I’ve had a very Merry Christmas. Here’s to the Happy New Year bit now!

So another year is over. I am slightly discombobulated by how quickly 2013 has passed. It seems like only yesterday I was waking up in Erin’s flat after a NYE shindig that resulted in me falling asleep on her couch by 2 a.m. It’s safe to say I peaked a bit too early that night…

I have had an absolute ball this festive season – the best one for years in fact. Sorry if I sound a bit smug but, to be fair, I’m not one to post about extravagant purchases (hardly ever buy anything/bit of a scruff) or exotic holidays (haven’t seen sun since 2011) but I am guilty, especially over the past couple of weeks, of going on about the many brilliant times I’ve had with my amazing family and friends. So shoot me!

The Christmas period has consisted of the work’s night out at a Chinese karaoke restaurant in town (classy), followed by an ill-fated carol service at the Irish Centre, featuring me and our Helen in fits of helpless giggles onstage. Shameful. Next up was Christmas Eve Eve, the memory of which is hazy, but the injuries from which are still very much in evidence, thanks to my many tumbles. Christmas Eve was spent in work feeling just a tiny bit tired (note to self – a full day in work after an hour and a half’s sleep is never a good idea.) Christmas Day was the usual chaos – Nan’s, old next door neighbour’s, back to Nan’s for lunch and then everyone Chez Crilly in the evening for a singsong – with this year’s repertoire being particularly eclectic; Enrique Iglesias followed by O When The Saints, anyone? Boxing Day was our Bob’s 21st, a low key affair that he didn’t mention much. I made my first trip to Goodison of the season. We lost. I am now in Everton exile. We then partied into the wee hours and then got back on it the night after to see our Peter. A flying visit to Glasgow to witness three of the babies’ christenings and naming ceremonies (and to do my guardian duties for baby Mila!), a couple of days in work, and then tonight I’ll be seeing the New Year in with some of my favourites. Even the work bit wasn’t too bad. I’ve eaten lots of meat and drunk a lot of wine and had lots of naps. It’s been basically my idea of heaven.

I don’t understand everyone whinging about the “New Year, new me” type of Facebook status. Yeah, you can make changes in your life at any time, but the start of a new year carries with it a special kind of symbolism, non? However, I very rarely make New Year’s resolutions because – o, lack of willpower! – I never stick to them. My only one for 2014 is the same one I make at varying points throughout the year – to try and get fit. I’m not hugely bothered about losing masses of weight but CHRIST I am a lazy cow. I’d like to be able to walk up the three flights of stairs in work and be able to, y’know, breathe normally.

All things considered, 2013 has been pretty kind to me. I’ve not done anything particularly mindblowing but it’s been largely drama-free compared to other years, so I’m happy with that. Thanks to all who’ve been involved in making it a good one – you know who you are, and you are all incredible. (Sorry for the excessive fromage there.) Happy New Year to you all. There’ll be plenty to look forward to and blog about in 2014. Thanks for reading!

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The Inaugural Christmas Jumper Pub Crawl Day

This snappily entitled event occurred yesterday, which, as previously mentioned, is the day that I’d deemed as acceptable to embrace all things Christmassy. The very first Christmas Jumper pub crawl kicked things off and, if the rest of my festive season is as good as yesterday was, I’ll be very fat, very poor, but very happy by the time 2014 begins.

For once in my life, I’d been sensible on Friday night so I wouldn’t be wrecked for Saturday (mainly due to the fact that I was scared that Lauren would shout at me if I was a mess.) Tragically, around half of the group had thrown caution to the wind and turned up with hangovers of varying degrees. The (highly recommended, by the way) stomach-lining burger at Free State Kitchen was an absolute must.

The pub crawl then began in earnest – from the Phil to Heebies, via EVAC; Kazimier Gardens (my favourite part of the day – so, so good, and the food is immense); Slater’s (whoops) and TriBeCa. The numbers dwindled from fifteen at the beginning to four hardy souls sticking it out to the bitter end but I think it’s safe to say that everyone had a ball.

Resplendent in our jumpers, kicking things off in the Philharmonic pub

Resplendent in our jumpers, kicking things off in the Philharmonic pub

The boys

The boys

The girls

The girls

Slater's

Slater’s

Last ones standing in Heebies!

Last ones standing in Heebies!

Oh, and did I mention that I don’t have a hangover today? It’s a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

Cheers for a brilliant day everyone. I love my city and I love my friends. Same time next year, oui?

…and top 5 low points

There are no highs without the lows. Here are five of my darkest moments from 2013.

1. Arcade Fire’s new album.

I can’t say that I hate it. I can’t even say that it’s a bad album. But I have never felt such a keen sense of disappointment in a band in my entire life. It genuinely makes me feel a bit teary just thinking about it. Yes, I need to get a life.

2. X Factor – the whole thing

I can’t even defend it any more. It’s been absolutely atrocious from start to finish.

3. My continuing battle with Arriva

They exist solely to irritate me. (And to bus people around the city, obviously. But they even struggle with that sometimes.) It is a mutual hatred. I ring them at least once a week to complain about something. And they still haven’t whacked the heating on on the 61.

4. Glastonbury

Or rather, the fact that I did not attend Glastonbury this year. ‘Twas no-one’s fault but my own and I am still fuming at myself for being so financially woeful that I didn’t get to go. Next year though! Next year, I’ll make up for it, and then some.

5. My hair

It was dyed for the first time in my life in May and I haven’t had it done since and now the highlights are white and mismatched and I haven’t got a clue what to do with it. SEND HELP.

Please note that my list of low points is half the length of my list of highlights. This surely means that, against all odds, and considering that my life is an ongoing farce, 2013 must have been alright.

Top 10 highlights of 2013…

All together now! Sing! “It’s the most, wonderful tiiiiime, of the year!”

I’m obviously referring to the many “best of” lists that are now upon us.

Naturally, being a lifelong list lover, I’ve compiled my own. Here, in no particular order, are my top ten highlights of 2013.

1. Flying Ant Day

Or, rather, the lack thereof. Despite daily texts, Facebook alerts and Twitter messages from concerned pals who are well aware of my flying ant phobia, I only saw about seven of the blighters all summer. I fervently hope that 2014 is similar.

2. Alex Turner’s vocals on Do I Wanna Know?

Specifically, the lyric “simmer down and pucker up.” Never has the Sheffield accent sounded so alluring.

3. My birthday

Nothing especially spectacular happened. But I spent it with fabulous people and had an absolute ball. Even better, I didn’t cry once on the actual day, which is a first since I was about 21. PROGRESS!

4. Maria and Phil’s wedding

One of the best days of my life, never mind theirs, I will forever hold dear the memory of bellowing Never Forget at the top of my lungs, with about 200 brilliant people surrounding me. Good times.

5. Abersoch

Our family holiday to Abersoch was a highlight for me, mainly because I got to wake up to this stunning view in one of my favourite places on the planet every day for a week. Bliss.

abersoch view

6. Andy Murray winning Wimbledon

FINALLY. So proud!

7. Breaking Bad

Late to the party as ever, I devoured the whole thing in the space of a couple of months and became obsessed with it about three episodes in. Unfortunately, the lasting effect of it is that my fellow Breaking Bad-loving friends and I say “yo” to each other at the end of sentences. I used to think we were doing this ironically but now I’m not too sure. Ah well. It’s chemistry, bitch.

8. Roberto Martinez

Before David Moyes managed to piss off Evertonians the world over with his outrageous bid for Fellaini and Baines, I was distraught to see him go. I need not have worried – Roberto is working wonders. Plus he looks better in a suit.

9. Starting a blog and joining a choir

Trivial and unimportant events, you may say. However, they were both things that I kept saying I’d do and then, for one reason or another, kept putting off. I would seriously recommend both to everyone – so very therapeutic!

10. Kerry Katona’s high-five getting blanked

Sometimes, if I am feeling sad, I watch this video and I immediately feel happy again. Comedy gold.