2016: The Review

This review is becoming something of a yearly tradition....you can find the reviews for 2007200820092010 , 2011201220132014 and 2015 by clicking through. It's always nice to take stock at the end of a year and see what's happened over the last 12 months.

Throughout the post I've added pictures (in no particular order) of a year well spent. Good heavens there are lots of pictures, but I'm so happy I have them - this year has been a precious one in so many ways, and these pictures are just a few that show how lucky I've been to walk through a busy, happy year with some fabulous folk! Kicking off with one of my favourite selfies - it's rare I like my face in pictures so I decided to include it :)

I spent several happy days exploring the Christmas lights in town

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

It's been a year full of new things - from travelling to new spots like New York & Boston, to my first bits of paid freelance writing, to interning, to becoming a godmother, it's been quite an unusual year!

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Sleep, glorious sleep

I am something of a sleep fan (as are our cats, hence their inclusion in the header image!).

In our modern world there are so many things which can detract from a good night's rest - noisy cities, crying babies (for the parents among us), stress about work and deadlines, and just trying to cram too much into the day and simply not getting enough time in bed.

About six years ago I was very guilty of the latter. I was so determined to ace being in London, and having a career, and having a social life, and writing, and everything else, that I whittled down the amount of sleep I got from a sensible 6 to 8 hours down by subtle increments to about 4 hours a night. It didn't happen all at once, but there was a swathe of months where I was turning in at 1am or 2am, and rising at 5am or 6am.

Those hours might work for Margaret Thatcher, or Barack Obama, or Donald Trump (all infamous 4-hours-a-night sleepers) but it definitely doesn't work for me. After about six months of trying to do this I was shattered - my brain wasn't as sharp, I felt much less like myself, my health habits were ruined, my skin looked grey, and I wound up suffering from migraines and headaches on a hugely frequent basis.

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Happy Monday #19

It's Monday, it's the start of the week, which means it's time for a lovely, positive start to the week. Katy and Jasmin inspired me with their cheery posts each week, and now, when schedule allows, I join in with a happy Monday of my own. Let's go!

1. New blogging projects

I've been thinking for ages that I'd like to set up some spinoff blogs from this main one. My blog is a lifestyle one, and while I adore the breadth this affords me, I've been thinking for a while that certain elements that I write about are more niche, and I've been toying with the idea of setting up separate domains for them. So this past week I set up CMClaire Cooks, CMClaire Reads, and CMClaire Travels. I have no idea how this experiment will play out...but I'm excited to have a play! I've been writing here for almost eleven years now (good heavens!), and it felt like time to try something new. Worst case scenario, I'll fold 'em back in here!

2. Catching up with friends

It's been a fairly social week, and I've had lots of time with some of my favourite people. Always a tonic!

3. Lumos at the House of Lords

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My favourite music of 2016

I love music. I always have. From down-home country to soaring gospel, cheesy pop to gritty rock, I have time for the joy that music brings.

So it seemed natural for me to put together a list of my favourite songs of 2016. Originally I was aiming for a top ten...but that proved too much of an ask. So here are my top 50 songs of the year. You can also listen to the whole eclectic thing over on Spotify!

One quick note - three Beyoncé songs would have made the cut (Sorry, Formation, and Daddy Issues), but as her music isn't available on Spotify where I compiled the main list, she's absent from my rundown. Massive fan of both her and the magic that is Lemonade though, definitely one of the most iconic listens of the year. Viva Queen Bey.

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Getting ready for Christmas

We are well and truly into the Christmas rush now. The last few cards and gifts need to be sent, the social whirl is in frenetic mode, and Mariah Carey is everywhere, like some kind of golden-voiced, glittery diva angel.

I approve.

As we head towards the celebrations proper, I am all about getting ready for Christmas. There are so many little things to do to ensure the festive period goes smoothly.

I like to check that our Christmas food orders are sorted and doublechecked (thank heavens for online shopping too, I must say). We're getting most of our stuff delivered by Ocado on the 23rd, and we have some delicious options on the list (Poppet is most interested in the large free range turkey crown of course!).

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10 chickflicks you definitely need in your life

As we barrel towards Christmas proper, and the social calendar starts to clear a little, my mind always turns to relaxing a little, getting cosy and curling up. One of my favourite ways to unwind is with a good film, and nothing is quite so relaxing and fulfilling to me as a good old-fashioned chickflick.

Don't get me wrong, I can thoroughly enjoy a good action romp, a subtitled critic's darling or a highbrow drama, but when it comes to pure indulgence, I'm all about curling up under a cosy, fleecy blanket, pouring a glass of red (or making a tea or a hot chocolate), and watching an old favourite.

Here are the 10 chickflicks I think you definitely need in your life...some are pure chickflicks, others are comedy, drama, or teen films that also straddle the chickflick genre. Be sure to let me know any of your favourites in the comments too!

1. Mystic Pizza

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Happy Monday #18

It's Monday, it's the start of the week, which means it's time for a lovely, positive start to the week. Katy and Jasmin inspired me with their cheery posts each week, and now, when schedule allows, I join in with a happy Monday of my own. Originally I updated weekly, but as the year has progressed and life has changed (and will continue to do so as we move into 2017), I will be doing these on a more ad hoc basis - when I've time and things to share I'll be here :).

1. A very happy birthday

On Saturday I turned 36 (36, man!) and had a lovely, lovely day. Cards and cakes and messages and wine and wonderful people meant I entered a new year on the planet feeling happy, lucky, and surrounded by love. I'm so fortunate to have the people I have in my life.

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