TRAVEL | Ranking the Greek Islands I’ve visited

This post has been a long time in the making!!

It’s been finished for a little while but I decided to publish it now as a lot of you will have a bit more time during the festive break to look at holidays for next year, so this may make a nice easy bit of reading.

Greece has definitely become ‘my place’and somewhere I enjoy and feel most comfortable going on holiday in recent years. I’ve been to a few more Greek islands and the mainland but I was pretty young and only have hazy memories to be honest! So this should probably be called ‘Ranking the Greek Islands I’ve visited as an adult’.

Islands are ranked from least to most favourite, although I will point out that enjoyed my time visiting every one of them!

I stayed in Agia Marina on the Northwest, which is the opposite side to the overly developed tourist areas. This trip was what I’d describe as an ‘mature girly holiday’ so our main priorities were to sunbathe and have some nice food and drink in the evenings, which we definitely did. The absolute highlight of the week was our visit to the old capital Chania, which is just gorgeous and vibrant. It was in Chania I ate at what I still regard as one of the prettiest restaurants I’ve ever been in, Ella Taverna (it doesn’t have a website or I’d link it).

I’ve talked about my travels to Myknonos quite extensively at the time. What I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned in any of my blog posts is this – we accidentally turned up for our flight 24hrs early so had to pay for another night in the airport hotel / parking. I also realised I’d forgotten to pack any bras so used the extra day to hotfoot it to Manchester and rectify the problem! Even though I saw exactly the same sights as those plastered across social media there were a few things that surprised me, including just how rough the sea was and how busy the tiny little streets were! Our hotel was called Paola’s Town, and lovely as it was it was in a kind of bad location – technically 900m to the centre of Mykonos Town but that was down a very steep road that had not pathway and no lights, which made the journey a bit stressful. That said, we enjoyed some amazing food and drink and a visit to Mykonos Vioma vineyard. Given that the main action and aesthetic is in Mykonos Town which we explored extensively, coupled with the fact that it’s hella expensive for food and drink, I probably won’t be making a repeat visit.

This is the most recent island I’ve travelled to on this list, which we picked because we’d been to Zakynthos the year before so thought we’d try out it’s neighbour. We stayed at White Rocks Hotel in Lassi which was a nice but set out in the most bizarre way. We had a room overlooking the sea and public beach which was lovely but inexplicably the room also had a massive window that looked through from the toilet to the bedroom that was not pleasant! There also weren’t any footpaths or lighting from the hotel to the resort which made going out after sunset a bit dicey (a la Mykonos). I’m not sure if it was because of COVID or whether it’s simply how Lassi is, but things felt a LOT quieter than I would’ve expected for August. We spent a couple of nights in the capital of Argostoli, and lemme tell you things were bouncing over there! I was surprised to find Kefalonia was quite extra and boujee – think flower arches, living walls/ceilings and pristine white interiors. It looked amazing! We made sure we got out and saw a bit of the island too, and everywhere we visited was just as pretty. Greek food is hands down my favourite, but we also had the chance to sample some traditional Kefalonian food too which was a nice change. And we got to see some turtles up close which was a highlight!

Kos has gained its ranking for purely sentimental reasons – it was mine and the Mr’s first proper holiday together when we were newly engaged. We stayed at the Cleopatra Superior in Kardamena which was fine, just your average kinda ‘this is our base’ hotel, although we did have a great view of the mountains, sea and pool from our room. We didn’t leave the resort once or even do much during the week we visited (we went on a boat trip where I got really sunburnt, rented a pedalo and did an afternoon of mini golf, which I lost at) so didn’t see any of the island or try any new foods etc (basically, all of the things we love to do now). We were just a couple of 20-somethings in love and that was all the entertainment we needed! I would be put off returning again splely because of flight times and the sizeof the airport – we had to queue outside to get in and then were basically in a constant queue all the way through check in and departures until we boarded in the early hours of the morning!

Zakynthos was very much a last minute decision – I’d been made redundant after a few months on Furlough andwe’d had another couple of holidays cancelled. We had time, money and Boris said we could so thought why not! It was hands down the most pleasant airport experience I’ve ever had in August – not a lot of people, socially distanced and everything running on time. I think because it was last minute and we just wanted to chill our expectations were low, but we were pleasantly surprised. We stayed in Tsilivi which was pretty buzzing with lots of places to eat and drink (although at the time there was a midnight curfew). We stayed at the Contessina Hotel which I had mixed feelings about – the aesthetic and staff were lovely but some of the rooms were badly laid out/inaccessible and they didn’t provide adequate sizing of things like robes (the Mr and I are distinctly average sized but even the XL didn’t come close to fitting either of us). We took a couple of trips to explore the island, spent the day at a beach club and enjoyed some of the best Greek food I’ve ever tasted. I remember feeling insanely relaxed about life and what was coming next with finding a new job etc, so I think this break put me in the right headspace that led me to where I am right now, so I’ll always have find memories of this trip. I’d be more than happy to go back again.

Santorini was absolutely, 100% everything I wanted and more, I’d love to go back! I wrote about it quite a lot at the time – a guide to the island hotspots, best things to do and a guide to Greek food so feel free to click any of these links if you’d like to know more. Literally everything you look at is beautiful and it’s dead easy to get everywhere. I was told before going that it was pretty expensive, but I didn’t find that at all – everywhere was reasonably priced for food, drink and activities. We stayed in Kamari and could literally see the resort from the airport, if I was going back I’d stay there again as its a nice place in its own right and super easy to travel to other places from.

If you’re interested in seeing more of some of these holidays, head to my Instagram and check out the highlights section or scroll back through the grid to take a look at some more pictures. Unfortunately Kos and Crete were pre-IG so there’s nothing about either of them, but feel free to get in touch with any questions and I can answer or do another post as desired.

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


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 💋


A visit to Mykonos Vioma Farm and Winery*

Items in this post were gifted or provided at a discounted rate, I also spent some of my own money on items shown. All opinions are completely my own.

Welcome to my first Mykonos post!

After thoroughly enjoying our wine tasting experience in Santorini last year, the Mr and I were keen to see if we could do something similar on this years Greek adventure, and after a bit of research we came across Mykonos Vioma Farm and Vineyard. A family business established in the countryside of Mykonos (yes, there’s more to the island than the white pebbled streets and windmills!) that offered the opportunity it’s chill out, drink some wine and try some local nibbles. Sold.

We travelled to the Vioma partly by local bus (from Mykonos Town to Ano Mera which took about 15 minutes and cost 1,80€ per person) and the rest by taxi (this took about another 10 minutes and cost 17€. It is walkable in about 25minutes but it was hot and we didn’t know the way, alternatively if you contact Vioma in advance they can arrange return transfers from Ano Mera for 5€) .

The vineyard is only open to visit until 5pm, so unlike last year we visited around lunch time. We started things off with a tour of the property by Marianna, the daughter of the owner. The farm and vineyard are organic, so their approach and their appearance is quite different from other vineyards but was really interesting to hear about how they do things. They also try their best to adhere to a zero waste policy as much as they possibly can, which is fantastic to hear from a small family business. They also shared that they used a more unusual method to grow and cultivate their vines – they have placed speakers throughout the property that play classical music . Totally true; we saw the speakers and heard the music for ourselves!

We also got to meet some of the farm animals including the beautiful and gentle donkey, chickens, goats and a sheep. There are also 5 dogs kept as pets on the property which were wandering about everywhere during our visit and were very friendly to stroke and interact with (as I’m not allowed a dog at home, this part was a lovely extra treat for me!

(just as an FYI – many of the farm animals are likely to be in pens during visiting hours, this is to protect the grass and herbs/vegetables being grown on the property but we were advised that there are periods of the day they can have some time out and many months where they have free reign over the property. They all looked healthy and were happy to interact and take food from us)

We were also able to see the storage and furnace for the grapes , which this guy is carved into the side of – Dionysus, Olympic God of wine, vegetation, pleasure, festivity, madness and wild frenzy. Definitely the right person to be watching over it!

Now time to chill. We took a seat in the dining area with a birds eye view across the grounds and the Mykonian countryside. Bring on the wine and nibbles!

There’s a small menu to order both food and drink from, so you can really tailor your experience. We chose to order a rich garden plate which costs 26€ (there are a variety of options that vary in size and price, the most expensive being about 44€) and included a selection of local and ‘farm to plate’ produce including salad, meats, cheeses and breads. As these wee served to us Marianna gave us a walk through of everything on our plate and explained what it was, where it had come from and any history it had within Mykonian culture.

It was all delicious, I loved everything on the plate equally and (best of all) The Mr let me have most of the cheese.

Also – I’m not quite sure if you can see well in the above photo, but each table was painted with a different colourful image of Mykonian culture, which is a quirky and cute touch.

So, let’s talk wine. We went for the four wine tasting; a single glass of wine cost between 5-6€ so this is better value and allows you to taste a few varieties of wine on offer. First up was the white, which we enjoyed with our food…

Next came the rose…

The red…

Finishing off with a lovely little dessert wine

What I liked about this tasting compared to my Santorini experience is that the wines were brought out at different times rather than all at once, meaning they we served and drank at the right temperature and weren’t left out in the heat. The staff asked us when we were ready for the next glass rather than bringing it out to a set schedule which meant that we never once felt rushed could just relax and enjoy the surroundings. The wine measures were pretty decent too at around 175ml for the first three and smaller for the dessert wine as measures are a bit different for this.

All wines available to drink on the day are also available to buy from then vineyard, I think this was priced at around 7-10€ per bottle.

This was a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon – we got to try some yummy fresh food, try lovely local wine and got a little extra Mykonian history and culture thrown in for good measure. If you like to take things at a gentler pace on holiday and relax but still want to have some time off from the beach or pool, this is definitely one for your to do list if you’re heading to Mykonos. We were there for about three hours but a trip could be longer or shorter depending on how much time you have and how much wine you want to drink.

You don’t have to book your visit to the Vioma but I would advise getting in touch to give them a heads up as to when you’d like to go – as Mykonos is a popular cruise destination there are certain days were they have an increased number of visitors which makes the place super busy (Marianna was kind enough to advise of which dates during our stay would be busy so we picked a day that avoided this, there were about another 10 tourists visiting at the same time as us).

Thanks to Marianna and the lovely team at Vioma for hosting us as part of our Greek getaway!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


TRAVEL / Discovering Santorini – Island hotspots

Santorini Kamari

After months of waiting and trying (and failing) to plan activities/ outfits, my Santorini adventure has now been and gone. Sob.

As I’d hoped it’s a great island to visit but there’s definitely more to it than what’s on Instagram, so I’m sharing my thoughts and experiences over the next few blog posts including different areas visited, activities you should put on your “to do” list and a guide to Santorini/Greek food.

Santorini map

The map above gives shows key areas of the island we visited.

We stayed in Kamari (cam-are-ee) which is a large village about 10 minutes away from the airport. I found it to be a fairly usual beach resort that was perfectly suited to couples and families, but with a little more polish and charm.

Santorini Kamari Boat House restaurant

From bars, restaurants to the beachfront hotels, you can barely walk a few steps without coming across something that was pretty enough to snap a pic of

Santorini Kamari

Boat house restaurant Santorini Kamari

Santorini Kamari

Santorini Kamari

Jumpsuit, Topshop / Hat, Accessorize (similar here) / Slides, Miss Pap

The volcanic-black sand is also pretty striking from a distance; however up close much of it was made up of pebbles which made it a teeny bit painful to walk on barefoot.

Santorini Kamari beach

Santorini Kamari beach

Santorini Kamari beach

If you’re going to spend a decent amount of time on the beach and go in the sea, a pair of special beach shoes are recommended (they’re widely sold in supermarkets and gift shops for between 5-7e)

Santorini Kamari

There were over 60 bars and restaurants spread along the sea front and side streets close by, and what the Mr and I both loved was that mot of them offered traditional Greek food (more on that in a future post). That may sound weird, but there are so many places that cater for the nationalities that visit rather than showcase their own local cuisine which is always a shame.

We stayed at Aegean Plaza Hotel which was on a side street about 350m walk from the beach front. The hotel was white, simple and lovely, and the restaurant catered very well for both traditional Greek and international palettes at breakfast time. All of the staff were also lovely.

We had a great pool and mountain view from our second floor room

Aegean Plaza Hotel Kamari Santorini

Room tour

The only negative thing about our hotel location was the noise from low flying planes. Due to the resort being extremely close to the airport, the planes are just a few hundred metres above buildings as they’re making their approach to land. Flights take off and land at all hours of all days and, even though the noise only last for a couple of minutes, it’s loud enough to block out the sound of people/ music.

Oia

Oia Santorini

The place that absolutely EVERYBODY has in mind when they go to Santorini is Oia (ee-yah) as it’s pretty much the poster child for the whole of Greece – whitewashed buildings, blue domes and views for days, this is where you’ll find ’em all.

Oia Santorini

Oia Santorini

Oia Santorini

Oia Santorini

I’ve read that some people were unimpressed with Oia feeling it to be very small and dirty compared to the photos you see of it on Instagram, however I don’t feel that to be true at all. The part that is most photographed is part of a much bigger town which is spread across the top of the Caldera that people don’t seem to capture quite as much, and as you can see from my pictures above everything was pristine.

This part of the town had one main “street” running along the top, with many flights of steps and smaller streets that lead down towards the Caldera edge. All of them are crammed with lovely little shops (designer and souvenir) bars and restaurants which are wonderful to browse. At certain times of day they can get quite crowded as this is also the place that the world and his wife flock to see the sun set each evening (more on this in my next post).

In short you cannot visit Santorini without coming here! The hotels here are far more upmarket (private plunge pools, private sunset terraces and staff posted at every entrance to stop non-guests from barrelling in to get the best angle for their photos. Trust me, I have first hand experience with this) and stunning but I imagine would be a nightmare to get to with full suitcases, no roads particularly close and all the stairs in Greece.

Fira

Fira (fear-uh) is the Island capital and I’d say very similar to Oia but without the iconic reputation. Lots of little streets lined with places to shop/eat/drink and great views over the Caldera. I also believe it’s the place on the Island where the young and beautiful go “out out” so obviously we don’t fall into this category to confirm or deny this!

Fira Santorini

Fira Santorini

Fira is also home to the Santorini branch of Sephora.

make sure you manage your expectations with this one, it’s pretty compact in-keeping with the other shops, however it carries most of the Sephora own range and mini products, plus a pretty decent amount of fragrance and skincare. I picked up ‘a few’ items for the road and ended up 50e worse off, so it’s still pretty easy to part with cash despite its size!

Perissa

Acropolis bar Perissa Santorini

Just around the bay from Kamari, this is pretty much the only photo I took in Perissa because we just found it a bit “meh”. Everything was very spaced out, there wasn’t the variety of places like in Kamari and things just seemed more expensive for no apparent reason. The beach is slightly better than Kamari but for me that was the only thing it really had going for it.

Way to get around Santorini

Bus: Probably the cheapest mode of transport (each one way journey is 1,80e per person) services run approximately every 20 minutes towards Fira and connect to other places from there. They’re privately run and have a handy sign in the window that says ‘local bus’ as well as a conductor on board that has a decent amount of change. They tend to really pack people on during busy times of day, so be wary that you may have to stand.

Taxi: Probably the most expensive mode of transport (it cost us 20e for a fairly straight, 15 minute journey) but the most efficient and reliable. Perhaps only use them for shorter journeys or those very early or late in the day, or if you’re dressed up nice and don’t want to be sweating next to loads of other people on the bus.

Quad bike/ motorcycle: this isn’t something we used but is extremely popular and widely used by tourists. Definitely approach with caution as locals aren’t sympathetic to inexperienced foreigners and the roads can be quite winding and hilly.

So that’s my whilst-stop tour of Santorini; my next post is going to be about the things I think you definitely need to do during your holiday, so make sure you come back for a look.

Thanks for reading,

J xx

All photos taken using Huawei P Smart and Fuji bridge camera. Nothing has been done to alter the contrast, colour or view in any of these images.


TRAVEL DIARIES/ Barcelona, part 1 – where to stay

Barcelona has been on my f**k it list for a loooooong time, and apparently I’m not alone. Forget Santorini, THIS is the 2016 travel destination du hour if my social media feeds are anything to go by…but I wanted to go there first! Haha.

I finally convinced Mr Alice to go with me this year (we decided to do all city breaks together and then each of us have taken a separate beach holiday) so I got this booked pretty much as soon as the agreement came out of his mouth about 6 months ago.

We both agreed that we wanted to stay somewhere pretty central so that lots of things would be super close to walk to or on public transport links as we hadn’t been before. As well as that, hotel aesthetics are VERY important to me – I’m not a fan of chinz and would rather not go somewhere if that was only sort of thing I could afford. I know that might sound a bit diva-ish, but for me it’s just a waste of money if you go somewhere you don’t really like, rather than waiting a little while until you can find somewhere that you do.

After a bit of digging we chose the Petit Palace Boqueria Garden which is on a little street about halfway down the famous La Rambla (not Las Ramblas, as most of us call it). From here is was really easy to go from the main square area, into the side streets of La Rambla and to the marina/beach area. In short, pretty much spot on.

You’d almost walk past the entrance as it blends in a with the other buildings (thought it’s still very clean and smart) it’s the interior that makes it stand outFrom the moment we walked in, I could instantly see that this is probably one of the most instagram-able places I’ve stayed – the perfect combo of traditional meets modern. This beautiful marble entrance greets guests with a cooling temperature and a beautiful fragrant scent, which is so welcome after a early morning flight or a long day of sightseeing.the vibe turns more homely-cool towards the back of the ground floor in the breakfast area with the fabulous exposed brick and colour pop soft furnishings. We chose to stay here on a room only basis because the hotel wanted us to pay 13€ per person per day which we felt was a little excessive for a simple buffet. Besides, part of the enjoyment is having the freedom to try something a little different each day (thought that’s not quite what we ended up doing!)the funky af bar was a whole other vibe again and felt like a great place to chill out, listen to music (they had great playlists) and enjoy a cheeky sangria. There was also a lovely outdoor courtyard area with yet another chilled out vibe – funky shaped (but comfy) white seating, garden and more cool exposed brick.we stayed in a standard double room – simple, chic and with really cool backlighting behind the headboard. As with most hotels, my HUGE bugbear was that there was no damn mirror over the desk area to do my hair/makeup in good lighting. Why do all hotels do this now??the bathroom was awesome – powerful and warm hydro shower and lots of space for our stuff.image credits – mixture of myself and the Petit Palace Boqueria Garden

Staff were really nice and friendly, really keen to offer us recommendations of places to eat and providing us with maps. They also allowed us to book tickets using hotel contact information so that they could ensure that our documents could be printed out properly and promptly.

A few things to be aware of when staying in the La Rambla area:

– Non-public minibuses/coaches aren’t allowed to drive down the main throughfare, so if you book an airport transfer than expect to br dropped off in the main square and walk the final part of your journey (you’ll see a lot of people doing it). Taxis are fine.

– Crime is said to be rife. I say ‘said to be’ because we didn’t witness or experience any, and are both incredibly aware of this sort of thing (I in particular am always in a semi-state of suspicion). Be wary of people bumping into you during very busy times, people stopping you in the street for a light or unofficial street sellers.

– the walkways are all very well maintained, but can be a teeny bit slippy in the wrong type of footwear.

– a lot of the restaurants and cafes on the main road have the tendency to charge higher prices for food that’s not necessarily worth the inflated price.

Keeps your eyes peels for parts 2 and 3 which will cover things to do and (my personal fave) where/what to eat!

Stay stylish,

J 😘xx


FASHION/ Vegas Wishlist

So I’m going on holiday to Las Vegas soon, fairly sure I may have mentioned that…about 20 times in every post for the few weeks…sorry for the overkill but I’m ridiculously excited that I finally get to go after many years of wanting to! I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect wardrobe for what feels like FOREVER and I’m almost there, but these are some extra little bits that I feel would finish my suitcase to perfection…

  

I’ve opted for a fairly small palette of colours to make it super easy to put everything together (I also have some pinks, camels and greys packed too) I haven’t picked up the card clutch bag yet because I wasn’t sure if it was too cheesy? I’m relying on your comments to tell me! I also thought it was a good ide to take an all white look, just in case I FINALLY convince Mr Alice that it would cute to renew our vows whilst we’re in the wedding capital of the World (part of the reason we’re going is to celebrate 5yrs of marriage) feel free to leave comments for him in support of my plea!

Black Floral Coord AX Paris/ House of Cards Box Clutch LA Sula/ Rinestone Headband Cherry Diva/ White Bardot Top Boohoo/ Backless White Jumpsuit Miss Foxy/ Nude V Front Shift Dress Missy Empire/ Cut Out Swimsuit Missguided/ Beige Cage Lace Ups Ego

What else would you pack? Feel free to also leave me any ideas about what else we should be doing in Vegas, we have lots of ideas but the more the merrier.

Stay Stylish

J 😘xx


FASHION/ Morroccon Inspired Summer Pieces 

It’s not somewhere that’s top of my list to visit in the world if I’m honest, but I adore the relaxed and fashiony vibe that Morrocco brings to style for summertime! I think that it’s also a trend that mixes really well with the 70s colours and shapes that we have going on at the minute, so you can hit a few fashion marks without looking OTT 

Glamorous Shorts/ Top Shop T-Shirt/ Miss Selfridge Cape/ Glamorous playsuit/ Select Palazzo Pants

Accessories

It’s rally easy to do just a cheeky nod to the vibe in accessories if you don’t wanna go all in on the prints. These are a great mix of gorgeous summer brights that’ll look great on holiday, at a festival or for strutting around town being too glam to give a damn 
Boohoo Fringed Bag/ Cherry Diva Striped Necklace/ New Look Bracelets/ Missguided Sandals/ New Look Head Chain

Winner Winner…

As you know I ran a little competition to celebrate my blog’s first birthday last week. I can now reveal the winner… 

    

 Congratulations Jo, you’ll be getting these gorgeous Daisy Chakra drop earrings courtesy of Hugh Rice. Enjoy! 

What do you think of the Morroccan trends, how will you wear them this summer?

Stay Stylish

J 😘xx