Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Seaside Lookbook

The Little Magpie Topshop Lookbook
Hello my friends! Today's post brings to you a little mini lookbook from a recent trip to Brighton. I had this whole wonderful seaside lookbook planned that was going to have lots of looks, sea, sun candyfloss, me riding seagulls... but then I got glutened the night before and it all went to shit. Literally. I don't know about any of you other gluten intolerant-ers, but after I get a little bit glutened my face going really swollen, like it's filled with water. A human water balloon if you will. Anyway, I persevered for a little and then saw some of the swollen, gluten-y photos back and just felt a bit sad and called time out. However, here are the best of a bad bunch, the clothes were all wonderful so I don't want to do them a disservice by not posting any photos. Just... don't look too closely at my face.

LOOK 1
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This was very possibly my favourite of the three looks (I'm sure I'll have changed my mind by the next look don't worry). The jumpsuit is SO comfortable to wear and I really enjoy the wide legged action and bandeau top. I went for some very straw-y accessories in the form of both the hat and bag. As soon as I saw the pom poms on the bag I couldn't say no. 

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LOOK 2
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TOPSHOP cherry print two piece (sold out, I'm so sorry)

I feel so bad putting this look up with it not being on sale anymore, it sold out so quickly! It's such a lovely wee set though, and really good for mix and matching. Speaking of, you'll see the top in a post coming your way very soon.

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LOOK 3
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TOPSHOP rainbow floral dress | ASOS platforms (very old) | FREE PEOPLE straw hat (similar) | FURLA bag

I had to get at least one midi dress in there, didn't I? It's such a flattering little number and the rainbow palette is very, very lovely to look at.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Stay at Anse Chastanet, St Lucia

The Little Magpie St Lucia Travel Diary
Ooh mumma, have I been excited to write these up. You may remember towards the beginning of the year when I was lucky enough to visit the wonderful St Lucia with a stay at the beautiful Anse Chastanet. Well, it's finally time to tell you all about it, starting with Anse. 

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Now, St Lucia I didn't know much about, all I knew was that everyone who'd been there raved about it. You may remember from my previous posts on Barbados that I already have a long standing love affair with the Caribbean, so I was incredibly excited to go out and visit. Did it disappoint? Oh no it di'int (sorry. For a second I forgot who I was and thought I was cool enough to pull that off). The views are genuinely breathtaking, from the very moment you arrive on the resort and catch sight of the pitons. You know that feeling you get in your stomach in the lead up to Christmas when you're younger, like something magical is about to happen that's bigger than you can quite comprehend? It's like that. You're just swept up in the beauty of it all (with the slight niggling feeling that the piton background might just be greenscreen and they've tricked you all along). The Pitons are actually 3 miles apart, but the hotel is positioned to look like they sit side by side, so you have the most incredible view of them (see the first photo above). Another thing that adds to this whole feeling of wonderment is the staff; they're're the most amazing team I've ever been welcomed by in a hotel and make you feel like you're at home from the get go. In particular the wonderful Peter, who you need to meet if you go, who is so incredibly passionate about the resort and everything you can do there. 

The rooms are incredble. Ours had a tree growing out of the middle of the bathroom, which instantly placed it pretty high on the magical scale. They're completely open air - there are no walls, windows, doors or glass in the hotel - so you have the impression of being outside at all times. Don't worry, there are nets around the bed and yellow lights fitted to ward of any unwanted critters and the rooms are designed so that you can see out but not in. Another little thing about the room... it had a swing in it. An actual swing. Without further ado, here are some photos of the room so that you can get a better idea of it yourself:

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So, I'm not normally someone to stay in a resort when I go away. I like to get out and explore and see what the country has a whole has to offer. But I'll let you in on a secret... I didn't set foot from the resort once. Not even a toe outside of it. There is SO much to do, and it's so vast, that you can be as busy (or as lazy) as you like during your time there. 'Well, what is there to do, Amy?' I hear you ask? I'll tell you now, my friends. You can do watersports, go scuba-diving, you can boat across to a separate little beach where you'll find the best burger of your life (or you can go jungle biking. Guess which one I did), you can do a tour of the chocolate lab (that's right), you can have a private candlelit dinner on the beach, you can go to the spa, you can do a sunset boat tour (one of my favourite things we did), you can do yoga or you can just laze on the beach for a week. You see what I mean? It's almost overwhelming. For me, though, the hotel was at its most beautiful in the evening. I love a good sunset - as we all know - and Anse Chastanet is a spectacular place to watch them from.
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Incredible isn't it? That kind of ferociously pink one was even more beautiful in real life, the kind that makes you just stand and go, 'woooah'. People often ask me for advice on where to go for their honeymoon or for an anniversary holiday - the pressure - and this is one hotel, alongside Jade Mountain, I recommend without fail every time. 40% of their guests are repeat guests so I think we're all in the same boat!

That's all from my for now, my Jade Mountain post will be with you very shortly!

Amy

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Athens: What to do, Where to stay and Where to Eat & Drink

Electra Metropolis hotel review Athens greece
So... Athens. Athens surprised me more than anywhere I've been before. It's not that I had low expectations, more that I just didn't really have any expectations at all. I didn't know anyone that had been, other than for a quick stopover before going onto one of the islands, and I'd been really busy in the lead up to leaving so hadn't had the chance to do some research online for myself like I normally would. But I completely and utterly fell in love! We arrived late at night, maybe 11pm, and driving along to our hotel I could see that people were still only just arriving at places to eat. I like to eat quite late and a few countries we've visited recently have generally stopped serving food at around 9pm, so instantly I was like YES, I think I'm going to like it here. We spotted lots of cool little bars with fairy lights galore set up along the way but, since we'd been travelling since early afternoon, we decided to check in to the hotel and call it a night like the pensioners we are. We stayed at the Electra Metropolis Athens which is in a great location! It's right in the middle of town so is in walking distance of most of the spots you'd like to visit and the staff on reception were all very lovely. Just when I thought they couldn't get any more lovely, we arrived at our room to be greeted by a little welcome note and some macarons which lasted, ooh, 0.6 seconds? And then we fell into a sugar coma and that was that. 

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We woke up bright and early(ish) and turned up to breakfast to discover the best thing about the hotel... the views! That's right, you can sit and have breakfast - or a cup of tea, or lunch, or... whatever meal you may choose - and take in this incredible view of Acropolis. Pretty magical isn't it? It's so surreal, this contrast between the modern and the ancient side of Athens... it's like you've wandered onto a film set.

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For our first morning we were booked in to do a walking tour. Now, I won't lie, when I saw 'three hour walking tour' written on the itinerary a little part of me died inside. No, I'm kidding, I just did a baby groan that was all. Three hours sounds very long and we were still tired and I'm lazy. However, it turned out to be one of the best things we did! We were taken around the city by the lovely Yannis from Athens Insiders and, the best thing is, that you can tailor the tour completely to your desires as it's private. Fashion, history, food... You name it. We went for a bit of history, as we didn't know much about Athens, and a bit of cafe culture because, well, you can't go wrong with cafes,with a few extra bits thrown in along the way. Yannis took us through food markets and vintage markets as well as everywhere from Plaka to Pittaki Street, which I absolutely loved. It's a little street that's lined with every kind of lampshade imaginable, so it feels almost like you're walking through a big, long version of your grandma's house. There's a wee photo nearer the end of the post if you'd like to see, and you can also see more here. We stopped off at lots of other little places along the way, all at our own pace, and Yannis was able to tell us so, so much as we went. No question was too much (or too silly) and at the end of the trip he was able to point us in the direction of a craft brewery where we could sit outside and have a gluten free beer in the sun. It's definitely something would recommend doing, and especially at the start of your trip so that you can get your bearings as well as a 'to explore more later' list together.

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The rest of our short time there was spent wandering, eating and drinking. One of the best things to do in Athens! Cafe culture's a very big thing there at the moment so there are an abundance of places to stop off at. Aside from the walking tour, another of my favourite things we did was sit in the sun with a massive plate of halloumi - we're already winning - and a beer, people-watching. So, where's good to eat and drink? Well, my favourite places we went were:

- Nice n Easy Organic Bistro: This one was great for me, as obviously I'm a little gluten free-er so it was very handy that all the allergens in each meal are marked on the menu and you don't have to be that guy who's like 'can I just ask if this is...'. Vegan and vegetarian are also clearly marked on there. The salmon in particular is delicious, and the buffalo meatball starter is another tasty choice (see the photo above to get your taste buds ticklin'). You can also sit outside or inside depending on what kind of mood you're in! Make sure and book in advance as it gets quite busy.
- 360 cocktail bar: Has the most incredible view of Acropolis - see the last and seventh from last photo above - and makes a lovely place for an evening drink. It does get quite busy if you want to go around sunset, bear that in mind, but we were lucky enough to manage to nab a wee table on the roof for a drink. There's a good wee article on the best rooftop bars in Athens here!
- Otto Resto & Bar: Seriously good cocktails - we were there for both food and drinks, but the cocktails stole my heart. The staff were all incredibly lovely and and the decor is beautiful. If Wes Anderson were to be let loose on a Greek restaurant, this would be the result. It's cosy and romantic to sit in in the evening and a great people watching spot by day! Right beside Otto is Just Made 33 who do the best hot chocolate I've ever had in my life. Just an F.Y.I.
- Six D.O.G.S was my favourite place we went for a drink. It's a wee multi-purpose art space where you can sit out the back in this hidden and completely unexpected leafy, green, glorious paradise and have a drink. They also host club nights, art exhibitions and live music, so it's a pretty snazzy place whenever you choose to go.

And there we have it, a very short trip to Athens! I hope this post has given you some inspiration and perhaps tickled your fancy towards perhaps visiting for yourself one day. Please... bring me back some halloumi if you do.

Amy

The Little Magpie Athens Blog Guide
Thank you to Discover Greece and Aegean Airlines for such a wonderful trip. Aegean fly from London to Athens direct 3x per day year round and onward to Santorini and thirty other Greek destinations. Find out more here