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The fortnight covering Christmas and New Year is always a bit of a strange time. Frankly, I don’t know how I’m going to manage to go back to work tomorrow, seeing as I am used to going to bed late and getting up early, watching rubbish on TV and eating whatever I like. Having said that, I do feel a bit sick of chocolate and cheese, and the thought of eating a huge pile of vegetables and getting some fresh air is actually rather appealing. And as far as alcohol is concerned I really don’t fancy it at the moment, thanks to my monster New Year hangover.

I always go home to my parents for Christmas, but this year I went up a bit later, as I couldn’t get the time off work. On the plus side, this meant that I could spend the last couple of days before leaving work finishing off all the tasks I had to do, safe in the knowledge that anyone who might have sent me extra stuff had already gone on holiday. It also gave me the chance to see a Christmas show: Miracle on 34th Street in Watford.

Going home was strange, as it was to be the first Christmas in my parents’ new house. I went for a walk to explore the town, glad that I’d taken my warm coat up north with me, as it was freezing. I ended up in the local cemetery, where many of the graves date from the early 1900s and belong to miners killed in local colliery accidents, testament to the area’s mining heritage.

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I then went back home and watched some of my Ghost Stories for Christmas DVD. I love the original black-and-white version of Whistle and I’ll Come To You, and the newer version is pretty good too.


I met up with my friend Elisa on Christmas Eve. We went for lunch in my old home town (nostalgia alert) and then went for a few drinks at a nearby bar. The cocktails there were lovely but so expensive – nearly London prices, which is incredible in the north! The Rudolph cocktail was pretty cute though.



For the first time on Christmas Day, we didn’t go to my auntie’s house, as she’d been invited elsewhere. This was the first time in my dad’s life that he hasn’t had to leave his home on Christmas Day – as a child he went to his auntie’s, as he got older his sister, my auntie, took over, so it was a bit of a novelty for him. Sadly we had to wait ages for our Christmas dinner as my brother didn’t get in from work until after eight – we relied on lots of chocolate and Pringles to see us through.


Christmas morning Buck’s Fizz

I got some lovely presents, including several on a somewhat similar theme:



On Boxing Day it was time for the annual trip to the sales (this year’s haul consisted mostly of Lush products and Boots Christmas gifts), followed by a family meal. After Christmas I sat around, read books, and ate more than was good for me. It was also great to see my parents’ friends, who arrived to stay for a few days after Christmas, sadly the day before I left. As usual, I came back to London for New Year and we had a house party. I definitely drank more than was good for me – the straight whisky at around 3am was certainly a bad idea – but the evening was certainly more sophisticated than a couple of years ago when I spent the entire morning of New Year’s Day mopping the living room owing to the amount of alcohol that had been spilt on the floor.


Happy New Year!

I had a lovely break and found the time to watch some TV: I never seem to have that much time for watching TV in my everyday life, but all that changes when I go home for Christmas. My mam and I watched the adorable Snow Chick: A Penguin’s Tale which followed the antics of the smallest chick in a group of Emperor Penguins. On Christmas Day my dad made us all watch Arthur Christmas, an animation which he swore was brilliant, and he was right: it’s going up there with my favourite Christmas films. On the same note, another Aardman Productions film, The Farmer’s Llamas, was very funny.

I watched the Downton Abbey Christmas special, and while I’m glad Edith got her happy ending, I’m rather glad to see the back of the show, as it got so silly in later seasons. Ghost Hunter was enjoyable, although nothing like Neil Spring’s book The Ghost Hunters on which it is based.

My festive highlight has to be And Then There Were None. It was a brilliantly done Agatha Christie adaptation, true to the spirit of the book, and utterly compelling (the presence of Aidan Turner had absolutely nothing to do with this, oh no). Sadly, despite looking forward to it for months, I found the Sherlock Victorian special rather disappointing – self-indulgent, anti-feminist and trying to be too clever by half.

So that was my festive holiday. Now to look forward!


My “Instagram Best Nine”, as shown on 2015bestnine.com