Wow, it’s been a funny old year. All we hear in the news is how terrible it’s been, which in all fairness, it has, but I think when most of us look back at what’s happened, I’m sure we can say that it’s not been all bad.
As much as I feel I have been quite driven by anger and hurt over worldly issues over the last few months, on a more personal level, I’ve had quite an amazing year. The kind of year I never dreamed I would have. I’ve absolutely loved reading everyone’s round-up posts (and I want to read more so send me your links!) Even though they’ve been from bloggers I have followed all year, seeing everything condensed into one post, well it’s really something. I feel like the year has flown but at the same time I can’t actually get over how much has happened!?!?
So, I’m jumping on the blogging bandwagon and I’m going to take a few moments today to look back at my highlights:
Best Travel moments:
I hate choosing these, because I absolutely love them all!! Until I started looking back, I didn’t realise just how much we actually did over the year. We started off with a big trip to the Middle East with Mo’s family, where we spent time in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and then finished off with a spiritual trip to Saudi Arabia – which was absolutely amazing.
A few weeks later and I headed off for a weekend in Rotterdam with my Fantastic Four, which surprised us all and this city definitely captured our hearts. We originally only went for the Pal Mundo festival but managed to cram in a heck of a lot of sight seeing in the short time we were there and realised that Rotterdam is an exceptionally cool place.
In September, Mo and I decided to tick off micro-adventure on my 2016 to do list, and we flew to Spain, hired a car and spent 10 days exploring the South. It was fantastic and so different to our normal holiday agendas, we planned very little (which was evident when we couldn’t get in to certain attractions!) but we loved having the freedom to take each day as it comes (took a bit of getting used to but it was worth it).
Copenhagen and Stockholm (for Eurovision weekend!) were the other two city breaks we managed to cram in. Hopefully try and fit in a few more budget weekends next year (Denmark and Sweden aren’t the cheapest of places to visit).
Looking back I’ve realised I haven’t even finished blogging about half of these trips yet, I’ll have to play catch up and tell share some of my tales in the new year.
Best Food experiences:
So even though I travelled more than I thought I had, 2016 was definitely my year of food. I can’t think of anything I like more than trying out new dishes and discovering new flavour combinations and I definitely expanded my palate over the last 12 months.
Some of my greatest meals have been right here in Manchester, I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to many an opening and sample night and I’m so proud that our Northern city has really pulled out all the stops when it comes to the food scene.
Best food discovery? I know it’s not really a discovery, but considering I don’t have much of sweet tooth, my love for poffertjes ever since our trip to Rotterdam has been ignited. I literally can’t get enough of those things.
Best food experience? Now that is tough. In April, I was amongst 12 winners to spend an evening at the School of Wok with the Macau tourist board. It was hosted by Jeremy Pang, founder of the school and the legendary Jonathon Phang, and it was such a lovely evening of cooking, eating and general merriment. That same trip I also had the pleasure of having Aldo Zilli join me for breakfast the next day. It was so nice to spend time with these two chefs that I’ve watched on various TV shows and listen to their stories and tales of working in the industry.
Celebrations, challenges and life lessons:
Oh, I’ve had plenty of these. I feel like it’s been an absolute emotional rollercoaster; from Brexit, to Trump, to war zones and the refugee crisis. It’s been a tough old year. I learnt that I’m not as organised as I thought I was and that sometimes you just need to take time to chill out.
Award ceremonies, weddings, launch nights, brief TV appearances, lots of dinners with friends, family… plenty of merriment! And it was a year where Mo and I found ourselves surrounded by people who were going through some seriously tough personal times. It made our friendships and love for each other tighter and made Mo and I grateful for having such wonderfully strong friends.
You know the best thing to come out of 2016? Amidst all the chaos, the drama, the headlines, the reviews and trips… I think this is actually the year I discovered who I am. For the first time in forever (I think that’s a Disney song line but I’ll roll with it) I feel like I know EXACTLY what I want to get out of my life. And what’s even more fantastic is for the first time in forever I think my Mo does too.
And none of that would have been at all possible without my family, my friends but I’m afraid most importantly… my BLOG!!!!
So, massive thanks to the world wide tinterweb for giving me a space to say what I want to say, to offload all my stories, learn lots of new and exciting computer skills.
Hope you all have a fantastic last day of 2016, and can’t wait to get cracking with the New Year 🙂
** Still time to send me over any ‘this time next year’ resolutions if anyone was still thinking of joining in! **
How’s 2016 treated you? Anyone sad to see it end?