Okay where the hell has 2015 gone?!? I feel like I’ve blinked and missed half of it…I do have sleeping beauty tendencies so maybe that’s what has happened! So Where Did the Wind Blow Me in 2015 and I’ve added a few other reflections from the year…let’s go for a quick ride back in time.
Emma and I took off to Bath for a romantic weekend…be warned she does steal the covers! We had a great weekend discovering the delights of Bath and eating the most amazing gluten free savoury scones for breakfast at the Pump Rooms.
This years ANZAC Day service was a rather special one, so I made the effort to attend the dawn service in London which meant we stayed over night at the Intercontinental Park Lane…a fabulous hotel in London and even better when you can use your IHG points for a free night!
I was very lucky to get invited to Sting and Paul Simon concert at the O2 with SPG and stayed the night at the Aloft beside to the Excel centre…this is a really good base and the rooms are extremely comfy, just don’t put your neck out like I did while drying my hair…a Charlie’s Angels hair flick that went wrong, doh!! I had a great evening especially as I got to catch up with Anna again at the concert!
G and I spent a weekend in Oxford and I really really really tried to love Oxford however I’m a Cambridge girl at heart. We still had a great weekend even though it was soggy and I ended up with a soggy bottom AGAIN!
Buying a car has given me a huge amount of freedom to explore England so I try and do a day trip every weekend to explore the English countryside (there’s something about going exploring to relieve the stresses of a week at work). Cambridge is super close to me and even with my Dory tendencies I managed to remember to get tickets to the Cambridge Open Weekend…I’m still surprised that I was that organised to get tickets! Bluebells in springtime, heading into London to go on Yannick’s gluten free walking tours (Macarons and Mews plus his new Piccadilly and Petit 4’s), visiting the cute village of Elstow in Bedfordshire, taking a million photos of the cute little beach huts at Wells Next the Sea and the super gorgeous Lavenham (I’ve yet to blog about this cutie pie town!) were some of my favourite day trips of 2015.
I castle hunted like a ninja in 2015 and my castle hunting list continues to grow for 2016! I’ve got a few memberships however for me the best one was definitely the Historic Houses Association membership, this has saved me more than a few pennies. Definitely some of the highlights of 2015 were discovering Deene Park (my favourite castle!), Rockingham Castle, Dover Castle, Woburn Abbey, Kirby Hall and Burghley House plus many many more.
Passport at the Ready
G and I popped off to Brussels for a few days in February for our birthdays…and of course we ate afternoon tea and a lot of chocolate and I mean a lot…we were definitely Master and Miss Piggy. There are more photos of food then Brussels!
May called for a tier point run to Marrakech for G so I tagged along as who wouldn’t…it’s not a bad place to head too for a few days…Marrakech has definitely changed a lot since my first visit way back in 2003 and I was told that I saw the real Marrakech not the touristy Marrakech that everyone sees today. We had what you would call a mixed kind of holiday in Marrakech but we still enjoyed it thanks to staying in a hotel that Winston Churchill loved.
Pretty much right after Marrakech, I flew to Croatia to see my family for a few days…it’s a hard life…it did take Easyjet three attempts to land at Split airport and an overnight power cut due to an electrical storm left me with 3% battery life right before I was due to leave for the airport so it did have it’s moments!
We popped over to Hong Kong and then onto Malaysia for two weeks, flying in First Class with British Airways…it was nice to actually switch off properly and it was my first two week holiday since 2012…it was during this trip that I realised that I was really taking this blogging business way too seriously and pulled out of the game in a big way.
I managed to tick Strasbourg off my 2015 Travel Wish List back in October and I wasn’t disappointed…what a truly fantastic part of France and I would happily return to the region again…the Alsace Wine Route made me a rather happy little bunny!
December saw me flying home to New Zealand (you’re currently getting spammed on instagram) and as my Cathay Pacific flight left from Paris, I managed to have 24 hours in the city to explore (a post still needs to follow…I will pull my finger out on that one soon I promise!).
Scoffing Gluten Free Afternoon Tea
I’ve eaten a number of gluten free Afternoon Tea’s this year and I’ve got the rolls to prove it. My personal three favourites of 2015 are definitely Brown’s Hotel, The Lanesborough and of course Claridge’s…you can’t go wrong with either one!
Lessons Learned from Blogging in 2015
I learnt a few big lessons from blogging this year…some good and some pretty shit.
The good – I made some great friends through blogging and found them extremely supportive in times of need or when I needed a bit of blog advice. I really love the interaction with the community that follows along in my journey, especially the non-bloggers that take the time to email me, thank you! The opportunities that have come my way thanks to this blog have always being appreciated but once again a big thank you to the brands that I’ve worked with in the past. I had a blog refresh this month and it feels great to have a new look…a bit like finding a new pair of really comfortable knickers that actually look a tad sexy, that’s how I’d sum up my blog make over.
The shit – I will be brutally honest and say that I fell out of love with the blogging community this year (not all but a lot); there are some unkind people in the blogging community, the blagging seriously needs to stop (and one of the reasons why I almost quit twitter – if you want something, pay for the bloody stuff yourself!) and the reviews that aren’t honest. I value my community so if I find out that a blogger has lied then I never share their posts with my community EVER AGAIN…I’ve worked hard to gain peoples trust and don’t fancy throwing it away with one tweet. And don’t get me started on the whole follow and unfollow crap way of building social media stats – seriously getting followed and followed by the same blogger three times in a week was beyond annoying…more annoying than the DM on twitter asking to follow them on Facebook…if you want me to follow you then please show me some personality and give me a reason to follow with some interaction rather then spamming me with links to your blog (and I’ve being guilty of this also so I know it’s not easy!).
Going forward, I am no longer accepting anything complimentary on my blog as I want to receive the same experience that my readers will be getting rather than a “blogger experience” and I don’t fancy getting involved in the competitive nature of blogging; I find it fascinating to watch but don’t fancy participating…I think they should do a “I’m a blogger…get me out of here” youtube show, it would be so bloody hilarious. What you see is really what you get…a blog all paid for by me and all about me me me me me!
Well I got fatter…what else can I say but since I’ve come home to NZ for Christmas my body confidence has improved hence why you’re seeing photos of me on instagram now. Weirdly I feel people are more judgemental in the UK especially when it comes to looks while in NZ, the casual laid approach to fashion and life is a lot less judgemental…I’m sure people will disagree with me here but that’s just my opinion on things and you know what they say about opinions…they’re like arseholes, everyones got one.
So that’s my 2015 in review…I do feel like I’ve blinked and missed things but hey ho that’s life and you don’t have to be out exploring every second of every day…there’s nothing better than having a day of rest to recharge those old batteries and never feel guilty for doing so…it’s your life!