Highlights of 2015


Well, as another year comes to a close it’s time to reflect on the achievements of the year past. Here are my highlights of the year-

1) Organising my first residential visit as Course Team Leader at Uxbridge College and having a fantastic time in Berlin with my favourite tutor group yet! Now I’ve changed jobs (see point number 4) I doubt I will ever be so close with a group of students again.

Berlin Wall Hayley Stainton

2) I discovered gardening, and I did my garden with only a little help from my (then) finance and his mum. Very proud photo 🙂 (Yes, this ‘highlight’ does make me feel old!)

small terrace garden

3) I planned my second residential visit, this time to Malta, and it was a HUGE success! Hopefully my lasting legacy at Uxbridge College… 🙂

Malta Hayley Stainton

4) It was a LONG time coming, but I finally secured myself a job as a University Lecturer. I’ve worked incredibly hard to earn this position and the hard work in the form of my PhD continues…

Hayley Stainton Linkedin

5) I got fit! First it was the Colour Obstacle rush, then off-road biking, a mountain climb (I’ll blog about this soon but for now you can see the plane wreckage that I found at the top!) and the infamous Tough Mudder . Again, I’m rather proud of myself!

hayley stainton tough mudder

6) I presented my first paper at a conference. Go me! And it was pretty cool to get to visit Neufchatel in Switzerland too!

Neuchatel Hayley Stainton

7) I went to visit my dad’s place in Spain which was pretty cool, we even had a mud bath! Maybe someday I will too live in the sun 🙂 

Mud bath Murcia

8) I stayed in a really cool Air B’n’B place that was carved in to the mountains in Frigiliana, Spain.

Frigiliana

9) We then slept in the Sahara desert. Amazing experience. Absolutely roasting- perhaps not the best idea in August, I’ve genuinely never been so hot! Sleeping under the stars was cool though, I’ve never seen them so clear and I even saw a shooting star! Oh, and did I mention that we got caught in an actual desert sand storm? Once in a lifetime experience!

Sahara jumping

10) I climbed an actual mountain. Mount Toubkal was pretty challenging and at 4167meters I suffered a bit of altitude sickness too. But it was worth it, and was quite possibly the biggest achievement and best thing I’ve ever done! Read about the plane crash I saw here.

Mount Toubkal summit

11) I presented at a second conference, this time in Iceland. Although I didn’t get to see the Northern Lights for a second time, it was a brilliant trip nonetheless. Such a mysterious, yet wonderful country. I even got to stay at a soil conservation center surrounded by lava fields for a PhD seminar- pretty cool. 

lava fields Iceland

12) My sister planned me a FANTASTIC hen weekend in Riga, Latvia. A weekend of cocktails, spas, quad-bike riding, sightseeing and fancy dress, what more can a bride to be ask for!? (blog post on this trip coming soon)

cabin crew fancy dress

13) I got married!!!! We (by ‘we’, I mean me with a small amount of help from Philip) planned an Asian themed wedding to represent our love of travel, Asian food and a good Thailand-style party. We had an incredible day and I cannot wait to get my photos back from the photographer and to write a proper blog post. 

wedding tuk tuk

14) We are celebrating Christmas IN STYLE this year. We wanted to do something really special for our honeymoon and have planned to spend Christmas in the Galapagos Islands!!! I’ve genuinely never been SO excited about a holiday before! 

Galapagos Islands

15) The honeymoon fun doesn’t end there… from the Galapagos we head over to the Amazon rain-forest to spend new year. The perfect end to yet another productive and adventure-filled year!

Amazon jungle lodge

OK, so if the honeymoon is so amazing, why is she sat on her computer blogging on New Years Eve you might ask? Well fortunately, I’m not. Today is 14/12/15 and we travel in 5 days time. When you read this I will hopefully we chasing Caymans or photographing marmosets, or perhaps even treating myself to a nice glass of jungle-infused wine. 🙂 

So, what’s the plan for next year? Another busy one! I have BIG plans for 2016, but you will have to wait to see what they are, the only thing set in stone at the moment is my trip across Mexico in March (any recommendations please do let me know- I’ll be booking up accommodation etc early in the new year). Work hard (on the PhD), travel hard- that’s my motto for 2016. 

Thanks for following the blog. Have a great new year!