What a year 2015 has been. A year of firsts, a year of repeats, a year of new videos, a year of new countries, as well as a wide range of new experiences and a big move forward with the blog.
January started in busy fashion, and the year simply got busier until November, when I finally caught my breath and began to slow down.
Here's what happened in 2015, with some of my favourite travel experiences highlighted!
January was a whirlwind of a start to the year. 2015 saw me bring in the New Year by constructing a life size 70's Playboy jigsaw. Weird start, huh?
In the middle of January, I headed to new country number 1 - Hungary. I took a long weekend and decided to explore the restaurants, cafes and ruin bars of Budapest. I also had a chance to explore Europe's largest outdoor heated spa bath!
Less than 2 weeks later, my girlfriend and I headed into London to experience the epitomy of secret dining: Gingerline. It began with a cryptic text message and whispering to a stranger, and ended with the Lost Gardens Of Gingerline. If you live in London and haven't had the Gingerline experience, DO IT SOON.
January ended with a trip to Manchester, and the first of many stag dos for 2015.
February was all about the snow. As a guest at the launch of Ultimate Ears' Mega Boom speaker, I headed to the Xscape SnoZone in Milton Keynes for a snowboard lesson with non-other than Great British Olympic snowboarder, Aimee Fuller!
Three days later, and I was on my way to Mayrhofen, Austria for my annual ski trip. This was my 12th year of skiing! I should become a ski blogger...
My family popped down the week after, and brought the dogs (a springer spaniel and a labrador), so I thought it was a perfect time to try out my new GoPro fetch harness. We strapped it to the spaniels, and let them run. Check out the battering the GoPro housing took!
First play with the GoPro Fetch harness! I'm glad the housing is smash proof - Lilly the springer spaniel took no prisoners in the first half of this video! :)
Posted by Simon Heyes on Saturday, 21 February 2015
The following week I was on the road again, this time to Iceland. Even though I was there for a long weekend, Iceland quickly became one of my favourite countries. Stunning landscapes, beautiful cities and towns, and it is, essentially, and outdoor enthusiasts playground.
I did the Golden Circle tour, and managed to see the Northern Lights in all their glory.
The waterproof jacket colour was pure coincidence, promise!
2015 had been non-stop up to this point, so March needed to be a quieter month. With a work trip to Edinburgh, and a fantastic travel blogger event in the shape of Traverse in Kingston-Upon-Thames, March was a fairly quiet month, thankfully!
April and Easter arrived, and the temperature began to pick up. There was lots of puppy playtime in April, as well as my second stag do, which took place in the Peak District.
I also managed to get interviewed by Reuters for some opinions on digital marketing and mobile SEO!
Before I knew it, May had arrived. I was now 5 months into the year - where did that time go?! Fortunately, May also meant that my biggest trip of the year had arrived - a 2 week trip to Papua New Guinea with my dad.
From meeting locals and tribes to snorkelling and uncovering old World War II plane wrecks, Papua New Guinea was an incredible experience. I've never visited a country like it - untouched, unspoilt and so diverse in so many ways. Here are 22 reasons you should add it to your bucket list!
Nothing to see here. There was a few weddings, many BBQ's, but mainly I was recovering from the PNG trip!
Into the heart of summer, and my third stag do, which consisted of a week long hiking trip a long the South West Coast Path in Cornwall.
The weather was stunning, the beer was cold, and we broke the stag, which means the trip was tremendous. Did I mention that as best man, I through the stag out of an aeroplane?
Look at the enjoyment in his face!
The middle of July saw me attend the 'UK Cooks Basque' event, which celebrated the opening of Bilbao Berria near Piccadilly Circus, London. It was at the end of this yummy pintxos-filled evening that I found out I had won a trip to the Basque Country in Spain! More on that later.
The end of July also saw me pick up my phone, and broadcast live for 1 HOUR from Islington, London. As part of Skyscanner's second 24 Hour Periscope project, I toured Islington at night, and even managed to pick up some free Turkish delight!
August was all about the best of British. It began with Wilderness Festival in leafy Oxfordshire and continued into mid-August with my second trip of the year to Cornwall.
If 2014 was my award-winning year, then August was my accolade month for this year, as I was listed as one of 15 UK travel bloggers to watch in 2015.
August once again ended with National Burger Day! I'm a sucker for a good burger, so this year we headed to Street Feast in Dalston Yard, and managed to eat our way through four tasty burgers in three hours!
Remember Blogstock from 2014? This year it was back, with more blogging tips and tricks and a fantastic Hertz campsite.
|Photo source: Macca Sherifi|
September also saw the start of some long overdue dental treatment. I've come to learn that health is very important, and this was long overdue. Many lunchtimes were lost to the dentist chair!
Then, on the 26th September, I played the role of Best Man at the long-anticipated wedding of two of my very good friends. And yes, the speech went very well, thanks for asking :)
The drink flowed. And flowed some more. Then, eventually, this happened:
As if the stag dos and booze-filled wedding weren't enough, I decided to punish my liver further with a lads trip (technically a pre-stag stag do) to Berlin. T-shirt weather meant cold beers and a great time. I even went to see Hertha Berlin play at the Olympiastadion.
Following this jaunt, I had a last minute trip up to the Lake District to do some hiking (and walk off the alcohol from the previous few weeks!).
October then finished at pace, as I took an awesome trip to the Basque Country, exploring the wide variety of pintxos and Rioja wines in Bilbao, San Sebastian and Rioja Alavesa. I even did a wine tour by Segway!
Then it gets a bit emotional. I've been visiting Perranporth in Cornwall pretty much every year since I was eleven years old, with the same friends and families. 2015 was the final year the Ponsmere Hotel was open. The doors closed for the final time on 31st October 2015, so we drove down and had quite the party on the 30th. The end of an era for sure.
With the dental work finally wrapped up, I headed back to my home town of Preston two weeks in a row to say hello to family and get in some much needed country activities.
And so into December. A Trek America event kicked off the month, with me hoping to grab a place on the #iTrekHere2016 blogger trip (fingers crossed). This was followed by a trip to Winter Wonderland, a work Christmas party Edinburgh and finally a merry old sing song at the Royal Albert Hall.
December also had a very sad note too. Remember Rufus the sprocker spaniel who I played Uncle to? She sadly passed away a few weeks ago after failing to fight a nasty infection :(
WHAT DOES 2015 HAVE IN STORE?
Much like last year, New Year will be a fairly quiet affair with plenty of games and plenty of beer. The travel commences quickly though, with a winter sun break to....Kenya!
At the start of February I'll be doing a Staycation in Bath, then in March I'll be heading to undisclosed location in Eastern Europe to tick off another country I've previously never been too. This will be followed (hopefully) be a ski trip in late February.
Other than that, 2016 is being left open, depending on what pops up, so watch this space! One thing you can be sure of - there's plenty of stories, videos and blog posts to come!
I hope you had a good 2015, and I wish you all the best for 2016! :)