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?

All I Want For Christmas Is…

I would like to make clear at this point that I have no time whatsoever for people who are already beside themselves with excitement for the festive season. In fact, I am currently positively Scrooge-like. I’m discombobulated by how fast this year has gone and I’ve only just recovered from the aftermath of our Maria’s wedding. Therefore, I’ll be honest – the thought of Christmas is making me feel a bit tired.

I’m aware that I am in the minority with this attitude – indeed, my friend Lauren would already have her tree up and be sporting tinsel scrunchies and light-up snowmen earrings if not for the fact that her boyfriend is sensible and has vetoed this. (Side note – I know for a fact that aforementioned amiga will point to an ongoing tweet exchange that we’ve recently been enjoying about this year’s inaugural Christmas Jumper Pub Crawl Day as evidence that I am a liar, and that I am actually excited for Christmas – but to this I say the following: said event involves knitwear, and alcohol, which are two of my favourite things, and so are exempt from my current yuletide weariness.)

I have deemed that Saturday 14th December is the date when it’s acceptable for the world to embrace all things Christmassy with gusto (coincidentally, the date of the sure-to-be-infamous Christmas Jumper Pub Crawl!)

However, my love of list-making has, in this instance, triumphed, so for one (rather long and pointless, as it transpires) post only, I’m discussing Christmas.

Firstly, looking at this list compiled by the Guardian about this year’s must-have presents, I am glad that a.) I’m not a kid and b.) I’m not a parent. My sympathy lies with the former because, save for the Lego (I LOVE LEGO AND WILL ALWAYS LOVE LEGO) the choice is fairly underwhelming – where are the fuzzy felts and Tamagotchis? – and the latter because some of them are quite expensive considering you’re purchasing glorified faux computer tat. My favourite presents that I can recall from childhood were a Baywatch Barbie set, complete with dolphin; a doll called Judy that was subjected to the infamous Crilly fringe trim treatment (it didn’t go well, the unfortunate soul); and keyboard lessons, because I was a geek.

It’s got me thinking about what I would like for Christmas, apart from the usual peace on earth and goodwill to all men. Here are my lists:

What I would like for Christmas

A pet sloth (a request I make every birthday and Christmas. Alas, the closest I’ve got so far is a canvas bag with a picture of a sloth on.)

Justin Timberlake’s hand in marriage.

Tickets for Little Mix’s American tour (I’m dreaming big, mmmkay?)

One of these bad boys, which are outstanding.

eBay is a treasure trove of wonder, isn't it?

eBay is a treasure trove of wonder, isn’t it?

What I will actually get

A bag of goodies from Home and Bargain (cotton wool; chewing gum; Curly Wurlies; other things beginning with “c.”)

Drunk.

If this post has achieved anything at all, it’s that I can admit that my frosty outlook towards the festivities is thawing. 30 days until the fun can begin!

Why I love the John Lewis Christmas advert

The John Lewis Christmas advert has become as hotly anticipated a festive tradition as mince pies and making a show of yourself on the work night out (or is the latter just me?) We’ve had, amongst others, last year’s snowman trekking to the shops to buy his snowlady a pair of gloves, and the kid who just can’t wait for the big day to arrive so he can give his mum and dad his (shoddily wrapped, if I’m honest with the tyke) presents. This year we follow the tale of the bear and the hare – the bear has never had any festive fun before, as it hibernates throughout Christmas, so cannot relate to the excitement in the run-up to December 25th, and goes for a season-long kip, the same as every other year. The hare is gutted for the bear and is determined to involve it this year. The hare does this by waking the bear up with a gift of a John Lewis alarm clock WHICH MIRACULOUSLY MANAGES TO DISTURB THE BEAR’S ACTUAL HIBERNATION and they and all the other woodland creatures have the best Christmas ever. Probably.

Here’s this year’s offering:

I’ve seen a few people whinging about it on Facebook and Twitter. “Not as good as last year’s!” grumbled a few. “It just goes to show how commercial Christmas has become!” whinged others. “How are woodland creatures relevant to Christmas?” sighed someone else. Well, I love it. Firstly, I used to work for John Lewis, and didn’t work there long enough to grow to resent it like most other people who worked there at the same time as I did, so I have green blood and am staunchly defensive of my beloved former employer. (The brainwashing worked, clearly.) I watched the advert for the first time with a couple of my former John Lewis colleagues on Friday night – see, John Lewis help to form lasting friendships as well as ensuring that all woodland animals get to enjoy the magic of Christmas! – and was roundly mocked by both of them for welling up slightly when I watched it. I don’t care though. I was just really happy for the bear. Secondly, it reminds me of Animals of Farthing Wood, which anyone who’s around my age will agree was the best and most harrowing cartoon of all time. Next, Christmas isn’t commercial in the Crilly household – obviously we get presents for each other, but it’s genuinely more about the people I spend my festive season with for me rather than the gifts, and I can safely say that I will not be influenced by this year’s advert to the point where I can barely wait to purchase the alarm clock featured in it. And as for the question as to how woodland animals are relevant to Christmas, then I truly am shocked. Why shouldn’t bears, hares and the rest get to enjoy John Lewis’ yuletide wares like all of us? Society is broken if you resent a bear having some festive fun. Cameron’s Britain, I tells ye.

I’ll admit to the fact that John Lewis have a lot to answer for with regards to the ongoing trend for chanteuses who are wispy of voice and physique. But then again, I love Lily Allen, so I am even able to overlook that this year.

Oh, and don’t think for a second that the advert has worked its magic on me to the point where I’ll actually buy anything in John Lewis this Christmas. It’s far too expensive. Plus the service has gone right downhill since we left…