2015 will always be known as the year I took risks, said yes, put myself out there and ultimately got engaged!
Phew, what a year it has been!
As is tradition I like to do a recap of my favourite things I did this past year. I think it’s important to appreciate and celebrate all the positivity in our lives. A year is a long time and there’s so much to squeeze in.
In 2015 I went from living in a small one room apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand to now living in a two bedroom terraced house in Birmingham, England.
I have covered thousands upon thousands of miles this year, travelling from Southeast Asia to the Middle East and all over the UK.
I put myself out there to make new friends, seek out new career opportunities and said yes to the things that scared me.
I have played with elephants, swam in 5 star resorts, ate picnics on the beach, wandered around historical monuments, marvelled at the ballet, laughed at family parties, eating far too much chocolate and spent hours on trains, planes and driving in cars.
We bought a van to convert into a campervan. Moved into a new house and finally had all of our possessions in one place.
And most importantly, we agreed to commit to one another.
These are the best bits of 2015!
Best bit of January was definitely going to the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. We learned how to take care of elephants and why it was important for tourists to stop riding them. They are beautiful, intelligent, magnificent creatures.
We lived a life of iced cappuccinos, great food and working on our businesses in the many coffee shops and co-working spaces. We had a favourite Pad Thai man and just one soi over there was a fantastic Kao Soi Gai restaurant.
For my birthday we went to the lake just outside Chiang Mai. It was a perfectly chilled birthday. (video here)
I loved spending time at the beach on Koh Chang. my favourite moments were the walks on the beach at sunrise or sunset.
We also spent a day driving around the whole island of Koh Chang. That was pretty special. Video here.
We ended up moving to Bangkok to stay with our Thai friends. We loved the hustle and bustle of the city including eating at our favourite local street food restaurant, JaeKoy and an amazing sushi meal at Oishi Grand.
For Valentine’s Day we treated ourselves to a night at a 5 star resort in Phuket (we hated the island but this hotel was lovely) where we hung out with the resident tortoise and bunnies.
We loved our day trip to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital city of Bangkok and home to stunning ruins and the famous giant river prawns.
Sadly we had to say goodbye to Thailand and came back. But only for 5 days before we jumped back on a plane for a 3 night stay in Qatar thanks to me winning a competition at WTM.
This was the month I decided to start seeking out more public speaking opportunities. I had enjoyed doing the social media training the previous year so worked on doing more of the same. I started with a talk at Blogcamp.
We also went down to Hereford for a few days to hang out with my brother and do this photoshoot for his blacksmithing business.
For our five year anniversary Raj surprised me with a trip to Bath. We had a wonderful couple of days there including incredible tapas and a few hours at the thermal baths (highly recommended!).
We went to one of Raj’s cousins wedding. I bought my first sari and opted for a bright orange one! It was fascinating to go to a Hindu wedding and of course lovely to spend time with his family.
I went along to the Britmums conference and made loads of new blogger friends. It was a great opportunity to learn more about my industry but the most important part was definitely the people.
Also went to Pinterest UK’s 2nd birthday party. Oh, I became one of their ambassadors, so that was fun.
We then bought a van (she’s called Deborah, and I love her!) with the intention of converting it into a campervan (this has been put on hold until 2016 now as Raj’s knee injury is getting worse and general life stuff happened).
My Australian cousin came to visit so we did a quick trip around London for a few days. It was rad.
We then had a fun weekend with the family that included my youngest sister’s birthday and a bouncy castle!
Then we very quickly found a house in Birmingham and moved instantly.
The following week we went down to Newquay to stay with a friend for a few days. The sunsets there are amazing.
Such a hectic month. My cousin came back to stay so we did a few outings including a day trip to Cadbury World which is a 10 minute walk from my new house.
We also went to the Birmingham Back-to-Backs and had the crazy-fun dinner party with my bro and his gf.
I had a few more social media training sessions to run including one in Edinburgh. Not too shabby a location!
We went to Banksy’s Dismaland project at Weston-Super-Mare. It was pretty dismal.
I did another public speaking gig at Intu Merry Hill.
Then we hotfooted it down to Devon for a weekend.
One of my favourite weekend’s was spent in Henley-on-Thames staying with my Auntie. We ate good food, drank great wine, chatted all hours whilst listening to our favourite vinyl. It was dreamy. In fact, I had such a good time that I forgot to take photos. The only one I have is of the cheeky coffee I grabbed the morning after the night before.
We got engaged! Raj told me to block off two days over Diwali and surprised me with a proposal and a full itinerary of activities to celebrate which included a day trip to Paris. (video of the whole thing to come soon). It was the most perfect two days of the year.
We started the month with a trip to the ballet. We went to see The Nutcracker and it was stunning. No photo though!
Also at the Birmingham Hippodrome we took my youngest sisters to the panto and it was surprisingly fun.
We finally unpacked our house and settled in for a quiet Christmas just the two of us.
I went to The View Up The Shard with Pinterest UK and the other ambassadors. It was one of the best moments of this year.
It has been an incredible year and one I’m really grateful for. There is so much more I could talk about here including some great friendships formed, exciting career opportunities and of course those beautiful simple moments where we just marvel at the sunset out the back of our house, or the crunchiness of autumn leaves, the fluffiness of spring blossom or the brilliant warmth of summer sunshine.
Right now, we are appreciating our safe, warm home covered in tinsel and fairy lights whilst planning for 2016. The year where even more in our lives is about to change.
Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me. It’s good to know you’re there listening and cheering me on.