Sunday, January 03, 2010

Goodbye 2009

I will remember it mostly as the year of eating. Ah...

I set a goal at the beginning of the year to eat in at least three Michelin starred restaurants. During two weeks in September I ate in six.

Never let it be said that goals cannot be achieved!

I haven't worked out yet what the total for the year is. It truly was an amazing year of eating. I was quick to learn that Michelin did not necessarily mean delicious, nor did lack of mean that it wouldn't be a fabulous meal. The Michelin mission was punctuated in October with the ultimate pilgrimage El Bulli. No, I still haven't blogged about it (I will), but it was an incredible experience that I am still thanking the lovely Trissa in Sydney for allowing me to go in her place.

Petit Fours at El Bulli: Just for 2 of us. I've been carrying this picture on my BlackBerry and showing anyone and everyone. Being presented with this (17 different types of chocolate!) was a definite highlight of 2010 ;-) .

I've been pretty irregular at blogging this year, ditto for newsletters to people who have signed up at Chocolate Ecstasy Tours. I would love to do more of both in 2010 but I know better than to make promises about that! I will be making resolutions, but one of the things I have learnt in the last few years is to focus on doing fewer things well, and then move onto the other stuff.

2009 was a year I went to the cinema just once, but I managed the ballet, concerts, theatre, comedy, opera, a music festival, Wimbledon, the polo and lots of eating. How cultured.

2009 was also a year I attended 4 Weddings, and a Funeral. There was a second funeral, but I didn't make it to the other hemisphere for that one.

All but one of those five events was family-centred. Strange for me, when it seems that as I get older, and especially living so far from my immediate family, it is friends, and extended relatives, who are stepping into the breach of my immediate family's physical distance. I feel so fortunate to have so many amazing relationships here in London. It is most definitely home.

I am very much looking forward to visiting my immediate family, and my other home again in just four weeks. It's especially exciting as this will also be my first full week off since November 2008. Working full time and running tours on many weekend days, and fitting in emails and bookkeeping around all that... it's been a long, but incredibly satisfying year.

Apart from the weddings in Bahrain and Serbia and a long weekend in Morocco, the only travel I managed in 2009 was with work (to be fair, these were lovely trips to Scotland, Ireland, Jersey and Spain). 2010 will be the year I travel more (she says, ambitiously). I am starting with this break in Oz in February and over Easter I'm heading to Madagascar to visit Chocolate Plantations. (Excited!)

2009 was definitely a year of change. The end of a relationship, moving house and postcode, resignation for a new job for 2010... I'm blessed to be able to walk away from all of that with excellent friendships. And I am looking forward to more adventures in 2010!

On the business side, there are four exciting things planned for Chocolate Ecstasy Tours this year:

1. A BRAND NEW website for Complete with new logos! The site will be live by Easter (hopefully sooner!)

2. The first International Chocolate Ecstasy Tour! In November I'll be organising a trip to Grenada and St Lucia. We'll visit plantations and factories and also have free time for the beach and mountains. If you're interested in joining me please email me at tours [at]

3. Blind Chocolate Tasting as a Charity Fundraiser for Sense UK. To be held in May/June. More details to come!

4. A new walking tour in the Notting Hill area. I'm hoping this will get off the ground (well, on the ground!) in March. Watch this space...

In other exciting news I have finally set up a Facebook Fan page for Chocolate Ecstasy Tours. I'd love it if you joined!

Wishing you a year full of love, joy, good health, laughter, adventures and great chocolate!


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