3 Tips for having a good staycation

Having some time off work but not going on holiday? Read on my friend…

After enjoying three holidays abroad this year, a house to finish decorating and with one week of annual leave left, a staycation was the only option my bank balance would accept (for clarity, I class a staycation as having time off and not going on holiday).

It’s important to remember that most of the time we have annual leave to allow ourselves to have a period of rest away from a working environment, however if you don’t do this productively (quite an oxymoron I know) you could end up getting back to work and feeling like you’ve wasted this valuable time. So, I propose that you follow these three simple rules that will give you the best chance to recharge your batteries and feel accomplished:

1 – Have one period of adulting

I guarantee there’ll be jobs you’ve been saving until you ‘have time’ to do them. This is the time! But make it count – write out a list of those jobs and get them done in one go and before you do anything else. If you don’t you’ll end up doing them in bits and bobs through the week and breaking up other quality time, or rushing to cram them in at the end which will likely make you feel a bit frazzled. Getting it done up front will instantly make you feel accomplished, take a weight off and move your vibe towards chill mode.

2 – Plan out you time

Mapping out what you’re going to do means you can use all of the time you have to its fullest advantage and know what to look forward to and when.

Even if you plan to do nothing, plan the days/times of you’re going doing nothing so you can prepare – make sure your fave PJs/loungewear are freshly washed, you’re fully stocked up on snacks and Netflix is primed to take you to binge watch heaven.

3. Do SOMETHING, even if it’s just one day/night

It doesn’t have to be far, it doesn’t have to cost a lot, hell if you’re forgetful like me it could even be free!

Do you have any vouchers for a spa treatment/hotel stay/restaurant/theme park that you got as a gift and have been waiting to use? Now is the time, I enjoyed a lovely mid week stay at Thorpe Park Hotel from one of last year’s Christmas gifts.

Have a look around to see if any of your favourite cafes/restaurants/bars do special offer during the week that you wouldn’t normally be able to enjoy. We managed to find one of our favourite pizza places had an insane lunch deal that was about half the price of the usual menu. Good food, less money, happy you.

You don’t have to think drastically outside the box, you ould simply do the things you’d do outside of office hours, just with more time and less people. Enjoy a day walking around the shops and a lazy lunch, visit family members you don’t see as often as you’d like or hit the gym and enjoy the freedom of getting on any piece of equipment you want.

So there it is – not rocket science, just quick wins that you may not think of when you’re tunnel visioned on the concept of ‘not being at work’. Now, off you go to enjoy yourself!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


5 Things to do in Tuscany

This holiday was a press trip hosted by Bookings For You. Some of activities featured in this post have been gifted (marked with *) however all words and opinions are (as always) 100% mine.

And so we get to the final post about my Italian advertures… It’s really all over now. Sob.

BUT – I do get to share some of the fabulous things I did, saw and (my favourite) tasted, so if you’re heading to Tuscany inthe future you know some of the great things to experience in the area.

  • Take a food tour

One of the key reasons I wanted to visit Italy was to eat, so having someone show me the best places to do it made perfect sense!

We did the Private Florence Food Tour courtesy of LivItaly* which consisted of four stops.

The first was wine and nibbles at Enoteca Alessi and I legit have never seen a room so filled with alcohol in my life… (check out the Italy 2019 story highlight on my Instagram to get a better view) It was quite the work of art really.

As well as some the region’s best Chianti, I was introduced to mushroom and truffle oil sandwiches, yummy local cheeses and THE BEST pork I’ve ever tasted.

Next up we stopped at a local street food vendor that’s been established for decades to try something a little different. The picture below is what I had – a crusty bread roll with seasoned tripe which was delicious (there were also veggie options available for those in our group who had flagged this in advance).

Moving on to a sit down mini feast (with more wine, hic) at Aqua Al 2 whic is a great little eatery off a one of the side streets decorate with fairly lights and plates designed and signed by previous celebrity visitors.

Everything we ate here was meat free, and we had three dishes – this deliciously simple pasta made with thick noodles, garlic, tomato, basil and oil, an eggplant/spinach/parmesan dish (I can’t remember the remember the name) and (something else I’ve forgotten the name of) a dish of fresh tomatoes seasoned with oil and basil that I gratuitously spread on fresh bread. Everything tasted so rich, delicious and comforting, which is what I’d hoped Italian food would be.

We rounded off the tour with dessert – gelato in the main Piazza.

This place is well known for their blackberry flavour, however I wanted to have somethind traditionally Tuscan so the staff selected me a combo of Italian cream and chocolate in a cone.

Our guide Rafaella was just the best, by the end of the day I was calling her Mama Italia and asking her to adopt me (which she seemed very amenable to) she was so kind an knowledgeable and genuinely keen to ensure we had a great day.

  • Take an art class

So this one probably sounds like it caters to a very specific interest, and it definitely can, but we had the opportunity to do something that was easy to follow and therefore we’ll within my cabaility.

The lovely Lisa from Arte Al Sole introduced us to a Canadian artist called Jen who took us through the process of Florentine paper making. This basically involved dropping paint into water, making pretty patterns and transferring them onto paper (I’m leaving out a lot of the technical bit in this discription).

I end up doing three ‘prints’ as I kept seeing everyone else’s colour combinations and wanting to copy! I’ve brought all of them home and will definitely be finding a place for them on my walls.

(Its also worth mentioning that Arte Al Sole offer a lot of family, kids and private art and cultural experiences throughout Italy; including those where they’ll take your little ones away to activities for a little bit whilst you enjoy the culture and surroundings, uninterrupted.)

  • Enjoy a wine tasting

As we were staying on a vineyard, it would’ve been rude not to sample the Mansalto Toscano produce!

Francesca, who was also our main contact and host for the villa, introduced us to their Chianti and rose brut prosecco.

This is without exception the best prosecco I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve already reached out to Francesca to arrange to buy and ship some of it back to the UK.

As an extra treat, we also met one of the wine makers who gave us a tour of the wine cellar.

This may be one of the last times the general public are allowed in the barrel room – apparently having people in there can risk bacteria contaminating the wine which could alter the taste, and I think we can all agree it’d be a shame to let some bloody good grapes to waste by doing that.

  • Learn how to cook the real Italian way

Its all very well eating your way around Italy, but if you also learn a few culinary tips then you can bring the magic home to your own kitchen!

Thanks to the very kind Massimo, we visited his restaurant Massimo Rossi Belvedere to try our hand at a bit of pasta making. We tried a few different varieties such as lasagne, ravioli and tagliatelle, all of which the Belvedere chefs cooked for us (as well as add delicious sauces) for us to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

I’m going to be honest and say that this was not my strongest skill of the week (I’d also started to get really poorly so was a shivering, blubbering wreck) however I clocked the gals who did well in preparation for a future dinner invitations. I also learnt how to make lasagne the real Italian way (no pasta top, parmesan in every layer) which I’ve since tried at home.

Massimo’s generosity bookmarked both ends of our visit – on the first night of our stay he sent Paolo, one of his chefs, to our villa to cater our very own pizza party. And my word, the man knows how to put a topping on a nice bit of dough. I know I’ve said this a lot throughout this post, but this is geuinely the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. I tried pizza elsewhere on our trip, and it was nice (obviously, its still pzza after all) but it didn’t come anywhere close to this.

  • Wander around Italian towns and cities

I may not be lucky enough to visit this part of the world again, I took every opportunity to cram in time everywhere I could, it made things a bit more tiring but I’d encourage this as it helped me really appreciate the beauty of the whole region.

Siena

Siena was about 30 minutes away from the villa by car. It was filled with delicious smelling leather stores, cute little cafes and vintage stores (I was on the cusp of being enticed by a 1950s Chanel handbag).

Florence

Oh Florence. If you’re in Tuscany, please don’t miss this off your list! I enjoyed my time here so much I got a bit teary when staring up at the Duomo, which is an absolutely massive and very beautiful marble building.

Getting into the main building, g is free, but the real money shot is by paying 18€ and climbing 414 steps to the top of this tower to see the whole of Florence. If you’re physically able to, do it. It nearly finished me off but it was worth it, and I suppose it did work off some of the food we had earlier in the day…

Pisa

Pisa is very pretty, but there’s not loads and loads to do so a couple of hours is perfect.

We got up a couple of hours early before our flight home and stopped to see the Leaning Tower and have one last pizza (priorities) I genuinely thought it was going to just be ‘one more thing to say I’ve seen’ but I was actually blown away but how stunning the building is in real life. Its made of beautiful marble and has other buildings around it that are just as gorgeous.

I obviously tried to get the typical tourist shot of touching the tower, but I sucked so I’m not posting it! As you can imagine, it’s very busy with people taking photos, so be prepared to nail the photos you want quickly or have photo bombers.

The streets of Pisa are very pretty and colourful to wander down and sit to enjoy a drink and watch the world go by.

Walking back to the car we noticed there was a gorgeous botanical garden but didn’t have time to go in, definitely one to look out for on a wander of the city.

Certaldo Alto

This is more of a Hamlet than a town, situated very high up on a hillside.

First of all, the journey up here makes for some pretty incredible views

Its possible to drive up, but we parked in the town below and rode up on the Funicolare (a cable car thingy) which cost 1,50€ for a return trip and took about 5 minutes to reach the top.

The views were pretty great when we got there too!

It’s a beautiful Medieval walled town that has beautiful Italian buildings that house eateries, shops and galleries. Quite a bit more than you’d expect from a tiny place!

We were lucky enough to get a guided walk around by Arte Al Sole’s Lisa (and her lovely pooch Archibald, who I got to walk)

At the top is this beautiful Town Hall run by a Mayoral staff and where couples can marry for the bargain price of 550€ – the photo opportunities up there for your big day are IMMENSE.

And that, as that say, is a wrap on Italy 2019! Such a great experience, huge thanks once again to Bookings For You on and Violet Glenton for providing such an awesome location and itinerary to enjoy!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


5 Outfits I wore in Italy

Items gifted have been marked with a *

As you’ll have seen from my previous post, I recently went on a wonderful Italian adventure courtesy of Bookings For You and fellow HEY Blogger Violet which meant, yup you guessed it, packing too many items of clothing into a small space and worrying about how you’ll close it (and later, how you’ll close it again before you go home)

I thought a lot more about my holiday wardrobe for Italy for a couple of reasons – firstly because I knew the weather wouldn’t be height of summer hot, secondly because of the variety of activities I’d be doing (including driving, something I’ve never done out of the UK) and finally because it’s Italy and I wanted to feel nice.

For a four night stay I managed to pack in a fair few outfits, but I’ve picked out five of my faves to share

Photo by Olivia Lennon

This is what I’m calling my “I’ve partied hard, but only ’til 10pm” look. As soon as I saw the bold print of this shirt dress I knew it had to be mine, and in a bizarre twist my nan also picked up a pair of wide leg trousers in the very same print on a recent shopping trip…great style runs in our family it seems! I’d definitely suggest sizing up one or two in this frock if you have bigger boobs as the fabric doesn’t have any give, it easily clinches back in with the attached belt so the shape isn’t lost. The biker jacket was necessary for the chill or early mornings and evening, and made me feel a bit more cool and Italian.

Dress, Matalan* (sold out online) / Jacket, ASOS / Shades, ASOS

Photo by Olivia Lennon

for me a skater dress is an absolute essential wardrobe item as it’s simple to style, throw in a cute print and it really does make dressing just that little bit easier! The fabric of this is very soft and stretchy so moves really well when out exploring, and I picked it up for the bargain price of £22! It’s a great transition piece into the colder months too; sack on some tights and boots and hey presto. I picked up the hat last year before heading to Santorini last year and it just felt like it would add some cuteness and glam whilst in the Italian countryside.

Dress, Next / Hat, Accessorize (Similar item here) / Shades, ASOS / Sandal, borrowed from Emma Picks (similar style here)

I have lived in this frock since buying it at ten start of summer! Soft jersey, fit to flatter my hourglass shape and the length makes it appropriate for a variety of occasions. I added in my trusty Converse as I was walking around the beautiful streets of Siena, but switch them out for a pair of heels and you instantly have a more dressed up look.

Dress, Dorothy Perkins (sold out online, the A/W print in the same style is linked here) / Trainers, Converse / Shades, ASOS

Photo by Olivia Lennon

This dress was such a hit with our group that two of us brought it away with us, and a further three went on to wear or buy it! It’s easy to see why – great colour, lovely ditsy print, fantastic shape that shows off shoulders and cleavage and hugging curves. I adore it so much. As my hair is kinda short I enlisted my tried and trusted clip in bun and fashioned this low up do thingy, it’s actually more fiddly than a high bun but makes for such an elegant look.

Dress, ASOS (Sold out) / Sandals, Dorothy Perkins (similar style here) / Bun, Hair Rehab London

Dress, Next / Shades, ASOS / Trainers, Converse

I’ve always been a “if the shoe fits, buy it in every colour” kind of a gal, so it will come as no surprise that this dress is the same style as the leopard print one from before. I also have it in black and white floral (which I’m actually wearing as I type) and red polka dot. They’re just so easy to wear and fantastic value! This version was more of an impulse buy on the way to the till with the leopard number, I love the retro feeling of the floral print. As the weather gets cooler I’m definitely going to have a go at styling it with a roll neck underneath as it is on the website.

Hopefully this has given you some inspiration for holiday style a little later in the year, as well as items that can be just as wearable when you’re back home. Maybe I a, getting a bit better at this shopping smarter malarkey after all…

Thanks for reading,

J xx


My first trip to Italy*

This post is in collaboration with Bookings For You – Accommodation was provided for free for the purposes of review. Photos is this post are those I took myself and photography from the Mansalto Tuscany website unless stated. As always, words and opinions expressed are 100% mine. Enjoy!

I’ve officially been to Italy. Bucket list item, check!

As part of trip that was the brainchild (and also professional dream) of Violet Glenton, I joined 9 other girls on a four day adventure to the Tuscan countryside at the beginning of October and I had the BEST time.

Meet the gang! (just out of shot from left) Becky, Em, Steph, Ashton, Liv, meeee, Emma, Amy, Violet and Charl

With the help of Bookings For You who were kind enough to provide our accommodation, Vi booked us into Villa le Tornaie

Hidden in the beautiful hills of the Mansalto vineyard, the villa is surrounded by green for miles and feels completely chill.

In short, this villa is the archetypal Italian country dream. Pretty stone buildings, lots of flowers, wood rustic furniture and clean white bedding, exactly what I pictured and EXACTLY what I got.

There’s a wonderful courtyard area that helped connect the upstairs and downstairs living areas and it was one of my favourite areas. Standing above and gazing over the Tuscan countryside became my absolute favorite spot and felt like something out of a Shakespeare play. Demonstrated nicely above by Emma and Amy re-enacting Romeo and Juliet for my pleasure!

Everywhere you look was a beautiful sot to admire or snap a photos of

We had a pretty large kitchen that had a modern hob (the same as the one I have at home so at first I was the only one who knew how to use it) dishwasher and plenty of utensils. We were able to have a few of us in here at once without getting up in anyone’s grill.

What you can’t see out of shot is the fridge/freezer (fairly standard size for a family and fit in a LOT of pasta/chees/fruit/prosecco) and a 6 person table which we used to store more food and drink on (favouring the long table in the main living area)

The main living area is massive, there were a few more couches than you can see pictured but yes you can also spy a piano in the top right corner which several members of group had a little turn on (shout out to Violet for her her rendition of Adele’s Hometown Glory). We had some lovely communal breakfasts and dinner here. There was also a couple of lovely wrought iron tables in the courtyard which were lovely to sit at and enjoy a morning brew or evening glass of wine.

Bedrooms – well; I genuinely had no option but to use the website images of these as a group of 10 gals makes for clothes and beauty products flung all over the place! I stayed in this twin room with Emma (the furniture had been re-arranged prior to our stay) which had lots of room and firm but comfy beds. The bathroom was a good size overall and had room to put all of our toiletries and towels.

The double/master rooms were equally roomy had a stunning airy quality with some event having four poster beds for extra Italian glamour.

Now, I’ve stayed in villas many times before, but this one was just a bit extra when it came to what was available away from the bedrooms and living areas!

So obviously, there’s the pool. I’ve purposely picked the snap I took when it was slightly overcast so that you can see how lovely it still is, and huge! Lots of sunbeds (that have these cool visor flaps you can use to shade your face) and not overlooked by any other property, nothing but rolling hills of the vineyard in sight.

Inside downstairs is where it really gets exciting…

Disclaimer: the bottom right image is stock photography and is present as an example only.

Why go to a spa when it can come to you? As well as the pool our villa had a large jacuzzi (I think it seats about 8) gym, sauna AND steam room (each of these seat about 4 comfortably) that the whole group put to excellent use at all hours of the day and night.

I think this kind of villa would best suit a large family group, couples or a relaxing getaway for a group of ladies. However, realistically it would be great for almost every kind of group!

Top tips for visiting this area:

– Driving is a must. We flew to Pisa Airport which is about 2 hours away, the nearest taxis are based in Siena around 30 minutes away so the alternative would be far more pricey. Our group of ten hired two 5 seater automatic cars through Ecovia which cost approximately £135 each for 4 days and included fully comprehensive insurance

– We flew from Manchester with Easyjet (my first time with them, which I was pleasently suprised by) who also fly to Pisa from a few other airports around the UK. The main flight days seem to be Tuesday and Saturday

– Pack bug spray; mosquitos WILL eat you outside if you don’t

There’s some video footage of the villa and my Italy trip in full saved as an Instagram story highlights if you want to get a whistle-stop of everything I did. I’ll be doing another couple of posts shortly on some fun things to do in Tuscany, as well as outfit inspiration for a trip away in the late summer weather, so keep your eye out for those.

If you’re sold by the idea of taking your own Tuscan getaway, take a look at this and the other accommodation available on the Mansalto property. If you fancy exploring other areas, Bookings For You also offer a range of handpicked accommodation in other areas of Italy and France including Umbria, the lakes and Provence.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


5 Things for 2019 – Update #3

So, you may remember from my last update that I’ve decided to take one of my goals out (not drinking) because it wasn’t looking achievable for the year, so I’m down to 4 things for the next two updates. Here’s how the rest have been going and a sneak peek about what’s coming up in chapter 4 of 2019…

  • Shop in my own closet 75% of the time

Aside from (and partly on) holiday this one is still going well, much to my surprise and delight! My thought process has changed a lot so now when I think “I’m going to XX, what am I gonna wear?” I head straight to the closet instead of the Internet and take a long hard look at what I have. Usually, this resolves it. Top tip I’ve learnt during this process – don’t forget to check your washing and ironing baskets as part of this process, you’ll get a fuller picture of exactly what you have and probably find stuff you forgot about that feels brand new again!

  • Get a home bar

Brief and to the point – not moved on any further since the last update, can’t really say much more!

  • Un-join the gym and get outside

This has still happening but on a far more ad hoc basis – in between peoples holidays and life commitments, the girls and I haven’t been as on it as we’d like in the last couple of months. The intention is still there and I’m fully expecting this to kick back up a notch now that normal service has resumed. I did a decent bit of walking on holiday over the summer which helped to plug the gap a tiny little bit too!

I’ve also been starting to think about adding a little more heavy duty cardio to my regular activity – I don’t want to go back to the yay, but I do want to try some exercise classes to see what I like and if they can help me meet some of my health goals going in to 2020 (eek!)

  • Get out of the house more

I’d say this is going OK, not sure if the Mr would give a matching answer! I’ve definitely made myself do more over the summer, but there are still a decent amount of times that I’ve done closer to nothing and stayed at home on the couch a lot. I’m feeling good about the amount of social vs antisocial activity, which is the positive outcome of this goal, so I’m just going to carry on and see what else happens over the next few months.

So, what else has is happening?

  • I went to Mykonos
  • If you follow me on Instagram and are a regular reader, you’ll probably be very well aware of this fact by now! I was lucky enough to work with a couple of great companies during my trip including Mykonos Vioma and Truffle Shuffle who featured in my 7 Outfits I wore in Mykonos post. There were a few things that surprised me about Mykonos that I’d not seen anybody else mention before, and I’m going to cover those in a future post so keep a look out for that.
    • I’m going to Italy (Image credit: booking.com )
  • This is something I’m ridiculously excited about saying, and by the time you read this I will be there! I’m heading off to a beautifully villa in Tuscany with a fabulous group of gals as guests of Booking for You*. As a huge fan of the cuisine, it’s been a long held goal of mine to eat Italian food in Italy, on this trip I’ll get to do that and so much more. I’ll be putting up posts about my experiences in October/November as well as social media activity, so make sure you’re following me to see wassup.
    • I’ve booked a VERY exciting bucket list adventure for next year

    The travel plans just keep on coming, that’s what we like! This is as much as I’m willing to share at the moment, just in case something happens, however when the up gets a little closer I,l reveal more. Stay tuned….

    And so we head in to the final chapter – dark evenings, autumn leaves, festive fun and who know what else!

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    A few things that surprised me about Mykonos

    I know that Mykonos is on a lot of people’s bucket lists, and after going to Santorini last year I was excited to go and experience some more Greek chilled out beauty. Although I liked it, there were a few things that I wasn’t expecting to come across during our trip that I thought would be worth sharing in case these are things that would be useful to know if you’re thinking of going, or that might even a deal breaker to you deciding go at all.

    I’ll be honest and say that I probably compared Santorini quite a bit whilst we are there, but only because they’re often mentioned in same breath and I thoroughly enjoyed our time there last year. Even so, here are ( in no particular order) the key things that stuck out that I’ve not noticed anybody really mention before:

    • The Scenery 🏞

    Don’t get me wrong, Mykonos is a gorgeous island, but there’s a very clear ‘Instagram v Reality’ vibe about it. On one side is what you see all over Instagram (including my Instagram feed a little bit) whitewashed buildings, blue accents, flowers and clean cobbled streets. The reality is definitely there, the photos you’ve seen ain’t fakes, but they only show you the heart of Mykonos Town which is just a small part.

    And then there’s the reality (some of which I’ve also shown on my insta feed) – lovely clean beaches, crystal clear water and gorgeous sunsets.

    again, all gorgeous features to have on holiday, but there are plenty of places in the world you can get them. Away from Mykonos Town, you could basically be anywhere in Greece.

    • The Busy-ness 🛵 (this is a stock image doesn’t really do the situation justice, it was much busier than this, however I was too focussed on getting through it safely than snapping a pic of it so this will have to do!)

    This is an understatement! I visited in August, peak summer holiday time, so I knew there’d be lots of other tourists and cruise ships docking and was prepared for the streets to be a bit crowded. And they were, but usually not overwhelmingly so, you could still walk comfortably but getting a photo in some parts was tricky. What I wasn’t prepared for was the traffic – cars, mini vans, buses, ATV’s and Vespas, they are EVERYWHERE. It’s difficult to cross the road, there are limited pedestrian footpaths next to the roads so walking next to traffic can feel a bit dicey at times, and the constant noise of vehicles beeping and speeding round corners kind of takes the shine off the serene and beautiful environment in certain areas.

    The torch app on your phone will be a literal lifesaver if you’re staying out of the resort centre, some of the roads aren’t lit so it’s a good way to keep yourself visible.

    • The prices 💸

    Before went to Mykonos we were told it was expensive, but we were told last year that Santorini was expensive and found that perfectly reasonable when we got there (without having to do a lot of work researching places off the beaten track to eat and drink). Turns out, Mykonos really is expensive! Expensive to me worked out at mid/higher end London prices – 15-18€ for a cocktail, 30€ for a steak and 30€ for 15 minute taxi ride. We spent about 50% more in Mykonos than we did in Santorini last year, definitely no issues with the Greek economy in Mykonos!

    It did mean we had to compromise a little bit on a few things such as the amount of drinks we had each day, how we travelled and where we ate. We didn’t compromise on anything we wanted to do though; if there was a restaurant we really wanted to go to we just planned ahead and had cheaper eats at other times to make up for it.

    Couple of tips I’d impart to anyone hitting Mykonos that I found useful:

    – Apart from our hotel bar we only found one place that sells cheaper drinks which is a bar called Mex, cocktails here were about 8€ so half the price but it’s only open late evening and is a little too ‘Magaluf Weekender’ for me. Other than that, drinks are virtually the same price whether you have a premium view or are in a side street, so you may as well head for the more boujee places with views of Little Venice and the Windmills.

    – Taxis are well known for not being clear about the price until the end of the journey which makes budgeting hard, I discovered a taxi app called i-Move that was useful. It’s a bit like Uber so you can track your driver, but unlike Uber it guarantees an exact price when you book.

    • The sea 🌊

    Gorgeous colour and beautifully clear….but choppy as hell! We enjoy a boat trip on a summer holiday so made sure to book one before we travelled, but we learnt the hard way that the sea in these parts is hella not suitable for a relaxing day. Shortly after this picture was taken, we spent about 20 minutes almost vertical and being lashed with salt water (I’m not talking just a gentle spray that you sometimes get, it felt like someone was stood throwing full buckets of water over us. We, and virtually everything we had in board with us, got absolutely soaked). We were told by the crew (who were very lovely and attentive) that the sea is always like this, so definitely NOT THE PLACE TO BOOK A BOAT TRIP.

    It’s not just being out at sea, in some places you’re not safe from the sea either! Walking along the front at Little Venice, the waves are still a little wild and frequently splash up and in to the walk ways and bar seating areas. On the way to dinner one evening we took a risk and walked across the front, but it didn’t pay off and I got an absolute soaking (though I dried off quickly in the heat). It can also get a little bit slippy, health and safety nightmare.

    I hope this post doesn’t come across as too negative, realistically only the sea straight up ruined any part of the trip. The other stuff was absolutely no problem and could be worked around to ensure we enjoyed ourselves, this is just meant to be a bit of an FYI so hope its of some help if you’re planning any Mykonian adventures in the future!

    Thanks for reading,

    J 💋


    Where to eat/drink to get the best views of Mykonos

    Last year after my Greek getaway I posted my guide to Greek food which is something I can’t really add to, however as people usually go to Mykonos to get the iconic views they see on Instagram (or at least in my experience they do) I thought it would be useful to share some of the places we visited. Myself and the Mr enjoy a good spot by the sea and a lovely sunset, so finding places to experience these are always a priority to us, and the are some good options below that are fairly easy to get to and aren’t eye wateringly expensive…

    Sunset cocktailsThe Garden

    We were so lucky that this place turned out to be about 700 meters away from our hotel, and the fact that it’s accessed via a fairly long walkway lined with flowers and lights makes you feel like you’re about to discover a secret hideaway. When you actually get to the bar area it has a very laid back and cool aesthetic (think wood, beanbag chairs and fire pits) and a wide veranda looking out over the Mykonian coastline.

    We headed here about an hour before the sun set to have the opportunity to settle in, take photos and choose our drinks. We requested a seat right at the front of the veranda to get the best possible view of the sunset which has a 20€ per person minimum spend stipulation (other tables not style front do not have a minimum spend that I’m aware of) which the equivalent to a couple of drinks each.

    The cocktails we had were served in these cool tiki style glasses (mine even had a bloody biscuit on top!) which added to the upmarket/Mahiki feel.

    When we visited we were not given any time limit for our table or made to feel like we were being rushed, the staff simply checked back in every now and then to see if we needed anything.

    Little Venice and the windmills

    We visited quite a few places around this area that give good views of one or both, but these two were my favourite:

    Veranda is a bar in the heart of Little Venice that has a completely open seating area right on the water (what I mean by this is that the tables were placed right towards the edge and there wasn’t any kind of wall/barrier between this and the water) in addition to a regular patio seating area.

    From here you can get a great view of the iconic windmills of Mykonos town (I do have some better, more zoomed in photos, but wanted to give a realistic idea of distance for this) on one side, on the other you can enjoy the rest of the waterfront buildings that make up the Little Venice area. Coupled with the sound of the water, it’s a thoroughly nice place to stop for a leisurely drink or some nibbles.

    (again, this phot isn’t zoomed in, it’s exactly how I could see it from my seat whilst leaning over a little bit). Drinks prices are fairly standard for Mykonos, between 10-20€ for an alcoholic beverage.

    Nice and Easy

    Is a large restaurant at the foot of the steps towards the windmills, meaning you can see them much closer up and all of Little Venice from across the bay.

    Drinks prices again are fairly similar to Veranda, though here I chose to have fresh pomegranate juice (fresh juices seemed to be a thing in Mykonos Town and I’m here for it) which was about 8€. We also enjoyed quite a large lunch here, with the average Mail meal costing 15-20€.

    There are two key differences to this location to be mindful of over Veranda – if you sit close to the sea front (it’s across a small beach shielded by a low white wall) there’s no cover so can get extremely hot, secondly it attracts co start foot traffic from people visiting the windmills, walking to Little Venice and taking endless photos.

    Relaxed romance above Mykonos TownKaravaki

    For our last night we booked a table at this restaurant, which is part of the Vencia hotel. Stepping out on to the lower level terrace and seated at our table, we greeted with a birds eye view of the whitewashed houses below us. The sun was setting as we arrived, although we didn’t have a perfect vantage point as we did at The Garden it was still really beautiful.

    Food here was a little more pricey than other places we’d been – we paid 120€ for two starters, mains, one dessert and three alcoholic drinks (drinks wee average Mykonos prices) which is similar to if you were dining somewhere in Central London.

    The views were great, the quality of the food was great, the service was great, so we felt it was money well spent.

    Top tips for getting the best views

    • Book in advance, either on resort or before you travel if you’re that organised. If you’re not comfortable e-mailing or calling yourself because of language barriers, staff at your accommodation will probably be happy to assist as they did with us.
    • Be tactical about the times you visit – check what time sunset is going to be so you can allow time to fully watch it set, perhaps consider visiting places for food at less busy times of day such as breakfast time. A lot of cruise ships dock in Mykonos too which can make these extras extremely busy, so it may be worth checking the official cruise schedule to see how ships are in port on any given day.
    • If you’re chancing walking into a venue without booking, have a quick look at the seating before you choose your spot to make sure it’s not in the ‘splash zone’ (I unfortunately found this out the hard way) if there’s a seat available right at the front but the place is already busy, think about why others haven’t sat there first!
    • If you do get lucky enough to sit right at the front, particularly to one side, be prepared for other tourists to be constantly standing very close to you or shimmying down the side of your table to take photos. This has the potential to be quite annoying since you e planned in advance to be there and paid for food/drink in order for your prime spot where they haven’t, but as long as you’re aware and manage your expectations accordingly it’s usually fine.

    if you’re heading to Mykonos I hope this is able to help give you a head start on your holiday research!

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx