Monday, 27 January 2014

The Time of my Life

I’m a massive bookworm – always have been and probably always will be. There’s just nothing better than settling down with a good book and getting lost in another world. I’d love to be part of a book club, but I’m quite a slow reader so I think I’d probably get left behind!

I’ve just finished reading ‘The Time of my Life’ by Cecelia Ahern, so thought I’d tell you a bit about it. Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors. Ever since I read ‘P.S. I Love You’ I’ve been hooked by her stories, because they really get you thinking about your own life and priorities. Sometimes it’s good to have a book that’s completely removed from real life, but other times it’s good to read a book that you really feel you can identify with, and so far I’ve found myself relating to all the books I’ve read by Cecelia Ahern.

The blurb on the back gives you an insight into the story, although if I’m honest it left me a little confused and unsure as to whether I’d enjoy this book…

”Are you taking your life for granted? Lucy Silchester is. She’s busied herself with other stuff: friends’ lives, work issues, her deteriorating car, that kind of thing. But she’s stuck in a rut – and deluding everyone. Only Lucy knows the real truth. Time for a wake-up call – a meeting with life. And life turns out to be a kindly, rather run-down man in an old suit, who is determined to bring about change – and won’t let Lucy off the hook. Sometimes we all need to make time for our life…”

However, the more I read, the more I started to connect with the story. What originally started off as a bit of a strange concept (your life being an actual person) actually began to make real sense and gave me a lot to think about in my own life. I won’t say too much as I think it’s better for you to read it and get to grips with it in your own way. I just want to leave you with the final paragraph though – I don’t think it will ruin the book if you haven’t already read it, but it just gave me some real food for thought.

“As long as you’re around, your life is too. So just as you shower love and affection and attention on the husbands, wives, parents, children and forever friends who surround you, you have to do so equally with your life, because it’s yours, it’s you, and it’s always there rooting for you, cheering you on, even when you feel like you can’t do it. I gave up on my life for a while, but what I’ve learned is that even when that happens and especially when that happens, life never ever gives up on you. Mine didn’t. And we’ll be there for each other until those final moments when we will look at each other and say, ‘Thanks for staying until the end.’ And that’s the truth.

Have you read any Cecelia Ahern books? Or can you recommend another book for me to read?

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sunday Spotlight - 26th January 2014

This week, I’ve been loving…

Competition/Raffle prizes

I think I’ve mentioned before that a friend and I are organising a charity evening in February, to raise money for Beat and Fruition Youth. We’ve kindly been given use of a local Golf Club and we’re putting on some live music. I also wanted to run a raffle, because you can’t beat a good raffle at a charity event. So, over the past few weeks I’ve been e-mailing and writing to every company I can think of, asking for donations of prizes. To be honest I didn’t expect to hear back from many people, as they must get hundreds of requests, but I’ve been so overwhelmed by the amount of support we’ve had so far – from gorgeous nail varnishes to vouchers for restaurants and so much more. I’m going to write a post after the event, to talk about how we went about organising it, but for now I’ll leave you this photo of one of our many awesome raffle prizes!

Ellie Goulding – Goodness Gracious

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll probably know that I’m quite a big fan of Ellie Goulding, so I was excited to hear her new song when I had Radio One on earlier this week. I actually can’t think of one song that she’s released that I don’t like, which to me is the sign of a great recording artist. Her songs have a very familiar sound, yet they’re all so different too. I would love to go and see her live in concert, but for now I’ll be heading over to Amazon to buy her latest album!

You can hear Ellie’s new song here


OK, so I’m pretty late on the uptake with this one, but that’s not going to stop me raving about it! I’m one of those people who will hear a song on the radio or TV and then spend the rest of the day trying to work out who sung it so I can download it. But since being introduced to Shazam, I no longer have to spend all day trying to work out the artist and song title. It’s an app you can download onto your iPhone, then when you hear a song you like, simply open up the app, tap the screen and it will tell you the name and artist. It even links up with iTunes, so you can buy it there and then if you’re desperate to hear it again and again! I’ll certainly be getting a lot of use out of this free app.

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sunday Spotlight - 19th January 2014

This week, I’ve been loving…

My Happy Jar

I wrote a bit about this in my Happy Project post, but this week I decided to make myself a Happy Jar, for any nice memories I have of the coming year. So, I bought an empty jam jar and decorated it with labels and ribbon. The idea is that I will write down every time something nice happens or makes me happy, and drop it in the jar. Then, at the end of the year I will empty it out and read back through all the good things that have happened this year.

Friends and their children

Quite a few of my friends now have their own children, and I love meeting up with them. This week I caught up with a very good friend and her girls. We had a nice chat while one of them was at school and the other was asleep, then, after picking her oldest up from school, we all curled up on the couch and watched Cinderella. I feel blessed to be able to spend time with such special friends, watching their children grow with them.

Engagement news

I’ve waited quite late in the day to put up this post because I really wanted to include this last thing, but had to wait until family had been told. But now everyone has been told, so I can announce the engagement of my little brother and his girlfriend! I’m so happy for them – he proposed to her on her 21st Birthday and picked a beautiful ring. He’s the first of my siblings to get engaged, so it’s pretty special for the whole family.

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Happy Project

So, January is known for being one of the most depressing months of the year, and personally I’ve always found it quite difficult. After all the excitement of Christmas, with all its pretty lights and socialising, January always seems so dark and bleak. That’s why I decided to write a post about things I’ve found that make me feel a bit happier – I also asked some friends to contribute too! So, take a look at my ideas and maybe you’ll find something that works for you too.

Listen to music

It’s amazing how much one song can change your mood – there are some that can have me in tears, while others make me feel I can take on the World. I like to make different play lists to suit how I’m feeling. I’ll have one full of upbeat songs, another with chilled out music and one full of those sorts of songs that bring a tear to your eye. Because, although it’s great to listening to something uplifting, I do think that occasionally you need to let yourself wallow a bit; shed the odd tear, and then carry on.

Eat the right foods

I’ve always had an interest in what different foods do to your body, and after doing a bit of research I’ve discovered that there are a lot of foods that have been shown to have a positive effect on mental wellbeing. For example, Brazil nuts contain something called selenium, with low levels of this being thought to increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Then you’ve got bananas, which contain a plethora of amazing amino acids and vitamins, including tryptophan, which the body uses to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood. Finally, one of my happiest discoveries was dark chocolate – proving you don’t just have to eat rabbit food to stay healthy. The darker the chocolate, the better, as it has been shown to cause the brain to release endorphins and boost serotonin levels. So, next time you’re telling yourself to avoid your favourite sweet treat, keep in mind that a small amount can actually be good for you!


I’m sure you’ve all heard about the benefits of exercise – improving circulation and heart health, burning excess calories and keeping your weight in a healthy range. But I think one of the most important benefits of exercise relates to your mental health. Getting your heart racing regularly makes your body release those all important endorphins, which apparently trigger a positive feeling in the body similar to that of morphine (but obviously much healthier!) I think the key is to find exercise that you enjoy, rather than pushing yourself to do something you hate, as it will just outweigh the benefits and make it feel like a chore. You might find you love running, or swimming, or cycling, or it could be something less intense like yoga, dancing or walking.

Get outdoors

This can be combined with exercise if it fits in with your routine, but even just sitting out in the garden for ten minutes can help. I’ve noticed that personally, if I have a day when I don’t leave the house, my mood is considerably lower. There’s just something about feeling fresh air on your face that seems to help me reconnect with the World and reality. Obviously the British weather isn’t always particularly conducive to us getting outdoors, but even if it’s pouring with rain you can still have fun. Just pop your wellies and raincoat on, put your umbrella up and jump in some puddles!

Laugh and Smile

This may seem like quite an obvious thing to do to boost your mood, but is easier said than done if you’re not feeling great. But actually, even putting on a fake smile or trying to make yourself giggle can have the same effect as a real smile. It sends happy messages to your brain, tricking it into thinking you have something to smile about. Give it a try next time you’re feeling down – you might be surprised!


Giving up your time to help someone else not only benefits the person or organisation you’re helping, but will leave you feeling more positive too. I’ve volunteered in various roles over the years and it really is nice to know that you’re making a difference to someone else’s life.

Compliment others

I guess this is a bit similar to volunteering in a way – giving something without expecting anything in return. I think complimenting someone else makes you feel good about yourself because you know you’ve made someone else feel good too. And, if you’re lucky, you might get a compliment back!


With us all leading busy lives, it’s so easy to lose touch with friends and families, and before you know it, a year has gone by and you’ve spent the majority of your time working or crashed out on the sofa in front of the TV. Social contact is so integral to mental wellbeing, so take an opportunity to reconnect with those you love. Whether it’s sending a text, writing an e-mail or letter, picking up the phone or arranging a meet-up. It doesn’t take long, but even a simple text can help you feel closer to someone again.

Get closer

As humans, we have a basic need to feel loved and cared about, so it’s not surprising that something as simple as a hug can bring numerous benefits to health and wellbeing. Hugs have been shown to encourage healing, boost oxytocin levels and strengthen the immune system. So, find a willing partner and get hugging!

Watch the Box

Something that really helps me when I’m feeling down is to escape into television. Whether it’s your favourite film, drama or comedy, there’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa and forgetting your worries for a bit. Some of my personal recommendations would be Miranda, Mrs Browns Boys or a good Disney film.

Get your beauty sleep

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t get enough sleep I’ll be grouchy, lethargic and a lot more negative. I have no patience and get into that lovely cycle of catastophising, where every little problem becomes a massive drama. Sleep is so important for keeping you in a positive mood, so come up with a relaxing bedtime routine, perhaps including a bubbly bath and a warm milky drink, to send you off to the land of nod.

Be creative

I guess this might be more of a distraction technique for some, but I think it can also help boost your mood, as it’s always nice to see the end product of something you’ve been making. This is such a wide-ranging suggestion – you can do anything from baking to painting and from knitting to colouring in. Whatever it is that you enjoy. While you’re doing it, it gives you something else to focus on, and you get something positive out of an originally difficult situation.

A yummy chocolate orange cake we made

Look for inspiration

There is so much out there, that I’m not quite sure where to start. Inspiration is actually quite a personal thing, so explore what inspires you. It might be a particular quote, photograph, book or YouTube video. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it has meaning to you. I thought I’d share one of my favourite quotes to get you started.

This quote from Harry Potter

Indulge in some pampering

I know a lot of us aren’t very good at pampering ourselves – there’s always something more important that needs doing – cleaning the house, doing the weekly food shop, ferrying children to and from various activities. But it’s so important to be kind to yourself, and even something little like painting your nails can make you feel so much better about yourself. So, book an appointment with yourself, write it in your diary and stick to it like you would any other diary appointment. Run yourself a bubbly bath, put a facemask on and, for half an hour, just relax.

Try a new look

When I’ve been ill, something I’ve really missed is going to the hair salon. I guess it ties in with pampering yourself, but I love nothing more than sitting back on the hairdressers chair and having my head massaged, before getting my hair chopped and coloured. I leave the salon feeling a lot more positive, as my hair bounces from its salon blow dry!

Visit the spa

If I won the lottery, one thing I think I would do is book myself regular trips to the spa. Being relaxed works wonders for my mood and after a day of being massaged, cleansed and preened I often feel like I’m floating out of the door. Unfortunately, regular spa days probably aren’t that feasible for most of us, but take a look in your local area, as there are often some great deals to be had on treatments like massages and facials. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a willing partner, I’m sure a DIY massage will go down just as well!

Look through old photos

Since my Gran was diagnosed with Dementia, I’ve come to realise just how powerful a photo can be. I’ve always known that I’ve enjoyed looking through old photos – my Mum has loads of albums from when I was a baby, right through until my youngest sister was born, and we have great fun flicking back through all the hilarious embarrassing snaps my parents took of us! Over the last few years I’ve made my Gran some photo memory books, and it’s just amazing what a change you can see in her when we go through them with her. She very rarely smiles these days, but looking back through her old wedding photos brings a smile every time.

My Grandparents on their Wedding Day

Sing like no one’s listening

Have you ever seen one of those films where a teenage girl, hairbrush in hand, dances round her bedroom, belting out a power ballad? I’m sure you must have, but have you ever tried it? Singing at the top of your lungs, like no one can hear you, is pretty liberating and a great way to make you feel happier. Go on, give it a try!

Read a book

Another method of escaping reality is to get lost in a good book. I’ve always been a bookworm and just love being transported to a different World from the one I’m currently in. I’ve got a list as long as my arm of books I’d like to read, so there’s never a shortage of choices when I need them. And if I’m struggling to concentrate on reading an actual book, there are always audio books to listen to, which can be just as good.

Write a letter

I think it’s a shame that we seem to have lost the art of writing letters to each other. When I joined AYME when I was diagnosed with M.E. I was assigned a pen pal, and this was the start of my snail mail obsession! I love getting new stationery and writing paper, then filling it with my thoughts and plans. And I always keep an eye out for Mr Postie, to see if there’s any mail for me. Seeing a handwritten letter on the doormat never fails to put a smile on my face.

Have some furry therapy

It’s a well-known fact that animals are good for your health. That’s why you see all these different schemes that take animals into hospitals and nursing homes, to provide some furry therapy to patients and residents. We’ve had pets in our house since I was about 8, starting with hamsters and guinea pigs, and moving on to cats and dogs. Cuddling up to a pet can reduce anxiety, lift your mood and even lower your blood pressure. If you don’t have a pet of your own, ask a friend if you can borrow one for an hour or two – I’m sure they’ll be willing to share!

A little bit of what you fancy

I’m a strong believer in the saying ‘A little bit of what you fancy does you the world of good!’ Denying yourself pleasures like chocolate, wine or even a duvet day is just going to make you feel miserable in the long run. As they say, you only live once, so I try to live by the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra.

Make plans

I’m one of these people that can get quite stuck in the past, worrying about things I have or haven’t done and struggling to move forwards. That’s why I find it helpful to make plans to look forward to. Not silly, unobtainable plans, but realistic goals that I have a belief I’ll be able to achieve. These can be bigger plans, like booking a holiday or a day out with a friend. But they can also be smaller, day-to-day things, like planning to tidy your cupboard or watch a DVD. I like to make sure I have little things to look forward to every day, which can really help if I’m struggling with motivation.

Be grateful

It can be easy to go through life keeping yourself busy, flitting from task to task and complaining about things that are going wrong. But sometimes we lose sight of the good things in our lives – we can take them for granted and just expect them to be there. That’s why actually sitting down and jotting down what you’re grateful for can be really beneficial. On those days where everything seems to have gone wrong, it can be really uplifting to actually look for the grey cloud’s silver lining, because there always is one, no matter how dark the situation.

Make a Happy Jar

Something that I’ve decided to do this year, after seeing photos on places like Instagram and Pinterest, is to keep a ‘Happy Jar.’ Basically, you decorate an old jar and fill it with happy moments throughout the year. Then, at the end of the year you empty it out and read through all the happy moments from the past year. I’m looking forward to doing this, as these are the kind of memories that tend to get lost amongst bigger events.


This is a term that I’ve come across during treatment, and to be honest at first I was a bit sceptical. The idea of mindfulness is to focus on being completely in the moment, using your five senses to make yourself aware of what’s going on around you. And I find that it does actually help, in those moments when everything is becoming overwhelming and gloomy. It helps to relax your body and mind, and get away from the negative thoughts whizzing through your brain.

Play a game

As children, we probably played games every day. But as we get older, we start to shy away from games a bit, which is a real shame, as they can be such a good distraction and such a laugh when played with others. Be it board games or computer games, there’s something for everyone. Some of my favourite memories include time spent playing games with my family.

Get snapping

I’ve already talked about looking through old photos as a way to boost your mood, but it can be just as fun taking new pictures. Whether it’s taking photos of a special event, or simply heading into nature and capturing the beauty around us, snapping moments to remember forever can be great fun.

One of my favourite things to take photos of is flowers

Have a hot drink

Sometimes, when you’re feeling low, all you really want is to feel comforted and safe. If I’m struggling, I’ll often make myself a hot drink – tea, coffee, hot chocolate or hot squash, whatever takes your fancy, then curl up on the sofa with your hands round your favourite mug. Perfect.

Treat yourself

Treating yourself doesn’t have to mean splashing out on something massive (although, of course, this is definitely allowed from time to time!) But it could also be something as simple as your favourite magazine, a pretty new top or pair of shoes or a slick of your favourite lipstick. Just something a little bit special that will lift your mood and make you feel that you’re worth spending time on.

Make changes

This is possibly one of the most difficult suggestions, but also one of the most important. Identifying what makes you unhappy is one thing, but to move forwards you actually need to make some changes, otherwise it will just continue to bring you down. Now, I know this isn’t always easy, as some things can’t just be changed with a click of your fingers. But even the thought that you are working towards change can bring positive vibes and make you feel like you’re being proactive and working towards a better future.

100 Happy Days

Finally, in my quest for happiness, I came across the 100 Happy Days Project. This is a photo-taking task, where you take a photo for 100 days, with something that makes you happy each day. You decide how you will track your progress – through Facebook, Instagram, or privately through e-mail, and assign your project a hash tag. I love the idea of this, as it’s encouraging me to find happiness in every day. I'm using Instagram and Facebook to track my project, and my hash tag is #happyproject if you're interested in following my photos!

Do you struggle with the month of January? How do you like to boost your mood?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sunday Spotlight - 12th January 2014

This week, I’ve been loving…

Cuddles with pets

It’s been a bit of a difficult week this week, with an important hospital appointment on Wednesday that has given me a lot to think about and left me feeling rather wobbly. But something I have really appreciated this week is my pets and the lovely cuddles they’ve been able to give me. I think it’s amazing that no matter how low, anxious or ill you’re feeling, a cuddle from a furry friend can make everything seem OK for a while.

Cuddles with Freddie

Free Disney App

Facebook is great for finding things out, and this week a couple of friends posted about a free app on the Apple store – Cartoon HD. Not one to miss out on a good freebie, I quickly tapped on the app store and downloaded it and I’m so glad I did! If you’re a fan of Disney movies then you have to check this out. It has loads of recent Disney and Pixar films to download for free and watch at your own leisure. I’m a little worried that it seems to good to be true, and I’m just waiting for them to start charging for it, but I’ll be making the most of it for the time being!

Family bowling

I really enjoy spending time with my whole family, as it’s a fairly rare occurrence now, what with there being so many of us all leading our own lives. But it’s my brother’s birthday today, so we’re off out bowling this afternoon. I’m pretty terrible at bowling and confess to usually having the bumpers up, but it’s much more about just having fun together as a family, rather than who wins. We’re then heading out to dinner afterwards, so it should be an enjoyable afternoon.

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Sunday Spotlight - 5th January 2014

This week, I’ve been loving…

Family New Year’s Eve celebrations

I’ve never really been into going out on New Year’s Eve. I just don’t see the point in paying high prices just to get into a standard pub/bar, and then having to pay over the odds just for a mediocre drink. I’d much rather spend the time with my family and close friends at home, and that’s exactly what I did this New Year’s Eve. My brother’s girlfriend and her parents came over to ours and my Dad cooked us a lovely curry. We then got into teams and played Articulate (great fun after a few drinks!), chatted and watched the fireworks from London in the comfort of our front room. My brother then gave us our own fireworks display in the back garden – possibly not as spectacular as London, but just as fun!

New calendar

One of my favourite things about the start of a new year is spending time filling in my new calendar and diary. It probably sounds rather sad, but I just love the idea of fresh, clean pages, waiting for events to be added to them. This year I have my brand new Filofax to fill in, and I was lucky enough to get three calendars from various people! Not quite sure where I will put them all yet, but there should be no chance of me forgetting birthdays and special events in 2014!

Cosmopolitan photo shoot

This week I was fortunate enough to go up to London, to a photographic studio, to have some shots taken of me for Cosmopolitan's March edition of their magazine, in which they are doing a feature on eating disorders. I was really nervous about it before I went – the thought of all eyes being on me was rather daunting. But the team were absolutely lovely and really put me at ease. It started off with me being introduced to everyone, and then having my make-up and hair done – I’ve never seen so much make-up! I then met with the stylist, who had a whole rail of clothes for me to look through and try on – so much fun! He helped me choose a couple of outfits to be photographed in, and then I was ready for them to start shooting. After taking literally hundreds of photos, I was then asked if I would record a short video for their website. I panicked a bit, but they gave me an outline of what they’d like me to say, so I gave it my best shot! Although completely exhausted afterwards, I had such a fun day, hopefully all for a good cause.

On the way home, after having my hair and make-up done

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Goals for 2014

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year! I’ve never really been one for making New Year’s resolutions – I’m of the opinion that if you want to change something in your life, you can do it any day of the year. On the 1st of January, there’s too much pressure on making yourself perfect – eat healthy, exercise every day, be nice to everyone around you…sometimes the pressure to be perfect just ends up bringing you down because it’s not realistic.

So, this year, I’ve decided to try something a little different and set myself some goals for the next year. Rather than focussing on quite broad ideas, I’ve thought of some more concrete things I’d like to achieve this year, and I thought I’d share them with you.

Get a tattoo

I’ve been considering getting a tattoo for over a year now, but keep putting it off. I’ve got in mind what I’d like to get and had it done in henna over the summer to see what I thought of it. It gave me an idea of what it might look like and helped me decide that I’d like it a little smaller than the henna was. I want this year to be the year that I just go for it!

My henna tattoo developing

Go back to College

I seem to have spent most of my adult life drifting from one idea to another of what I’d eventually like to do, but never really feeling connected to my ideas and just doing things because I felt it was what I should be doing. But I’m now starting to feel like I know what I’d really like to do with my life, and it starts with going back to college in September to study for an Access to Higher Education Diploma. I’ve been accepted for a place, so my task for this year is to get myself in a better position to be able to attend college again.

Spend more time with friends old and new

There are quite a few people I met years ago, who I occasionally talk to on Facebook, but would really like to get back in touch with properly this year. We all live fairly close so I just need to find the time to reconnect with them, and organise some meet ups. I’d also like to spend more quality time with friends I already have – perhaps a couple of short breaks with various friends, but also just keeping in touch more regularly. And hopefully there will be opportunities to meet new people this year, and I’d like to be able to be less shy and isolated, and make the most of new opportunities.

Speak out more!

This year, I’d like to use all the difficult experiences I’ve had for something more positive. I want to focus on fundraising and raising awareness of M.E, Eating Disorders and Mental Illnesses such as Depression and BPD. I’m hoping I’ve already made a good start to achieving this – I’ll be featuring in Cosmopolitan in February, where they are doing an article on Eating Disorders, but particularly the EDNOS diagnosis. And at the end of February, my friend and I are organising a charity fundraising evening at our local golf club, with money raised being split between Beat and Fruition Youth. We’re hoping it will be an evening of live music, raffles and fun! Hopefully these exciting opportunities will just be the start of much more fundraising and awareness raising!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Or do you have any goals for 2014?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

December Round Up

A collection of my favourite things from the month of December

During December I’ve enjoyed choosing Christmas presents for friends and family. I love making a list of whom I’m buying for, and then thinking of ideas for what people would really like. I’m sure I don’t always get it right, but I hope that the gifts I’ve given this year will spread a bit of joy to those who received them. One of my favourite presents I gave was a photo canvas for my little sister – it was a collage of photos of us throughout the years, and will hopefully be a nice memento for her to put on her wall. I got a great deal from Tesco and got it delivered to my local store. They do all sorts of photo gifts for really reasonable prices and the quality was great. I’ll definitely be using this service more in 2014.

I managed to find myself a lovely blouse from Oasis in the sale, for almost half price. It was the only one on the rack and just happened to be in my size – it must have been fate! I love the colour red, and with a vest top underneath, this will be great paired with some smart trousers for work, or dressed down with a pair of jeans and boots.

This month, I enjoyed finishing reading the new Bridget Jones book, ‘Mad About the Boy.’ I’m a massive Bridget Jones fan, so was really excited when I heard another book was in the pipeline, and it didn’t disappoint. This novel sees Bridget struggling with becoming a widow, getting to grips with Twitter, looking after two small children and getting back into dating. I’m just really hoping they will make a film of this book!

Things I’ve learnt this month…

+   Ear infections are a lot more painful than I remember
+   Having a puppy makes us realise how good Alfie is!
+   No matter how organised I try to be for Christmas, it always seems to be a mad rush at the end!
+   Having M.E and mental illnesses isn’t something I should be ashamed of
+   Going on a date makes me so nervous!
+   You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover
+   A true friend is someone you don’t necessarily see all the time, but when you do meet up it feels like you’ve never been apart
+   The most important things are often those little things that keep us going each day – coffee with a friend, a nice phone call or letter, fresh flowers, a hug, unexpected texts…
+   Sometimes it’s good to shake things up and change your routine
+   Sales shopping always seems like a good idea until you actually get there!

What to look out for in January

There’s some good TV coming our way in January, so I’ll be setting my recording box for a few of these shows. It all kicks off with the new series of Sherlock on January 1st, BBC1 at 9pm. I’ve not actually watched previous series, but the adverts for it look awesome, so I think I’ll be tuning in this time. I’m also quite taken in by the trailers for Silent Witness, which airs on 2nd January on BBC2. Something I’m really excited about is a new series of Birds of a Feather, which will be on ITV at 8.30pm on 2nd January. I remember watching the old series of this with my parents, so I can’t wait to see the ladies return all these years later! I’m also looking forward to a new series of Death in Paradise (BBC1), which sees the departure of Ben Miller, and a new detective coming to the Island. Then, there’s also the final ever series of Dancing on Ice, which is set to be a good one with the return of all our old favourites from previous series. To get an idea of what’s coming up on the BBC, take a look at this trailer.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll probably already be aware of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London. However, you may not be aware that between 15th November 2013 and 2nd February 2014 you can see Hogwarts in the snow! The Great Hall is decorated for Christmas and you can see the hand-knitted jumpers that Molly Weasley gave Ron and Harry in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The castle will be covered in a blanket of snow, which was due to be removed on 6th January, but it will now stay until 2nd February! I got tickets to go to the Studio Tour for my birthday, and unfortunately I don’t think I’ll make it in time to see the snow, but I’m still so excited to go this year!

After going to the cinema a couple of times in December, I’ve discovered so many great films being released in January. I doubt I’ll get to see them all, but these are the ones on my list to choose from. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom looks like an amazing film to watch. I’m quite interested in history anyway and would love to find out more about Mandela’s story. Idris Elba plays Mandela in this film, and I already know what a top-quality actor he is, so I’m expecting great things from this performance. It comes to cinemas on 3rd January.

A friend of mine, who lives in Dubai, has already seen Delivery Man, which is released here on 10th January, and told me what an hilarious film it is. It stars Vince Vaughn, who I have loved watching in previous films, so if I’m looking for a comedy to see me through the dark January evenings, I think this will be the film I go to see.

Lastly, I’m really looking forward to catching The Book Thief when it comes to cinemas on 31st January. I’ve heard great things about the book, but am yet to read it, so I’ve got just under a month to get it read before the film comes out. Doesn’t the trailer look fantastic?

Do you have any favourites or things you’ve learnt in December? What are you looking forward to in January