Well today is New Year’s Eve and for many this is a day of change. I recently have treated my birthday as a new year, a new start. Therefore 31st December is a sort of refocusing point for me in terms of goals. More importantly, I use it as a great opportunity to take stock and to stay goodbye to a year and reflect on what was good and what could do better.
I will start with some of my highlights of 2017, I am going to break down then into Travel, Lifestyle and Miscellaneous.
I was very lucky to go a fair few trips this year, and all were experiences that I am truly grateful and thankful for happening and will form life long memories.
January – Thailand. I visited both Phuket and Bangkok, was the second half of an epic holiday, which started in Hong Kong in Dec ’16. Was in Patong Beach for New Years with two close friends and have to say was one of the best I have ever had, filled with a gala dinner and then dancing on tables. Then a few days in Bangkok, embracing all the stunning temples, the floating market, food and more fun nights out. I let loose with friends, and loved exploring a whole new country and all the sights and smells. We were there shortly after the King’s death, so was a bit of a different vibe to normal. We did lots of crazy things and milder things, include a great Thai Cooking course in suburbs of Bangkok – highly recommend. I still look through the pictures (really got into travel photography on this trip) and am filled with joy. I could easily write a whole blog post on this adventure (If anyone is interested let me know in the comments and I will happily put it together)
April – New York City. I went with my sister and her family for a very short 4 nights, was all a little last minute that I decided to join. Stayed in a stunning Airbnb in Greenwich Village which I feel in love with even more over those 5 days. We were very lucky was the perfect spring weather, even had the cherry blossom season in central park, as we did a wonderful leisurely Sunday stroll through the park. The trip was filled with family time, so we went to did some great sightseeing (My mother is from NY so have been a fair few times, but not for years and was my 5 year nephew’s first time) Top of the Rock, Statue of Liberty – best way of experiencing these places are through someone who has never seen them before. I was also able to get some me time to get lost in the Met and a hefty amount of shopping. My sister and I went for dinner at the No. 1 restaurant in the world – 11 Madison Avenue. Wow what a meal and wine flight – not cheap but well worth it (even was the second to last meat I have eaten all year), they custom the meal to you so had great bread, different types of vegetable dishes, a few signature dishes, a custom cocktail, a baked alaska, eggs Benedict in a tin and even had granola (the worlds best for certain) to go home with. To die for. This trip was store but sweet and reminded me how much I love this city.
May – Marrakech. A trip for a friend’s birthday. I have already write up a bit about this trip, as I was able to complete a few of my bucket list items include riding a camel. You can read my review of that trip here.
July – Florence, Italy. Again a bit of a last minute deal to go to Florence for a girls trip with two friends from Uni. I need to start of it is a stunning city, and again flamed my love for travel photography. There is interesting historic architecture around each corner, you could spend days in the galleries and museums. Also did a quite day trip to Pisa to see the tower. Was only 3 nights and there is so much to do in Florence itself, but also the surrounding area, I know that I will be back for certain
August – Marseille, France. I went away with my parents for my Mom’s birthday. They both didn’t want to fly anywhere so decide to go on the Eurostar to seaside town of Marseille. We were there for a week, which is too long unless you are going to travel around. But great to be by the sea, and explore the wine and cathedral. I will say this was first time when travelling as someone on a plant-based diet was hard, not helped that I had a terrible cold for most of the trip so was sick in bed (did get some good netflix binging in though). A major highlight was being on the trip back with the Archbishop of Canterbury and seeing the immigrations officer’s reaction.
This year, definitely highlights that I like to travel to all different places and just explore whether it be culture, architecture, people, scenery or just experiences. I have the travel bug and it is bad. Here is to more opportunities to explore new places in 2018.
This was year of ups and downs in terms of my lifestyle with some key major positive changes.
Vegetarian and ultimately Plant Based eating. I have never eaten that much meat, and over 2016 was definitely seeing it diminish. However, in March ’17 I was on Netflix and watched a series of documentaries from Forks over Knives, Cowspiracy, GMO OMG, Sustainable, What the Health and Live and Let Live to name just a few. As I kept watching them over the weeks, I started as vegetarian still have a bit of cheese and eventually a predominately plant-based diet (still have honey for example). I have to stay it was a very hard choice, as most food have something in it contrary to my diet and cheese was hard (mainly due to pizza) but watch more documentaries and that was it, all dairy and eggs were gone. I have to say that my WHY was three fold, first to feel better – cleaner skin, more energy (that one took a while) and healthy living, second to help the planet and fight with my dollars agains some bad big corporate practices and also to show more empathy to animals and how they are treated. I am still very much on a journey, but have not had any meat, dairy or eggs since June.
Meditation & Mindfulness. I wanted to increase my mental health, happiness and general spirit. This became especially key when I noticed that I was becoming additional stressed at work and in general life. I have over the year, started to learn more about mediation, don’t have it down by any means and not consistency yet (a goal for 2018). But my overall welcome and love of myself have increased over the year, where I do things that will bring me joy or reduce my stress and increase calm.
Random highlights of things that happened throughout the year.
Blog. On Thanksgiving this year, I started this blog. As part of the above mentioned mindfulness, I also looked at self care and self love and decided to stop standing in my own way and launched my blog. You can read my post on it here.
Make-up. As part of going plant-based I noticed that my skin was much better and I really fell more in love with make-up and beauty and I can pretty confidently say, that 75% of the time I finally figured out how to apply make-up.
This is a very brief view of some of the highlights of the year, there are lots of small things that happened, including being a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding, a friend getting engaged, lots of jokes shared with my family, my parents getting new cats. To nights out with friends whether it be Ronnie Scotts, Carols at the Ned, Movie nights or just a good glass of wine and giggles. Lots of interesting theatre productions, a graffiti tour of london, making my own gin, finding new plant-based food and a couple of really relaxing massages. You have to find gratitude and happiness in this small things and you will be more enriched.
Here is a snippet of the images of 2017.
Well goodbye 2017, you weren’t the worst but you definitely weren’t the best. It now that I take my reflections on the year past to see what I can learn to do more of next year and what to do less of next year.