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Brainstorming a photo shoot – for Pomegranite

Pomegranite is planning a make-over. As a company we preach the importance of accurately and effectively representing your brand online. Pomegranite has been so busy building websites for other awesome brands and clients that we have neglected to take our own advice for some time now.

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5 Tips for Content Building on your Website

This week Riyad, our very capable front end developer, outlines 5 tips for content building on your website.

So your website is in the process of being designed and you now have the task of deciding what goes where? You may be a small business that offers many services wondering how to showcase all of them effectively? Or maybe you are a photographer wanting to showcase all of your pictures from the past twelve months? Or maybe you’re selling products and need to ensure that users are exposed to as many products as possible from the moment the webpage loads.

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Inspiration Day at the Aquarium

When was the last time you felt the wonder of stroking a whale’s tooth as tall as your whole body, the excitement of seeing tiny sea horses zoom around each other, or basked in the light of a 200 million litre shark tank? It had been a while for us. The Two Oceans Aquarium got us away from our screens, out of our heads and feeling like kids again.

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Hello world – I’m the new girl at Pomegranite

“Thanks, and after you’ve done that newsletter could you please upload this blog post and then Tweet and Instagram and Facebook and also could you please just convert all these PDFs to JPGs?”

You guys – having an intern is the BEST. Having a clever one who uses her initiative and catches on to new concepts at the speed of light is even better. Meet Carla – she’s awesome. And you’ll be hearing from her a lot in the coming months!

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Working with Pomegranite: How it all began

Ask a web developer to “please write a quick blog post”, and you will see panic in his eyes. Luckily, our lovely Riyad is multi-talented (and has wonderful things to say). Here’s his take on working with Pomegranite so far.

It’s been just over a month since I started working with Liz and Sarah and it’s been great! We’ve actually known each other for some time as I had done a lot of freelance work for them over the last couple of years, and I’ve also got to know them a bit along the way.

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Five reasons why you should go on holiday

Is this a strange blog title? I feel like most people don’t need to be TOLD to use their leave days and book a holiday. But when you have your own business that hasn’t been in operation for too long, you need to be told. Because it’s hard.

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Pomegranite Online Presence Consultancy From workshop to website to welcoming crowds

From workshop to website to welcoming crowds

It gives you quite a thrill – working with entrepreneurs who have a cracking idea, workshopping the branding and business plan, designing the logo, building the website, and then experiencing their finished product and being blown away.

At the beginning of the year, Marc and Monika (a chef and an opera singer who are a married couple) came to see us about their business idea: Sing for Your Supper. They wanted to offer people a new and exciting way to experience opera that didn’t require a bank loan and a ball gown – an experience that came with delicious food in the bargain.

We explored their idea, asked some difficult questions and together we built the elements of their online marketing: a logo (with the help of the talented indieBerries), a blog, and a website.

Happy with the way these turned out, Marc and Monika started planning their first event, which I attended last week. And wow, was I impressed! (You can read just how impressed I was over here.)

Pomegranite Online Presence Consultancy From workshop to website to welcoming crowds

You guys – do yourself a favour and book for one of their upcoming events. You’re in for an evening of incredible food, great entertainment and a whole new appreciation of opera. Even if opera was the last thing on your list, (even if was the very last thing, like after the dentist maybe) this is something you should try. Because it’s nothing like traditional opera.

In between courses, Monika chats to you about the aria she will be singing, telling you what’s going on in the opera at that point, how the character is feeling and what she’s singing about (which ranges from heart-breaking to hilarious).

Watching this business grow from idea to ideal and being a part of its journey was just such an affirmation of why we do what we do. Apart from the warm-and-fuzzies we get from seeing our clients succeed, life is never boring when clients like chefs and opera singers walk through your door!

Pomegranite Online Presence Consultancy From workshop to website to welcoming crowds

Five website sign-off tips for clients

So you’re in the final meeting with your web designer/agency, it’s been two months of looking at screen designs, prepping content and, if you’re using WordPress, possibly more time looking at themes and functions. Now the moment is here and the final sign-off meeting has arrived.

Clicking through web pages has never been more gratifying as you compare, load, reload and check content. But are you missing something? Are there things that should be in place before you give the all clear?

Here are my top five items you should ensure are in place before signing off any website.

1) Google Analytics

Google Analytics are blocks of code that are embedded in each page which allow tracking of website data.

2) Favicon

This is the little icon that appears in your browser when you visit a website; it’s more of a branding visual that adds that extra bit of value to any site.

3) Structured URLs

URLs are the links in your browser that load each time you navigate pages; these should mimic or relate to the page they go i.e. if the page you’re going to has the heading “welcome to our business” the URL should reflect this: “http://www.yourdomain.com/welcome-to-our-business”
not
“http://www.yourdomain.com/?=pageid1234422/article/content/welcome”
or something along those lines.

4) Responsive layout

In today’s digital realm with the technology and HTML advances there is no excuse not to have a site that at least adheres to tablet screen size (1024 * 768).

5) Out-bound links actually link outbound

Out-bound links are those links that drive visitors away from your site – for example, an affiliate logo that goes to a different site. Theses links should always open in a new window or tab and should not open a new site over yours.

Step inside our office: A little photo tour

It hasn’t been that long since we moved offices, but we’re so at home here in this light, sunny, friendly space that it feels like much longer.

Liz wrote a bit about the philosophy behind this great coworking space in Cape Town, so I thought I’d give you a little visual window into the space where we spend our days at 75 Harrington Street.

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The side of the building that can be seen from the parking lot. There is SO much awesome street art in this area.

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Looking up…

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We’re on the third floor – along with these other awesome businesses. It’s the most inspiring thing, being surrounded by young entrepreneurs who are just making things happen. You can feel it in the energy of the building as you walk in.

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There’s always an interesting event happening at 75. Always.

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Our little corner

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More of the amazing street art. And the mountain. Always the mountain.

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Then there’s this guy. Just because. (And Pomegranite in the background)

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Our sunshiney kitchen

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Light, bright space and awesome people

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Our “opposite” neighbour was actually one of our first clients, White Rabbit Days. We find ourselves wandering into this treasure trove of beautiful jewellery more often than we probably should.

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This fist-pumping cat was a gift on our first birthday. It was supposed to bring us good luck and ALL the money. Looking at the way we’ve grown in the last little while, I’d say it can stay.

 

The Pomegranite team has grown by one awesome member!

It’s funny how a joke can change your fate.

As you no doubt saw, last week we started the hunt for a great intern. In the course of my regular banter with our freelance developer, Riyad, he joked that he should apply. One thing led to another and he’s now our newest team member!

Things you need to know about Riyad:

– He’s crazy talented

Having worked for institutions like Media24 in front-end development, Riyad’s certainly got the corporate chops but check out his portfolio on his own website and you’ll see how slick his work is.

– He’s absolutely lovely

Seriously. Every interaction is a pleasure.

– He’s into running and his family and friends and he adores his wife.

– He secretly loves it when we call him RiRi

Exhibit A: last year’s birthday card including some hot photoshop:

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– He’s broadening our offering. Not only is Riyad a whizz on WordPress but he’s also a master of mailers, hosting, html, css and SEO not to mention his design skills. We’re excited to see his influence on our projects!

So our road shifted direction and we made a different choice but it was clear during my highly entertaining eye conversations with Sarah during that initial phone call with Riyad that this just felt right. We both trust him, we know his work, we know he’s going to be a great asset to Pomegranite.

He starts on Tuesday and we can’t wait to welcome that cheeky face. Stay tuned for his first blog post next week!

Pomegranite Online Presence Consultancy

Are you a words person? Pomegranite is hiring!

Spread the word guys – Pomegranite is looking to hire an intern!

We have grown steadily over the past two years, but things have really taken off in the last couple of months, so we need someone to join the team.

We’d like you to start asap, but it’s really important to us to find the right person. So if this sounds like you, please get in touch and we can chat.

The right person needs to be:
– A recent graduate / have a tertiary education
– Based in Cape Town
– Good with words. We need someone who can write well across a broad range of platforms – from lengthier website copy to short, snappy content for social media
– Keen to learn how to build websites on WordPress (prior knowledge of WordPress a bonus but not a requirement)
– Experienced with social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc)
– Driven, motivated, able to take initiative (i.e. we would like to be able to give you some direction, but then have you run with the project)
– Someone with an eye for branding and the way in which brands are represented in the online space in particular
– A team player with people skills
– Hungry to learn
– Able to work well under pressure (There will be pressure. But there will also be beach days.)
– Open to a dance break every now and then when things just get a bit much

Nitty gritty:
– Full-time
– Salary of R4000 p/m (with the option to increase significantly after six months if you’re the right fit and would like to join Pomegranite permanently as a Junior
– Tertiary education a must

About us:
Pomegranite is an online presence consultancy based in Cape Town. It was started two years ago by myself (Sarah) and Liz. (Feel free to stalk us on Facebook – because viva le internet).

We have built the company into something we’re really proud of and we have so much fun working with our clients. You know those irritating people at braais on Sunday who are excited to go to work the next day? That would be us.

If you’d like to get a feel for the vibe of the company, read about our #InspirationDays on our blog.

Keen to join us?

To apply, please send the following to info@pomegranite.co.za by 30 April 2015:
– Your CV (No more than two pages please. We don’t really want to hear about the merit badge you got for swimming in grade two – although good job on that.)
– A cover letter telling us why you think you’re the right person to join Pomegranite.

Ready, steady, go!

How to use Dropbox

Dropbox is a great service that helps you keep your files safe in a cloud, synced with other users and accessible from anywhere: your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. We work with it a lot to exchange content with clients – especially during the website building process.

You can work Dropbox it in two (integrated) ways.

1. Online at the Dropbox website: sign in and create, access and share your folders in your account online.

2. Download the Dropbox app to your device: once installed, Dropbox acts like a normal folder on your computer where you can keep files, but it’s special in that everything you put into that folder is automatically backed up to the cloud and synchronized with other users you’ve assigned to the folder and in your Dropbox on any of your other devices its installed on.

Wiki HowWikiHow gives a great step-by-step guide to getting started and sharing files with both methods.

 

 

Drink that champagne, dammit!

There’s been a bottle of champagne on my desk for more than a year. When Pomegranite was as new as a wobbly-legged lamb, we decided that we would only drink that bottle when we earned enough on our retainers to pay my rent and Liz’s rent.

When we reached that goal, did we pop those bubbles in celebration? Of course not. That would mean admitting that we felt like a real company made up of real people who knew how to run a business.

Instead, we shifted the goal posts. Again and again, and again. I can’t even remember what each new green light for bubble guzzling was. There were that many. Until one memorable day at a waterpark in Muizenberg when we decided that enough was enough! We had to allow ourselves to celebrate our achievements.

So we agreed on a non-negotiable milestone.

And last week, we reached i

You would think, being proud Rhodes alumni, it wouldn’t take much for us to climb into some fancy champagne. But I actually had to convince Liz that it was time to drink it.

And when we popped that cork on the stairs of our new offices, it felt like something shifted. A gear change, if you will. Pomegranite 2.0 had arrived.

So, the moral of my story is threefold:

  • Set goals. They must be goals that you really want to achieve, but out of reach enough for you to have to put in the work to get there.
  • When you reach those goals, allow yourself to celebrate them. Because you worked your ass off to get there and you need to acknowledge how far you’ve come in order to figure out where you want to go next.
  • When you’re getting close to that goal, for the love of all the bubbly gods, please put that bottle in the fridge. ROOKIE error, Pomegranite.

Pomegranite’s NEW office

You guys, we have BIG news! We’ve moved into a brand new office and it’s great.

It all happened quite suddenly so here’s the full story. We had been at our lovely spot on Long Street for just over a year when Sarah went to meet with one of our first clients (and now good friend) Helen from White Rabbit Days. Returning from the meeting, Sarah made a convincing case to go and check it out so I did and I fell for it too. Two weeks later and we’ve started our first official week at 75 Harrington Street. We’re even on the wall!

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What made us so keen to move is that, while it’s a co-working space, it’s not just plonk at your desk and put your head down. This is a real community of a wide spectrum of small businesses including everything from The Braai Tool to Gravity Ideas to NGOs like Open Streets and artists and freelancers of all descriptions. The building connects us all.  It’s abuzz with entrepreneurial energy and that’s what makes it greater than the sum of its parts.

When we first met Steven Harris, who is the driving force behind 75 Harrington and who owns and runs The Design Bank next door, he compared the space to Darwin’s idea of the tangled river bank and I totally get how this building is an ecosystem. There’s growth, there are thought-provoking conversations, there’s a bagel joint across the road, there’s competition, there are events, there are connections, there’s life! Here’s the Darwin quote before I get too poetic:

“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. […] There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” 

We’ll be posting a bunch of photos of our new spot so you can have a good old digitial snoop soon but here are some teasers for now.

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12 tips for live tweeting a conference

You know that feeling, when you’ve been concentrating so hard for so long that when you finally hit your pillow at night your brain still has a million tabs open and you feel like you sort of need a “control, alt, delete” function?

That.

Over the past two weeks Liz and I have been crazy busy live tweeting two very different, very interesting conferences: the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) in Cape Town, and the South African Impact Investing Network in Joburg.

Today is the first day we’ve been able to sit down, see each other’s faces, and fill each other in on February, basically.

Part of that “filling in” involved compiling our top 12 tips on live tweeting a conference – just for you. You’re welcome.

1. Turn on your Twitter analytics before the conference starts. *cough* Liz. *cough*.

2. Use a platform like Tweetdeck which allows you to see columns of ALL the things at once: your feed, your mentions, your notifications, the conference hashtag, replies, messages, etc. In the beginning it will feel like you’re sitting behind a control desk of a big plane. But you sort of are – do NOT crash the conference.

3. Make sure that the handle you’re tweeting from and the official hashtag are displayed somewhere prominent at the venue, and everywhere else you can get them – on the website, in the brochures, just in people’s faces. You don’t want to miss out on some tweets because people are using the wrong hashtag.

4. If the AV set-up allows it, use a programme like TweetBeam to project all conference tweets onto a screen. Just plug in the hashtag and you’re set.

5. Things will be hectic. Your fingers have never moved as fast as they will when you’re live tweeting. Do yourself a favour and schedule some tweets ahead of time, letting people know about upcoming talks, breakaways, etc.

6. Visual elements stand out in a Twitter feed. Make sure you tweet some photos of the event every so often and tag the speakers/delegates/sponsors if you know their handles. You’re more likely to earn retweets this way.

7. Live tweeting doesn’t mean you’re required to take a live dictation of the event. Know what to tweet and what not to.

8. Make friends with people who are tweeting well and see how you can complement each other (with an “e” – not as in “that is such an interesting hair colour…” Rather, how can you work together?)

9. Daily blog round-ups are a great way to sum-up the day and share on Twitter.

10. Make a plan to have back-up 3G. If the internet goes down, you’re screwed.

11. Where possible, avoid using a laptop that is on its last legs as it will overheat on your lap and you will get what feels like third-degree burns on your legs.

12. Be a boy scout. Always be prepared. You never know what’s going to be thrown at you – in terms of a logistical challenge or otherwise. Be creative in figuring out solutions. Case in point: This very profesh group photo taken by Liz at the AMI.

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How? Like this.
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Content marketing: The great divide

We speak about content marketing quite often at Pomegranite. It’s the fastest growing form of marketing and the way brands go about it changes from week-to-week. That’s what makes it so exciting – and challenging.

This infographic by the folks at One Spot illustrates this brilliantly: one the one hand, there are so many reasons why it’s crucial for brands to invest time (and money) in content marketing, but, as is true of anything in the business world, it comes with its own challenges.

Sure, it costs a whole lot less than traditional marketing – but people still tend to expect a lot more than budget constraints allow. Yes it’s an important way to extend the reach of your brand – but how many people actually track the ROI (or at least attempt to measure this)?

At the end of the day, it’s about being realistic, working with what you have, being creative, and keeping a finger on the pulse of this ever-changing, fast-moving, always-evolving industry.

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Fetaure image courtesy ddpavumba, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Things are taking off here – a poem

What do you do when you have a million things to get through and a meeting in 20 minutes and a dinner party to get to that you will most probably be late for because you’re so busy being a successful businesswoman?

Write a poem. Obviously.

Things have taken off here
They’re moving really fast
We’ve had to get in first gear
As the work pile is quite vast

But how flippen’ exciting
To be running our own show
And see it move like lightning
As the biz-ness starts to grow

It must be my new power-dress
Or Liz’s so-profesh phone voice
That are the secrets to our success
And inform the client’s choice

So while we may be yawning
In the days and months to come
We’ll still be smiling night and morning
Because man – look what we’ve done!

The one where we go to Super Tubes for our inspiration day

By now, you’ll know that every month, Pomegranite takes some time to get out of the office and talk about the bigger picture of the business. We’ve gone for lake-side picnics and forest walks, we’ve been surfing and wondering in tree canopies – anything where we get to do something a little out of the ordinary. And fun. But I don’t think we’ve ever had an inspiration day that was this much FUN!

Allow me to present: Muizenberg Water Slides, better known as Super Tubes.

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Look at all that FUN! And thrilling speed!

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… (yes, this is their scariest slide).

The park’s retro vibe continues next door with some bizarre tuckshop advertising and a putt-putt course straight out of ‘The Jetsons’.

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As we arrived, some dark clouds moved in over Muizenberg and a chill settled in the air. Taking a single layer of clothing off seemed less and less appealing, never mind getting wet. We made a deal, we’d only take an hour’s pass and then treat ourselves to hot chololate afterwards. We were here. We were going to make the best of it.

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We were tickled by the spectator fee (and a maximum of two spectators per slider) but didn’t even notice the sign above. The place reminded us so much of The Way Way Back  – it even had it’s own ‘cool guy’ lifesaver complete with aviator shades and an ankle bracelet (à la Sam Rockwell). If you haven’t seen the film, it’s about a teenager who goes from this cringiness…

to this awesomeness…

…via a summer working at a waterslide park.

I can honestly say, there is nothing in the world like a good old water slide to make you feel like a kid again. After the first whooshing, whizzing, giddy go down the slide, we didn’t notice that we were shivering (or that we made far more noise than all the other kids in the area put together).

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And now, for your enjoyment, a snippet of a slide from both of us. First up, Sarah. You can tell she’s on her way because of the shrieks, but the best part (as your can hear by my chuckling) is Sarah getting swept up in the white water of the (very shallow) paddling pool.

Next up, here I come down the curly whurly, good momentum assisting in my dismount complete with a little yelp.

Guys, things got CRAZY. We did a few slides lying down (which makes you go way faster) and even backwards for as long as we could stand it (which wasn’t long). What a marvellous day. It turns out the sun came out and we didn’t even need that hot chocolate.

Do you have any bright ideas for our February inspiration day?

Let us know – we’re always looking for something new and exciting!

Social media predictions for 2015: The good ones

Social media predictions for 2015. The first few weeks of January have been full of them. And you know what? Here’s another one. You’re welcome.

Except this time, these predictions from SocialMedia.CEO are actually quite interesting and come from people who really do know what they’re talking about – social media CEOS.

The thought that makes the most sense to me belongs to Josh Simmons:

“2015 will be the year social media is put in its place. It’s an elemental thing, a tool, a means to an end: community, both online and off. By building communities we have stickier products and more scalable marketing. Social Media Marketers are being phased out in favor of Community Managers that understand social media in context of a broader ecosystem.”

We’ve said all along that social media is not an island and works better when it’s integrated into the wider marketing strategy. It will be interesting to see the practical ways in which brands do this in 2015.

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Feature image by bplanet, freedigitalphotos.net

“At least you’ve got legs” – and other highlights of a rollercoaster year

There’s a blog post coming in the next couple of weeks about our resolutions for 2015 – our Pomegranite resolutions that is. Like trying not to dress the same unintentionally every time we have a client meeting. Seriously. Every. Time.

But before we start looking into the New Year, let’s maybe look at the one that’s just winding down. And when I say “winding”, I mean spiralling so bloody fast that the weeks seem to be collapsing into each other like babushka dolls on tik.

Here are my five highlights of 2014 (look I know I use five a lot but it’s a lot less than 10 and I like the number, ok):

1) Our random dance breaks and spontaneous karaoke sessions when it all just gets too much sometimes. Seriously – you have no idea how much they help. Not just because you can’t not laugh at Liz’s pseudo-twerking, but because it tends to put things in perspective.

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2) There have been a few moments this year when I’ve marvelled at our partnership and how we are finding our unique roles more and more as time goes on. For example, when I chat to clients, I tend to just dive right into the business side of things. Not Liz, though. She will sit down and say: “So how are the cats?” And that’s something I’m grateful for. Someone to have those kind of conversations for me. And to remind me to have them myself sometimes.

3) Happy clients. Man I love happy clients! When you’re able to deliver what you promised and then add a whole bunch of cherries on top of that – the reaction from speechless, squealing, dancing, crying (the good kind of tears, hey?) and generally thrilled clients is really why we do what we do. (Also – I love that we have the kind of relationship with our clients that they feel like they can actually squeal in front of us.)

4) Liz likes to theme her outfits, which I have mentioned before. One day she came to work in stylish black pants, a fitted black T-shirt, black leather pumps, and her hair in a chignon. She reckoned it was called “Chanel”. Having not yet had my first cup of tea, my filter wasn’t working yet. “Or backstage worker?”

5) I’ve just had a little scroll through memory lane (you guys also stalk yourself on social media sometimes right?). It’s one thing to have a sense of how far you’ve come in a year, but to actually look back and see the progression, to remember a lot of the crappy days and to know that they are so few and far between now – that is the biggest highlight of all for me. On 15 January, I tweeted:

“At least you’ve got legs.” Liz trying to look on the bright side for me.

Weirdly, this wasn’t at all related to the whole Oscar debacle. It really was Liz trying to think of positive things in my life. (I know.)

And now, on the other side of 2014, not only do I have legs, but I’ve used them to climb this freaking mountain (metaphorically speaking, guys – I know it’s hard to know sometimes in Cape Town). And the view from the top is bloody amazing.

2015, I see you! Let’s play.

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