Monthly Musings: January 2024

Monthly Musings: January 2024

Hello friends! Happy new year and happy January! How are you? Welcome to our first post of the new year, Monthly Musings: January 2024! Can you even BELIEVE it’s 2024 already? I hope you had a most wonderful festive break with plenty of time to recharge your batteries and put your feet up. Barring that, I at least hope you got the chance to eat your weight in all the delicious Christmas food and indulge in a nice vino or two! I had a luxurious 11-day stretch off from work, which was jam-packed to the brim with all sorts of festive activities! Including, but not limited to: celebrating Husband’s 40th(!), going out with friends, feasting to the extreme, Christmas movie watching, and, obvz, a leftover sandwich or two. It was marvelous!

Thinking back over 2023, it was actually a huge year for me! I turned thirty. We planned our wedding, making all of the irksomely tiny and hugely massive decisions that go hand in hand with that. I entered back into full-time employment, becoming a respectable member of society once more. I married my forever love. It was such a special year, I’m intrigued to see what 2024 has in store 🙂

Now, let’s get down to business, shall we? Our Monthly Musings: January 2024 post is below. In keeping with the January theme of looking back over the last year, I’ve included a recap of all our usual MM suspects: travel guides, recipes, books & movies. Enjoy, friends!

I know I mentioned it briefly in the opening paragraph, but Husband turned 40 on NYE! The big 4-0! We spent the whole of last weekend celebrating him and it was glorious! To kick the weekend off, together with Husband’s bestie + his wife, we went into town and enjoyed drinks here, & a fancy steak + cocktail here. The following night, we enjoyed drinks, a lovely porchetta dinner, & game of charades with his family. Then, the following night – his actual birthday! – we spent the evening eating Chinese food, playing some highly competitive rounds of pool, Champagne toasting to the future, drinking & laughing with my family under a ‘half way to 80’ sign into the early morning hours. It was fantastic! Sidenote: I might by biased, but I think Husband turned a little more handsome when he turned forty? Happy 40th, Rob; I love celebrating your existence!

And now, a personal travel recap from the last year. In 2023, I visited three different countries, one of which was new-to-me. I took four flights between three airports, explored seven cities/towns/villages, and shared four new travel guides. It’s a shame that I didn’t get to do a little more travelling over the course of the year, but it just wasn’t feasible with the wedding. However, now that the wedding is over, that’s a different story! The scheming has already begun 😉

Related: I’m pretty darn proud of the aforementioned travel guides. Two Unexpected Yet Wonderful Days in Pisa, Italy, is maybe one of my favourite Italian travel guides I’ve ever written. Before our trip there, I struggled to find a guide to the city that went beyond the norm of “day trip only, snap those leaning tower selfies, eat at this tourist-trap pizzeria directly in front of the tower” etc. I’m pleased to inform you, my guide goes way beyond that norm. There were also two French travel guides shared early in the year – A Quick Guide to Villefranche-Sur-Mer and Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice – & one post discussing 6 Things to See in Monaco; all of which I also think are great, but my inner Italophile would never let me choose any of them as a particular fave.

Sadly, blogging really took a back seat for me last year, but I am keen to kick that bad habit to the curb this year! There were only seventeen measly posts shared to the blog in 2023: twelve monthly musings, one summer bucket list, the above four travel guides, and absolutely zero baking posts. It’s nowhere near as bad as that time in 2015 when I only shared one post all year, but it’s still pretty abysmal. I absolutely love blogging and the creative outlet it gives me, and I really felt the effects of not having the time to do more of it last year. This year absolutely WILL be different & I’m writing it here to hold myself accountable!

Related: I was looking back over the stats for the last year, and I think it’s so fascinating to see what the most visited pages on here were! The top three travel guides last year, in order, were One Night in Naples, Italy, Eating Our Way Around Bordeaux, France, and Castellina in Chianti | A Guide to Tuscany’s Most Overlooked Village. The number one recipe by a mind-boggling margin was my Homemade Dunes Blanche, An Ode to Bordeaux, followed eventually by Vanilla Birthday Cake with Homemade Strawberry Jam & Vanilla Buttercream and Lime Loaf Cake | An Everyday Cake. That vanilla cake has been hugely popular since I posted it back in 2020, but I’m pleased it’s been knocked off its perch by the delightfully moreish dunes blanche! Do you have a favourite travel guide/recipe?

Did you make any new year’s resolutions this year? I don’t realllly go in for them, but I do have a few hopes, dreams & intentions for the year ahead. Even though I’ve consciously cut down on my phone use already over the last year, I’d like to cut it down a little more. You know, get a physical diary, maybe even an alarm clock? I’d like to take more videos with my loved ones. I’m determined to blog more. I am absolutely determined to get my travel mojo back. And then there’s the usuals: less mindless scrolling, more reading, more water, more celebrating the little things etc.

Related: I’m still hoping to complete my 30 countries within 30 years mission. You may remember, it started as a 30 before 30 dream, but when that milestone came and passed, it grudgingly turned into a 30 within 30. I have exactly 240-days before I turn thirty-one, and two new-to-me countries to hit before then. Hopefully, barring any other natural disasters, I’ll soon be hitting my 29th country, Japan. Number 30 is still undecided/unplanned – but it! will! happen!

Speaking of Japan, there’s only 14 days until we set off on our honeymoon! We’re deep in the planning trenches at the moment, and, honestly, it’s a little overwhelming! It’s a lot to try and wrap my head around, but plenty of other people seem to have been able to manage before us, so I’m sure I’m stressing over nothing. I just want it to go extra smoothly because it’s our honeymoon, you know? Pray to the honeymoon gods for us!

I’m pleased to report that Husband and I watched a grand total of 180 movies last year, which is up 25 from the previous year! According to our Letterboxd ratings, our favourite new release from the last year was Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. This was followed closely by Air, Killers of the Flower Moon, and Barbie. Some of our least favourite new releases from last year include: Maggie Moore(s), The Boogeyman, and We Have A Ghost. Which movies made it onto your hit/miss list? We’ve only managed two movies so far this year – Maestro and Rushmore – but both were five star hits!

Book-wise, I read 31 over the course of the last twelve months, which I’m pretty happy about! Two standouts that come to mind immediately are Hello Beautiful and Sunburn. I already know with absolute certainty that I’ll be rereading the two of them many times in the future. Also, shoutout to the The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy, which I loved & devoured in record time. What was your favourite read from the last year? I’m currently rereading Memoirs of a Geisha to get me in the mood for Japan – eep!

And there we have it, our Monthly Musings: January 2024 post! Our first rambling chatter post of the year! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! See you in February for another catch-up!

My love to you,

Vicki xo

PS, sorry/not sorry about sharing another Rafal Borek photo from our wedding! Look how proud my adorable mom is of her hand crafted fairy-lit umbrellas! So cute!

January 2023 // 2022 // 2021 // 2020 // 2019

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