IF you could give your teenage self some life advice, what would it be?

Looking ahead to 2020, we find ourselves reflecting on the past too. A new decade seems a significant milestone in various life stages. For me, 1980 was a big deal because it was the decade when I would become a teenager; everything was new and exciting, not least discovering music. One of the first records I bought was the 1981 Toyah EP and I was mesmerised by the weird beauty and mystery of the picture sleeve.

If I met the 13-year-old me now, I’d perhaps hold back from saying that she will reach an age when she isn’t really mesmerised by anything anymore, which makes her sad. I would, however, tell her that in years to come she’ll still have her Toyah records - and that one day she will interview actual Toyah.

So, as I face this new decade, what advice would I give my teenage self?

* Get yourself a better Saturday job, one that pays more than a measly £1 an hour. And don’t fritter your wages on Eighties singles - you’ll have nothing to play them on in the future. While we’re on the subject of money, start saving in your twenties, even though you’ll be earning peanuts as a rookie reporter. Not saving money will become one of your biggest regrets.

And if you must get a credit card, (which by the way doesn’t make you sophisticated) don’t use it to fund a trip to New Zealand, then spend years paying it off. On second thoughts, do - it will be fantastic and you’ll always remember it, especially the paragliding.

* Don’t use sunbeds. Having a tan is cool in the 80s, but sunbeds will haunt you in years to come, in the shape of sinister moles you foolishly ignore. You’re never going to look like one of the models in a Duran Duran video, or marry Simon Le Bon, so forget the tan and embrace being unfashionably pale. In fact, stay out of the sun as much as possible, otherwise one day on an Algarve beach, when you’re in your 30s and should know better, you’ll end up in agony, your face so sunburnt you can’t move it, and people will visibly flinch on the ‘plane home.

* Don’t have a perm. Once you start, aged 15, you will spend the next few years trapped in a hellish cycle of bubble perms that will only end when a hairdresser refuses to apply perming lotion to your hair anymore, because it’s turning to straw. Instead he will cut off the dying curls, leaving you with an unflattering short bob. Eighties perms never end well.

* Learn to ice skate. It just looks fun, and there’ll come a time when you’re too scared to do it.

* When your dad really wants you to go on that camping trip to France don’t decide that at 17 you’re too old to go away with your parents. He knows the days of family holidays are numbered so don’t be stubborn, because deep down you know it’s breaking his heart a little. One day you will give anything to have that holiday.

* Don’t spend months pining over that boy at university who will dump you in the summer of 1988. He’ll end up with a ridiculous ponytail, and you will wonder why you ever fell for him. Do however, pay more attention to the funny Irishman you meet a few years later, or he will be the one who got away.

* Spend more time with your mum, and don’t take her for granted. You will lose her to dementia when you’ve barely turned 30.

* Don’t make yourself sick with worry about maths. You’ll go through life never being able to work out percentages, but it won’t matter.

* Finally, cut yourself some slack. Learn to love the teenage you. She’ll be gone before you know it.

* I'VE never been as fond of TV's Gavin and Stacey as everyone else seems to be. It's quite sweet, but I felt it was already running out of steam before it ended a decade ago. The fact that the one-off return pulled in the highest Christmas Day ratings in years - and looks set to be the most watched show of 2019 - probably says more about the hype than the programme itself. But it's well lush, as Stacey might say, that as terrestrial audiences decline, viewers still gather round for a must-see show.

Anyone else predicting an Only Fools and Horses revival for Christmas 2020?

* MY recent column about Christmas cards struck a chord with a reader who sent me a lovely letter (inside a Christmas card).

Cards are particularly important to her and to her husband, who has dementia. She writes: "The wonderful recall that springs to life when a name on a card wakens precious memories of old friends is a gift beyond measure, and I felt so deprived when people began to say they weren't going to send cards in future."

Sending Christmas cards is a simple gesture that means a lot to many people. My heart sinks a little when people say they're not bothering with cards. Give to charity by all means - but don't pretend you're making a donation, or doing a fundraising stunt, instead of writing cards. You can do both, you know.