Let’s make it a good one

Here we are at New Year’s Eve again. The year’s gone by so quickly and it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was trying to stay cool last New Year’s Eve Down Under. Time flies doesn’t it? And speaking of fun, I’ve managed quite a bit of it over the last 12 months.

After returning from my bi-annual pilgrimage to Melbourne (and a fab top-up visit from Lil Chicky) in January, travelling-for-work was much less frequent this year but I managed to find some cash and conquer some new frontiers. Ten days in Seattle with Seattle-A heralded my first trip to Canada, I spent four fabulous days in Stockholm at the start of August and then jetted off for a week of sun, sand and a whole swag of reading in Mauritius in November.

Speaking of reading, I smashed my book-a-week target by 25% (I read 65) and 8 of them got a Gidday 5-star rating (that’s 12.5%). I discovered Henning Mankell recently and will be reading more of his Kurt Wallander series next year. And while it doesn’t count in 2015’s quota, I am in the middle of my first Philip Kerr – March Violets with protagonist PI Bernard Gunther – and if things continue as they are, the new year looks set to start with another big fat 5 star rating. Awesome.

There have been many theatre outings over the year, Death of a Salesman being one that I studied at high school yet hadn’t seen and the most recent being Hangmen which featured a cracking ‘noir’ plot and really great characterisation. I’ve also been back to Sadlers Wells to be swept away by the Rambert Dance Company and transported to Spain at the opening of the London Flamenco Festival.

I’ve upped my Live Screening ante enjoying some new (well new to me) Shakespeare – Love’s Labors Lost, Othello and The Winters Tale – and several operas including my first Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, The Mikado. Live Screening also delivered a theatre highlight – Man and Superman – and a new crush, Ralph Fiennes. When seeing his face alight with joy in taking the final bows, well I may have had a little weak-at-the-knees moment…okay maybe not so little.

I’m finishing the year with a two week staycation. Christmas was spent with friends in SE London and aside from an outing to Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral with another friend yesterday, I have just enjoyed being at home. I’ve still got five days off before I go back to work so plenty of time of time to complete my Christmas jigsaw puzzle, finish March Violets and catch up with friends for a little Star Wars, drinks and dinner.

It’s almost midnight here, Bryan Adams is rockin’ it out on the telly and before long, the crackle of fireworks will be heard overhead as those locally organised start the new year with a bang. All that remains is for me to wish you the very best for 2016…

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Let’s make it a good one.

A productive day

I was woken by a veritable cacophony of birdsong.

I rolled over, still dim with sleep, the fissure of light along the curtain hem announcing that a new day had dawned. I squinted at the dial of my watch. 6.30am. I pulled the covers back up over my shoulders against the chill of the room, the air conditioner humming smugly in the background.

Fifty minutes later, I opened the curtains…

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…to greet my first full day in Mauritius.

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After some travel disruption and a later than expected arrival on Sunday, I had just enough time for a gentle stroll along the beach and a cheeky cocktail at the beach bar before my first Mauritian sunset – watched with the sand between my toes of course. What a sunset it was…

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An early night (there was a very real danger of yours truly falling asleep in her dinner) meant that despite the early hour, on Monday I was up and ready for a productive day.

I met the holiday rep, agreed my pickup time for the return journey to the airport and got some tips on how to get the best value from my all inclusive package.

I booked dinners in three of the resort‘s five restaurants. Last night it was a 5 course traditional Mauritian meal with 8 other hotel guests and I have dinner at the beach restaurant on Wednesday and then the Asian fusion restaurant on Friday to go. The substantial buffet will just have to do on the other nights. *Sigh*

I also booked myself a visit to the hotel spa for a little pre-dinner pampering tonight.

And I lay by the pool and read a book. Yes, a whole book. Bliss.

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Then it was time to start the cycle again with cocktail number two.

Now I call that a productive day and with a few notable exceptions – it will be the beach today instead of the pool – this is how it will be for seven whole days.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have another book to choose…