2016 has been shite for the world in general hasn’t it, and I actually feel a little bit guilty for saying this but despite some pretty horrific worldwide issues, on a personal level I’ve had a bloody good year. If I can just get all sentimental for a brief moment I do think all the bad stuff makes you appreciate the good stuff even more and when I actually stop and think about everything I’ve done this year I absolutely can’t complain. Here’s my 16 highlights of 2016.
Scotland v England – Six Nations
While football has always been my favourite sport I do enjoy watching England rugby and especially the Six Nations. This year we got tickets to Scotland v England at Murrayfield, and tied it in to a weekend trip up to Edinburgh. Ideally I would have gone to Twickenham, but tickets were sold out quickly and Edinburgh is obviously a lot closer and easier to get to.
In February we made the road trip up there, under bleak grey skies which to be honest didn’t lift the whole weekend. In fact every time I go to Edinburgh it’s the same – does it ever get sunny? It didn’t spoil the trip at all though, we stayed in the Malmaison which is actually in Leith just ten minutes outside the centre. On the Saturday we made our way to Murrayfield where we saw England beat Scotland.
Beyonce and Adele Concerts
Two of my favourite singers and I’d always missed out on Beyonce tickets in the past so was so happy to get them for her Formation Tour this year. I even went to Sunderland to see her – somewhere I always said I wouldn’t go, but if anyone is going to get me there then it’s Beyonce. She was incredible, it was an amazing show and despite the horrendous transport to and from the stadium and three hour trek home it was 100% worth it.
Adele obviously was in huge demand this year, and between three of us I think we had phones, ipads and computers all refreshing in the ticket queue. I nabbed three tickets and went with Nige and Viv down to London in March to see her perform at the O2. A totally different type of show to Beyonce obviously, but absolutely incredible. Her voice is an absolute force and it’s better live than you could possibly imagine.
It was the 100th Anniversary of British Vogue this year, and there was an exhibition of all the covers at the National Portrait Gallery throughout Spring. I got a ticket for while I was down in London to see Adele so went along to browse the archives, and huge gallery of Vogue photography the past year. You couldn’t take photos inside (obviously I was livid) but I really enjoyed seeing all the fashion photos and cover starts like Kate Moss, Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Coco Chanel and the 100th cover featuring the Duchess of Cambridge.
There was a quote from the September 1939 issue that sticks in my mind – ‘Where there’s a will there’s a waist’. Sadly I don’t have much ‘will’.
Kieran had always wanted to go to Germany so in April we got the ferry over to Amsterdam and then the train to Cologne. It was so easy, and we spent three days there. I think both our favourite bit was the bierhaus, but the whole city was beautiful especially the old town.
I’d never been to a festival before this, and I’m really not the festival type but I did want to try it. Rather than dive in with something like Glastonbury we went to Parklife in Manchester – chosen because we could stay in a hotel not a tent! It rained NONE STOP from start to finish but I loved it and I’m really glad I went.
Vickie & Matt’s wedding
One of my best friends got married this year, the first one in our group of friends to tie the knot and her wedding day was a big highlight of the summer. She looked phenomenal, (the lass has had twins and looked like this), the day was beautiful and the evening do at Walton Manor was brilliant. They asked everyone to choose a song that would be played, so it was a huge mix and absolutely hilarious. Another highlight was our photo shoot in the stables hoying hay around. We’ve been friends for a very long time, some of us forever and I can’t wait to all be together for our annual Christmas meal this year.
James Bay at the Mouth of Tyne Festival
In the very small local town of Tynemouth James Bay headlined the Mouth of Tyne festival at the priory in June. I went with my mum, dad and sister on little picnic chairs and gin and tonic in a can. He was amazing, his voice was unreal and it was pretty cool to have someone like that headline such a small event. I took some periscope videos this one is my favourite.
A Spa Break at Rockliffe Hall
A spa experience I’d wanted to try for a long time since Nige & Viv first went a few years ago, and I basically used Kieran’s birthday as the excuse to do it. We had a really busy June including a festival so this was my excuse to relax and enjoy some luxury. The hotel was perhaps the best in Britain outside of London, and their numerous awards this year prove it. Read our full experience here, if you do one thing make sure it’s the Spa Garden
This was a last minute, budget (ish) trip for a long weekend away to Marbs, for the sole purpose of getting a bit of a tan before Mexico. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been but I knew Kieran would love it. We booked cheap flights through Ryanair, the times weren’t great but they were really cheap, and an Air BnB apartment which was very nice and very reasonable for the price. We ate by the sea in the port, enjoyed looking at all the fancy yachts, and had a very drunken day at the OC.
Swimming with Sea Turtles
I’ve not yet written many posts on Mexico, as when we got back it was my 30th straight after and those celebrations lasted about a month – I was so busy. I plan to write them all up and share my photos at the start of next year, it’s when I usually book my summer holiday so good inspiration to look back on. But when we booked Mexico one of the first things I discovered we could do very near to where we were staying was swim with sea turtles. It was the one thing I wanted to do and we did it one morning, without paying a fortune for a guide we just did it ourselves. You can read the full experience here – it was absolutely amazing and a big bucket list goal ticked off.
While I’m on about Mexico, the holiday overall was a very big highlight of the year, but especially a day we spent at Xel-ha. It’s basically a natural area of Tulum where there are cenotes, wildlife, snorkelling, cliff jumping, zip wires, the list goes on but you pay an all inclusive entry fee and we had the best day of our holiday. We came face to face with a barracuda which was actually pretty scary the thing looked brutal, but I had so much fun and it was absolutely stunning.
I really wasn’t upset or bothered about turning 30, I was totally fine about it. I looked at this year as one where I should just do everything I wanted to do. I was finally in a job I liked, and wanted to have a lot of fun. Everything I could afford to do I did, and I had a great time celebrating with my family in Newcastle and a day out in York with my friends. A trip to Paris from Kieran was the icing on the cake too. I said at the time that all in all I’ve drank too much, ate too much, bet too much (as well as a few cheeky wins), spent too much, hangovers have become 3 dayers and my tolerance of the general public is at an all time low but I’ve had an absolute blast.
Last year we had to cancel a trip to the Lake District in Autumn so I was pretty chuffed we managed to fit it in this year. We went for one night to Buttermere, and stayed in the Bridge Hotel. It was lovely to go stay in the middle of nowhere with only a pub and the view to enjoy.
For an incredible birthday surprise Kieran booked for us to go to Paris at the start of December. It is my all time favourite place and it was even more special at Christmas time. I can never get over how beautiful the whole city is, and there’s so much to see and do. It’s definitely in my top 3 weekends of 2016 if not top. While we were there we ate at Ralph Lauren’s restaurant ‘Ralph’s’, and did all of the usual sites. I’ve written a few posts so far but there’s plenty more to come!
Developing this blog was definitely my biggest challenge of the year. I was quite scared to share anything, and create a Facebook page for it, but like everything else in my 30th year I told myself to get over it and get on with it. I was over the moon to recently be up for a UK blog award, despite the competition being very severe I was just glad to be a part of it. Thanks to everyone who has supported me with anything to do with my blog, from letting me photo their cocktails, sharing posts, coming with me to events, listening to me harp on about it and to everyone who voted I really do appreciate it – I find out if I’m in the next stage next year.
I’ve also received a Liebster Award in the past week, which is basically an online award that bloggers pass on to each other. More coming on this soon. I find it completely mad that thousands of actual real people from all areas of the world are reading what I have to say every month, but I’m grateful for all the opportunities it’s starting to give me.
Christmas in the Toon
I’m so excited for Christmas this year, but also a bit sad as it’s the first one where my little nana Jessie isn’t going to be round the Christmas table. In fact its the first one with no grandparents round the Christmas table. She’s in a care home with dementia, as is my other nana and we are going to visit in the morning instead. I hate the idea of it but they’re amazing with her and she’s well looked after. Cheers to Jessie.
I do however feel like I’ve really embraced the Christmas spirit this year, any form of healthy eating went out the window as far back as September in preparation, and our trips to Paris and Edinburgh as well as a few visits I had to London really got me feeling Christmassy. I was pretty organised with my Christmas shopping, me and Kieran have got each other watches. Can’t wait to post it on Instagram with the caption ‘Christmas with this one, #luckygirl #boydonegood’…(obviously I’m joking, I just vommed a bit in my mouth at the thought).
Despite all the places I’ve been this year you can’t beat home at Christmas, and there’s no city in the entire world I would rather spend it in. I spent yesterday wrapping presents and watching Christmas films, I’m going out with my sister to partly celebrate her new job and move to the States for two years, and also for festive drinks with Kieran and his sister.
I can not wait to see PHEOBE CUTES (the dog) on Christmas day tomorrow at Kieran’s house, and to have all my family at ours next week. Our annual girls Christmas meal and cocktails I’ve no doubt will be a hoot, and a trip away for New Year. Let’s hope we’ve seen the last of the crap 2016 has thrown at the world and that we’re in for a much more positive 2017.
Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! xxx