Reflecting on our travels in 2017, it’s been a diverse year. I took my first solo trip abroad since having my second child, Cheeky, and we tackled Asia with two children. We also ticked off a bucket list destination, Santorini, and survived a trip to the south of France with 40 others. But 2017 started the same way as it done for the past few years…in the mountains.
We welcomed 2017 in the French Alps. Thankfully, the new year brought some much needed snow to the bare tops of the Alps. We did do some skiing but much of our attention was focused on getting Mrs T up to speed.
We had driven to France on this occasion, stopping in the Champagne capital Epernay on the way down and Dijon on the way back discovering there’s more to the city than mustard.
January can be a dismal month and the rain didn’t let up for my birthday. The celebrations weren’t dampened though as we took a family trip to The Tate Modern followed by dinner with friends at The White Swan on the south bank. The end of January saw us celebrate Chinese New Year with friends.
The month started with our first ever trip to the London Transport Museum. We loved sitting in the old tube carriages and seeing how London’s transport has progressed from horse and cart to tube and train.
Later that month I caught up with other parent bloggers at an indulgent breakfast where I discovered some wonderful personalised gift ideas for Mother’s Day courtesy of Historic Newspapers and I Just Love It.
During half-term we took to the slopes again for a few days skiing with friends. The snow had finally arrived and we enjoyed sun, snow and some après ski.
It was a fairly relaxed start to the month before our big trip to Asia. We ticked the Science Museum from our list of London attractions to visit and discovered the Peter Rabbit playground at Willows Farm on the outskirts of London.
I had the delight of sampling some delicious Italian food too thanks to Jo Mackay who runs the website Bookings For You. At the end of the month, it was time to head to Asia. Our first stop – Hong Kong!
We arrived in Hong Kong on the first day of April and spent the evening exploring the streets of Mong Kok – soaking up the sights and sounds of the Asian city – so different from our own.
Over the next three days we absorbed the vibe – and views – of Hong Kong. Highlights included taking the trundling tram up to the highest point in the city, Victoria Peak, getting the most incredible views over the city.
We also took a Star Ferry and had a wander along the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade – taking in the iconic Hong Kong skyline.
What we enjoyed most though was wandering around the city and experiencing its food, culture and history.
At times the hectic, hilly streets were a little exhausting with a buggy (and jet lag) but the experience far outweighed the odd challenges. If you are looking to visit, check out my itinerary and guide to Hong Kong with kids.
After Hong Kong we headed to Bali, beginning in Ubud, surrounded by rice paddies. Staying at The Chedi hotel, we were treated to an oasis of calm with excellent food and hospitality, yoga lessons, sunbathing and we even had tour of the rice paddies. A lesson you just can’t teach in a classroom.
Following four days in Ubud, we hit the beaches in southern Bali. Staying at The Legian hotel in Seminyak, it provided us with luxurious surroundings to enjoy my husband’s birthday and Easter. The sunsets were pretty special too!
After ten days in Bali, the final leg of our trip took us to Singapore. It’s a city I’ve visited several times before and is home to one of my best friends, Gen. As is the way in Singapore, we are made to eat our bodyweight in food.
Gen also took us to some of the spots we haven’t visited previously such as the Cloud Forest in Gardens in the Bay, the River Safari at Singapore Zoo and some of the city’s more historic parts.
It was also where my blogging life and travels collided as I caught up with Singapore-based blogger Bumble Bee Mum. We had fun together at the Trick Museum and she insisted I tried durian. The smelly fruit is popular in parts of south-east Asia but I wasn’t so keen.
Upon my return to London, I got to catch up with more of my travel blogging friends at the Traverse conference in London Docklands. Hurrah!
After our globetrotting adventures in Asia, it was time for a more relaxed month. We enjoyed the UK’s mini heatwave spending it with friends and family. There were leisurely walks along the Thames, visits to the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park and to Windsor Great Park as well as the odd trip into central London.
Staying local wasn’t much of a choice for part of May as chicken pox struck the two girls. During May half term though we ventured up to Yorkshire to see family, visiting the 16th century Temple Newsam House and its gardens.
The month ended with us celebrating the first birthday of our youngest daughter, Cheeky. Love her!
I went on my first press trip abroad in June with five other bloggers organised by the Spain Tourism Board and BritMums. Our destination was the beautiful region of Aragon in north-west Spain – somewhere I wasn’t familiar with. I had a brilliant time hanging out with Susanna (A Modern Mother), Jen (Jenography), Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles), Shobha (Just Go Places) and Charly (Pod Travels).
Our itinerary was diverse from exploring castles and admiring beautiful waterfalls to white water rafting, dinosaur parks and eating the most delicious gourmet food and wine. It certainly is a region which takes its cuisine seriously and there’s plenty for families to do. Check out my video below for a taster and my longer vlog for more.
The rest of the month saw us strawberry picking at Crockford Bridge Farm, visiting Chiswick House gardens and wandering around Richmond Park.
The month began with a visit from my brother and his family. Where else to take my train-mad three year old than Didcot Railway Centre in Oxfordshire. We rode on a steam train, dressed up as conductors and even saw an air raid shelter.
Other days out in July included visit to Kew Gardens and exploring London’s South Bank. The Nordic benches exhibition were a hit with my daughter.
For the first time we had a look around the SeaLife Aquarium – getting a VIP tour no less on a blogger trip. My daughter fed stingrays and we were all mesmerised by the jellyfish.
We also got the opportunity to try skateboarding for the first time at the House of Vans. What an experience! Mrs T enjoyed it so much she asked Father Christmas to bring her a skateboard for Christmas!
As the summer holidays began, we visited Wisley Gardens to take part in its Five Go On An Adventure trail as part of the book’s 75th anniversary celebrations.
Soon it was time to embark on our road trip to France. Our first stop was the city of Tours in the Loire Valley. It was then onto the Dordogne for a week at a farmhouse with 42 others (yes, you read that right). It was hectic but lots of fun and gave us the opportunity to explore the region and sample its wine as well as having a nose around towns such as Saint Emillion and Bergerac.
After a week with friends we headed off just the four of us (to recover). We spent one day in Montpellier where we discovered a mini Paris.
Provence was next on our list after enjoying it so much last year. Some of our highlights included visiting the hilltop towns of Roussillon and Gordes and the Citadel in Sisteron which gave us beautiful views over the the river Durance.
Upon our return we squeezed in a fifth birthday birthday, learnt naval lessons at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and rounded off a busy summer by heading to the Spanish island Mallorca for a few days.
It was back to school for my daughter and a return to routine after the summer freedoms. I also returned to work part time after my maternity leave bringing new routines to adjust to.
Before I went back we had a family christening in the Oxfordshire countryside and I took a flying visit to Glasgow for a very fun, inspirational business trip. No time to see much of the city though….next time!
At the end of the month, it was a trip to London’s Festival Hall for BritMums Live. I was delighted to be nominated in the travel category and loved drinking fizz onboard the City Cruises boat.
For October half term we headed somewhere high on our bucket list – Santorini. Although many deem the Greek island off limits with kids, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Sure, there are pros and cons to visiting Santorini with children but overall we had a fantastic five days there.Otherwise October was a quiet month, hanging out with family and heading to Yorkshire again for a christening.
My friend from Singapore visited in November. She dragged me (kicking and screaming obviously) to London restaurants and bars including Mr Foggs, Burger and Lobster and Jason Atherton’s Social Wine and Tapas.
We also took a trip to Kew Gardens where we viewed the autumnal colours and had some photo fun.
I also got the opportunity to attend the YouTube offices in Kings Cross where we had a day of inspiration and I vowed to get better at posting videos. Do subscribe to my channel if you don’t already as I’ll be updating it more frequently with travel videos!
December flew by! We began the festivities early, getting a Christmas tree delivered from Fantastic Services on the 1st. We enjoyed some evenings out without the children as party season kicked off. For the two girls, there was a trip to see Santa in Belgravia and other trips to London where they were mesmerised by the lights.
Suddenly it was Christmas! We welcomed family into our home and had a wonderful Christmas Day. There were a couple of days to relax including a trip to the pantomime before flying to the French Alps.
We spent ten days in Morzine with family where Mrs T amazed with her skiing skills and we had plenty of snow to enjoy.
We toasted in the New Year at a restaurant in Morzine. The next day the sun shone and we made a snowman! A pretty perfect start to the new year, don’t you think?
So there’s my 2018. Looking back, I definitely did more than I thought and there was a brilliant mix of travel and family days out as well as blogging-related events. I didn’t tick a huge amount from my wish list but many will roll over to 2018.
I’m looking forward to what 2018 holds. We will head west to Mexico in the Spring and return to the Dordogne in the summer. Before that, I’ll be going on an exciting blogger trip to Tuscany. Who knows what else is in store! What are your main plans for 2018?