Hello, I hope you are all having a peaceful festive break. I can’t quite believe we’re on the final day of 2022.
It was a wonderful year, and one where beautiful memories were made thanks to family and friends. April stands out to me the most, not just from 2022, but pretty much my entire life.
It is the month I married my love and it was the best day ever. I cannot wait to spend the next chapter of our lives together, and because I don’t want to sound soppy, here goes for a swift change of subject.
2022 also happened to be a year which saw some sort of return to normalcy, when we all started mixing and socialising again, after a pandemic-related lockdown put millions of lives on hold. It made me appreciate life even more, and to try and be even more grateful of the good stuff in my life.
I started journalling again and now keep a gratitude journal, where I write about things and people I am grateful for. In this 21st century where there is an obligation to always be ‘switched on’, especially on social media, I think it is important to regularly take stock and give thanks.
I’m already a notebook hoarder (pretty notebooks are my weakness), so gratitude journalling was easy to start. But do you want to know the hardest part?
Hands down the most difficult bit, is making time and thinking about things to be grateful for, instead of thinking about things that you don’t have. It’s about cultivating an attitude of gratitude, which I am finding is a work-in-progress.
As I reflect on 2022 and what I’d like to see in 2023, I feel at peace and grateful (the gratitude journalling is working, yaay!). Here are a few highlights from 2022 that I thought I would share.
Top three food and drink experiences of 2022
Hampden Estate, Montego Bay, Jamaica
We went on a rum tasting at the iconic Hampden Estate and fell in love with their rum during the tour. I may have to crack open a bottle later, to celebrate the new year.
I love rum and will be writing about this more in the coming months, so do keep your eyes peeled.
Oceana, Secrets Wild Orchid, Montego Bay, Jamaica
One of the restaurants at the Secrets Wild Orchid Resort where we stayed on our honeymoon was Oceana. Every evening the restaurant would serve giant platters of super fresh seafood, which is why it quickly became one of my favourite dining spots where I could scarf plump prawns, slivers of salmon and so, so much more.
The Priory, Bath
We were looking for a special place for a special birthday, so we visited The Priory Bath for an afternoon tea on The Terrace. It was peak summer mind, so we took tea on a sunshiny day, overlooking the stunning gardens sprawling over three acres.
Warm scones and delicately baked treats were even more delicious as we took in the beauty of our surroundings. It is a place that I will most definitely revisit again, hopefully soon.
Honourable mentions got to The European, Derby for cooking authentic and downright delicious food. Also to Ice & Slice at The Kiln, Swadlincote, Derbyshire for brilliant customer service and an Old Fashioned that I am still thinking of today.
I am also loving The Palfrey at New Inn, Belper, Derbyshire, call it the eatery’s version 2.0. Their mussels cooked to perfection were so beautiful to eat, I could happily demolish a bowl right about now.
The Palfrey is also one of the few restaurants in the UK that serves Hampden Estate rum, so extra brownie points for that. I hope to revisit this restaurant when it gets a little warmer, as they also have an al fresco dining section affording stunning views across Belper and beyond.
If there any places you can heartily recommend (I am always on the lookout for new places to check out – only proviso is that it must serve good food) please do shout out and let me know. Here’s to another cracking year, and I hope your 2023 is wonderful and filled with love, peace and happiness.