After You by Jojo Moyes…

Summer, holidays and a good book go hand in hand. There’s something about soaking up some sunshine with a book in hand or killing flight time immersed in a fabulous plot that’s just rather special. I love choosing which books to take with me, spending hours wrapped up in a storyline so gripping that for a moment nothing else matters. 

I’ve been a huge fan of Jojo Moyes for years and was literally about to burst with excitement when her latest offering, After You, hit our bookshelves. We happened to be Stateside when it was released and I made sure I picked up my copy from a local Target store. I already had another book on the go, so popped my latest treasure to the side until alas it was time to find out what happened next to Louisa Clark.

I’ll be honest, I was expecting great things from this book. My expectations were not just sky high, they were out of the universe and back. There must have been such a vast amount of pressure put on Jojo to write a successful follow up to critically acclaimed Me before You and it must have been quite terrifying for her. That being said, I wouldn’t say that this was quite what I was expecting. In some ways I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was definitely expecting something magical and sadly I’m not certain that this was sparkly enough. From the start I felt like Louisa was rather unfamiliar and I get it, she went through something life changing and she changed. I’m just not sure if it was entirely consistent with the Louisa that I felt I knew. The storyline itself also felt a bit odd and at first I really wasn’t sure of where it was going. The last one hundred or so pages were brilliant though and I loved being dragged through the trials of Lou’s life. I loved the new characters, the representation of the old ones too. I feel like the last one hundred pages were what I was expecting all along and I was once again in love.

Read it if:

  • You loved Me before You
  • You like a decent chick lit novel
  • You like something a bit different

Best bits:

  • The humour
  • The way the storyline unfolds towards the end
  • The characters

Worst bits:

  • It took a while to ‘get going’
  • Louisa seemed a little too different to me

Have you read After You? What did you think? What’s on your to-read list?
L x

What I wore in Corfu, an outfit diary…

Something that goes hand in hand with travelling is packing. Packing is something that I have such a love/hate relationship with. I adore picking out all of my favourite clothes, but hate actually packing it all. It’s such a laborious task, although admittedly I don’t help myself as I’m not a light packer, but hey I’m not sure what I’ll fancy wearing next Wednesday!

On our first day we decided to explore the town that would be our home for the week, Sidari. The coastline is so beautiful with little caves hidden along sandy beaches. The weather was warm and sunny, so I needed something cool and comfy. I had been stalking this monochrome top from Hush for weeks, waiting for a return in my size because it sold out super fast. It feels so lovely and light on and the quality is sublime. I love the cut and simplicity of it. These classic black tailored shorts were a bargain from Sainsbury’s

On the third day of our Greek adventure, we went on a massive trip to various parts of the island. I knew that it would be a long day and that comfort in the Greek sunshine was a must. So I wore these cute floral print shorts from Topshop. I love them so much as they are super comfy, light, have a gorgeous print and a cute lace trim. I teamed them with a basic black strappy top from H&M and some black sandals. 

After having such a mammoth day exploring, we decided to have a relaxing day. I recently bought a jumper from American Eagle whilst we were in Florida. It’s a sumptuous khaki colour and I’ve decided that I quite like a bit of khaki in my life despite not wearing it since the military camo trend of the early noughties. This whole outfit came from Topshop. The top is lovely and lightweight, perfect for the warmer weather and the black shorts have a crochet overlay which I adore as it makes them have a bit of character.

After one relaxing day, I was craving excitement, so we hired a quad bike and went on a beach crawl. I wore this incredible dress from Jack Wills. I’m a bit of a super fan of this brand because I love their style and the quality is brilliant. I adore this dress so, so much. The print is fun and it’s really lovely on.

On saturday we went into town for shopping. I wore this shirt dress that is also from Jack Wills. The print is so adorable with tiny keys, locks, hearts and letters. It’s quite unique and fun. Plus I’m a huge fan of navy, so I love it!

On our final day I wore this dress from Urban Outfitters. We went to Aqualand, which is a huge water park and this dress was perfect for throwing on and off after a day at the park. I love a little bit of floral in my life and this dress has the most incredible back, so it’s pretty much perfect.

Have you got any favourite summer clothes? 
L x

The day I fell in love with Paleokastritsa…

It was a little after eight A M when we set off on our adventure to explore the island of Corfu. It was already well into the late twenties, and I knew that it would be a scorcher of a day, miles away from our non-existent summer in grey London. 

I’ve always had a warm place in my heart for the Greek islands, blessed with the purest beauty and with welcoming locals they are such a lovely setting for a summer holiday in the Mediterranean and although I had my reservations about Corfu being spoilt by copious amounts of tourists, lads holidays and girls get togethers, I know that there is beauty in every place. You just sometimes have to look for it.

When I had been planning our Greek escape, a word that had been thrown around casually was Paleokastritsa. It was mentioned so casually that it didn’t ignite any particular curiosity in me and I didn’t research what exactly it was. Either way it was on our agenda for a visit and I was so very surprised by our discovery. In many ways I am glad that I didn’t research Paleokastritsa as I got to experience that raw, organic emotion that can only be felt when faced with something so breathtakingly unexpectedly beautiful and whilst photographs really don’t do the place justice, the incredible surprise from my own naivety was simply wonderful. 

As we climbed down the mountain, twisting and turning along the narrowest of roads, passing gorgeous bays basked in brilliant sunshine with a sea so turquoise that you questioned if you had even really seen the colour turqouise before, we were met with a crystal clear sea, a beautiful beach and the perfect place to explore.

Sure it was busy, but there was still plenty of space for us and I couldn’t believe that this was my life and this place was real. This incredible experience of visiting such a magnificent place and being able to just simply enjoy it was divine. I was instantly in love.

It was around lunch time when we arrived and we were both starving. We had been recommended a beach front restaurant called Vrachos and decided to stroll right on over for some delicious Greek food surrounded by stunning scenery. We had a massive meat feast and some courgette cakes that were truly scrumptious and I would highly recommend Vrachos as a place to eat if you are in the area.

Soon after it was time to explore and we went for a paddle in the sea. I was sad that we hadn’t brought swimwear with us, but was determined not to miss out on the pure waters, so waded in as deep as my short shorts would allow. Luckily this was enough for us to explore a cave and climb some rocks.

I loved looking at all of the fish dancing around my feet and watching crabs scurry past. I can’t express how clear the water is, it’s like a sheet of the clearest ice and simply incredible (Did I mention I was in love?!). 

There are two bays in Paleokastritsa that are perfect for swimming, going on a boat ride or simply sunning yourself as well as cute restaurants and shops. It’s got such a quaint, organic feel to it. I felt super relaxed there and loved the laid back atmosphere. It doesn’t need anything fancy, it simply speaks for itself, demanding you to embrace the harshness of the jagged coastline and become mesmerised by the lush waters. Forcing you to enjoy this special place on our magical planet.

Soon it was time for us to head on back to our hotel, but I knew that this first time wouldn’t be the last time I would step here.

So two days later we hired a perhaps slightly dodgy quad bike, filled a backpack with everything you need for a swim at the beach and drove for almost an hour, weaving up and down mountains, having close calls with coaches that are probably a little oversized for this island and having a massive petrol panic after almost running out and there not being a station in sight, before we were once again united with the ultimate gem on the Emerald Isle of Corfu.

I was so thrilled to be able to swim in the beautiful waters and be back at such an awesome place. I loved cooling off and living in a summer holiday dream. I’m so glad that we managed to go back.

In case you couldn’t tell, I would highly recommend visiting this magnificent spot that stole a piece of my heart the moment I set eyes on it. It takes a lot for me to really love a place, I lust after many places around the globe, but love is hard to come by and I’m so glad we visited Paleokastritsa.

Also, shout out to my husband for his patience and taking lots of photos for this little space on the Internet. Here’s a shot of him wading through the water before stepping on a sea urchin so I could have cave and rock photos – it’s not all glamour!

Have you visited Paleokastritsa? Has anywhere stolen your heart?

L x

17 Things to do in Corfu…

Summer holiday season is in full swing and it appears that all of my social media feeds consist of people scantily clad and enjoying their holidays. Europe is an amazing place to explore in the summer, with perfect weather spread across the Mediterranean and culture to absorb. The Greek islands hold such a special place in my heart for summer holiday adventures and their natural beauty is unrivalled. I’ve been blown away on each visit. This year we decided to hit up Corfu for the first time and see what this delightful island in the sunshine has to offer. Here are seventeen things to do whilst on holiday in Corfu…
1. Visit Aqualand 

A great way to cool off in the scorching sunshine that us Brits simply aren’t used to is to visit popular water park Aqualand. It’s a great day out for everyone young and old with slides and pools galore. Just make sure you are liberal with the old sunscreen and top up regularly because scorched salmon is not a good look on anyone.

2. Stroll along the Canal D’Amor

The Canal D’Amor is absolutely stunning with incredible cliff top views and gorgeous little caves to swim through. Located to the North of the island, you could easily spend the day taking in their beauty whilst having a swim.

3. Have a lazy day by the pool

Something I was looking forward to doing was taking some time out to just relax by the pool. To do nothing except catch up with a good book, ice cold drink in hand, reeling in the sun’s sumptuous rays. We are all so busy, swept up in modern day life that it’s easy to overlook ourselves and it’s important to switch off from time to time and just be. So grab a book and a sun lounger!

4. Hit up the bars

There are some lovely little bars dotted around all over Corfu. Many with stunning coastal views. Serving nice cold drinks and offering free wifi, it’s a great way to kick start your holiday in the sun.

5. Have an evening walk through the villages

The Greek architecture is so, so cute with lovely painted Mediterranean houses and vibrant flowers outside. It’s great to explore on foot and embrace the lifestyle.
6. Visit Mouse Island and Corfu airport

Mouse island lays in shadow of flights taking off and landing at Corfu airport. It’s such a sweet little island, offering amazing views and general cuteness. You can take a little boat ride across or see it from above, complete with views of the planes taking off and landing. 

7. Stop for an ice cream

There are some lovely places to stop for an ice cream all over Corfu. From authentic Gelataria’s to home made ice cream, there’s a flavour for everyone! 

8. Visit Achillion Palace

Home to Empress Elisabeth, also known as Sisi, Achillion Palace is a must visit if you are after a bit of culture. It’s opulence rivals stately homes owned by the National Trust and the gardens are nothing short of beautiful.

9. Spend the day in Paleokastritsa 

My absolute favourite discovery whilst in Corfu was Paleokastritsa. Perhaps it’s the beauty, maybe it’s the vibes, either way it stole my heart from the moment I arrived. I fell so in love with the place that I insisted that we went back for a second visit. There is so much to do and it’s beauty is literally breath taking.

10. Have a slap up Greek meal

I absolutely adore stuffing my face with Greek food and when I was presented with this platter of an amazingly marinated meat feast with a side of courgette cakes, I knew that I had arrived at the Golden Gates of food heaven.

11. Explore the jagged rocks and coastline

I loved exploring the coast and wading through the sea to climb large rocks. There’s something about being surrounded by such a vast display of natural beauty that puts everything into perspective and I loved it.

12. Visit the Monastery

There’s a lovely Monastery near picture perfect Paleokastritsa and it is definitely worth a visit. Just remember to cover up and be respectful.

13. Go to Bella Vista

If postcard views is what you are after then Bella Vista is your place. The views will blow your mind and there’s a traditional village to explore too as well as lots of restaurants, all with that awesome view.

14. Hire a quad bike and go on a beach crawl

One of my absolute highlights of our trip was cruising along on a quad bike, up and down mountains, stopping at dreamy beaches and generally just getting under the skin of this emerald island.

15. Go on a boat ride

There are so many cruises on offer in Corfu from visits to other islands, caves and general stop and swimsin pretty locations. It’s such a lovely thing to do and a great way to cool off!

16. Visit Albania

Something that we didn’t actually do but toyed with the idea of was taking a ferry across to Albania. It’s so, so close to Corfu and gets another country ticked off of your list. So why not hop on a ferry and get exploring!

17. Spend a day shopping and exploring the town

There are some wonderful shops all selling locally produced products from ceramics, paintings, olive oil and wooden things such as pots and photo frames. We loved exploring the different shops and wandering around the town.
So there you have it, some ideas of things to do in Corfu.
Have you visited Corfu? What did you do?

L x