2018 round up and the year ahead

2018 has been a great year. I visited five countries, three of them for the first time and started a new job. Some of the trips I’ve taken this year are up there as being my favourite – namely Iceland, Singapore and Vietnam. In total I’ve published 21 blog posts this year, with February my busiest blogging month (4 posts) and July the quietest with none (I think I was enjoying the heatwave!). Here’s a round up of my 2018 and my current plans for 2019.

January

January was a quiet month. We’d had a hectic Christmas and bought in new year on a plane ride back from Tenerife visiting family. On this trip, like many in 2017, I managed to travel using only cabin baggage so I wrote a post sharing my tips for travelling light.

February

At the beginning of February Lee and I had a trip to Iceland. This was his Christmas present to me – a complete surprise and I couldn’t have imagined anything better! I was blown away by the place, Reykjavik, the Golden Circle and the food. I’d only had a short time to plan our trip, but it was great (except perhaps for the weather but then that’s part of the fun in Iceland!).

Us at the seafront in Reykjavik

Us at the seafront in Reykjavik

Back home in Manchester, we had a Secret Supper Club evening with Jean-Christophe Novelli and even got to meet the man himself! The evening didn’t quite go to plan, but it was enjoyable and something different for the Manchester scene.

Meeting the man himself

Meeting the Jean-Christophe Novelli

March

March was a month spent at home whilst I finished working my notice period in my old job. I was fed up of the 60min each way commute and excited to return to working in the city centre. We enjoyed the weather turning warmer with a few weekends outdoors, including one of my favourite walks around Castleton in the Peak District.

April

Food and travel were on the cards in April.

In the first half of the month I was somewhat deflated when the Rabbit in the Moon relaunch didn’t live up to my expectations. It’s since closed down (I can’t say I’m surprised). Their new offering just didn’t have a market in Manchester. It lacked the quality of fine dining to charge such a premium but wasn’t commercial enough to appeal to the masses.

The second half of the month saw us head back to Tenerife to visit family and relax, before starting my new job. We’ve been holidaying in Tenerife for years (even before Lee’s family moved out there) and if you’ve never been I wrote a post on why you should give it a try.

Winnats Pass, Castleton

Part of my favourite walk in Castleton

May

May saw the weather get even warmer and the first glimpses of the heatwave we enjoyed all summer! I started my new job and although we didn’t go overseas, we enjoyed lots of trips out and about in the North-West of England. Highlights included a long-awaited trip to Lancaster (where we both went to Uni), a day boating with friends and a very hot visit to Formby on the coast. I did a little May-round up post which you can see here.

June and July

By June I had fully embraced the crazy hot weather we were experiencing! We spent our time maximising the summer in our garden, cooking on our Big Green Egg and even got into cheering England on in the world cup! (Very uncharacteristic as I’m not a football fan). My mum also turned 60 and I think we had 60 parties to celebrate (just kidding…kinda). The celebrations kicked off with a garden party similar to my dads a year earlier and continued into August. All this meant a lack of blogging. Although we did enjoy a night of Spanish food, wine tasting and mixing at Casa Campo Viejo.

Although I didn’t blog much, I did update my Instagram story regularly….

August

August started my ‘five weeks of fun’. The first week was a family weekend away at the races, in a really cute AirBnb cottage. Week 2 saw us visit Liverpool to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibition with my parents and then a romantic cabin break for me and Lee in Snowdonia, Wales.

We’d planned our trip to Wales after our November 2017 trip was a wash out and we failed to reach the summit of Snowdon due to bad weather. Unfortunately, the weather still wasn’t kind in August, so we changed our planned for a leisurely walk to Aber falls, rather than a hike up Snowdon! We did manage to make awesome food on a camp fire though and really enjoyed getting back to nature (but one night in a cabin without electricity or a bathroom is enough thank you!)

Camp food at its finest!

Camp food at its finest!

September

My ‘five weeks of fun’ continued with a hen do at the start of the September seeing some of my oldest friends. Then, the crescendo, our big trip to Asia! This was a first for me as I’d never been further east than Dubai.

We spent 8 nights in (a very humid!) Singapore enjoyed the Grand Prix and even stayed in Marina Bay Sands. This iconic hotel isn’t cheap (check the latest prices here), so I wrote a post about whether a stay is worth it. Singapore was like no where I’d been before – a thriving city and yet so clean and structured. I was also surprised by the amount of greenery to be found which meant the city never became too overwhelming.

In the Marina Bay Sands infinity pool

In the Marina Bay Sands infinity pool

After Singapore we headed to Vietnam. Due to our limited time, we only managed to visit the South of the country, but were still able to enjoy the city and countyside. We stayed in the centre of Ho Chi Minh, which was a world away from the clean streets of Singapore, but great in its own way. As a break from the city, we visited the Mekong Delta and spent a day exploring on bikes and in a kayak. That’s possibly my most memorable day of the whole trip!

Cycling in the Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta cycling

October

My birthday month saw no overseas travel, so instead we focussed on food. Luckily for us there was a gem of a place just opening on our doorstep. I was able to bag us a table for opening night at Mana. This place was incredible. A breath of fresh air on the Manchester restaurant scene and definitely upping the game. Fingers crossed for that elusive Manchester Michelin Star, because if this place doesn’t get one then it’s certainly a fix!

November

November saw another trip to Tenerife, this time with friends. We stayed in a HUGE airbnb villa with private pool and had a blast. We also went up Mount Teide, the volcano from which Tenerife surfaced as an island. I wrote a post with all my tips for if you want to visit Mount Teide too. We finished off the month with an opening night visit to The Ivy Manchester.

Teide

Mount Teide, Tenerife

December and 2019…. big changes

December ended up being much more hectic than planned. At the start of the month we made a life decision – to move from Manchester to Nottinghamshire! Whilst we’ll miss Manchester, we’ve had a great 8 years calling it home. But we’re moving to change our lifestyle and be closer to family – I’m so excited for the future! Of course, these changes don’t happen instantly, so December weekends were spent viewing houses and selling ours. Now we have the ball rolling and plan to make the most of being in Manchester for the first few months of 2019 before the big move!

What does 2019 hold for thetallwanderer.com

Hopefully, after the move I’ll have more time to blog, as (for a while at least) I’ll be working part-time. 2018 saw me publish 21 blog posts and 98 Instagram posts (I’m genuinely surprised its that many considering how rubbish I am at Instagram!). I also got better at using twitter, which is great for connecting with other bloggers. I plan to improve my use of all these in 2019.

However, one of my New Years Resolutions (which I actually started 2 weeks early) is to use facebook less. I find it such a sap on my time and can easily spend hours on it, without any gain. So, I deleted the app from my phone! I’ll still be updating facebook.com/thetallwanderer with my latest posts and occasional updates, but it’ll be from a desktop. I’m already finding I’m way more productive in many aspects of my life without the facebook app on my phone, so if you lose time to it too I’d recommend deleting it. I don’t even miss it!

I’ll miss Manchester…. and this view from my desk

2019 travel plans

Given the imminent house move, travel is on hold for a few months. I’m sure we’ll be visiting plenty of Manchester restaurants whilst they’re still on our doorstep though!

Then April will see us visit Azerbaijan for the formula 1. We had such a great time at the Singapore race, we couldn’t wait to see another and the Baku street circuit is a favourite for both of us. Hopefully we’ll team the trip there with a stop off somewhere else….possibly some sun in Doha… we’ll see.

After that, we’re planning a short trip to Paris in the summer for a gig, which I’m really looking forward to. The last time we visited was 2010 and we got engaged, so it’s a city with special memories for us 😊.

The second half of the year is unplanned at the moment…. but it does contain a big birthday for me (30!). I’ll be planning a big trip to match but just haven’t decided on where yet.

Thanks for reading and here’s wishing you a wonderful 2019 in whatever you have planned (and unplanned) for the next 12 months!

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