Yikes another year bites the dust and as I’ve done in 2014 and 2015, I thought I would take you on a short whistle stop tour of my adventures for the year. I will be honest and say that I haven’t blogged much about my travels this year but I will get there and will start posting again when time allows.
So where did the wind blow me in 2016…here we go, take a seat, buckle yourself in and you’ll find the emergency exit is at the end of this post…let’s go!
I started the year with the intention of boarding a flight back to England from New Zealand on the 2nd however a stomach bug kept me in NZ for an extra week which let’s be honest, wasn’t too much of a hardship; so I got to do some of my year end accounting work from New Zealand and enjoyed a few extra days at home with my family and doing a couple more tiki tours.
From there I did a little road trip to Cambridgeshire…
…and enjoyed a little staycation in Essex with a spot of gluten free afternoon tea…
….then onto Lisbon for a long weekend which I haven’t blogged about at all…let’s just say Lisbon really wasn’t my cup of tea, mainly as I just didn’t feel safe and maybe Porto spoiled me.
Looking back, that was quite of lot of tiki touring in one of my busiest months at work.
Our birthday month always has a birthday trip planned and this February was no different…alas 2017 has nothing at all planned! Our destination was Seville in Spain and I adored the city, my third trip to Spain and finally I found a spot that I actually loved ( I really disliked Valencia and Barcelona on my prior visits!).
I visited Leicester for the very first time to visit the Car Park King and found that it’s actually a really cool city that is often overlooked by tourists…
…then it was a trip to Greater London to visit Kensington Palace *coughs* completely overrated!
^^I spotted this gentleman as I was leaving Kensington Palace and he made me smile…the squirrel whisperer that looks like the guy from Back to the Future!
March saw me finally ticking Liverpool off my bucket list and can I just say, I don’t know why it took me so long to visit…be warned the city is pricey so book well in advance and choose your activities wisely as there are a number of ticket combos available. G and I really loved the city and I would happily return…especially to see the ladies shopping with curlers in their hair.
I popped up to the smallest county in England called Rutland and visited Oakham which is a very sweet area of England, it reminds me slightly of an unexplored Cotswolds…
…then at Easter I popped over to visit the Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire, my home county…
…and then G and I went to Hatfield House and to visit the underground caves in Hertfordshire, I really need to blog about that as it was a good day out…finished off with McD’s sundae!
^^G hates exploring England and getting dragged through houses like this…see those big grey clouds…he was in the door faster than me!
In April I was busy preparing for our big trip to Peru so we just did a few day trips close to home and one slightly further away. I visited Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, I love this county so much…the home of drunk wobbly houses…
…and then I popped across to Grantchester in the spring time which looked glorious.
The first bank holiday in May actually started on the last day of April which is when we headed up to Shropshire; a county that I fell head over heels in love with and can’t believe it’s not on more peoples radar – I read something recently that said if you want to know what London really looked like back in the day then a visit to Shrewsbury is a must with all its historic buildings; everyone was so friendly…(the north is so much friendly than the south I’ve found this year!). Bridgnorth and Ironbridge are also worthy of a visit! I couldn’t choose between two of my Shrewsbury photos so you get both!
We cancelled our trip to Peru as G’s dad passed away from cancer in May. Things were a bit of blur and we did some random things like visiting Woburn for a new pot for the hob…
…and visited St Neots to eat cake.
Rachel and I went down to London on the last bank holiday in May to the gluten free fair and to have afternoon tea at the Intercontinental and I can’t thank her enough for dragging me out and for that chat we had that day.
I took G’s mum for a drive to Cromer so we both got out of the house, it was nice to blow away some cobwebs…
…then I attended the cute little wedding dress fair in Blunham church where they were showing dresses through the decades including my 80 year old boyfriends mothers flapper wedding dress!
Also I thought it was high time to revisit Waddenson Manor in Buckinghamshire which was the first ever stately home that I had visited in England…it wasn’t as gaudy as I remembered!
G and I then jetted off to Madeira for a weekend (remember all those painted doors!), the hotel we stayed in no longer exists as it was destroyed in the recent fires and we didn’t get to do much due to the flight times, you need more than two nights. However we did visit Reid’s Palace which is part of the Belmond Group for Afternoon Tea, to be fair we thought it was okay but the service wasn’t anywhere near 5 star at all.
Looking at July it was a busy month as it consisted of a few staycations, I met Caprice who was over from South Africa for afternoon tea at The Langham in London and after a few cuddles…
…I jumped onto a train to Cardiff to see G who had been working the week in Wales; it was a blink and you miss it visit of Cardiff…
…then we drove back to Bedfordshire via Castle Combe…
…and Lacock which were just as pretty as I imagined them to be…Lacock was on my Jane Austen bucket list (yes I have one of those…told you I loved bucket lists!)…how gorgeous is Wiltshire and still there is so much to see in that county.
I popped up to Warwick to visit the castle and was deeply disappointed but I did think Warwick itself was rather pretty.
Rachel and I headed up for a picnic under the most famous apple tree in the world!
G and I popped over for a long weekend to the Cotswolds, actually he went to work and I didn’t…so I got to visit a few counties all in one weekend plus I enjoyed visiting some of the cutest little villages in the land including Great Tew, Bibury, Stow on the Wold and Broadway just to name a few!
Not sure how I managed this also but I headed to Broadstairs to see my gorgeous friend Amy and her beautiful boys for a day by the seaside.
July was busy busy!
After a busy July…I have RSI from typing all of the above…it was a quiet August thankfully. I managed to tick Tom Jones off my bucket list…and I can say with my hand on my heart, he is soooo good and totally worth taking your knickers off for…which some ladies did on the night. I kept my Bridget Jones knickers on.
I headed to the RHS Wisley Gardens in Surrey with G’s mum, it was an emotional day as it was a spot that G’s mum and dad wanted to visit together but we wandered around and drunk tea all before the rain set in.
Chester oh my goodness, my second most favourite place in the whole of England…totally worth a day trip or a weekend away, loved this city soooo much.
Feeling like I had cabin fever and just needing a break from life in England, I popped across to Washington DC…
…and Disneyland with my parents and little sister…it was our half way meeting point. We had a great time as we always do together albeit they had to deal with me, the stress bunny that could never relax.
I managed a little visit to Ampthill where there were some gorgeous thatched cottages…
…then G and I did a day trip to Stoke on Trent…we had done this trip years ago but everything had changed so much, G complained a bit but he had the second best scones of his life so he was a happy bunny in the end.
October was a funny month but I still managed to visit Alfriston (thank you Sian for the brilliant suggestion)…
..and onto my old hometown of Arundel…
…both are worth a visit and there was so much to see in-between that I didn’t have a chance to stop at.
I also popped into my number one favourite spot in all of England, Cambridge to buy new bras (which I failed at and still need to buy!).
G’s mum wanted to visit Rome so we both went away for a long weekend where we just plodded along and did a few magical tours in the eternal city.
After feeling rather down in the dumps for weeks and beyond exhausted, the doctor advised rest so I decided to stop doing my county trips until I felt a bit better.
Ahhh November…nothing like cancelling a big trip with only a few weeks to go but that’s what happened with our China trip. So having a jinxed companion ticket with British Airways (we had cancelled our Peru and China trips by this stage!) we ended up in Greece visiting Santorini…
…and back to Athens.
I was happy to finally tick Santorini off my bucket list and even more happy to realise that I loved the mainland more than the islands.
Well December was rather quiet travel wise…just relaxing…heading to a carol concert by candle light…
…eating…snoozing…painting the shoe room…maybe buying some new shoes to put in the shoe room!
While 2016 seems to have passed in a blur and in tears…the second half did anyway…it also made me realise that travel isn’t that important when you compare it to family. Don’t wait to have children just because you think you can’t travel with them (you can!), travel to places that interest you (don’t follow the pack!) and if you just want to relax in front of the fire in your own home then do it and be happy…we are all different and we all want different things in life, embrace what makes you happy.
Take that step as you never know when the rug will be pulled out from under your feet!