I have returned from a break across the pond and feel really refreshed and ready for what the new year has to offer. What keeps me going is planning ahead and making sure that I have plenty to look forward to. I am the sort of person who thrives on live experiences. So, as well as seeing the likes of Paloma Faith and The Killers in the coming months, I have also booked plenty of theatre trips to keep the Jan blues at bay. Here's some of the things I am looking forward to in the year ahead.

Sheffield Crucible and Lyceum
Sheffield is one of my favourite places in the UK. Not only is it a green and beautiful place to stay, but it also has some great productions via the brilliant Crucible Theatre and the gorgeous Lyceum. First up is My Fair Lady which has had rave reviews and stars the enigmatic Dominic West. Following that one is a new play called Bull in the studio space. The life of Tina Turner is explored in Soul Sister in March and this is followed by another visit in the Summer when I get to see a new production by Tim Firth called This is My Family.

West End
Feb is a great month as it's my birthday which means a trip to the West End. I'm avoiding the likes of Viva Forever and musicals based on recent movies in favour of something a bit more old school. First up is Singin in the Rain which is something I have wanted to see for a while. This is followed by Merrily We Roll Along and promises to be a great double bill. In May - it's two plays - Peter and Alice (with Dame Judi Dench) and Relatively Speaking (with Felicity Kendall). The Summer brings on Willy Wonka and Kim Catrall in Sweet Bird of Youth and hopefully The Book of Mormon.

Liverpool
If there is time, I hope to catch The Kite Runner at the Liverpool Playhouse as this play looks wonderful and I adore this venue.

Beyond that I hope to see Sheila Hancock and Lee Evans in Barking in Essex. So, if you like me - have the Jan blues, banish them with some visits to the theatre. With One Man, Two Guvnors, The Full Monty, Hairspray, Of Mice and Men, The Accrington Pals, Abigail's Party, Phantom and The Mousetrap all headed this way - you don't have to go too far.