2015 - A Year Filled With Blessings

January 05, 2016

2015 charlotte clarke
Attempting the beat the January blues, I decided to take look back at my favourite moments of 2015. Before spending a few hours shifting through photos, I hadn't thought much of the year. In hindsight, it was filled with milestones, blessings, travel and many precious family moments.

In one big emotional out pour (don't judge me, I've become rather sentimental since becoming an Aunt), here are my top 7 memories of 2015: 

 Epping arboretum Epping arboretum
Epping arboretum Epping arboretum

Russell and I bought a home

Without a doubt, my biggest achievement in life so far is becoming a homeowner. Russell and I moved into our new home in June, and every day I still wake up incredibly humble and blessed.

Situated in Epping, it's perfectly positioned between the forest and last stop of the central line, giving us easy access to both the city and countryside. Hopefully this house will be our home for the foreseeable future, and will witness the growth of our little family - be that with the pitter patter of human feet or canine paws. 
Charlotte Clarke Charlotte Clarke
Charlotte Clarke spears tartan

I visited 4 new cities

Considering I didn't think I travelled much, last year I managed to tick 4 new European cities off my travel list. 
In May I was invited to Milan on a press trip which included a visit to the Milan cathedral, copious amounts of gelato and lunch at a rustic Italian restaurant that grew their ingredients in the surrounding gardens.

Russell took me to Paris for 5 days in June to celebrate my birthday, which was a whirlwind week of museum trips, long walks and evening feasts.

In September we attended one of my oldest friend's wedding in Edinburgh, and was amazed at what the city had to offer. With only three days to try to fit it all into we're planning another visit soon, but was left with great memories of indulgent brunches, food markets and stunning scenery.

In October I was whisked away to Paris again for a day trip to stuff my face with sushi, and a week later I experienced a crazy 12 hours in Berlin with a tech company.  
charlotte clarke charlotte clarke
essex allotment london allotment

Continuing to grow our own

For the last few years Russell and I have been growing our own fruit and veg. Although last year wasn't as bountiful as our first due to the unpredictable weather, we still continued to gorge on courgette flower, rhubarb and even aubergines!

This year I plan to grow an array of new produce to really expand our knowledge - expect rainbow carrots, loganberries and Jerusalem artichokes.

riley beau dawson riley beau dawson
riley beau dawson riley beau dawson

Riley Beau

Although my nephew was technically born in December 2014, he wasn't home from hospital until January 2015. This little bundle of pure joy lights up our weekends with his cheeky smile, endless supply of energy and blissful cuteness.

Every week we're amazed by the new things he learns, and I can't wait for him to get a little older so we can start baking together, visiting the sites of London and hopefully begin music and language lessons.

London rainbow charlotte clarke
charlotte clarke searcys gherkin food

Writing and Reviewing 

Last year I've been amazed at the opportunities my blog has generated. Aside from being sent some very lovely products to review, given the opportunity to travel on press trips and attend some pretty fabulous events, last year I saw a massive pick-up in restaurant reviews. 
This has come as a blessing in disguise for Russell and I - as things are pretty tight since buying the house. We regularly indulge in date night, dinning at some of London's newest restaurants and then writing about them after - you can read our reviews here.

camp bestival 2015 camp bestival 2015
charlotte clarke charlotte clarke

Festivals and Friends

Every year since graduation me and my dear friend David set off on a little holiday. Our first year saw us visit the Christmas markets in Lille, in 2014 we attended Wilderness Festival and last year we were given press tickets to Camp Bestival. With a electric line-up of live acts including Clean Bandit, Wretch 32 and Professor Green, it had the best acts of any festival I've been too (and some pretty decent food stalls, too).
This year we're planning to attend the Whitstable Oyster Festival to eat our weight in shellfish, admire the phenomenal fireworks display on the beach and to take a much needed break.

 riley beau dawson riley beau dawson
riley beau dawson riley beau dawson

My Great Grandma

Every year we're able to spend with my Great Grandma is a blessing - at 96, with a tongue as sharp as ever and possession of every one of her marbles, my Great Grandma became a Great Great Grandma to my nephew and second cousin in 2014. 
Now living with my Grandma, the whole family cherishes time spent with her at family gatherings with the little ones. She still enjoys very frequent trips to our holiday bungalow in Clacton, and loves nothing more than eating jellied eels whilst looking out at the sea at Walton-on-the-naze. With 5 generations of my family alive at the same time, I'd say we're very blessed indeed.