One added bonus of being on holiday with a photographer of course is that we are guaranteed great photos! So I thought I would share a few with you today as Porto Heli is not somewhere I had really heard of before, so great to see new places.
This is the villa which was just above the town of Porto Heli with fabulous views and a gorgeous pool – you would be quite happy there not moving very far at all, believe me!
One of the days that we did move, we popped into the town to visit the local market. They had an amazing array of local produce – fruit and veg, honey and of course lots of fish.
Island of Hydra
We took a short boat ride to the beautiful island of Hydra – and had an amazing day. It was so pretty and idyllic – as if it were straight out of a film!
As the island is so full of steep hills and windy streets they use donkeys instead of cars to transport stuff around. I know the donkeys must be used to this, but me being an animal lover got a little upset when I saw them lugging stuff around in the boiling heat!
We had lunch with Jemma’s father and local artist Pauline Keaney (middle in below pic). Pauline is English but moved to Hydra to paint about 17 years ago and never left!
This is the restaurant we were at for lunch – what a view! Great food and wine too!
Jemma enjoying her wine!
Me enjoying my wine!
There were yachts coming in and out of the island all day…
After lunch we went for a dip in the sea – it was so lovely after sitting in the sun all afternoon! There are not really any beaches in Hydra, but lots of areas of rock that have been flattened out so you can sit and sunbathe and jump into the sea.
We found a spot on the rocks and ordered ourselves a frozen strawberry daiquiri! Just what you need whilst sunbathing next to the sea!
A few daiquiris later and we even got to see the start of the sunset – so pretty!
After all of that relaxation we had a serious trek up the steep streets to Pauline’s place before attending a gallery exhibition with her. It was so hot and so steep, I just wanted to join the cats!
Also, we had no idea where we were going which made things a little more difficult! We had a map drawn on a paper table mat, which I am unsuccessfully trying to read below!
We eventually found our way up there and the climb was definitely worth it! The house was beautiful and overlooked the whole of Hydra – you would have to be so fit to live up there! Again, the cat has the right idea!
On the way back to Athens airport we drove over this Corinth Canal. It was dug out of the rocks to sea level in the 1800′s to create a pass through, to save ships going all the way around. This photo does not do the depth justice – it was so deep and very scary to walk over – with a fairly old and small bridge!
What do you think – somewhere you would fancy going, or have you already been? I would definitely recommend it and I especially loved the island of Hydra.
Have a fabulous Friday and I shall be back soon xx
All images via Jemma Watts Photography.
Afternoon all and I hope you are having a great weekend? After a few problems recently with my Instagram I am back up and running and thought I would update you with a few of my favourite recent pics.
After a pretty rubbish month I was delighted when my friend (and fab photographer) Jemma Watts invited me for a relaxing and recuperating week away at her families villa in Greece – in a pretty little town called Porto Helli. This is the pool at the villa – where we spent most of the holiday!
We also went to the beautiful island of Edra for the day whilst we were there – it was so gorgeous – an idyllic little place you can just imagine moving to and living there quite happily!
This is my new bikini which I bought for the holiday! I love the colours and it is a really flattering shape – which is important when you have to bare your limbs on the beach!
So after a week in Greece this is me showing off my tan, haha! I am wearing my new Ted Baker dress, which I love!
Flowers never fail to cheer me up, and I always like to have a vase full in the house. How cool how the big purple ones – part of the onion family apparently!
You may remember me talking about A Discovery of Witches (fab first book in a trilogy by Deborah Harkness) – well the second one finally arrived and I was super excited to say the least! I am about half way through and although it is great, I am trying not to read it too quickly as there is a wait until the third book!
I live very close to Borough Market, which is fab for food shopping but also a great area for bars and restaurants. I had a recent evening out there with Jemma Watts.
This is Southwark Cathedral, which is just next to Borough Market – and actually mentioned in the Shadow of Night book I am talking about above!
I walked back through Hays Gallery after my evening in Borough Market and thought these sparkly lights were too pretty not to be Instagrammed!
Just through Hays you come to the River and Tower Bridge – which looks beautiful at night all lit up, and with the Olympic rings on show.
This horrible rain will not be unfamiliar to most of us – this is what we have had for the last few months of our Summer! Back again today after one whole week of sun!
I hope you have enjoyed this little peak into my Instagram life – pop back next Sunday for another week in Instagram.
Have a lovely Sunday and I shall be back soon xx
Afternoon all – hope you are well and not suffering too much in this boring rain?! As briefly mentioned I spent the weekend in Cornwall, just next to St Ives, and had a fabulous time.
It was my first visit to Cornwall – not because I had not wanted to go before, I had just never really got around to it. So pleased I eventually did though – look at this view from just in front of where we were staying. Imagine waking up every day to that kind of view!
Considering the terrible forecasts, we were very lucky with the weather and managed to go out and about without getting caught in the rain too much! We arrived on the Friday evening and first thing Saturday we walked down to this local beach. It was so pretty and there were even a few crazy people swimming in the sea – in speedos, not wetsuits!
I went to Cornwall fully prepared for atrocious weather – these are my wellies and animal print welly socks. I had very warm and dry feet after our beach walks, so was worth while! It was odd though, I don’t wear wellies any other time so was still walking around the water and dirt, rather than through it, until it was pointed out that I had wellies on! Still felt wrong though!
Footsteps in the sand…
The tide was out on our walk and we spotted this fabulous cave – the child in me really wanted to go in and have a look, but that water was at least waist height, so probably not the best idea! Can you see the mussels all stuck to the rocks too? Very strange to see them all stuck there in front of you!
That evening we went out for dinner in St Ives, to a restaurant called Seagrass. The food, drinks and service were all fantastic and I would definitely go back if we were there again.
You obviously cannot go to Cornwall and not have scones – it would be rude. I don’t like to be rude, so I had one and very nice it was too! We decided to have ours with wine though, rather than tea – went down very well!
It would also be rude to not have a Cornish Pasty whilst in Cornwall – so I had half of one of these monsters! It was super tasty – I now know why they are so famous for their Pasties!
On Sunday morning we drove round the coast a little way, towards Hayle, for a walk along a different beach. Although it was not raining it was much more windy than the Saturday, so a bit chilly. Still very pretty though.
You can see from this kite surfers kite how windy it was! There were quite a few kite surfers there as well as sea canoer’s and windsurfers. Great to watch, but don’t think I would fancy donning a wetsuit and diving in!
It was also very strange as I started to feel a bit funny on the beach and by the time we got back to the car I felt really sick and nauseous – and stayed like that for most of the day! I later realised that I was sea sick – from walking on the beach! Does that happen – or is it just me?!
So apart from the sea sickness we had a lovely weekend away and would love to go back in the Summer when it was nice and sunny – with calmer seas!
What do you think – have you been, or would you like to go?
Have a fab afternoon and I shall be back soon xx
Afternoon all – I hope you are having a lovely Easter and not feeling too sick from all the chocolate?! The hubby and I popped out for a lovely lunch earlier on, and apart from that it has been mainly relaxing and blogging.
You may have seen I started this new feature recently - My Week in Instagram – which I think is fairly self explanatory! I will be posting my favourite Instagram pics from that week every Sunday.
As you know I have been away in Dubai and just got back late this week. This first photo was taken at Dubai Mall – the biggest most fabulous shopping establishment I have ever seen – right next to the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in world, shown further down).
Being the magpie that I am – I just had to snap these sparkly pretties in the Gold Souk!
In contrast to the traditional thrones and gold, there were lots of fabulous chocolate shops in Dubai Mall – how cool is this window display?!
As mentioned above, the Dubai Mall is right next to the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in world and the one Tom Cruise jumps out of in the latest Mission Impossible movie!). It is over 828 metres (2,716 ft) tall! This is just a section of it, as it was too big to get it all in shot.
We also went back to Atlantis Hotel on the Palm and I took some photos of the indoor Atlantis ruins – this is something else that needs to be seen to be believed!
After doing the touristy thing and snapping the indoor ruins, we went outside Atlantis to their water park Aquaventure. We reverted back to childhood and spent most of the day going around and around the rapids on the rubber rings! I was not brave enough for this nearly vertical slide though!
When I left London for Dubai we were having a bit of a mini heatwave so it was a bit of a shock to come back to cloudy skies and rain after that and the beautiful Dubai weather! To cheer us up we went for cocktails and dinner at Lainston House Hotel and started off with this gorgeous champagne cocktail.
Today being Easter I am lucky enough to have my very own Easter bunny, Winston, who delivered my egg!
I hope you have enjoyed this little peak into my week – pop back next week for another week in Instagram. What about you – what have you been up to this week?
Have a lovely Easter and I shall be back soon xx
Afternoon all from Dubai! Hope all is well back in England? It is beautiful here – fantastic place and a few great meetings done, so having a fabulous time. My only problem has been internet connection as the WIFI connection is either extremely slow or not working at all, so apologies for lack of posts!
You may have seen I started this new feature recently - My Week in Instagram – which I think is fairly self explanatory! I will be posting my favourite Instagram pics from that week every Sunday (usually – but Monday this week!).
I was so excited about this trip I started packing a good week in advance, however I still ended up staying up in to the early hours the night before my flight faffing around!
I flew over with Emirates (by far my favourite airline) and started off with a glass of champagne! It is a 7 hour flight from London, so I watched 3 movies to pass the time – Paranormal Activity 3, Abduction and My week with Marilyn!
Upon arriving we were straight down to the pool for a bit of relaxing before our meetings started and this was the view from our table. You can just see the Burj Al Arab between the palm trees!
We went to the Mina A Salam hotel, to their Bahri Bar – this is our view from the bars terrace – what an amazing view! That is the Burj Al Arab lit pink and purple and the rest of the Mina A Salam. That river runs all the way around the hotel and guests can be transported around the vast grounds on little boats called Abra!
One of the best things about Dubai is the shopping! Huge fabulous air conditioned shopping malls – heaven! I love Jo Malone in any Country, but thought this made a good photo!
I stocked up on some yummy Arabic dates whilst shopping (bought some for gifts too) as well Arabic sweets – Baklava.
Luxury is what Dubai is all about, so I thought this sparkly Moschino bag in Dubai’s Harvey Nic’s was quite apt! “Luxury Is Relative”.
Another evening was spent at Atlantis Hotel on the Palm – this is a pic of a huge model they have of the resort. This is the main building but the grounds go out much further – it even has its own water park, where we are going before we leave!
Whilst at Atlantis we had dinner at Saffron restaurant – I have never seen such a vast array of food! They had everything and I mean everything! How cool are these Macarons on spoons! On my last visit to the Atlantis I went to their Nobu restaurant and bar – obviously fabulous!
I hope you have enjoyed this little peak into my week – pop back next week (usually Sunday) for another week in Instagram. What about you – what have you been up to this week?
Have a lovely Monday and I shall be back soon xx
Afternoon all. For those of you who don’t already know her, I want introduce you to fab food and lifestyle photographer Jemma Watts, who will be featuring regularly on the blog going forward.
You may remember my glamorous gold inspiration post, for which Jemma was the photographer? You will see from that shoot that Jemma is also a wedding photographer and for more info please visit her wedding website Pearl Pictures.
So, today I am featuring some stunning photos that Jemma took on a recent trip to Barcelona – which portray the normal side of life in the very beautiful city.
The photos above and below are of the cathedral in the Barri Gotic area of Barcelona – full of architecture, old narrow streets and scary gargoyles!
I think this is one of those human statues - but she looks so statue like I am not sure! Would be spooky passing her in the old winding streets on your own!
I love these funny looking buildings – they look like something from Star Wars! They are all created by architect Antoni Goadi and are truly unmistakable!
This Gaudi house looks even more otherworldly all lit up at night!
This is Las Arenas – The Bull Ring – which is now a shopping centre, built by architect Sir Richard Rogers. The whole bull ring had to be raised a few metres from the ground – how the hell did they do that?!
Oooh, pretty rainbow and lovely view of the city.
There are vast food markets in Barcelona where you can pick up all kinds of weird and wonderful delights. The Iberico hams hanging up in the pic below make great tapas.
Barcelona comes alive at night, with things not even starting until around 11pm – with it being fairly normal to return home at 4am, even on a school night!
This is Park Guell again and these Doric columns support the roof of the lower court which forms the central terrace, with serpentine seating round its edge.
More pretty architecture at the Park Guell – you would certainly not be short of sights in Barcelona.
This is the Sagrada Familia – the unfinished Gaudi creation, and also his grave. This striking building is sometimes breathtaking and at other time grotesque – often described as melting. A dome is being built in the middle of the spires and eventually it will rise 170m high into the Barcelona skyline.
I have not been to Barcelona, but certainly want to go after seeing these photos. Have you been, or do you fancy it now? I went to Granada in southern Spain in December, which was wonderful – see here for the post and photos.
I have a fab guest post lined up from Jemma, involving the Seychelles no less, so look out for that!
Have a lovely afternoon and I shall be back soon xx
We had the most wonderful, relaxing and lovely time and I cannot recommend Granada highly enough. I have been once before, in the Summer last year, when it was super hot pool and sunbathing weather and had a fantastic time. I must say though that going in December has opened up a whole new side to it and I love it even more now!
You can see the snowy mountains in the photo below – that is the Sierra Nevada mountains, which is also a ski resort. So we had a few days city break and a few days skiing, all in the same holiday – perfect!
In front of the mountains on the above photo is the amazing Alhambra Palace – an Arabic creation dating back to the 9th Century! It is truly breathtaking and a must for a visit. I think one of Granada’s charms and what makes it different is that you can see the Arabic influences all over, but it is still very Spanish – I love it! Just look at this door!
As you would expect, Granada has that lovely European feel to it and it was great just wondering around taking it all in. We had perfect weather all week – totally blue skies, but chilly – my favourite type of weather.
One of the best things about the holiday was being able to do so many different things! As well as everything a city break has to offer, we were also able to spend a couple of days skiing on the Sierra Nevada!
This photo below was in the resort village – it felt a bit like Narnia with that lamppost and all of the snow! Oooh, I want to go back!
My other favourite thing about Granada is the Tapas – free nibbles with every drink! The more drinks you have the better the Tapas gets. Granada is one of the few places in Spain where Tapas is still given on the house with every drink.
The whole drinks and free Tapas concept I think is genius and we are really missing a trick here in England! The bars are always packed full and although the bars don’t charge for the food, they must be raking it in. It creates a fabulous relaxed and social environment – I could easily run off and live there!
The 2 photos above and below were taken at a bar called Casa Enrique – they have award winning beer and great Tapas! You can see below the Iberico hams hanging up – these are everywhere in Granada and come from special free roaming pigs feeding mainly on acorns and the meat is then cured for up to 2 years!
It is such a magical place and how amazing is the Alhambra Palace at night?! If you go, make sure you go up to the Mirador – which is a viewing area overlooking the Palace (which is where this and above pic are taken from). Our favourite restaurant is also up there - Mirador de Morayma.
So, what do you think – is it somewhere you would like to go? Or have you already been? I will definitely be going back.
Have a lovely afternoon and I shall be back soon xx
All images are mine except the last one (my night shot didn’t come out very well!) which is from Flickr.
Happy weekend – here at last! What is everyone doing today? Mine has been pretty lazy so far (love lazy weekends!) but off out this afternoon with various bits and pieces to do.
This Delightful Places feature is just a collection of pretty photos that inspire me to want to go somewhere…
This is a photo from Vienna in Austria (seen on Coffee Lovin Mom) – how amazing are those lampposts! That feels like a random thing to say – but aren’t they?! This photo makes me feel Festive – which is actually the first time this year (normally slightly earlier for me!).
December is one of my favourite times of the year – its cold and festive and time to visit a European Christmas Market! I have been to lots of these Christmas Markets in Germany, but not yet in Vienna. They do have them there, so think it may be worth a go (details here) next time.
If you have not done a Eurpean Christmas Market trip before – I would really recommend it! They just do it so well over there – none of the plastic santas and tack we often see in this Country – it just feels authentic! It makes a great festive weekend away – we love it.
Vienna Christmas Market – Smart Travel Guide
Anyone been to Vienna or to another Euro Christmas Market? xx
Happy Monday all and I hope you had a great weekend? What did you get up to, anything exciting?
I must apologise for the blog silence over the last few days! As you may have read on the blog, after doing a wedding on Friday, I spent the rest of the weekend in London – which was a surprise trip booked for my birthday. I did not know where I was going until I got into London, but I was not disappointed!
We were given the postcode and arrived to discover that we had been booked into the gorgeous Sanderson Hotel, not far from Regents Street! I love the giant vase of flowers that greets you at the entrance!
The hotel is quite tucked away and is not much to look at from the outside, but it is like a hidden gem! The “landmarked 50s building has been transformed by Philippe Starck into a surreal Cocteau-like dream world, epitomizing a “new luxury” that is smart, pared down, and tempered with a healthy dose of wit and irony.”
We walked in to the lobby from the grey London street and were met with gorgeous, chic, stylish fabulousness in every direction – I was not sure where to look first! So I just went around taking pics of everything – don’t worry I won’t bore you with them all!
I really wanted to sit on this hanging seat but knowing my luck it would have came crashing to the floor!
Beautiful roses on the reception desk. I did get a few strange looks when taking a photo of these – but that is the life of a blogger (taking random photos)!
I loved this mirror hanging from the ceiling! “Starck’s visionary style mixes baroque and modern, juxtaposing Salvador Dali’s curvaceous red lips sofa with classic 60s mosaics and hand-carved African furniture with an oversized Louis XV armoire. The result blends wit, magic and surprise in an elegant balancing act of extravagance and pure simplicity.”
Asia De Cuba
After champagne and nibbles in the hotel, we all put our party frocks on, sparkled it up then got on our way to Asia De Cuba restaurant, which is in the St Martins Lane Hotel, in Covent Garden. The whole place was very cool – even the entrance lobby seen below.
I loved the gnome stools in the entrance lobby – great place to perch whilst we waited for our table.
The food was amazing – it “combines elements of Asian and Cuban cuisine served sharing-style”. The portions are huge in there and its great to pick a few different starters and mains and just share everything, which is what we did.
Asia De Cuba restaurant is “housed in a dramatically colonnaded space and Asia de Cuba’s innovative menu is matched in its surroundings by a dramatic series of soaring art columns.” There were a variety of columns – some were covered in books, others in plants and some with framed art – they all looked fab!
Next stop was the Mahiki Bar – a very cool cocktail bar just across the road from the Ritz. I have been here before, but love it every time and will definitely be going back! It is worth booking a table if you can – there is a minimum spend, but when there is a group of you it should not be hard to reach!
This is one of the sharer cocktails we had – that you drink straight from the coconuts! This is one of the best things about Mahiki – its all very visual – the cocktails all look fabulous and it just adds to atmosphere when you are sitting there drinking out of a giant cocktail filled treasure chest, divers helmet or coconuts!
I love the pretty colourful Mahiki menus – with pics and descriptions of all of the fabulous cocktails. This is the place to go for a proper cocktail – none of that watery tasteless rubbish you get in a lot of places!
This is my sister Katie and I enjoying one of the big sharing cocktails (Treasure Chest I think)! Not sure how many we had had by this point – a fair few judging by the look on my face! Hehe!
At the end of most good nights comes the dreaded and inevitable hangover – and this was a very good night! I must say I have felt worse, but I was not at my best and the drive back to Winchester did NOT help!
For some reason I have always suffered with quite bad hangovers which seem to get worse throughout the day instead of better! Boring!
What do you think? Anyone been to any of these places? I had a great time and apart from the hangover – hope to be doing it again soon!
Sorry again for the lack of blogging over the weekend – back to normal from now! xx
All photos are mine (Hence the rubbish photography!) apart from the last hangover image which was seen on All Things Bright & Beautiful.
Afternoon all – how has your Halloween Monday been so far?
On Sunday my husband and I had a little outing to Arundel - a gorgeous little town in West Sussex full of antique shops, restaurants, cafes, galleries and it even has its own Castle!
One of the best things for me are the antique shops – I love just wandering around looking at all of the bits and pieces and trying to guess where they have come from and where they once lived.
As a lover of anything pretty I was in my element and not sure where to look first!
I could practically furnish my whole house and garden just from the few small shops in Arundel.
After a bit of shop wandering we stopped for lunch at Butlers Restaurant – we both had a lovely Sunday roast and built up some energy for the afternoon wanderings.
My lovely husband also bought me this beautiful antique ring for my birthday whilst we were there – I am so in love with it! It is diamonds and a very very pale green/aqua tourmaline gemstone on a gold ring – I must admit that tourmaline is not a stone I really knew that much about, but I have done a bit of research since and it sounds fabulous. The main thing though is that it looks great and sparkles away – which is perfect for the magpie in me!
I love that my birthday present is an antique and that it has a life and a story before me! I just wish I could find out exactly where it came from and who wore it… would love to know!
What do you think of Arundel – anyone else been? xx