after a shower and then either leave it or blow dry my hair. It will last you ages! Even with my hair, I only need 1-2 pumps. The packaging is also great because the pump prevents any spills and ensure that the correct amount is dispensed every time. 

5) Adidas Originals Azurine Low Espadrille- these have to be the most comfortable summer shoes I've ever had. I wore them to death in summer and they are still in top condition. They are very comfortable and I literally walked in them for hours in the hot weather when I went to the RHS Tatton Park flower show and not a blister in sight! The laces hardly ever become undone. They're a really nice alternative to Toms and I love the print on them. A few times, I've been caught out in the summer rain in them and my feet did not get wet despite being in espadrilles. 


1) Andy's win- of course it had to be this. I've been watching and supporting him at Wimbledon from the very start in 2005 and I am ecstatic that he's finally done it!

2) Passing my practical driving test- earlier this year, I gave up with driving. In March, I failed my third attempt and I was utterly heartbroken. I rang one of my closest friends and cried on the phone to her for 2 hours. I would just like to thank you Soleil for putting up with my snotty moans if you're reading this  :) I gave it my all and prepared to the best of my ability and when that wasn't enough I thought I am done with this shit, I am no longer wasting my time and money just to feel miserable and like a complete failure. In September, one of my other lovely friends, Michael, passed his driving test first time with the AA Driving School and he strongly recommended them. I thought to myself I either give this my best shot or risk losing my theory and having to retake that too(you have to pass your practical test within 2 years of passing your theory test and my theory test was due to expire in February 2014). I took the plunge and rang the AA and was astonished by how much my amazing instructor covered in a 2 hour lesson compared to my previous 2 instructors. He didn't knock my confidence like my second instructor or spend hours of lessons on the same route like my first. My AA instructor could cover all the manoeuvres in a couple of locations and cover 2-3 test routes. He balanced the time we spent on driving and manoeuvres really well. Having the perfect driving instructor made a massive difference but I also did a few things differently- I told nobody except my Mum that I had started driving again or when my test was to take the weight of expectation off my shoulders and I didn't fret over a mistake I'd made or if a lesson hadn't gone as well as the others.   

3) Meeting John Whaite- as regular readers are aware, I love baking and thoroughly enjoy watching Great British Bake Off. Last year's series was so good and I love John Whaite who was crowned champion so when he was doing a book signing at the Trafford Centre in April, I couldn't miss it! He was very humble and friendly when my friend, Soleil and I met him just as he was on screen. He's currently working on his second book (hoorah!) so I may go to his second book signing if he does one near me again- watch this space!

4) Passing my first year at university- I'm glad I made it to second year, I know I complain about university a lot but in all honesty, I'm not entirely sure what I would be doing if I wasn't there now. It was a relief that my hard work paid off. Let's hope it continues to do so until summer 2015 so I can graduate and enter the big bad grown up world, argh! D:

5) Raising over £160 for the Mental Health Foundation with some of my course mates at university in just one day! I know it doesn't sound like much but not only did we raise some money for a fantastic cause, we also spread awareness about depression at university by distributing depression symptom cards to staff and students. Many students suffer from the condition and I myself ended up rather depressed earlier this year. We had so much fun baking lots of goodies for the bake sale too. I've been passionate about charity and volunteering from a young age. When I wanted to pursue medicine as a career as a child, I dreamt of going to Africa and helping orphans. In Year 8, I spoke about Sir Bob Geldof being my inspiration in front of my entire year group during the public speaking competition. The charity do some amazing work in a society where mental health is often overlooked and stigmatized despite it being the 21st century. Please feel free to donate to the Mental Health Foundation.


1) About Time- this has to be my favourite film of all time (sorry Bride Wars). It was just such a beautiful storyline and I loved the time travel element which has never been done before in a romantic comedy, as far as I am aware. I'm so annoyed that this won't be released on DVD until February 2014! If you haven't already seen it then please do, I won't say too much because I don't want to spoil it for you.

2) The Great Gatsby- of course this had to make it to my top 5. Leonardo Di Caprio was definitely THE man to play Gatsby. The parties were just as extravagant as described in the book too. I am still on the search for the perfect flapper dress.

3) Catching Fire- this was my favourite book of the trilogy because the games were more shocking than ever with it being the Quarter Quell and also because I loved all of the new characters and how well they were integrated. The film was really good on the whole and there were some scenes like the poisonous gas where it was done exactly as I had imagined whilst reading the book. My only criticism is that I wish they had spent longer on the actual games rather than spend ages at the start showing the uprising in the districts.

4) The Bling Ring- I'll be honest, I only went to watch this for Emma Watson as I have no interest in Paris Hilton. It was a really funny film which I didn't expect with it being about crime but some of the quotes from the film are the best since Mean Girls. One highlight was Emma's character saying: "I wanna rob".

5) Run Fatboy Run- Okay I know that this film wasn't released in 2013 but I watched it for the first time this year and it's become one of my all time favourite films. It was just a really cute film, it was like a modern day fairy tale with the happy ending. It also reminded me of About a Boy a bit.


1) Seventy-Seven: My Road to Wimbledon Glory by Andy Murray- go on Andy, topping yet another of my top fives! In all honesty, I've been busy with revision and catching up with friends that I'm yet to finish this book but from what I've read so far, it has not let me down. Andy shares some wonderful photos and gives his personal insight on his very successful 2012 and 2013.

2) The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald- I read it for the first time before going to watch the film and it is meticulously written. It is such a complex yet simple plot and reflects how cruel reality is. I'm looking forward to reading Fitzgerald's other works in Summer 2014 hopefully!

3) John Whaite Bakes: Recipes for Every Day and Every Mood by John Whaite. As I've mentioned previously in another post, I love the use of fresh fruit in many of the recipes and what makes John's book so unique is the way he has based recipes on moods which is brilliant for a baking student like myself when you can experience a wide range of emotions in a very short space of time!

4) The Fault in our Stars by John Green- this book really makes you value life. I am really excited for the film adaptation which will be out in 2014. Although it is aimed at teenagers, it really has a sentimental value appropriate to all ages. I strongly recommend it (I'm refraining from commenting extensively on the books and films because I don't want to spoil them for those of you who haven't read/seen them).

5) Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre. I read Bad Science which is Ben's other book a few years ago and loved how well he explains science to all audiences and how he has optional sections for those who would prefer some additional detail. He really highlights medical ethics which popular science books haven't previously done. Ben brings attentions to some shocking cases and I'm glad he names and shames such despicable medical practice and exploitation of patients. I really hope he writes more books.


1) Peep Show- I've only caught a few random episodes of this on 4Music late at night when I cannot sleep and it is hilarious. I can't say much about it but I plan on watching all 8 or so series over summer. Another random fact for you- David Mitchell and I share the same birthday.
This is so me.

2) Llamas with Hats- one word- KARL!!! This made me love llamas more than before, I typed llamas into YouTube and this was the first result. Remember- "Friendship is two good friends munching on a well cooked face together".

3) Nails Inc- I am slightly embarassed to share how I discovered Nails Inc but here goes- I was flicking through the TV channels during the Easter break and when QVC came on, there were some women painting their nails and I started watching and fell in love with the lush colours and the quintessentially British names.

4) A certain area in the university library- the university library is huge so my friend and I decided to go exploring so like Sheldon, we could find the perfect spot. I am going to be a bit mean and not mention where the spot is because if there is anyone reading who attends the same university as I do then I don't want my secret spot to be taken over by lots of people. It is nice to have found an optimum learning environment where I can spend hours studying efficiently during stupidly long periods between lectures.

5) Greg James' parody videos- I am a regular listener of Greg James' weekday afternoon BBC Radio 1 show and he is one cheeky chappy. Whenever he makes a parody music video, he goes all out and leaves me in tears of laughter. Here is my favourite one because the lyrics are so true and it is much better than the original :P

Phew, what a post! If you have managed to make it this far then give yourself a pat on the back and treat yourself to a mince pie (or a snack/ beverage of your choice). Have a great Christmas and all the very best of 2014. Thank you for reading and making 2013 Mancunian Sheep's most successful year yet. Take care.
Mancunian Sheep x