For Christmas, my parents gave my boyfriend a book entitled "Crap towns returns", which I'm sure most people have heard of. They gave it to him because they found it hilarious that our own home town, Merthyr Tydfil, featured in it, as it has done many times before because, according to the masses, it's a crap place to live.
I did this for the first time last year on my website, 12 things I learnt in 2012, and I think I might do this annually. There's always something to be thankful for and lessons to be learnt.
From teachers, carers, nurses and doctors, street sweepers, sales assistants and the like, working in service is an exchange of energy as old as civilisation. Serving one another in some way is a natural human instinct that we all have inside of us and can deliver on daily basis through our individual talents.
So whenever this time of year rolls around and I'm getting reflective on what this year taught me, or what I can attempt to do better next year (as always: more exercise, less worry, more comfort-zone-exiting, less overanalysing) - I notice the random highlights that stick with me, the moments which remind me of the obvious 'lessons' I want to hold onto going forwards.
It was the year of twerking and selfies, of Royal babies and Wimbledon wins, but befitting its numerals, 2013 also had more than its fair share of tragedy and mourning. As we look towards 2014, with a sense of optimism and hope, cast your mind back to the events and people that defined the passing year... We said goodbye this year to Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher, as well as Lou Reed and Iain Banks, but hello to Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge and the future face of the British monarchy. Happy 2014 all; let's hope it's a positive one.
Every day of every month we are hyper focused on what's new -- from food to travel; cars to celebrities; technology and entertainment; to work and life trends...there is an obsessive, irresistible pull towards the future. We want to be immediately better, smarter, savvier by half past the New Year's ball drop.
The Mayor of Lisburn, the third largest city in Northern Ireland, Margaret Tolerton has refused to open a book of condolence after the recent passing of Nelson Mandela meaning that unlike those in Belfast City Council and Derry City Council, the people of Lisburn City will be unable to formally pay their respects to this much respected man.
It's mid-December, which must means it's... end-of-the-year, round-up time! This week you couldn't turn a page or click a link without stumbling upon best of' lists, reader votes and the like, and I'm afraid at HuffPost we couldn't resist joining in. Rather than select our own favourites, however, we teamed up with Ogilvy PR to crowd-source hundreds of recommendations for the accolade of best content of the year, and then asked a panel of experts to judge the final lists.
Time is of the essence in a sport that is measured in the one thousandth of a second and to change all four wheels in under two seconds is a terrific feat by anyone's measure. Teams practice pitstops regularly and in Austin you could catch some of those practice sessions during the pit walk on Thursday.