January is an odd month isn’t it? People either see it as a fresh start and feel energised and renewed or see it as the longest, darkest and often poorest month of the year. I usually feel the latter of the two options but this year everything changed. The year started the same way most do, on the sofa with a glass of whiskey watching the London fireworks on TV. I decided against any resolutions this year, I never stick to them anyways and it just makes me feel disappointed in myself. I made the decision to just be happier this year, to try and do better but not beat myself up if I didn’t achieve everything I wanted.
My first adventure of the year was soon upon us though and the January blues became a distant memory. We flew to Bordeaux and spent the first weekend of the New Year with my parents. It was a quiet one but honestly this was what my husband and I needed. December is such a manic month, it feels like you never stop between visiting family and all the Christmas events you are expected to attend.
We managed one day out and visited Saint-Émilion, oddly enough despite the amount of times I have been to this part of France we have never made the trip out to arguably one of the most famous tourist locations of the area. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for its production of Bordeaux red wine.
Most of the towns and villages I have visited in the winter time could be compared to ghost towns. They mostly shut down for the winter and good luck finding somewhere to eat out, they often only open for a few hours each day and will usually have a set menu. Saint-Émilion breaks all of these rules though, it had a distinct buzz to it and the carpark was almost filled with tourist cars. This meant that walking around the town you felt a bit more of the atmosphere, most of the stores were open and there were even places to eat. We settled quickly on a pizza restaurant called La Pizzeria du Vieux Lavoir at the bottom of the hill and the food here was delicious, I’d highly recommend it.
Feeling full and fuelled we wandered up the cobbled streets and around the Old Town to check out some impressive views from the courtyard at the top of the town. It was obvious that this place in summer months would be packed with tourists. Not everything was open, for example a few of the vineyard tours don’t run during the winter months and some of the smaller cafes were still closed. We picked the perfect day for visiting the town, the sunshine came out and made an otherwise chilly day feel warm. We finished off our walk with a crepe and hot chocolate while sat outside soaking up the last of the sun’s rays.
After a brief visit back to the UK we soon were back at the airport, only this time on our way to Florida. Yes, thats right. Florida. Again. You may remember we purchased a Disney World annual pass last May and we have been trying to make the most of it. This also gave us a good excuse to visit a new festival at Epcot. This makes it 3 out of 4, the only one missing is Festival of Holidays but honestly that one doesn’t pull my interest so much as the others. The Festival of the Arts runs mid-January until near the end of February.
We decided because of how regularly we have been visiting recently to make this our trip to do all the things we always wanted to do but never had the time to. This meant cutting down on hours in the park but there is so much to do in the Walt Disney World Resort that isn’t park based. We managed to achieve everything on our list including seeing the horses at Tri-Circle-D Ranch, seeing Fantasmic and meeting Chip and Dale in their dinosaur onesies.
January for me flew by, it was a blur of airports with some work and office life thrown into the middle. We made a conscious effort to reduce our spending, something that I’m carrying through into February also. This rule did not apply in Disney, ouch my credit card hurt after that trip but gotta make the most of that 20% annual pass discount while I have it right?
To finish off a really good start to the year we made a very impulsive decision and booked our first ever cruise, with Disney of course. We are off to sail around the Bahamas and tick off a bucket list item, going to Castaway Cay. April can’t come around soon enough.