My Travel Bucket List 2018

2018 Travel Bucket List
Travelling the world is one of my absolute favourite things to do, and ever since I started travelling with work, I have serious wanderlust! There are so many place to explore and experience in the world, and I’ve tried to set myself the goal of visiting some of them this year.

Today, I want to share with you the 5 places that are currently top of my travel bucket list …

Grand Canyon
I’ll always remember a friend of mine visiting the Grand Canyon a few years back, and showing me their photos from the trip. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to go and explore the area maybe even swinging by Vegas for 24 hours of fun! 

I haven’t had a beach holiday for a very long time, and Croatia has been tempting me with its beautiful beaches and gorgeous weather so I’m hoping to get over and explore its beautiful islands and mainland cities.

New York is one of my favourite cities in the world, having visited a couple of times before, I am desperate to head back this year, and this time I want to explore the places I’ve not yet got a chance to see, such as Williamsburg. I’ve always stayed in Manhattan and I’m quite keen to stay across the river on my next visit, which is handy as it just so happens that one of my favourite hotels, The Hoxton are opening their first US one in that area, so I now have a very good excuse.

This is a recent addition to my list. After visiting Madrid with work, I was reminded how amazing the food and atmosphere is and, when I’ve mentioned this to people they’ve recommended I visit Lisbon as it’s got the same style as Madrid but way better. I’m hoping to see if they’re right this year! 

This country has been on my list for a few years now - my husband has been a couple of times with work, and has said he’d love to go back and explore. So, hopefully we’ll get around to doing just that in 2018.  

What’s on your bucket list? Have you visited or done any of my travel plans, i’d love to hear your experience and make sure you give me some tips for things to see and do?

Out with the Old, and in with the new

2018 hopes

We all know that at the end of another year, a little reflection on the past 12 months plays on our minds, and welcoming in the new year brings new expectations, goals and hopes. 

2017 seems to have flashed by in a blink of an eye yet again - I honestly don’t know how it went so fast and how much happened in a year that I thought wouldn’t be as intense as the previous one. 

Looking back it couldn’t have been further from that, from personal achievements, great moments I’ll always look back on, and some I’d like to just bury in the back of my mind and forget about, 2017 was insane. 

There are always going to be some pretty shitty lows, and the most significant for me was my mama's cancer growing and her having to go through chemo all over again, bringing some new, horrid side effects and just more cancer shite being thrown her way. My mental health took a huge hit towards the end of the year, and whilst I’m glad I’ve got the most amazing support network around me, it has made me realise that I want to make some life changes in order to reduce my anxiety and stress levels, and try and bring back some normality and positivity in my mind and body. 

More on that shortly.

As I mentioned, 2017 bought some great moments that I never thought I’d experience, let alone achieve. So, I thought I’d share a mini round-up for you, as well as some changes (see how I’m not saying goals?!) coming up in 2018.

Towards the end of 2016, I started a new job - a huge step up in my career and something I have to say I’m pretty darn proud of. With the new role, came a lot of traveling, and my first trip of 2017 was to Sydney, travelling in Business Class with Emirates which was an experience in itself. Albeit I was only there for 3 nights, but I managed to see the city and have a mini-adventure before hopping on the plane home. A trip I’ll never forget. 

Next came Paris in March and April, followed by Chicago in June, which was a city I fell in love with and can’t wait to visit again this year. July saw me head back to Paris to celebrate my birthday (no work involved!) before heading to Berlin in August and Madrid in September. 

In October, I finally managed to pin my husband down and book our honeymoon! We visited Sweden and had the most amazing trip - it was the first time we had both visited the country and found it to be so beautiful. 

As I said earlier, I started a new job in the latter part of 2016, so 2017 was a big year for me and my career. Travelling played a huge part, but I finally felt settled and found myself really enjoying my job and feeling valued by my team and peers. 

Positivity in 2018

When you go through some pretty horrid shit, it really does put things into perspective. As I said earlier, I want to make some life changes in attempt to bring back some normality and positivity in my life. I’m not calling them goals, as I personally think calling them that adds a little pressure to achieving them, which I don’t need right now. I’m going to try and make one small life change each month, building up to the Summer when I have the strength and confidence to tackle the big ones I’ve got my eyes set on. 

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll have noticed I started to post less towards the end of 2017. This year I will be posting regularly, but not as often as I have done previously. I want my content to be something I love talking about, and that feels natural to me. I’m also prioritising spending time with my favourite friends and family. 

Over the last six months, I’ve really struggled with putting my wellbeing first. I’ve noticed my body has really taken a hit from it all - it’s crazy what stress can do to you and your body. So, I’m going to try and put myself first more, and look after myself by eating well and having an exercise plan in place - heck, I may even join a gym! 

I’ve started to realise that it’s ok not to be able to control everything that life throws at you, and although I’m still taking baby steps with this one, I am starting to just take these sort of situations as they come and just go with it.

Something I want to change is not taking on everything at full-speed. I have a pretty busy life and I know I need to slow down and not stress out thinking about how something could have gone, and what it could have been and also not overthink plans that are coming up in the near future. I want to try to acknowledge the present a little more, enjoy what is going on around me and think less about the ‘what ifs’. This is probably going to be the hardest change of all, but I know I need to be patient.

So, 2018 come at me! 

Creamy Chocolate Mousse

Creamy Chocolate Mousse
One of the most important parts about Christmas (aside from spending it with family) is the food.

I haven’t done a recipe post in a very long time, and as it’s the season for eating your body weight in food, I thought I’d share a super easy recipe that is perfect for knocking up over the festive period. It’s perfect for the gluten-free and vegetarians in your life, takes no time to prepare and doesn't require much effort, leaving you to hang out with your loved ones.

Chocolate Mousse (serves 6)

200g milk or dark chocolate
3 large eggs, separated
50g caster sugar
Softly whipped cream to serve (optional, but so worth it)

To start, place the chocolate and 120ml of water in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of  simmering water – do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Heat gently, stirring, until the chocolate is melted.

Whilst the chocolate is melting separate your eggs, with the yolks in one bowl, and the whites in another.

Leave the melted chocolate to cool, and in a large bowl whisk the egg whites with the sugar until stiff peaks form - I use my Kitchenaid for this part as it takes a while to whisk the whites by hand! 

Once the chocolate is cooled, stir in the egg yolks with a wooden spoon until well combined. Then, pour the chocolate in to the whisked egg whites.
Creamy Chocolate Mousse
Gently fold into the chocolate mixture.

Spoon the mousse into individual dishes or one large dish and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. 

Decorate and top with softly whipped cream, if desired.
Creamy Chocolate Mousse
Creamy Chocolate Mousse
There you have it! The perfect dessert - and so easy to make! 

Giving back over Christmas

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It is a time of parties, presents, delicious food and ugly Christmas jumpers. 

It is also a pretty good time to start giving back. 

This is the time of year when even the smallest gesture can have the biggest impact. If everyone of us dug deep into our pockets, we'd make a huge difference. 
#CookforSyria Recipe Book
#CookForSyria is the supper-club that has become a global movement. This gorgeous book features traditional recipes donated by Syrian families, Syrian-inspired recipes lovingly donated by celebrity chefs, Great British Bake Off alumni, and award winning cookbook authors - All 100% donated by the contributors. 

All profits from the sale of the book will be donated to charity in aid of UNICEF's Children of Syria Fund. 

Buy here

 Save The Children Christmas Jumper Collection
Family brand, Selfish Mother have teamed up with charity Save The Children again to create a collection of awesome jumpers designed by a few familiar faces. The money raised from the sale of these sweatshirts could help Save the Children bring essentials like healthcare, education, protection and food to the millions of children around the world who are missing out on the most basic support.

50% of the retail price goes straight to Save The Children. Last year, they raised £75k for this awesome cause through customers wearing and sharing the designs. 

Buy here

Nightsky Pyjamas by Hush and Refuge
This stunning special edition pyjama set with matching eye mask, has been created in partnership with Refuge. 

For every Nightsky pyjama set sold, hush will donate £52 to Refuge which is the equivalent of one night in a refuge for a woman and her children, including essential practical and emotional support. 

Buy here

'let love rule' long sleeve top
Sugarhill Boutique and charity 'let love rule' have partnered to raise awareness and money by creating this lovely Brighton Breton top. £10 from the sale of this garment will go directly to Plan International UK. 

Plan International are committed to advancing children’s rights, and equality for girls around the world. 

Buy here

From Babies With Love SOS Children Charity Soft Duck Toy
The brands best-selling Duck design have created this contemporary and charming soft toy. Suitable from birth, it's made with soft organic cotton, is GOTS certified, features upcycled material filling, and is made in Britain.

Every penny of profit from this unique, ethically sourced design goes to orphaned and abandoned children around the world. 

Buy here

Girl vs Cancer Christmas Tit-tee
As if I could leave this one out! If you haven't heard of the legend that is Lauren - where have you been?! This amazing lady has founded website Girl vs Cancer, and launched the most awesome tit tees. For Christmas, she's designed a festive edition and I cannot wait to wear mine on the big day. Check out her other designs which are equally awesome and can totally be paraded around 365, 24/7.

What's more, 25% of each tit-tee will be split equally between charities; CoppaFeel, Future Dreams, Trekstock and Look Good Feel Better. 

Buy here

MAC Viva Glam Lipstick
In 1994, MAC introduced 'Viva Glam', an outspoken deep red that was universal in its appeal and its glamour - It was also the first lipstick created to raise money and awareness for AIDS. Even now the brand are creating new Viva Glam products for their customers to purchase. 

With 100% of the proceeds of every Viva Glam product is donated to the MAC AIDS Fund, which helps men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDs.

Buy here

Oklahoma Throw
The supplier of this product employs sixty people in a small, modern and clean factory/warehouse in Delhi. Staff receive maximum remuneration and wages are above average for the area. They provide loans and materials to people involved in their supply chain, there is no child labour and they have a waste recycling program. 

The company supports CRY which is a charity for homeless children.

Buy here

Scamp and Dude Children's Christmas Jumper
One of my favourite kidswear brands, Scamp and Dude have designed a Christmas jumper for the kids. All profits from the sale of this sweatshirt goes to Grief Encounter to help support children who have lost a parent.

Buy here

Here are some other suggestions: 
There are so many people out there struggling, who don't have any family and are alone, cold and potentially trying to escape their own personal hell. Please consider just buying one or two pressies for people you’ll never meet.

Give an elderly person a bit of company (£20 – £75) – or donate time for free!

Give back this Christmas in some way - every little helps! 

The Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017 **UPDATED**

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which means it's that time of year where I don my Elf outfit and go into the world wide WebSphere to find some Christmas gift ideas for you lovely lot!

** I've spent that last few days scouring the internet once again for some more gift ideas - check them out below ** 

Go fourth and browse....Just don't blame me if you end up buying something for yourself (that may have happened to me when I was putting this post together) 

Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Christmas Beauty Gift Guide

Christmas Homeware Gift Guide

Womens Christmas Gift Guide

Kids Christmas Gift Guide

Men's Christmas Gift Guide

Under £50 Christmas Presents

Homeware for the festive season

Festive homeware

I've been hosting Christmas at ours for the last couple of years now, and I always like to make our home that little more festive because of this. So, whilst browsing the world wide web this week, I found some great festive homeware pieces - some of them you could definitely use all year round (the practical buyer in me loves this!).