Last year, when my husband Rob died, I sacked off Christmas. I didn't buy any presents, I didn't give a fuck about the John Lewis advert and I left the country to spend it in India. And people, I loved Christmas. The lights in Oxford Circus. Pigs in blankets, mulled wine, all the cheesy jingles Spotify can muster into a playlist. It was a time when we spent it as a family with my sister and parents, and Rob would cook Christmas day dinner. We'd fight over Strictly and Doctor Who. Our dog Daisy would clamber over all the presents believing them to be hers. I couldn't imagine celebrating it again without feeling overwhelmed by the absence of him. But this year, we've decided to spend it again as a family.
It is natural for an opposition to make hay when a Secretary of State is turned on by one of their own. But I outline these shortcomings with more concern than glee. Ultimately, if BEIS fails in the historic tasks Theresa May has given it, we will all pay a heavy price.
The most striking of Vote Leave groups was the most disadvantaged, who have also been called 'the left behind'. It is these that surprised pollsters and commentators and potentially tipped the balance towards Leave. This group represent about 12% of the population and 95% of them voted leave.
Those who (like me) believe that open economies remain the best way of securing broadly-based prosperity need to take these wider questions of policy design and public consent seriously. Far more so than has been the case over the last generation, and in ways that will upset aspects of conventional thinking.
Trade - and in particular access to the UK market - gives us leverage, which can be used to secure real improvements in third countries. Merely "encouraging [these countries] and supporting their plans for reform" won't do it.
I don't want to just have difficult conversations; I also want to have positive conversations. Too often there is a tendency to only focus on the problems experienced by Muslim women and girls. Little or no attention is paid to their successes and achievements.
I believe that all healthcare professionals should receive training to recognise and respond to domestic violence; similar to mandatory training on child protection. We are often the first point of contact for women suffering from domestic violence, so it is important that we know how to respond.
This Christmas, instead of buying those extra gifts for yourself, why not put your money towards improving the lives of these vulnerable people? Here are a list of five charities in need of your help this Christmas.
She seems blind to the concerns of nearly half the country who voted remain in the EU referendum and now seems very keen to promote one religion over all others. Whatever it is - it is not leadership of a country - because promoting one religion over all others has a long history of dividing people not bringing them together.
It was evident against West Ham, with some sublime moves crafted out with consummate ease by the two. Sanchez's movement off the ball and his typically dogged harrying of defenders, proved to be a constant thorn in the side of the Hammers.
Rough sleeping, as with homelessness in general, is a particular problem in London. According to the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) database 8,096 people slept rough at some point in London during 2015/16, an increase of 7% compared to 2014/15.
I asked myself the same thing as we stumbled out of the church to the sound of my Godless toddler declaring: 'I gone toilet mummy, I no want it more Jesus'. The whole experience has got me thinking: how do you introduce a young child to the idea of God? Should we be doing it at all? And why didn't I just let the little boy keep the stethoscope, like a good Christian should?
While walking in a wonderful Christmas market in Copenhagen last weekend, he announced loudly and proudly to his 6 year old sister that of course Father Christmas is not real and it is in fact Mum and Dad who bring the presents.
We frequently meet people who find themselves making tough decisions like going hungry so their children can have a hot meal, or turning off the heating so they can keep the lights on for a little longer. We want to make sure that policymakers hear from the experiences of real people on the knife-edge of poverty.
We know there is so much more to do. There needs to be a collaborative approach between government, businesses and organisations to train young people and provide them with an environment where they feel confident and comfortable online. We must work together to ensure every young person reaps the benefits of the digital age.
The current economic system is failing the women who need support the most. Until we change the economic system to serve their needs, we will only be playing catch up trying to end violence against women in our societies.
We seem to be moving to an age that values access over ownership. In this shift towards experiences rather than possessions, a "sharing economy" spurned by the technology sector, is growing. Millennials increasingly stream music, films and TV, rather than buying physical copies. We download books and audiobooks to our phones. We rent out our homes, spare bedrooms, and take rides in other regular people's cars.
Doing this job has brought my Christmas back. I couldn't face Christmas in the same way, because of what that day mean to us. But then when I was working in the house and I saw children and parents putting the tree up together and it brought everything back to me.
I've been one of thousands wringing their hands in consternation for the future, and that's as a resident of incubated West London, immune from so many almighty challenges - economic, cultural, environmental - faced by inhabitants of much more precarious places. But bizarrely, it was a young man in an environment that typifies the latter who I had the good fortune to talk to earlier this year, and his words seem like beacons of compassion, confidence and hope as I start pondering how 2017 can be better.
What we are witnessing is vast becoming an epidemic. The cost of youth loneliness is up to £34 billion in London alone and in addition the past few years has seen a significant rise in the number of young people seeking counselling for emotional and mental distress, which has been linked back to loneliness.
Losing a child is one of the most painful, life-altering experiences anyone can endure. Surely, if anyone deserves to have an extra financial burden lifted, it is these parents? If we want to live in a society that helps the most vulnerable, that holds out a hand to those who are struggling to go on, how can we ever justify charging parents the cost of burying their child?
No matter how much you despise them, the fact remains that the Daily Mail and The Sun are the most widely-circulated newspapers in the country. By banning them from being sold in the campus shop, the Students' Union have shielded their students from the views of a large chunk of this country's population, and have shied away from encouraging the sort of open and well-informed debate that should be at the heart of any university.