Happy Birthday – 2 years old!

I’ve now been blogging for two years, which is scary in many ways as it means that it is two years since I handed in my dissertation and finished my degree! However, in those two years I have managed to fit in an awful lot more than I thought I would. I’ve been doing plenty of travelling, working hard and earning money, bought a car, completed multiple online courses to help me learn more about what I’m interested in and much more besides.

A year ago today was the first time I shared my blog with anyone I knew. Before that I’d been worried about what people might think, and didn’t want to come across as “look at me”, but sharing it is one of the best things I did. The support and feedback that I’ve had from friends has been amazing and it’s really nice knowing that some of you have been following me on my adventures. I’ve also completed The Blogger Course by The Travel Hack which has helped me to feel connected to a blogging community and helped me to learn a lot, both from the course and from other people taking it.

My blog still isn’t perfect, and every time I read somebody else’s, or log in to post, I think about all the things I could change to make it more professional. And maybe I’ll start making more of those changes over the next year. But for now I’m just happy writing, and having read over some of my earlier posts I can already tell that my blogging style has developed and improved!

I initially didn’t think I’d be able to keep this up for six months, let alone two years. Here’s a round up of some of the highlights from those two years:

The post with the most views: Happy Birthday – 1 year old!

The post that generated the most comments: Eastern Algarve, Portugal Highlights

The most liked post: New Year in London

 

I’m also particularly pleased as my review of Sophie’s Steakhouse inspired a friend to go and I really enjoyed writing my review of No.15 Great Pulteney, knowing that the hotel hadn’t been open for that long but has since been featured in magazines and on websites as a great place to stay. I felt like I was ahead of the trend for once!

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Review: Aladdin, London

Ever since I first saw Aladdin being advertised I knew it was a West End show that I wanted to see. For a start, I’m a huge Disney fan and (thought I) knew all the songs. My best friend also wanted to see it. The costumes were bound to be spectacular. I love going to see musicals, particularly in London, and this was added to my list straight away. And, when Sophie and I finally managed to get our diaries to align, we went to see it!

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Review: Bat out of Hell, Manchester Opera House

I really enjoy going to the theatre so I’ve now got into the habit of checking theatre listings when I know I’m going away for the weekend, just in case there is something that catches my eye. When we were headed to Manchester James asked if I had seen anything and as nothing really appealed I explained that there wasn’t really anything on. This didn’t go down too well. Whilst Bat out of Hell was not really my idea of a great evening, James was really keen to go and apparently it was the preview run before it headed to London. So we booked tickets and let ourselves in for a night of Meat Loaf classics.

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Thermae Bath Spa

There are some people who regularly go to the spa. Whether it is for a spa weekend, a day of relaxation, or simply to treat themselves to one of the many treatments available, for some people spas are an important part of their life. I’d never really understood what the fuss was about. Spending a full day not really doing anything – surely I’d get bored?! Yet there was something about them that made me curious and want to understand the appeal. When James treated me to a trip to the Thermae Bath Spa for Christmas I was very excited, and part of that was because I’d finally get to see what all the fuss was about…

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The #Take12Trips Challenge

I first came across the #take12trips challenge a couple of years ago and thought it sounded like a great concept. Taking 12 trips in 12 months? Yes please! If you love travelling it’s great, but as a student my immediate concern was funding it. It’s all well and good when you are earning a lot, or if someone is paying you to take those trips, but otherwise it just isn’t possible. Or so I thought…

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2017 here I come!

Happy New Year! We’ve now reached 2017 and many people will be turning their thoughts to New Year’s Resolutions. Perhaps you’ve already broken one…

Last year I wrote a post that was less about resolutions and more about goals. Visualising where I would like to see myself in a year’s time and what I can do to get myself there. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t complete them, but they are things I would like to achieve. What do you want to get out of this year?

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Lessons learned from 2016

Another year is almost over and it’s time to look ahead to 2017. There are some parts of 2016 which have shocked and upset a lot of people and are best left in 2016, but although it has been a year of highs and lows, overall I’ve had a pretty good year.

At the start of the year I wrote a list of what I wanted to get out of the year and I did quite well. I managed to visit the places that I had planned to (and a few more!). I took a blogging course, proved to myself that I could Foxtrot and got a permanent job. I started the year brushing up my French and trying to learn German via Duolingo, but unfortunately didn’t keep it going throughout the whole year… Last year I had a brief reflection on what I had learned in 2015, so now it is time to have a look at which lessons have come out of 2016.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

In fact, it’s less than a week until Christmas and I’m beginning to wonder where the year has gone. Whilst there is still time to reflect on the whole year, I’ve actually been thinking recently about what I’ve been doing over the last few weeks. Whilst the shops may start preparing for Christmas from September (which is far too soon), this year I’ve actually managed to have a whole host of Christmassy activities lined up in the lead up to the day itself. Even discounting a magical trip to Cologne Christmas markets, there’s plenty I’ve done which has made the whole season feel festive, rather than just one day.

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Cologne Christmas Markets

If you follow my blog, you’ll already know about my love for Christmas markets. This time last week I was in my element as I was visiting the Cologne Christmas markets which were every bit as magical as I had hoped. It was busy, in fact it was incredibly busy, but for very good reason. The markets were stunning, particularly at night, and it was a great experience to be able to absorb the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. With a week to go until Christmas, I couldn’t be more in the mood.

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Continental Christmas Markets

I love Christmas markets. The food, the decorations, the gifts on offer… the whole atmosphere is wonderful. There is nothing quite like being wrapped up against the cold weather, enjoying mulled wine under a giant Christmas tree. Christmas markets in the UK have taken off in a big way, and it seems like almost every town has a fair or market in the lead up to Christmas, but they quite often promise more than they deliver. If you want a proper Christmas market, something that you will cherish the memory of for longer than the drive back home, I would urge you to go abroad.

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Old Town Square in Prague

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