My top Office Breaks of 2017

As another year in the capital whizzes by at lightning speed, we take a moment to pause and reflect on some of the top Office Break outings of 2017.  From submerging myself in a floatation tank to exploring the foothills of the Himalayas, it’s been an action-packed year full of adventure.

approach to Annapurna base camp on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek

Annapurna sanctuary trek in Nepal

Exploring Okuda’s street art after work

Refugee Goddess by Okuda, Stolen Space Gallery

Refugee Goddess by Okuda

In the drab, grey days of February, I was looking for a splash of warm colour to jolt me out of the winter misery and I couldn’t have hoped for a more uplifting experience than Okuda’s street art exhibition at the xxx Gallery.  Originating from Santander, this talented graffiti artist blends vibrant geometric shapes to create startling Picasso-esque creations such as the Refugee Goddess below.

My first experience of a floatation tank

close up of the inside of an I-sopod float pod at Float Works, Vauxhall

Floatworks the I-sopod float pod at Floatworks, Vauxhall

The first three months of 2017 were extremely hectic at work so I was delighted to accept an invitation to try out a floatation tank.   While being submerged in total sensory deprivation was initially a shock to the system, the feeling of complete peace and relaxation experienced by the end of the session was a revelation.  This outing was definitely a leap out of my comfort zone but one that I would definitely recommend to other highly stressed office workers!

A weekend hiking on the Gower Peninsula

View to Worm's head promontory from the Gower Peninsula

View from the mainland to Worm’s Head promontory

By the summer, it was time for a weekend coastal break and where better than the glorious Gower Peninsula.  Armed with waterproofs and rain jackets, we were blessed with a long weekend of blue skies and warm sunshine.  (Who says it always rains in Wales?!).   The coastal scenery was spectacular, with one of the outstanding highlights being the famous Rhossili Beach – rated in the world’s top 10 beaches.  An amazing staycation that just goes to prove that with the right weather, the UK can compete with any European beach destination.

Learning to cook Black Cod Miso at Sozai Cooking School

black cod miso with rice and pork and vegetable soup

Close up of black cod miso with rice and spring onions accompanied by pork and vegetable soup

On the eternal quest for self-improvement, October saw me trying my hand again at Japanese cooking courtesy of the Sozai Cooking School.  Having previously joined them for a Ramen class, I was keen to get stuck into creating the famously extravagant Black Cod Miso dish.  With Sozai attending to all the pain-staking preparation, we were left to add the finishing touches before devouring this delicious Asian delicacy. Armed with a recipe sheet and a list of Japanese fish stockists, my culinary repertoire now knowns no ends.

Hiking in the Himalayas

posing for a group photo at Annapurna Sanctuary base camp

At Annapurna Sanctuary base camp

I rounded off 2017 by achieving a major bucket list item.  In what was one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences of my life, I endured the rigours of altitude, intense cold and some very basic bathrooms to achieve my dream of hiking through the Himalayas.   From the jungle terrain of the lower foothills to the stunning Annapurna Sanctuary base camp, we trekked in the shadow of some of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges – an experience that will stay with more for a lifetime.

What were your highlights of 2017?  Share your memories here.

 

 

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