This is a collaborative post with Destination2

As the year draws to a close, I can’t help but look back over the last twelve months. It’s been our first full year as parents, and I can’t quite believe how quick it’s gone! I find myself wondering what have we done? And the answer is: quite a lot of little things, actually. In the preceding years to this one, we’ve done a lot of ‘big things’: we got engaged, we got married, we honeymooned, we got pregnant, we had a baby – all undeniably major events. But 2017 was a year of the ordinary moments. It’s the year we first ventured to Bluestone, went on our first family camping trip, Pickle’s first birthday, he learned to walk, and since then the weeks have rolled by filled with baby swimming classes, Rhythm Time and Talking Tots.

Family photo in the snow

2017 wasn’t a year of ‘big things’, and whilst my bank balance as a Stay at Home Mom isn’t particularly spectacular, I’ll be hoping there will be at least something big to commemorate the big occasion of 2018: my 30th birthday!

Birthday Holidays

Family portrait swimming pool

I’m a big fan of going away for my birthday. I’ve spent a fair few of my birthdays during my 20s at Center Parcs, and loved it every single time. It’s so lovely to wake up and not have to think about going to work. Spending the whole day with your family is a present in itself, and if that day includes eating breakfast at the Pancake House, then you’re onto a winner in my book! That said, one year, we went on a three-day trip to Rome with some friends – and the deal we managed to get just happened to fall on my birthday – but the less said about that, the better. It all went horribly wrong and everyone except me was poorly, and spent most of the weekend in the bathroom. I spent the morning of my birthday feeling guilty that I was the only one who hadn’t puked their guts up and hunting down the nearest pharmacy for some hydration medication. Happy Birthday, me!

Holidays for my Birthday, a beach view over the Pacific Ocean

It would be amazing to mark my 30th birthday with a memorable holiday. If money were no object, there’s so many places I’d love to visit and things I’d love to experience: whale watching in Mexico, a cabin over the sea in the Maldives, or the buzz of Washington DC during a presidential election year. But if I’m being more realistic, my 2018 travel bucket list needs to be a little more modest. So here’s where I’d like to go…

Back to Bluestone

The Fairy Village at Bluestone Wales

Our holiday to Bluestone last May was, without a doubt, one of the highlights of 2017 for me. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again… I’m a terrible creature of habit, so you can pretty much bet your bottom dollar we’ll be returning there again in 2018. Everything from the self-catered accommodation, to the amazing pool and being in the middle of the Welsh countryside is right up my street, and you know what they say! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Brecon Beacons or Snowdonia

Photo of Snowdonia with a lake in the foreground and mountains in the background

If there’s anything that becoming a parent has taught me, it’s how much I value being outside. I’d love us to have more family adventures exploring nature, and big on that list for next year in particular is to do some hill walking in the Brecon Beacons or Snowdonia. I’ve always fancied it but never really looked into it, but this year – I feel like it’d be the right time. Pickle is still young and small enough to fit in a carrier easily, with the added benefit of being able to walk a little bit too if my back needs a bit of a rest! That feeling when you reach the summit must be pretty spectacular, and I hope the views would be incredible too. This is something I definitely want to do, so I must get cracking with organising it or it’ll never happen.

A Couple’s Night Away

I can count on one hand the number of ‘date nights’ LPD and I managed to have in 2017, and that has to change next year. We need more time to just enjoy each other’s company without having to wrestle a toddler or argue over whose turn it is to do the nappy change (for the record, LPD: it’s always your turn. You will never, ever catch up on the amount of nappies I’ve done!). Next year, I hope Pickle will settle into a more reliable sleeping pattern, and that maybe… just maybe… he might settle enough so that someone may consider having him to stay over for the night so LPD and I could go for a much needed night away.

Standing in front of the Dovecote at Le Manoir Hotel

It’d be such a treat to book ourselves into a country hotel, enjoy a leisurely three-course meal with a glass of wine or two, followed by a cosy evening in front of the fire. I’d love to go to bed at night not feeling nervous about when my first abrupt wake-up will be, but instead snooze in until mid-morning and enjoy a cup of tea in bed. I’m sure in reality, I’d miss Pickle like crazy and be checking my phone like a maniac every five minutes to make sure I hadn’t missed an update or phone call but… still… at least I’d have my hands free.

Ask me in a year’s time…

This time next year, I hope to report back with some good news that I was able to tick off the things on my 2018 travel bucket list, as well as some more besides! LPD has said he’d quite fancy a weekend away in a Scandinavian country or a family skiing trip, so who knows what 2018 will have in store for us. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the Destination2 website for any super deals that might mean we could tick something off my dream bucket list, but in the mean time, I’ll also be keeping an eye out for some super campsite offers too!

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with Destination2, who gave me a topic to write about in exchange for gift compensation. All opinions and views remain my own, and as always, 100% honest.