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Welcome, friends old and new, to my blog. This is the place where I can share my scribblings and thoughts on loving life. I hope you enjoy them, make suggestions and come back to read more.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

This will be our year!

A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I've had a lovely long rest- I hope you haven't missed me too much. I'm sure you were all too busy stuffing your faces, playing with your new toys and arguing with your relatives- you know, a proper family Christmas. Like they have on Eastenders. Or not...

I certainly stuffed my face (my Dad has been hiding a secret talent for baking- nom nom nom) but, thankfully, very little in the way of arguing. I had a lovely Christmas Day with my Mum (who makes the best gravy in the world), brother, sister-in-law and nephew, and then a completely different but equally lovely second-Christmas (a bit hobbit-like, but there have to be some perks from coming from a "broken home", right?) with my Dad, step-mum and step-nan (is that even a real thing? I like her, so I'm claiming her as mine anyway) as well as an assortment of other much-loved relatives from my patchwork-quilt family. So, all in all, a great time.

I saw the New Year in on Millionaire's Row, watching the fireworks on the beach and sipping Baileys, whilst hanging on for dear life to my firework-phobic puppy, Harvey. (Incidentally, I'm typing this on my new PURPLE laptop that Harvey and Alfie bought me for Christmas- they're such clever dogs!) I didn't really get a chance to think about making any resolutions, so I thought I'd give it a go now. I shan't bother with the usual "lose weight, give up vices, blah blah blah" as I don't get excited about those. Instead, I'll go straight to the ones I might actually keep. I have to give myself a sporting chance!

1. Find a title for my short-story collection.

I'm racking up the stories steadily, and have reached the point where I'm asking beta-readers to cast their eyes over them (my Dad read Stamp at the weekend- I was dry-mouthed nervous and thrilled that he liked it). However, I'm lacking a title for the collection as a whole. I'm rubbish at titles- I even steal my blog post titles from song lyrics and film quotes. Maybe I could start a competition? I feel delegation may be the key here, and I would of course credit the "winner". Anyone interested? Let me know...

2. Phone and email more

Christmas and New Year always bring with them a flurry of cards and texts from old friends who, I realise with sadness and shame, I've not had any contact with since this time last year. It's ridiculous, in this day and age when communication has never been easier, that I'm passively allowing special people to drift out of my life. So, this year, I will make sure I work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle with those precious few because, as Baz says, the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

3. Learn how to cook yummy stuff.

My single-girl menu increasingly consists of chicken nuggets, microwave meals and toast (not together- that would be weird, unlike potato wedges and custard, which is yummy. I'm serious). I need to learn how to actually cook stuff, rather than heat it up in some form. I can't even cook lasagne, for goodness sake! Tesco make a mint from me and my ready-meal carbonara addiction, and if my toaster broke, I'd probably starve. My oven did actually break last year, and it took me six months to get round to fixing it (well, I say me- it was Daddy again) which shows how often I used it in the first place. I own a children's cookbook for making cakes, which is about the right level for me, but I feel I should broaden my repertoire, as it's getting a bit embarrassing. Can anyone recommend anything for an absolute novice and lazy-arse like myself?

4. Say at least one kind thing every day

I don't think I'm a particularly unkind person, but I can (like a lot of people) get so absorbed in my own little dramas that I forget to spread some sunshine. It doesn't take much to make somebody's day a little brighter- I know I'm easily pleased by a compliment or offer of help (and cake, of course). I'd like to be the sort of person that makes people feel better about themselves (what my boss calls a "bucket-filler"- Google it, it's brilliant) and notices when they need something, whether it's advice, a sympathetic ear or a good giggle. A little effort in this department will go a long way, I feel.

5. Finish The Hungry-Man.

This little beauty has been ticking away nicely over the last couple of months, and I'm really excited about it. Those who have read the extract on my website seem to be excited too, unless they're just terribly polite, and I aim to have it finished by April. On my birthday would be nice, actually. There, I've said it, so now it has to happen- watch this space!

So there you go- my realistic resolutions. What resolutions did you make? Any chance you'll keep them? Let me know and keep me posted!

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