England all-rounder Sarah Taylor believes the experience the women's side gained during 2013 will prove invaluable when they arrive in Australia in a bid to retain the Ashes.
The squad leave England for Down Under on Monday to defend the Ashes they won in August courtesy of a 12-4 points victory.
The home series incorporated one Test, three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches, with victory helping to make up for the disappointment of failing to reach the final of February's World Cup in India where England had to settle for third place.
However, since then they have enjoyed a limited-overs victory against Pakistan, beaten Australia on home soil and embarked on a successful tour of the West Indies.
And wicketkeeper-batter Taylor feels the team are in great shape ahead of a gruelling Ashes tour.
"It will be tough but we have had a good half of a year so hopefully all the good things we learned from that we can take into the Ashes," Taylor told Sky Sports.
"This year has been a bit of a tale of two halves. The World Cup was painful for us after all the preparation we had done in the previous four years leading up to that.
"It was one of those things that we had to take all the good we could from it and then whack that into the Ashes series.
"We had some tough times in that series as well but we made sure we bounced back quickly. Then we had the tour of the West Indies. Overall, it was a good year in the way the squad is going.
"From every game and every tour you have got to take things from it.
"Obviously you want to win every time but with disappointments, as in everything in life, you have got to learn from them.
"As a squad, and that includes all the young players coming through, we have learned and that can only benefit us going into a tough series in Australia."
Cope with conditions
England's men have endured a torrid time during their own ongoing Ashes tour, which has seen them relinquish the urn after a dismal two months in Australia.
Part of the men's failings has been an inability to cope with the conditions in Australia which offer much faster, bouncier pitches than those offered in England.
The women's side play the one Test of their Ashes tour in Perth which is regarded as one of the quickest and bounciest in the world, but Taylor is confident the tourists can cope.
"The pitch at the WACA is unlike anything we have here so the bowlers will be able to take advantage of the pace and bounce," admitted Taylor who also revealed the squad had been using heat chambers to prepare for the change in temperature between England and Australia.
"As batters we look at it as a challenge but a good challenge because the faster it comes the faster it goes."
As well as the WACA, the 2014 Ashes series will feature one-day and Twenty20 matches at the MCG.
And with the home women's Ashes having included well-attended games at Lord's, Chelmsford and Durham, Taylor feels this is a testimony to the growing popularity of the women's game.
"It is phenomenal the attention the game is getting," she added.
"I don't know what the rise is in terms of participation but it was huge after the summer and I think there were games like Chelmsford where we played a stand-alone T20 and the ground was packed.
"The hard work that the ECB and the likes of Sky are putting in - in terms of coverage - is brilliant.
"We want to be role models to girls that are coming through. We are amazed by the amount of people coming to see our games and it will only benefit us in years from now when girls who watched us come through to play for England."
You can follow England's defence of the Ashes on Sky Sports - their three T20 games will be live starting on January 29