Jen Lavery: Reasons to be cheerful on ‘depressing day’

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As the country struggles through “Blue Monday” – the most depressing day of the year – Jen Lavery provides 20 reasons to turn that frown upside down and start the week on a positive note

1: No Apocalypse

Hear that? Yes, that’s the sound of no one predicting the complete annihilation of life on Earth this year. After the endless doom-mongering of 2012 it’s refreshing to look forward to a year in which the fate of the world appears secure.

2: Get celebrity treatment

With some of the biggest stars in the golfing world gathering in Muirfield this July to compete in the British Open, you could be mistaken for a celebrity simply by wearing garish clothing and getting someone carrying a large, heavy bag to follow you about.

3: There are 338 shopping days until Christmas

Love it or hate it, there’s a reason to be thankful for the festive season being so far off, whether it’s the amount of time left to hit the shops or just the long months until the reappearance of Christmas jingles.

4: Summer’s on the way

It’s been a frosty start to the year, but let’s be honest, we’ve had worse winters. And every cloud has a silver lining – if you believe the old wives’ tale, the colder the winter, the warmer the summer.

5: January sales are still on

And with all the signs pointing to retail sales still being in a bit of a slump, you can expect even bigger cuts in prices. Who doesn’t need an ice cream maker that doubles as a kitchen-based paperweight?

6: Superstar cafes

Edinburgh has more Michelin star restaurants – five – than any other UK city. And Glasgow has none! But since haute cuisine can be quite pricey, why not head along to the Haven cafe, in Anchorfield, Newhaven, which may not be serving the delicacies generally dined on by the super-rich, but has shot to the top of the Trip Advisor charts, outstripping Michelin-starred restaurants such as Castle Terrace, Number One, Martin Wishart, Kitchin and 21212.

7: Edinburgh’s the place to be

A host of recent surveys have proven beyond a doubt that as well as being one of the best places in Britain to live, the Capital is one of the most fancied tourist destinations, thanks to its stunning scenery, fascinating history and a huge range of top venues and events. So get out there and enjoy it.

8: Freebies

Time are tight, but that’s no reason to worry in Edinburgh, where’s there’s plenty to enjoy for nothing, including the recently opened Vikings exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland and weekly events at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the National Galleries of Scotland. Check websites for details of dates.

9: St Valentine’s Day

Whatever your romantic status there’s reason to rejoice. In a couple? Be all smug and in love. Not in a couple? Be all smug about the fact you’re not having to shell out loads of cash for a fake holiday invented to sell flowers and chocolates.

10: Giant pandas

Tired of hearing about the economy? Don’t panic – the 
start of the giant panda 
mating season is just weeks away, and the wall-to-wall “will they or won’t they” coverage of the romantic encounters of 
Tian Tian and Yang Guang is going to push the economic crisis way down the news agenda.

11: Our Gordon’s in charge

Gordon Strachan is the new Scotland boss. So even 
though the results of games 
may not improve, the post-match interviews are likely 
to be a damn sight more entertaining.

12: It’s slightly more likely to be you...

The price of lottery tickets may be going up to £2, but this means more prizes of a higher value and fewer people entering, which adds up to a statistical increase in your chance of winning.

13: Gourmet burgers

Recent revelations about the content of certain burgers may be causing supermarket customers to “just say neigh” but you can still get an excellent nag-free burger at one of the Capital’s excellent gourmet burger joints.

14: Doughnuts

The cornerstone of nutrition for imaginary cops in American TV shows is finally arriving in the Capital as Krispy Kreme opens in Edinburgh on February 13. Good news for tastebuds, less so for waistlines.

15: The trams are almost finished (sort of)

They’ve been a long, long time coming, but with work back on schedule and one tram even moving recently, the end is in sight. So not only will the annoyance of the building works be over, the annoyance of people complaining about the annoyance of the building works will also end.

16: It’s National Hug Day!

Established in America in 1986, the huggy holiday has spread to many countries including the UK and also inspired the “Free Hugs” movement.

17: We don’t live in Sydney

Not an obvious one, granted, but the big city in the land Down Under is suffering record temperatures of 48C. Scottish thermometers don’t even go that high, and most of us would probably explode like startled vampires if exposed to such temperatures.

18: Star-spotting

You couldn’t move in the city last year without bumping into glittering household names. Scarlett Johansson, Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Halle Berry, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and even David Hasselhoff visited the Capital, and insiders in the city’s movie scene have hinted that this year is likely to see even more blockbuster names on the cobbled streets of the Capital. Autograph books at the ready.

19: Magic beans for peanuts

Until February 18, Starbucks are offering their customers a latte for just £1.50 before 11am every Monday. If you prefer to support independent coffee makers, Edinburgh has a fantastic selection, including Artisan Roast on Broughton Street, recently voted the UK’s best.

20: If you’re reading this, Blue Monday is already halfway over

We’re past the midway point and edging towards the finish line of what is said to be the most depressing day of the year. The only way is up, people!