Life

Marie Louise McConville: Here's to a magical 2018 sprinkled with health, happiness and opportunity

Here's to forgetting the ups and downs of 2017 and looking towards a magical 2018

So, there we have it - another year, gone, done and dusted.

I swear, I feel like I was only writing about a new year five minutes ago however we are where we are, on the precipice of 2018 and a year of possibilities, opportunities and chances.

I have never made a secret of the fact that I hate the New Year period and especially New Year's Eve.

I always feel really down around December 31 and the few days that follow.

For me it's a really sad time because it always makes me think about those we have lost, missed opportunities and the times when the ups were replaced by the downs.

When I was younger, I always used to dread the run-up to New Year and the scramble for tickets for the `must-attend' event and then we had the shopping for the `must-have' party outfit.

On the night, it would be fun until just before midnight when everyone would try and grab someone to kiss for the New Year.

Even when I got older, I never enjoyed December 31 and if I had my way, I would have been in my pjs on the sofa watching a movie and probably in bed well before midnight.

Since I met Darren and got married, we tend to spend New Year's Eve with his family and there's always a first class buffet, nice drinks and lovely company but to be honest, on more than one occasion, I've succeeded in sneaking off to bed before the clock chimed midnight.

I don't know what it is about the New Year which makes me detest it so much and don't get me started on that horrible period between Christmas and New Year when everything is closed or on restricted hours and the streets and roads are empty and it's just awful.

Anyway, no point on dwelling on it all. It will come and it will go and then it will be 2018 and a clean slate.

I mean, come on, I can't really complain, can I?

I've had a good 2017. There's been more good times than bad and all of the time, I have felt blessed to be surrounded by those I have in my life.

My first highlight of 2017 was our little James turning one in March. He celebrated in style with a bouncy castle party and he and Abbie just had the best time.

Then in July I became an auntie twice over within days. Our family welcomed little Alaia and then little Cian and I was just in my element getting little cuddles from the newborns.

Throughout the summer, Darren, Abbie, James and myself enjoyed little trips here and there and then last month, I was whisked away to New York for my birthday - when I turned the age we shall not speak off.

I was treated to a penthouse hotel room and flown business class, I got to see all the sites of the Big Apple and then got to return home safe and well to my little family.

Earlier this month, we got to celebrate Abbie's 3rd birthday and she got to spend time with Queen Elsa.

And then we had Christmas and Santa came and was very generous to Abbie and James and all of us in fact.

We played and laughed and ate sweets and a gorgeous Christmas dinner followed by more sweets. We cuddled up to watch Christmas movies and played with the new toys.

I really can't complain and shouldn't because I have all I need in my life and if 2018 is half as good as 2017, I'll be very lucky and very grateful.

Of course, once again, throughout the year, I've had you all with me on this rollercoaster of life and I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your recipes and stories and advice. It is deeply appreciated.

I want to wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. I hope your 2018 is sprinkled with magic and I hope all of your hopes and dreams come true.

Happy New Year guys - see you on the other side.

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Competition

With Christmas done and dusted, how about a night out to the flicks to help you chill out and de-stress after all the festivities?

Inspired by the imagination of PT Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

The movie is directed by Michael Gracey and features songs by Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land).

In the lead role is Hugh Jackman - who plays PT Barnum. The Australian hunk stars alongside Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson.

With this show, you can expect lots of singing, lots of colour and lots of fun.

And, according to lead star, Hugh Jackman, his musical performance in this movie promises to delight.

"I have never loved singing more," he said.

"I find it really difficult to listen to myself sing. I’ll be listening to the Broadway channel sometimes and they’ll announce me and I immediately turn it off. But with this, I can actually listen to myself".

I have three pairs of tickets for Movie House Cinemas to give away to three lucky readers.

If you fancy winning a pair of tickets, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to competitions@irishnews.com

Closing date for entries is Tuesday, January 2, 2018

(Q) Which actor stars as PT Barnum in The Greatest Showman?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

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What's Hot?

Bubbles - If you're looking to stock up on some sparkle ahead of New Year's Eve, check out Lidl Northern Ireland's new Organic Prosecco. The limited edition fizz is now available in Lidl Northern Ireland’s 38 stores for £7.99.

New Music - Cheryl is reportedly back in studio and could have new music out as early as new year. The 34-year-old is said to be eager to make a chart comeback with some big pop songs. Great news.

US Boss - Dwayne `The Rock' Johnson has revealed he is ‘seriously considering’ running for president of the United States. I think he'd be great.

So Not!

Revival - American broadcaster NBC has announced plans to reboot the US version of The Office however the wonderful Steve Carell won't be involved. Apparently, the cast will be made up of a selection of new and old cast members. Not sure it will work without Steve.

Repeats - It's the same story every year, we all hope for fantastic TV over the festive and New Year period however we always end up get a run of the same repeats. #sameoldstory

Skint - It's the last few days of the year, post Christmas, and we all know what that means, we're all skint. And soon, the credit card bills from the festive spending will arrive, and that's when we'll really feel the blues. Ah well, what's done is done.

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Easy Peasy Recipe

This week’s Easy Peasy Recipe is Mincemeat Creme Brulee, which has been sent in courtesy of Lidl

You will need:

1/2 jar Belbake Traditional mincemeat

250ml Coolree Creamery cream

250ml Coolree Creamery Whole milk,

1 Connell Farm egg plus 3 egg yolks,

2 tbspBelbake light brown soft sugar

To Make:

Set your oven to 140 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together

In a pan, bring the cream and sugar to a gentle simmer and then whisk into the egg and milk mixture.

Divide the your mincemeat between eight ramekins and then gently pour the custard over the top.

Place the ramekins into a roasting tray, boil a kettle and fill the ramekins 1/3 the way up the sides of the dishes.

Place in the oven for 35-40 mins until the custard has just set but with a little wobble in the centre.

Dust with a little golden-brown sugar and brown under a hot grill.

Do you have an Easy Peasy recipe you would like to share?

Are you the queen of quiches, magnificent at muffins or can you turn out some nice scones?

If so, then we want to hear from you.

You can send your name, address, contact number and recipe (plus photo if possible) to:

Easy Peasy Recipes,

Marie Louise McConville,

Irish News

113-117 Donegall Street,

Belfast,

BT1 2GE

or

m.mcconville@irishnews.com

So,

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