As 2014 draws to a close, I thought it would be fitting for me to look back at the travel highlights of the last year. I can’t quite believe how quickly time has flown by and, even though I’ve only been blogging since February, I’ve surprised myself at how much we’ve managed to pack in, from several trips abroad, to dozens of outings around the UK.

In March, we took our first holiday of the year to Tenerife. It was meant to be a sun-kissed vacation with lots of swimming pool fun in our Costa Adeje villa and lazy days by the sea. Unfortunately, by some freak of nature, the weather was pretty appalling. But, we didn’t let this stop us from enjoying ourselves, particularly on the days the sun decided to grace us with her presence.rp_img_2120.jpg

During Easter, we went took Monkey on his first ever easter egg hunt and ended up discovering a hidden gem right on our door step. Gatton Park is usually closed to the public, but on certain dates around the year, this beautiful country estate owned partly by the National Trust and now a private school, has the most stunning views of the Surrey Hills.

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My birthday came and went in May, and I enjoyed a long weekend away with my girlfriends to Palma de Mallorca. I’d never been before, and was pleasantly surprised by this cosmopolitan city full of rich history and culture. The Old Town with its cobbled winding streets filled to the brim with fabulous tapas bars was a real favourite, as well as a visit to the Cathedral. Plus the copious amounts of wine…IMG_0030_2

My hubby’s big 4-0 in June coincided with my surprise present to him a Las Vegas. He had always wanted to go to Sin City… and we were lucky enough to be able to go away on a break by ourselves. I wasn’t expecting a great deal but was shocked at how much I ended up loving it – from the restaurants, to all the attractions. We only spent five days there, but boy, did we try to pack as much in, even though our main priority was to lie by the pool! No complaints about the weather here, either. The Nevada desert provided a scorching 40 degrees every day…

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On our return from the USA, the summer months quickly passed, although we were blessed with unseasonably warm weather as September arrived. I have to mention our day trip to Alice Holt Forest to do the Gruffalo Trail. It was such a fantastic family day out, and Monkey really enjoyed himself following the clues to find a life-sized Gruffalo brought to life from Julia Donaldson’s popular children’s stories.img_0083_2

The same month, also saw us take an impromptu trip to the seaside. Sussex has always been a staple go-to for us, but we decided to venture to a new beach – West Wittering. It was a truly glorious day, a little bit windy but warm enough for us to build sand castles and paddle in the sea. The wide expanse of pristine sand and shallow waters made it feel like we were abroad. I still remember how exhausted Monkey was on the way home.IMG_0055_2

A trip to visit relatives in Manchester saw us staying in a nearby house found through airbnb. The Reach itself was a comfortable base for us but what was a complete surprise was meeting owner Sally and learning about her terrific Secret Valley Garden Project. It truly was a magnificent find and one we felt very privileged to be part of, as all proceeds from the house goes towards maintaining this wonderful oasis.IMG_0012_2

October saw a busy week for us as we headed to Coombe Mill in Cornwall for a week-long holiday. It was such a fantastic stay, and the experience has made us determined to go back again and again. Cornwall itself is such a beautiful part of the UK and we managed to visit a lot of places from Land’s End to eating fish and chips in St. Ives. One of our most favourite moments, however, was hiring bikes and cycling to Padstow on The Camel Trail.

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2014 has been a truly fantastic year for My Travel Monkey in terms of the experiences we’ve had and the different places we’ve visited. Meanwhile, what started off as a pet project to document some of our adventures has now turned into something a lot more – it’s now a passion and one I hope will continue to grow next year.

Without the support of you guys, and some of the fantastic people I have met this past year such as my new blogging pals, including all those lovely people who have joined in with Holiday Snapshots, I’m sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed it half as much. So, a big thank you to you all commenting, liking, sharing and more importantly just reading.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! And I look forward to what new adventures await My Travel Monkey in 2015!

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