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New Year New Me?

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

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2017

 

Start of a new year, means a whole new chapter for some. I definitely feel that this year I’m one of ‘those’ people who are in the midst of setting new year resolutions, joining the gym, clearing out the cupboards…etc.

Infact, mine started a little earlier as I actually started going on daily jogs/runs/collapsing on the streets, towards end of December and I managed to amp up my running to 3km, which I know probably doesn’t sound like much but for someone who literally drives everywhere this was a bloody good start. I then went onto joining the gym, there’s one right next to me where I work which is pretty convenient and ideally I’ll spend an hour or so after work and end up missing the evening traffic. I also managed to go to a Pilates class which was completely underwhelming – extremely soft stretching but I was itching to sweat and challenge myself. Next week I’m going to try and build up the stamina to go and do some weight training. 

I also want to spend this year being more self aware and give more time to my well-being. I spend so much time worrying about work, my students, data, result entries etc. that it absolutely absorbs everything that I do and all my energy, therefore giving myself some ‘me’ time is something I need to invest in a lot more this year.

Spending less frivolously and investing money into good quality clothes and accessories instead of fast fashion items that don’t last a while is a huge goal that I think I will aim to manage more this year. I think I’ve started well, 9 days in but there’s a whole 354 days left over. 

Try not to get into into the hype of the ‘blogging’ world – it’s so easy to get sucked into the whirlwind of every blogger having the latest jacket/perfume/shoe/bag and then I end up buying stuff that I really don’t need/want. So it’s time to step back and think whether or not its a necessary purchase. Would I buy the item if it wasn’t on every blogger? If not, then it’s probably not worth it.  I mean, half my wardrobe is blogger inspired clothing items – that’s some influence right?

Overall I need to be more, self-loving, self-aware and self-caring… so let’s raise a glass of water to 2017!

uniqlo-wool-blend-knitwear

Goodbye 2016

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

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2016.

 

A year full of newness and change. The end of 2015 I left it feeling pretty crap about myself – I was in a very strange headspace, one which I haven’t actually spoken to many people about. So last night I sat down to write 16 things that I’ve done/realised and it was surprisingly really hard. But here it goes…

 

 

*1* Fast forward April 2016, Nojmul and I made an awesome trip to Thailand. Definitely a culture change and it took me a couple days to adjust just so that I could comprehend how big the world is and how privileged we are. We traveled from Phuket – Koh Phi Phi – Chiang Mai – Bangkok and ended with Malaysia. It was my mini backpacking dream and considering Nojmul hates travelling as a backpacker he ended up really enjoying it. 

 

*2* Morocco in October 2016 was another experience, we made some really nice friends and shared some great memories. It definitely brought us together as a couple and for that I hold Morocco quite dear to me. 

 

*3* We brought our very first flat together and moved in late May- and although it’s slightly out of London, I absolutely adore it, so much so that whenever we go away on holiday we itch to get back to our home.

 

*4* I said goodbye to working 4 years in an inner London large comprehensive school and moved to literally a brand new school delivering Built Environment to post 16 students. Completely different to what I’m used however change is always good. 

 

*5* With the above being mentioned, I taught my first ever Electronics GCSE group. I had the same group for over 3 years and took them all the way from year 9 to year 11 – it may not sound like much but carrying a group through to thier final exams was my goal. They really did me proud and we ended on a high achieving the best results in the department, all above national average. Very proud teacher moment indeed.

 

*6* Seeing my nephew grow into a little smart boy and hearing him say new words and develop has been incredible and priceless. 

 

*7* Starting to feel and be comfortable in my own skin is something I struggled with for a long part of my teen/adult life. Only in the last couple of months I’m starting to develop a sense of ownership of my body. I really hope this continues into the next year…

 

*8* I also finally learnt how to cook this year – I cook a fresh/organic meal atleast once a week and I actually enjoy it. My cooking is edible and hasn’t poisoned anyone yet – woo! I still have a long way to go. However considering I have never cooked in my 29years of being alive…this is some achievement.

 

*9* I feel like I’m starting to find my style – I love shoes, I have 110 pairs now, and I love chunky knitwear and anything eccentric. 

 

*10* I still shop a lot – however now I feel like I’m making decisions wiser – well, thats what I keep telling myself.

 

*11* I finally said goodbye to my old A-Class which served me a not so solid 100,000 miles in 7 years, and brought my new car!

 

*12* I have had another year with my parents, I know it probably sounds silly. With my dad suffering a long term illness and my mum has plenty of on going illnesses too, as well as people dying everyday so as each day passes-by I count my lucky stars that I still have them in my life.

 

*13* Exercise is very important for the soul as well as the body and only in the last couple months have I started to appreciate it more – even if its a set of sit ups in my PJs. I always feel so much better after.

 

*14* I’ve started to listen to what my body needs – I used to deprive myself off of sugar / diary / gluten – basically any fad diet. When in fact  I didn’t need to do that, I now listen to my body a lot and if I feel like a chocolate I’ll have a chocolate. Everything in moderation but never starved.

 

*15* Similarly I listen to what my skin needs – I’ve paid attention to my skins moisture levels, the pores, the skin texture and I use skincare accordingly and it’s looked the best since I was a teenager. 

 

*16* Building a stronger relationship with Nojmul – marriage is hard work people. It definitely takes two and for the last year or so I was for sure the selfish one, however I have learnt to compromise, listen, be patient and look at things from the other shoe. 

 

We all live and learn and here’s to another year, to make mistakes, to learn and to challenge.

Roll on 2017

 

 

 

ysl-garden-marrakech

Jardin Majorelle Marrakech

Posted & filed under Fashion Edit, Lifestyle Edit.

jardin-majorelle-marrakech-1 jardin-majorelle-fountain jardin-majorelle-cactus jardin-majorelle-seatsjardin-majorelle-window jardin-majorelle-walkway jardin-majorelle jardin-majorelle-marrakechjardin-majorelle-plants jardin-majorelle-ootd jardine-majorelle-plant-pots ysl-garden-marrakech

This is the prettiest garden you will ever go to, also the most expensive and an overrated one. Priced at 70dh for entrance into the Jardin Majorelle and an additional 30dh for entrance into the museum, which is based on berbers, it has nothing to do with the actual YSL. The museum is filled with plants from all over the world and is deceivingly small – with small ponds and fountains so sit buy and take in all the beauty it has to offer. Even though it’s overpriced in my opinion, I would still highly recommend it, mainly for all the instagram shots you can get inside. I unintentionally ended up matching the walls! This post is basically an ode to all the photos I took there! The cafe in the garden is cute but overly priced – however I did go and eat there, mainly because I wanted to experience what the offering was like in the Jardine Majorelle (imagine me saying that in a super cool french accent) and if you ever get the chance to go there avoid having the club sandwich, 125dh for a cold tasteless bagel. Instead opt for a tagine or a salad, the wise people setting on the table next to me ordered what looked/sounded like a delicious tagine, whilst I stared miserably at my cold sandwich. I have no idea why I thought a club sandwich was a good idea, but there you go!

The dress worn is an old Warehouse dress, designed as a midi but fits as a maxi on me, beautiful print and material, literally went on sale a month after I brought it so I was gutted – some Warehouse stores may still have this in the sale section – but currently sold out online.

To get to the Jardin Majorelle we got a yellow taxi from the old town square and it was approx 30dh – however we did have a couple taxis who tried to charge us 75dh. Always negotiate price before you get into a taxi!

You’ll spend about 30mins – 1hr and 30mins, longer if you decide to just sit and relax.

morrocan-palm-trees

Marrakech Guide

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

I’ve compiled a list of things that I wish I had found on the inter webs when travelling to Marrakech.

 

TRAVEL:

Old town is a maze – literally. But if you get lost and someone offers you directions – don’t take it. These are the people that know you’re vulnerable and will be walking with you for 2 minutes and in return will ask you for a minimum of 50dh. However, if you see a security guard, shop owner, police officer, these people will guide you without asking for anything in return. In any case, be prepared to walk a lot in and around the souks. You will most likely get lost but the best way is to keep calm, look confident as if you’re supposed to be walking that way. I would avoid the souks during evening time, mainly because its getting late and to get back will become a bit more of a hassle. 

Now to walk to the new town, also known as Geliz, is about 1hour from the old town. Very do-able, however it all depends on how much energy you have left. Yellow taxi are around and you can get one around 10/15dh during the day and 20dh during the night. However as you’re a tourist they will try and charge you double – just haggle before you get into the taxi. Make it clear where you want to go and how much you will pay. If they say no, which they most likely will, tell them you paid 15-20dh to get here, and if they still don’t budge, move on and find another taxi. Young moroccan drivers will charge double/triple, therefore try and aim for someone slightly older. Also for locals, the taxi drivers use a meter but for tourists, the idea of a meter goes out the window and they will try and make the most that they can. So haggle away with a smile. The truth is though, they know we’re tourists, so we’re never going to have the luxury of paying local fares, but it’s a real good feeling trying to get as close as we can!

The square which leads to the souks has a huge bus stand and has many buses that go to Geliz – and they only charge 5/6dh so if you really want to travel on a budget give that a go. Also it’s always nice travelling using the local transport. 

 

EAT:

Moroccan cuisine is full of fresh bread, fruit and meat. I personally adore Kefta Tagine and each place does it different. You can have it with bread, rice, chips or on its own. Old town has some pretty little cafes, however these are pretty much over priced as the only people who eat here are tourists. Geliz town was my favourite place to eat as they had a huge array of food options. Chicken/kebab skewers, pizza, tangines, lots of options which are all affordable. Now if you want to go all out, head on down to Comptoir Darna, food is more on the pricier range. Again full of tourists but you get a buzzing atmosphere – open from 7pm till late, with belly dancers, sheesha and a bar. If you want to feel like you’re in a scene of Made in Chelsea then this is the place to be. 

Starbucks and Mc Donalds aren’t the fast food joints that they’re in London. These are hang out places for the rich and elite who come from 7pm onwards till the early morning and literally just hang out. Now I’m not a fan of Mc Donalds but Geliz had the nicest rooftop terrace floor that I could resist myself. If you’re looking for a sweet treat head down to Dino’s – a short walk from Mc Donalds and they serve up the nicest ice creams – but make sure you actually have space in that belly of yours as the portions are huge!

 

SHOP:

Now I didn’t do much shopping, I wanted to buy a rug but the average price was 1000dh for a small rug – it was almost impossible to haggle down so I just gave up. I did however buy a few bottles of Argan Oil from Atlas mountain which was 90dh – pure Argan goodness. And this leads me onto my next point nicely…

 

EXCURSIONS

We did a couple;

Quad biking – pointless driving in dirt/sand. We had a much better experience in Greece and Turkey. 

The average price was 500dh pp however we met a couple who only paid 200dh for the both of them. You could imagine how we felt. So honestly haggle hard!

We also did a whole day excursion from 9am-4pm, off to Atlas mountains, berbers house, waterfall with a pit stop of for lunch – which you have to pay for seperately btw – even though they make it seem like it’s in the deal. This cost us 250dh pp however the same couple only paid 220dh for the both of them. Those guys are serial hagglers – totally admire them!

We visited the YSL gardens – totally overpriced for what it is, but still quite pretty and the restaurant had really bad food & service. Definitely not recommend. Standard price is 70dh for the museum and an extra 30dh for a museum tour of the berbers (nothing to do with saint laurent) and its a small room, save your 30dh! Also don’t take a taxi right outside the YSL gardens, they will over charge you. Walk further down for 10mins, you’ll save about 70dh that way.

Bahia Palace and Ben Yousseff mosque are definitely worth the visit!

 

STAY

Ok – this is a biggie. All depends how long you’re going for and what you want from your time in Marrakech. If you’re a real traveller at heart and want to see all that Marrakech has to offer, the good and the ugly then stay in a  Riad in the old town. These are small hotels/homes with upto 5/6 rooms. The service is a friendly one, they make you feel at home and its only a tad cheaper. Also I would only recommend staying in a Riad for 2/3nights. Any longer and you’ll get bored and miss being buy a pool and hotel amenities. If you’re staying for 7nights, might be worthwhile splitting your trip into 2 segment, some time at a Riad and the rest at a hotel. If you do opt to stay at a Riad keep the address on you at all times. Most drivers won’t know where a Riad is but will know the road name and can take you there much easily. Hotels are easier to find so you won’t face a problem there. When we went to Atlas Mountain on our little excursions I did see    the prettiest hotels on the mountains with exquisite views – the only thing you’d have to deal with is coming back into town is almost 1hr 30mins drive – but if you really want to get away for a little secluded retreat then perhaps that could be an option?

Overall Marrakech is a vibrant city with quite a bit to do, with good food and good weather. I stayed for 7 nights and it felt too long, a 4night stay is probably the right amount of time I’d say!

Now onto some photos:

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marrakech-old-town-to-souk marrakech-terracota-walls riad-pourpre-medina-marrakech marrakech-pink-door

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The Best 10dh You’ll Spend in Marrakech

Posted & filed under Fashion Edit, Lifestyle Edit.

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Oh hi there little space on the inter webs of mine. It’s been a while, as always. Today I’m back with a new post, one which I have probably mentally written 100 times but have never actually physically written so here it goes…

I’ve just come back from a week long break in Marrakech and I feel like I need a holiday to recover from this holiday. Marrakech is a place like no other. I’ve seen two very extreme sides, and I’m on the fence as to whether or not I’ll actually go back in the future. The souks and the markets sound quaint and quite the adventure however – in real life that is not the case. The strip of where hotels and the regenerated/more tourist friendly area (Geliz) is very much like a country trying real hard to simulate what Europe is deemed to be. 

We stayed in the old town and pretty much got ripped off everywhere we went. Within the first 5 minutes of stepping out of our Riad we were lost and what seemed like a local offering us some friendly directions, was actually an successful attempt of making 50dh from us. We were in the middle of a random alley way, with some morrocan man smiling with his hand out, we foolishly handed the money over and carried on walking. Still lost, but 50dh lighter. At that point I had a bad feeling about the trip but carried on smiling, just incase law of attraction is an actual thing. 

Throughout the whole trip the best money we spent was at the Bahia Palace – have no idea about the history, but it was pretty enough to take instagram photos’ and I guess thats what matters right?

I feel like there is a ‘story time’ kinda video about this trip coming to the YouTubes…

private beach thailand koh phi phi

Travel : Koh Phi Phi

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

 

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long tail boat thailand private beach thailand koh phi phi cliffs and rocks thailand koh phi phi beach koh phi phi transportKoh phi phi thailand sunset koh phi phi thailand sunset

 

 

Happy Bank Holiday everyone!

Hope you’ve had a good day whatever you’ve been up to. Late last night I finished editing a Koh Phi Phi vlog and it made me miss it so much. By far one of my favourite part of the world. I have a few photos that I wanted to share. And if you’re visiting Thailand and you’re looking for some peace and tranquility with the most perfect beach then would highly recommend Koh Phi Phi. We stayed in the cutest little hill-top hotel where we had a little cabin on stilts and we could see across to the sunset. It was just so peaceful and chilled. The people that work at the resort also live in quarters near by – and it was sad to see their standard of living compared to what we have. Sometimes we just don’t realise the luxury we’re in. I also was slightly oblivious/naive as to how bad the Tsunami had effect Thailand but Koh Phi Phi was one of the places that got completely washed out so they had to start from scratch. 

Koh Phi Phi is a small island near Krabi and if you’re coming in from Phuket you’d have to get a ferry in. We booked a little resort which was 10min long tail boat away from Phi Phi which just meant that it was a little more secluded and peaceful. I loved that because it made it feel more special! We spent most of our mornings practicing drone flying and nights watching the sunset and waves. I don’t think I would ever get bored of just watching the sunset right infront of me.

There’s certainly something magical about it. 

Koh Phi Phi vlog has been scheduled to go up this Sunday, make sure to subscribe here so you don’t miss it. 

patong

Thailand – Phuket – Patong

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

I put off writing this post for a while. I’ve been back almost 2 weeks now and normally I get my laptop out straight away and write down everything but I just didn’t have the urge to do that this time round. I flew out to Thailand pretty much straight after finishing work and I was already exhausted that the 15+ hours of travelling didn’t help. We flew into Phuket and booked a hotel just off of Patong beach. The beach itself was nice but the water was a dark/muddy colour which didn’t seem appealing and the sand wasn’t the cleanest. 

Let me start with a breakdown of my 3 three days in Phuket.

Day one we went into the main street just to get a vibe of the town and there’s a strip leading towards the beach where there are 30+ massage parlours and each one looks sleazier than the next. Specific shops had messages on the window front saying ‘only massage, no sex’ which made me ‘lol’ a bit. The actual beach was super busy with tourists and locals. To be honest we didn’t spend that much time on the beach, I’m always cautious that Nojmul hates standing/sitting in the sun/heat for long periods. We walked on the stretch leading towards Bangla road (we had no idea what Bangla road was) and it was just tourist. I’ve been to parts of Europe and stayed in tourist parts but it still felt like there was some culture but Bangla road was a whole other story. Its literally strippers valley. At first I chuckled like a little 12year old boy but then I felt really uncomfortable. People were walking their kids through this street and I was so shocked. Why would you chose to expose you child to this so early on in their life? Maybe I’m just old school.

 

Day 2 we did a sea kayaking tour which was pretty cool and we took a ferry down to James bond island – which was super packed and because I’ve never actually seen the movie, it didn’t really have much significance. When we got back to the hotel in the evening I asked the hotel owner where could I go which was the ‘real’ Thailand. He suggested that we go Old Phuket town which has a open market every Sunday. With great street food, local music, stalls and all around nice family fun. So that’s exactly what we did. Best experience ever. Absolutely loved being around so many local people who hadn’t submit themselves to the western/tourist lifestyle.

 

Day 3  - The entire morning I felt like death. I slept in until 2pm, got up had some lunch. Walked around the tourist streets of Patong and then booked Fanta Sea for the evening. Which was an incredible experience – a huge theatre show with acrobats, live music. They also have a buffet dinner but we decided to get dinner after the shower since we had lunch so late that day. It was quite a touristic thing to do but still felt like it had asia culture infused.

 

Travelling around Phuket, the most popular & cheapest way to get around is rent a scooter, everyone seems to be on one. Another method is tuk tuks, they’re quite good but you have to haggle down the price.

 

TIPS:

Tours/excursions are easily available but haggle and ask around for prices because they over price everything and then lower prices very quickly.
Be careful of where you eat. Some places don’t always have fresh food. Try the fresh fruit. I ate an insane amount of mangos and pineapples.

 

My thoughts on Phuket? It’s not somewhere I would be in a rush to back to due to how tourist/sleezy it was. But I do want to go back to some islands because Koh Phi Phi was my favourite place I’ve ever visited! Day 4 we got a ferry early morning to Koh Phi Phi

 

I’ve created two vlogs for day 1 & day 2 – been playing around with editing techniques too! Let me know what you think.

D A Y 1  here

D A Y 2  here

 

Thailand phuket thailand sea1 thailand sea thailand patongthailand sea kayak caves kayak thailand patong2 james bong islandold phuket town fanta sea elephant flowers old phuket cactusstreet music old phuket market street food thailand phuket fanta sea patong cute elephant thailand fanta sea palace
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Venice Throwback

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

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When you find all the old photos from 9 years ago…

 

The other day I was clearing out my handbag and found a bunch of SD cards – and found photos which I thought I’d lost from 2006-2009. All my holiday and university photos were on there, I was so happy! These photos were taken way before instagram days and with a cheap crap 8mega pixel camera but with the help of photoshop I’ve been able to spruce them up a bit. Venice, the city of love (or is that just Paris…?) was my first real holiday away – like on a plane, with tickets that I paid for myself and its when I first fell in love with Italy and ever since I’ve been visiting lots of different parts of Italy falling more and more in love with each visit.

I was 19 when I travelled to Venice, that’s almost 10 years ago! Where has the time gone? We booked a hotel a little out of Venice and had to catch a bus into the city but it only took 20mins and the busy picked us up right infront of the hotel, so if you want to travel on a budget I really recommend staying a little further out. We spent a week in Venice and split the days to visit various parts of the city. We made a day trip to Murano, the town known to be a master of glass made objects. We went of too Lido which was a beach town and the remaining three/four days exploring the small but quaint town underwater. I was studying Architecture at the time and was intrigued of the middle eastern influences within the city and explored the town with that concept in mind. I was so in awe with it that I based my Uni dissertation around Venice and its Middle Eastern influences.

I also remember haggling for the first time ever with the gondala people, they obviously tried charging us way more then what it should be but we did some research and were determined to try and get the price which everyone would pay. I regret not picking up some masquerade masks. We also spent a lot of time on water taxis which was probably why I loved it so much. Anywhere near the waters makes me feel calm. The reason why I love these photos is because I never had an intention of sharing them on a blog 10 years down the line. They’re moments captured at their rawest form without composition thoughts. My biggest advice to anyone in their early 20s would be to travel.  Travel as much as you can, as far as you can. Live like a traveller not a tourist. It is possible to see parts of Europe as beautiful as Venice on a budget you just have to plan. But it is so worth it!

It’s a city I’d love to visit again in a few years. 

portable bbq

Is Summer Over…?

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

Summer to me means bbqs and a lot of them… heading into autumn can mean that we start to pack our BBQS away whereas I’ve gone out and got a new one. Slightly unseasonal but just because summer is over it doesn’t mean that BBQs have to come to an end. Infact, I say lets BBQ right until the winter seasons. Initially I used to hate the idea of moving into a flat – I’m so used to having my own garden with a built-in bbq, so moving away into my own humble abode was kind of a pretty big deal to me.

However once I moved into a flat I was lucky enough to have a balcony which gave me a little more outdoor space. I’ve brought this portable Landmann BBQ set – which I was super excited about – it’s perfect enough to cook for 3-4 people, its nice and compact so I can store it away. And I tend to use charcoal bags which you just light up with a couple of matches and they get a good amount of fire going. I loved grilled meat – its healthier, tastier and so much fun to cook and it’s also nice and easy to grill up some vegetable skewers too. 

The bbq grill itself is super easy to clean and perfect if you’re travelling away somewhere and want to take it with you, or if youre like me and live in a flat and still want to cook a yummy grilled dinner/lunch. Whilst the sun is out my BBQ grill is here to stay.

 london sunset landmann landmann1

 

The Landmann bbq grill is available here 

santorini alleyway

Santorini & Island Hopping

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

I’ve always been a little traveller at heart. I love going to new places and seeing new things and I really love the sun! I’ve also always wanted to backpack across different cities/countries but without the actual backpack itself. I can’t see myself carrying a massive rucksack – I’d much rather take a smaller suitcase. With that in mind I planned to go Santorini this summer and thought why not visit some of the islands. A couple of my friends had done island hopping and suggested that I look at the ferry schedule and see the route it takes and plan my destinations accordingly. Blue Ferry’s has a typical schedule – Santorini, Ios, Naxos, Paros, Mykonos, Athens. 

I had 10 days to spare and I knew it was impossible to stay in all of those islands so I spent hours researching. Santorini was booked for 4 days and we stayed in Fira in a brand new apartment called Altea Apartments. Originally we were very sceptical to book this apartment as there were no reviews online however it is a brand new place but it’s in a perfect location with easy access everywhere. Fira is the city centre with an immense amount of bars/cafes/restaurants and you can get a bus to the other parts of town such as Oia and imerovigilii every 15/30mins. Iimerovigili is an extended part of Fira, it features the same beautiful white architecture with a gorgeous sea backdrop. Definitely a must see part of town.
Oia is known for its beautiful sunset and buzzing night light but its just SO busy during the evenings and I don’t seem to do well with huge amounts of people in small alleyways.

In Santorini we booked a day boat trip which takes you to all the volcanic mountain and the thermal waterfall which is a muddy brown colour – this is definitely a must do, you get to see so many parts of the island and you spend a whole day on the boat which helps speed up a tan. 

There’s a white beach, red beach and black beach – my favourite was the red beach. Which is basically surrounded by red sand and rocks, more like pebbles. You have to get a bus from Fira bus station which then takes you to a water taxi which then takes you to a beach. It’s a lot of effort to get to beach with no real sand. So I wasn’t too impressed but still glad that I went to see it. To get to the white beach you have to swim for 400m which I can’t really do – which was a shame because I would have loved to visit.

I feel like 3 nights in Santorini was enough, we took in the magic it had to offer and it wasn’t too many days where we ran out of things to do.

Whilst researching and picking islands – I looked at a lot of images on google and reviews. Ios looked super pretty – with the nicest white sand beaches and clear blue water but the island seemed small so we thought 2 days would be sufficient enough. We hired a quad bike for 30euros and managed to get around to most parts of the island. You could pretty much hire out a quad bike in any islands but I preferred to walk in Santorini and take in all the sites. Ios however is completely different to Santorini in that it’s really quiet and a shift from the hustle and bustle of Santorini. Ios came across as a little hidden gem. It had the nicest beach with the most clearest water. There’s not much to do in Ios, the village is quite small, the beaches are probably the best perks but its well worth the visit.  Our hotel was a few minutes away from the port and the beach so we really got to maximise our time within the island.

Next stop was Naxos, which is bigger than Ios – has a couple beautiful beaches and a really quaint old town. Two days here were sufficient enough, we spent days at the beach and the evening exploring the old town – which was probably one of my favourite things to do. It was either between Naxos or Paros and most people seemed to recommend Naxos due to the old town and I’m really glad we picked to go there. The apartment we booked was a 15min drive but next to the beach. By this time I was all beached out and really wanted to explore more of the old town so I’m not entirely sure if I really enjoyed the benefits of being on one of the most popular beaches around. Our apartment was run by a really cute family and they offered a free transfer to and from the port on the day of our arrival and departure. It’s definitely worth checking with your accommodation if they offer this service.

I do wish we had more time to go and explore Mykonos but that’s probably one for another trip. 

In regards to booking accommodation and ferries, because we were planning to go during peak season I assumed most decent hotels would get booked up early. So I planned my route around the islands before hand and booked accommodation accordingly so I knew what hotels I’d be staying in and the dates. When we got to Santorini we booked our ferry tickets which ranged from 15€to 57€ going to Ios and Naxos was considerably cheaper then going to Athens. The speed boats also cost far more. I think if you’re not worried about accommodation, if you’re quite happy to stay in a b&b and you can be flexible with dates then plan when you’re there as online ferry times are very different to when you’re there. 

The trip to Athens from Naxos was around 5 hours and was probably the most painful journey of my life. I constantly felt like I was going to be sick. Sea turbulence is far worse than air turbulence. Athens we used the metro to get around which is super simple – there’s only three lines and the station is quite close to the port – our hotel was called White Lotus which was 4* and pretty much within the city centre. We were skeptical of going into Athens due to the crisis but we felt completely safe. We flew out from Athens using Swiss airlines which were awesome – they give you chocolate!

Food was bloody amazing – the only part of the world (apart from Pakistan) where I’ve gone and not felt deprived. There was only one restaurant out of the 10days where the food was quite bad. Other than that there was a huge selection of vegetable salads, a variety of sea food and I’ve discovered a new found love for feta cheese. Also I found no hallumi anywhere, I always thought that was a Greek speciality?

I feel like we did a really good job of budgeting our trip – even though travelling is an investment for the soul, we do like to do it so that we get the best value for money and the total for the trip was £850pp which includes everything! 

Okay this is a lengthy post so if you do have any questions then please do shoot them across!

 santorini at nighttime santorini greece santorini

Oia sunset santorini at night Oia night alley in santorini ios hotel naxos beach santorini sunset santorini red beach