Wrap up // Goodbye 2021

03 January 2022

Header image with handwritten Goobye 2021 on. Two pictures, one of a river bordered by trees and houses by the riverside. An arrow points to it and says ‘I left the house’ and a second image of a negative lateral flow test with an arrow pointing to it and saying ‘and I did lots of these’.

I feel like I’m always disappearing from blogging but I can’t help it. The pandemic has drained the life out of me and it turns out when I feel even the slightest hint of stress I wrap myself up in blankets and escape into TV. I’m totally fine with that by the way, but it does make blogging a bit of a struggle.

After writing a quick paragraph for Vera and Sabrina for their What Does Book Blogging and the Community Mean For Us? post I felt inspired to try and blog myself again. I figured the return to blogging should once more begin by looking back at my year since, honestly, you guys have missed most of it. A catch-up and wrap up of 2021 should be on the cards so we can then start afresh with 2022 and look forward to what's next. Also, I feel like closing off a year is always a great way to find new motivation. It’s either that or a blog redesign but one of those is a lot more effort than the other.


Favourite books

The house in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. Blue and purple sky turning to orange over bllue sea. House is on a precarious cliff edge.The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller. Image is close up of a woman in historical dress with her hands clasped on a keyAct Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert. Light blue background with illustrated couple. Woman with purple hair and round figure and light haired man embracing.The Roommate by Rosie Danan cover. UK Cover with yellow background and small illustrated figures entering neighbouring doorways

Row 1: The House in the Cerulean Sea, The Widow of Rose House, Act Your Age, Eve Brown, The Roommate

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker cover. Features blue background and the figure of a woman cut off at the edge of the badge. Title text is only yellow ribbon background.How to Talk to a Goddess and Other Lessons in Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker cover. Features blue background with an archyway and leaves in the corners and an owl, and snake on the cover. Focus is title text.Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. Red and black cover with a curved dagger on the coverMagic Bites cover by Ilona Andrews. Deatures woman stood with sword and a lion in the background.

Row 2: The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic, How To Talk to a Goddess and Other Lessons in Real Magic, Empire of Sand, Kate Daniels series

Cover of Iron & magic by Ilona Andrews. Features man and a woman next to each other. The woman is all in white with white hair with the man contrasting all in black with black hairSpoiler Alert Olivia Dade - UK Cover. pink background with title in yellow and 2 illsutrated figures of a couple on laptops.UK cover of All the Feels by Oliva DadeBook cover for Seducing the Sorcerer by Lee Welch. Close up of male face with dark hair and a beard smirking

Row 3: Iron and Magic, Spoiler Alert, All The Feels, Seducing the Sorcerer

Cover of All Systems Red showing a suited robot figure in centrecover with purple space background with starfish and jellfish on cover

Row 4: Murderbot series, Starfish

I managed to read over 100 books in 2021. I used to read that number of books with ease each year, but the pandemic years have made reading a struggle. I think the low level of stress I’ve been feeling for 2 years solid probably is the cause of that. I mean, who hasn’t been stressed and anxious through it? Babies maybe? But, it’s definitely meant parts of my brain usually focused on reading have been distracted. I mean, I’m basing the assumption I’m stressed on my inability to stop clenching my jaw and the fact I am definitely more tense than usual. The nurse even had to tell me to stop tensing my arm when I got my booster and I didn’t even realise I was tensing!  Anyway, the pandemic years haven't been great for reading so I feel such pride to realise that despite the reading and blogging slumps I have gone through this year I still managed to read a lot of books. Yes, this includes rereads but I don’t even care. And I managed to do this in addition to reading a lot of fanfiction too. AO3 must be one of my most visited websites at this point. I like to think I’ve read some amazing books this year and below are the ones I want to throw in people’s faces to read too.


A couple of these books were rereads, which I wouldn’t usually include, but I wanted to show all the books which have been highlights for me this year, which includes rereads and the whole of the Kate Daniels series.


Favourite albums


Willow - lately I feel EVERYTHING, Olivia Rodrigo - Sour

Halsey - If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power, Taylor Swift - Red (Taylor's version)

I normally create a playlist for every month but lately, I’ve really gotten into listening to albums. I think it’s because I’ve gotten a little focused on an album and played it on repeat throughout the year. I’m not mad about it either because I’ve really liked just singing along to songs I know and being a bit of an obsessive weirdo for once. It has meant I’ve listened to music on headphones a lot more simply because I didn’t want my neighbours to think I was strange… but then who cares what they think?


I noticed this year I’ve very much been about female singers and leaning more into some music which makes me think of the music of my teen years. I was shouting along to Willow’s lately I feel EVERYTHING and I felt like I went through a breakup listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour. I mentioned my love for Halsey’s new album, I always enjoy her music and this latest album felt powerful and feminist even if I can’t always put my finger on why. And who didn’t listen to Taylor’s version of Red at least once? Taylor Swift was my most played artist of this year for a good reason and that album is still on repeat now. I needed the 10-minute version of All Too Well in my life.


Favourite podcasts

The Magnus Archives, Grounded with Louis Theroux

The Penumbra Podcast, My Favorite Murder

Toni & Ryan Podcast

When I think back on my podcast listening this year it truly amazes me how many podcasts I’ve listened to. But also, the podcasts I’ve listened to which have since finished. I started my year utterly obsessed with The Magnus Archives and it was really the main podcast I listened to. I’d listened to some factual ones too but I listened to that religiously each week and that chatted about it with Vera. I loved that podcast and it might be my favourite story based one I’ve listened to. I still lean towards more factual and comedic type podcasts otherwise. But then Vera finally convinced me to try Penumbra or basically any other podcast she listens to and I started to really enjoy it. It does have weak moments in the story and the episodes are way too long for my liking (and don’t even start my on the Second Citadel storyline) but I still listen to it a lot. I had some new podcasts on my listening repertoire this year too. Louis Theroux released a second series of his Lockdown podcast since we got locked down again in the UK at the start of 2021 and I always enjoy what he does. He has a way of showing the comedy in things but he’s not taking the piss out of people (even if some of the folks in his documentaries probably deserve it).  Louis Theroux is an institution in himself. But My Favourite Murder and Toni and Ryan are new to me this year. I haven’t listened to any My Favourite Murder in a while (there are a lot of episodes and they are long) but I realised I am a total true crime fan and totally didn’t realise. And Toni and Ryan is a TikTok inspired listen (or, actually a facebook inspired one since I became a fan of Ryan after he went viral with his adoption story) and I love it. They do 4 episodes a week and I always listen because they just brighten my day. If you enjoy a more crude humour and want to a couple of Aussies just chat shit and have a laugh that is the podcast for you. And short episodes, which I love for me and my short attention span.


Favourite films

Row 1: Bo Burnham Inside, tick, tick... BOOM!, Fear Street trilogy, Army of the Dead

Row 2: Red Notice, Palm Springs, Space Sweepers, The Unforgivable

This one was a struggle of a category for me. I didn’t really do the cinema this year (I might have seen one film at the cinema… but I can’t remember what it was. I want to say The Conjuring after an impulse trip with a friend but that is how much the film did not stay in my mind whatever it was. I remember the actual events leading up to the spontaneous trip better than the film itself). Honestly, films are a struggle for me to pay full attention to at the moment, give me a tv show to binge any day. I know, that really shows how weird my attention span is but I like to be different ok! I will say, 2021 is the year I realise I think I really like musicals and just didn’t know it. I wanted Hamilton several more times and I know that Bo Burnham is a musical comedy but I listened to his songs a lot. But it was a weird mix of films I enjoyed and actually remember watching.


I notice most of my list is from the second half of the year watching. The Fear Street trilogy I binged in a couple of days and loved, it fed my love for horror films which the new Conjuring film just didn’t deliver. Army of the Dead I thought would be terrible but actually was great (if a touch too long, I had to split into two to finish). Red Notice was always going to be a hit for me, Ryan Reynolds worst films are always enjoyable (or I find they are anyway). Palm Springs was a film I expected to hate, it began weird and I was about to switch off and then realised it was the time loop concept and it was getting interesting. It was a weird one but I can see myself watching again. The Unforgivable and Space Sweepers were both films I almost didn’t feature here because I really enjoyed both but then couldn’t explain why so should I mention them? But then I thought fuck it, it was either that or Labyrinth and The Dig, two very different films I also can’t explain why I like them but I do.


Favourite shows

Row 1: Midnight Mass, Squid Game, Ginny & Georgia, Run On

Row 2: The Bold Type, Superstore, Derry Girls, Taskmaster

I watched a lot of TV this year, maybe not as much as some years but still a lot. I don’t want to tell you about shows which just released a new season and I’ve mentioned before, so no Brassic here. But I do want to talk about the newly discovered shows I’ve watched. There’s no need to tell you about my 20th rewatch of Friends or my love for Buffy. I notice there is a strange mix of shows I’ve loved through 2021. There were the dark shows like Midnight Mass and Squid Game I think a lot people binge-watched (they’re both good, check them out) but the dark shows really weren’t my focus. I had more fun dramas like Ginny & Georgia, The Bold Type and Run On which took up more of my time. Those were the shows I loved and were telling people to check out. I think The Bold Type hit Netflix and me and all of my friends started to watch around the same time so it was so fun to be able to talk about a show together. But I notice it’s the comedies that were the true hits of the year for me. I binge-watched Derry Girls and now watched it to make me smile (where’s the next series channel 4, why are you making me wait) and Superstore I had been meaning to watch forever and saw it arrive on Netflix. I think I watched every episode in a few weeks but the final season was airing on ITV or something so I was having to watch the show weekly for the final season. I loved it so much though, it’s not often I say that about US comedies. And finally, there’s Taskmaster which I was very late to the game on. It’s a show which honestly should be terrible. A group of comedians are set weird challenges to complete for the chance of winning a trophy and pleasing Greg Davies with Alex Horne overseeing them. Even telling you about it the show sounds shit. But I am hooked, I watched the latest series and now I’m backtracking through the past 11 to catch up. It’s stupid and funny and I seriously need this show to brighten my evenings.


Life highlights


2021 didn’t start off the best. I planned to make my grand return to blogging but then the UK went into another lockdown so the blogging and reading slump continued. It was definitely a year with a lot of negatives. You couldn’t watch the news without feeling like we were continually watching another disaster happen. But it wasn’t a year filled with negatives, I still managed to enjoy myself and I can certainly say it felt like the year flew by, even if it did also feel like it would never end.


Once we could, I saw friends and had some fun. Especially when the vaccine rollout began. I’m essentially a pincushion now but I feel lucky that we have the NHS and access to the vaccines we do here. I still don’t have the promised 5G but at least I’m keeping folks safe around me. And with that knowledge, I did feel a bit more comfortable going out and about, even with face masks out there trying to ruin my makeup. I didn’t leave the UK, but I did get out to Bridgnorth and Ludlow. We had sunny weather that meant people had to see my pasty white legs reflecting the sun but I didn’t get sunburn! And I also did quite a bit of drinking, from going to the pub to drinking cocktails with friends. We went out as much as we could and just had a good time. Sure, we had to do lateral flow tests and at points, you weren’t allowed to be up and dancing but we made the most of it.


I even saw some live music this year! From the epic Fleetwood Mac tribute (even if I was told off for enjoying myself and disturbing other people… I still enjoyed myself). I also got to see Genesis with my mom. Considering I hardly knew their music before, or no more than what I’d heard my mom listen to, I have to say it was an amazing show and I feel lucky I got to see them considering it’s potentially their final tour.


It was a year of trying to make the best of a bad situation. It would have been easy to let myself wallow in what I couldn’t do but I did try to make the most of what I could do. I stayed home when we were told to, I spent time with my family. And I just tried not to have a breakdown. I’m pretty sure that’s what we all tried to do. And I tried to have fun when I could. I just hope 2022 will have a bit more good than bad but  


What were your highlights of the year? Was there a particular book you loved or a show that helped you escape? Or did you choose a song or album as your anthem for the year which you played on repeat and everyone you live with probably hates now? Let's talk about the good stuff since the news is really determined to bring us down daily.

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