Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - CHRISTMAS TALES -

Au­thor, blog­ger and model, pic­tured with her dog, Wilko

It’s been a mem­o­rable year. It was prob­a­bly the most up-and-down year, but also the most fun, which I know might sound strange. My sis­ter Rachel’s di­ag­no­sis with can­cer at the start of the year re­ally shocked our whole fam­ily. But it’s kind of come full cir­cle, in that it’s the new nor­mal, and she’s in­spired our whole fam­ily. I sup­pose it puts ev­ery­thing into per­spec­tive. I am def­i­nitely not as stressed a per­son as I used to be. I’m re­ally en­joy­ing each mo­ment, and I take the ma­jor­ity of op­por­tu­ni­ties that come to me.

The fam­ily has be­come a lot closer, and now Rachel is on the road to re­cov­ery, and things are get­ting so much bet­ter. We got Wilko this year as well. I don’t re­mem­ber what my life was like be­fore him. He is so good; he has just slot­ted into the fam­ily.

Rachel and I are go­ing to Asia this year for Christ­mas. We are go­ing to Hong Kong, Thai­land and some­where else; we haven’t fully de­cided. It will be a nice long hol­i­day. We go away ev­ery Christ­mas; it is our thing. We had said this year we would stay in Ireland, but then as the months went on, we just thought, ‘Well, you only live once’. We’re leav­ing two weeks be­fore Christ­mas, and we’re back New Year’s. We’re so used to go­ing away at Christ­mas time. I re­mem­ber there was an­other Christ­mas Day that we ended up hav­ing din­ner with a random Ital­ian fam­ily. It’s our nor­mal.

I will def­i­nitely in­dulge when we’re away. Christ­mas Eve, Christ­mas Day, Stephen’s Day, I will eat what­ever I want. Like you would at home. I think it’s in our men­tal­ity. We are trained to think, ‘I will eat ev­ery­thing at Christ­mas’. Barry’s teabags come with me ev­ery­where, and a se­lec­tion box. But I will still con­tinue to train. I get quite antsy when I don’t train. I have al­ready looked up places I can train in Hong Kong. There’s a re­ally amaz­ing place we went there last year that has Muay Thai box­ing, so I will just train as nor­mal.

You have so many Christ­mases in your life, so I like to do some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent. I’m sure once I set­tle down and have a fam­ily, I’ ll be at home for most Christ­mases. It’s just nice when I’m young to go off and ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent things, and how peo­ple cel­e­brate Christ­mas, and its dif­fer­ent meals, all over the world.

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