1. Grow at least one thing to eat

Growing your food is cheap, healthy and above all, tasty.

Whether you have acres of garden or a one-bedroom flat, there are fab food things you can grow.

And when you’ve grown your own, it tastes incredible.


2. Watch Killing Eve

We’re not the type of couple who watch box sets but this BBC drama had us on the edge of our seats.

It’s still available on iPlayer (for readers in the UK), the soundtrack is epic and there’s a second season coming soon – whoopie!

3. Experience live music
(in a small venue)

There’s something wonderful about enjoying live music with others but this can be lost in a stadium or big hall – and the ticket price can be hit on your wallet, too.

However, there are loads of great small venues with some amazing artists who would love your support.

4. Be insured with honcho

I’ve watched this exciting business grow from a brilliant idea to the point where they will fully launch this year.

It’s the first truly innovative way to buy insurance since the launch of comparison websites. The big difference is their insurers ‘live bid’ against each other to win your business and they are genuinely on the side of the customer.

You can pre-register your interest here

5. Use an electric toothbrush

One of my most popular newsletters of 2018 featured an electric toothbrush (if you didn’t see it you can read it here).

I’m three months in, my teeth are sparkling and strangely my sensitivity has reduced, too.

I bought this one – it’s from the future.


6. Read – The Sound of Echoes by Eric Bernt

I’ve been looking forward to this book since reading his brilliant debut The Speed Of Sound last summer.

It’s not published until June but I’ve already preordered my copy and can’t wait to immerse myself in another Eric Bernt read.


7. Revisit somewhere from your childhood…

…and see it with new eyes.

My lovely wife, Christine, used to spend her summer holidays at Newbiggin-By-The-Sea. Last year we visited for a day.

We played in the rock pools, had fish and chips while walking on the seafront and recreated some lovely memories.

Listen to Harry Potter

Realising I was only one of six people on earth who hadn’t read Harry Potter, I decided to download the Philosopher’s Stone from Audible and give it a go.

The books are narrated by Stephen Fry (amazing), add your own unlimited imagination, time and scale they are ten times better than the films.

If you’re not an Audible member you can get a first free download here.

9. Write to someone using pen & paper

You could start with Christmas thank you cards.

There’s nothing quite like receiving a lovely handwritten note.

It fills the receiver with joy and really shows appreciation.

10. Treat yourself to a stay at Gleneagles or Ashford Castle

One is the ultimate Scottish escape. We didn’t get an opportunity to visit Gleneagles in 2018 but I can assure you we will in 2019.

The other is the jewel of Ireland, the stunning Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo.

Actually, it’s impossible to decide – do both.

11. Drive a brand new car

It’s no secret that one of our all-time favourite clients is Autorama.

For years, they have been famous for their amazing Vanarama leasing business.

Now they are taking the world of cars by storm with Motorama.

It’s never been easier to drive a brand-new car, hassle free, delivered to your door with amazing service.

Take a peep here www.motorama.com

12. Build with LEGO

Another recent discovery for the Heppell household is the joy of LEGO.

I’ve built a VW Camper Van (see pic), a Porsche 911 GT, I’m about to start a Bugatti with a working gearbox and… sorry about to become too geeky!

Just give it a go.

13. Visit Spanish City

Last summer, a Northern Icon was reopened.

The Spanish City in Whitley Bay has been restored to its former glory with a £10 million restoration.

It features the most amazing fish and chip restaurant under the iconic dome.

Must order mushy peas.



14. Look up

I love walking in great cities and I’m privileged, through my work, to visit many.

In a busy world, it’s great to stop, take a breath and look up.


15. Eat at St Vincent

If you should be near Newcastle, then I would recommend a visit to Terry Laybourne’s newest venture – St Vincent.

Amazing food, great drinks, excellent service.

16. Enjoy a subtitled film

One of the brilliant things about watching a foreign language movie is that you must actually watch the film.

No second screen, getting distracted or losing the plot. You have to immerse.

Two of my favourites are Cinema Paradiso and Life is Beautiful.

Get your hankies ready.

17. Spice up your skin with a tattoo

I won’t be doing this ….

but if I did, I would get inked with Matt Stopps. Check out his Instagram – he’s amazing!


The pic is of Matt’s work.

18. Lighten Up

Don’t take things too seriously.

Laugh at yourself, be a fun person, smile more, blame less, give the benefit of the doubt, be happy.

The pic here is of me getting the giggles (once again) while filming.

I spend hours doing my best to ‘hold it together Michael’ but at the end of the day, I’m just having too much fun!

You can see the video I was making here

19. Have Hope

It’s easy to believe the world is going down the pan. The media loves to report hate, disaster and what’s wrong with the world.

I believe the vast majority of people are good, kind and caring.

I live with hope in my heart, faith in my soul and belief in my mind.

Happy 2019

A bit about this list

This is the sixth year I’ve written my ‘things to do list’. It’s simply a mix of my ideas and thoughts of stuff I’ve enjoyed or found interesting.

I’m not paid to include any product or company but I put in loads of links and I do use my affiliate link on Amazon products plus a couple have been or are clients.

Some are local (but then I do like to promote the North East), some are friends, some I wouldn’t know if I bumped into them on the street.

And it takes me ages!

You won’t like them all and there are definitely some you’ll think I should have included. So…


What have I missed from the list?  What are your must do’s in 2019?  Where should readers go? What should we do? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Be Brilliant!




  1. January 7th 2019 by Rachel Singleton

    Some extras I plan to do….

    Walk down a beach barefoot and dip a toe or two in the sea!

    Smile at passers by and see how many smiles I can get back!

    Take time out each month to focus on my own wellbeing – go to a spa, take in a movie, visit the theatre, eat in a high-end restaurant.

  2. January 7th 2019 by Mark Ponomarenko

    A great list, however I feel 3 things are missing, all on my list this year to do better and more of;

    – Care for your surrounding, local or world wide by taking part in a community project, a litter pick, or just recycle more through your local council or save your local water by being. Or change to a LED lightbulbs. Meet people and share ideas and save money through these.

    – Expand your mind through creative means, make something or paint something, tackle some DIY, refresh a room. Don’t just pay someone to do it, do it yourself and enjoy it by making it fun. Be able to say “I did that”. It is great for the mind and in turn your health.

    – Random acts of Kindness, hold a door open, buy a stranger a coffee, say hello to a stranger, help someone local to you, clear snow off an elderly persons path. These feel good moments rub off onto others and can go a long way. Imagine if everyone did it all on the same day!

    Thanks and have an awesome year!

  3. January 7th 2019 by eneri

    don’t tell too many people about Newbiggin on sea!!! Seafield Caravan park for me along the road! List is fab, off to see if there is a lego tractor.

  4. January 7th 2019 by Mike Redshaw

    Love 18: the Bible tells us we are all made in the image of God. If so, as a person who enjoys laughing, being silly and looking for the next adventure, then I see God, not as judgemental, but as welcoming, friendly, silly and with us ‘cos He loved us.
    As Jesus said “I have come that you might have life in all its fullness”
    Enjoy 2019

  5. January 8th 2019 by Lorraine

    Love the list of suggestions, thank you (except the tattoo is definitely out!). I have also decided I must do something for the community, probably helping homeless people in our area and I’m going on litter picks.

  6. January 8th 2019 by Norman Beech

    Go to a big beach early in the morning or at the end of the day when things are quiet. Listen to the sound of the waves washing up the sand or shingle. Totally fantastic!

  7. January 11th 2019 by Sarah

    I saw this a few years ago on new years day and take time each year to reflect on it.
    Practical New Year’s resolutions:

    1) Stay positive. You can listen to the cynics and believe success is impossible, or believe all things are possible.
    2) Each day when you awake complete this statement: “My purpose is ____________.”
    3) Take a morning walk of gratitude. It creates a fertile mind for success. You can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time, and when you combine gratitude with physical exercise you give yourself a double-boost of positive energy and natural anti-depressants.
    4) Instead of being disappointed about where you are, think optimistically about where you’re going.
    5) Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college-kid with a maxed-out charge card!
    6) Believe that everything happens for a reason, and good things come from challenging experiences.
    7) Don’t waste energy on gossip…past issues…negative thoughts…and things you can’t control. Invest in the positive, present moment.
    8) Mentor someone and be mentored by someone.
    9) Live with the 3 E’s: Energy. Enthusiasm. Empathy.
    10) Remember there’s no substitute for hard work.
    11) Zoom-Focus: ask yourself, “What are the three most important things I need to do today?”
    12) Implement the “No complaining” rule. Complaining is like vomiting; afterwards you feel better but people around you feel sick!
    13) Read more books than you did last year.
    14) Get more rest. You can’t replace sleep with a double latte!
    15) Before bed complete these statements: “I’m thankful for____” “Today I accomplished____”
    16) Think of your mind like a garden. If you weed the negative and feed the positive for one day it doesn’t do much, but when you do it every day you create a magnificent garden.’

  8. January 16th 2019 by Margaret

    I have recovered from nervous breakdown over last several months but refused to run away rejoined my charity (trustee/director) restarted my support group for people with depression with the determination to change my one little space in the world and shine a light on the rest. Thanks to my brilliant influence Michael Heppel

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