Monday, 22 December 2014

79. Top Fives of 2014

Hello everyone, I did a top fives post in 2013 so thought I may as well make it an annual Mancunian Sheep tradition. The lists aren't ranked. Enjoy!

Moments/ Events - some of these lasted for months so couldn't exactly be classified as a moment.

1) Going to Wimbledon- 2014 was the year when I was lucky enough to witness some spectacular live tennis at the All England Club on the second Thursday of the championships. I don't mean to sound too cheesy but one of my dreams genuinely did come true. As regular readers know, I am a massive Andy Murray fan so was gutted when he was knocked out the day before but in hindsight, had I caught sight of Andy, I would have collapsed (as another spectator on court 1 did from the heat while I was there).

2) Passing my second year of university- I'd say only two people really know how much of my blood, sweat and tears went into second year - my Mum and my coursemate and thank you to them for helping me get through it too! After 6 hour labs, a dissertation, a field course, 8 exams and countless pieces of coursework- I made it through to final year. When I checked my results from the first semester of second year at some time around 3am, I woke my Mum up dancing to this (yes, I know I'm brilliant...and brave):

3) When Andy Murray tweeted me- I might not have been able to see him but I'll never forget his witty reply to my odd question. I'd like to see Andy with pink hair, probably not at his forthcoming nuptials however.

4) Summer internship- I couldn't believe that I managed to get the only summer internship I applied to especially when they contacted me to say I was successful within an hour of my interview. A week after my 20th birthday, the best 8 weeks of my time at university began. I met some wonderful people who have become dear friends, it boosted my confidence and enhanced many important skills including time management and prioritising tasks. If you're at university then I strongly recommend doing a summer/ graduate internship, what have you got to lose?

5) Seeing Miranda Hart live- Who wouldn't want to see the fantastic woman who came up with vegetapals and biscuit blizzard? I'll never forget the end of the show when Miranda came out as Beyonce in Crazy in Love, I will treasure that moment forever.


1) Sam Smith- Money On My Mind and pretty much all of his other songs. He is so talented, humble and has the voice of an angel. So proud of him and really hope he does an Adele at the Grammys in 2015.

2) Coldplay- Magic. The video for Coldplay's Paradise is my favorite of all time and I love the video for Magic too, it reminds me of The Great Gatsby. Coldplay are one of the greatest British bands ever, they're consistent and unique and I'm gutted that their next album will be their last.

3) Hozier- Take Me to Church. I listen to BBC Radio 1 quite a bit and thanks to Fearne Cotton who played this song a lot and made me fall in love with it. Hozier has such a powerful voice full of emotion giving me shudders every time. I'm really looking forward to hearing more from him in 2015.

4) Clean Bandit- Rather Be. This was the song of the summer, it was even more incredible when I heard it live in October. This is such a feel good song and Manchester, there really is no place that the Mancunian Sheep would rather be (I'm turning into Felipe from The Apprentice by talking about myself in the third person). I love Clean Bandit for bringing violins into mainstream music and not making them sound so depressing.

5)  Ed Sheeran - Sing. Ed Sheeran's dominated the music world in 2014, he is at the top of his game right now and is releasing hit after hit. I love his other stuff too but I like the more upbeat sound of this track which was perfect in summer!


Unfortunately due to how busy I was with university and my summer internship, I only managed to read 10 books in 2014 despite setting myself a Goodreads challenge to read 25. I was lucky because apart from a couple, the 10 I did manage to read are some of the best books I have ever read. I really hope I get to read more in the latter half of 2015 once university is over!

1) George Orwell- 1984. I remember attending a workshop at the university when I was in Year 9 and interviewing a student there at the time who told me that 1984 was his favourite book and boy, I now know why. When I watch/read the news (oh the irony) and witness the horrific events occurring across the world in places like Palestine and closer to home such as the VIP sex abuse ring, every word of Orwell's is true. 

2) Graeme Simsion- The Rosie Project. Don Tillman is one of my favourite characters of all time. He is a genetics professor who is looking for a wife so devises a very detailed questionnaire to find a compatible spouse. His best friend, Gene, is a psychology lecturer who is quite the ladies man and is married to Claudia. Gene, probably out of curiosity and mischief ends up setting Don up with Rosie who was the most incompatible partner for Don according to the data. There are many laugh out loud moments and anyone who thinks they're socially awkward will feel much better after reading this.

3) Lucy Clarke- A Single Breath. I did a review post for this book which you can find here.

4) John Williams- Stoner. Usually characters in books are praised for being different but Stoner isn't exceptional in any obvious way but it's the simplicity of this novel which makes it such a classic. Like its main character, this book has been overlooked. Stoner goes through what many people do- university, a marriage, having a child  and financial problems. Stoner really is an unsung hero. The level of detail and the quality of writing make the reader feel like they are reading the autobiography of a close friend.

5) Jojo Moyes- Me Before You. This is the most recent book that I've read and I actually spent most of last Saturday reading it (I read the last 300 and something pages in just over 5 hours). Regular readers will know that I care for my Mum who has Parkinson's but surprisingly, I've never read a book about a carer before. Louisa used to work in The Buttered Bun cafe but when it closed down, she ended up working for Will Traynor, who used to be a high flying city worker until he ended up quadriplegic after a motorbike knocked him over. This book has really made me empathise how frustrating it must be to live with a long-term, incurable physical disability like quadriplegia and Parkinson's. It made me realise how nobody plans to live with a long term disability and how irritating it must be to not have any control over most aspects of your life. It's made me realise that when my Mum is having a bad day, I shouldn't take it personally. What I loved most about this book is that it was so realistic, the ending is not obvious and it really is much more than a romance novel. It covers issues like unemployment, euthanasia and as mentioned above, disability and caring. After reading the book, I went to rate it on Goodreads and found out that it is being turned into a film with Sam Claflin starring as Will. I hope the film is just as good as the book. 

What was your favourite moment, book and song this year? I hope you enjoy the last week or so of 2014 and look out for my December Favourites post which will be the final post of this year! To those that celebrate Christmas, have a great day!

Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x