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This year was the first year that I spent the holiday season solo.

I had family around but after my brothers wedding and all the stress around a big family event, I just needed some time out.

So while my brother was abroad with the new Mrs. I stayed at their flat in London and spent a week solo. Time to myself.

It was a week of nostalgia for me. I used to live in London and the Christmas vibes in London were something special. It was also a week of mixed feelings as some of my old favourites had changed, while others were better than ever.

The Oxford Street lights used to be a highlight. This year I was a little underwhelmed. There are amazing light displays all over the local shopping centres and high streets, so Oxford Street seemed a little basic in comparison.

The Carnaby Street lights were so beautiful that they really made up for the lacklustre Oxford Street lights.

Then there was that amazing centrepiece in Liberty. Easily the second most snapped London landmark on Instagram this Christmas – the Winter Wonderland arches being the most seen on the gram (obvs).

One thing I miss most about living in London is the nightlife, especially the gigs and theatres. I didn’t manage to catch any gigs while I was in London but I did take a solo trip to the theatre.

I hit Groupon and scored a bargain ticket to The Mousetrap at the St Martin’s Theatre. Yes, it’s shocking. London’s longest running West End show and in my years living in London I have only just seen it. Can’t say much about it, as it’s a murder mystery and I’m sworn to secrecy.

After a few days solo, my children joined me for the rest of the stay. We took a trip to Winter Wonderland (of course) and had a really nice time, just the three of us.

All in all, staying in London solo for a few days before my children joined me was a really great way to reset myself and be comfortable with my own company. The few days with my children gave us a chance to reconnect and spend time with each other at a slow, chilled pace without having a busy schedule to keep up.

It’s these times spent together that my children remember most, and so having a relaxed mum to spend it with becomes even more important. Self care is definitely the way to go for 2020.