If, like me, you’ve been wearing the same trousers (and by trousers, I mean pyjama bottoms) since Christmas Eve and you’re trying to peel yourself off the sofa from the mounds of Quality Street wrappers that have you welded to the cushions like a left-over Toffee Finger, you’ve probably done Christmas pretty bloody well. And is it still okay to eat a turkey sandwich days after Christmas Day, or should have I have bowl of cereal – even though I really want a hunk of yule log? Or should I just eat all three? (Yes). Until suddenly, with very little warning, it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re expected to get out of your pyjamas and squash into something with maximum sex appeal to prove that you are ready for the New Year.
I used to hate New Year. I hated the entire idea of forcing my post-Christmas body into a dress I ordered online (which, obviously, looks nothing like the model), pulling my feet from my slippers and into a pair of explicable high heels, and taming my hair down from its ‘messy bun’ (that term is used loosely) that I’ve been rocking since my hangover from the work Christmas party. I also hated the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It made me feel like the version of me I’d been parading for the past year wasn’t good enough, and that in order for me to enter this new, glittering year, I had to be richer, thinner, fitter and basically more successful in every way. Why can’t the current me stay as I am? Why do I have to improve myself every year? Also, what on earth is going to happen to me when I’m 80? Will I expect myself to be running Google out of the west wing of my castle, rocking a designer dress wrapped around my miraculously toned body *despite* the Camembert?
So, with that in mind and biscuit tin in hand, I changed my mind set for New Year. I don’t write a list of New Year’s resolutions anymore. I write myself a ‘to-do’ list of things that I want to experience this year. As you may have guessed, I have spent the last year writing lists, but here are my top five:
1. Go to Disneyland (I know, I’m a child)
2. Run 10k for The MS Society (if you know, you know)
3. Learn how to cook (this one is quite important as I feel that the age of dinner parties is looming, and I don’t think I can serve Chicago Town pizza as a starter, main and dessert)
4. Go to Edinburgh Fringe Festival
5. Read 1 book a month
From now on, I will only put things on my ‘to-do’ list that I will enjoy doing, and bar the training for the 10k (lord help me), I think my five goals for 2019 sound quite fun.
Happy New Year!
You can pre-order the paperback edition of my debut book, The List That Changed My Life, here!
Can you believe that it is Christmas Day TOMORROW?! In the final blog as part of our Bookends Christmas author series, we asked Graham Norton, Cate Woods, Jo Thomas and Olivia Beirne, which books would you most like to find under the tree on Christmas morning?
Graham Norton, author of A Keeper
I still haven’t got around to reading Kate Atkinson’s new book Transcription or Normal People by Sally Rooney. I’m also very excited by the prospect of a new novel from David Nicholls next year!
One of my favourite books of the year was Uprooted by Naomi Novik, a bewitching fairytale-inspired novel with a fantastic, kick-ass heroine, so I can’t wait to read Novik’s next book, Spinning Silver.
Milly Johnson’s The Mother of all Christmases. I love Milly’s books and I know this will get me right in the Christmas mood.
So I never usually ask for specific books, I ask my family members to pick me out something (which we all tend to do for each other). Last Christmas our house was like a library. Saying that, I am really desperate to read Libby Page’s The Lido, Joe Heap’s The Rules of Seeing and Emma Cooper’s The Songs of Us.
From all of us here at Team Bookends, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Stuck on what to get that one last person on your gifting list? Next up in our Bookends Christmas author series, we ask some of our lovely authors who is the most difficult person to buy for on their own Christmas gifting lists, and their advice on how to get around it!
Definitely my Dad, without question. He’s never loved a present I’ve bought him. One year I thought I’d hit the nail on the head by giving him a framed photo of myself (which, looking back sounds incredibly narcissistic, but after four years of unsuccessful Marks and Spencer jumpers I was getting desperate) which I thought would be great for his new office. He put it straight in his room behind another photo. This year I’m going to buy him a snickers.
If you are male and too old for Star Wars Lego then I will spend fraught weeks scouring the internet for brilliant, witty gift ideas, before eventually giving up and buying you socks. Again.
Any male person. What do you get men? What does anyone ever get men? They always buy what they need the moment they need it, rather than waiting for Christmas. And, if you click the ‘presents for him’ box on an online store for ideas, all you get is silver whiskey flasks or cufflinks. I know no man who wouldn’t think I was literally insane if I gifted him a hip flask and some cufflinks. He’d be like, “what sort of crazy James Bond life do you think I live?!”
My dad. He has everything he wants and hates ‘clutter’ which means ‘everything’. We get around him by buying him restaurant vouchers for him and my stepmother.
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Next up in our Christmas author series, we asked our lovely authors Erin Kelly, Joanna Bolouri, Olivia Beirne and Daniela Sacerdoti a very important festive question: if you had to buy a Christmas gift for one of your characters, who would you choose and why?
Alice, the little girl from The Poison Tree, would be nineteen now. With parents like hers, she could probably do with a spa weekend or a course of therapy.
I would buy Phoebe from The List an iTunes gift card as she needs a better taste in music.
Oh gosh that’s a good question. I think they’d all be terrible to buy for. I reckon I’d have to buy for Georgia and I think she’d really enjoy one of those cushion scarfs so that she could nap on the tube/in meetings/flick her sunglasses down so Sally can’t see her eyes when she’s talking. As I’m writing this, I realise that I would also really enjoy one of those and why haven’t I done all of those things sooner?
Oh, that’s hard…I would buy for all of them and feel bad if I forgot one! I think I would pick Cora from I Will Find You, and I would give her a voucher for John Lewis – I know a voucher can sound quite anonymous, but Cora loves weaving and sewing, and the selection of fabrics and craft materials in John Lewis is amazing…so I think she could go and have a little splurge on me. I would also like to make a girly package for Anna from Take Me Home, with a nice top and make up. Anna loves pretty things but she tends not to indulge herself, and treat her daughter instead (like most mums do!). So I’d like to spoil her a little.
Here at Bookends HQ, Christmas has come early as we ask a selection of our lovely authors to fill us in on their favourite festive dishes!
From pigs in blankets to advent calendar chocolates…
Keep reading if you want to feel seriously hungry!
I always make a big Christmas chilli con carne for Christmas Eve. That way it doesn’t matter what time people arrive, dinner is simple and ready to go when we are!
The sweltering Australian Christmas takes some getting used to. I’m often homesick for England at this time of the year, and especially nostalgic for my gran’s homemade Christmas puddings (complete with traditional tooth-crumbling sixpence). My rudimentary skills in the kitchen could never match my grandmother’s so I don’t even try. Each year I buy a beautiful brandy and Macadamia nut pudding from a charity that raises money for a school in Uganda. I can pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, which leaves plenty of time to swim and sip chilled champagne, my new Christmas day traditions.
Karen Cole, author of Deliver Me
I love Christmas food and my mouth is watering just thinking about it! I make a delicious cashew nut loaf and my mother-in-law makes great veggie sausage rolls. My mum’s Christmas pudding with my aunt’s brandy butter… I could go on!
Oh my lord pigs in blankets. I’m obsessed with them. It was a testing Christmas the first year I wasn’t living with my parents and realised that nobody could stop me from buying twelve packets and eating them all whilst watching Miranda. I also love advent calendars (obviously) and think we should have them for every day of the year. I once wanted to be grown up and sophisticated (always a terrible idea) and insisted on buying a picture calendar (urgh). I aggressively cursed my smug past self for the following 24 days.