I know 2016 has been an annus horribilis for some, but rather than close the year on a low note, I wanted to highlight some memorable things from 2016 to hopefully bring a smile to your face.
The Great Outdoors: This is the first year in my life that I haven’t been a member of a gym. I’ve had mixed feelings about it as I had always been a gym bunny. Too many injuries put an end to my high impact gym classes, but I still love exercising so enjoying what is on my doorstep has been great. My fave walks include Blackhead Path (which is strangely in Whitehead), the coastal walk from Crawfordsburn to Bangor and a new contender on the list is Hillsborough Forest Park (pictured) complete with swans! Get some inspiration for your 2017 walks at Walk NI
The Maiden City: Yes, I know this is Belfast Times, but I often think of myself as a roving reporter for the fictional ‘Derry Times’ as I’m regularly sharing what is happening in the Maiden City. Some of my hot spots are RoCo for a hair make-over and a drinks menu that would match a fancy bar never mind a hair salon, Shipquay Natural Health Clinic for major beautifying and detoxing and one of my favourite places to stay and enjoy a luxurious afternoon tea is Bishops Gate Hotel. I always get the train to the North West and promise in 2017 to do a video GSpots! on the beautiful journey – which is one of the best in the world according to travel expert Michael Palin.
Some ‘Me’ time: Being self-employed means I am constantly on the go and find it hard to take some time for myself. I’ve tried to be better this year and have taken time out both for the inside and outside. I recently discovered The Reflexology Room, which is a little haven in Holywood that allows an hour of relaxing and ‘therapy’ I guess from owner Tara. My outer health has also got a boost in the form of Zo Skin Health products which have made such a positive impact on my skin. They do seem relatively unknown but I’m sure 2017 will see them grow in popularity.
Hospitality: If you’re a regular reader you will know that I am always reporting on where’s good to eat and drink. It’s hard not to as the quality offering here is hard to beat. The latest gin on the block, BoatYard Double Gin went down well with guests over Christmas and my feature on the Secret Dining Club got great reviews and helped this fledging business spread the word. Earlier in the year you also got very excited about the mobile Bubbly Bar which is being used for events, weddings and parties – I can now see why there is a shortage of prosecco!
The BT extended family: Writing a column and sending it out in the world can sometimes feel like a waste of time especially as you don’t often get feedback. However this year thanks to you amazing people (and I like to think of as the extended BT family) I have felt the love. I am always delighted with the comments, shares and re-tweets my stories get – which makes it the most read column on the site.
Hopefully you have enjoyed my adventures and picked up some ideas along the way. Thank you for your support and I look forward to sharing new inspiration for 2017. Happy New Year!
Spotting local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com