Thursday, 15 January 2015

My 2014 Travel and Events Round-up

So, this is a bit delayed. Sorry about that.


* My best friend and I travelled to Dubai to stay with a friend who was living there at the time. As this wasn't our first visit there we had a better idea of what we wanted to do and we allowed ourselves a bit more down-time this time around. We still, of course, managed to get a few of the Dubai must-dos packed into our trip such as a Friday Brunch, eating at expensive places, and drinking in nightclubs surrounded by slightly awkward people. We also spent some time this visit though meandering around, reading, and sitting on the beach. I definitely won't be visiting Dubai again any time soon (as we no longer have a free bed there!) but I will always have fond memories of our visits. I have written a bit about some hints and tips for it all in my Guide to Dubai.

* I turned 29 this year, and my boyfriend and I decided to go away for the occasion. It was our first trip away together and seeing as he had never been on a plane before (I know, ridiculous) we decided to stay in-land for this trip as I didn't want to have a nervous wreck ruining my birthday weekend!! We didn't really need much time to decide where to visit, as I was super keen to visit the Nira Caledonia in Edinburgh again after staying there for one night for a wedding about 18 months before. The hotel was just as lush as I remembered and it was just a lovely way to spend to celebrate (or not!) On my actual birthday we climbed Arthur's Seat, hung out in our room, and then went out for a super lush dinner. You can read all about it here. We're going back in March and I cannot. wait.

* So, as I mentioned, previous to 2014 my boyfriend had never been on a plane. When we got together I made it clear that this would need to be rectified, and so we decided to plan a mini-break with a short-haul flight. I, obviously, have a ridiculously large holiday list but my better half doesn't. On pressing him to a ridiculous extent he finally said that he'd quite like to visit Norway. Done! I said, furiously googling Oslo. And so it was done - we visited Oslo in June for a long weekend and had a great time. As I said in my write-up, the only reason I wouldn't put it top of my list again is just because it's so pricey. As a city it really has it all - it's clean and friendly with great restaurants and bars and loads of culture and it should definitely be on people's lists for some point in their lives.

* In July I went to Wales with my boyfriend and parents. Everyone who knows me knows how much Wales is deeply (deeply) embedded in my heart, and so a visit is of no surprise to anyone. This time we stayed at Aberglasney Gardens (my second stay there) and you can read all about it in my post on A Week in Llandeillo.

* For the first time in my life, in 2014 I travelled abroad for work. I was asked to join a couple other members of my team for a trip to Cannes, and going in September meant we had a few belated days of gorgeous sunshine. Although we were there 3 nights, most of the time was spent in non-blog-worthy meetings, and so I decided to combine the best parts of our trip into a 24-hour experience there. You can read all about it here. Fingers crossed I get asked to go again this year...

* Needing a bit of sun towards the end of the year the boy and I decided to book a November holiday. All we wanted to do was read, sleep, sunbathe and eat, and so an all inclusive seemed like the best option. We eventually decided on a Thomsons Egypt package after much deliberation and the whole holiday (staying at the Jaz Aquamarine in Hurghada) was exactly what we were looking for. I didn't write it all up in the end as most of it would be "today: I sunbathed" but there are definitely a few things you should know in advance about etiquette and visas (Sharm is one of the only two places in Egypt you don't need a visa for - Hurghada you do but purchase at the airport upon arrival) which are definitely worth googling before you leave.

* During my week in Wales earlier in the year my mum and I visited The Corran hotel. I loved it so much I told the boy that we should visit ourselves at a near point in the future. As the end of the year started to draw close we started to think about staying for new years, and as soon as the idea was in our heads it was basically booked. I only recently wrote about it so I won't go into it all again, but the trip was exactly what we needed to give ourselves a rest from the world and relax before having to go back to work. I love that part of the world so it's an easy sell for me, but for those who haven't visited before I would say: go, go go. You can read about my reasons for this in my post A Food-Heavy Few Days in Wales.


I am a planner. Even when I'm not planning anything I'm planning something, and this year was no exception.

* The main thing I arranged this year was a hen-do in Stratford-upon-Avon for my oldest friend. There were 14 of us and so I booked a cottage within walking distance of the town and we all had a stupendous time. This was such a big event of my year I wrote two posts about it; one on the weekend itself, and one on how to Plan the Perfect Hen-Do. It was definitely one of the best things I did last year.

* For me, summer equals planning parties and barbecues. I wrote a bit about some of my go-to BBQ recipes (simple ones, natch) here, and also wrote about The Importance of a Playlist at such events here.

* My boyfriend's birthday is two days after Christmas and, as such, he hasn't really ever got into the whole idea of a birthday party. This year I decided that was all going to change and so we had a little party. I cooked a ham (delicious, if I do say myself), whacked on a playlist (of course!), created a birthday cocktail, and welcomed too many people into my house. The perfect way to spend a birthday.

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