QUIZ: How Eco-Fashion Friendly Are You?

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If you read my recent blog post on Embracing Slow Fashion, you’ll know that the fashion industry is something I hold close to my heart and have a great interest in. A few years ago, I was completely unaware of all of the terrible things that happened in the industry to produce the cheap, fast fashion items that many of us buy on a daily basis. Check out the post if you want to read more here.

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My Favourite Places in the South of France

Views over the harbour in the south of France

Last year I took an incredible holiday to the south of France, and it was a holiday I’ll never forget. The French Riviera is truly incredible, and quite unlike anywhere I’d ever travelled before. With so much to see and do, it was difficult to narrow down our list of activities to fit into nine days, but here are a few of my favourite places that I visited (and those I wish I’d visited).

Views from Theoule sur Mer

Theóule sur Mer

We stayed in a beautiful villa called ‘La Cachette’ in Theóule sur Mer, and the town offered the perfect setting with 4/5 delicious restaurants, a few stretches of golden sandy beach and a small local shop. The villa alone offered all we would have needed for a week (including a hot tub), and with Cannes, Antibes, St Tropez and even Monaco a drivable distance from where we stayed, we were able to explore plenty more further afield. Theóule has a plethora of multi-million-pound yachts sat in the sea and had a real exclusive feel about it, without the snobbery that would make you feel uncomfortable if you didn’t own your own yacht! I fell in love with Theóule our first day and will certainly be returning (hopefully to the same villa) in the near future! When I return, I’ll definitely be investing in a SUP board to test the waters in Theóule!

Views over the harbour in Monaco

Monaco

One of the highlights of this holiday was certainly visiting the prestigious area of Monaco (although it isn’t technically in France). Known as the wealthiest place in the world, it is clear to see that the area is not short on money, with streets lined with designer shops, Michelin star restaurants and a port full of pricey party yachts! It is undeniable that the money has contributed to its jaw-dropping beauty. My personal favourite was the Japanese gardens, the serenity and quiet beauty of those gardens is something I’ve not found anywhere else in the world. Everything from the architecture to the parks looks the part, including the Monte Carlo Casino. Although I’m not a gambler at all, we did get dressed up and pop in to try our luck in the casino. With an espresso martini in hand, I hit the jackpot and won €760, so needless to say I was over the moon to have taken that trip!

A Louis Vuitton window in Cannes

Cannes

Cannes is most well-known for its film festival, but even when the biggest event in the calendar isn’t on, the place screams Hollywood glamour and gives you a taste of the high life. There are plenty of beaches to choose from to sit and soak up the sun, then you can walk just a few metres and be at the door of Dior, Louis Vuitton or Chanel for a spot of shopping! The majority of restaurants match up to the glamour of Cannes, but there are still plenty of places to stop off for a cheeky ice-cream sundae or a quiet coffee! I loved Cannes so much that we actually visited three times in the same week, and even took a trip to the golf course for a quick round (of pitch and putt – I am unfortunately not much of a golfer) and a spot of lunch. The nightlife here is also as good as you would imagine – particularly if you are a fan of spotting celebrities!

The sea in Antibes

Antibes

We, unfortunately, didn’t manage to visit Antibes on our last trip, but it is certainly on my list of places to visit; especially as I recently learned that Dior’s perfumery is located there! Dior’s isn’t the only perfumery in Antibes, and there are a few that you can explore and even have the chance to make your very own south of France scent! The large number of perfumeries in this area is mainly down to the vast commercial flower growing industry that flourishes in Antibes including roses and carnations and the sight of these flowers are said to be a truly unique experience. With 23km of beautiful coastline, azure waters and a wonderfully historic story, there is plenty that I’d like to see and do there, including visit the Musee Picasso!

A beautiful sunset in Nice

Nice

Nice is where one of the main airports is situated, and this was where we flew. The city itself is beautiful, and you could spend hours walking around gasping at the creative architecture and discovering new hidden gems! We only spent a short afternoon and evening here, but you it could keep you entertained for days! It’s such a photogenic area – definitely a place to visit if you’re a budding photographer! The array of restaurants here was also fantastic, with plenty of different cuisines to choose from! There are beaches in Nice, but as they are pebbly, it isn’t necessarily the best place for golden sandy stretches. Overall, Nice is pretty nice!

Where would you most like to visit in the south of France? Let me know on social media, as I’d love to hear your thoughts! Check out my Instagram page @cultureandcouture_ if you’d like to see a few more snaps from my travels to the south of France and many other destinations!

What is slow fashion and why do you need to know about it?

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Slow fashion has been a hot topic amongst those in the industry for some time now, with some emphasising the need for people to adopt a lower rate of consumption and to strive for better working conditions. Whilst others are sat trying to pump out as many new designs, as cheaply and as quickly as possible to meet consumer demand. At this point, it seems quite hopeless that we will ever find a happy medium between the two, but the more people are educated on the topic, the more people that can make informed decisions on what they buy and who they choose to buy from. If you’ve never heard of slow fashion before or want to know more about why this is such a controversial issue in the industry then read on!

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Packing Guide: New York

New York skyline from a birdeye view

For Christmas of 2016, I received an incredible present; a trip to New York! When I unwrapped an apple, I have to admit, a was a little confused, but when I saw the flight confirmation, my eyes started to water. One of my best friends from uni had moved to the Big City in June of 2016 and ever since it had been one of my top must-visit places, so my better half had certainly done well on that gift. He had even arranged for us to go and see my friend (cutie)! The trip was booked for late February, and obviously the first thing I Googled was ‘what to pack for New York’, and I have to admit, I found it difficult to find a good packing list! So here I’ve decided to share with you what I packed (and what I wished I had packed) for a 5-day trip to New York.

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Essential Items for your Summer Suitcase 2017

sunglasses on a sandy beach

Summer has finally arrived, and this fantastic season brings many exciting things, from holidays abroad too long weekends, beautiful sunsets (and my birthday!) As we’ve just enjoyed a marvellous heat wave, everyone seems to be in good spirits and eagerly awaiting their next holiday, so I’ve decided to compile a list of a few summer suitcase essentials every gal needs for 2017:

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My Liebster Award Nomination

A diary with a cup of tea and a flower for the Liebster Awards

So, I was happy to wake up one morning this week to discover that I had been nominated for the Liebster Award by Miss Jade W (http://www.missjadew.co.uk), thank you for the nomination! I’ve seen this floating around Twitter for a while and love the idea, particularly as it helps out those bloggers who are a little newer to the scene! I’m excited to answer the questions and pass this on, and hopefully, you will be too!

 

Liebster Award floral graphic

The rules are:

•Answer all of the questions you were asked
•Tag 11 people who have under 200 twitter followers
•Create 11 new questions
•Recognise who tagged you!

Here are the 11 questions I was asked:

1. Reality TV or Drama?

This is a tricky one, I’d say mainly drama… but I am an absolute sucker for reality TV shows like Love Island and Made in Chelsea (guilty pleasure.)

2. If you could only eat 1 type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Well, food is life, but probably fajitas with lots of cheese and soured cream from Chipotle, I had them in New York earlier this year and think about them almost every day. Mmm.

3. Are you a morning person or night person?

Definitely a night person, I find the mornings SUCH a struggle.

4. What is your most prized possession?

Probably a €100 poker chip that I won at the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco, I thought I’d lost it so didn’t cash it in with the rest of my winnings (a total of €760!!) then when we got home I found it in my purse. I could have really done with the money but the chip is a lucky reminder of one of the best holidays ever. (I also used the cash to by a pair of Louboutins, another prized possession.)

5. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

Zoey Deschanel, she is my ultimate girl crush and I just think she would be SO funny.

6. Who is your favourite fictional character?

Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl, because it is possibly the best TV program ever created and she is QUEEN!

7. What is your guilty pleasure?

Reality TV shows, I get so sucked in to their lives and end up talking about them as if they are really my friends.

8. If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?

To give people more confidence to do the things that they most want to do!

9. What is your favourite TV show?

I’ve gone off TV a little bit recently… but the last thing I watched and loved was Big Little Lies.

10. Would you rather go back to the past or to the future and why?

To the future, there isn’t much point in looking to the past but I’d love to see where I end up 10 years down the line!

11. Is there any type of food you could never try?

The tongue of an animal, I’ve seen them eat it on the Jungle and it actually fills me with fear and makes me feel a little bit sick. EW.

My list of nominees…

  1. Annie at The Only Way is Pup
  2. Rosie at Don’t Spill the Beans
  3. Monica at Sticks and the City
  4. Cairon at Travel Bear
  5. Jessie at The Dedicated Student
  6. Ashton at Ashton Says
  7. Chloe at Continental Connoisseur
  8. Jade at Just Jade
  9. Monica at Decent Fellow Films
  10. Shan at Missshan.com
  11. Inquisitivesylph at Inquisitivesylph

My Questions…

  1. What is your favourite food?
  2. If you could be a biscuit, what kind would you be?
  3. What do you think is your biggest challenge in blogging?
  4. What do you hope to achieve in the next year?
  5. What is your favourite film/TV program?
  6. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
  7. Describe yourself in 3 words.
  8. What do you never leave home without?
  9. Which item in your wardrobe gets the most use?
  10. What’s your favourite beauty product?
  11. If you could offer one piece of advice to a fellow blogger, what would it be?

I can’t wait to read all your answers and hope you’ve enjoyed reading mine! 🙂

(Note: this took me a while to upload and those tagged did have under 200 followers at the time of writing.) 

Greek Island Hopping: Cyclades Itinerary

Views over the Greek Cyclades islands from Santorini

In 2015 I went on a Greek island hopping adventure with my best friend. We did it in a very spontaneous manner, having simply booked a return flight and nothing else before arrival and it turned out to be perfect! Here’s my story of my Greek Island hopping itinerary:

London – Athens – Santorini – Ios – Paros – Naxos – Athens – London

Perissa Black Sand Beach, Santorini

FLIGHT: Athens – Santorini

Santorini is a truly idyllic area, and the two sides of the island completely contrast each other. On one side, you have a glittering black sand beach surrounded by hotels, hostels, restaurants and many other amenities. Whilst the other side of the island offers true luxury, where you will find the private villas and beautiful pools that you’ve likely spotted whilst skimming through Pinterest. There is so much to do in Santorini, whether you want to enjoy an early morning yoga session, take a trip to the water park, brave it on a quad bike and ride into the sunset or partake in some water sports. You can make your trip as action packed or relaxed, as you like!

A hotel with a pool near Perrissa Beach, Santorini

We stayed on the black sand side of Santorini having taken the bus into Perrissa and found somewhere to stay very quickly, and with a budget of €20 a night each, we found a lovely hotel (with a pool) that was just two minutes away from the beach. Santorini is a perfect place to start our trip, the food was delicious, and the views are incredible.

Tip: You can fly directly to Santorini to save travel time, or take the ferry from Athens to the first island (I’d recommend starting with Naxos)

Views into Fos, Ios from the top of a hill

FERRY: Santorini – Ios

After Santorini, we got on a ferry to Ios! The party island of the Cyclades, Ios is a complete change from the slow pace of Santorini. We were meant to stay three days but had far too much fun to leave, so ended up there for five days. Ios was the life and soul of the party during our trip, although not as well known as places such as Kavos and Ibiza, Ios was a lot less tacky and more enjoyable. The quaint streets in the town of Los were beautifully empty during the day, and you could happily get lost wandering around, stopping off at the local bakery for a snack of sweet baklava. Then in the night, Ios comes alive with people out to party, there is a vast range of places to go, each offering something different! Mylopotas beach is just a 20-minute bus drive away from where we stayed, where we enjoyed a few days sunbathing and a pool party at the Far Out Beach Club! Again, we easily found somewhere to stay at the port, and they offered us transfers both ways within budget.

Tip: Don’t be put off by the hotel owners at the port trying to offer somewhere to stay, it can be overwhelming at first, but this is the best way to negotiate a price and find somewhere nice!

Our camping adventure in Paros with a tent and a washing line

FERRY: Ios – Paros

Leaving Ios was very emotional; we could have easily spent the entire summer out there, however, after 5 days we had to move on to the next island. Paros was the next destination on our itinerary and a feeling little deflated from leaving our favourite place it was a rather calm few days, we camped near Krios beach for one night and had to cope with some… interesting campers. The less said about them, the better! The other two nights we stayed in quite a large hotel complex a few minutes down the road from the beach, which was near some lovely restaurants. Paros was lovely, and still picturesque in its own way, however, if I were to do the trip again, I would probably take a trip to Mykonos instead. It was the only place on our trip that I didn’t fall in love with.

Tip: Sleeping on a lilo in a tent may seem like a great idea to begin with, however, when the weather is hot it makes for quite an uncomfortable nights sleep!

Beautiful waves crashing over the rocks at Sunset in Naxos

FERRY: Paros – Naxos

Naxos was the final island on our trip and personally, I would say, the most beautiful. We stayed fairly close to the port, and there were so many beautiful beaches within walking distance as well as crafty shops, markets and other amenities. The beaches there were just sublime, and the sunset-watching spots were endless! Whether we were sat upon a set of rocks watching the waves crashing, or hidden in a small sandy cove, the sights were incomparable to anywhere else in the world. As this was the last stop on our trip, we took it at a very leisurely pace. We spent the days sunbathing, enjoying ice creams and wandering through the streets, while the evening was spent enjoying the delicious Greek food and watching the sunset. The locals here were amongst some of the friendliest people we’d met, and were always willing to help you to get the very best out of your trip. Naxos was the perfect finish, and somewhere I would definitely visit again in the future.

Tip: The nicer you are to the locals, the nicer they will be in return. We made friends with the couple who owned a nearby shop, and they offered us free fresh vegetables and rolls to cook with our meals almost every day! We made them some origami flowers before we left as a thank you.

Beautiful waves crashing over the rocks at Sunset in Naxos

FERRY: Naxos – Athens

Three weeks seemed to pass by far too quickly, but it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The challenge helped to grow my confidence and fuelled my passion for travelling. I was amazed at how easy it was to find accommodation at the last minute, even on a budget! There wasn’t anywhere we stayed that was sub-standard. The food was delicious and inspired me when I returned home. I would definitely recommend island hopping as an alternative holiday or travelling adventure!

sunset over the Cyclades cluster of islands in Greece

Travel tips:

  • Plan out your island route and do a little research into the islands a little before setting off.
  • Pack as light as possible, as there’s nothing worse than having to carry around a massive. backpack filled with ‘just in case’ items.
  • Live like a local, whether it’s buying from the local shop or asking for recommendations, no one knows the area quite as well as those who live there!
  • Wear suncream and reapply, reapply, reapply. Burning my eyelids did not make my holiday any more fun and it hurt for days!
  • Embrace every opportunity; although something might seem scary at first, you’ll only regret not doing it in the future!

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