Professionally speaking, 2014 is the year I have been waiting for my whole working life (which began with a career in babysitting in my early teens, taking much inspiration from The Baby-sitters Club).
It all came together in an unexpected, dreams-coming-true kind of way, leading to some mega-memorable experiences, plenty of pinch-myself-I'm-dreaming moments and a genuine understanding of what it means to "never work a day if you love what you do". Still have to have the day job though... more about that later.
Without wanting to be a giant cliche of positivity, I need to explain the "Vs" part of the title. It's not been all fun, fairy tales and frolics this year. Against a back drop of 3 very tough years (think redundancy, Grand parents with Alzheimers, a parent with cancer & lots more...) the year started with really ill health & a new threat of redundancy... and 2 1/2 weeks off work before finally getting a surgery date in place. And then as if that wasn't enough our best friends moved to Melbourne, Australia (alright at least they live a short distance from the Neighbours set)... and we had the sad news of the passing of a dear friend and ex-colleague. So far 2014 has victory in the bag...
However I put my steel face on, and determined my way through February to get to the first highlight - press passes to BFI Flare and a number of fab interviews lined up. From the amazing new film Tru Love, which we were very happy to support, to the legend that is Guinevere Turner (in the kind of fantasy scenario I could only have dreamed about...)
Onwards and upwards, as I made it through a restructure and onto a new role... and had surgery that finally fixed a longstanding problem. Hurrah.
And then to highlight number 2: The Dinah. We'd attended the year before as regular joe ticket holders, this year we were invited as press and we planned to make the most of every second. From staying in our trusted hot spa hotel (sadly now closed) to a balance of work, rest and play, that really suited, the 2014 Dinah Shore weekend was one of the best on record. Not only that, we got to catch up with friends we had made over the year, in part through our coverage of the marriage equality campaign video #SHE4ME.
I won't go into the details, as you can read/watch all about them here but let's just say on top of meeting legends like Shane, Alice & Tina from the The L Word, Tegan and Sarah, up and comer Mary Lambert, Christina Cox, Liz Vassey, Gina Yashere, (need I say more...) we caught up with lesbian favourites Jill Bennett, Tracey Ryerson, Marnie Alton, Nicole Pacent, Hunter Valentine... the list is almost endless. It was the perfect mix of work and leisure. Things were turning a corner...
Which led us to June and an early start to the Summer for Naomi's birthday at L Fest Del Mar - a hedonistic blend of sun, boobs and partying.
For Pride things were extra special in 2014 for 3 reasons (the see-saw balance is clearly heading back in favour: Katie). The Evening Standard gave Planet London and our app My Pocket Planet coverage the day before the Parade.
On the day of the Parade, despite the heavens opening and letting out every last drop of water they had ever held, we had a lovely large fun walking group following our "dyke trike". And then... and then, well to be honest I'm still a little swoony about this. I got to meet and interview one of my all time heroes, Lucy Spraggan. And it was a delight. I beamed all the way to Labels and then the Main Stage where we got to watch Heather Peace from the press pit.
A bit of a wet summer put a dampener on things, however one significant change for the positive was meeting Submerge producer Kat Holmes in person, in the run up to L Fest and following a working-by distance-digital relationship, and getting on so well that Kat is now our flatmate. There was also the sneaky submission of a short story to a UK lesfic anthology... more on that to come!
September came and all of a sudden it was heads down for the Ultimate Planet Awards event, ceremony organising and website redevelopment. I've never worked as hard as those two months in the run up to the Awards ceremony and website relaunch. For most of September and October it felt like 2014 was definitely getting the better of me... but that all changed about 9pm on Sunday 2nd November. The awards had taken place, the after party was in full swing and I could finally drop my shoulders to relax after they had been storing all my stress and anxiety in making sure we got the event right!
And then if that wasn't enough of a success, my story was accepted in the the Les Fic anthology that is now known as "L is For..." and was published at the end of November. Another big fat dream come true! This was only marginally eclipsed the following day when a review I wrote about a Lucy Spraggran gig was posted on facebook by my hero herself. #Swoon.
By the end of November it started to feel like Planet London was firmly in my grip and the troubles at the start of the year a distant memory.
Then in December, my final dream of the year to come true. On the 11 December we were able to covert our civil partnership to equal marriage. Amazeballs.
We've been busy discussing what might be in store for Planet London and all our other Planet entities for 2015 and beyond... look out for #PlanetLife!