Tag Archives: new year

Seeing out the old and partying into 2014


My New Year’s Eve was certainly not the best of recent years, not through any party problems, fights or anything like that, simply, I was ill and felt a bit rubbish. I was gutted to wake up feeling awful on Tuesday morning after shaking, shivering and sweating all the night before – it was horrible! I can cope with a regular cold, but this was a bit more than that. But I refused to let it get to me too much, I treated me and the boyfriend to two juicy steaks for tea which he cooked to absolute perfection for our last meal of 2013 and then after a rest I put some slap on and we headed round to a mate’s house for our annual NYE party.

Usually carnage, these parties have literally seen every type of crazy games, light shows, Chinese lanterns, alcohol, cocktails and of course, there’s been a couple of fights.. We always have so much fun and it is an amazing chance for us to get the whole gang together for a blowout with a few of us living away now. Last year’s party was organised by myself and the boyfriend when he was still living in the house with the others, Mark went all out and treated us to everything short of indoor fireworks and we had an amazing evening with a packed house of laughter and lots of shots. It was great! This year, the others had organised great decorations and even a party punch that was delicious, and a couple of games such as FlipCup – which was so much fun!

My team – The Blues – were the undisputed winners of the game which saw us drunkenly trying to flip cups off the table to land on the opposite side or even on top of another cup after shots, tricky but very fun! Then we joined in Twister while we were tied together in partners and I made it to the final with one other boy – pretty proud.  There was a lot of music, dancing, some funky laser lights and lots of good fun throughout the evening, all rounded up in the midnight kiss with everyone and the standard group hug.

It was another fantastic new year with great friends who I’ve shared amazing memories with this year, but sadly I had to leave a little earlier than usual because I was shattered and feeling a bit rubbish – for once I was the first to call it a night! I’m glad I did or I think I would have felt even worse yesterday and today than I have been feeling… But I’ve been well looked after by the boyfriend who dosed me up with painkillers and cuddles. I’m pretty excited about our promise to each other that next NYE will be spent just the two of us away somewhere, much as I love the huge parties, this year it was missing my two best friends who were also ill or living away and it was most definitely not the same. Next year I am looking forward to a cosy NYE in with a bottle of champagne and my favourite person.

How did everyone else spend their NYE? And who had the hangover from hell the next day?



New Year, New Me? Not on your nelly!

It’s that time of year again, when we all start making a mental tally of quite how many mince pies we have gorged ourselves on, how many fags we smoked while out partying the night away, how many late nights and hangovers we’ve put ourselves through, and of course, how many times we have let our exercise regime slip between the cracks over the festive period.

The guilt slips in and we start making a list of all the ways we should be improving our lives, the way we treat ourselves and others and all those changes we should be making to fit with society’s view of how we should look and behave. Well I say NO MORE! Throw off the shackles of society’s expectations this New Year and stop yourself from becoming one of those annoying people who post “New Year New Me” Facebook statuses, and join the real world.

I firmly believe that if you want to set yourself a goal, you should not wait for a specific date or for a huge blow out over Christmas and then try to change your life in the most miserable month of the year. If you really want to make a serious change, why not start any other date of the year? I don’t understand why people are always so obsessed with changing themselves instead of focusing on celebrating all they have achieved over the course of the year. For example, I may have lost a couple of friends this year through complicated friendships that blew up, or even through death, but that is not what I will be focusing on this New Year’s Eve – instead I will be thinking about the amazing friends I made this year, the incredible experiences I have had and the great work opportunities I have been given.

Too many people start thinking they must lose weight, be healthier, stop smoking etc at this time of year, but the problem is that while a very small number actually keep to their resolutions, the vast majority fail to. This is because so many people have this terrible habit of making false promises to themselves because of feelings of obligation that they should not subject themselves to. Fair enough, you might genuinely want to achieve these things, but so many start out thinking they MUST do these things rather than really WANTING to. This is the difference – if you really want to do something you will do it no matter what day of the week it is or how hard it is. If you simply think it is something you should do, you are less likely to really commit to the changes – like my boyfriend who has been promising his family he would quit smoking every year as long as I have known him!

If I ask my readers for one thing, and one thing only this year, please let it be to use this New Year’s Eve to celebrate your achievements and how far you have come and the friends and family who have joined your for the ride, rather than worrying about some silly ideas of conforming to society expectations by changing who you are to become some “cheap, skinny, sober bitch”. You can’t need to change that much if you have all your friends, family and loved ones around you this Christmas – so don’t resign yourself to thinking you need to change in this way when you should be proud of yourself.

I don’t mean to sound cocky in any way, mainly because I am applying this to everyone of you who is reading – but we’ve survived another year of heavy job cuts, redundancies, Gangnam Style, storms, terrorist attacks, people being beaten to death in the streets, and much more horrific crimes. We should be pleased to have these, a roof over our heads, perhaps not the job we want, but a foot on the career ladder and hope for the future. We have loved ones, relationships, friendships and plenty more to build on next year. We should look at the positives and what we want to continue into 2014 to keep building ourselves up, but without sacrificing the person we have become.

I hope you have a very Happy New Year and good luck for 2014.


Navigate the Christmas work do and escape the New Year’s shame

It’s that time of year again, when the invites to the Christmas party whiz round the office and instantly your stomach either leaps at the excitement of a night-out with your workmates, or your heart sinks at the thought of yet another opportunity to shame yourself in front of your colleagues. Which will it be? Well, take a look at these top tips and hopefully you will survive the Christmas party this year, avoiding the embarrassment of going back to work in the New Year.

  1. If you want to get out of drinking altogether, why not just say that you are driving? Offer to give people a lift to the do and that way they’ll be so grateful not to have to pay for expensive taxis that you might get away with it with minimal peer pressure. Or, if you don’t have a car, try the ‘I’m on antibiotics’ one – it works every time, just tell them you have an ear infection.
  2. Learn to say no. It’s hard to refuse a drink here, or a snack there at Christmastime, but they soon add up and you’ve eaten 1,000 calories worth of junk before dinner, or you’ve drunk the whole bottle and have a stinking hangover. If your workmates are the type to keep offering drinks and pushing more wine on you, just say no thanks then move the conversation on – after a while they’ll stop offering if you keep distracting them.
  3. If you do drink, try lying. Fair enough, telling lies is not nice, but Santa will forgive some little white lies if they will preserve your head on Christmas Day and you’ll thank yourself when you have some extra cash in the New Year. Just try telling people you’re drinking doubles and actually order a single. Or, say you are drinking vodka and a mixer, then just have the mixer! So simple, just don’t let anyone else accidentally have your drink! Avoid cocktails at all costs.
  4. Say you are really skint and can’t afford rounds, this gives you more control over how much you drink, rather than ending up with a new drink in your hand every five minutes… it might save you some cash as well!
  5. If you are drinking but don’t want to get smashed in front of your work pals, try having one glass of water to each glass of wine, it will keep you hydrated and stop you getting as drunk as quick. It will also make you drink more slowly. If at a meal, ask for water for the table.
  6. Not drinking? Or sticking to just a couple? Give yourself a curfew and avoid any chance of getting smashed later on and making a fool of yourself. If you set yourself a home time, you are a lot less likely to be sucked into a round of shots right before you leave which means you are less likely to stay and drink until you pass out. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with leaving before the end of a party – after a certain point, things just get messy and people get very silly.
  7. EAT! Food is your best friend when it comes to a party with drinks. Line your stomach with a big breakfast and make sure you have a carb-heavy dinner or lunch to help soak up the booze. If you go for a meal at the party, be sure you eat something sensible and don’t get too distracted by the wine. Keep an eye on how much you drink with your meal – this is where the water might be handy.
  8. Dress appropriately.  The Christmas party is not a time to wear a skirt that is the size of a belt, boob tube, new sexy sequinned nightclub number or to push the boundaries on how many buttons you leave undone.
  9. Free bar? I know it’s tempting, but hold yourself back. It’s not worth the humiliation that will follow for as long as you work there.
  10. Chat to your boss and your seniors early on in the evening when you’re at your best. A heavy discussion about increasing your salary and their nose hairs is not a good idea at 1am after four bottles of wine.
  11. NO SNOGGING and NO AGGRO! Take the time to chat to people you wouldn’t normally at the do, but don’t use it as an opportunity to ‘get to know’ Tony from accounting or to finally sort out Bekki and her attitude problem. And don’t get emotional – you and your boyfriend may have just broken up and you and your mum may have had a huge fight, but drunk at the work do is not  the time to sob on your boss’ shoulder about it all!
  12. Avoid anyone who is taking pictures after 10.30pm – this is the cut off point for when you will probably start to be a bit tiddly, the photos are never flattering and you can’t trust anyone not to post them everywhere.

Good luck!


10 things I have learnt this year..


When the nights start getting darker and colder, Christmas decorations start to adorn the windows along the high street, and plans are made for New Year celebrations, I often start to think back over the year and what has changed since last winter. So much has happened this year that I find it hard to remember stuff from the beginning of 2013, but I thought it was important to look at what I have learnt from the year in order to see how I’ve grown as a person from the experiences I have had. Here are just 10 of what I think are the most important things I have learnt this year:

  1. That no matter how busy you think you are, and how little time you have to pack everything in, there is always time in the day to do more if you really put your mind to it. This year I have found that as more people leave my workplace I have even more responsibility thrust upon me and I have adapted to cope with the pressure each day. I have also taken on extra work by starting a new blog and becoming editor of a festival review website which will create even more work for me, but will look great on my CV and will give me fantastic experience. On top of my full-time job and training this is a lot of work but I am determined to cope and flourish.
  2. That people who gossip are the ones who will remain stuck in the past instead of moving forward in life. That those who gossip about others are not the ones you want to be friends with, the ones they gossip about probably are. And that if you go on holiday with a group, those you looked forward to spending time with most will often disappoint and not be the ones you make memories with.
  3. Something I learnt a long time ago, but that was strongly reiterated to me this year – job may be scarce at the moment, but there is always a way of getting into the career you want and to follow your interests. And that there are so many ways of exploring these for free. Blagging is a way of life and confidence will get you everywhere.
  4. The friend that is all about the drama, makes every situation about her and is constantly unreliable will eventually let you down. I had a friend who was one of my closest this time last year, then, a few months ago she just cut me off completely with no explanation. I can only assume it was to do with her breaking up with her on-off boyfriend who was close with mine – but it still hurt and I expected better from her.
  5. Growing as a person and developing new interests can mean growing apart from your oldest friends. Much as I love my besties, I have realised this year how little I seem to have in common with them now. I love live music and festivals, they like The Big Reunion and cheese rooms on nights out. We still have a lot in common, but it is difficult to plan to do things together because they are not interested in the same things I am. It is sad when you grow apart, but you have to remember how much you still love each other and will always be there for each other.
  6. With all my festival experience over the last two years, I have learnt that if you need a number two at a festival the best time to go is around 8 or 9am, the toilets are always freshly cleaned at this time.
  7. No amount of age and knowledge will make up for life experience. I know lots of people who have plenty of book knowledge, but they have no frame of experience and have always lived inside a bubble. I was one of them until I experienced university and then life beyond it to the extent that I have in recent years.
  8. Again, something I have always believed but now realise more than ever how important it is to take pictures and make memories to reminisce over. After having my phone stolen after Boomtown Fair earlier this year and losing all of my pictures from the festival – I was devastated. Particularly at festivals, there is so much going on that you want to capture the moment so you can remember it afterwards when four days blur into one.
  9. It is important to not get swept up in how other people’s lives are, if others are moving fast with marriage and kids, don’t feel judged by them because you prefer to go slower and enjoy your life. Earlier this summer, silly me felt incredibly judged by an old school friend when she told me she was engaged and was shocked that my boyfriend of nearly seven years had not popped the question. It was ridiculous of me to feel that way – we had spoken about it and I had already made it clear that I was not interested in marriage and children for a while yet, but I was pushed into feeling I should comply to her views of life.
  10. Love every day, or if you can’t, feel truly happy and content with one thing each day. This year, I lost a lot of people who have meant something to me at some point. An ex-boyfriend and old friend lost his life in a terrible accident, an ex-teacher who helped shape me as a person and taught me so much lost his battle with cancer. Another colleague was diagnosed with cancer despite having no symptoms. Each was shocking and it was hard to come to terms with these losses, but they made me realise that I don’t want the same to happen to me without me first making the most of every day. I wouldn’t want to have a single day where something good didn’t happen but I accept that not everything that happens each day is good.

So there you go – a powerful year for me. A learning curve in some respects, and a confirmation of some beliefs I already held. I hope to use my new-found knowledge to build an even brighter future and to make 2014 even better than 2013.

What have you learnt this year and how will it help you in the future?