Monday, 31 December 2012

2012: A Year in Review

Inspired by Rebecca at Florence Finds, I decided to spend a couple of hours looking back over the highs, and making my peace with the lows, of 2012. Here are some of the little pieces that made me happy this year. I hope when I come back to this space I'm reminded how full 2012 was!



Me jumping at the top of Kerið
In January, we travelled to Iceland, staying in CenterHotel Thingholt, Reykjavik. We did a Golden Circle tour visiting volcanic crators, Gulfoss waterfall, geysirs, Þingvellir National Park and the Blue Lagoon. We had one of the most amazing meals at the Lobster House, got tipsy in Islenski barrin, and warmed up with hot chocolates in the colourful Laundromat Cafe. Here you can do your laundry downstairs, if the mood so takes you.



Birthday celebrations with a family walk and picnic in beautiful Tatton Park, followed by a meal out and Beatles themed cocktails at Hard Days Night Hotel.


Sea Odyssey, Liverpool. April 2012

Liverpool is a great city, always offering something to its residents and visitors. One weekend in April two rather large tourists came to visit. The 30 foot tall little girl Giant and her 50 foot Uncle in a diving suit wandered around the streets of Liverpool, brought to life by Royal de Luxe company. The Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacular was part of the Titanic memorial events in the city. We had lots of fun chasing the giants through the city. Amazing.



I've not spent much time with M's old school friends. So, a group of us rented a cottage in the Cotswolds for a long weekend. It was good to get to know his friends better over long walks, complete with a near death sinking inquick clay(?) experience, an unexpected and excellent Gurkha meal, and a 1920's speakeasy murder mystery (not guilty).



In June, M and I had a week in Andalucia, Spain. We took this photograph before we scrambled downhill and relaxed in a little cove at the Spanish Lake District at Ardales Park.



Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom Fireworks. July 2012.
In July, me, M, my mum and brother had a two week holiday in Orlando, Florida. We rented a villa with its own pool and did all the theme parks, shopped and indulged in naughty food. It was Mr.'s first time to Orlando's theme parks and I think he fell for Disney's magic charms!



My lovely mum's not had an easy time of it the past 10 years or so but our friendship has developed throughout, perhaps as a consquence of what's happened. In August, Mum and I spent a few days in Harrogate, visiting Betty's tea rooms and the Turkish baths. I hope we get to do more trips like this in 2013.

In August, we also celebrated our One year as a Mr and Mrs! Me and M celebrated in a gorgeous little cottage in Dentdale and had a great meal at Holbeck Ghyll's Michelin starred restauraunt in the Lake District. I can't believe how quickly the time passed by, but this weekend away gave us both a chance to reflect on our year as a Mr. and Mrs. and make plans for the years ahead.



A night exploring Bath with M and relaxing at the Thermea Spa, before a week of tennis, bike riding, mini golf, (more) murder mystery fun, and just generally catching up with good friends in CenterParcs, Longleat.


Eiffel Tower. Oct 2012 (Edited on Picassa)
As an anniversary gift, M organised a short weekend trip to Paris in October. We stayed at Mr. and Mrs. Smith recommended hotel, Hôtel des Académies et des Arts. This art hotel in Paris' Left Bank was perfect and we spent the weekend exploring, riding the batobus, visiting the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame and of course, Laduree! We also spent time walking through beautiful gardens and street markets, as I search my brain to remember what I learned in French A-level lessons.


In November, I was fortunate to attend a research conference in San Diego with a friend from work. It was good to have an opportunity to talk about my research, and San Diego was amazing. We stayed in the Gaslamp area, and everywhere we went there was a really chilled atmosphere and lots to do. Between conference related stuff, my friend and I made a stop at San Diego Zoo, introducing ourselves to this gorgeous guy! To top it off, my friends' beautiful baby girl was born the day after I returned home.



Royal Albert Hall, London. 2012
December was the month of visiting Christmas markets in Liverpool, London and Nuremberg. We had a weekend trip to London and, after admiring window displays, we went to see Jools Holland and his Rhythmn and Blues Orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall. I also visited a good friend in Germany. Then, Christmas! Christmas day no#3 happened yesterday as we hosted our first Christmas in our own home for both of our families. It was such a lovely day. We decided against the stress of a sit down meal and opted for a table piled high with buffet food and Christmas treats. Christmas music playing, Christmas tree lights glowing and all our favourite faces!

I'm fairly certain we had some sort of fun in February, but I can't think what we did! Perhaps this will get updated when my memory returns.

Today is the last day of 2012, and as I reflect on the past year I feel very lucky to have experienced all this in 12 months. I hope 2013 comes with its own adventures, and I know there's a few special dates in the diary already. Come on 2013, we're ready for ya!

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