Thoughts on 2017

Hello? Yes I'm still alive! I fell off the radar a little this month thanks to a broken camera, moving house and a broken MacBook. But my camera is in the repair shop, I was lucky enough to get a shiny new MacBook for Christmas and now I'm all moved in. December has been one hell of a month and I'm slightly glad to see the back of it and finally get settled into a routine.

I'm still scratching my head at the fact we're nearing the end of 2017. As years go, 2017 was a lot better than 2016 which I was very glad to see the back of. As most people say, I'm not quite sure how we got here. It's been a funny old year and one that's been a bit of a rollercoaster. A lot of things have been going on behind the scenes but it's been full of not only lots of tears but also lots of laughs. I feel like I've hardly stopped and life has been an unbelievable whirlwind. Life is whizzing past and I feel like I can't find the handbreak to make it slow down.

Since March, the whole year has been all about getting our house ready. It's been a long hard slog and at times I wanted to ask if I could please give it back. But it all came to head on December 1st as we finally moved in. It's beginning to thankfully resemble a home now rather than a building site. It still has a very long way to go but I feel like there is now a light at the end of a tunnel. I don't think I quite realised just how hard it would be or how sad I would be at moving out from my parents house. I came home once and cried to Connor about how I didn't want to live with him anymore after I had been back to collect some things. I just felt so overwhelmed at the situation and homesick for the home I'd spent 28 years of my life now. But now those feelings are subsiding, it still feels sad but I get so excited to come home after a day at work and do mundane things such as food shopping and re-arranging the cushions on the sofa. I'm looking forward to things quieting down and really enjoy the house as I feel like we've hardly had time to enjoy it thanks to the festive period.

As I enter the last year of my 20s, I feel so content and at peace with my life. I don't think I've ever been happier if I'm honest. Sure it would be nice to have more disposable income, to travel the world more, to lose a bit of weight and live in a house that doesn't see you covered in dust after an hour. But I'm lucky enjoy to do a job that I love, have seen places that other people only dream about,  able to eat three meals a day when some struggle to put food on the table and get on the property ladder by the age of 30. We had around 16 friends round on Christmas Eve and as I looked around, after about 1/2 bottle of gin, I felt so lucky to have such amazing people in our lives. People who have stuck around for the past 12 years through thick and thin. Life is really about who you spend it with, not what you spend it with.

I also like to thank each and every one of you who read this little ramble on the internet. I feel like I've neglected this space this year and I haven't giving it the attention it deserves. I've often thought about pulling the plug but somehow I keep getting drawn back. It's the friendships I've made, the cheerleaders who I've never met and the community that keeps on giving that make me come back for me. Thank you. Thank you very much.  I feel like I've got some of my fire back so expect much more as we roll into next year.

I'm excited to enter 2018. We have some amazing holidays to look forward too, three weddings to enjoy, the honour of being Maid of Honour for my sister-in-law, the fun of living a two-minute walk from our best friends and a two-bedroom terraced house (that still blows my mind) to enjoy.

I'm ready for you 2018. Show me what you got.

Travel plans for 2018

Now that 2017 travel plans have official come to a halt, I'm now starting to plan where I'm off to next year. It's already set to be a busy year and all of my holiday at work has been accounted for. Best start saving my pennies!

Image from Girl in Florence
We had put aside a few days to celebrate our anniversary in January with the hope of scoring some cheap flights. I've been keen to explore more of France since I went to Marseille so was over the moon to find flights for £20 to Bordeaux. We even managed to find accommodation for £105 which means we're going to go away for a grand total of £145 - £72.50 each. Our cheapest holiday yet! I've heard some great things about Bordeaux and am looking forward to spending a few lazy days eating cheese, drinking wine and experiencing the student-y vibe.

New York
This was completely irresponsible by my mum and I. But that's what makes life fun eh? Once again I stumbled across some cheap flights - story of my life -, mentioned it to my mum and before I knew it they were booked, leaving us both wondering how on earth we're going to pay for it. It's going to be tough but we're slowing building up our kitty so I think it'll be just fine. It'll be my mum's first time to NYC so we have a few sightseeing trips plans but mostly we want to pretend we're in SATC drinking overpriced cocktails and hanging out on rooftop bars. We'll be over there for St Partrick's day which will be exciting!

Photo taken from Little Miss Katy

Two of my schoolfriends are getting married in May so lots of us are heading over there to celebrate. We're staying in Palmanova near the Magaluf area which is tragic yet hilarious. I didn't think I'd be heading to Magaluf for the first time at the grand age of 29. But there's such a huge group of us going so it'll be fun to have a partying holiday. The actually wedding is at a gorgeous venue in Alaro, seriously it's so dreamy. We're not too far away from the capital of Palma so I'm hoping we can squeeze in a bus trip as we're there for a week.

Just three weeks after I come back from Mallorca, I'm off again to celebrate my sister-in-law's hen do. My poor liver! I can't say too much because she might be reading...

Northern Ireland
Finally we're be hopping over to Northern Ireland again in August for a week. So far the plan is to stay in Belfast for a few days as we've never actually visited except to drive through and then base ourselves back in Derry to spend time with family for the remainder. I'm hoping to finally visit the Giant's Causeway (fourth time lucky), spend a day on Portstewart Strand as it rained last time and see the Free Derry museum as it was closed back in January.

2017: A year in travel

Considering this year was suppose to be one spent mostly at home, it's somehow snowballed into a pretty busy year. I never made it to Brighton for a girls trip nor will I be visiting Germany for a Christmas market. But I did have the surprise trip of the French Riviera. This year has also reinforced my love of Europe, I really do live in on the greatest continent on the planet. So where have I visited this year?

I spent my birthday weekend in Paris with my mum and had such a wonderful trip. Probably my favourite time I've had in Paris. We walked to the top of the Arc D,Triomphe, watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, ate dinner in a restored Orient Express carriage, wandered around Galeries Lafayette and inhaled crepes as if our lives depended on it. Every time I hop of the Eurostar, I can't never quite believe how lucky we are to practically have Paris on our doorstep.

Northern Ireland
To help commiserate being stuck together for ten years, Connor and I headed to Northern Ireland for four days. It was great to catch up with Connor's family in Derry and take road trips along the Causeway Coast. It's one of my favourite places to visit and as soon as I touch down at the airport, I feel at home. I've already got a trip planned for next summer as it's about time I finally visited the Giant's Causeway - fourth time lucky!

French Riviera
After stumbling across flights to Marseille for £35, I gathered the girls Hannah, Michelle and Sarah together to jet over to visit Elodie. We spent a wonderful day in Marseille, an afternoon exploring the brilliant Villa Noailles and a lazy day wandering around Elodie's hometown of Sanary-Sur-Mer. It was such a chilled weekend and just what I needed. It made me realise just how lucky I am to have found my Girl Gang.

Poland is one of my favourite countries I've visited and I still can't believe just how undiscovered it is. Everyone was slightly bewildered when I mentioned I was taking my two week holiday to Poland and I found myself getting quite defensive. Poland really is a great place and I've been twice now, visiting four different cities, one seaside town, the largest castle in Europe and spending a few days in the countryside. Gdansk was absolutely wonderful and by far my favourite Polish city. It was great to visit Warsaw again and I still stand by my view that its got a certain edge over Krakow.

I trotted down to Cardiff for Gem's wedding. It was a weekend of too much gin, lots of delicious food, sore feet and the one of the loveliest Air BnB's I've stayed in. It was such an honour to be invited to Gem's wedding and Cardiff is such a great city. I was blown away by the food culture and vowed to return soon!


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