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2019 Highlights | The Year In Review

Best Nine of 2019
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The beginning of 2019 cannot possibly have been a whole year ago. Yet here we are, somehow it was, and now we find ourselves almost at the beginning of a brand new decade.

An annual highlights post and a year in review is something which I started only last year but which I hope I can carry on for a very long time. When I wonder what on earth I did with all that time, it not only puts into perspective just how many good things have actually filled it, it’s also a brilliant exercise in gratitude. I’d truly recommend looking back on your highlights of 2019, even if you don’t choose to share them.

I recently looked back on my last highlights with complete nostalgia. Although I want these posts to be filled with as many helpful recommendations for life, travel and experience, honestly? They’re miles more beneficial to me than they ever will be to anyone else. I hope that one day I’m able to look back on a whole series of annual highlights, a priceless experience. 2019 has been a really tough year, but as it comes to a close I’m making peace with that and focusing on the positives. So here are the highlights of my 2019.


You must be getting bored of hearing my Center Parcs Spa recommendation by now? We love it there so much that we headed to their Luxury Spa Suites again for Valentines day. For a one night stay it’s pretty pricey. However, when you consider everything that’s included it becomes a little easier to justify.

We each had treatments and spent a whole lot of time doing nothing. It was bliss.

Before we left the site, we also headed into the village to their Subtropical Swimming Paradise. It’s always been a favourite of mine, but booking a whole Center Parcs break for it seems excessive.

Aqua Sana
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At the beginning of April Jamie picked up our new Mercedes. Despite admiring cars from a distance, I’ve always seen my own simply as a tool to get me from A to B and wasn’t too bothered about the upgrade until it arrived on the drive. Now, I love it and it’s safe to say I won’t be driving a manual again unless I can absolutely help it.

In a sparkly new car that still smelled new, we headed to the airport en route to Prague. Yes, you read that right; not Paris but Prague. Unfortunately, traffic dictated a late arrival which resulted in a missed flight, ergo a missed break to Prague. After a few hours of phone calls, bickering, Google searches, and the emotions that ensue hunger and a canceled holiday, we finally made it to McDonalds where we decided to be as positive as possible. There were no later available flights to anywhere that were within budget, so instead we booked Paris for a day or so later.

We found a silver lining in Paris. A city that I had always wanted to visit but hadn’t expected myself to fall in love with. The trip was magical, from the museums and the candlelit meals to evening strolls lit by the Eiffel Tower. I won’t go into all of it again, but if you haven’t yet been yourself, I’d recommend checking out my Paris City Guide For The First Timer.

Paris 2019
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In May, I met one of my biggest inspirations at her In The Frow X Clarins event. There’s nothing to say that I haven’t already covered, but the day was a definite highlight.

In 2019 I turned 24. Jamie and I celebrated in Cambridge, shopping, sunning ourselves near the river and heading to Sticks’n’Sushi for dinner.

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Sticks'n'Sushi AMAI MIZU
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Our main holiday, 2019, was to the Dominican Republic, where we enjoyed 10 days of sun. Our resort was fantastic and we got to tick Saona Island, aka paradise, off of our travel bucket list. Plus, I got an awesome tan.

Sandbanks, Saona Island
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Throughout the year I was determined to say yes to more new experiences. Heading to Newmarket Race Course for a day at the races was the type of thing I had in mind, so when I was offered tickets it was a no-brainer. We placed a few bets, enjoyed a very British picnic and won back some of our money. Overall it was just nice to do something different as a couple and we’d definitely consider going back with a group of friends.

Newmarket Races Style
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In August we thoroughly enjoyed the sun and made time to enjoy day dates in pretty places like Peter Beales rose gardens. We spent quite a bit of time in Cambridge and loved heading to the gorgeous Gonville Hotel to watch The Great Gatsby outdoors with Enchanted Cinema.


Horsey is somewhere I love to visit during the colder months. I love a walk along the beach, being near the water (however choppy) and watching the seasonal seal inhabitants.

Between November and January, grey seals give birth to their pups and it’s amazing to be able to see them. If you fancy a trip, check out Friends of Horsey Seals for information on how to view the seals responsibly.

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2019 is the second year in which we’ve headed to the Undley Patch to pick our pumpkins. Offering food stalls, a maize maze and, let’s be honest, the ultimate Autumnal photo opportunity.


The first week of November was Norfolk Restaurant Week, aka an excuse for more date nights than usual. Other than that, I spent most of November working and preparing all of my Christmas content. I also used Black Friday as an excuse to get started on my Christmas shopping.


And then it was the last month of the entire decade (which flew, didn’t it?). Christmas events were, of course, the main focus. We also enjoyed a one night stay at the Congham Hall Hotel & Spa for a little pre-Christmas relaxation.

Over the last few days, and the final ones of December, I’ve been working on getting a head start on the new year. I love having an end of year clean and organise so that I’m in the best position to start the new year with a fresh start.

Congham Hall for Christmas
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Overall 2019 had it’s fair share of ups and downs. I didn’t achieve everything I’d set out to, but equally I achieved things I hadn’t even planned to. It was another good year for travel and new experiences, which I also plan on having plenty of in 2020.

I’d like to say thank you to everyone who stuck with or joined me this year, I hope you had an amazing year and hope that your 2020 is even brighter. See you next year!

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  • Reply Pina @ One Two Culinary Stew

    Happy New Year, Sophie! I have enjoyed reading your blog posts and look forward to reading more in 2020.

    January 2, 2020 at 7:06 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Happy New Year! I’m so glad to hear that, wishing you all the best for 2020! x

      January 3, 2020 at 6:15 pm
  • Reply Allie Mackin

    You look like you had a great year!! I went to Paris too. Lets hope 2020 is even better!

    Allie of

    January 2, 2020 at 8:27 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      It definitely had some highlights! Aw I’m in love with Paris. For sure- all the best for 2020 x

      January 3, 2020 at 6:19 pm
  • Reply Riana Ang-Canning

    Sounds like you had an awesome 2019! I love that you make the most of travels abroad but also fun adventures close to home. I need to get better about exploring in my own backyard. Happy 2020 to you!

    January 3, 2020 at 8:57 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I did have some great times- thank you! Happy New Year lovely x

      January 3, 2020 at 6:20 pm
  • Reply Sophie Wentworth

    I love how you look back on your year like this, it reminds you to appreciate some of the smaller things that may slip under the radar otherwise. I remember your missed trip but I’m struggling with the fact it was that long ago! 2019 really flew by quickly. I hope you have an amazing 2020! x


    January 3, 2020 at 9:42 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you! I totally agree- it’s a great way of being grateful for the highs. I know, I still can’t believe it’s 2020- have a great one! x

      January 7, 2020 at 10:01 am
  • Reply Lea-Mai Carter

    Looks like you had an amazing 2019! Here to an even better 2020 x

    January 5, 2020 at 9:43 pm
  • Reply Eena

    Happy New Year, Soph! It sounds like you had such an amazing 2019 – I wish for 2020 to be even better for you!

    cabin twenty-four

    January 5, 2020 at 11:07 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Happy new year to you too! Thank you so much- can’t wait to see what you get up to x

      January 7, 2020 at 10:11 am
  • Reply Megan

    Happy 2020! It sounds like you had an amazing year full of adventures! I didn’t even realise you were also from Norwich! xx

    Megan Elizabeth

    January 6, 2020 at 8:58 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Happy 2020 to you too! Oh I didn’t realise you were either- small world! x

      January 7, 2020 at 10:21 am
  • Reply Diana

    The spa looks so lovely! Your 2019 looked so filled with adventure and experiences! xx

    January 6, 2020 at 6:27 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thanks so much- it definitely had its highs! Happy 2020 lovely x

      January 7, 2020 at 10:26 am
  • Reply katy gilroy

    sounds like you did some amazing things in 2019! hope 2020 is just as good to you xx

    January 7, 2020 at 2:41 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you so much! Happy 2020 x

      January 10, 2020 at 11:26 am
  • Reply Anna

    What a great year you had! And that Paris picture is absolutely stunning..happy 2020!!

    January 8, 2020 at 4:42 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you so much! Happy 2020 to you too x

      January 10, 2020 at 11:26 am
  • Reply Lindsey

    It sounds like an amazing year! You’ve visited some great places, I’m feeling very inspired now. And your blog photographs are absolutely gorgeous!! Great post.

    January 11, 2020 at 4:07 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      It definitely had its highs! I’m so glad, thank you! x

      January 12, 2020 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply Gemma

    This is such a lovely way to round-up all the good moments of 2019 and to look back on them all! x

    January 13, 2020 at 7:05 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you- I’m so glad you think so! x

      January 13, 2020 at 8:52 pm
  • Reply Amy

    Wishing you all the best for 2020! Your highlights of 2019 were really interesting, you got to experience many things and that’s a lovely way to have ended 2019.

    January 18, 2020 at 8:28 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you so much! I hope 2020 is kind to you x

      January 21, 2020 at 12:39 pm

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