2015: A year in travel

Last year one of my main aims was to travel. It more than exceeded my expections - I never thought I'd be lucky enough to visit so many different places. Nothing gets my heart beating faster or my eyes widening in delight than travelling to other countries to embrace different cultures. I'm so eager to soak up everything the beautiful world has to offer.

So where did I go?


In August I spent a long, lazy week in the Spanish city of Barcelona and fell head over heels for the Catalan capital. It felt rebellious, intense and fierce. Full of stunning sights, interesting history and incredible food, it's a city that's so much more than a city break. Thanks to the endless beaches, you can easily do a few days soaking up the Gaudi buildings before heading to the sea and forgetting all your troubles. We rented a cool apartment with its own private terrace just off Las Ramblas that provided the perfect base. It was the first relaxing  holiday in two years and was just what I needed after a tough month. Sometimes going with the flow is the makings of a perfect holiday.


This picturesque city had been on my list of places to visit in the UK to visit for a long time - it's only just under 90 minutes away from my house. So for my birthday this year my boyfriend surprised me with a trip in February. And what a bloody lovely weekend it was. We stayed in the most luxurious hotel I've been to - in a converted prison -, had afternoon tea at the poshest hotel in town, wandered around the colleges pretending we were in Harry Potter, stalked the dinosaurs at the museum of natural history and trekked to the top of a church to be rewarded with stunning views of the city. I fell in love with the history, food scene and cobbled streets - definitely worth a cheeky weekend away.


I was lucky enough to go on a press trip to the state of Illinois in March. It still feels like a bit like a dream! One of the stops on the road trip was a picturesque small town named Galena. This quaint American town was like something out of a film. The charming main street was full of independent shops, colourful brick buildings and delicious restaurants. The Bed and Breakfast, Farmers Guesthouse, was one of my highlights. I have never felt more welcomed and the daily cheese and wine evening went down an absolute treat. I tried my first moonshine, learnt about the former US president Ulysses Grant, tasted the best popcorn of my life and widen my eyes at scary ghost stories. After a hectic time in Chicago, the slow pace was very much welcomed.


Chicago was a city I always wanted to go but never thought I would. America is full of enticing cities that were higher on my life. But after going? It's my favourite city in the States and I'm dying to go back. It's the one city I'd recommend to anyone and I've kind of become an unofficial cheerleader for it. I think the fact I went without any expectations and hardly any prior knowledge meant that I could discover it with new eyes. I admired the sun setting behind the skyline on a lake cruise, had jelly legs whilst standing in a box over the city, took a tasty culinary tour of the city, wandered around Millennium Park and pathetically attempted a Man v Food dish of fried chicken. I am absolutely dying to go back as I feel I only just scratched the surface and I'd love to show my boyfriend everything the city has to offer.

Starved Rock State Park

After three days in Chicago we packed up our belongings and drove three hours to a state park. It was literally like being in the Dirty Dancing holiday camp. It felt so American! The lodge we stayed was in was nestled in 2630 acres of lush, thick forests, 18 canyons and gorgeous waterfalls - Americans always know how to do big eh? Soaking up the fresh air, it was one of those moments where you just feel in awe of Mother Nature. We went on a historic trolley tour with an hilarious guide, tasted the most delicious wines in the town next door and had a private tour of the beautiful Hegler Carus Mansion.


The final part of our road trip in Illinois was Rockford, the third largest city in the state.  The city has a very large Swedish population so of course we took advantage and scoffed some delicious Swedish pancakes. Only right to honour it's heritage right?! We were given an insight into the fascinating world of dinosaurs at the Burpee Museum of Natural History, taken back in time to the roaring twenties with a tour of the stunning Coronado atmospheric theatre and given a tour of a brewery. I was sad to come home after eight days in Illinois - it really was a trip of a lifetime.


June saw me head to Liverpool with my best friend. After a nightmare ten hour journey we finally arrived and made it our mission to discover what the city had to offer. We spent a lazy afternoon soaking up the history of the Cavern Club, danced until our feet were sore, wandered around Albert Dock and hunted down burgers. Liverpool is such a cool, vibrant city with fantastic northern hospitality. It's the perfect place to escape for the weekend.

The Highlands

After promising for two years, I finally made it up to visit my friend in The Highlands in the autumn and was left wondering why I'd left it so long. It really is such a beautiful part of the world - I was often left speechless that this was in the UK. Great Britain really is a pretty special place. We breathed in the Scottish fresh air, tried to sneak a peek at the Loch Ness Monster, chased waterfalls, wandered around a whisky distillery, spotted seals, trekked to a lighthouse and ate in the finest seafood restaurant I've had the pleasure of stuffing my face in. It was the perfect few days away and I'm already planning to return when the sun shines a little brighter.


In June I was off on another press trip but this time to Luxembourg. Luxembourg city was a lovely compact place with a gorgeous old town and delicious places to eat. I loved the slower pace of life and we were there during the annual free music festival so it was a very happening place! The country has been occupied for a long time so the history really is an electric mix. So much to take in! It's the perfect place to spend a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

Is there anywhere I should add on my list for 2016? So far I only have a weekend in Cologne booked!


  1. I went to liverpool too, was a lovely visit! I often forget what amazing places we have in england and always assume to travel i have to go abroad! xx

  2. What a great round-up of places! I'm still so badly travelled within the UK! x

  3. I throughly enjoyed this post Sophie! Great idea and really fun/informative to read your highlights yo. I hope 2016 has many more adventures lined up for you! xxx

    omg gimme american food now pls too.

  4. Amazing adventures! Here's to more in 2016!

    My Sentimental Heart



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