Why It Is Important To Speak About Mental Health | World Mental Health Day October 10 2018

It’s okay, to not be okay

I have been really saddened recently by the amount of people known to me, friends and family around me, or in the public eye who have been struggling a little bit with life, most silently thinking they have no one to speak or open up to. This is not something new for me, unfortunately growing up I saw this a lot around me and found that people were always very shy or ashamed about it. Fortunately, this seems to be something that with time is getting better and we now have days such as “World Mental Health Day” to diminish some of the stigma that surround it. But I do think that there is more we can do.

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Without walking someones path, you will never really know what it’s like to feel the way that person does or be in their particular circumstances and why they find themselves so close to the edge. Its sad that in our current society, it’s a very common way to feel.

A lot of people I know, including myself, at many stages, struggle with Mental Health. It is something that doesn’t pick and choose, or discriminate. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or if you are perceived to have the perfect life. This has been highlighted more recently with the loss of public figures or celebrities such as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
There are probably more people than you realise who are suffering or struggling with their mental health in private.

Everyone handles and deals with their health and emotions in their own way. Everyone has a different mindset. But this, is the reason more people need open up and bring to light these issues and talk about our worries and concerns. Life isn’t always simple. For a lot of people, life can be predominantly more complicated than simple and have more downs than ups. So having the ability to step forward and help another person open up or realise that support is around them can really help those who need it the most.

You may find it hard or not be able to empathise with someone when it comes to mental health but whatever it is that that person is dealing with, being there to be a support, even if its just them having someone to talk to can really help.

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Mental Health should be on the same level as physical health. When you see someone who is in a cast, or wheelchair or has fallen down some steps. Many people will run to the aid of that person, asking how they can help. “Can I push you somewhere”, “Lean on me and ill take you to that chair”, “Are you okay, is anything hurting?”.So why when you see someone who is looking sad, crying or you know might be going through something that we don’t do the same?

How hard is it to go up to someone, whether you know them or not and ask, “are you okay?”, “can I help in any way?” or with that person who you know who has gone through something saying “Please know that I am here for you, let me know if you need anything”

People with mental health conditions deserve just as much support and compassion as people with physical health conditions.

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I am not an expert, nor do I have all the answers. But if this post can help even one person reach out when they need help, or have someone reach out to a friend or stranger in need then perhaps more people can spread the message that it IS okay, not to be okay.  There is no weakness in asking for a bit of help or finding support. Be proud of yourself for doing so. Those around you will only have a great amount of respect for you.

Struggling with parts of life is okay. Just remember, things do get better, especially when you open up and talk about it. You are loved and cherished more than you know.

Continue reading Why It Is Important To Speak About Mental Health | World Mental Health Day October 10 2018

8 Simple Reasons To Love Melbourne

Greetings from the land of very changeable weather, hipsters and great coffee

I moved to Melbourne nearly four years ago, four, years ago. I have no idea how its been that long but I will admit, I love it just as much, if not more than I did when we first moved here. Melbourne isn’t (as) flashy like Sydney, nor hot all year round like the far north neighbours. Melbourne is vibrant, cultural, energetic and completely unpredictable. Of course, no city is perfect, but Melbourne, for me, comes pretty close. Here’s why…

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THE GARDENS

One of my absolute favourite things about Melbourne is all of the public gardens. Although I live in the inner city, I still have many gardens and parks within a 10-20min walk. In fact, in and around the inner city there are 12 well known gardens to visit! All slightly different.

A few of my favourites would be Kings Domain/ The Royal Botanical Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens and Carlton Gardens.

I think this is something that really sets Melbourne apart from other cities and part of the reason it has more livability than others. Beautiful.

THE VIBE & STREET ART

Unpredictable personality, Vibrant Laneways and hidden secret bars and restaurants are all of what makes Melbourne so unique. From an outsiders point of view, places such as Collins Street and Bourke Street at first glance are just typical city streets. Loads of people, shops and small cafes. From an insiders point of view, there is so much more.

There are little laneways which are home to small, locally owned cafes and restaurants as well as sellers of coffee utensils, sustainable clothing and probably even a hidden gym or two.

There are the famous laneways such as Hosier Lane and ACDC Lane which are always worth a look, but no matter where you go in the city, behind a random dumpster, there is probably something quite unique and beautiful.

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THE FOOD AND COFFEE

Where to even start.

Food in Melbourne is genuinely glorious. It has everything from high flying Brunch spots (Read here) to weird and wonderful (and crazy expensive) options such as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Plus everything in between. As someone who is somewhat health conscious & enjoys living the health wanker life, there are also many options available too.

Melbourne is called the coffee capital of Australia for good reason. More and more brilliant coffee shops are popping up all around. Not only in the hipster suburbs, but also right in the city centre. I will be writing a blog post soon of all my favs but for now, just do a small amount of googling and you will find some finger licking good places.

THE MARKETS

Since moving to Melbourne and living so close to a few big markets I have really become quite obsessed and going to the Market on a Sunday is a bit of a tradition.  Markets are a great place to start when visiting any new place because you get a glimpse of the local fresh produce, food scene as well finding gems from local artists and creative types.

There are a few markets in Melbourne which are definitely a must see. The first being the Queen Victoria Market. Its quite famous in Melbourne and has everything from food to vintage clothing to live bands and much more. There is also a Night Market which runs out of here at certain times of the year which is quite the experience.

My favourite markets are ones which are a little smaller. Being the South Melbourne Market & the Prahran Market. Both have a great fresh produce section as well as amazing deli’s and restaurants.

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THE NEIGHBOURHOODS

From the quirky health cafes and cozy old pubs in Fitzroy, to upmarket clothing and food boutiques in Prahran, the over the top and elegant leafy mansions of Toorak and  backpackers or wind surfers enjoying the beach vibe of St Kilda. The inner city suburbs of Melbourne really are like mini cities or towns in themselves, all known for different things.

The variety of neighbourhoods is part of the reason I never tell friends and family to only come for a weekend. You could literally spend the whole time in just one suburb or the inner city without getting bored!

TRAMS

As much as everyone in Melbourne complains about the public transport, it really isn’t that bad. Especially in comparison to other big cities around the world. In Auckland, your only option is a bus, in London, you have a really overpriced tube or a bus that takes the long way around. Here, we have it pretty good. Free trams in the City Circle which run pretty frequently and they also look pretty cool, especially the older ones. The trams in the city give Melbourne that little hint of differentness as well as just being pretty cool.

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THE DAY TRIPS

This is such an amazing bonus of living in Melbourne. Whether you like the beach, the mountains, the forrest or wineries, within a few hours on the train or via car you can have a bit of everything.

My favourites have to be The Great Ocean Road & The Otways, The Mornington Peninsula, The Dandenong Ranges and going north to places such as Mt Macedon. Which, as a side note, has a had a fair bit of snow this winter, pretty exciting.

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ALL THE EVENTS

Do you like sports? Food? Wine? Beer? Crafts? Clothing?

Well, then Melbourne is for you. There is quite literally an event for everything at some point in the year and if you get bored in between, no doubt there will be a hit band or theatre show which is bound to be interesting and make for a good night out.

You will never be bored, especially if you have a money tree growing in your back yard, which can be the downside off all these events. Melbourne isn’t exactly the most cost effective city.

To sum up. I love Melbourne, for all these reasons and more. I feel very grateful to live here and find myself realising this quite often. Even the small things, such as appreciating the cityscape at 5.30 in the morning can be enough on a bad day to bring me back to life.

Autumn Reflection

As you may, or may not have noticed, things have been a little quiet around here the past few months. Once my backlog of blog posts ran out, I kind of, lost it.
At this time of the year, I find that I can almost become another person. My mood changes and I generally just feel a bit dull. I think they call this SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder but you know what, that’s okay. It really hasn’t been that bad, I think I just do not respond well to the cold weather & the sun going down at about 4pm!

However, things haven’t been all bad so lets recap the past season and see what I have really been up to!

Jose Gonzalez in Concert

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This was something that happened way back in March! but even now when I think about it, it has for sure been a highlight. We did go and see him once before when he played at the Melbourne Zoo twilights but this was so much better and more personal. There was even an hour of Q&A which we attended beforehand, such a treat!

If you haven’t heard of Jose, or listened to his music, go ahead and have a listen. Its really something quite beautiful & different.

Living in Activewear

Probably the biggest change in the past few months has been that of my day to day. I went from a 9 to 5 office job to completely changing my career and jumping into the world of health and fitness. It was something that I had wanted to do for so so long but didn’t have the nerve to, but finally after much contemplation, I did it and I love it! Weirdly enough, the thing about this I thought I would love the most, living in active wear, has become my least favourite part. Literally no one enjoys pulling on uncomfortable tights at 5am… and there have been a LOT, of 5ams…

Taking my love of Reformer to the next level

& starting a Pilates Reformer course at Elixr School of Pilates.
Because isn’t that was everyone does when they love something that much?
Probably not, but hey ho, that’s what I did and it has been quite the uh… experience. The course itself is very intense and the face to face component is only 5 weekends with the rest being self taught so a liiitttle out of my comfort zone. But so far, so good. Its been really strange to study again that’s for sure and I have definitely had my ups, and downs and moments of ‘whatthehellamIdoing’ but its all part of the fun! I can’t wait to actually be a qualified instructor as I do have some big plans once the exam is over.
Watch this space

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No-Makeup, Makeup

For so long, I was the person who wouldn’t step foot into my workplace with out a full face of makeup on. Part of my morning routine was getting up 20 mins earlier just to be able to do so. Let me tell you, once I started starting work before 6am that went right out the window.
But I am actually really enjoying it.
It has made me more conscious of my skin in both good and bad ways. In the good ways it has made me really stick to my skincare routine & has somewhat stopped me eating chocolate everynight (because no one needs those sugar pimples) but in the bad ways I really do notice every imperfection my skin has, so i’m having to come to terms with that, which I guess is also a good thing right…
So all I have really been using is my trusty Maybelline Instant Age Rewind, L’oreal Baby Roll Mascara & my Benefit Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil. And thats it. So simple and easy when its 4:45am!

Walking & Podcasting

This year has really been the year for podcasts. I feel like they are really making a break and you can literally find something for everyone. One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to spend my time walking, being productive instead of just listening to the same Spotify playlist over and over (which I still do sometimes).
So these are some of my favs & ones I would reccommend:

  • Lower your Expectations
  • Talking Tastebuds
  • The Healthcode
  • Wheybox Podcast
  • Ladies who Lunch
  • The Heart of it

This is quite an interesting range, all quite different really but they are what get me through my early moring walk to work without too much fuss.

 

And that’s about it. Autumn for me is definitely one of the more uneventful seasons of the year/ I have been so crazy with all things as above. I will try and keep on top of my blog throughout winter! Especially considering the cold weather gives me a great excuse to sit at home under the heatpump!

 

The Granada & Seville Travel Guide | Spain

Beautiful castles & flamenco anyone?

 

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In all of Spain, these are two places I wish I could have spent more time in. These are two of the most beautiful, culture filled and historically rich cities I have ever visited. When I was booking this holiday, I was told to only add one or the other onto my trip because of my time frame, but I didn’t, and I am so glad I didn’t because they are both amazing places which deserved a visit.

 Seville and Granada are part of what some call “Andalucia’s Golden Triangle”. Triangle because there is one other place in the area which is also a must visit called Cordoba. I however, didn’t visit because of the time limits but I will definitely make a point of it next time.

 Granada

I am still to this day, almost a year later, unsure if this or Lisbon was my favourite place of this holiday. I would probably say both as they are pretty different and equally beautiful. Of all places I went, I think I probably took more photos in Granada than anywhere else, purely because I wasn’t sure that it was even real.

It really is one of those places where you could just stare at the city and landscape all day and not get bored. Beautiful is an understatement.

In terms of getting here, I would recommend either bus or BlaBla car, which was my personal choice, however in hindsight, although it was the quickest way of getting there and the lady was absolutely lovely, maybe learn a bit more Spanish than I did first because it made for quite the awkward roadtrip!

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Accommodation
I stayed in a Hostel called ‘Old Town Hostel‘ which in terms of location and staff was great! I arrived at about 10pm and had it not been for another guy arriving at the same time I may have never found it, as it is very hidden down a small alleyway! However, all ended well.

Things to do

I must admit, my main reason for wanting to go here, and probably the main reason of most people, was to see the Alhambra (Tip: Book in Advance!! You don’t want to be one of the people having to line up at 4am to get in). The Alhambra, in brief, is an absolutely stunning Moorish Castle/ Palace that has a very detailed and beautiful history. It’s well worth a visit.

Another must visit I would say is a viewpoint called Mirador de San Cristobal. It has an amazing view from afar of the Alhambra and even the walk there is worth the walk alone.

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Other recommendations for Granada depending on the length of your trip would be

As for food

Meson Alegria – A bar with some amazing Tapas. Granada is also well known for the fact that you order a drink and receive a free Tapas, this place was no exception and the food & atmosphere was amazing! Even at 11pm!

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 From there, I took a bus & AVE Train to Seville
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Seville

When I was planning my trip to Spain, I had to choose between Madrid and Seville and although I never visited Madrid, I am so glad I chose Seville. It’s so colourful and has its own unique kind of beauty. The food is amazing, the people are really welcoming and friendly and (fun tip)  if you are a Game of Thrones fan, you can visit the site where the Water Gardens of Dorne was filmed at the Real Alcáza.

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This is also another place where I would highly recommend doing a Walking Tour. I did mine through the Hostel I was staying at (more on that soon) and it was super informative and interactive.

Accommodation

There is only one place I would recommend staying in Seville, whether you are traveling alone or not, and that is La Banda Rooftop Hostel. It is by FAR the best place I stayed on my whole trip. There is a reason they have a 9.6/10 rating on Hostel World. The people are great! SO friendly and accommodating, the rooftop bar is a great place to meet people, I would recommend doing one of the family dinners! They also have a nightclub tour type thing which was really fun. The beds are super comfortable, the place is clean and all around just so cool! If I get a chance to go back to Seville, you bet this is where I am staying.

Things to do

  • Flamenco Show – 100% recommend everyone go and see a show in Southern Spain. Honestly one of the most magical experiences I have ever had. The energy and emotion is completely captivating. Just do it.
  • The Real Alcáza – I personally didn’t have time, however I heard it is similar to Alhambra so I wasn’t too sad.
  • Metropol Parasol – This building is basically what people describe as a ‘stylish mushroom’ and is quite different to anything else I saw in Spain. However, its really cheap to enter and has the most stunning views at the top!
  • Plaza de España – Truly a beautiful plaza. The architecture and (TILES) design is stunning. I recommend going earlier in the day as the crowds are really something else.
And for Food
My food highlight was a place called Bartolomea. Everything I ate here was just GOOD. Would definitely go back even though there are SO many places to eat in Seville. The decor is also really nice & the staff are friendly.

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And there you have it, the last of my Spain Travel Guides. Probably not forever, because I will definitely be back. Spain truly was amazing and although I haven’t visited much of the Northern part of Spain (its on my list!) I say, GO to Southern Spain. Its extremely beautiful, diverse and full of history & culture.

I would love to know where your favourite parts of Spain are! Please leave a comment and let me know!

Also feel free to share with friends and family, especially if they are planning a trip soon.

Leave a comment or find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.
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Tips To Get You Back Into Your Exercise Routine!

Regain motivation and get back into it!

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How was your Easter? Did you eat 12 Hot Cross Buns like I did? or maybe a few too many chocolate bunnies… Easter this year seems to have extended from one long weekend, to two long weekends! Plus, all of that discounted chocolate and leftover goodies really does a number on the old, motivation and waistline.. Woops.

I am someone who really loves health, nutrition and fitness and am very passionate about other people learning to love it to. I say learning, because it took me a LONG time to find the right balance and relationship with fitness, food & exercise. So I know how hard it is to get back on the bandwagon after a break. So here are my top tips for getting your groove back!

Buy Some New Active Wear!

This doesn’t have to be expensive. Go to cotton on body, Kmart, Target or look out for sales online! I find that having a few new bits or a new top and leggings to put on really makes me want to go and test them out and show it all off! Nothing wrong with making yourself feel good at the gym by buying a new outfit.

Get Things Ready The Night Before

Whether you are going to the gym in the morning or in the afternoon, have it all ready to go the night before. There’s nothing worse than getting up in the AM and realising all your gear is in the wash or the back of the cupboard. Have it ready to go so that first thing in the morning you can either put it on or chuck it in your bag for later!

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Find Something That You Love & Enjoy

Groundbreaking advice. I know. But really, it’s pretty simple! If you find something you love to do, you are more likely to want to go and do it, prioritise it and book it! Whether that is a class, going for a walk with a friend or booking in to play a game of tennis or squash! If you love walking, go for an extra walk at lunchtime. Every little bit counts.

Don’t Set Yourself Up For Failure

Spend a little time writing up a few fitness goals. Whether that’s doing X amount of push-ups or working out X amount of times per week.
My tip is to be really real with yourself. If you know that in the past you have said “I will workout Monday to Friday” and it just hasn’t happened for some reason or another, don’t write that again. Put ” I will try to work out 3x per week” that way, if you do end up working out Monday to Friday it will make you feel great for achieving your goal rather than feeling stressed on Tuesday night when you realise you can’t go the next day.

Go When The Time Suits You

If you aren’t a morning person, don’t go in the morning.

When I first started my fitness journey I was so obsessed with this idea that you HAD to workout in the morning on an empty stomach or otherwise it wasn’t worth it, so why bother. BOY was I so wrong. The best advise I can give you is go when it suits YOU. Don’t listen to any stupid rule saying you have to be at the gym at 6am and train for an hour. NOPE.
I find that I have the most energy and motivation in the afternoon so that’s when I choose to go. You just need to find out what you like and what time of the day will help you keep a consistent routine.

Prepare And Plan

Whether its self-guided plan or booking into classes, know what you are doing at the gym for that week or day. On a Sunday night, look at your schedule, look at the classes available that week or text a friend and find out what time or day they would like to go for a walk or run and schedule things in.
If you are doing your own workout at the gym, go online and find a plan or book a session with a personal trainer and write your plan out before you go. There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym and realising you don’t know what to do! Hello motivation killer.

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Try Something New

The beauty of the internet now days is that all you need to type into google is “Free gym classes in (INSERT CITY)” and you will generally get a whole list of trials come up.
Make use of these and go and trial a few new things! Yoga, Pilates, KX Pilates, Step Classes or Boxing!
The list is endless and you might find something you really love. Its also good to note that a lot of gyms or centres do 1 or 2 week trials so go and see what you can find!

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A bonus tip which isn’t in this list but I know is super important is that, find a gym that you LOVE. If you go into your gym and people make you feel uncomfortable or the trainers are constantly looking around the gym when they should be paying attention to you, they don’t have classes or equipment that you want…then you should probably find a new one.
A fitness routine has more chance of sticking if you are going to a gym that you love going to!

Just remember. Something is better than nothing. If you start working out again and you can only go 2 times per week, that’s okay. Listen to your mind and body and find what works for you.

I really hope these tips have helped at least one person. These tips aren’t supposed to be revolutionary or anything new, they are just things that we all know, but need reminding of sometimes.

What are your best tips? Leave a comment, share with someone who needs a little extra motivation! or find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.
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The Costa Del Sol Travel Guide| Spain

Sun, Sand, Spanish beaches and Great Food

 

MALAGA

Malaga for me was just a ‘stop off’ destination. It was the place that I flew into because it was the cheapest and easiest from Barcelona! However, it is now that place that I would definitely go back to as I felt I did not get to explore enough. It is a place that has all the Beachy Vibes, Highrise Hotels, Resorts… but also a lot of history.

From the airport, the easiest way to get into the Town Centre is via a bus. Its cheap and makes a lot of stops so you really just need to look at a map beforehand and get off where you need to. The trip took about 30mins and once you are in the Town Centre, the easiest way to get around is just to walk!

 Quick Facts

If you are Artsy: Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga in 1881
Currency = Euro
You can take a ferry over to Morocco – it takes about an hour.
Language = Varieties of Spanish & English in most places
How to Pay = Card & Cash – Definitely have a small amount of cash on you
Best time to Visit = Between April & June or between September & November

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Accommodation
I booked a bed in a 10 person mixed dorm at a cheap & cheerful hostel called Picnic Dreams Boutique Hostel. Now, this probably isn’t the cheapest hostel you can find, however I would highly recommend. The location was perfect, people were really friendly and the place was clean! Plus there were little curtains over each bunk for privacy.

Things to do
I only really had a day and a half in Malaga and wanted to get an overview of the place. So I booked into a Walking Tour called Malaga Free Tour Monuments. It was a good way to get a brief history of Malaga and also get shown around to the various stand out points,  such as Picasso’s house, the Alcazaba and the Museums.

Top places I would advise visiting in Malaga are:

As For Food

Los Gatos – Traditional Spanish food – open really late – Great vibe – fairly cheap
100 Montaditos – Fun Spanish fast food – Tapas – all really cheap, also really cheap alcohol, fast service.

Marbella & Puerto Banus

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Getting from Malaga to Marbella & Puerto Banus is fairly easy as its a short bus ride (BlaBla Car could also be an option – I definitely had a good, but interesting experience using this service!).
From there it is quite easy to hail a cab to where you want to go. Mine was to my accommodation in Puerto Banus – aka my splurge of the trip Hotel Bluebay Banus.

Puerto Banus is an interesting place to say the least and not somewhere I thought I would ever find myself. Its basically a ‘Mini Town/ Marina’ just west of Marbella. You can walk down to the dock and see yourself staring into very high end stores and watching the millionaires sail out to sea on their Luxury Yachts.

It does however have beautiful beaches, beautiful people, a relaxed but party filled atmosphere and many a beach club. Pretty cool… but I definitely felt very out of place!

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Top Places I Would Recommend Visiting/ To do’s in Marbella & Puerto Banus

  • Walking around Old Town Marbella
  • Cocktails at The Sinatra Bar
  • Go to the beach – there are many
  • Go shopping
  • Wander through Alameda Park
  • Take the Fly Blue Ferry from Puerto Banus to Marbella & back – Great views and probably one of the more fun things I did in this neck of the woods
  • Visit the Puerto Banus Beach Clubs
  • Take the walk (if you are crazy like myself) from Puerto Banus to Marbella. It is quite the walk but the views are absolutely worth it

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There are also a fair few day trips which you can do from this part of Spain.

My Top Recommendations:

  • Frigiliana – One of Spain’s most picturesque whitewashed villages.
  • Nerja
  • Granada – Post Coming Soon!
  • Ronda – Has Spain’s oldest bullfighting ring as well as being beautiful sitting on the side of a gorge
  • Gibraltar – Tax Free Shopping and a nature reserve? Yes, thanks.

Costa Del Sol is definitly somewhere I want to spend more time when I get the chance. I feel like I really only touched the surface of this side of Spain! Can not wait to go back.

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I would love to hear all your recommendations! Things I need to add to this guide??
Leave a comment, share with your friends or find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.

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In preparation for Autumn…

Bye Summer, its been so. so good.

Autumn, apart from the beautiful leaf colours, is probably my least favourite season. It starts to get cold, with the odd hot day mixed in so you never really know what to wear. My least favourite part? The days start getting shorter, especially when daylight savings ends! All of the good Summer fruits and veges are gone and you are basically left with all the boring ones. Who even likes autumn?

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However, I want to try and make the most out of it this year… so here are a few things I want to do & buy to be #fashionable’er… and a bit more adventurous rather than sitting home and sulking about not being able to go to the beach!

Get An Amazing New Coat

Explore a New Garden

 Drink More Tea Get a Pair of Good Quality Chelsea Boots

Read 3 New Books

 Get a Black Pair of Jeans
 Find a Nice Chunky Knit And Another Blue Pair…
 Go To a New Farmers Market  Bake Something Autumny
Mix up my Skincare Routine – Hydration is Key Sort out My Scarf Collection!

My mantra currently is making the most out of everything, find something positive in every day and every situation! So even though the days are ge4tting shorter, its getting colder and beach days are less attainable, its really not that bad!

What is your favourite thing about Autumn?

 

    Leave a comment or find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.
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