As 2019 is coming to a close, it’s time for the annual round-up. I always love doing these posts to look back on. 2019 was a bit of a rollercoaster, I’ve been to some lovely places, travelled around the UK (a lot!), saw my childhood favourites; the spice girls and got a job at my local tourism board. Sadly, the end of the year didn’t end very well and in late November, my Grandma passed away. Although she had been poorly, it was a huge shock as we’ve always been very close and we were basically two peas in a pod; always shopping and jetting off on trips here, there and everywhere! It’s been a very quiet couple of months. I’ve tried to take as much time as possible for myself and I’m hoping 2020 will be my year. I’ve already got a lot to look forward to already but I’ll leave that for another post!
2019 kicked off with a few little trips around the UK. The first was to a place called Saltmarshe Hall booked through BuyaGift which included dinner and breakfast. Saltmarshe Hall is just over an hour from where we live and to be honest, I’d never heard of it but it was a gorgeous little break and the room was stunning.
I also went down to London for a couple of days to stay with my best friend who lives there. Whilst also seeing some of my friends I met on my Trek America tour. We explored Notting Hill, headed up the Sky Garden (which in my opinion is one of the best free things to do in London) and also visited the Winter Lights festival. I also took a day trip to Oxford to see Jessica. I’ve never been to Oxford before and it was such a stunning city. Definitely somewhere I’ll be visiting again soon.
Read more: A Day Trip to Oxford
The final break of January is when Stefan and I headed to the Champneys Resort in Leicestershire. It’s a great place if you are looking for a wellbeing break but I did find some parts of the resort very outdated. However, this Champney’s break was definitely the start of my 2019 spa obsession.
In February, My Mum and I headed on our annual Winter break. This year’s destination was Dublin, Ireland. We managed to get an amazing deal from Leeds Bradford Airport including our hotel for under £100! We spent a few days exploring all the sights, visiting the Guinness Brewery, Temple Bar and generally, eating lots of good food.
Read more: How to spend three days in Dublin, Ireland
March was an exciting month as Stefan and I visited three new countries on a little European adventure. We flew into Bratislava where we spent a couple of nights in an Air B&B and explored the cities sights such as the UFO Tower and Bratislava Castle. It’s a place I would have never thought to have visited but it’s actually quite lovely and really affordable. We then actually took the train to Vienna to have a whistlestop day trip exploring all the beautiful palaces and incredible architecture. I loved seeing all the incredible palaces but Stefan wasn’t too fond of Vienna.
Our third destination was Budapest which we spent four days exploring the Hungarian capital. I was really blown away by Budapest and loved our visit. There is so much to see and do, so I would recommend a good three or four days if you are looking to visit. We loved the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, Fisherman’s Bastion and even found an Instagram museum! I also experienced my first Hungarian (well, first-ever European) football match which was certainly an experience to remember. There was also loads of awesome restaurants and bars, definitely would recommend a trip to Budapest!
Read more: Six Places to Eat & Drink in Budapest
In April, we had a mini-road trip down to Bristol to visit friends. We stayed at the Mercure Brigstow Hotel and dined at their on-site restaurant Buttermilk & Maple which was lovely. I hadn’t been to Bristol for years so it was nice to have a little explore and go up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
We also had a little day trip to London, where we basically just went for a wander around Hyde Park, ate some great pizza and then went up the Sky Garden – Again!
At the beginning of May, Stefan and I jetted off to Rhodes, Greece for a week. We got an amazing all-inclusive deal with On The Beach to stay at the Mitsis Rodos Village Beach Hotel & Spa. It was a lovely hotel with 13 on-site restaurants and bars including a pizzeria on their private beach. I’m not even joking, we paid something wild like £280pp including flights! Whilst in Rhodes, we also hired a car so we could explore the island. I wasn’t too fussed about going on a beach holiday but we had such a lovely time in Rhodes. I’ll definitely be on the hunt out for a similar deal in 2020.
Also in May, we completed the GoApe Tree Top Adventure at Temple Newsam which I’m still very proud of. Me and my Mum also had a few days in Manchester where we went to see The Spice Girls at the Etihad Stadium. It was definitely a childhood dream that came true.
Shockingly, I didn’t really do a lot in the month of June but in July, we went on our annual trip to the Lake District. Vauxhall kindly lent us an incredible Grandland X car and we spent a week exploring the delights of the Lake District. Our first hotel was the incredible Brimstone Hotel & Spa in Great Langdale and without a doubt, it was the best hotel I’ve stayed in. The room had a double bath and was just absolute hotel room goals. Although we’ve been to the Lake District for the last two years, we are thinking of switching it up for 2020 – Maybe Cornwall or The Cotswolds.
August was a very busy month. We kicked it off with an overnight trip to Harrogate for Stefan’s Birthday where we did the Master Distiller Experience with Slingsby Gin and then spent the following day in neighbouring Knaresborough.
The following weekend saw a huge road trip down to Horsham for a friends wedding. On the way down, we stopped off in Cambridge as it’s another place neither Stefan or I had visited before. Although it was a very quick stop off, we did get a feel for the place and it was rather lovely. On the way home, we actually stopped off in Windsor for a couple of hours and visited the Castle before walking over to Eton.
My next trip in August was with Visit Tees Valley where I explored Middlesbrough and Darlington with my friend Ocean. We had an overnight stay at Wynyard Hall and it was pretty magical there with a morning at the spa. Middlesbrough isn’t too far from me and it was a great trip to see how much there is to offer in the area.
The final trip for August was for my 25th Birthday and after seeing Lewis Capaldi in my hometown, we drove through the night up to Edinburgh. Sounds lovely, except I was so poorly and a total Debbie Downer on the trip so we didn’t actually see too much of Edinburgh.
I had a few blogging events in September including the annual Blog at the Beach event with icelolly.com in Manchester. It was a great weekend to catch up with my blogger faves and meet some new people. Jess and I decided to make a weekend of it and stay over at the Macdonald Hotel & Spa. Another event I attended was a USA themed evening with eShores which focused on their multi-city west coast trip which coincidentally I’m doing in 2020!
Read More: A Weekend in Manchester with Hotels.com
I had a few exciting opportunities in October, the first been a lovely stay at Jesmond Dene House in Newcastle with Charlee. Just five minutes outside of the city centre is this gorgeous hotel. I’ve got to say the food was the star of the show. It was incredibly delicious and I will definitely be back in 2020!
After a quick weekend in Derby to see my best friend from university, I headed for another spa day at the gorgeous Rudding Park Hotel & Spa near Harrogate. This was my first visit and it’s an unbelievable spa with a gorgeous rooftop spa. My Mum had the ultimate girly afternoon relaxing at the spa.
October ended with an event for Made Up Leeds with Victoria Leeds where myself and Victoria actually went to see Joan Collins which was such a cool experience!
At the start of November, my Mum and I went down to Wembley Stadium with National Express for the London NFL Games. This was one of those incredible opportunities I felt so lucky to have been chosen for. I’m a huge fan of the NFL so this was amazing to be able to go!
My final big trip of 2019 was to re-visit Edinburgh. I had re-booked our trip from August so we could actually explore properly this time. Also we got to see the Christmas Markets which has been a dream of mine to visit for ages. Edinburgh is absolutely gorgeous any time of the year but especially at Christmas.
Read More: A Festive Trip to Edinburgh, Scotland
As I mentioned, we had a very sad end to the year. We did have plans to take my Grandma to London in December but sadly that never happened. Stefan and I did visit Castle Howard for a special cheese & gin evening and we also saw the beautiful decorations and this past weekend, I went through to York for a girly afternoon of shopping which was very well needed. I did take a step back from my blog and just life, in general, the last month or so. I’m hoping to get back into things in 2020. Especially as I have so many exciting travel plans! For now, I hope everyone has a lovely New Year’s and see you in 2020!