In all honesty, I’ve never really been big on Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, when I was a youngster I used to spring from sofa to sofa on Christmas morning, flying around the room like some sort of mad nightie-wearing road runner and tearing through presents like I was attempting a world record. But throughout my adult years, it’s just not been my favourite holiday (Halloween is though, in case you were wondering). Unarguably, part of the reasoning behind this is the six years of my late teens, early twenties where Christmas Eve drinks were compulsory and ‘drinks’ more often than not turned into day-and-night drinking and 14 jaeger bombs. So I cocked up Christmas day for myself and my family more than once. Turns out, stumbling in at 3am and rinsing the fridge of the cheese, pork pie and pigs in blankets intended for Jesus’s birthday was not the right decision for poor 18-year-old Nell in her sexy Santa dress to make.
Alas, the last couple of years have been different. Maybe because I’m unashamedly head over heels, and I have a partner who adores the season. And, maybe, because I’ve traded in pints of Pinot on Christmas eve for festive films and deep fried snacks. And possibly also because this year I spent Christmas in Spain, drinking Cava and sunbathing topless at every opportunity (turned out to be short-lived after my father in law caught a glimpse). I sent out my Christmas cards in early November and my Christmas tree went up as soon as fireworks night came to a close.
New Year’s Eve doesn’t thrill me, either. Sorry to sound like the scroogiest fuck of all time, by the way. I love the sentiment, but it’s often just overrated and really bloody expensive. Unless you can convince a pal to throw a party (really, the ONLY way to see in a new year is with your besties and a cheese board), then paying a small fortune to go to a dinner and dance and eat less than average prawn cocktail or queuing in the club for 45 minutes to get your complimentary glass of screw top sparkling wine just isn’t worth it. And now, on only 10th January, it seems like so long ago. 16 days ago, to be very precise. It’s all been a bit of a blur.
2018 was massive for me. Professionally, a lot of new doors were opened; I became a Lovehoney affiliate, was sponsored by various companies, appeared as a panelist at Intimina’s UK launch and continued to write for a variety of publications. Oh, and I wrote a goddamn book. My dad got married. I took some amazing trips, with some amazing people. One of my girlfriends announced that she was pregnant – the very first baby for our friendship group, I threw some preeettttyyyy great parties (and a fundraising ball) and my circle of friends and comrades grew.
But with the highs will always come the lows. I visited Calais four times and continued my work volunteering with the refugees. It never gets easier. I experienced turmoil in my relationship with my boyfriend and our families and drove myself crazy more than once arguing with strangers on the internet. And I said goodbye to two incredible people, long before they should have left us.
But I am fucking ready for 2019. It feels a bit weird, because I am feeling so incredibly upbeat and on the ball and normally, for me, January means leftover mince pies for breakfast and breaking ‘Dry January’ with an accidental bottle of port. But not this year. Admittedly, it’s weird. I don’t normally feel so spritely so soon after dawn has broken on a new year. But, I am here for it all; without the peaks and the troughs of the last twelve months, I wouldn’t be the superstar independent sassy lil mama with an ass that won’t quit that I am today. I am grateful for the opportunity of a fresh year. A whole 365 days in a brand new subcategory to do with as I wish.
So, let’s get to it, really fucking quickly before your fag break is over or you reach your destined tube stop. Make 2019 your own. Sure, everyone on Instagram is saying it, but why not? Sack off your ‘new year, new you’ approach. You are valid and perfect and loved just the way you are. That won’t change just because you cut your hair or lose 30lbs. And on the subject of weight loss, let this be the year that we dismantle diet culture. Your worth will never be determined by your waist size and constantly trying to be someone or something else will have detrimental long term effects. Besides, I like you just the way you are. Stand up for yourself this year. Stop staying silent. They say that If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. So stand up and use your voice, make yourself heard and ensure everyone knows what you believe in. Have courage, confidence and keep your internal fire burning bright. THIS is your year.