‘Be happy in this moment, for this moment is your life.’

I love this quote by the Persian mathematician and philosopher Omar Khayyam. And on Christmas eve, after six days of hard hiking, I said it to myself over and over again as I struggled to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

I wrote recently that 2015 had been a momentous year for me – completing the Lyric Hammersmith’s Capital Project, swimming the English Channel and now I can add to that list climbing the highest mountain in Africa. What I didn’t say is that this year, in spite of these triumphs, I have also been through some of the toughest of times.

As I climbed Kilimanjaro through the night, reaching the top as the sun rose bathing the snow-topped mountain in the most beautiful light, there was no better reminder that however hard things get, you have to try and be happy in every moment because every moment is your life. It might not always bring you the things you want, and sometimes it takes away the things you have, but there are always ways to find happiness. And what this year has taught me above everything else is that it isn’t just about getting to the top of the mountain, you’ve got to let it accompany you all the way up. But when you do get to the top, it feels great. It really does.