Finally we have solved how to get a hot chocolate from one of the big name coffee places doing their festive specials after I had yet another one which was lukewarm at best. Who wants a cold hot chocolate? ‘Ah, this is how you do it,’ said a helpful person on Facebook. ‘You need to order it extra hot’. So we did – and guess what, it worked. You would think the ‘hot’ in hot chocolate would be standard, but apparently not. So save yourself a grumble that you’ve paid a ridiculous amount of cash for something you are going to tip out because it's substandard… order your hot chocolates ‘extra hot’ and all will be well with the world.

I was so sorry to hear about the passing of ex-mayor Brian Mathers. He was a truly lovely man and his wife Mary was a darling and I know she will be in a lot of pain. It’s really true that Christmas seems to amplify everything that is going on around you. If you are in love and happy, you throw yourself into the season with bells and whistles sounding.

If you are sad, suffering, grieving, then you are at odds with the jollity around you and a single note from a brass band has the power to pierce you in the far-from-sweet spot. I was quite proud of myself walking around Meadowhall, managing, until I got a notification on my phone about a two pound refund to my account – for my mum’s one and only premium bond that she bought when god’s dog was a pup. I had to go and have a coffee in a quiet corner. It’s always the small things. Lots of love, Mary. If you’re reading this, I’m sending you my biggest hug.

It was very sad to read in last week’s Chron that two-thirds of women attended their breast screening appointments last year. For women between 50 and 71, these screenings are every three years and ladies, you have to go. No one likes them, they aren’t the ideal of a fun day out, but they are essential. And I know why women avoid them, because many are scared to get a result that says ‘we need to see you’. In a week where a friend of mine has just had one of those, she is in the position of it being spotted early and that gives her the best chance of coming through it.

I have a few pals who have had a diagnosis, done what needed to be done and are now living cancer free but they wouldn’t have been if they’d buried their heads in the sand. I truly believe after recent experiences, the NHS is completely broken in many parts, more on that one at another time, but let it do its best for you where it’s working well. Don’t skip the appointment. Chances are, you’ll get the all-clear and can get on with life.

It just leaves me now to say Merry Christmas to you all. Don’t compare Christmases past with this one, or speculate what the next one will hold. Just enjoy the present one, because it is a ‘present’ – the here and the now is a gift to be savoured and all we are really certain of so enjoy living in the moment. Raise a toast to your absent friends and missed loved ones. If you can feel them there in your heart, then they’re with you. Merry Christmas x