A year to remember

So I know it’s a little late but I would like to wish all my followers and readers a very Happy New Year.  Unfortunately one chest infection, and an annual work exam has kept me a little absent from my blog, however I’m back now!   I hope you all had a great festive season and your new year has started with a bang!

I was luckily enough to go home and spend Christmas with my family, and although it always flies by, I was very grateful for the time off.  My holiday started with a lovely day wandering around the streets of London, seeing all the amazing lights and decorations in Harrods, Selfridges and Oxford Street – something that’s a bit of a family tradition, but I’ve missed out in recent years.  If you want to get into the festive spirit, then nothing beats walking around the Christmas department in Harrods seeing all the excited children and listening to the festive tunes.

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After a day filled with Christmas cheer, and several glasses of mulled wine later,  I was homeward bound on the train to my lovely home in Wiltshire.  Now I know I always write about where I’m jet-setting off to, but I thought it maybe time I write about my favourite place on earth… home!

For anyone who doesn’t know me, I grew up in a village named Wanborough on the outskirts of Swindon, Wiltshire (England).  It’s a very quaint place, with all the normal English countryside charm you would expect.  It has a church, village hall, primary school, doctor’s surgery, post office, and of course several pubs!  The cottage I live in is approximately 500 years old and made out of thick stone walls and a thatched roof.  The downstairs has two huge open fires, which when lit heat up the entire house.  The ceilings are made up of thick wooden beams which if you are over 5ft 10 then you will find yourself regularly ducking!  The garden is filled with beautiful wild flowers and looks out onto a huge field, which would regularly see visits from foxes, deer, rabbits and several types of birds.  Without sounding too modest, it really is lovely.

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Growing up in countryside had some great perks, lots of bike rides, playing out in the very safe streets, building tree-dens and enjoying the fresh air.  I look back now and wonder why I craved the buzz of city life. Was it boredom, a desire to meet new people, or just to experience and see more of the world?  I honestly think it was a bit of everything, but surprisingly now, I can’t wait to live back in the English countryside one day again in the future.  I suppose no matter where you live you will always think the grass is greener, but inevitably there will always be times when you pine for home.

Wiltshire is the county I’m from, and probably one of the most famous things is the Salisbury plains, where Stonehenge and the Avebury Stones stand.  If you haven’t seen Stonehenge, it’s a must in your life time, especially during summer solstice celebrations, when thousands of people come to celebrate at sunrise and sunset.  Wiltshire is also the main training place for the British army, so many militrary colleges and airfields are scattered around Wiltshire.

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After an incredible visit home, seeing family and friends and eating my entire body weight, it was time to head back to Dubai – my second home, where a few days later I would be seeing in the New Year.

My apartment in Dubai, is based in Dubai Marina, where I have an amazing view of skyscrapers, the beach and the Palm.  Its only slightly larger than a shoe box, however I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in Dubai. O.K, maybe the penthouse suite in the Burj Khalifa would be fine too!

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With Dubai attempting to smash the Guinness World Record for the biggest firework display ever it was definitely one not to be missed.  My awful chesty cough had scuppered all party plans, however a beach picnic with a record breaking firework display didn’t seem like a bad back-up plan!

Words and indeed photos can’t really describe just how incredible the fireworks were. I’ve seen Youtube videos since, and it barely captures the sheer enormity of the display, and the array of colours that exploded into the sky that night.  It was a truly magical end to 2013, and a great start to 2014.

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Like every new year, my to do list is never-ending, and my resolutions are usually the same as the years before.  However, one thing I always achieve is seeing somewhere new in the world that I haven’t seen before.  I think this is an important resolution for everyone. I’m not talking countries necessarily, but even a different part of the country you live in – a museum, a festival or something that you’ve never seen or done before.  When you do as much traveling as myself, the world seems like a very small place, but the places to see are just endless.  Travel is such a wonderful adventure wherever you go, and this year I intend to make the most of it. I will continue to share some of my best stories and moments, and look forward to hearing about yours too. I’m sure 2014 will be yet another year to remember!

 

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