Ah, 2013. There’s a reason why the tagline for this blog is ‘a magical rollercoaster journey’ and that’s because life (well, certainly my family’s life, anyway) has a habit of taking you in all sorts of different directions from the ride you thought you were on, with peaks and troughs and some fairly hairy moments: a bit like the Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster at Disneyland Paris, in fact. I don’t make a habit of paraphrasing Ronan Keating (honestly) but sometimes you just have to grip on to that safety harness, grin and bear it. So in addition to all the amazing highs of 2013, there were lows. Fortunately we seem to have battled through everything 2013 threw at us and are more than ready for the New Year (and pretty excited, actually). But meanwhile, here’s my review of 2013. Fasten your seatbelts, dear readers, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
As this blog has grown and evolved, travel blogging has become a huge and very important element of it, and I was thrilled to be a finalist in the Brit Mums awards 2013 in the ‘travel’ category. So many of the experiences I’ve enjoyed in 2013 have been travel-related, and while I’ve continued to blog and campaign about issues that are important to me, for example, the measles vaccine and why I’ll never visit Seaworld again, there is a definite theme to this review.
In spring, as one of the Royal Caribbean Royal Mums, I joined a gaggle of mummy bloggers for a squealy, squally, shrieky, fun-filled Caribbean cruise. It was an exhilarating, hysterical and memorable trip and one I’d love to repeat.
This was the start of what I can only describe as one of the best summers ever. In June I attended the naming ceremony of Royal Princess by the Duchess of Cambridge; two months later, No 1 Son and I took a cruise on the ship. We started off by staying overnight in Venice, before travelling to Istanbul via Athens and Ephesus.
A few weeks later I took Harriet on the Disney Cruise; we visited Rome, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Pompeii and Florence and Pisa, and were treated to onboard delights including the Disney Magic Fireworks. Experiences the kids will remember forever.
But by far our most memorable trip of the year was the Baltic cruise No 1 Son and I went on with Celebrity Cruises; the opportunity to visit St Petersburg, Russia, was the absolute highlight of our year; we also loved Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki.
And in autumn I visited Belfast and Northern Ireland for the first time: a complete revelation. That’s one of the reasons I love travel so much: it constantly surprises and challenges our preconceptions.
As I wrote at the start of 2013, I believe firmly that there is no such thing as blogging royalty; I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given because of blogging but that’s not why I write this blog, and I’m not a fan of cynical blogging. This blog is incredibly important to me because it’s my little part of the internet, somewhere to call my own, where I can express myself freely. It’s also a place where I can come to share everything that’s been happening in my life – even when it’s not going according to plan. And while my blog evolves and develops, those remain the core reasons for writing it. If you remain true to yourself and your blog, it will stand the test of time, and be a fantastic record of moments in yours and your loved ones lives.
Well I think that’s *probably* enough navel-gazing from me. That’s my blogging review of 2013, and I think you’ll agree, it was a big fat rollercoaster of a year. I’m pleased to say we had a quiet and magical Christmas. Now I hope you’ll join me in a glass of bubbly (or two) to welcome 2014 – thanks for reading, and here’s to a very Happy New Year 🙂