31/05/2012

Croatia: Dubrovnik


Last summer my boyfriend and I spent the best part of three weeks travelling around Croatia, taking in Hvar, Korçula, Dubrovnik, Braç and Split. I thought I'd do a short series of posts on the trip, as it was one of my favourite holidays and it's a beautiful country. You can read the rest of the series by clicking here.


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Arriving in Dubrovnik, we were a little dismayed to learn that our guesthouse sat atop an incredibly steep hill and was about a half an hour walk from the old city, down a seemingly never ending set of steps. Nevertheless the view from the balcony was spectacular and it was quite nice to get away from the hustle and bustle for a while.

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We arrived in the evening and headed straight to the old walled city. Of course, the first thing that strikes you on entering the walls is the incredible beauty of it all. The glittering marble, the beautiful old buildings, the fountains, the statues; it all amounts to a breathtaking total that doesn't quite feel real. The second thing that strikes you is the huge number of tourists. Even though we arrived in the city quite late at night, it was still bustling with holidaymakers.

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After a wander around, we headed to one of the wonderful Buza bars. Both Buza I and Buza II sit on the outside of the city walls, perching on the cliff and overlooking the most beautiful ocean, and they're only accessible by following the sporadically placed signs for "cold drinks" and hopping through a little door in the wall itself. Whilst we only went at night, I think it would be a gorgeous place to enjoy the sun during the day: it really does have the most beautiful view.

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Our days, however, were spent predominantly at East-West club just outside the city walls. A beach bar by day and a club at night, it's a pretty cool venue with four poster beds scattered across the beach. As much as I wanted to spend my day sprawled on one of the beds, they were full of flashy types with champagne, and our budget didn't quite stretch to that level of luxury.

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The absolute highlight of our time in Dubrovnik was walking the city walls at sunset. The walk atop the walls provides beautiful views over the rooftops and the surrounding sea and it is just breathtakingly stunning. I stopped to take pictures with almost every step. I'd really recommend doing the city walls either early in the morning or at sunset. For one, it takes about an hour and is very exposed, so doing it in the hottest part of the day could detract from the experience, and another, it would be incredibly busy, full of tourists from cruise liners who tend to visit the city just for the day.

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Although Dubrovnik is incredibly beautiful, you may have noticed that I'm not as excited about it as I have been about other places in my croatia series. This is purely because it was so incredibly busy and touristy, to the point that the city was almost ruined for us - it felt as if the city had sold its soul to tourism, which is a real shame. The incredible busyness of the old city did lead us to explore other areas of Dubrovnik however, and we spent a couple of days enjoying the beaches that were a little further out.

I really want to visit Dubrovnik again, but not in the height of summer. It is an incredibly beautiful city and for the most part we had a wonderful time, but walking through the old city during the day was nothing but stressful, to the point that we wanted to avoid it completely. I think going in February, or November (one of those most miserable of months!) would be ideal, as it shouldn't be so busy, but the city would still be just as beautiful. I imagine the marble would look spectacular in the rain.

29/05/2012

pink maxi



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Neon bra - H&M
T-Shirt - Topshop
Skirt - Topshop (old)

I bought this cracking pinky coral maxi skirt from Topshop, in the wake of the incredible Jil Sander Spring 2011 show, when I wanted to have a go at recreating the striking effect of bold maxi skirt plus plain white tee. Though I clearly don't always wear it in such a minimal fashion, I still think it pacts quite a punch no matter how it's worn. And it makes me feel amazing; the side splits provide just the right amount of sexy, it's super comfy and the colour, the colour! Quite possibly my favourite skirt in my wardrobe at the moment.

15/05/2012

Origins Sensory Therapy Peace of Mind


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Stress is a horrible thing. I know I have my moments when I get particularly wound up - running late, traffic jams, presentations, interviews etc - and there isn't always time to step away for some deep breathing and a bit of a calming yoga stretch. I wish I could afford weekly massages and constant hot yoga classes, but for now little helpers like this special ointment are going to have to do.

‘Peace of Mind’ is a cream consistency with a very strong peppermint scent. You take a little pump, rub it on your temples and pulse points and take a moment to breathe deeply. Obviously, it doesn’t relieve all stress instantaneously, but I find the scent calming and the ritual of it a lot more effective than the breathing deeply alone. Something about having something to do helps me forget for a minute about whatever is causing me to stress – it just lifts you out of the situation for a minute, and gives you just a tiny bit of ‘you time.’

I’d really recommend this if you’re prone to stressing. It’s fantastic just to keep in your bag and whip out at required moments, and I find it’s particularly brilliant for things like presentations and exams. I practically doused myself in the stuff before my oral exam last week.

Clearly, it’s not going to completely dispel all your stress and worries, but it’s a nice little product to keep around to lend a helping hand.

13/05/2012

Croatia: Korčula

Last summer my boyfriend and I spent the best part of three weeks travelling around Croatia, taking in Hvar, Korçula, Dubrovnik, Braç and Split. I thought I'd do a short series of posts on the trip, as it was one of my favourite holidays and it's a beautiful country.


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Korčula was the perfect place to relax after the intoxicating buzz of Hvar, and although we only had about 48 hours to spend there, it was just the perfect amount of time to unwind before heading on to the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik. 

We stayed in Korčula Town, a beautiful old walled city with a rich history and dating back to the 12th century. It's also, according to legend, the birth place of Marco Polo, which became very apparent wandering through the narrow little streets, as stalls and shops touting Marco Polo themed souvenirs abound. It reminded me very much of Venice which I suppose makes sense, given it was once a part of the Venetian Republic, but a Venice of a much more peaceful, slower paced variety. 

As we didn't have much time in Korčula, we were unable to explore the rest of the island, which is apparently home to some incredible white sand beaches. So instead we spent our days sitting by the harbour, admiring the incredible views, and wandering through the narrow streets, stopping for incredibly long and lazy lunches, with carafes of wine and cathedral views. One of the highlights of the trip was a dinner at Lesic Dimitri, with views of the twinkling lights of the mainland and the most delicious lamb for me and chorizo stew for him.

Another must do was the cocktail bar, "Buffet Massimo." In a turret, the top floor is only accessible by ladder, and the cocktails are brought up by a pulley system. To be perfectly honest, it was a little tacky and gimmicky, and I've definitely had better cocktails, but they were affordable and wiggling down a ladder after a couple of drinks was definitely an experience I'll never forget. 

I really loved my time in Korčula, and would definitely recommend a stop there if you're ever island hopping in Croatia. It's the perfect place to unwind and take things a little slower before heading on elsewhere.  I only wish we had the chance to explore a little further.