Happy birthday Helen!

Soooo the cat is thankfully out of the bag. Our Helen, who’s twenty-one today – twenty-one! I feel ancient – thought she was going for a meal with la famille last night but in fact it was a proper party with the whole gang present. She genuinely didn’t have a clue, which worries me, because I basically mentioned it to her face about a thousand times.

As is my wont, I have penned a blog in honour of the proceedings. Our Paul read it out last night at the party because I was too much of a wimp to do so. Sorry Helen. Here goes…:

“I remember the day you were born vividly. It was a Pancake Tuesday and I was minding my own business in the school hall with the rest of my class when I spotted Mad Tam and his gravity defying hair pacing by the secretary’s office. Turns out he’d come to pick me and Maria up early so we could see you for the very first time. Mother Goose looked shattered but proud as could be and I was happy with the situation because the sister I already had was sound, so I was willing to add to the collection.

Unfortunately, all memories of you from that point up until you were about thirteen are hazy. Indeed, save for some photographs of you peering out from underneath your increasingly mental fringe, and the memory of you finally being persuaded to swap your dummy for a Tamagotchi when you were about twelve, I’d strongly refute that you lived with us at all.

This all changed when you took the lead part in Bugsy Malone. This was notable for your comedy dancing and the closing rendition of “You Give A Little Love”, which still brings a lump to the throat every time I think about it. After that we couldn’t shut you up, from the Harmonettes and the glorious summer of Liverpool’s Got Talent, to developing a ruthlessly organised streak, there was no stopping you! Amongst many other things, you almost singlehandedly organised the Bridges’ wedding, and, by all accounts, ran the show in Broughton Hall for a year. You’re a force to be reckoned with – in a good way!

Keep going at LIPA – you’re over halfway there now and it’ll be worth it if only to shake Paul McCartney’s hand at the end of it. Thanks for being kind even when I haven’t been, and for being our Paul’s second mum, and for your cleaning skills, and for the open door policy on your wardrobe. Sorry about the fact that I still haven’t taken you to Paris yet like I said I would when you were fourteen and I was twenty-one – I am well aware of the fact that now you’re twenty-one and we still haven’t been! Stick with that David one – he’s a legend and most definitely your lobster. Most importantly, keep on smiling and keep on singing. To loosely paraphrase Bugsy, you could be anything that you want to be.”

Just a little footnote to the above – tragically for you, people say that we look very much alike. Thankfully, that’s where the similarity ends; indeed, I’d quite like to be like you when I eventually grow up. You are one of my best friends and I hope you have the most amazing birthday. I’ll take you to Paris one day…

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!

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?

Maria’s hen do was immense

I am aware that it is a tad backwards that I blogged about attending a stag do before posting about going to a hen do. Oh well.

My sister Maria is getting married in just forty days (!) to Phil but before that we had the important business of the hen do to sort out. It was decided that we’d attend the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival in Maria’s back garden a.k.a Sefton Park first, followed by a night out in TriBeCa in town. I spent the week leading up to it panicking about the weather, obsessively checking it on an hourly basis. I needn’t have worried – save for a few showers, the weather gods were kind to us. The cocktails at the Alma de Cuba stand were amazing – I sank a fair few Bombay Badboys! – and I also had a hotdog with chilli beef topping from the Free State Kitchen stall which was, frankly, a taste sensation. Best of all, the Liverpool Food and Drink Twitter were asking attendees to send them photos to be in with a chance of winning a bottle of Lanson champagne, and my entry won! So thanks guys – that will be getting quaffed on the morning of the wedding!

My winning photo!

My winning photo!

We then went back to Maria’s abode for a few more drinks and a couple of quizzes – Kirsty had done a Mr and Mrs one, some of the answers to which were really quite lovely. WELL DONE PHIL. Then for the final leg we decamped to TriBeCa in town and took over their upstairs bar.

The bride-to-be and myself, looking dead civilised

The bride-to-be and myself, looking dead civilised

We drank A LOT of Prosecco, Maria “did a shot” – meaning she sipped it over the space of about ten minutes, thus missing the point of doing shots entirely – and Mother Goose got down with her bad self to Dr Dre, of all people, squealing “Oh I like this one!” even though I can categorically confirm that she has never heard Still D.R.E IN HER LIFE. A brilliant day and night was had by all. Thanks to everyone involved for making it so fantastic.

All the hens in TriBeCa.  Good times.

All the hens in TriBeCa. Good times.

Roll on the wedding!

Tonight I have accompanied my 14 year old brother to a gig

I’m blogging from said gig as that’s clearly what old ladies do at gigs for teenagers.

I feel about 100 years old and I’m definitely at least ten stone heavier than every other girl here. None of them are sporting Primarni control knickers, let’s put it that way.

However, I’m not one to let minor details like this get me down. I’ve got a pint of cider in hand and the band we’ve come to see have done a cover of Gay Bar, which reminds me of being as young as everyone else here. They also did a cover of Naive by The Kooks and everyone went insane AS IF THE ACTUAL KOOKS WERE PERFORMING LIVE.

Love it. Ciao for now;  I’m off to cramp our Paul’s style by dancing like Mother Goose at a wedding.

My first stag do

And my last, most probably.  Convention was ignored for a night as I (along with our Maria and Helen) gatecrashed my cousin Brian’s stag do.  The lads had arrived on Friday from Glasgow and were left to their own devices on Friday night, but due to having no willpower I was unable to resist the lure of having “a couple” of drinks with some of the best people EVER, stag do or not. 

The lads had managed to find a bar that I had never heard of to while away the afternoon in, which was pretty impressive.  From there we traipsed halfway around the city centre attempting to find somewhere to a) have something to eat and b) watch the Champions League final.  Obviously, with it being a group of 20 people, and due to the fact that it was a glorious bank holiday Saturday, options were limited, until Maria saved the day with a great shout of Passage to India, which is usually quiet.  God help anyone who was there for a romantic meal for two.  It was, shall we say, a tad rowdy.

Then onto TriBeCa to catch the second half of the game, plus to find out that two members of the stag do were distantly related to me, even though I had never met them.  Mad!  At this point my memory goes a tad hazy.  However, Mother Goose informs me that I managed to lash rice all over the kitchen when I got home, I thought I’d lost my hearing aid, I owe someone (I think it’s Mikey) £20 and I still haven’t got round to taking yesterday’s makeup off.  So it’s safe to assume that it was a good night.

Ta to all the lads for looking after me, apologies for cramping your style for so long, and see you at the wedding!