EDIT 19 MARCH 2016
Since writing this post at the beginning of the year, our travel plans for 2016 have expanded. Having loved Norway so much when we visited Stavanger at New Year, we then booked a (another) short notice trip to Bergen. Now Italy and, very excitingly, Australia are on our 2016 travel list…more below….
It’s that time of the year when I look back at the year that was and make new resolutions for the year to come. Maybe it’s because my birthday is in January but I always feel like I’m turning a new page as the new year begins.
I wrote last year about the places on my 2015 travel wish list. But inevitably life didn’t go to plan. My highlights of last year’s travel were a week in Snowdonia in March when it didn’t rain (shocker!), a few days in Paris when I ran around the city between work meetings in search of gluten free patisserie. In August we enjoyed a staycation with family around the UK and I loved visiting the newly reopened Dreamland in Margate (aka Bem Bom Brothers of my youth). We also spent a couple of weeks in the Dordogne where we rented a villa. We drove down to south-west France and I was so happy with how well the twins coped on days with long drives. Turns out small kids can be more adaptable than they’re given credit for…
So where am I going in 2016?
The literal answer:
We returned yesterday from a New Year’s trip to Stavanger, Norway.
Mr D and I have both had a very long standing resolution to be away somewhere for New Year’s Eve. Warm NYE destinations have included watching the fireworks in Sydney, Copacabana beach in Rio and drinking lovely wine in Margaret River, Australia. However, like this year, most previous destinations have been chilly ones including Moscow, Berlin, New York, Yllas, Stockholm, Oslo as we’ve then taken longer Southern Hemisphere holidays in January/February outside the peak travel season. This year we had a minor freak out at the possibility of breaking the tradition so on the evening of 29th December we managed to find both an air miles redemption (x 4) for New Year and a hotel with two interconnecting rooms (which always requires calling the hotel directly). I love exploring a random European city. And who could resist one with both a petroleum museum and a sardine canning museum?!
EDIT: We enjoyed our trip to Stavanger so much we’ve booked another long weekend trip to Norway, this time to Bergen, at the end of January. I love a funicular and Bergen’s looks particularly impressive.
In February thanks to a BA Business Class sale we’re going to Innsbruck. This was a great deal at £150 return. They may be 2 years old but we have to pay almost full fare for the twins. 4 x plane seats in any class of travel do not come cheap.
In late March we’re off to Japan for 2 weeks. I’ve been to Japan before but I’m literally bursting with excitement. My sister now lives in Tokyo and I can’t wait to see where she hangs out and enjoy a snap shot of her life.
If you have any child friendly tips for Tokyo / Japan please do leave a comment below. Alternatively, do let me know what your favourite karaoke song is. But if it’s the karaoke female duet classic “I know Him So Well”, you’re out of luck as she’s yet to find a karaoke place with that on the play list. Keep looking, R…
EDIT March 2016 – Last year was unusual as it was the first year in many, many years that I didn’t go to Italy. I got married in Italy and in one year we calculated I’d visited 9 times in a year. These were all for pleasure, not work trips. So in May we’re off to Verona for a long weekend. Verona is one of the few places in Italy I’ve never been and I’m very much looking forward to it. I’ve already found a gluten free bakery in the city I will definitely be trying, but if you have any other gluten free tips, please do let me know.
In the summer we’re trying to redeem a heap of Virgin Flying Club Miles before they cut any further routes (still dreaming of the trip to Vancouver/Seattle from last year’s list). We’ve been looking into flights to the US but the VA miles don’t appear to offer as good value as our BA miles. More investigation is required on the best ways of optimising the benefit of these VA miles.
EDIT March 2016 – Not content with one long haul trip this year, we’re adding another, Australia. I’ve been many times before (I met Mr D there). We now finally feel up to taking the twins to see their Australian relatives and the 24 hour flight. We’re going for 3 weeks over Christmas and New Year. There are so many gluten free options available in Australia that it will really be the opposite of our Japan trip, food wise. We’ll most likely be in Brisbane / Noosa for most of the trip with a plan to spend New year in Sydney. Again, if you have any gluten free tips for these cities, please do let me know. I’m slowly building up Pinterest boards of places as I come across them.
The figurative answer:
Whilst I’d love to post here regularly, my resolution is not to over commit on anything. I love writing this blog and all the opportunities it has given me. But the truth is, there’s just so little time between a full on job, studying for a professional qualification (what was I thinking?!) looking after energetic toddler twins and all the other hum drum things one has to do to keep life going.
Plus blogging has new challenges these days. I was reminded of this over Christmas whilst enjoying lunch out. A lovely lamb shank, nestling on potato mash, just as I like it not too buttery with some butternut squash. They’d even made me some gluten free gravy. Delicious. I’ll just take a quick snap and Instagram this, I thought.
And then immediately this happened.
A small hand reached out in search of more mash, having scoffed all of her own.
There’s no time these days to get the ‘perfect’ shot, it’s an achievement just to get a photo! I’m also not too keen on putting photos of the twins on here. I really mean no offence to anyone who does post photos of their kids, by the way. It’s just I’ve mostly avoided posting photos of myself on here (although there are a couple), so it doesn’t seem quite right to start posting photos of my kids apart from random hand / back of head shots.
I also need to think where I’m going with this blog. I first started writing it nearly 6 years ago when I travelled at least once a month and was regularly searching for safe gluten free places to eat while I was abroad. Since then so much has changed. I’ve been diagnosed with a nut allergy and of course I now travel with two little travel monkeys. I know I don’t want this to become a mummy blog but clearly travelling with kids/twins is now a huge part of my travel/travel planning in the same way sharing my gluten free finds was when I first started writing this blog.
However, even if I’m not posting on here that regularly (who knows, I might be) then you can find me actively on social media:
Twitter ID: GlutenFreeMrsD
Instagram ID: GlutenFreeMrsD
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and adventure filled 2016 wherever in the world life takes you!