A post of two-halves: What I learned in 2018 PLUS Stuff Sam Says, Christmas Edition


Almost everyone I’ve spoken to throughout December has uttered the same phrase traditionally wheeled out when we’re another year older, none the wiser, and it feels like our lives are going by in a flash.

“I don’t know where this year’s gone!”


Well, thanks to Instagram, we do.

The #2018bestnine hashtag and accompanying images which have been doing the rounds this past week offer a small insight into our friends, family, and the various social media icons and randomers we’ve linked with at one time or another during our digital lives.




It’s an interesting concept; a snapshot showcasing the key moments throughout the year which our friends and followers have deemed to be the most enjoyable/likable moments of our everyday goings-on.

As we move into a New Year, I’ve taken some time to reflect on what I’ve learned in 2018 based on my very own #bestnine gallery…


Travelling (for leisure) is one of the best things you can do to clear your mind

It’s been a funny old year of ups, downs, and the occasional bout of stress, but one thing that’s kept me going is the possibility of being able to leave it all behind and explore somewhere new (or a place previously explored and enjoyed).

Chichen Itza realness.

This year I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Mexico, Rome, and Switzerland; each place with its own something unique to offer.

The one thing they all have in common though is the ability to transport you away from everyday worries and give you some perspective. *

The prospect of being able to escape for even a few days to give my brain some down time – especially when I work in an industry that’s so notoriously stress-inducing – has been a real tonic this year. Now comes the inevitable 2019 holiday hunt/saving season…

*Disclaimer: may not be the same experience if you’re a resident of those countries. You could come to England instead but be warned…the weather is shit.


Fandom is still the best ‘dom’

When I was a teenager, I was always imbued with a sense that people in my peer group found me ‘odd’.

I didn’t do ‘boy talk’. I detested the idea of manufactured boy and girl ‘bands’, and people who had little more to offer society than a nice torso and the ability to toss their hair about did nothing to hold my attention.

It was only natural that I was going to gravitate towards comedy to find my heroes. People who give little to no fucks about what people think of them have always been an inspiration, which I suppose comes from growing up in a house where laughter reigned supreme, and my mum always actively encouraged us to speak our minds and do what we loved.

Being part of a ‘fandom’ was and probably always will be a hugely important part of my life for that very reason.

Being a League of Gentlemen fan at the age of 14 made me feel part of something special and different that – at the time – it felt like only a handful of people knew about. Just like listening to Marilyn Manson (as twee as it seems now) gave me a connection to others who shared my feelings of being ‘outside normal’.

This year I’ve had the time to return to watching live comedy, and even discovered the brilliance of podcasting. I’m loving being back in the ‘fandom’ I’ve missed so much. If you’re looking for something new to listen to/watch, check out a small selection of what’s kept me entertained this year…


L-R: Kiri and Rachel at All Killa No Filla in Salford; Steve Pemberton and I after The League of Gentlemen Live Again in Birmingham


  • All Killa No Filla Podcast – Comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean talk serial killers, with a dash of what it’s like being women in comedy, dry-bumming, and which motorway services to visit for a great sausage roll (I’m over-simplifying here, obviously…). If you love true crime, give it a listen!


  • Suspiciously Cheap Comedy – London-based night of laughs where you can see multiple stand up comedians on the bill for a fiver. I was lucky enough to catch this when it made its way to Salford in October 2018. If Gein’s Family Giftshop don’t make you cry with laughter, you have no soul (or maybe you do).

  • The Adam Buxton Podcast – fans of the Adam & Joe Show on Channel 4 will remember Adam Buxton as the cheeky chap who worked with Joe Cornish to bring us a selection of toy-based movie re-enactments, as well as other brilliant home made ‘bits’ presented from their ‘bedroom’. He’s done plenty since then of course, but you can also listen to ‘Dr. Buckles’ having a ramble chat with a host of brilliant writers, actors, musicians and comedians, including the likes of Kathy Burke, Louis Theroux, Bob Mortimer and Steve Coogan. Interspersed with brilliant jingles, and topped and tailed with Adam waffle, you’ll quickly become addicted…

  • The League of Gentlemen LIVE Again – I feel so fortunate that I got the chance to see this show not once, but twice. It’s out on DVD, and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys the League’s special brand of black humour, poignant realism, and obvious camaraderie that make them a joy to watch.


Animals: the gift that keeps on giving

It took me a while to convince my husband that getting a cat – and then a second – was a good idea.

Now our home would feel empty without them.

If you’ve grown up in a house where pets were part of the family, you’ll understand. I can’t remember a time when animals weren’t around, from the chihuahua I grew up with (Maisie), to my first pet rat (Meep). There’s something so rewarding about caring for another living thing, whether your preference is amphibians, reptiles, or something of the furry variety.


L-R: Ivar and Lagertha


I’ve been volunteering with Cats Protection in my town for two years and would recommend it to anyone who’ll listen. The centres have dozens of volunteers on board who do everything from cleaning, to cuddling, and collecting cats to bring them back to the centre.

If you’re looking to give something back in 2019, why not contact your local adoption centre and find out what volunteer positions are available to you? As an animal lover there’s no better feeling than nurturing an animal before it finds its new home – you won’t regret it.

Or, if you’re looking to enjoy some animal nonsense you can follow our cats – Lagertha and Ivar – on Instagram @vikingkittehs


It wouldn’t be Christmas without the odd nugget of joy from my now eight-year-old nephew, Sam.

Here are a few tasty morsels of turkey tainted waffle that Sam’s given us this festive break, which I hope will amuse…

When he was out shopping with his mum one week before Christmas…

sss - patience


On his birthday (Boxing Day), when his mum was explaining why he didn’t want to play the ‘Tiny Hands’ game I’d bought him for Christmas…

sss - games


When he was pretending to swim on the wooden floor in my aunt’s house at his birthday party…

sss - sammy the salmon


When his mum was trying to make him sit on the sofa…

sss - Im from mars


At his birthday party, when I ill-advisedly attempted to inject some Christmas spirit into proceedings with this question…

sss - gift cards


To my friends, family, and accidental followers, here’s hoping for a positive and productive 2019!


Author: Alyssa

PR professional. Comedy enthusiast and cat lady.

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