The Absolute Highlights of 2017

2017 has been a GOOD year.

I feel like this has been the first year of my life where all of my ducks are in a row. Whereas 2016 was a year of upheaval – I lived in 3 houses and had 3 jobs in that year lol – in 2017 all areas of my life seem to be going well (touch wood). I feel very grateful and content with the cards I’ve been dealt.

It’s always nice to stop and take a look back over the past year I think. To give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. And that’s literally what this self-indulgent post is: focusing on the good that’s come into my life in 2017 and all of the amazing places I’ve been lucky enough to discover.

So here are my personal highlights of the past year, y’all.

The Best of 2017

Starting 2017 in Barcelona

I’ve always bitched about my birthday, 8th of Jan is no fun for anyone. Everyone is broke and dieting and doing sober January. So this year I decided to go away for it and Josh whisked me off to Barcelona to celebrate.

And seriously, travelling in January is the best thing ever. Rather than having the January blues, you kick off the year with a fabulous adventure.

We stayed at the beautiful Casa Gracia that I can’t recommend enough, a few of my friends have stayed there since and loved it. And we had gorgeous sunny winter days exploring Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia. It was ace.

Park Guell, Barcelona

Birthday Girls Night Out in Shoreditch

Talking of my birthday, one of my favourite nights out of the year was with my girl friends when I got back from Barcelona.

We went out for a sophisticated brunch at Lantana and it turned into a fun-filled day in Shoreditch, going to Junkyard Golf, drinking prosecco all day and dancing in Queen of Hoxton. Top night.


Brunch and Bars in Brooklyn

April marked my fourth visit to New York. I seriously love that city.

But whereas in previous years I’ve seen the tourist sights and spent all of my time in Manhattan, this year I got to spend time in Brooklyn and Queens and really see what it’s like to live there. A friend of mine lives in Williamsburg and showed us around, taking us to cool dive bars and eating fantastic donuts in the park.

I could definitely see myself living in NYC one day.

Rooftop Bar - The William Vale NYC

Discovering the Deep South USA with Trek America

My trip to the Deep South back in May was a BIG highlight for me. Not only because I got to see some destinations that I’d always wanted to visit – Nashville and New Orleans in particular – but also because it’s a pretty big deal to be invited on the Trek America trip.

I had major imposter syndrome when they invited me, like did they make a mistake emailing me?! Was it meant for someone else? I’m still a little unsure tbh. But it was definitely cool to see how full-time bloggers live and hear about all the campaigns they’re working on.

iTrekHere Gang in Birmingham

Finally visiting Lake Bled

Lake Bled has been on my hitlist for a long time and I finally managed to visit as part of a long weekend in Slovenia with Wizz Air. It was just as picturesque as I had imagined and surprising very quiet with not many tourists there!

This is also the trip where I fell in love with Ljubljana and it definitely inspired me to see more of Eastern Europe. I mean, how freaking gorgeous is this?!

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Greek Island Hopping

Okay, my Anchored cruise was definitely NOT a highlight. (Read my full review over here). But the destinations we stopped at were stunning. And it meant I finally got to see somewhere else on my bucketlist – Santorini!

It’s just as beautiful as it looks on Pinterest, y’all.

But weirdly, I actually enjoyed Mykonos more! We ate amazing souvlaki, wandered the colourful lanes and took in the A+ sunset. Not at all the party island I had pictured, I’d recommend a visit for sure.

Beautiful Santorini Domes
Being Nominated For a Blogosphere Award

Eek! Another blog highlight on 2017 was being nominated for the Travel Blogger Of The Year award in the Blogosphere Awards.

I didn’t win (but my pals Laura and Claire from Twins That Travel did – woo!) but I’m honestly still so happy at being nominated. I know that’s what everyone says but most of the time I think I’m writing into the void and don’t realise anyone reads this. So it was a pretty big deal to be shortlisted.

Even though I wore the world’s most painful/beautiful shoes to the awards ceremony.

Blogosphere Blog Awards
Axe-Throwing in Manchester

I did a lot of UK weekenders in 2017 (and will hopefully do some more in 2018!). And by far my fave was my weekend in Manchester with ibis Hotels.

Not only did I get to explore a new city and stay in a quirky hotel, but I also got to try out axe-throwing! It was SO much fun, I definitely want to do it again!

Axe Throwing at Whistle Punks, MCR
Making New Blogger Besties

I’m very bad at networking in the ol’ blog world. I hate going to events, I’m a total introvert, so most of my blog friends are internet friends.

But this year I made some real-life blogger babe pals! We’ve been to some fabulous brunches and very soon will be having a girly getaway in the Cotswolds. Can’t wait! <3

Bourne & Hollingsworth, London
Seeing the Foo Fighters at Lollapalooza Berlin

Talking of new blogger pals, Ellie and I were whisked off to Berlin with in September. Not only did I get to see more of Berlin, but I achieved a big bucketlist tick by seeing the Foo Fighters perform live. They’re one of the bands I grew up with and rocking out to ‘All My Life’ at Lollapalooza festival was just the best thing ever.

The festival itself was also a lot of fun and it was so nice to spend some quality time with my home girl, Ellie.

Lollapalooza Berlin 2017
Annual Zombie Pub Crawl

It’s a tradition in my gang every Halloween, the annual Stony Stratford zombie pub crawl.

It’s always one of my favourite nights out of the year as the entire High Street turns into the zombie apocolypse. All of the pubs go all out to make everything really spooky and everyone wears proper outfits.

This year Josh and I went as zombie Mary Poppins and Bert and just had a really good night with all our best pals.

Zombie Pub Crawl 2017
Having a Real Holiday in Spain

My trip to Alicante with Jet2 was actually one of the most relaxing trips I’ve had in a really long time. I didn’t put pressure on myself to get lots of content and just enjoyed myself, eating tapas and relaxing in the sunshine.

And November winter sun really is amazing. I need that vitamin D in my life.

Santa Barbara castle, Alicante

Getting all the Christmas Feels in Poland

Finally my recent trip to Wroclaw, Poland with Wizz Air was a gem and a definite highlight of 2017.

It was just super Christmassy, drinking mulled wine, belting out Mariah Carey and shopping for decorations in the Christmas market. Plus, we had some delicious food and stayed in a nice Airbnb.

It was the perfect end to another year of travel and adventures.

Wroclaw Christmas Market

I think you’ll agree I’ve been super lucky to have so many adventures in 2017 and I honestly feel so grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way in the last 12 months.

Here’s to lots more fun-filled trips in 2018!

Let me know what you think of my 2017 highlights in the comments below, tweet me at @HeelsInBackpack or find me over on Instagram at @Heels.In.My.Backpack!

Noray Club

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