Happy New Year everyone! This has been an eventful 2015 and I hope you are looking forward to bringing in 2016 in style. Thank you for your support this year – ideas, tweets and comments.
Fingers crossed you have enjoyed reading my adventures this year and I hope you have go some ideas and inspiration for home and further afield. As it is the last day of 2015, I want to highlight my most memorable articles and why.
I was lucky enough to get involved with AWARE this year and have been a big supporter of its programmes. It’s the leading charity that helps those suffering with depression and runs a very effective 6 week mindfulness course, which gave me skills and techniques to face life’s challenges. I took part in the launch of Northern Ireland’s first Mindfulness Day (10th November) which will now be an annual event.
More recently I have also been supporting the Cavan’s First Steps charity, which is trying to raise funds to help 2 year old Cavan O’Neill get a life changing operation to help him walk. Read more about Cavan’s story here. Nearly £25,000 has been raised so far, but there is a long way to go.
I have been bitten by the travel bug for some time and was lucky to visit some amazing places this year. Top pick would be Iceland as it is so far removed from any countries I’ve ever been to before. Make sure to go in the winter months for full effect – the clue is in the name ‘Ice’ as we saw unbelievable frozen glaciers and warmed up in the breathtaking Blue Lagoon. A must must must if you like adventure – here are my tops picks.
The perfect city break was Krakow -culture, food and black cherry vodka! It is like stepping back in time and is a perfect hidden gem that still have a quaint old fashioned feel. Find out where to stay and visit here
Although I love jetting off, I still make time for some trips closer to home and my stand out memories are the unbelievable spa experience in the Killyhevlin Hotel. You might wonder how unique a facial is, but I can honestly say this one left me feeling and looking tiptop. Not only that, there is something magical about staying close to the water and Lough Erne draws you in – so much so I went twice in one month! If you haven’t been, here are another few reasons to give it a try.
Being a Belfast girl I can’t forget about my own city and have had some fab experiences in both the Fitzwilliam ‘Ain’t no party like a Fitzwilliam Party’ (pictured above) and Tara Lodge, a hidden gem in Queen’s Quarter with a home away from home feel.
If you are a regular G Spot! reader you will know that I love going out for dinner and enjoying a nice cocktail when I’m there. Lots of new bars and restaurants opened this year -which is great for the city, but not great for my waistline! Currently I am obsessed with Sweet Afton and will be getting my own seat there soon! Although not a coffee drinker, I do like a good hot chocolate and Synge & Byrne has just opened it’s third outlet in the north and in the perfect location to get in some shopping too. As 2016 is the Year of Food, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on Food NI’s social media to see what events are coming up @Food_NI.
Hardly a week goes by without me buying something new, or so my mum likes to remind me. But how can I not when there have been so many opportunities this year! Fairhill, Ballymena caused a frenzy at the Ladies Lock-In event as the Butlers in the Buff got everyone’s heart racing!
I couldn’t go through all that and not have met some interesting people and friends I have met and who have supported me along the way. My best friend Una Quinn (below) is not only a busy professional but also a bjj champion and mum to my favourite boy in the world Aodan. If you need some fitness inspiration for the New Year – this should give you a push.
My Belfast Times buddy Jeff’s recent post on homelessness in Belfast was heart provoking and he has been a true inspiration and big support to me this year (below). Not forgetting all the people behind the businesses and products and services who are working hard to promote themselves and our city.
I love being part of the Belfast Times family and hoping that I can still do what I love in 2016. It’s always great to hear from readers, so please get in touch if you have something to tell our readers in 2016 @grainnemcgarvey or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and Happy New Year x