2016 has widely been dubbed a bad year by many but here I reflect on my highlights of an eventful year.
Most beautiful place I have visited: I have been to Paphos Cyprus, Geneva in Switzerland and Gabbice Mare in Italy this year. I was lucky enough to be invited to a wedding in Montefabbri in Italy near to Gabicce, hence my trip. The scenery around the venue was breathtaking, the venue was in the countryside, surrounded by rolling hills lit up by sunlight as far as the eye could see. Although I have now visited the area no less than eleven times, the beauty and surroundings of Gabicce Mare never grow old.
Best Meal: When I travel to different places I particularly enjoy trying the local cuisine in an attempt to try as much of the world’s food as humanly possible. Upon arrival in Paphos late one evening this Easter very few restaurants were still open for business as the resort was so quiet, yet my family and I stumbled upon a delightful family run restaurant called Karlina’s just out of town. After a four hour flight from Manchester I was more than a little peckish and the Swordfish did not disappoint. The swordfish was served with a tomato salsa and chips seasoned to perfection (the seasoning really is worth a mention – it was beautiful!). The service matched the standard of the food and although the restaurant was quiet and probably ready for closing by the time we arrived, the owner was more than happy to chat to us whilst we had our meal about the best places to visit during our short stay. After a long day travelling it was the perfect evening.
Sporting Moment of the Year: I am a huge sports fan and generally prefer cricket above all other forms of activity however this year would be different. As the winter of 2015/16 wore on I became increasingly aware of Leicester City’s rise and the very real prospect that they could win the Premier League against all odds. I began to watch more intensely and with greater intrigue with every passing match. Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy’s knack for unlocking opponents defences gave Leicester the edge as they roared forward on the counter attack again and again. When Claudio Ranieri lifted the trophy with his players in May of this year I could not help but feel elated for them.
Olympics 2016: So iconic are the Olympics that I feel they deserve a separate mention from all other events this year. In a year that cast darkness on the lives of many, the Olympics provided a focal point around which people could gather in excitement. Team GB had done so well in 2012 many were asking how they could do better this year. Although the Gold medal count was down by 2 from 29 to 27, the overall number of medals won increased by 2 making this the most successful Olympics for Team GB on foreign soil. Laura Trott (now Kenny) and her now husband Jason Kenny took the limelight winning in their respective events.
Kenny’s performance in the Keirin was extremely exciting and nerve racking in equal measure as the event was stopped twice for riders passing the pacing bike too early. As the race got underway for a third time the tension was mounting. The nation held its breath. Kenny delivered and in doing so equalled Sir Chris Hoy’s record gold medal tally (6).
Best Single of 2016: I love music, I am always listening to Spotify and I play different tracks each day. Lukas Graham’s 7 Years struck a chord with me although it was apparently released back in September 2015, who knew? It climbed to Number 1 back in February of this year! I love songs that are personal to the singer and 7 Years seems to be a song from the heart and it’s so relatable too. In a similar vein, James Arthur’s Say You Won’t Let Go tells the story of someone wanting reassurance that the relationship is going to last whilst trying not to show their fears to their partner. The message that James Arthur conveys throughout the song leads to some powerful and emotive lyrics including my favourite line ‘I played it cool when I was scared of letting go’.
Best Music Artist of 2016: Those of you who follow my blog will know that this category is a foregone conclusion. For me their is just one artist who can win this category, springing to the fore with her passionate and deeply personal Don’t Worry About Me, Frances has gone from strength to strength this year. For all Frances fans, the news of her 2017 UK tour is extremely welcome and I look forward to seeing her live for the first time when the tour comes to Manchester. Although Frances may not have hit the top spot in the charts with one of her singles quite yet, comparisons to Adele and her ever increasing popularity means this is just a matter of time.
Personal Achievement of 2017: Although I have worked hard with the help of my personal trainer this year I am still not happy with my body. I have already started setting myself challenges to improve aspects of my physique in the year ahead and look forward to them. However, my personal achievement of 2017 is finishing the Bury 10k in a personal best time of 50.54. My next challenge is making sure that isn’t my record for long!
These are my particular highlights of a rather challenging year. Let’s see what 2017 has in store.