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food, travel, food culture

New year, old me, great plans for 2015

‘Tis the time of the year were we emerge, still hungover on festive food and booze, to the flat shiny surface of a new year. My feed is full of the words detox, dry January, grand intentions for a “healthy” 2015 (i.e. getting thin for the ladies, getting ripped for the gents), cheesy motivational quotes and a new very 2015 thing called Veganuary.  Diet-wise, the tide is turning from the crazy fad of the 5:2 diet to the paleo/raw diet – sorry, lifestyle. Food writers are already getting in a frenzy about “the best London restaurants in 2015” before being even able to get into a press preview, based on menu reading (a lot of Asian inspired, a lot of Korean, and French) sheer faith and a need to fill column inches.

In other 2015 food trends news, the Times has declared us bloggers dead – nobody likes reading us rambling about our lowly, unqualified opinions and we’re not going to make any of the famous restaurant critics redundant (shame, that’s exactly what I set about to do opening the blog. Not).  All hail Instagrammers! plebs, take your snaps, put some emojis on them, enjoy the fame and get the serious writing to the artists. Oh, nothing like a bit of journos Schadenfreude. But I digresss…

So, what’s on my plate for 2015? I consider myself as having a healthy skepticism towards the whole “new year, new you” thing – I am most definitely the same old me, with a few scars added, some willingly (hello, new tattoos!) some not, and not a little panettone weight. But I do believe in writing things down for later consideration and to avoid fooling myself. So without further ado, my modest plans for the year ahead are:

killing it at work (read: win a Cannes Lions Award or two).

– the above, without killing anyone (joking – hi boss!).

train for the Run Hackney half marathon, which implies me learning to run in the cold. My Italian “cervicale” is hurting while I type this.

– getting slimmer or at least keep my weight while eating all the food at all the new restaurants, plus the old favourites. Let’s not fool anyone that’s why we exercise.


This is me at the Royal Parks Half Marathon in 2014. In the only picture where I am not panting, swearing or looking like I may die anytime.

– and finishing the new house with all those droolworthy Pinterest touches and DIY projects.

travel. Not as much for work like last year, but for pleasure.

– oh, and resume studying Mandarin.

the blog, you say? yes, keep writing and learning to take better pictures and learn to make my posts shorter (hate to admit it, but the Times may have a point here)

Bonus: I still want to to see my friends in real life and not through a phone or computer screen.

I already know – this is SO not going to happen, not entirely at least. Right now, in the afterglow of two days of healthy-ish eating and gym session, it may look doable but to be honest I already feel the gravitational pull of Monday morning at work, of the shrinking hours of the day, of the “hell I am too tired to do anything but read some silly thriller in bed”, and the curse of the procrastinator. I will do what I will do and try to live with it.

What I have achieved so far though, is to try and write down a few possible travel destinations for 2015 – and by possible I mean realistic from a  budget and days off perspective.

  • Long weekends: starting with Lisbona in February with my best friend (all confirmed, yay!); Istanbul in Spring, with the boyfriend; and later on, South of France to visit friends and drink and eat as only the French can do. A mix of hostels, Airbnb and “we’ll figure it out”, just my travel style.


    Image from Lisbona – credits:

  • Short holidays: in my uni year in Vermont (US), I made lots of friends and a couple of very special friends; one of them is a beautiful, talented girl named Malaika who is now a yoga instructor. She’ll be in Italy in May, teaching a 5-day yoga retreat in Puglia in a beautiful Masseria, and I am so glad that this coincidence is giving me a great way to see her again whilst experiencing a yoga retreat, something I always wanted to do. I am missing yoga after coming back from Singapore where I was practicing everyday, and this holiday can’t come soon enough.
  • Wedding holidays: let’s face it, when you’re either side of 30, your friends do get married, which is both fabulous for them and gives you a great excuse to travel and party. This year it will be Valencia for me in September and my beloved homeland Abruzzo in August.

    valencia beach

    The sea in Valencia – dreamy!

  • The BIG one: I’d like it to be Myanmar and Cambodia, in Autumn 2015. I have been to Cambodia already and the capital won me over (see my tips on what to do in Phnom Penh), but Myanmar eluded me in my travels from Singapore. Everybody seems to agree that “the time is now” to go before the tourism industry and the pace of modernisation change the face of the country forever. I have high expectations and I know that it will take a bit to organise this one – apparently, you do need a guide or agency in former Burma, but I struggle to abandon my usual DYI style – but hopefully we’ll make it happen. And I finally want to see the Siem Reap temples in Angkor Wat and drink too many poolside Negronis with my friend Beiruti Brit who works there in a gorgeous hotel.

    Shwedagon Pagoda

    The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon – photo courtesy My Life in Sin blog

What about you, readers? If you have been to any of these destinations and have top tips to share, please do! I love planning following suggestions from the blog and Twitter, I have found quite a few gems.

And what are your travel, life, fitness plans for 2015? Feel free to share in the comments and thanks for coming along the ride so far – I just realised this is my 102nd post, eeek!




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  1. Great plans! Of course I especially like the last one but all of your goals look great to me! Hope it’s a great year for you

    • Thanks my dear. Siem Reap is definitely happening, being top of the list means that no matter what happens of the other plans, we’ll make it to Burma and Cambodia. Wish you a great year too xx

  2. Studying Mandarin? Very impressive! I’m hoping to get to Puglia too

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • Puglia is definitely very trendy at the moment (funny as it’s so close to my region in Italy, yet I have never been exploring properly). You should go!

  3. Wait, what? Blogging is dead? No-one gave me the memo. Hmmm maybe I should start a blog about it…

    • Apparently so…but I am happily ignoring the memo as you can see ;)

  4. Istanbul rocks! One of the best cities in the world, it’s just so vibrant and the food is rather good too ;-) I’m feeling the pull also from the Asia region, Malaysia and Hong Kong are screaming at me but we will see.
    I’m loving your work resolutions, mine are similar without killing anyone (if looks could kill in 2014 I killed most of my team, oops!).
    The Sunday Times are worried about us bloggers taking over the world hahaha (evil laugh)

    • Hahaha thanks Kelly, your comments made me laugh. By the way, I have family in Malaysia and have been many times so if you need tips about that, just shout!

  5. Great plans! I have a few weekends and holiday booked and being planned.. at the moment I am struggling to convince my other half to spend Easter in Northumberland! We have decided to stay in the UK as we don’t want to leave Amber alone again… and having done the gorgeous Cornwall already, I feel I should visit the north of the country a bit. Work in progress.
    Should you fancy a weekend somewhere, UK or Europe… let me know. I am always up for it! (Dubrovnik or San Sebastian spring to mind).

    • I’d like to see more of the UK as well but without a car it’s not always easy. Let’s plan a foodie weekend somewhere? San Sebastian is on my list as well

  6. Looking forward to you hopefully making it to the South of France, Nice being nice of course ;)

    • Yup! Let’s plan as soon as you guys are settled :)

  7. A trip to Cambodia would be incredible! I’d love to go there!

    • Cambodia is a really special place. I have been to the capital only but I can’t wait to go back.

  8. Omg, studying mandarin? I have so much respect for people who study mandarin. I’m bilingual so i’ve learnt mandarin and english since i was born, and even that, mandarin still scares me!
    You go girl!

    X, Carina
    Running White Horses

    • Thanks Carina! I hope the boyfriend will help me once I get to conversation level…he learnt Mandarin as a kid, I am so jealous!

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