Marie Louise McConville: Let's welcome 2019 with open arms and look forward to a year of new opportunities

Looking ahead to a year of fresh opportunities
Marie Louise McConville

So, here we are.

Once again, New Year's Eve is upon us and we are looking towards a brand new year and a brand new start.

As you all know, I've never been a fan of the New Year and have always felt it is a very sad time.

I know the point is to look forward towards new challenges and new possibilities but I've always found myself looking back over the missed opportunities and mistakes of the past 12 months.

I suppose the point is that we find ourselves where we are in life because of the decisions and mistakes we have made - so it is what it is.

As usual, I have no big plans for Monday night except to spend time with my family and no doubt, I will attempt and hopefully manage to sneak off to bed before the big ball drops at midnight.

Looking back, I don't think I've ever really had a brilliant New Year's Eve.

They've always been built up and then failed miserably and then I couldn't get a taxi home.

Looking back over the past 12 months, I can't complain too much.

James turned two in March, Darren and I celebrated four happy years of marriage in April, we enjoyed a wee family holiday in Donegal and also a trip to Tayto Park in the summer, Abbie started nursery school and earlier this month, she celebrated her fourth birthday.

She also took up ballet and gymnastics and joined the library.

That said, this year has also brought us four bouts of chickenpox - each of the children getting it twice - but it was fine.

Now, we are looking towards 2019 and a whole 12 months of new opportunities are stretching out before us.

I'm more than happy with my lot in life and I feel incredibly lucky and grateful.

While I'm not really setting any new year resolutions, I am making an appeal to the universe to slow down time because with Abbie looking towards starting primary school next year and James looking towards nursery, things are moving too fast to me.

Therefore, this year, I plan to spend time enjoying every single minute of my lovely little family - every hug, kiss, sneeze in my face and tantrum.

I plan to welcome morning pillow fights, the tearful midnight cuddles, the spilled Rice Krispies on the carpet and the sticky finger prints all over the television screen because they won't last forever.

I hope to spend 2019 making even more special memories with my family.

Happy New Year everyone - enjoy.


I knew it.

Finally, we have found out the real reason why our six favourite Friends have not reunited and now we know, it's the men.

Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel Green in the hit show, has finally revealed that while she, Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow are up for a revival of the show, her male co-stars are not.

Speaking about the series, the 49-year-old said: "The girls say we would always love to do it again and the boys are a little less excited about it for some reason".

Flipping men.

Come on guys, get your act together.



With 2019 just days away, how do you feel about starting the New Year off with the help of a hamper packed with top tasting products from Northern Ireland's largest cider producer?

Armagh Cider Company Ireland, which is owned by the Troughton family of Ballinteggart House, outside Portadown, boasts five generations of growers.

The first cider from Armagh Cider Company was introduced to the market in January 2006 and since then, the company's product range has been substantially enhanced in response to consumer demand.

The top quality hand-crafted cider produced by the brand is popular with those looking for something more authentic and naturally flavoursome.

Further information about Armagh Cider Company Ireland is available online at

I have three Armagh Cider Company Ireland hampers to give away.

Each hamper is packed with a range of products including Maddens Mellow, Maddens Orchard Bramble, Carsons Crisp and Mollys Mulled Cider.

Non-alcoholic treats include Honeyhill Spiced, Orchard Twist Apple Juice and Apple and Cranberry.

If you fancy winning a hamper, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday, January 1, 2019

(Q) When was Armagh Cider Company's first cider introduced to the market?

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