LAURA CARTLEDGE: Record-breaking, birthdays, stolen socks – it must be new year...

EAT this, open that – this time of year is always a whirlwind of wrapping paper and stolen marzipan.

But for 2014, I’m really doing it in style; it took me half a day this week to realise I’d come to work in ‘World’s Best Dad’ socks.

I’m not by the way – things haven’t changed that much - but I think it says quite a lot.

Speaking of things being a little off (and I don’t mean the forgotten brandy cream camping out at the back of the fridge) have you got used to writing the new date yet?

I think it is a bit like a new pair of shoes – it needs wearing in a bit until it feels comfortable. Until then, chances are you’ll need to perfect turning a three into a four – which is no easy task. I’ve tried.

Where was I? Oh yes. Here. Which kind of sums it up.

I landed back in the country on Sunday, having spent the last two weeks in Dubai. As you do.

It was the first Christmas away from home and taught me a lot, like that factor 50 is not very festive.

New Year was spectacular. Record-breaking in fact. We spent it on the beach – Burj Al Arab (the world’s only seven-star hotel) to the left of us and Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building) to the right, but then all too soon it was back with a bump... or should that be splash?

The fading henna tattoo on my arm the only sign I’d been away.

My body clock running four hours fast makes mornings brilliant, but evenings a drag.

Especially when there are trees to take down, the stocking from Santa to open – which was delivered to the safe haven of my wardrobe a nice surprise when I unpacked – as well as having to get older!

Yes, yesterday was my birthday and I tipped to the ‘other’ side of my 20s; I have a feeling it is going to be quite a year.