Apart from travelling with work, I hadn’t planned on actually doing much personal travel this year. Matt and I moved and renovated a house; I’m also expecting baby number two so I had intended to slow down. But writing up this post I’m surprised how much I’ve managed to squeeze in. I just get itchy feet and being grounded from my job as cabin crew while I’m pregnant has meant that I’ve been living a ‘normal’ life for a while. Whatever that is?! Anyway too much of normal and I get a little bit bored so I’ve been lucky to have a few opportunities to jump on a plane and fulfil my wanderlust!
2019 started off with a mini adventure in Mexico. I had a work trip to Cancun falling over New Years Eve, so it was the perfect opportunity for Matt to come away with me. One of the perks of my job is discounted flights and getting to take Matt along while I’m working is so nice. We arrived on New Years Eve, got some room service and gorged on enchiladas, guacamole, tortillas and all things Mexican. We were so tired that we didn’t make it to midnight in the end but it was still a great evening! The following day it was time for exploring so we jumped on a local bus to a nearby ferry terminal and boarded a boat to Isla Mujeres. If you are going to Cancun I really recommend a trip to this little island. We hired a golf buggy and whizzed around the island, you can cover the whole of it in a couple of hours. The main town has brightly coloured buildings and beachfront bars, there’s mangroves and secluded beaches to relax on as well as a small turtle sanctuary. Don’t miss the drive through garage, perfect for picking up Coronas to have on the beach. My favourite beach is Playa Norte, although it was really busy on New Years Day so not as peaceful as I’ve seen it in the past.
February and March: Dubai and Fort Lauderdale
In February Matt and I moved house it had been a long painful process so it was amazing to finally get the keys. Although it needed a lot of work so we stayed with my lovely in-laws while we did it up. A new boiler, radiators, bathroom, electrics, plastering, decorating and new carpets were amongst the many things that needed doing.
The day after completing on the house I went to Dubai with my Mum! I hadn’t planned it that way, as we should have initially completed in November 2018 so it all felt a little bit stressful but it was lovely to have a little getaway. Dubai isn’t somewhere that’s really appealed to me in the past but we wanted to go somewhere with a bit of sun that wasn’t too far to fly so it ticked those boxes. I can honestly say I loved it, we crammed so much into the three days we were there for and there’s still so much I want to see. My highlights were a desert safari, going to the top of the Burj Khalifa and strolling along ‘The Walk’ on the beachfront at JBR.
For more on my new favourite part of the world head here: A mini guide to Dubai…
A work trip to Fort Lauderdale in the middle of house renovations was a fun adventure. It was a layover, which meant two nights and whole day to explore. Famous for its waterways lined with million dollars houses, it only seemed right to jump on a water taxi and take in the views. The water taxis are really easy to use and you can jump on and off to spend time along the route. I loved the bars and restaurants that lined the waterfront, we enjoyed food and drinks overlooking the sparkling canals in between checking out the local area. It also happened to be Pride the weekend I was there so we had a walk around the festival on the beach. I also got some time to chill out by the pool and catch some sun before flying home.
April: Dominican Republic and the Isle of Wight
In April I had my first work trip to the Dominican Republic, staying in an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana it was a very relaxing experience! I had a day and a half to sunbathe, have a beer or two and swim in the warm, sparkling ocean.
My brother and his girlfriend bought Matt and I a voucher to walk with alpacas as a Christmas present so April saw us heading to Hensting Alpaca Farm in Ottterbourne Hampshire. It was a really relaxing two-hour stroll through a meadow by the River Itchen. The alpacas were gorgeous and it was such a different thing to do. For more on this unique experience click here: Walking with alpacas in the Hampshire countryside…
On Emily’s 3rd birthday we went on a day trip to the Isle of Wight. We went as foot passengers on the Wightlink ferry from Lymington and used the open top buses to explore. It’s such a fun and easy way to see the island, there are different routes and regular buses so you can hop on and off at your leisure. We chose the route that went to the Needles and were treated to incredible views of Alum Bay and the mainland on the journey to The Needles Battery. After a few more stop offs we went back to Yarmouth for lunch at a pub and an ice cream and a walk along the pier before catching the ferry back to the mainland.
I got to go to one of my favourite cities in May, Toronto. Another work trip, I had two nights and a day and a half to spend there. Having been a few times before it was nice to explore some new areas. I visited Graffiti Alley, which is a really cool spot to take photos. Kensington Market for brunch and my first proper experience of Poutine. Canadian comfort food at its best: chips, cheese curd and gravy. If you’ve not tried it before, you should. I also visited a pop up gallery called Eye Candy, the perfect place if you love taking photos for Instagram. It has small rooms all individually decorated in bright colours and different themes.
I’ve written a blog post all about things to do in my favourite Canadian city: Planning the perfect trip to Toronto…
Matt, Emily and I had a mini break to Yorkshire; Matt had some work there so Emily and I tagged along. We stayed at Woodland Lakes Lodges in Thirsk, our lodge had a hot tub, there were ponds full of friendly ducks and geese and it was a great base for exploring the local area.
Summer hit the UK so it was all about time at the beach in Milford on Sea and HIghcliffe, paddle boarding and barbecues.
July saw us spending lots more time on the beach and Emily sitting on my paddle board with me for the first time. We discovered the Cliff House in Barton on Sea. It’s the loveliest bar on the cliff top over looking the Solent, Isle Wight and Dorset. We also went on the hunt for pubs in the New forest with play parks for kids. The Rising Sun in Bashley is our new favourite, not only is it 10 minutes drive from our house, but it looks right out onto the forest and has an awesome kids play park. I feel like this should be a future blog post!
We moved into our house after 5 months of renovating, it was such an amazing feeling after all the work we put in and a couple of weeks later I found out I was pregnant with baby number two. So all in all a very exciting month!
August: Warmwell, Dorset
I love having my birthday in the summer; Matt took me on a surprise trip to Dorset. We stayed on the same glamping site as last year in a shepherds hut. We had typical British weather, one day full of rain and the next sunshine, but we didn’t let it stop us enjoying our mini break away and it inspired me to write this post: What to pack for a glamping trip in the UK. It was super cosy listening to the rain in the hut and the log burner was all it needed to keep it warm. Our glamping retreat consisted of three shepherds huts, the main one had a double bed, seating area and log burner, while the other two housed a kitchen and a bathroom. A fire pit and hammock completed the set up. Thankfully with the weather being nice on day two we sat out all evening by the fire. We went on some lovely walks and being just the two of us enjoyed a bit of quiet time reading magazines and having long lazy lie-ins, a rarity when you’ve got kids!
Back at home and being the height of the summer we spent a lot of time on the beach, paddleboarding and meeting up with friends from school.
September: West Bay, Dorset
In September we crammed in our final beach visits and headed off for four nights in West Bay in Dorset. West Bay has an incredible cliff formation that has been made famous by the TV series Broadchurch. The imposing cliffs are found on East Cliff Beach. The tiny fishing town is full of quintessential British charm, fish and chip huts line the harbour front and seagulls keep a beady eye out for ice creams. The George is a good pub for a drink and Rise does the best poached eggs and smashed avocado on sourdough for breakfast. This coastline or Jurassic coast as it is known is famous for fossil hunting; Charmouth Beach is a popular spot for uncovering treasures. We spent hours on there hunting for fossils and sea glass. It’s such a fun thing to do even on a wintery day.
October and November: France and Bermuda
October and November were exciting months with a mini cruise to France with Brittany Ferries and a trip to Bermuda. First off France, two nights on the ferry and a whole day to explore France. We got on the ferry in Portsmouth and sailed to St Malo. The mini cruises run over the winter months and are really good value for money. What’s more you get to keep your cabin so you can leave your luggage onboard while you spend the day in France. Highlights of the trip were walking to Mont St Michel, lunch in the pretty town of Dinan and shopping in the huge supermarkets! The crossings were so much fun with evening entertainment, bars and restaurants. For more on this unique trip head here: A mini cruise with Brittany Ferries…
Next was Bermuda, while pregnant I am ‘grounded’ from my job as cabin crew, I was missing crew life so took the opportunity to join one of my good work friends on a trip she was rostered to Bermuda. It was lovely to catch up with work friends and spend time in one of my favourite parts of the world. My friend and I had the loveliest little break, being cold and rainy in the UK it was so nice to spend some time in the sun. We went to the beach, did some paddle boarding, ate good food and explored the pretty streets of the capital Hamilton.
No travels in December just getting into the festive spirit and enjoying lots of family time. We took Emily to see Father Christmas at Stewerts Garden Centre in Christchurch, every year they have a winter wonderland walkway and a really great Father Christmas. Matt and I hosted Christmas for my family in our new home, we enjoyed chilly beach walks and I’ve eaten far too much chocolate!
It’s been a year of highs and lows but the highs have definitely out weighed the lows and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the new year brings.
I’m not going to worry about resolutions for the year ahead, looking back through previous years one of my aims is always to write more blog posts…but I’m not going to put any pressure on myself for 2020 as I think I’ll be pretty busy with a new baby! I’ve worked on some cool brand campaigns this year and have worked with more companies on sponsored posts than last year, so if I can carry on building my freelance writing business then that would be my aim for 2020.
The first trip for 2020 is a holiday to Fuerteventura; this will be the last time I fly before having baby number two in April. We’ve got a trip to Center Parcs in Longleat booked for June and who knows after that but we’re definitely aiming to travel again more once we’ve settled into being a family of four.
Happy New Year to you all and happy travels for 2020!