Wednesday, 21 December 2016

LIFE: 2016 Round Up

WARNING: Loooong post - read with tea and plenty of biscuits!

It's safe to say my goals for 2016 were a flop. This year has been completely unpredictable and I've felt a lot like I'm floating through rather than having an actual path to guide me through the year. The only positive is the photo posted at the top of my 2016 was true. This year has made me braver and stronger.

2016 has been the Jekyll and Hyde of years. It's hard to know where to begin. 

The year had started off a little bit shaky, as I told you at my end of 2015 post and things well, things got a bit worse really. I'd found out something quite shocking and life changing back in November 2015 that I thought was just a blip but when March hit, that nightmare became reality, again, I wrote about it here.

I haven't hidden it. This year has been really rough for me but also, incredibly good.
I have had a number of wonderful trips again - for work and with H. I've moved into a beautiful cottage and am incredibly happy here. I have been so, so happy in so many ways. Which in itself has been confusing at times. This year, somebody who was previously incredibly important to me and possibly my best friend has left my life and at the beginning that hurt, but now I've found acceptance of this and am finding, life is actually much smoother and happier.

As I have been a bit sporadic in my blogging this year, I feel a little roundup month by month is in order.

We begun the new year in Sheffield after a night out at my all time fave The Great Gatsby. This month consisted of a lot of brunches, a trip to Lake Garda with work and a delicious meal at Bob Bob Ricard.

Always my busiest month, February was made up of a lot of work travel - Milan and New York. I had a couple of extra days in New York to explore the Highline, Chelsea Market and just chill out after a jam packed few weeks. I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour for the third time...and it never gets dull. I love it more and more with every visit.

Everything changed in March, it was a tough time. My parents separated and that was obviously a real blow after 25 years of me not knowing anything else. BUT March was also full of nice things. H and I had our first holiday away together to Barcelona and it was bloody lovely. We ate lots of tapas, saw the sights, drank lots of Moritz and had such a lovely time. Again, lots of nice food - I went to Coya for the first time and had the food that dreams are made of.

I always love April because it's my birth month. The weather always picks up abit, the beautiful Spring flowers are in bloom and people come out of that winter hibernation. H and I spent a long weekend in Harrogate for my birthday and went to the Baths, had two lovely brunches at Betty's and Farm Bistro (which I cannot recommend enough!) I also had a tasty meal at The Hopping Hare in Northampton - always a good shout for a bit of something different.

In May I had a lot of work visits around the country BUT more lovely food (sensing a pattern...). I had the best brunch I've EVER had at Friends of Ours in Hoxton and a wonderful weekend in Brighton for the Bank Holiday with brunch at Bill's and The New Club (which, although miles better than the first time I went, I still find a bit mediocre). We also went to the newly opened Franco Manca and I finally got to try 42 Juice. I also had the pleasure of being invited to try the fantastic menu at Ferguson's in Rugby but very disappointingly it has now closed due to sale of the building. Hate it when that happens!!

The weather was great in June and I had a lovely day out at the Foodies Festival in Birmingham at Cannon Hill Park. Infact, it was much hotter than anticipated that day which led to gins, crispy duck wraps and listening to the live music. I also had another visit to Lake Garda for work, this time with my dad popping along with me. From Garda we caught the train to Florence to meet H. H and I had a day at Pitti Uomo which is always loads of fun - seriously, seriously fashionable people there and I love seeing the next season ranges of both footwear and clothing. Florence was a really, really lovely trip and we were all sad when it was over. I had a beautiful meal at the Old Bridge Hotel in Huntingdon for a friends 70th birthday - definitely give the place a try if you are out that way or live nearby! I actually forgot how jam packed June was...I also had three days down at Clarks learning about the business and a night out at the Drapers Footwear Awards.

July started off with house hunting. My ex-housemate moved to Bristol so I was weighing up my options. Eventually, after a lot of searching I found a beautiful cottage and moved in at the end of July. July was also a sad month. We had sold and moved out of my childhood home. It was A LOT of work as only my dad and I were there to do the clearing, boxing and moving - which turned out better than expected as we managed to do more clearing out than we'd anticipated. I had a lovely afternoon with my dad and my grandparents for dad's birthday - another good day for the weather! July is also Tramlines month and a weekend away I try to not miss. We made our way to Sheffield and saw Craig Charles, Jurassic 5, Catfish and the Bottlemen, amongst others. Tramlines is always one of my favourite summer weekends as loads of the ex-Sheffield gang head back.

We begun August with a trip to London to the Luna Cinema and lunch at The Gardening Society on the roof of John Lewis. SUCH a nice day as, again, the weather was great. I had a great trip to Copenhagen for work, staying in an Air b&b with an amazing coffee shop called Wulff and Konstali underneath. Also had two fantastic meals at Almank and Llama. God, the food in Copenhagen is GOOD. From Copenhagen I didn't have much time at home before flying to Vegas for work. I had probably the best trip so far with a trip to Downtown, food at Carson Kitchen and a helicopter trip over the Grand Canyon. I must admit, I was really happy to get home though as I'd spent little to no time in my new house since moving in what with work trips and weekends/days away. We had planned to go away for Bank Holiday weekend but ended up staying local with a trip to Canons Ashby and a seriously relaxed weekend.

Another busy month with work. September means theMICAM in Milan which feels like an endurance test every time I'm there. 5 days of solidly being on my feet surrounded by footwear companies from all over the world. This time I went to Nobu...twice. I cannot recommend the food at the Milan Nobu enough. I also went back to my favourite breakfast spot, Vanilla Bakery. They are completely OTT with the portions of bacon and egg but that's exactly what you want after a week of pizza and pasta. After a week in Milan we had a trip to Leamington Food Festival, a nice day out in the Cotswolds at the Gin and Whisky Distillery and I also popped by for a morning at the London Fashion Week Showrooms. September also meant HOLIDAY YAAAY! We had a long weekend down in St Ives which was lovely. The weather was a bit hit or miss but we managed to have a day pottering about the town, a trip to St Micheal's Mount and a lovely walk at Godrevy Lighthouse. Also another amazing trip for food - we had breakfast and dinner at Porthmeor Beach Café, an amazing steak at Firehouse Bar & Grill...oh and we had a night in Bristol beforehand and stopped at Primrose Café for brunch before setting off to Cornwall.

October started with brunch - which is the way any month should begin. I had a trip to Liverpool to see some of my friends I lived with in Australia. It was a bit of a whistle stop trip but so so nice to catch up with everyone! I also made it up to Manchester to see my BFF, my sis and all around mega babe for a night out. We don't get to catch up that often but it's never any different when we do and that's what I love about our friendship. I had a few days in London with an American client and had a beautiful meal at Rules on Maiden Lane. I was invited to a Rum Cocktail Masterclass at Turtle Bay which was greeeat. Nothing I love more than a cocktail or two! We also had a really delicious meal there too (which I'm yet to blog about!)

I always love November - mostly because it means Bonfire Night and the beginning of Mulled Wine Season (yes, it's a thing in my eyes!!) We went to two really good firework displays this year, both local. We had a really lovely walk at Batsford Arboretum - the colours are beautiful this time of year. I was knocked out with a migraine for two weeks and had a horrible cough and cold towards the end, so I was a bit of a hermit really. I had two really fun weekends in London - one with H where we had brunch at Dishoom, drinks at Blixen, dinner at Honest Burger and a trip up to the Sky Garden (finally!) and another with the Girls which involved Christmas Markets, a bloody good night out in Clapham/Brixton and a lovely pub lunch with a group of our uni pals.

Ahhhhh Christmas! I love November/December just for the festive goings on. I started feeling festive just after Halloween so I was really happy when December arrived. The first weekend meant TREE DAY! I have a super duper big tree in my living room now. It was such a pain to pick. I've never really realised how difficult picking a Christmas tree is. But it was managed and it looks lovely, apart from its slight lean. But that gives it character. We had a lovely Christmassy couple of days in beautiful Bath, drinking lots of mulled wine and wandering the Christmas market. We also managed to get to Birmingham for the Christmas market (and more mulled wine). I headed up to Sheffield the weekend before Christmas to spend some time with Emily and see the others, again, more Christmas markets...this time in Manchester. The last few days leading up to Christmas basically meant working my socks off so everything is finalised for the AW17 show season to begin. Thankfully I'm organised and my Christmas shopping was complete around 2 weeks ago so no last minute rush - always nice! Christmas will be quite different this year but definitely in a good way. I've got a trip to the Cotswolds and a London trip planned with my dad between Christmas and New Year which will be fun. New Year will be spent in Sheffield for the second year running and I couldn't be happier. A friend of ours has a pub so we're heading there and to another friends event - Peddler. It happens every couple of months but they've put on a big end of year event.

I was going to pop in my 2017 goals here but figured you'd probably need a breather if you've made it this far! I know this is a bit of a whistle-stop round up but I have tried not to bore you too much with my ramblings!

It's been quite the year and, for the most part, it's been great. I will be glad for 2017 to arrive and to start afresh.

What's been your highlight of 2017?


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