Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 29 - ☆ Highlights of 2016 ☆

I joined Sally's merry little bunch of Wonderful Wednesday bloggers in March this year knowing that it would be a good exercise to push myself to blog more regularly and look for the happy moments in a week. Some weeks have been easier than others (and I know that some weeks I haven't managed at all) but it's been a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to all the snippets of wonderfulness I'll find over the course of next year. This week, joining in with Sally, I'm documenting my highlights of the year. In a year with so many national and international low-points, I'm looking at the wonderful moments closer to home because, in the wise words of Albus Dumbledore, "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light".

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Moving house... As tiring and stressful (and dusty!) as moving house can be, moving house back in March was one of the best decisions we made this year. We had lived in our old flat for almost four years and although it was a shoebox, it was a delightful little box (the first place we lived in together) and we loved the area, which probably made us stay there for longer than we should have done. I had a 4 hour commute to and from work each day which was not good and I was exhausted constantly. My new commute is about 40 minutes (nothing in London terms!) and only one train rather than 4. We've also got more space and a garden, and the glorious thrill of having more time in the morning and evening still hasn't worn off. Granted I had huge plans for the garden which didn't even get a look in this year but next year, I'm looking at you to get me more organised. Bring on those home-grown veggies.


Discovering tasty gluten free cafés... Visiting the Gluten-Free Shop and Café in Norwich is such a highlight from last year and I can't believe I haven't made it back since. The shop was full of so many gluten free treats and bread that tasted like I remember it tasting! There was also an amazing café and, as I said before, it's still a thrill to be able to go into a restaurant and have your pick of the menu. You can find my review here if you're thinking of popping along yourself.


Another highlight was Beyond Bread bakery in Fitzrovia, London, which I have been back to a few times already this year. It's the perfect brunch/lunch spot with an array of delicious items to choose from - the pastries are a particular favourite.

Being a little thriftier... Helped by the fact that we moved away from an area filled with tempting little coffee shops, places to eat and a rather large M&S food store, the latter part of the year has felt slightly thriftier as we've really worked to make our shops go further. We pulled out the slow cooker as the evenings drew in and it's been lovely coming home to a tasty stew after a cold commute home. Hopefully next year will be even better on that front (particularly if I put my money where my mouth is where our vegetable patch is concerned!).

Holidays... Both of our holidays were family-filled this year - Germany at the end of May to visit my sister in law and her husband, and Ireland in August for a family wedding with some additional days to discover a little more of a country that means so much but that I haven't visited in years.


We're not sure what we're going to do for our holidays next year but I'm looking forward to sitting down and planning them, and discovering some exciting new places.

Lots of family time... Since I moved back home from Japan in 2008, I've lived quite close to my parents and a lot of other family members, which has been a lovely treat. I've enjoyed getting to know them as adults, if that makes sense, and this year we've enjoyed lots of meals together, trips and time just talking. Bring on more of that next year please.

London adventures... As frustrating as London can be, as crowded, dirty and expensive, it's still a wonderfully exciting place that we're not ready to leave just yet. There are still so many places to discover, which we've been able to do this year, new exhibitions to enjoy as well as taking in old favourites. This year's highlights have been watching Top Hat at the BFI on Valentine's Day, the Harry Potter extravaganza at the House of MinaLima in Soho, Taming of the Shrew at the Globe, the Lambeth Country Show, Sunken Cities: Egypt's Lost Worlds exhibition at the British Museum and today's visit to the Geffrye Museum - the museum of the home in Shoreditch.


London itself was looking pretty beautiful itself today too - look at that mist!

Christmas 2016... Christmas gets an entry all to itself, as I expect it would every year because I love it so. This Christmas has been slightly different as the day itself was just spent with my mister and his mum. It was lovely to plan and cook our own meal, and it was a wonderfully relaxing day...but just a little quieter than usual, when you're used to the noise of a big family Christmas! We made up for that though by having all of my mum's side of the family over for a buffet on Tuesday evening and that was enormous fun. In previous years, working right up to Christmas has meant coming down with whatever bug is going round that year, so this year I saved some annual leave to ensure I could have a couple of days off leading up to the holiday period to rest, plan for Christmas and get the house ready, including time to bake and do a few crafty things. I feel thoroughly relaxed - here's hoping that I can carry that feeling well into 2017!


Happy New Year to you all and I hope you have splendid New Year's Eves, whatever you have planned. The mister and I are at home this year with a dear friend, planning a fabulously special meal and cocktails to welcome in 2017.

See you next year!

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmmaSamanthaKerri, LauraSarahPetaElLauraSarahMimmiJasminMartina and Lynsey 

3 comments:

  1. Your Christmas tree looks so pretty, and I hope you're all settled into your new place now. I know how stressful moving can be, so it's always nice to be able to finally relax in your new place. Love that shot along the coastline from your holidays too, I think I need one after this year! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you lovely! - Tasha

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  2. Unsure if my first comment posted, so second time lucky!

    It sounds like you've had a lovely year! The photo of London in the mist is really pretty. I am also intrigued by your Harry Potter extravaganza in Soho!

    Happy New Year xx

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  3. Happy New Year to you!!

    That's one beautiful Christmas tree!

    I can't wait to hear about your veggie patch adventures this year - that's definitely the way to make the pennies go further. I would love my own little veggie patch.

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