Marie Louise McConville: Hoping 2021 will be the year Covid-19 is defeated and the world reunited
So, here we are then guys, 2021 - a new year, a clean slate, 12 new months of possibilities - and yes, we're still in lockdown.
As someone who really doesn't like the new year anyway, it is typical that it should start under curfew and subject to restrictions.
I find the whole new year business just too emotional and I'll be honest, it causes me to look back on the last 12 months and think about all the missed opportunities, mistakes and could-have-beens.
I've always struggled with new year's eve but a few years ago I found the perfect solution - I just go to bed and sleep through the whole thing, including the dreaded linking of arms and the singing of that song.
Of course, this new year's eve was all the more difficult.
Like many, I was more than happy to say goodbye to the past year but the thought of beginning the new year under curfew and during a lockdown, was a struggle.
So I did what I always do.
I went to bed with the kids.
We cuddled while watching a DVD and dozed off and when we awoke, it was January 1, 2021 - although we are still living the `new normal' lifestyle.
I haven't made any new year resolutions this year as life is tough enough at the minute.
The past ten months have left many of us damaged both mentally and physically and the battle is not over yet so I don't think pressuring ourselves into losing weight or giving up something we love is going to help.
I suppose you could say I am just promising myself to try and stay strong and just get on with it.
Personally, I'm dreaming of a day I can call into my parents' home any time I want and hug them and chat.
I am also longing for when my children can once again enjoy play dates with their friends or we can just walk into a shop without putting on a face mask, which always leaves me feeling sick afterwards.
Imagine being able to have lunch with family or friends or colleagues and chatting about our lives without fear of making them ill or falling ill ourselves.
Put simply, I am hoping and praying for brighter days ahead and soon.
I can't wait to get that call from my GP offering me the Covid vaccine. I will jump at the chance and somehow, in my mind, it makes me feel that a summer holiday this year might actually be within our grasp.
So, let's enter 2021 filled with hope because at the end of the day, that's all we have at the moment.
I hope that the scientists will continue their research, hope that the medical experts will continue to do what's best for us, and hope that all of us will play our part in this fight.
Fingers crossed 2021 will be remembered as the year Covid-19 was defeated and the world was reunited.
Christmas television was not all that bad this year thanks to the return of The Masked Singer.
I know a lot of people don't like this show but I love it and so does my Abbie.
We were introduced to six new masked singers including Badger, Dragon and Swan who all performed brilliantly and of course, the costumes were amazing.
Unfortunately, Alien didn't last long and was unmasked as singer, Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
It was a great first show and I'll be tuning in again tonight for the next instalment.
Altogether now - "Take it off, take it off".
If you're still recovering from the festive season, how about relaxing with a "lively, unusual and persuasive" read?
A Necessary Death is the new thrilling, page-turning novel from Anne Holt.
Selma Falck is living a nightmare.
Trapped in a burning cabin on a freezing snow-covered mountain, she has no idea where she is or how she got there.
Bruised, bleeding and naked, she barely makes it out in time as the flames engulf the cabin.
With no signs of human habitation nearby, the temperature rapidly dropping, and a blizzard approaching, how will she survive?
As Selma fights the cold, the hunger and her own wounds, she eventually forms a frightening picture of the past six months.
Not only does she have to find a way to stay alive, she needs to make it back to civilization quickly because the very future of the nation depends on it.
I have five copies of A Necessary Death to give away.
If you fancy winning a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to email@example.com
Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday, January 5, 2021
(Q) Who wrote A Necesssary Death?
Normal rules apply but there will be a delay in processing our competitions during restrictions.
The winners of the Lidl competition are Paula Mc Manus, from Belfast, Anne Henry, from Maghera and Margaret Heaney, from Newry