Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Clearwater, Florida

Following on from my Disney Diaries, my last stop of my holiday was Clearwater, which lies on the West coast of Florida, an hours drive from Orlando. We booked this because we knew we'd need a few days to wind down from the chaos that we'd just experienced in NYC and Disney. It was definitely a 'recharge your batteries' kind of stop!

As a kid my dad always used to take us to St Petes to stay, which was a little further down the coast, so although I'd had loads of beach holidays in Florida, I'd never actually been to Clearwater. This place is known for its pure white sands, and that definitely didn't disappoint. We stayed in a luxury 5* hotel right on the beach front which was amazing in so many different ways, although the price to stay here isn't for the faint-hearted - definitely a one-off for us! (review coming soon!).

Because of our early mornings and fun-filled days in NYC & Disney, we agreed to take it easy in Clearwater, and that we definitely did.


Our days were filled with lazy mornings on the balcony, with a lovely sea-breeze cooling us from the Florida heat. Several trips to Ihop were had and several pancakes consumed, along with a few trips to the local mall (where I purchased a dreamy dress from Macy's!). We watched a handful of sunsets sat on the white sands, and even spotted a dolphin or two leaping through the air. We had a few swims in the hotel pool, and a few late night dips in the Jacuzzi. We also sat round a fire pit one night on the beach, watching the sunset into the pink sky. It was lovely not having the pressure of feeling like you were missing out, and 'had to make the most of your time in Florida', because we'd already done that. It was then that we agreed we needed more holidays like this. To just chill, and feel content with that.

 


And just like that, our 3 week stint in the US was over. I know they've been few and far between but I hope you've enjoyed them. For those that have missed out on my Disney Diaries, please find them here.

I'm so lucky to be returning to both NYC & Florida again in just a few months, so keep your eyes peeled for more fun-filled adventures!
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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Top 3 Things to Do in Skiathos, Greece

I have recently returned from my very first trip to the island of Skiathos in Greece. It was beautiful, narrow cobbled streets with quirky shops and restaurant tables that lined the edge. Brightly coloured flowers at every turn which made this island one of the prettiest yet.

Today I thought I'd share with you my top 3 things to do when visiting Skiathos.

1. Take a boat trip to Lalaria. There are a huge handful of boat tours to choose from which are all lined up on the harbour. Because we were slightly out of season, we managed to pick up a 5hr boat tour for only 10 euros. One of these stops was to a beautiful beach called Lalaria, which was approx. a 45 min boat ride from Skiathos harbour. The colour of the sea was mesmerising, and the transparency was like nothing I'd seen before. The beach itself is made from huge white smooth pebbles, which can get quite uncomfortable on bare feet, but as long as you've got sturdy shoes, you'll be fine. Rumour has it that if you swim through the famous archway (Tripia Petra) 3 times, you'll be granted eternal youth forever. The whiteness of the pebbles and sun bleached limestone cliffs against the aqua blue Aegean sea really does make it a beautiful photo opportunity.

Lalaria
2. Take a trek to Mandraki Beach. This isn't for the faint hearted, it entails heights, and lots of walking, majority being uphill, but by God the views are so worth it. If you're visiting Skiathos, you need to take the bus to stop 25 and walk alongside the left hand side of the Golden Hotel (right outside the bus stop). Eventually the dirt track comes to a fork, you need to take the right hand side and keep walking, getting higher up the mountains. You will have plenty of opportunity to appreciate the views of the shoreline and the hidden beach of Kriffi Ammos, and the best bit? You will barely pass a sole up here. So peaceful and definitely a good place if your head needs clearing! You'll briefly pass through a small forest area before entering onto Mandraki Beach, which is one of 67 beaches in Skiathos. Although there were a handful of people here, it was so stull that all you could hear was the gentle lapping of the sea. I got my book out and enjoyed a few hours here in the sunshine. Definitely a lovely end to the holiday Perfect.




3. Visit Bourtzi, a tapas restaurant that has views to die for. This restaurant is on a hill near the harbour and has panoramic views over the ocean. There are plenty of tables near to the edge of the restaurant/ocean so you're not fighting for views of the sea. Although a little more expensive than your average Greek taverna, the food here is so good. We ordered 5 tapas dishes and they were divine, better than I've ever tasted in UK! If the quality of the food and the views isn't good enough, take a trip to the bathroom.. the sinks also overlook the ocean. I never knew hand washing could be so mesmerising! It would definitely make the perfect wedding reception location!
 
 
View from bathroom


This is my 5th Greek island that I have visited and I think it definitely gets number 1 spot.  
 
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