This week marks two years since I began an extraordinary adventure, this very blog! I’m not the first to note how quickly 2016 has progressed, but personally and professionally it’s been very rewarding. Here’s my highlights from the past twelve months and what I’m hoping to achieve for 2017…
Nutty Pear – Filmmaking & Photography
For the past year or two I was sowing the seeds for a business idea I had in mind for so long. It was fittingly in the spring when I began to see this dream flourish, alongside my best friend and University-peer Hannah. It’s been a real journey to get Nutty Pear where it is today, and with repeat customers and a rapidly building video and photography portfolio, we couldn’t be more pleased.
Alongside Nutty Pear, my blog also grew up in 2016, starting with a collaboration with Expedia sharing romantic things to do in Wales. It’s always fun to be set a challenge and explore what’s around you, like Waterfall Country in the Brecon Beacons where I walked behind a waterfall and found the cosiest of country pubs.
In the spring I headed down to Swansea on a press trip with Hannah and stayed in the lovely Langland B&B. I already had a soft spot for this city as I spent many summers here as a child. We ventured down to Rhossili Bay, dined at the top of the tallest building in Wales and tried indoor surfing at the LC2.
I explored the Wye Valley with Real Wales Tours and savoured the beautiful views from The Kymin in Monmouth and the dramatic ruins of Tintern Abbey. I later enjoyed another tour with the company along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast with a few bloggers where we walked up through Dunraven gardens and toasted marshmallows on the beach at sunset.
UK Blog Awards
I also attended Traverse 2016 which was hosted in Cardiff. The three day event was fantastic value for money, I met lots of bloggers and learnt a lot from the many talks and presentations. I already have my ticket for next year (will I be seeing you there?!)
Before summer arrived I headed to London for the UK Blog Awards in the glitzy Park Plaza. I was up for Best Photography and even though I didn’t win, it was a hugely rewarding experience – thank you to everyone who voted!
I jetted off to America for a few weeks in May, my first long haul trip in years. I had the best time in Florida meeting Mickey Mouse and soaking up all the scrumptious food and sunshine.
The World’s Largest Cruise Ship
I then boarded the largest cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas, just before she set sail on her official maiden voyage. I later collaborated with cruise bloggers to share our favourite ports of call and also had a tour of Princess Cruises Emerald Princess.
It’s safe to say a spent a lot of the summer eating! Highlights include a cooking masterclass at Giovanni’s, Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea at St David’s Hotel and some lovely evenings at The Celtic Manor Resort, including a stay at Newbridge on Usk.
In the autumn I absolutely loved visiting The Cotswolds, exploring the beautiful towns and villages like Lower and Upper Slaughter, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water and more. I couldn’t get over how pretty this place was!
Rome, The Eternal City
I then headed to Rome for a few days and had an unforgettable adventure, ticking off many things I wanted to see and do. I went inside the Colosseum, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Catacombs and even saw the Pope during the Sunday Angelus Prayer!
To get into the Christmas spirit I ventured down to one of my favourite places in Britain, the city of Bath. The Christmas Market here is incredibly enchanting, surrounding the beautiful Abbey and Museums. I enjoyed my day with Visit Bath and finished it with a Bath Abbey Tower tour, offering the best view of the Market on sundown.
For next year I hope to discover more places in the Wales and the UK, specifically North Wales and more places in Pembrokeshire – I love it there! I’m also due to cruise around Europe, calling into places in Spain, France and Italy. I’m also keen to share some walks and experiences in Wales, starting with a coastal walk next week in Swansea. If you have a favourite walk, trail or story to share, please drop me a message!
Thank you to everyone who’s supported, voted, commented, read or commissioned me over the past year or so – I’m incredibly grateful for every opportunity and bit of feedback. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!