In the words of John Lennon, “another year over, and a new one just begun”. 2018 was a whirlwind of a year, I visited an island I had barely even heard of the year before, joined the English Heritage, and the National Trust, and finally got to visit my friend at home in Warsaw after a year of promising. With all of that ticked off my list I’m up and rearing to go for the year ahead but it is only proper that I should do a round up of my very favourite things I got up to in the last year. Read on for my top adventures of 2018.
Swimming With Lemon Sharks
Up there in some of the top things I have ever done has to be getting up close and personal with real life sharks. Whilst the really big ones kept their distance, it was still quite an odd sight as they appeared suddenly in the wave racing towards you. Cape Verde’s Sal gave me a ton of first’s but this one was really something quite spectacular. Having the babies swimming round my ankles has to be one of the highlights of my year.
Check out my top things to do in Sal here »
Getting to be Guest Blog Editor at TheatreCraft 2018
The arts have always been a love of mine so it was incredible to be able to combine my love of writing and my love of the theatre together for this amazing event down in London back in November. Spanning the iconic Waldorf Hotel, the Adelphi, Lyceum and Novello theatres and including everything from an intimate workshop with creative genius’ Les Enfants Terrible at the home of Kinky Boots to a behind-the-scene view of the West End’s The Lion King, I got to work with some incredible people (including Sophie at Imitation is the Greatest Form of Flattery 💖) to create some fantastic content.
Check out my guide to TheatreCraft here »
Climbing Snowdon on the Hottest Day of the Year
Yes we didn’t think it through before setting off, yes I arrived at the top a hot sweaty mess but climbing Snowdon in the sunshine and seeing the incredible views when we reached the top was definitely worth it, along with the cracking picnic we enjoyed at the top looking our over it all. Climbing a different route this time let me see the mountain from a whole new angle and I’m hoping to find another path this year!
Check out my first-timer’s guide to climbing Snowdon »
FINALLY Visiting my Lovely Friend in Warsaw, Poland
Having promised to visit since we parted in Spain, I finally got the chance to visit my favourite Polish lady Aneta at her home in Warsaw. Having never set foot in Poland before, this visit was a real eye-opener for me and, luckily for us, Warsaw experienced a heat wave just as I visited, perfect timing or what? Climbing to the very top of the Palace of Science and Culture, exploring the beautiful parks and the incredible UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, not to mention eating some pretty spectacular food, I couldn’t help but notice what a truly beautiful place Warsaw was. I’ll definitely be making a return visit in the future!
Take a look at some of my favourite city breaks here »
Discovering the Irish Sea Can Get Pretty Warm!
Popping off for a day trip to the beautiful Barmouth, Wales, we headed off for a day on the sand. Chomping on good old fish and chips and failing miserably at every type of beach game we attempted we opted for a paddle in the sea. Anyone who has visited the sea side in the UK will know that it isn’t exactly a warming experience, so as we braced ourselves for the blistering chill of the water, we were pleasantly surprised to find it was actually rather warm. The small channels that work their way up Barmouth beach had heated up in the sun making for warmer waters than I have withstood in hotter countries, go UK! We got so carried away the tide came in and we found ourselves wading past our waists on the way back from the sand bank we had been wandering on, wet through doesn’t half cover it but the sun soon dried us off!
Check out my Top Welsh Adventures for some inspiration »
Getting All Book-Nerdy Once Again at the Hay on Wye Book Festival
After screaming in Ed Ball’s face at the festival back in 2017, we realised that one year simply wasn’t enough and headed back once more to the book-lover’s-haven that is Hay-on-Wye. This has to be one of my favourite places in the whole of the UK, a town full of books and lovely cafés, what more could you ask for? With my brand Hay-on-Wye press edition under my arm (along with a few other books for the journey) we feasted on welsh cakes and considered it a festival-well-done once again.
Driving Down to Land’s End for the Day
Murky weather calls for restless feet and that’s just what happened when we decided to make the 300-mile journey down to Land’s End, Cornwall for the day. We were greeted and pummelled by the most fog, rain and wind we had seen for a long time paired with the strangely eerie music of the Wallace and Gromit theme tune but we made it in time for a quick walk along the coastline, a pose with the marker and a stop off in St. Ives for a proper Cornish Cream tea. Shout out to the lovely owners of the café we stopped at for teaching us all about the proper way to lather our scone and giving us a ton of ideas for visits in the future!
Floating Like Magic on a Salt Lake
Those who have visited the Dead Sea will already know the feeling but lying back on water and being unable to sink has to be one of the oddest feelings in the world. In the beautiful salt lakes of Sal, Cape Verde, I experienced this for the first time and couldn’t quite get enough of it! Feeling the solid-not-solid water below me is one of the more unusual highlights of my year.
Take a look at my guide to Sal, Cape Verde here »
Discovering my New Favourite Tea Room
A dream of dainty home-made cakes and beautiful tea sets combined with an abundance of quirky additions from the local area, the Down the Rabbit Hole Tea Room in Stoke was a haven for our multi-generational tea-time outings. Chatting to the lovely owner and stuffing ourselves silly had up putting this one down on on our list of top places to take tea in the Potteries.
Read all about this quirky tea room here »
Getting to Explore Some of my Favourite Sites on Foot
From my all-time-favourite walking spot of the Roaches in the Peak District, to wandering Long Mynd and the Shropshire hills, 2018 was the year I got to explore some of England and Wales’ top hiking spots, finding new sights to see around the beautiful Castleton and many, many more. One of my favourite wandering landmarks were the Rock Houses of Kinver Edge, incredible homes carved into the rock face itself with some lovely woodland and walks surrounding them.
Find out more about what I got up to at the Rock Houses here »
Born and raised in the Potteries in Staffordshire, I have grown up in the cultural surroundings of clay-throwers and world-famous pottery-makers. Having done a few clay flowers and pot paintings at school however, one thing I had never done is throw my own pot. Where better to head off to for a mum-daughter day trip then the renowned Wedgwood factory to see how it was done? Having created our very own vase/pencil pot we can now call ourselves true Potters.
Take a look at how we got on here »
Discovering England’s Historic Sites
Back in October we trotted off on a weekend visit to Kenilworth Castle and very easily got talked into becoming members of the English Heritage. Always keen to get our money’s worth, we’ve been checking off properties ever since, well surpassing the amount it cost us for the membership. From the world-famous Hadrian’s Wall to the beautiful colours of Stokesay Castle, it’s been a real eye-opener. Carrying on into the new year, I can’t wait to find out what else the UK has to offer, ticking off as many castles as I can find along the way!
Of course, I couldn’t possibly list everything in one blog, so if it’s more you’re after, head on over to my home page for all of my adventures and travel tips and check back again soon!