Thursday, 29 January 2009

Good Luck Lucy!

Been so busy this week and totally absorbed in work and other stuff that I've really not had time to think about the days ticking away until Lucy flys out to Thailand, I suspect she has been counting the hours!

Anyway, it's today!

I don't think it's possible to put into words the best wishes, good luck, and other positive things that I'd like to say, so I'll just have to resort to keeping my fingers crossed and thinking as much as I can about Lucy while she is away and looking forward to when she is back :D

So in a rather understated way: Good Luck Lucy, Love ya lots and can't wait till you're back!

Oh and on a practical note, pity Lucy's friend Dell who is flying out with her, he has the inenviable task to keeping a huge list of people up to date with her progress until such time as she's well enough to get online herself (which better be quick 'cos we have a game of chess to finish!).

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Hairy McClary ....

... from Donaldsons Dairy. I actually always thought it was "McScary" but apparently not. Anyway the book is available on Amazon.

This isn't actually about Chirldren's books but that dredded hair stuff that I seem to spend an enternity trying to remove only to see loads more of it making an appearance the following day. The problem is particularly acute for me as I am 'lucky' to still have fairly dark hair but I also have very pale skin.

Anyway, I generally attack most unwanted hair with an epilator which does the best job at removing it but it does eventually recover and grow back. I have noticed now that some of the hairs growing back are paler and finer than before, they are actually really hard to see but, for example, if I look at my arm over a black background I can see alot more hairs that if I stare at it directly (which is essentially against the white background of my skin).

I've also been using the epilator on my legs again and, so far, have suffered less from in-growing hairs than I did before. Also the skin on my legs feels a little softer.

WARNING: Work people beware, I'm going to be talking about my breasts again, you probably want to be finding something else to read at this point!

Boobs were quite uncomfortable yesterday and rather tender, not helped by wearing forms all day. Still worse discomfort on the left than on the right, but that side is slowly catching up. The areola still doesn't seem much different in size but is getting the "goose-flesh" appearance which I guess are some of the lubrication ducts (she says trying to sound authorative when having just read this on the Wikipedia article).

One thing I did notice in the mirror this morning is the area around and outside of the areola (that's quite easy to type when you get use to it you know, areola, areola, areola ... sorry, got carried away there) seems a different colour, lighter in fact, than the rest of the breast. On my left side the area is bigger than that on the right so I am assuming that this is something to do with the development of the breasts in some way.

Think I'll probably leave further discussion of this for a while now since I doubt much more interesting things are going to happen until more time has passed - though of course I'm now watching for every tiny little change which is likely to make me rather impatient!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Here we go ....

Well, I think the hormones really are starting to kick in now! I've discussed my 'symptoms' with a close friend and it seems that things may be beginning to develop as expected/hoped for.

Now, I didn't think I would be doing this so soon, but for anyone I work with or any family that might have stumbled onto this blog by accident, now is the time you should STOP READING! The rest of this is more for the benefit of other TG people who may have started/be thinking of starting hormones. I'm going to try and start describing the changes I go through and it's maybe not work-time reading. Yeah, okay, for now it's not too bad but best get in some practice of avoiding reading what I write!

So the changes so far: My skin is definitely getting softer. This is noticeable on the back of my hands but I think the skin on my legs is thining slightly and a little softer. I say that because I use an epilator (yes, I know "ow!") and have usually had a problem with in-growing hairs. Now it doesn't seem as bad and the exfoliating regime seems to make a real difference.

And now, any work colleagues, this is your final warning (yeah, like you're going to listen)!

Breast development does seem to have started. My nipples have started to become slightly painful and they feel like there is something hard behind them. I can't think of a better word than 'lump' but it's not a lump in the scarey sense. The pain isn't bad at all and feels a little like I've bruised my chest. Also the sensation is asymmetrical though I've heard/read that breast development is often biased to one side at first.

I haven't seen much change in terms of body hair as yet doesn't seem to have slowed or thinned as yet, I would expect this to take a little longer also it might be hard to pin down any real alteration in growth since the epilator is pretty effective when I use it!

I think my moods have changed a little and that I am alternating a bit between happy and less happy during the day. Again this is hard to pin down as I've been working longer hours and also still haven't got back into my cycling routine so regular sleep and early nights aren't happening.

In terms of mental ability I think it's fair to say I've actually been extra geeky recently due to the workload and nature of the tasks. So it could either be viewed as "business as usual" or even a slight increase in nerdiness maybe as a kind of rebellion against the other changes!

Monday, 19 January 2009

ow! and COOL!

Just got back from the first of another round of laser hair removal treatment. Thankfully this one didn't seem to hurt anywhere near as much as the one before Christmas (hence the small "ow") and apparently the new machine they are getting soon will be "painless" - I will believe that when I see or rather, feel it.

I'm going with Transform again, I guess I should have shopped around alot more but it seemed easier to stick with a people that I know and a location that is quite convenient. Also I did have a quick look round and tried to get some information from the Harley Medical Group who kept ringing my number from the moment I hit submit on the for to request a brochure and only stopped when I answered and explained that I just wanted a rough price - they wouldn't give me one which annoyed me!

Anyway, I'm glad I stuck with Transform as they seem to be giving me the same price as last year and I get to pay this on 0% finance over the year (which is the only way I can really afford to do this).

So, next appointment in 6 weeks and I'll see how things progress. I really hope these sessions kill the hair off once and for all. Possibly the hormones may help with this I don't know and really don't care so long as I get my face (at least from a hair/skin point of view) how I want it.

Obviously I had to call into the Trafford Centre on my way past - well it would have been rude not to - as I needed some more body spray (really liked the Impulse one that I got for Christmas from Lucy) as well as some other bits and pieces. I've actually bought some emerald green eye-liner and shadow which is probably going to clash horribly with blue eye's but I just want to give it a try - following the advice of Kevyn Aucoin in his book Making Faces.

OMG - I just had a quick read of the link above and I didn't realise that Kevyn died in 2002! That really is so sad, his book is really good, the make-up he did for various people from famous to anonymous was inspirational but most importantly he seemed to have the most fabulous attitude to life.

That derailed my train of thought somewhat.

Anyway, in other news my appetite seems to have gone a bit bonkers at the moment and I keep feeling hungry and having supper! I suspect that this may be the hormones and I'm trying to stick to healthy food but it will be better when I can get back to the cycling routine. This isn't going to be happening anytime soon given that I've just been driving through the snow (that was the "COOL!" bit of today) and the whether is still a little too cold. Must make an effort though!

More legislative idiocy

The Register reports that the government is seaking to close a loop-hole in current legislation so that cartoon images depicting children will become illegal.

On the second page of the article the author makes this point: "The second area for concern is the way in which this proposal further embeds in English Law the idea that possession of various materials should, in and of itself, be an offence". I think this is where I have a serious problem with this proposal and the equally ridiculous extreme porn laws.

An actual act of abuse or, in the case of extreme porn, something that someone does that actually inflicts real bodily harm are cases where something unlawful is actually happening and should rightly be criminalised. It's also not unreasonable to expect that pictures of the actual criminal acts are also themselves illegal (with loop-holes for reporting, evidence captured by an innocent 3rd party, etc).

When the images are either staged with all participants being consenting, and of an age/responsibility to consent (this is mainly the extreme porn law I'm thinking of here), or are totally artificial in nature I think it should be necassary to require more than just possession to make someone a criminal. You should have to show that they have inflicted harm or were using the images to, beyond a shadow of a doubt, commit abuse or some other illegal act.

The article mentions the case of an Australian man convicted of possessing smutty pictures of the Simpsons and points out that this sort of thing could happen over here with this legislation. You have to wonder at why these sorts of cases come to trial, I mean, seriously, this seems disproportionate. At worst he was guilty of dubious taste and wasting the IT resources of the works PC on which he downloaded (maybe forwarded) and stored the images. A simple slap on the wrist and an official warning from his company should have been enough to suffice.

The worrying prosecutions continue with the story concerning teenage girls in the US who sent nude pictures of themselves to male classmates using their mobile phones. They are all being prosecuted under child pornography laws which seems ridiculously insane given that there was obviously no abuse or criminal intent and that the ages of those concerned are very close (the article says the girls were 14 and 15 and the boys 16 and 17 - hardly a significant age gap) and what they did would appear to just be a childish prank.

Clearly common sense has been the first victim amid the hysteria and manic witch-hunt mentality behind the recent legislation.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Tidying up, throwing out, and changes

I've had lots of ideas for blog posts and just not got round to writing anything so this could end up as a long ramble! I'll try and keep it short and get to the point but I can't promise anything.

This weekend has been a bit mixed; I went out cycling yesterday which was something I desperately needed to do so that I can at least make a start at getting my level of fitness back up to the pre-December point where I was biking it to/from work almost every day. I've felt that I'm going to put on the weight that I lost if I don't get back into the exercise routine (too be fair it's not far to work, only 7km but 14km/day is better than nothing when you spend most of your day sat down!).

Anyway I had a random cycle around and covered about 28km but when I got to 25km I hit that "wall" that people talk about where you just run out of energy! It's a really horrible feeling and I had to stop and rest because I thought I was going to pass out and fall off. Managed to recover enough to cycle slowly the 3km home. Ironically I was just thinking that 20km or so wasn't bad when I'd done 60km in summer when I was reasonably fit!

When I got back I desperately needed food, drink, hot bath and rest! The rest of the day before setting off and after coming back was spent sorting out the computers and bits and pieces. Actually that's one of the things that is a bit confusing at the moment; I'm doing some seriously geeky things (really busy at work for a start) and it's very odd how alot of memories of the old me are connected with extreme nerdiness. It is also pretty difficult to remain lady-like when crawling around trying to sort out cables behind PCs (this is at home I hasten to add).

Anyway, Sunday was tidying up day - had a huge pile of ironing to do and got up early to catch the Economy 7 cheap rate to get it done! Then started sorting out all the bits of paper that needed filing (well they had been filed in one big box but they needed something better than that!) because I had to hunt out the stuff for tax returns and other items of admin with fast approaching deadlines.

Then I decided to sort out all my 'old' clothes - this flat has 3 wardrobes, two in the main bedroom and one in the spare which was the one I attacked. All of the clothes bar the expensive things (suits) which I might be able to sell are now bagged up but I just couldn't face the idea of rushing to the clothes bank/charity shop to get rid of them all yet. There are alot of things I'm feeling nostalgic about at the moment and the finality of throwing everything away is just too much.

In an attempt to justify getting rid of the clothes and get over the confusion I'm feeling about everything at the moment I thought I'd also try on a few items to a) prove that I didn't like them and b) show that they don't fit which I was pretty sure was the case and something I've been saying for a while as a reason I can't wear 'old' clothes anymore when my son is over.

I was shocked.

I know I have lost weight and toned up a little - just regular exercise and diet over about 9 months, it's been slow, but seems to have worked. But I didn't realise how big I was before, in fact it was downright scarey and at one point almost sureal, I thought maybe there was some other explanation or there was something wrong with me. Shirts felt like tents on me, none of the trousers would stay up, I could easily get two fists into the waist and still have room to spare. Not a single thing I tried on looked the right size, it was all way too big and baggy and I rember some shirts that were a little tight!

So, I reason there is no point keeping any of it, it's never going to fit and I'm never going to wear it and no-one I know is that size and alot (all possibly) of the stuff is either worn a little or just so out of fashion! It's all waiting in bags to be taken out when I can bring myself to do it.

With the fact that I'm spent most of the weekend in and wandering around wearing PJs, I've not felt particularly feminine. This isn't helped by the immersion into geekiness and the fact that I'm in somewhat of a no(wo)mans land in terms of transition now as I wait for the changes that will hopefully occur. With all the photos, memories, and regrets in my head that is also adding to the confusion.

Final note on hormone affects: no change since last time I posted (which was only a few weeks ago) though I'm pretty sure my nails are now totally wreck and that isn't entirely down to use of nail varnish so I'm blaming the estrogen. I'm wondering if there is some breast development at least starting because I have a small amount of discomfort but nothing that can't be explained by other factors.

Hmmm, sorry, it appears I did ramble quite a bit!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Books, Swimming, Home and Photos

I was trying to come up with a kind of abstract and interesting title but I think it probably reads a bit more like a list now. The past few posts have been either geeky on food related so I thought it was time to cover some of the TS related things in my life.

I have been talking to B just recently and she has mentioned that she has got some books about "different" people that we can read to our son to prepare him for the changes to come and hopefully help with the differences he has already noticed.

I don't think I can over-state how big a step all of that is. Our son has been amazing in dealing with all of this so far and he is such a clever, thoughtful, sensitive and just amazing little boy. I hope that I haven't ruined any of that but I guess only time will tell.

This brings me onto the second thing on the list. It's difficult to actually get accurate news of what my son has been doing out of him, he's only 5 so isn't really interested in giving a concise account of his life when I see him, also he's prone to very imaginative exaggerations. For example he said he'd swum 90m without armbands!

As it turns out he did manage to swim 15m without his arm bands and he did that after the swimming instructor asked for volunteers to try! I was so proud when I heard that! He is amazing, he really is :D

I guess the last two things go together; I'm missing having a home in both the physical and emotional sense and I've been looking at pictures of us before all of this mess which just makes it worse.

Looking at pictures of me does make me cringe, and I think that is part of the whole GID problem; you really don't like how you look, it's just wrong and that only really becomes apparent when you get a chance to look and be who and what makes you feel right. That probably sounds trite, but it's the only way I can explain it; I really didn't like what I saw of me in anyway at all.

And I guess that is the really sad bit because, for whatever bizarre reason B did like that - and really having seen the pictures of me I have to wonder why she ever like me, I looked horrible.

Anyway, I'm getting tired, best get to bed.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Quite hard to really capture the pie accurately, particularly without smell! There are a few thing that I can cook without a recipe and this is one of them. Actually to be more honest I cook practically everything without having to refer to a recipe which is probably why there is quite alot of variation in quality and taste and also why I stick to simple things!

Anyway I spent last night making the chicken, bacon, and leek pie but ran out of time for cooking it. So it went into the oven this evening and seems to have cooked quite nicely! Need to get some oven gloves I think because I was close to burning myself.

Might try and be a bit more adventurous with food in the future, watch this space!

In the meantime I'm off to bed for an early night!


I know it is sad but I REALLY enjoy solving techie computer problems and getting things done! I'm happiest when there are loads of windows (xterms for preference) all running and doing useful things! Yes, very sad!

The problem with this level of nerdiness is that it kind of leaves your head a bit fuzzy and with your brain almost free-running and in desperate need of things to do and to figure out! It's a really bizarre feeling and almost like a drug because there is the downside when there is nothing to do and you almost get one of those downer-like feelings.

Anyway, I'm trying to counter-act the marathon typing/hacking/sorting-out session by drinking red wine, eating chicken, bacon and leek pie (more on this later) before going to bed! Need to get to bed early so I can be up first thing in the morning to get into work and get on with some serious coding!

Fizz, buzz, click, whir :D

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Photos of me

Hmmm, well I guess it had to happen sooner or later but hadn't really expected it.

A friend of mine posted pictures of the old me on Facebook. Some of these I've already starred at and felt uncomfortable about, in fact I think I mentioned this a few months back in a blog post about moving a load of all stuff from the house into the garage here.

I've never really thought I looked good in pictures and always looked, for want of a better expression, like a bit of a idiot (some would argue that this is a very accurate portrayal and they may be right). The old uni photos are particularly bad because I strongly suspect I was at the very least acting like a complete idiot most of the time and this is only magnified by the terrible photos.

Anyway, I thought for a while about how I should handle this (someone who shall remain nameless suggested telling my friend to "f***ing remove them" or words to that affect - I actually think she has a point and should probably handle all my PR in future, it would be quicker and much more effective).

Anyway, I decided to just message my friend and ask him to not tag the pics as me. Yes, that was the real problem, he was tagging this old pics with my new name/identity and this is why they showed up on Facebook!

So, here's the rules girls and boys:
  1. If you have pics of a TS person from before they transitioned that's fine, you can't be expected to destroy your photo album/memories. I don't like old photos of me but I'm realistic enough to realise that I can't destroy them just as I can't change reality to make me always have been how I am now.
  2. It's probably best you not shove these pics in someone's face though. Accepting the existance of such snaps is one thing but I don't want to see them!
  3. Under no circumstance should old pics be associated with someone's new identity. For a start in a very real physical and mental sense, they are NOT the same person. You don't go changing your body and mind with powerful chemicals and therapy to be the same person!
  4. Also a TS person is, in alot of cases, starting their life all over again and trying, as best as possible, to have everyone view them as their new, correct, gender and persona. It makes life hard (to say the least) if people are going to question this new gender based on some pics they saw. Okay, I'm trying to transition in the same job, location, and with the same set of friends but I've heard of alot of cases there someone just completely dumps their old life to start completely from scratch since that is easier.
Okay, sorry if this was a little patronising but I thought it was worth making the 'rules' clear since it can be a little confusing.

Linux is better than Windows

Time for a geeky post I think! I remember commenting once that the transgendered aspect of my life was the thing that made me slightly more interesting that the rather geeky behaviour might infer. Now in some ways the trans thing is 'normal' and it's maybe time to let some of the extreme nerdiness out :)

There has been some talk at work over the last few days about setup of a server to host Subversion as a source code repository for the project that we are working on. Using Subversion was my idea and I pestered about it constantly last year for good technical reasons (it's alot quicker/easier to deal with that ClearCase which we'd used before) as well as the fact that I just like stuff like that!

And, when it came down to it the best platform to run Subversion on is Linux - I did try and be fair and install/run on Windows but when this was tested it was found that there were glitches under load which would have made the system to unreliable for what we needed.

Another thing I'm going to be looking at as well is running WebSphere without admin rights (found this article about allowing non-root users to create profiles). Why am I obsessed with admin rights - no-one at work seems to get this as the default setup of new laptops is to allow the user full admin rights which makes installing software easy.

This is just SOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo wrong if, like me you come from a UNIX/Linux background where running as root is a cardinal sin unless it's a single command prompt used for admin tasks that is closed immediately after finishing said tasks!

You see, even on Windows there is absolutely NO reason to have admin rights, there are no well-written programs that actually need such rights to work correctly. Okay, some services/servers need admin rights to run but they can either be started automatically or kicked off from a command prompt.

The problem is that with admin rights you can, quite easily move wreck your entire setup or at the very least move things around so that you've no real idea whether a program is installed properly or not. UNIX/Linux has been designed with this idea built in: important OS/program files can only be moved around by root and no-one but root can do this!

UNIX was designed to be multi-user from the start so the very idea that normal users would be able to muck around with important files would have been a huge issue since any one person could completely wreck everyone elses work! This level of security/protection is obviously essential for multi-user systems but has the side-benefit that if it's just you using the computer you know that nothing you do is going to affect anything important, all the libraries and other system components are going to behaving in a very perdictable and repeatable way.

And I think that is why, in my opinion, Linux is better than Windows; it's designed to be modular and consistent and essentially understandable, at least in part, at quite a deep level. UNIX/Linux doesn't generally suffer, in my experience, from bizarre interactions of libraries since everything is nicely protected and seperated. That's not to say things can't go wrong but when they do it's easier to isolate the problem and even work around it.

Also I prefer Linux because of the understandability (not sure that is a real word); I guess most people don't even bother trying to figure out how Windows works (I do but can't say I've got anywhere), but with Linux/UNIX there are some simple rules/concepts that, if you grasp them, then scale up for everything else within the system, e.g. command line tools for UNIX may seem complicated and harder to grasp than Windows DOS equivalent but the complexity is consistent in a way and once you get the idea of how everything can fit together it's simple.

Anyway, that is enough geekiness for now, I await the ridicule :)

Chill Factor!

I did think I could twist the title into something about being treated in a cold way or some other metaphor for having a bad time of things but frankly that would be totally pointless and a blatant lie as really there is nothing like that happening at the moment! So instead of the usual doom, gloom, and whinging from me, here is something that was just fun!

So, I didn't know what to do with my son this weekend, quite often we seem to just spend lots of time playing on the Wii and staying in (I could come up with pathetic excuses for this but ultimately I find it uncomfortable going out as the old me so I'm happier to stay in).

Anyway, I just thought it might be different and fun to go here: Chill Factor which is right next to the Trafford Centre (handy location from my point of view).

First two VERY important things that I learnt from our visit:
  1. Book in advance! We turned up at around 12 and the earliest we could get in was 4:30pm
  2. There are a few shops/restaurants there but really nothing much to do apart from the activities you pay for. So, if you didn't book in advance or just turn up really early you're likely to be bored pretty quickly!
Yes, I didn't really plan ahead so when we turned up we had a 4.5hr wait before we could get in to actually play in the snow and my son was absolutely distraught because we spent a good 10mins actually watching everyone have fun before we even went to get tickets! I'll definitely remember to book in advance for next time!

We spent, what must have seemed like an eternity at the time, wandering around trying to pass the time - really should have gone over to the Trafford Centre instead - until we eventually got our chance to go into the snowplay area! I had asked my son if he wanted to play on the tube slide but he said he didn't, just interested in mucking around in the snow!

The price of the ticket includes hire of snow boots (just lined wellies bascially). On such a busy day they were a bit limited when it came to my size so the pair I got were a bit old and battered (and too big). You don't have to use their boots for the SnowPlay area, I should have just worn the walking boots I'd brought along. No problem with kids boots but wellies would have been fine again.

The tickets let you through the barrier to get to the snow (bar-code scanner) and they seem to be used to let you up the ski-lift as well (saw people going through a barrier using theirs) which could be fun if you end up falling over lots and getting a soggy ticket.

The SnowPlay area is quite big with big plastic penguins and polar bears (no-one really seems to appreciate the geographical seperation of these two species) to slide around on, as well as some of the tubes which are fab! I spent quite alot of time dragging my son around behind me are great speed (tiring) and he thought it was fantastic!

The snow is very fine and powdery so no chance of making snowmen (maybe I should be saying "snowpeople" or "snowwomen"?) or snowballs but still good fun to run around in and it's VERY slippy and slidey. Not really that cold in there either, claims -1.46 on the display over the ski slope, but after running around a bit you do get quite warm.

It cost £11 for 1hr of playing in the snow - it's £1/30mins for adult and £4.90 for kids - so I guess you could save a little by having one adult mind a few kids. 30mins isn't really enough and my son would have carried on a little after 1hr but I think that is the right amount of time.

Anyway, it was a really fun day out and, yes, we did quickly pop into the Trafford Centre to have a look around and buy some socks for my son 'cos he got his feet soaked playing in the snow (yes, wellies would probably have been better).

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Hormones ... the story so far

Just a quick update because I had promised to keep everyone up-to-date on how the hormones and other treatments (well not on anything else yet) are going.

I've been on the patches now for just over a month and I can't say I've noticed anything at all, good or bad. My skin might be a tiny bit softer but that could just be because I'm using more hand/face cream due to the cold weather.

There is no obvious development in the chest area, though that is to be expected as it takes a while for anything to happen there.

I've not noticed any extreme emotional changes at all, nor any bad side-affects.

In fact nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero, etc.

There could be many reasons for all of this:
1) It does take a while for the hormone levels to adjust so I might not be there yet
2) I might be there but am lucky to have no bad affects and the good ones are just taking their time
3) My levels might have not shifted at all in which case I'll need more hormones and/or anti-androgens

I'm not really going to find out until my check-up which I've booked for the 20th February. Just before then I need to get my bloods done to find out what my levels are so that Dr Curtis can adjust my medication appropriately.

Back from ... the abyss?

Well, it's been a long time since I posted anything and quite a few people have remarked that they've missed my regular installments of garbage. So to them I can only say that I am really touched and suspect that you must also be if you miss all this gibberish!

So first, an explanation of the title since this is the 'bad' bit of the post: I don't like holidays, I get bored, I get introspective and obessed, depressed, and reclusive if I don't have things to do to keep my mind occupied and not worrying about stuff. And I don't like feeling like that and it can take a bit to get me out of that hole (abyss may be an exaggeration).

Anyway, thankfully, I have some fab friends and had some great times over Christmas and New Year and these helped keep me relatively sane and pulled me through a bit of a low point. Enough of that now, onto the fun stuff:

Well first off Christmas and Boxing day were spent with Lucy and her family which was just fantastic! Her folks were fabulous and I had a great time!Boxing Day included shopping in the sales which was good fun and resulted in a few bargains (which my credit card really couldn't cope with but, well, it was Christmas!)

I saw my son on Boxing Day also which was FAB! He had had a good Christmas Day, Santa had been very nice to him, and we had a nice relaxing day just chilling out and playing with Christmas presents.

The days between my son leaving and New Years I think we'll skip for the reasons already mentioned.

So, New Years Eve. I have to say I had been looking forward to this for a very long time and I was not disappointed in the slightest it was one of the best nights I have ever had ... in fact I guess in some ways I was quite sad when it was over and desperately want to repeat the experience ASAP!

We started by meeting up the the Ibis on Charles Street, affectionately known as Tranny Towers. I'd booked a room ages ago having decided that I should make an effort with New Year and not just moan after the fact that I didn't do anything fun! Anyway, things snow-balled a little and first Lucy said she would come along and then Selena ... "Three in the bed and the little one said ... 'the room is still spinning!' " or something like that.

Started on the Red Wine when we got to the room (my fault!) and then wandered over to meet up with Kate, Jilly and friends who had booked a meal at the Villagio on Canal Street. The food was great, the company was FAB, and there was plenty of drink!
This was me and Kate in Taurus which is where we all staggered to after the meal ... think I was still relatively sober at this point but it went rapidly downhill in terms of sobriety after that! There is a good picture that someone took of me and the others pointing drunkenly at the sky, I think at the little tea-light-powered hot air balloon, which illustrates the state I'd got into towards the end of the night!

Lucy and Selana looked fab and they had a good night and were a great help in getting me into McTuckys for some much needed alcohol-soaking-up food and also then back to the hotel without me falling over!

The morning-after-the-night-before was, as expected somewhat difficult given the excessive drinking but was helped greatly by Lucy cooking tea for the three of us! Sadly Selena and Lucy had to travel back down south after that so I took refuge in the Trafford Centre to have a look for a present for Kim, wander aimlessly around the sales, and also meet up with my friend Rob for a meal and a chat.

Which brings me to the 2nd party in so many days: Kim's birthday party on the Saturday night. Another FAB time! Kim had invited some of her friends out for a quick drink followed by a nice meal in a Thai restaurant just above the pub in which we all met up - very handy staggering distance!

This was me with another, and much better looking, Fiona, one of Kim's friends and then, below, the birthday girl herself with Sarah.
A good night was had by all and copious quantities of alcohol were consumed!

So, that was my Christmas and New Year, there it was gone! I have to say that I did spend the time before going back to work desperately missing my time in Manchester and my friends - really must make an effort to get out as much as is humanly possible! Think I've decided I like city life afterall!

Anyway, to all my friends: Thanks for making Christmas and New Year such a fun time, you are all amazing and a love you to bits!