Yup, I am still looking back at 2016. January is not yet done, so I am allowed, I think. Anyway, recently, I posted my favorite books that I read in 2016, and now I want to talk about other memorable experiences last year. Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one.
So, first up.
Best in Food
Last year, I was offered multiple opportunities to try the restaurants in ITC Gardenia hotel, and I have to say that each dining experience was complete and utter bliss.
My first visit was to Ottimo for the Fire of Italy food festival, and it still stands out because of the fab service, the excellent wine, the great company, and last but not the least the excellent food.
We visited ITC Gardenia again a few months later, this time to try their Japanese restaurant Edo. Being a vegetarian, I didn’t really expect that I would get much to eat. But Chef Joshi was simply amazing tailoring the menu to suit mine and K’s tastes. By the end of the evening, I was so comfortable that I decided (on my own, without any prompting) to try out some salmon sashimi, and you know what, if I ever turn non-veg, I think it will be because of Japanese cuisine. The sashimi was simply sublime.
Another great outing was when Snubnose and I got to try their healthy brunch at their Cubbon Pavilion restaurant. Visiting the beautiful hotel on a cool and lazy Sunday morning was a special experience. Since there were very few people about, we got to have a wander around the entire place. I got to talking to some of the staff about the hotel’s efforts to be as environmentally friendly as possible, and I came away impressed, and with a full tummy, of course 🙂 .
My next fave food experience was Limelight at The Royal Orchid hotel. This place is nothing new. We love it for the vast green lawns that allow kids to run about, kids attractions (a bouncy castle, merry-go-round, tattoo artists, and so on), and the decent food that gets better every time we visit.
We celebrated our wedding anniversary at this place, and treated the entire family to a long and leisurely lunch buffet. The prices are steep for the quality but discount coupons are aplenty on the web, so if you’re visiting, make sure to check them out before making a visit.
Best of Travel
Last year wasn’t a great traveling year. We didn’t go anywhere at all, really. But in this bucket, I’d like to highlight two standout experiences.
First up, was a blogging opportunity to travel to Hyderabad to experience Tata’s new SUV – the Tata Hexa. It was my first blogging experience where I got to go out-of-town, and mingle with other bloggers, stay at a fancy-schmancy hotel, enjoy great drinks, food, and entertainment. And yeah, the best part was actually driving the SUV on Hyderabad’s super-awesome roads, and off-roading too.
On the personal travel front, it was a pleasure to discover Piglet’s pleasure in hiking when we went up the Gudibanda hill. He tramped manfully along the one hour uphill hike without a whimper, and was game to climb another hill too after we got down.
K and I told each other that we definitely had to include more hikes in our lifestyle seeing how much Piglet enjoyed it. Unfortunately, we never got around to moving our lazy asses off the couch the rest of the year.
Definitely a resolution for 2017 though.
Best of Personal
Both the personal highlights of last year were animal-related. We got a dog last May, and since then our lives have changed. Our cute little lab puppy Coco is now a massive nine months old, eating up a storm, and cajoling us all to spend more time out-of-doors. It’s amazing how much fun, love, laughter, and exercise Coco has brought into all our lives.
The next highlight was Piglet learning to ride horses. We always knew Piglet loved animals, but we never really anticipated just how well he’d take to a horse-riding class, and what was an experimental lesson or two, is now a regular weekly treat that Piglet really looks forward to.
Best of Shopping
Last year wasn’t much in terms of shopping. I remained frugal for the most part (pat on the back to me). Also, I guess none of the trends going around really tempted me that much.
However, I did treat myself to this beautiful bag for my birthday. I also rediscovered The Body Shop. I think I had become a little disenchanted by their facial beauty products.
But I’d forgotten how divine their body creams, scrubs, and body washes are. A casual window shopping session has now become a full-on addiction. Especially once I realized about their membership options, and the rewards associated with them. I am now often popping in every couple of months or so to redeem my coupons, and then of course spending more, and getting even more coupons to redeem. Those folks have me hooked.
Btw, if you haven’t tried their Vanilla Chai range, do try. It’s the most luscious winter body butter, and the shower gel feels pretty special too. It’s now off at half-price if you are a Body Shop member.
The Mansur Gavriel bucket bag is beautiful, so beautiful, that I have yet to use it properly. I took it out for a spin for a couple of weeks after it came, and then afterwards it has snoozed peacefully in its pink box.
Time to take it out for an airing soon.
Phew, and that’s the end of my long list, folks. I love doing an end-of-year recap as doing this post forces me to relive all the fun times last year. When I actually sat down to write this post, I didn’t really think 2016 was a standout year (and it wasn’t, not in the most important things), but all these simple pleasures of life actually added up to quite a fun and experimental year for all of us.
So, how was 2016 for you? What were your standout personal memories?