There is absolutely no reason for this post, except to round off the year and satisfy my love of lists -- I was a fan well before the term 'click bait' was ever thought of...
1. Top retailer
I'm afraid it has to be Amazon. I don't want it to be, I've heard all the dark stories about how they run their business, but they just do everything right. I still go to the high street for the regular weekly shopping. But I hate having to hunt for things, so my online shopping habit began ten years ago when I got sick of spending hours scouring the shops for the correct printer ink cartridges. As soon as I discovered I could buy replacements with a couple of online clicks, I was hooked, and it went on from there, but I soon saw the downside, every retailer wants you to set up an account, even if you are never likely to return, so that's another password to remember and another set of spam emails in your inbox, whether you opt out or not. But with Amazon, it's just one account, and this year I was able to get most of my Christmas shopping done in one afternoon in late November from the comfort of my kitchen table.
2. Top radio show
It's called Live Drive, it's on community station Dublin City FM and it's basically a traffic show. It has an eclectic playlist interspersed with real time traffic reports, and somehow, despite the often appalling hold ups, this show has a calming influence. So much so that I often listen in even when I'm not in the car. Especially as it's a political and lobbyist free zone, which I often appreciate.
3. Top way to make sleep time better
Sleep has been an ongoing preoccupation ever since special needs entered my life 19 years ago, mainly because most aspects of the night shift are out of my control. But not my choice of clothes! I live in a cold old house remember so pyjamas are the order of the day. Normally bought from the high street, but recently there seems to be nothing nice aimed at anyone over 40. So I was thrilled to find this pair on Amazon: they're soft and warm and don't have bunny ears or 'funny' logos. I *may* be tempted to buy more...
4. Top new product to help Smiley
I'd often seen these neckerchiefs on children and adults with special needs, but never used them for Smiley because she doesn't really drool or anything like that. This year I realised that they might be the solution to a slightly different problem - the way she chews her clothes, especially when she is on the toilet, as she usually needs a fair few minutes on there to do her thing. Some cheap ones proved the idea would work, so Santa bought her a top quality adult one from Cheeky Chompers, and she loves it -- the smaller sizes are great for babies and small children too apparently.
5. Top film
It has to be Star Wars, The Force Awakens, even though it has the same plot as A New Hope. Three reasons why: An emotional reunion with Hans Solo (mine), a gorgeously mature Princess Leia, and feisty newcomer Rey.
6. Top food
And I still don't have the recipe!
7. Top book
With an honourable mention for the unforgettable first novel by my friend Paul WS Bowler (still free on amazon as I write this), my favourite read of the year is the award-winning Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which is another dystopian future type novel. But a very good one. Recommended by Liveotherwise, who always has great suggestions for books.
8. Top social media
This was the year where I fell in love with Instagram, partly because few people seem to use Facebook to connect any more, ditto Twitter (though I still love them both) but through Instagram I know what my friends are up to and am in contact with bloggers who rarely write any more, but I love keeping up with their lives.
9. Top discovery of the year
The gym. Which is a huge surprise to me too, but I am definitely hooked. Lots of reasons: as well as an easy way to get fitter and slimmer, it's a taste of the life I had planned and a total escape from the life that I lead. Even its location is great, it's a trendy area with beautiful period houses and a quirky selection of shops and lots of side streets to explore as well as one of the cake cafes that I want to visit with Smiley. It's a part of Dublin that I fell in love with while house-hunting in the early 1990s and it's wonderful to be returning there now.
10. Best song of 2015
I didn't think that 2015 was a great year for music, not my kind of music anyway, and it wasn't until early December that I heard a song that made me sit up and take notice.
What were your highlights of the year?