new year’s eve without the inimitable steve

woman in white sequined spaghetti strap dress
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

I realise that the title of this post starts with a rhyme so it would have been perfect for a poem. But I’m feeling the anecdotes at the moment. I think it might be because I’m reading an autobiography at the moment, and so my mind is in that mode, as it were.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the way that I celebrate New Year’s Eve and how it has changed recently. I started my adult life by getting really drunk with friends and often having to be put to bed by 11pm.

But then when Noah came along I had to tone it down a little bit. I do say a little bit, because it still involved an extraordinary amount of alcohol.

We were living with my parents for much of the time that Noah was growing up and so we used to go around to our next door neighbours’ house to eat posh cheese and stuffed olives and drink several bottles of Champagne. The neighbours were called Linda and Steve and they were my parents’ best friends, although they were about twenty years their senior.

Steve got throat cancer three years ago and within four months he was dead. My dad took the death quite hard and it was only as the dust settled, I realised that mum had been a bit scared of Steve. He had apparently shouted at her once and she had learnt to ‘behave’ around him.

Once Steve was dead, the crazy came out by the bucket load. Mum was chucking us all out, locking us out, taking the front door or its hinges and calling us all devil worshippers.

It was the reason that Noah and I had to move into the flat and life changed and I think that my dad and I blamed Steve a bit (very self-indulgently, I do realise).

I just wanted to write this post because most of my memories of New Year’s Eve come from our time next door, and listening to Steve’s (sometimes a little bit unbelievable) stories from his time in the Navy. I can’t say that I think of him all that often, but that night is the one where I can genuinely say that I miss him.

We used to call their house the ‘black hole’ because you would never come back sober. You could go over there to drop off something like a bag of sugar and you wouldn’t leave for six hours. Dad once got lost coming home, he was so drunk. Somewhere between their house and ours, he took a wrong turn and slept in a field. It was foggy when he woke and he thought he had died and was in Heaven.

I hope that you guys all have a brilliant New Year and you have an awesome party in your living room in a very responsible manner. My dad will be coming over and the three of us (four if you include the cat) will be drinking non-alcoholic fizz and raising a glass to the inimitable Steve, who I am sure was the reason we all stayed together for as long as we did.

Thank you Steve,

Much Love

Rachel xx

christmas food

top view of table set up for christmas dinner
Photo by Nicole Michalou on

Salmon in a plastic film, as it swims

Through Scottish lochs in icy schools,

Followed up with chocolate fingers

Smeared around excited mouths that lick at lips.

Even the cat has something special

Served inside his silver bowl, a festive mousse

All dished out when humans eat.

We have turkey stuffed with sage,

Potatoes piled with gravy boats that sailed the seas

As we reach heaven on boards of cheese

That float until the cracker snaps

And all that’s left is cold sweet meats

To fill our bread for days to come

With cranberry sauce and stuffing balls.

The point of Christmas is the food,

Putting us into that festive mood.

I’m all about the Christmas food! Since I stopped drinking four years ago, the food has become the most important part of the day (aside from family, obviously).

I love everything from the meats to the potatoes, the pigs in blankets to the yule logs, the salmon breakfast to the posh biscuits. I adore every part of it. And I feel like it’s a necessary part of my day to stop me drinking.

Christmas can be hard, especially if you are sober and everyone around you is drinking. You need to hang onto every good thing you can to stop yourself from touching the stuff.

But I’ve done it four times now and I know that anyone who is struggling can do it too. Even if you haven’t had issues with alcohol, I do hope you have the best Christmas ever and really enjoy that meal.

Tuck in,

Rachel xx

how much do i need christmas right now?

Cocooned so sweetly in my one bed flat,

With viruses and ghastly acts,

Making cameos in every day of every month.

And so we’re ready for the lights,

The jingle bells and tacky songs

That float out on the frosty waves

And warm our hearts and minds.

In a year that’s plagued with certain fear,

And change that’s never been so dark,

A year we’ve held our breath throughout;

Now we’ve made it to the end

And so we need to wrap those arms

Around a world that’s healing fast

And enjoy that final week

Of festive treats and family love,

A gift that’s sent from up above.

TK MAxx has just won christmas

I wrote the other night about my love of Christmas ads. They warm my heart and make life worth living, even if you are a die hard Scrooge and can’t stand this time of the year.

One year, my favourite advert was the Sainsbury’s ad and it showed a school Christmas production. The kids were really cute but what stole the show was the little boy who was dressed as an electrical plug. He literally launched himself at a socket and plugged himself in. That one moment took my breath away.

There was also a cute behind the scenes video on YouTube and that just added to the charm of the advert. I think they just nailed it that year with the perfect blend of being heartwarming and funny.

We haven’t even had all of the big adverts being released yet, but I think TK Maxx may well have just won Christmas already. Anyone in the UK will probably have seen and I don’t care if it doesn’t meet your standards.

It has a goat dressed in a designer shirt and that is the recipe for something this girl will love. If I ever feel bad in life, I find videos of goats running and freezing up and my worries just drift away.

So sorry to any of the big companies that are yet to release. You’ll have to wait until next year and you might have a chance of winning if you use a baby panda in your campaign.

Much Love

Rachel xx