Trip to Montenegro

Overlooking the stunning Kotor Bay

Another challenge now complete! I recently had 3 lovely days in Montenegro travelling as a solo traveller! This was the first solo trip I had taken since I went to Athens on my own in January 2007. Full details of this trip to Montenegro are available on my travel blog.




Visiting Oslo


Having set myself a goal to travel to every European capital city a few years ago, I’ve been fortunate to visit many of them. This has been greatly assisted with budget airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair. In the past I’ve even visited some of them for just a day by taking the first flight out, spending the day exploring and coming back on the last flight home.

Oslo is one of the cities I had never managed to visit… well, until last weekend! My daughter Zoe and I had 3 nights in Oslo, the full details of which are covered in our Oslo travel blog post!

There are 51 European capital cities and so far I’ve been to 32 of them:

  • Vienna (Austria)
  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Zagreb (Croatia)
  • Nicosia (Cyprus)
  • Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Tallinn (Estonia0
  • Helsinki (Finland)
  • Paris (France)
  • Berlin (Germany)
  • Athens (Greece)
  • Budapest (Hungary)
  • Reykjavik (Iceland)
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Rome (Italy)
  • Riga (Latvia)
  • Vaduz (Liechtenstein)
  • Luxembourg City (Luxembourg)
  • Valletta (Malta)
  • Monaco (Monaco)
  • Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  • Oslo (Norway)
  • Warsaw (Poland)
  • Lisbon (Portugal)
  • Bucharest (Romania)
  • Bratislava (Slovakia)
  • Ljubljana (Slovenia)
  • Madrid (Spain)
  • Stockholm (Sweden)
  • London (UK)
  • Vatican City (Vatican City)


Still to visit:

  • Tirana (Albania)
  • Andorra la Vella (Andorra)
  • Yerevan (Armenia)
  • Baku (Azerbaijan)
  • Minsk (Belarus)
  • Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzgovina)
  • Tbilisi (Georgia)
  • Astana (Kazakhstan)
  • Pristina (Kosovo)
  • Vilnius (Lithuania)
  • Skopje (Macedonia)
  • Chisinau (Moldova)
  • Podgorica (Montenegro)
  • Moscow (Russia)
  • San Marino (San Marino)
  • Belgrade (Serbia)
  • Bern (Switzerland)
  • Ankara (Turkey)
  • Kiev (Ukraine)




A snowy Switzerland weekend


Another 50@50 activity for my half century celebration year was to have a snowy weekend away!

My husband Chris and I returned yesterday from a weekend of snow hiking in Switzerland… and little did we know that we would arrive home to a week of snow and freezing temperatures in the UK thanks to a weather system known as ‘the beast from the east‘ which has seen temperatures plummet across Europe. Even the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Capri have seen snow!

I’ve produced a full Switzerland trip report which is available on, our joint travel blog…




Maldives 50th birthday celebration trip


Trip number 2 of 2018 is now complete! Yesterday Chris and I returned from a week in the Maldives, a relaxing break taken just before my 50th birthday tomorrow.

I’ve produced a full Maldives trip post which is available on our joint travel blog. This was quite a different kind of holiday from our usual active and at times intense holidays.

The trip was more of a healthy retreat rather then a typical holiday as the entire week was spent doing yoga, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, cycling and going to the gym. And eating lots of different organic fresh fruit and vegetables and virtually zero alcohol!

All of this has fitted well with my objective of a fit and healthy start to my new decade!




A winter break in the Algarve


My first trip of 2018 was a short break to visit my Dad and Step-Mum who retired in Lagos, a historic yet buzzing town in Portugal’s Algarve.

I’m currently compiling two fuller blog posts for our main travel blog, one on the stunning coastal trekking available along this dramatic coast line and one more general post about some of the attractions in this area.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather; it was constantly sunny and the temperature reached about 17 degrees in the afternoons. This isn’t always the case… when my children were at school I used to take them down to Lagos during the February half term holiday to see their grand-parents. Most years the weather was indeed warm and sunny although one year we did have a week of cloud and rain!

Anyway… it was lovely to spend time with my parents on this short trip. They are both in their early 70’s and without wishing to sound morbid, I have become more conscious throughout the last couple of years (since our life changing 2016 global trip) that a) things can change in an instant; and b) parents don’t last forever.

As mentioned, this is my first trip of 2018… I have a few planned as I am determined to make the most of this year. As I scan through my 50@50 list I have started to wonder if I have been too ambitious and whether I will actually be able to afford to do everything I’ve set out to achieve… some of the trips have been paid for and others thankfully are not too expensive.

Over the years I have also found that travel doesn’t have to be unaffordable either, so in a bid to demonstrate this, I will publish the costs of all of my 2018 trips and total the overall cost of them at the end of the year.

  • 4 days short stay airport carpark: £25 (£50 / 2)
  • Ryanair flight to Faro: £50 (each)
  • 4 days hire car with Budget Rental cars: £25 (£50 / 2)
  • Accommodation: *free
  • Meals and spend: £100 (per person)

Approximate total cost per person: £200

*free accommodation although we took my parents out for a meal as a ‘thank you’ for putting us up… (or should that be ‘putting up with us’…)

There are so many lovely coastal walks in the area that you don’t need much spending money to keep yourself entertained. Meals are also reasonably priced too, particularly if you avoid the main touristy areas and find lovely little typical Portuguese restaurants.





Looking forward to Portugal


Travelling is the greatest passion of my life so many of my 50 challenges and experiences this year will be travel related. The first one is to Portugal’s Algarve for a few days with Chris, my husband.

My Dad and step-mum retired to the Algarve a few years back and live in a lovely spacious apartment in Lagos. I’ve been to see them several times and January is often a great time of the year to visit. If we’re lucky we will experience a little slice of warmth and sunshine and an escape from the usual cold grey English weather. (Although even if it is cloudy,  January in the Algarve will be at least 10 degrees warmer…)

Compared with the busy summer months, January is also lovely and quiet with few tourists. The beaches west of Lagos are breathtaking with wild sweeping sandy bays and spectacular rock formations.