New countries visited, old favourites returned to, ticks off the bucketlist and big birthday surprises! It’s been an incredible year and I just love writing posts like this to remember all my favourite travel moments of 2018. I visited three continents (one I’d never visited before), three new countries – Norway, Chile and Argentina and visited France four times and Italy three times, The Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Morocco and Greece.
So without further ado…
1. January – Sailing the Fjords and My First Time in Norway
My first trip of the year was a 30th birthday surprise for one of my best friends. We stayed over night at the beautiful Thief Hotel in Oslo before heading to Alesund and staying at the absolutely gorgeous Storfjord Hotel.
The highlight of our Norway trip and a major tick of the bucket list for me was experiencing the most incredible cruise along the Fjords.
2. Feburary – UK Staycations with Blogger Besties
The beginning of February saw my first weekend away with the lovely Lauren. Both of us had been eying up cosy-luxury hotel, The Pig on the Beach for a while and we were super excited to stay in the cute cottage-like Bothy and spend the weekend relaxing and eating great food!
Soon afterward I was lucky enough to go on a press trip to Four Seasons Hampshire with Binny and Laura and experience the newly renovated hotel. Our stay there including trying the new Seasonal Socials at the hotel’s Wild Carrot restaurant as well as their newly launched brunch.
3. March – A Return to Amsterdam
Having not been to Amsterdam for over ten years, I was delighted to return as part of a collaboration with the Kimpton de Witt hotel. I seriously think Amsterdam has to be one of the quickest, easiest and cheapest city breaks from the UK (I know Paris is super easy by train but everything there is much more expensive than the ‘dam!). Once there was fell in love with the beautiful gingerbread canal houses, the relaxed vibes and how easily accessible everything was. Amsterdam, I’ll be back!
4. March – First Time Skiing
At the ripe old age of 30-something and having avoided skiing so far, I thought I’d probably never go but with a husband as keen as Mr S I was finally persuaded. As someone who is scared of heights, falling and moving quickly I was never going to fall in love with skiing but I was so proud of myself for actually giving it a go when we went to Courchevel.
And do you know what? Even though I didn’t love skiing, I literally loved everything else. The beautiful scenery, the atmosphere and the wonderful but most of all the hotel. Aman Le Mélézin was utterly glorious and easily one of my favourite hotels of all time. Talk about cosy vibes with totally amazing service!
5. April – A Trip to Venice with Prosecco Brand Bottega
Being invited to the Veneto region with a prestigious Prosecco brand was a press trip of dreams for me! We stayed our first night in a castle before visiting the Bottega Vineyard the next day and then a whole trip culminating in Venice, one of the most beautiful places on earth! Seriously pinch me!
6. April – Watching the Tango in Buenos Aires
Having never visited South America and having dreamed of going for years, after I had to cancel a trip back in 2016 I couldn’t believe I was finally going. Our first couple of nights were spent at the gorgeous Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires, exploring the city and trying lots of local food. The highlight of our time there was a visit to the tango show at the Faena Hotel, the location was intimate and private and the performances were simply sensational.
7. April – Drinking all the wine in Mendoza
I couldn’t visit Argentina without paying a visit to the most famous wine region. Of course we drank our fair share of red, ate in some amazing restaurants and stayed in the gorgeous Cavas Wine Lodge.
8. April – Seeing Star in the Atacama Desert
I wasn’t quite expecting this but I have to say the Atacama Desert was one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been in my life. We experienced star gazing in the world’s clearest sky, swam in lagoons, went horse riding through the desert and saw lots of cute llamas!
Our stay was further enhanced by the wonderful hospitality, food and drink at Awasi Atacama.
9. April – A Journey to the End of the Earth
Some places seem so far removed from your every day life, they only seem exist in pictures. That’s Chilean Patagonia for you! It’s one of the furthest places I’ve even been from home and one of the most incredible. Though we were a bit unlucky with the weather we still witnessed stunning landscapes, ice glaciers and went horse riding through the snow!
Once again it was boutique hotel brand, Awasi that really enhanced our incredible stay there.
10. May – A Trip to Champagne with Marks & Spencer
An invitation to the land of bubbly with a brand that’s been part of my life forever has to be one of my major travel highlights this year.
I was absolutely honoured to be invited to Champagne as Mark & Spencer celebrated the launch of their new house Champagne, Delacourt.
11. May – Finally visiting the Amalfi Coast
Probably my ultimate bucket list destination, and the Amalfi Coast did not disappoint in the slightly. In fact it was even more beautiful in real life – something I could hardly believe possible! Coastal views, colourful houses, amazing food, the uber-chic island of Capri.
We stayed at Il San Pietro di Positano, a cliff side hotel covered in flowers and one of my all time favourites! We then moved to Le Sirenuse where we had front row seats for the gorgeous Positano beach.
12. June – Flying from London to Nice for lunch by Private Jet
Probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done as part of a blog invitation. Back in June, I was invited to fly from London Luton to Nice with PrivateFly, a global Private Jet booking platform.
I felt like a total rock star enjoying a champagne breakfast on the plane, lunch on the rooftop at La Terrasse before enjoying a party on the plane on the way back. I was seriously pinching myself all day.
13. July – 24 Hours in Barcelona
Speaking of flights, in order to get my tier points in before the end of the year, my friend and I decided to take a flying visit to Barcelona. We stayed at Soho House Barcelona and basically ate great food and drank lots of wine. It was so much fun.
14. September – Staying in the Atlas Mountains
Beautiful views, a luxury Berber tent and amazing food – staying in Richard Branson’s hotel Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas mountains as part of a press trip with Original Travel was a total dream come true!
15. September – Exploring the Souks of Marrakech
I returned to Marrakech after ten years and I had the most amazing time marvelling at the Souks, eating tagines and staying at the incredible Villa Des Orangers.
16. September – A Greek Odyssey for Mr S’s 40th Birthday
I thought long and hard about what Mr S would enjoy for his birthday and in the end I knew he would a week of relaxation, beach, pool, sun and sand. With the birthday being in September, Greece seemed the ideal choice for guaranteed hot weather. We had two days of history and culture in Athens before a week enjoying the incredible Amanzoe resort.
Mr S loved it so much that he didn’t even get too annoyed about me organising our first couples photo shoot!
17. October – A Whirlwind Trip to Paris
Back in October, Laura and I were invited to Paris for the day to celebrate the launch of beautiful lifestyle book In Paris. We experienced a private Eurostar carriage before a spending around three hours in the City of Lights. Of course, our main aim was to get Instagram shots!
18. October – Returning to Soho Farmhouse
I returned once more to my favourite UK hotel, Soho Farmhouse. In October with my parents in tow and then once again in November to celebrate my birthday. I’ve now stayed five times and it truly could never get old!
19. November – Roaming through Rome
I returned to Rome as part of a girls trip with Laura. I didn’t quite fall in love with Rome last time I visited as it was so ridiculously crowded but this time I absolutely loved it. Part of that was visiting off season and partly going everywhere early to avoid the crowds. We also utterly loved our stay at Hotel Eden.
20. December – An Incredible trip to Sölden in Austria
My final press trip of the year was a luxury trip to Das Central, a beautiful hotel in the Tyrol. I never expected to experience my second time skiing in 2018 but that’s one of the amazing things about being a blogger, you never know what will crop up! I was also lucky enough to take Mr S on his first group press trip (he’s been on individual trips with me including Amsterdam and Morocco this year) and he fit right in! On this trip we got to experience everything that Das Central had to offer including the incredible food and spa, as well as the sensational ice Q restaurant located at over 3000 metres above sea level and the futuristic Aqua Dome!
So that’s my 2018, I’d love to know how yours has been!