Every year I recap my favourite travel moments of the year, it’s a great way to reflect on what I’ve done and these are posts I’ll look back on and remember for years to come! 2019 has been the best year of my life right from the start – I found out that I was pregnant in January and after a slight rollercoaster of a pregnancy, little O was born in July and the last five months have been spent enjoying a brand new life as a family of three! My travels this year have reflected those changes in my life and though these moments are very different to last year’s, they are in many ways so much more special.
1. Oscar’s First Holiday
Of course I had to kick off with my most special trip of the year, and perhaps of all time! Oscar’s first trip abroad which was also his first time in a plane, his first time in a hotel and his first time seeing the beach. Maybe Ibiza seemed a slightly unorthodox trip for a ten week old but contrary to popular belief, Ibiza is great from families!
Nobu Ibiza Bay turned out to be the perfect family friendly resort for our first holiday and we had an amazing room, gorgeous view of the beach and pool and I loved the restaurants. I’ll definitely be returning to the hotel when Oscar is big enough to enjoy the kids club.
The flight itself couldn’t have gone better, with little O sleeping most of the way and only waking up for the occasional feed. Our first holiday most definitely helped any doubts that I had about travelling with a little one!
2. Taking Oscar to Soho Farmhouse
Regular readers will know Soho Farmhouse is may favourite UK hotel… unfortunately the private members club / luxury resort doesn’t exactly encourage children and there are only a few rooms that are family friendly. However, with Oscar being under one year old we were allowed to bring him to stay in the non-family cabin. Hoorah! Staying with a baby was quite a bit different to our previous stays (goodbye pressing for champagne in the hot tub, long massages and late dinners ending in dancing til 2am…) but it was better than ever. I loved showing O my favourite hotel as well showing him horses, ducks and bunnies for the first time.
3. Our Babymoon to Sicily
Mr S and I love Italy and a trip to Sicily had been on our bucketlist for ages! Our babymoon (aka final fling before the baby was born) seemed the perfect opportunity to visit the Italian Island. Staying in Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo was an absolute dream come true, we loved the old school glamour, views of Mount Etna and the incredible food served in the restaurant. Exploring the beautiful town of Taormina was a delight, as was visiting the hotel’s sister property Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea located right on the beach. The only thing that let our dream Italian babymoon down was a few days of terrible weather 🙁
4. Two Girlie Babymoons!
Theresa and I have become great travel buddies in our nearly ten years of friendship and we both felt we needed not one but two final girlie flings before I became a mum! In March we had a brilliant staycation at Babington House (part of the Soho House group and sister property to Soho Farmhouse) and did what the two of us do best, ate loads of food and laughed til we cried! The beautiful decor and location of Babington House in Somerset were the perfect back drop for our fun.
Our second trip was also a UK staycation, and an invite to Lucknam Park was perfect as the Chippenham location is very close to Theresa’s home town of Bristol. I checked out the maternity massage at the spa, we ate lots and enjoyed our time together!
5. Fika in Stockholm
I always look back and think about the number of new countries I’ve visited in a year but this year Sweden was the only one to add to the list. That said it had been a long time coming and I’d had Stockholm on my wish list for several years. Knowing it was my last chance to visit child free, we booked a trip for April when I was around twenty weeks pregnant. It was a great time to go and I absolutely loved our home away from home style hotel, Ett Hem, enjoyed Fika for the time, went to some great restaurants and visited the ABBA Museum.
I loved Stockholm and we’ll most definitely be returning with Oscar in tow!
6. Easter in Geneva
Spontaneous trips are rare for us but when Mr S suggested I meet him in Switzerland after his ski trip, I jumped at the chance wanting to pack a few last travel experiences into the first half of the year before O came along. And the fact it was Easter and the Swiss make some of the world’s best chocolate, lined up quite nicely!
We left our first hotel when it wasn’t what we expected and ended up at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva which turned out to be an absolute dream with amazing attention to detail and most importantly some of the best hot chocolate that I’ve ever tasted!
We visited some gorgeous restaurants, enjoyed browsing the luxurious shops, had sunny walks in the park … and ate load of chocolate…
7. A 40th Birthday to Berlin
After much discussion Berlin was the agreed upon location for Mr S’s friend Andy’s 40th Birthday at the beginning of the year -little did I know when we were planning the trip that I would actually be pregnant when we went! And actually the trip took place only ten days after I found out. With the early days of my pregnancy being filled with anxiety, this laugh-a-minute trip was exactly what I needed! Staying in Soho House Berlin gave us the perfect base with a brilliant bar and restaurant to start our night and also a great vibe to return too.
We went on an amazing historical tour finding out more about the tumultuous history of the place and punctuated our trip with plenty of delicious meals, mugs of hot chocolate to stave off the cold and just lots and lots of fun. Can we do it again soon?
8. The Eat Jersey Food Festival
Visiting Jersey for the Eat Jersey Food Festival was my only group press trip of the year and with still some lingering anxiety in the early days of my pregnancy, I was a little apprehensive. But of course I had bags of fun especially as my friend Gary was on the trip! The hospitality of the Atlantic Hotel was as incredible as it was the first time that I went and some of the staff even remembered me from my trip several years ago!
I found out about some of the amazing produce made on the island as well as enjoying an extensive tasting menu by renowned chefs in the hotel’s restaurant. Though it was a whistle stop one night stay, I had such a fun time in Jersey and I’ll always have fond memories of the Atlantic hotel.
9. A Fancy Dress 40th in Luxembourg
Mr S and I also returned to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to visit our friends who live there. This time it was for a fun 40th birthday with the theme of movies since 1979. I went as Elle Woods and was very pleased with my pink Legally Blonde outfit!
We were also saying goodbye to the first trimester of pregnancy and celebrating finding out that our little one was a baby boy!
10. A Family Trip to Chewton Glen
I love going away with my parents, sister and nephews… and playing with my nephews has been great practice for having my own little boy! This year we headed to Chewton Glen in the New Forest for some family time… we even got to take Charlie and Jacskon to Peppa Pig World!
So there we have it… a year that was totally different and wonderful in every way!