Looking back on an amazing year
by Otto Marples at January 31, 2018
It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the end of January. 2017 is firmly in the books and was one of our most eventful years to date. We celebrated our 25th birthday, won plenty of new clients and welcomed some brilliantly skilled new starters to our growing fst family.
Such a great year gave us cause for reflection; so back in November we took a day out of the office to enjoy the peaceful surroundings of Hurley Village in leafy Berkshire. We spent the day in a beautiful converted barn at one of the oldest hotels in England, and it was the perfect setting to delve deep into our sense of purpose as a business, to define who we are and – more importantly – who we want to be. It was as emotional as it was productive, but it’s safe to say that we all left feeling bonded and proud of the fst that we’re working hard to build.
Just two days later, we were out of bed well before sunrise to congregate at our Marlow HQ. It was time to set off for our annual Christmas party, this year in the coastal Portuguese capital of Lisbon – 19º and sunny!
In fst tradition, scouts were sent out a day early to pave the way for a weekend full of food, exploration and ridiculous dancing. James and George gave up a whole day at the office for the critical mission of researching the weekend’s awesome activities. It must have been an arduous task and a tremendous sacrifice, for which they have our endless gratitude.
With our bags dropped off at the hotel, we made our way to the harbour and climbed aboard a fishing boat. Yes, you read right: an actual fishing boat. While a few of our multi-talented team were securing the catch of the day, the rest of us did the sensible thing and soaked up the remaining November sun.
Back on dry land – and a few beers and shots of vodka later – we headed out to a traditional Portuguese restaurant for a dinner of local seafood, washed down with red wine – good times were had by all. Rallying the flagging troops, the local hawkers made an absolute killing, kitting us out in multi-coloured trilby hats. For the rest of the evening, we took to various dance floors across the city and taught the locals a thing or two about throwing shapes.
The following morning was a more relaxed affair and the team split up to experience the more cultural side of Lisbon. Walking and bike tours were enjoyed by all, although a few members of the group could do with investing in a pair of stabilisers. Our minds and bodies attended to, we regrouped and went on to an absolutely amazing restaurant in the city centre, where we indulged in Espresso Martinis on arrival, followed by gorgeous food, fine wine and a fabulous atmosphere.
Craig then gave his annual rousing speech, reducing more than a few of us to tears (of laughter!). New international friends were made – American, Dutch, Moroccan, Portuguese – everyone took joy in the party atmosphere we had inadvertently created.
Early Sunday morning, a bleary-eyed and somewhat subdued Team fst flew back to the UK. Again, our annual Christmas celebration was a runaway success. We added more than a few stories to the fst Hall of Fame and Lisbon 2017 will forever go down as one of the happiest, most fun, and hectic parties we’ve ever had.
What a great team to be part of and what a fitting way to bid farewell to an amazing year. Bring on 2018!