2018

Happy New Years Eve! To all of you who are reading this as it’s been posted, and to all of you reading in the future – I hope 2019 is going well?! As I write this on New Year’s Eve it’s certainly the point of the year where everyone is getting reflective, and at this point one of my favourite things to do is to look back over the pictures and memories in my phone and finding old photos I’d forgotten I had…

Last year I wrote a lot of year round up posts, (like here and here), but this year I’m going for just one, a big old one it is though… A lot has happened this year, and I’ve had some of the best travels so far. So without further ado, I’ve a little round up of the year below:

January

The start of 2018 started off quite slowly for me. I was still recovering from a little injury I incurred by falling over on Boxing Day last year and puncturing my lung. Thankfully now it’s all healed and back to normal, but this January involved taking it easy and trying my best to get better ASAP! So I spent the month pottering around London, where I got to see Hamilton which was great and something I would definitely recommend if you can get your hands on some tickets!

February

In February we went to Paris for a long weekend on the Eurostar – making use of my boyfriend’s Business Class Lounge access and really enjoying the journey there. We stayed in a lovely hotel in Montmarte which meant we could explore the area at night, especially the area around the Sacre Coeur. I tried my first proper cheese fondue – at a restaurant where you drank wine out of baby bottles, which was an… experience – a very good and cheesy one.

We had a really lovely time, and despite the weather being absolute freezing we still made the most of it and played tourist, going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and trying garlic snails for the first time… We really enjoyed just strolling around and stopping off for a drink, but the weather made it hard to do, so we promised to visit in Summer if we could find a good deal (which you’ll read more about later…)

March

In March I celebrated 6 years with my boyfriend with a trip to the coast. We’d booked tickets to see our favourite comedian, Joe Lycett, perform at Worthing theatre, so combined it with a weekend away in a really cute Airbnb.

We had a great time strolling around Brighton, visiting the pier and playing stupid arcade games, having fish and chips by the sea and a few drinks in pubs we found along the way. Worthing is really nice, and I’d say if you want to visit this area of England best to stick with Worthing (you can get some really nice seaside Airbnbs that aren’t too expensive) and then just pop into Brighton if you want, Worthing beach is definitely quieter….

April

I really loved April this year, it’s my birthday at the beginning of the month and it happened to fall across the Easter bank holiday which meant I managed to stretch out my birthday celebrations for 10 days in total (!!) which is a personal best for me.

We visited Lisbon for a short city break and had such a lovely time. I turned 26 whilst there and my boyfriend bought us a cycle tour which was a lot more fun than it might sound… It just involved cycling round in the sun, stopping off to try a shot of Ginjinha, and of course lots of Pastel de nata. We visited Sintra and chose to walk up the hill – not a great idea if it’s a hot day/you’re unfit like I am, but we still had a great time nonetheless.

May

I think most people who spent Summer in London/England in 2018 can all agree the summer heatwave made everything 100x better. I swear everyone was just that little bit happier because the weather was amazing. I spent most of my evenings and weekends with friends in parks enjoying picnics (and wine) and I loved every second of it.

For the first bank holiday in May we went back to Worthing for my mum’s birthday, and once again hired a really nice Airbnb on the coast, so we could pack up an ice cooler with prosecco and head off to the beach. I had such a lovely weekend here it just reinforced the fact that Worthing is really a nice place to stay and a lot less crowded than it’s sister beach, Brighton.

June

I didn’t travel anywhere in June, and tried to forget the Glastonbury blues of not having the festival that year (although I do have tickets for 2019!). But it was still our Great British Summer with the heatwave, which was made all the more fun with World Cup fever making every weekend a great excuse to meet up with mates and find the nearest pub with the football on. It felt like everyone in the city was buzzing, and the great weather just made everything even better.

July

This Summer I was very lucky to be off on a holiday to Alcudia in Majorca with my boyfriend and his family. It was my first time visiting the island since I’d had a ‘girls holiday’ when we’d just turned 18 and safe to say it was a very different atmosphere this time round.

I have such great memories of this trip, of lazing around by the pool, making home made sangria, beach hopping, learning how to paddleboard (and falling in…) and just having a great Summer holiday all round.

August

Ahhh August, where arguably was the best month for me and one of the best trips of the year – and of all time. We went back to Paris for a Summer weekend as we’d promised back in Feb, and my (now) fiancée got down on one knee and proposed when we were walking through the Jardin Palais-Royal. I genuinely had no idea what was about to come, and the whole weekend that followed was just absolutely perfect and it’s one we won’t forget.

Everything just went perfectly – the proposal being the top of course – but we were upgraded on our Eurostar journey, in addition to our hotel room so we enjoyed a brilliant trip and spent most of it sitting and celebrating on our balcony. We had a celebratory meal at a restaurant nearby called The Grand Colbert, and it’ll always hold a special place for us as we had such a nice meal there – and a bottle of champagne of course.

We walked over to the Jardin des Tuileries and enjoyed FaceTiming our families to share the news, before strolling around Paris in the heat – stopping off for drinks and shady spots. We ended the Saturday by sitting by the Eiffel Tower, watching the light show come on before heading back to our hotel.

Thanks to our Secret Escapes deal we had complimentary breakfast-in-bed which we got to enjoy on our balcony! We spent Sunday doing more of the day before – strolling around Paris in the sunshine, stopping every now and then for a drink or two, and also stopping by Bouillon Chartier restaurant which was a favourite of ours from our previous trip.

September

Whereas we didn’t go on any holidays in September, we did make the move to Camden and settled into our new flat. Whereas there were a few hiccups with the move (like a carpet fitter that never turned up…) I can definitely say I much prefer where we are now. We used to live in Islington which was an area I really loved, but our new location is really nice for exploring a new part of London – especially walking up through Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath – and our new flat is a lot better too.

In September we also held a big engagement party for all our friends which was a lovely way to properly celebrate before the wedding planning kicks off. We had such a great evening it still stands out as one of my favourite moments from 2018.

October

In October we made our last trip of the year to Copenhagen! This was a fun one for me as it was actually a surprise trip for my fiancé for his birthday, and he was none the wiser. We had such a good time in Copenhagen I’d say it was one of my favourite trips of the year (although of course nothing tops Paris…).

Even though we were there in mid-October we had brilliant weather, and spent most of the time cycling around the city to explore new spots. We spent all our evenings by the river enjoying a drink, and every meal we ate whilst there was really delicious – I even tried lobster for the first time.

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November + December

And finally, the last two months of the year have frankly gone by in a blur! We’ve really cranked up the wedding planning and have picked our venue and we’re close to picking our food and photography.

The lead up to Christmas completely flew by – I can’t believe Christmas itself has already been and gone. I had a really lovely one this year and have spent the lazy period in-between Christmas and New Year doing the final preparations for our trip to Australia next year.

2019 onwards…

So here we are! On New Year’s Eve, it’s crazy to look back at the past year as it was such a great way – and a life changing one! I can honestly say all of our trips were brilliant, and I couldn’t find fault in any of them.

I’m so so excited for the year to come as well. We’re going on a big trip to Australia on the 2nd February, and it’s a trip we’ve been planning for almost a year now. I’m so excited for this, and am ready to relax in Jan and take things easy before our trip.

I’m sure there’ll be plenty other trips throughout the year to look forward to, and of course I already have Glastonbury 2019 booked!

It’s been such a great year in 2018 and I’m looking forward to the year to come. Thanks to all who have been reading the blog throughout the year, and I hope I can continue it on in the new year.

Until 2019, have a great New Year’s eve and I’ll see you next year!!

Thanks for reading xx

The Travellers Christmas Gift Guide 2018 Edition

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR EVERYBODY!! I’m talking about the C word… CHRISTMAS

Just like my post from last year, I’ve put together a list of perfect presents to give the travel-lovers you want to treat this year. I know that these gift guide posts can seem a bit excessive, but I hope if you’re struggling to pick a gift for your the travel-lovers in your life then the below will help…

For The Bouji Friend

Away Suitcase – from £225

I remember first seeing the brand Away years ago as it was still a start-up business, and I remember the main focal point being that you could charge your phone via a power base at the top of the suitcase.

Since then the company has grown and I swear I see them everywhere – especially all over my Instagram feed. The suitcases start at £200, so they don’t come cheap, but I think they would make a perfect present for the bouji traveller in your life.

Not only can you charge your electronics with the suitcase, but they’re filled with plenty of nifty features that make packing and travelling so much easier. I have my eye on some for future travels but in the meantime, their mini Away kits look amazing! I want the Beauty Set ASAP.

This Works ‘Cracker’ – £13

Travelling Long-Haul but struggling to sleep? This Christmas I’m treating myself to the This Works set with eye mask and sleep spray to help me get to sleep on my long-haul flight to Australia next year.

I think a good tip with items like this is to get yourself used to the spray beforehand and work it into your sleep routine at home. That way when you use these in the air, or wherever you are, the memory  and routine of using the spray will help your body float off to sleep.

Other great skincare gifts for your traveller pals could be this Jet Setter Travel Essentials kit from Oliver Bonas as a nice stocking filler, or this slightly pricey but more luxurious option for Aesop. Or there’s also this Patchology face mask kit which is perfect for plane travel!!

For The Foodie

Ultimate Eat List

Who doesn’t want to eat all the time? Just me then..?

Whenever I’m off somewhere new the first things I look for are where to eat and drink. The idea of having a book of the ultimate spots to eat worldwide will only make me want to book holidays to all these places, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing…

Or MORE IMPORTANTLY where to DRINK WINE around the world, I mean what’s more important than that? Or the eat like a local paris guide for all your pals planning a visit to the city of light anytime soon. 

For The Fashionista

Birkenstocks

Hands down the comfiest sandals in the world. I have had a pair for the past 5 years and they’re so super comfy, and it’s finally time for me to invest in another pair.

I’d definitely recommend trying to visit a stockist before you buy as the sandals are so snug to your feet you need to make sure you’re picking the right size. My favourite are the Arizona style, which in my opinion suit every summer look – both casual and dressed up for the office.

Or how about a cityscape trinket dish which you can pick depending on your recipients favourite city? Or if you want to go FULL french, how about this croissant shaped trinket dish??

Chilly’s Bottle

I used to be a Chilly’s neigh-sayer, and then I don’t know what but something happened to me… But seriously, they can keep cold liquids cold for 24 hours and hot ones hot for 12 hour. They’re really lightweight to carry around too, and so I think they’d be perfect for filling up with chilled water and bringing along to the beach.

For The Crafty One

Move over scratch maps – this upgrade is seriously impressive. I’ve never given cross stitch a try, but this makes me want to seriously give it a go.

Buy this for the crafty traveller in your life and watch as they fill up the world map with their creations.

Cross stitch World Map

For The Bookworm

The Kindle Paperwhite – £109

I mean, they’re hardly the newest gifts you can get, but boy they’re handy. Whereas nothing quite beats the feeling of reading a proper book, you don’t want to be trying to fit 4 hardbacks in your hand luggage. Plus, more often than not, the price of a kindle edition of a book is quite cheaper than the real life version…

If a kindle doesn’t tickle your pickle, you can always count on a coffee table book from Lonely Planet, or their Travel book.

Or if you’re gifting for someone who isn’t travelling too far, how about this The 500 hidden secrets of London?

 For The Techie

This Emergency Tech Kit seems like a perfect little stocking filler for the tech lover in your life, as iisn’t just needed in your life if you’re an avid traveller, it looks very handy for the everyday anyway, I mean who doesn’t need an phone charger on them AT ALL TIMES?

And finally, a pricey one, but I’ve seen so many people using iPhone Gimbals throughout my travels this year and it’s such a good idea if you’re an avid travel videographer. They make the quality of your videos so much better, and they’re satisfying to watch in action.

If you’re after a big gift to improve the quality of your travel photos and videos then look no further than this iPhone Camera Gimbal – £109.95

And there we have it! I hope you enjoyed my little edit of Travel gifts – I hope this helps if you’re stuck for anything to get for someone special. Let me know any other travel gift suggestions in the comments!

More Christmas and New Year content to come to the blog soon, but in the meantime, you can find my other Insta snaps on my Instagram @GrundyTravels.

Thanks for reading x