The only way is up for 2011

I never thought that I would be glad to see the start of January but the Christmas I had so dreamed of turned into a bit of a horror story.

No, thankfully we were not hit by frozen or burst pipes (fingers crossed/ touch wood etc) and our heating didn’t pack up but we were hit with the lurgy, en masse, just as Christmas Eve arrived.

I had been off work for a week before Christmas - a week in which I had battled in the snow to take the boy to school every day, where I had run around like a headless chicken making sure the last of the festive preparations were in place and where I had boiled a huge big joint of ham in two litres of Coca Cola in a bid to be the Waterside’s answer to Nigella Lawson.

The house was gleaming. Even the never ending pile of ironing had been dealt with (ie: hidden out of sight) and I was ready for a magical Christmas with my nearest and dearest.

It was the husband who took ill first. Oh, how I scoffed at his mad dose of the man flu as he coughed and spluttered his way through the day before Christmas Eve. “Take a couple of paracetamol and settle yourself,” I told him, smugly as I tried to ignore the fact that the baby’s nose was starting to drip like a tap. She was teething, it was nothing more than that, I assured myself.

That was until I woke on Christmas Eve morning looking like the monster from The Goonies. Both eyes were swollen, almost shut, and blood shot so violently that it looked as though I had been out on the mad drink for a month. My body also ached - but no, this was no time for lying down and recouperating. Santa had to visit. Dinner had to be prepared. The festive spirit had to stay alive because this was Christmas, for the love of God, and we were going to enjoy it if killed us.

It took three and a half hours to assemble the baby’s toy kitchen that night. Admittedly, we had to take frequent breaks to lay like dying swans on the sofa and compare symptoms and fight about who had it worse. We also had to clear up a baby boking incident when the runny nose turned into a barking cough which brought up just about everything she had ever eaten in her entire life... all over the clean bedsheets. This kerfuffle woke the boy, who went into a panic that Santa might have been and wanted to go down the stairs to check. I have never known fear like trying to keep a six year old in his bed and away from the piles of half wrapped/ half assembled toys scattered among instruction manuals and a husband struck with man flu cursing at the lot of them.

By Christmas morning all but the boy - who was bouncing around with excitement - were in a sorry state. We made it briefly - me peeking through my swollen eyes as I drove - to my mum’s house for a quick opening of presents before I had to admit defeat, go home with my newly received slanket (I’m a slanket convert and would wear mine to work if they would let me) and spend the rest of the day lying prone on the sofa with a sickly little lady and a grumpy husband not so much as managing a bite of Christmas dinner.

The wine I had been dreaming about all week went unopened. The promise of my sister’s potatoes roasted in goosefat with honeyed parsnips went unfulfilled. The opportunity to watch my brother try and burp out the Christmas candles after dinner was lost.

The boy spent his Christmas day with his granny, aunts, uncles and cousins and had a blast and it was only when he got home, and we curled up (under the slanket) to watch ‘Night at the Museum 2’ that I felt an ounce of Christmas magic.

I have had to remind myself that no amount of planning can ensure things go just the way you want. I had been obsessed this year about having the perfect Christmas. I had planned and prepared and decorated the house to within an inch of its life but sometimes life has different plans.

Even though I’m 34, it was a tough lesson to learn but it has taught me to try and appreciate the more spontaneous, not planned fun moments in the year and not just focus on big events.


I started WeightWatchers (again) this week. I’ll try not to be a diet bore but yes I was one of a very large number of ladies walking the green mile to the scales on Monday night and assessing the post-Christmas damage.

I’ll admit I’m baffled - WeightWatchers has changed, offering a brand new programme for the first time in 15 years and it is very different.

Still I’ll be trying to get my mind around the whole new Pro-Points thing over the coming weeks which I have now personally divided into Scary Points (the points you HAVE to eat every day) and Party Points (the points you can use for wine and chocolate and bags of chips).

For all those joining me on yet another weight loss journey, let’s have a bit of fun while we do it and even when it goes a bit tricky, let’s just try again and remind ourselves that at least we are trying.