2016 has been a less than positive year, but I wanted to look at the good things that came my way and for which I am grateful, so here is my list of 16 positive things that happened in 2016.
1 Nile Rodger’s FOLD Festival
Meeting Nile Rodgers has been a dream of mine for several years – I remember the first buzz of excitement I had when Nile not only followed me back on twitter but even replied to some of my tweets! Little did I know that, with a little bit of Italian cheekiness, I managed to blag a backstage selfie with him at the FOLD Festival in London. Who needs a bucket list anyway?
Nile Rodger’s FOLD Festival London 2016 Video
2 The Threepenny Opera
I love the theatre and London’s West End, with its rich offering of shows. Going to the theatre is still a special treat for me, and when I found out that Rory Kinnear was starring in Bertold Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera I rushed to book tickets. It was one of the highlights of my year and I also discovered the superstar that is Le Gateau Chocolat.
3 The Spoils at Trafalgar Studios
Trafalgar Studios is such a wonderful venue showcasing thought-provoking plays. The Spoils is a clever analysis of modern society and its complexities.
4 Publishing the Bilingual Version of The Foraging Home Cook
I had translated my cook book into Italian and to me the next logical step was to create a bilingual Italian-English version to add more interest and turn the book into an extra opportunity to learn something new.
5 Appearing on TV
A few weeks after publishing my bilingual book I was invited to appear on Living the Life. Thanks to working on my blog for several years and improving its SEO, I was found via my website, which is probably one of the highlights of my career. Meeting the TV crew was such a fantastic experience and I am very thankful that they featured me.
6 Michael McIntyre’s Big Show
Early in 2016 a friend and I went to the TV recording of comedian Michael McIntyre’s Big Show in Covent Garden and we never laughed so much!
7 Alla Salute! Opening
My friends from Salentina (who kindly contributed a recipe for my cook book) had been planning to open a cafe/restaurant/pizzeria for years and in 2016 their dream came true. Alla Salute! is alive! I am so happy for them!
8 Hard Rock Cafe
Staying on the topic of food, I enjoyed going back to the Hard Rock Cafe in London after several years and I loved the vibe and the memorabilia, as well as the food.
9 Zandra Rhodes’ Talk
You don’t get many chances to see a living icon of the fashion industry so when I spotted on Regent’s Street’s instagram feed that Zandra was giving a talk in Piccadilly I jumped at the opportunity. She has created many trends over the years and travelled the world, taking inspiration from different cultures.
10 King’s Cross Pond Swimming
The swimming pond in King’s Cross is a temporary art installation so I couldn’t miss it for the world. When the space becomes blocks of flats, offices an retail units I will think back to the good old days of swimming on a hot June day.
11 Lumiere London
At the beginning of 2016, while Londoners still felt the excitement of Christmas (and the January sales), art installations popped up everywhere for the delight of people of all ages.
Lumiere London Video
12 Shortlisted at the UK Blog Awards 2017
In December I was told that my blog has been shortlisted at the UK Blog Awards: it was nice to get my worked recognised by the community. You can vote for my blog here.
13 Becoming Verified on Twitter
I have been using twitter since 2009 and in 2016 I became verified on twitter. There are so many advantages of being verified, the main one being that people take you more seriously (plus twitter automatically filters out spammy and trolling messages).
14 Connecting with a Lovely Community on Instagram
Pictures of food bring people together. There, I said it. While I still haven’t “cracked” instagram and I haven’t got zillions of followers (who’s counting anyway?), I love the sense of community among food bloggers. I also met a few people in real life through instagram and plan to meet many more in the future.
15 Working with Creative Brands
This year I also met many creative brands via numerous channels: they are so many and I am very impressed with their work. A few examples are Barraka, Whichit, PureChimp and Prestige Flowers.
16 Spending Quality Time with Friends and Family
I stopped making new year’s resolutions a long time ago, but this year I wanted to make sure I prioritised my loved ones over other commitments. It was such a joy to spend time with my family and my friends. One day I rushed from a work meeting to give a friend a hug for one minute before she had to rush somewhere else. I am determined to keep prioritising my nearest and dearest.
This was my list of 16 positive things that happened in 2016. I hope you can also find some silver lining in a year that has been marked by tragedy and political turmoil.