This year is a bit of a special one for me, yep I’m hitting that middle age milestone of the big 4-0! Now, whilst for many the prospect of turning 40 may send shudders of fear running deep into their very core, I’m actually feeling pretty OK with it. I mean honestly, what’s the big deal?
Instead of celebrating with a party I’ve decided to have a shedload of holidays, a project which I’m calling #40daysofholiday and that also means going to some of the places that are on my destination bucket list. I’ll be blogging about each holiday as I tick them off my list, but in the meantime here is a sneak peak of where I want to go in 2018.
I’ve just got back from the first place on my bucket list and boy was it an experience packed full of memories. Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is one of those places that many people want to visit, but the problem is that the cost of living is so incredibly high that for many it just isn’t an option. But hey, I’m turning 40 (yeah OK not until November) so I’m not gonna let a little thing like £7 for a standard cup of coffee get in my way!
It was an absolutely epic holiday, filled with adventures such as caving in ice tunnels, night swimming in the Blue Lagoon, tasting fermented shark at the local market, and eating delicious hot soup from a giant bread roll. I was holding onto hopes of seeing the Northern Lights (February is peak time for this), but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be…hmmm I guess that just means I’ll have to go back 😉
If you’d like to read all about my Iceland holiday you can head on over to https://artofhealthyliving.co.uk/travels-iceland-40daysofholiday/ and if you’d like some money saving tips, ‘cos let’s face it we could all do with some of them, then check out My Reykjavik Top Tips.
Who says bucketlist destinations need to be in exotic far flung places, especially when we live on such a beautiful, scenic and historically packed island as the UK!?! I’ve been to a fair few places in the UK over the years, but there are deffo still loads of places I would love to see, which is why our next family trip at Easter is going to see us going on a road trip around the UK. I’ve always loved the Lake District and would love to take the kids up there to experience some proper outdoorsy adventures, but the thought of having them bickering in the car for hours fills me with dread, hence the idea of the road trip. Now, we haven’t worked out the finer details yet, although we must crack on and get it sorted soon as places get booked up fast, but it’s got me racking my brains about some of the sights and sites I would like to include.
Stone Henge, The Angel of the North, Loch Ness, Hadrian’s Wall, Edinburgh are just a handful of places I am desperate to visit, although as you can see most of these are way, way up north and I could really do with some stop off points along the way. Please let me know in the comments below of any family friendly suggestions of stunning places to visit between Hampshire and Scotland.
We stayed in Dubai for 3 nights as part of our honeymoon 11 years ago and it was the most luxurious holiday I think I have ever been on, as we stayed in the 7 star Burj Al Arab hotel – which is basically the very meaning of the work luxury!
When you walk into a place like that you try to keep all calm, ‘cos you don’t wanna look out of place. You play it cool, swishing into the lobby as if you come to places like this all the time. Ha well that plan didn’t work, because honestly the moment you enter you’re confronted with floor to (very high) ceiling fish tanks, colourful dancing waterfalls, gold literally EVERYWHERE and opulence, pure opulence. Eyes did widen, mouths did drop.
And oh my goodness our room…
We’re talking two floors, with a sweeping staircase straight out of a Disney movie, chandeliers, gold TV, gold bar, gold sofas, gold bath, gold bed…you get the picture. It even had it’s own guest toilet! We were also allocated our own personal butler, who delivered us delicious snacks every afternoon and catered to our every whim, although being very typically British we were polite and asked for very little. There was every kind of food imaginable for breakfast including caviar and lobster, we got to invent our own cocktails in the bar on the top floor of the hotel and we went on a submarine simulation that took us to the underwater restaurant beneath the hotel. It was simply stunning and I will never forget those special 3 days where we were made to feel like royalty.
I would absolutely love to head to Dubai again, to experience it this time with the family at a hotel much more suited to families…and on a cheaper budget. Somehow or other we managed to get a great deal on the Burj when we went, but having looked into it again, taking the family would virtually involve remortgaging our house, eating dust for the rest of our lives and possibly even selling one of the kids to a wealthy camel owner. But having said that I do really want to share the experience of Dubai with them. The plan is to go over the Summer as part of a stop off before continuing our travels, but perhaps this time we’ll focus on water parks and buffets, rather than cocktails and extravagance!
I’ve always been intrigued by Hong Kong, imagining it to be a complete dichotomy of fast paced and slow living, old and new, dirty and clean and I like the idea of visiting somewhere that takes you out of the comfort zone of what you know. The plan is to makes this the second stop on our Summer holiday, probably just 3 or 4 days, but enough time to experience a very different culture to ours. Having spoken to friends who have visited Hong Kong recently, I’ve been given lots of advice about what to expect and how to deal with the time difference and jet lag – apparently this is the biggest potential enjoyment killer, and it is definitely something we’ll have to consider when we book flight times…my kids are grumpy enough as it is without tiredness factoring as well!
I can’t wait to be stumped by the language (I mean seriously how do people cope with the symbolic language when reading menus!?!), and taste the many foodie sensations on offer at Temple Street Night Market, plus some of the sights (The Big Buddha, The Star Ferry, The Peak) sound truly mindblowing. And if I get to see a real life panda…well that’ll be the icing on my 40th birthday cake.
Back when we were planning our honeymoon, Bali was top of our list and we were so, so close to booking it…and then the bombings happened. And I know you shouldn’t let it put you off, but it did. So we scrapped our plans and instead booked to go to Dubai, Singapore and Thailand. Which don’t get me wrong, was AMAZING; we had the best time and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. But there’s still a hankering inside of me to go to Bali and visit the so-called ‘Paradise Island’. I envisage it being the very epitome of tranquillity, a place to unwind, get back to nature and enjoy some well earned rest…OK so maybe we won’t get that with kids, but a gal can dream can’t she 😉
Hopefully, Bali will make up the third and final leg of our Summer holiday, so now it’s all about sitting down and working out the finer details of where to stay and what to do.
So as you can see, my 40 days of holiday are starting to tot up nicely and when I factor in my 3 days at Disneyland Paris where I’ll be taking on a half marathon and a girly couple of days away in Portugal in October I’m probably not far off hitting my target. Although I’m thinking it could be nice just to get away by myself for a night or two, something I haven’t done before, so if you’ve got any suggestions please let me know.
If you’d like to follow my travels remember to look out for my #40daysofholiday blogposts and please, please do share with me any advice and top tips if you have been to any of the places above – I need ALL the help I can get!