Highlights of 2016

I thought I’d write a post about some of the positive things that happened in 2016 rather than focusing on the negatives. I was planning to list 10 positives as 10 is quite a nice number for a list. But I couldn’t think of 10, so here’s my list of my top seven highlights of 2016…

  1. Winning an awardimg_1543252

My year started off pretty well after I was told that I’d been chosen as the winner of the CIWEM Welsh Branch award for the presentation of the year (the otter) following a presentation I gave at Cardiff Uni on sustainable drainage in January! I have to give it back soon, but I am officially an award winning presenter! Something that a younger, painfully shy me would never have dreamed possible. Oh, and I named him Osian.


2. Climbing Pen Y Fanimg_2140

In May, my lovely other half and I completed one of my lifelong goals to climb Pen Y Fan. I wrote a blog post about it here. We’re planning on doing it again over the next few months and are thinking about adding Snowdon to the list. Again, climbing a mountain was something that I never thought I would actually be able to do.


3. Exercisingimg_1866254

This may seem like an odd one, but 2016 was the year that I took exercise and healthy eating seriously and actually enjoyed them. It all came grinding to a halt after things went wrong, but I felt like I had so much energy and really enjoyed the feeling of escape when exercising. I’m determined to get back to it in 2017 to be healthier and happier.

4. Malta

img_2832258In July we took some time out from life and went to Malta for a week. Flights had started to Malta from Cardiff Airport, and we took it as an opportunity to get some sun and some headspace. We booked into an all inclusive hotel in Buggiba, which was nice enough, but not entirely our cup of tea. But we had a week of reading, sunbathing, spending time together and saw a tiny bit of what Malta had to offer. We would definitely go back, but have said that we will go self catering as food and drink are so cheap there. Although I’ve never seen so many all you can eat Chinese buffets in my life (and we don’t even like Chinese food!).

5. Driving a Segwayimg_1656248

I don’t know whether driving is the right word. But it was one of my goals to complete before I was 30 to go on a Segway. A couple of days after we got back from Malta we went to Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire to celebrate our 9th anniversary and it was beautiful. It was easily the best place we had stayed in the UK with so much to explore, and it was just an amazing place. We booked onto a Segway tour while we were there and were taken on a tour of the grounds. I got to grips with the basics of doing it fairly quickly (which surprised me as I’m rubbish at everything), but would describe my style as slow and steady compared to my other half who kept getting told off for speeding!

img_38372606. My Canarian 30th

I turned 30 in September and did it in style in Gran Canaria. We had decided about 2 years before that this was how we were going to celebrate my 30th and that we would return to the place we went on my first foreign holiday in 2012. We had an amazing relaxing week in Taurito in the south of the island and watched the sunset from our balcony with a glass of white rioja every day. We’re thinking about going back again this year as it’s become our “happy place” that we talk about when we want to get away from everyday life.

img_45562627. Feeding a big cat

In October we went to stay at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation big cat sanctuary in Kent. It was a long way to go for  a night away, but the experience really was once in a lifetime. We stayed in one of four log cabins and there were only 6 other guests there at the same time. We had food served to us in a conservatory overlooking the lion enclosure where we often only had a pane of glass between us (check out the pics on my Instagram feed) and were taken on a tour by one of the keepers. The whole thing was fantastic, but on the second day the moment we had been waiting for arrived. We were all given the opportunity to hand feed two big cats of our choice. I was quite nervous that my streak of bad luck would mean going home minus a limb, but was also excited to be doing it. We both chose the same big cats and hand fed a white lion and an Amur tiger. We both couldn’t get over how amazing they were up close and how gentle they were taking the food from us through the enclosure mesh. Once again, something I never, ever thought would be possible.

What were your highlights of 2016?


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