Tropical Fever

Jumpsuits and me haven’t ever really got along. I have a big bum, which tends to play havoc with the straight up-straight down shape that most jumpsuits sport. Most don’t really give any credit to the waist, which is what I try and play upon to balance things out a bit, so until now – I’ve never even set foot in one.

However, upon my travels last month – I spotted one very stunning lady at the airport, who looked as though she could have stepped off the cover of Vogue – sporting a gorgeous floral jumpsuit, which she pulled off effortlessly. Most high fashion isn’t renowned for being comfortable but she really pulled off the perfect comfort-chic balance – and upon arriving home, I was eager to see whether this mythical fashion creature’s look was really attainable.

I scoured the web for a slightly more affordable version (I’m sure hers was by a designer I haven’t even heard of) and finally found what I’d been looking for, in New Look of all places. Housed on the Asos website, it was £22.99 and nipped in at the waist. Perfect! I placed an order for the jumpsuit (which may have been accompanied by a number of other items…) and eagerly awaited its arrival.

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Jumpsuit: New Look @ Asos (£22.99) – sold out, similar here, White Block Sandals: Asos (£24.99) link

When it arrived, I knew it was going to be far better than I imagined. The material was silky soft and as it slipped on, I realised that this must be how it feels to cross your pair of favourite pyjamas with something acceptable to wear outside. It’s so comfy but the fitted nature means I don’t resemble the usual ‘beached whale look’ that many jumpsuits force me to sport.

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I hope you enjoyed my tea pot impression…

While visiting the Luton Hoo Hotel recently, I made good use of the gorgeous grounds to show off this tropical fever jumpsuit in all its glory. Admittedly, I don’t think these pictures are as flattering as they could be – because my bum still sticks out and wants to make a large, unwelcome appearance – but hey, you can’t have it all!

Although I’ve been loving the fancy criss cross back detailing at the moment – which this doesn’t have – it’s actually refreshing to not have to tangle your way in and out of a piece of clothing for once.

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Especially if you’re doing the glamorous blogger thing and changing into different outfits behind a wall…

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Have you experimented with jumpsuits? What are your thoughts? 

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My Dream Kitchen…

I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit that hours of my day can be fruitfully frittered away on Pinterest, planning my dream wedding, house and wardrobe. The fact that it’s only an online fantasy isn’t enough to deter me potentially wasting my time. Actually, there’s something very satisfying about a board full of 100 + pins of your dream kitchen. You know, I’m prepared now, at the very least!

However, when TSB contacted me and suggested working together, with me sharing the plans for my dream kitchen for all to see (rather than only on my very meek Pinterest page), I thought it might be an opportunity to put all those spent hours into good use. In fact, their new loan calculator, which very easily and quickly calculates how much you’ll have to pay back and for how long depending on your interest rate, makes the whole ‘dream’ kitchen seem a little more ‘real’.

I suppose *technically* the place to start when you’re planning your dream kitchen, is to actually have a kitchen to plan – so that you know the size and shape you have to work with beforehand. Sion and I do have a kitchen (soon, at least – we’re moving in next weekend) but it’s not ours to keep, as we’re renting. So, we’ll just have to imagine that I have a mansion with a blank canvas and an infinite sum of money to spend. As you do…

Colour scheme wise, I love neutrals and pastels rather than anything too bold or brash. I think it would be lovely to have a more relaxing – less clinical – feel for other rooms of the house, such as the sanctuary that should be your bedroom, however kitchens are meant to feel clean and well kept, so I’m going to stick to whites and woods.

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Oh, if you’re wondering where the secret door leads – that’s just to my underground wine cellar!

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A rather essential part to any kitchen, I’m sure you’ll agree!

Although some people like to keep it minimalist, with everything hidden away and no accessories in sight – I do enjoy some clutter, as a way of making it feel more homely.

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Including all the gizmos and gadgets…

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What would your dream kitchen involve? Please tell me I’m not the only one who plans this (for hours) on Pinterest?

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All images sourced from Pinterest. I do not take credit for them under any circumstances, as they are used for reference purposes only. 

The Ancient Ruins, Pompeii

Although I’ve never been much of a history buff (I think I have a very poor general knowledge when it comes to past events), the Ancient Romans and in particular the tragic story of Pompeii has always fascinated me. The way they lived, their amazing architecture and their ability to create things more futuristic than their means has always been a point of interest to me – and probably the only topic in our history lessons I actually felt I got something from.

The Ancient city of Pompeii was home to a 40,000 strong roman civilisation in 79AD (I don’t have much of a concept of when this is, if I’m honest – just a very long time ago) when suddenly, one evening in August Vesuvius – the innocent looking volcano (or mountain, as it appears) that towered over the buildings – erupted. It destroyed the city, as you can imagine, as well as burying the buildings under a layer of 4-6metres (20 foot) of ash. The place lay largely forgotten for 1,500 years, with later civilisations building their towns around old Pompeii (without knowing it was there) before it was discovered in the 1700’s. As an excavation began, engineers began to see the city – as it was on that fateful day – emerging almost exactly as before.  A lack of air and moisture beneath the ash meant that the buildings, pottery, houses and even people, were preserved.

Today, the site has almost been completely excavated and is a bit of a tourist hub around the world. At all times of the year, it seems to be swarming with people eager to catch a glimpse of the only real evidence we have of a roman civilisation.

It’s always been somewhere that I’ve been intrigued to visit and so when Sion and I were passing through on our way back to Naples, we thought it would be a shame to miss out. Situated around half an hour by train away from Sorrento and about an hour from Naples, it’s a much larger place than I realised and so if you can withstand the heat (we only managed a couple of hours), it’s worth devoting an entire day to exploring.

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Due to the area being a tourist trap – and us having a tight budget – we wanted to make sure we got the most out of Pompeii without spending a fortune, so before setting off – we found a place to eat in Sorrento, fuelling for the day ahead in the most cost effective way possible. The restaurant we found actually turned out to be such a beautiful place, with some amazing floral displays and a stunning garden. The food was okay, but extremely good value for money – 20 euros for the two of us and large portions all round! My pizza probably doesn’t look like the most appealing (I do have a tendency to choose weird toppings) but it was delicious all the same!

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With fuel for the afternoon, we made for Sorrento’s train station, which is actually quite a short walk from the main square. We purchased two tickets to Pompeii (2 euros each) and found two seats. Since we had our luggage with us (as we were heading back to Naples afterwards), it was a bit of a tight squeeze but no-where near the sickeningly hot and muggy train journey we experienced on our second day!

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A short while later, we arrived in Pompeii and paid 6 euros to leave our suitcases at a holding area at the station. As soon as you get out of the doors and walk up to the Ancient Ruins entrance, you are bombarded with people trying to sell you tours, guidebooks and food – which many tourists were taking up the offer of, however we wanted to explore in the most cost effective way possible, so although I did think a personal tour guide would have been brilliant in terms of learning more about the area, it was actually really nice to explore things at our own pace without having to keep up with a large group.

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Entry was 16 euros for the two of us, less than we were expecting. It’s worth letting them know if you’re under 25 or a student, as they base their prices on age and actually gave us quite a significant discount. Since we weren’t getting the benefit of a tour guide, we also purchased one audio guide to share – which turned out to be pretty useless, all it seemed to do was play ‘roman’ music and describe what we could see, rather than any kind of history, background or contextual information. Plus, it was really difficult to tap in the correct ‘number’ to correlate to where we were, because no-where actually had any signs telling us.

Saying that, we managed to glean from other tour guides some interesting facts about the area – as well as venturing off ourselves to explore.

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That looming ‘mountain’ in the background is the infamous Vesuvius – it looks rather innocent, however it’s still a live volcano and scientists have claimed it is due another huge eruption!

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The pottery and artefacts they found are incredible – the detailing of the sculptures is incomprehensible! Another poignant display are the renowned plaster casts of the people who were killed by the natural disaster, their last moments captured by volcanic ash which solidified and retained their positions.

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Although this looks like some sort of communal toilet, it’s actually a restaurant. Terracotta pots would be slotted into the holes and food served from them.

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After exploring for another hour or so, we were eventually beaten by the scorching heat – which we couldn’t physically walk around in any longer. We decided to take the train back to Naples and settle back into our hotel for the night (which you can read a full review on here).

With just one day left of our Italian adventure (I didn’t blog all of them but we were there for 7 days), we wanted a good nights sleep for yet more exploring so we skipped dinner and fell straight into bed!

Have you been to the Ancient Pompeii ruins – what did you think?

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A Shift With A Twist

As someone who has always been a little conscious of my stomach area, shift dresses have always been the favourite go-to shape of choice when it comes to picking out the fit. I’ve become ever so slightly more adventurous since losing weight over the past couple of months, in fact – several months ago, I would have never been confident enough to post pictures like this – however, I still stick to the shapes I trust.

When Izabel London got in touch a couple of weeks ago and suggested working together, once again – I gravitated towards a shift dress, however this one – had a bit of a twist, colour wise anyway. With a monochrome black and white almost-damask style pattern, it could be mistaken for a bit boring – especially when summer is the season to break into the colour palette, however with a neon pattern on the hem and shorter sleeves, it makes for the perfect shift – with a twist! See what I did there…

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Shift Dress, £15 | link

I love how comfy and flattering this dress is. I actually wore it to a celebratory lunch at the Luton Hoo Hotel, a gorgeous manor house about five minutes away from my mum’s house. I stayed there overnight last year (review here) and it was honestly the most beautiful, tranquil and luxurious place I’ve ever been. If you ever fancy feeling like a princess for the day (or night), this is the place you need to be. I normally find old manor houses and hotels a little pretentious, however this place is friendly – despite the grandeur.

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White Block Sandals, £24.99 | link

I’ve got it in a 12, however it’s actually pretty big so I could have afforded going a size smaller if I’d felt brave enough. In a way, I think it’s actually nice to have a bit of leeway in the tummy area – especially if you’re dining out and indulging a bit! There’s no harm in that…

The site itself wasn’t one that I’d heard of before, however it actually offers a really nice selection of wearable, pretty and flattering dresses, as well as shoes, knitwear, accessories and coats. I’m due to shoot another dress of theirs very soon (this time, I’ll be even more adventurous – just you wait), so if you fancy a nose – feel free to head on over!

Izabel London | link

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Living With IBS

My last IBS post was all the way back in May (which you can read here if you fancy), when I went through a rather painful procedure to get to the bottom of my symptoms (no related pun intended). It was a bit of a last resort really. Although the results came back as all clear – which was a complete relief, as I did think the severity of the symptoms I’d been getting equated to something more sinister – it was frustrating to not have any other information other than the rather generic ‘IBS’ diagnosis.

Several months on and I’ve had something of a breakthrough. I’m not cured, by any means – as the symptoms are still there, but they’re not at the forefront of my mind, nor do they hold me back in everyday life as much as they used to. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve finished uni for the summer and I’m less stressed, or that I’m at home rather than in a place I felt uncomfortable, I’m not sure – but all I know is that I feel more ‘normal’. I don’t plan my life around whether there’s going to be a bathroom there and whether it’s going to be an awkward situation I’ll feel uncomfortable in if I have to run out.

Of course, the anxiety is still there. It probably will always be. I do panic about the symptoms returning quite regularly. I’ll think ‘Ooh, I’ve had a good few weeks – it must be about time IBS reared its ugly head and ruined things’, but I’m managing.

Since giving up gluten, dairy and refined sugar, I’ve regained a lot more control and I feel more like ‘me’. I still get the stomach pains, in fact – when I was on a press trip recently, we were in the middle of a climbing activity and I felt a wave of pain come on in which I knew, things were only going to go downhill from there. Luckily, we had a medical professional with us, who advised me to drink as much water as possible, take off the tight harness I was wearing and lie down. It went away within the hour.

However, I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that IBS is always going to be a part of my life – like it, or lump it. Some people suffer really badly with migraines, back pain or breathing problems – my ‘health flaw’ is that my stomach reacts to every minor thing and causes a great deal of pain, embarrassment and discomfort.

In fact, the embarrassment in particular is the one I’ve had the most trouble dealing with – especially growing up when I hid the fact I suffered from digestive issues from everyone but my mum. Now, I chat about it to anyone that will listen (as I’m sure you’re aware from my rather long, waffly blog posts about it). It’s actually really nice to be frank about it and not make excuses. Why should I? I think getting over the embarrassment of it is a massive hurdle in the right direction. This video by Buscopan (as in the medicine) is a really good place to start if you want to jump over this hurdle, as it features lots of IBS sufferers talking in a very matter of fact manner about their symptoms. They’re all just everyday people – and it makes you realise, that you’re not alone – and you have nothing to hide!

Managing it on a daily basis, especially if you’re pushing through a really bad bout of it, isn’t the easiest thing, I’ll admit. I have the worst willpower on the planet. I’ve been on every diet imaginable in a bid to resemble some sort of Victoria’s Secret model (never going to happen), but after a few weeks, it’s game over. However, when it came to sorting out my health and my IBS, the overwhelming sense of regaining some sort of control in my life and feeling well again was the only motivation I needed. I started my new diet at the beginning of April and it’s now nearly the end of July. It takes awhile to see and feel a difference.

If you’re at your wits end and don’t want to fork out loads of money on an allergy test (which is pricey but did really help me), then I’d definitely recommend starting with cutting out the common allergens. Eggs, Dairy and Gluten. I actually find I can tolerate some forms of gluten, if it’s freshly made – but I prefer to leave it. Here’s the kind of thing I eat on an average day.

Breakfast:

Oat bran porridge with rice milk, with strawberries and honey. 

Pop four scoops of oat bran into a bowl, with around 100ml of rice milk (I use the extra calcium version which is naturally sweet and really filling). Chop up some strawberries and pour on a dollop of honey. This is my favourite breakfast – which oddly, I always really look forward to eating. Sprinkle a bit of chia & flaxseed mix (this combo from Superdrug is a really great way to get this affordably – as they’re usually about double the price, but they last forever) for extra fibre and protein.

Lunch:

Oatcakes & Hummus. 

Buy the full-fat hummus, none of that low-fat stuff. Fat isn’t your enemy, unless it’s saturated. Usually the ‘diet’ stuff has lots of nasty chemicals that don’t agree with your body. Remember, it’s about eating to make your body happy not thin. I often devour a pot of hummus a day.

food to eat when you have IBS

Dinner:

Sesame tomato chicken, quinoa and roasted veg. 

Okay, so it sounds a bit boring – but it’s actually really delicious. Even my mum loves this one! Fry off some chicken with a teaspoon of olive oil (I usually dry-fry it but olive oil helps retain some moisture) and slowly add in some plain tomato passata, basil, pepper, pink salt and garlic. You can add onion if you can tolerate it but I try and avoid it if I can. When the sauce is ready, sprinkle over a generous helping of sesame seeds (I can’t get enough of these) and leave to cool. Roast veg wise, I use sweet potato, courgette, red peppers and asparagus – topped with fresh rosemary and thyme – popped in a hot oven for 20 mins. Cook the quinoa plain – to be enjoyed with your sesame chicken sauce! You can make up big batches of this to take into work/school for lunch. It’s delicious!

Desserts:

Melt in the middle chocolate mug cake and coconut cream. 

If you’re really craving something sweet or need a replacement ‘chocolate fix’, then my go-to is a little invention which I now consider better than the family-size pack of Galaxy I used to consume on a daily basis (yes, honestly). Get yourself a mug and pop in one tablespoon of cacao powder (be sparing with this stuff, it’s quite bitter – at first, I’d pop in loads and wonder why it was so disgusting. It might be the raw form of chocolate but it’s not the same as cocoa powder – sorry!), 2 tablespoons of buckwheat flour (contrary to the name, it’s wheat/gluten-free), about 75ml of rice milk and 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup or honey (more if you want it sweeter). Stick it in the microwave for about 1 minute and while it’s cooking away, dollop a spoonful of CoYo Vanilla Bean Yoghurt into a bowl. It’s essentially coconut yoghurt but it’s not overwhelmingly coconutty because of the vanilla. It honestly tastes like cream and it’s amazing once you’ve scooped out your steaming melt-in-the-middle mug cake into the bowl too. Now I will warn you, this isn’t the most picturesque of desserts. But it’s absolutely delicious.

If you’re eager to try out this new diet plan, my friend Georgia has some fabulous vegan, gluten/dairy free recipes on her blog which taste (and look) incredible. She too is an IBS sufferer and has overhauled her diet in a bid to feel better. She’s actually studying nutrition too, so knows her stuff!

Medicine & Supplements

I’ve given up on most prescribed medicines, as they did me more harm then good but there’s been several supplements and herbal remedies I’ve tried which I’d like to comment on, as some have really helped. Again, I’m not going to claim anything is a miracle cure, because I think it’s unfair to give anyone false hope, especially when it’s in regards to something like IBS, which is a pain on a daily basis.

The first thing I’ve found to be super helpful, especially if you’re predominantly IBS-D, is milk thistle. It’s actually a traditional remedy for upset stomachs, indigestion and over-indulgence, however the milk thistle plant is predominantly a liver detox-er (not sure that’s a word as it’s spell-checking me, but we’re making it a word for this occasion!). I’ve found it’s super helpful if I’m having a really bad bout and it’s uncontrollable. Usually, it calms things down pretty instantly without bunging you up and leaving you feeling bloated.

Other traditional remedies include ginger, which I’ve heard lots about. Apparently it helps with stomach inflammation, calming down any irritation and pain. If you don’t fancy chomping on a large stick of very strong ginger or ingesting a sugar ridden (but delicious) gingerbread man then another option may be to try Gin Gins, which I’ve spotted in Holland and Barrett on my last few trips. They’re vegan, gluten-free and pretty much just a ginger sweet (without the added sugar). They’re super easy to pop into your handbag and chew when you feel that dull ache in your stomach start to return.

Similarly, there’s a number of gels you could use, also available from health food shops – which helps both the IBS-C and IBS-D fluctuations. Taken in water (usually they have sachets you can dissolve), they can calm the gut lining (which is often very sensitive in sufferers and needs a helping hand to get back to normal) and decrease that painful bloated feeling. Silicea Gastro Gel looks like a good one to try – and there’s lots on the shelves of Holland & Barrett that you could experiment with until you find the right one for you.

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Apps

Yes, there’s even technology designed to help us IBS-ers! I’ve tried a couple out – paid for and free – and the most helpful by far is the IBS Relief Diary app. It’s a super easy way to track your symptoms, alongside keeping a food diary – carefully (and hopefully) pinpointing any possible triggers. It also helps monitor how stressed you are on a particular day, which you can record – getting an insight into whether that could be a trigger for you.

Anyway, that’s it for now (I’m sorry if I’m completely bored you to tears). I’ll be back very soon with whatever IBS updates I have next. I’ll be going through a bit of an ordeal in the next few weeks/months (all will be revealed when I’m ready), alongside moving house and trying to set up three more weeks of work experience, so it will be really interesting to see if my new managing techniques can withstand the test of stress!

Speak soon – and as always, if you have any recommendations or tips that helped you – I’d love for you to share them below. The loveliest thing about talking about my IBS, other than not having to feel like I’m hiding anymore, is having a community of you guys to chat to. I receive so many lovely emails on a weekly basis, with caring advice and comments, so please don’t ever feel shy about getting in touch!

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Roses only… please!

There’s something really lovely about treating someone you love with flowers, especially if they’re roses! Men never seem to quite get the hint when you say this to them – so I’ve tended to just do the whole flower thing for my mum instead of holding out any hope for a bunch of my own anytime soon. BIG HINT Sion! Anyway, where were we…

A couple of months ago, I was having a really tough time. I had health issues flaring up here, there and everywhere, Uni was so stressful and generally, I wasn’t a happy bunny (I’ll go into detail when the time is right as I feel it’s worthy of a blog post, just in case anyone is going through the same). It all came to a head around mid-May and I just had to come home. Although the regular phone calls to my mum were a massive help, I needed to be in my own room, with my family around me and my mum right there next to me to give me a hug. Somehow, she always says the right thing and I always feel ten times better.

I pretty much went back and forth from London to Bournemouth for the next few weeks, only returning to University for exams. It was a bit ridiculous but sometimes, you know, you just need to be at home.

Since my mum had taken such lovely care of me, succeeding in making me feel happier and more confident about things, instead of moping around in my room – I wanted to treat her and say thank you. I knew she loved flowers, roses in particular, however my non-car situation (and ill-health) meant that I couldn’t just nip to the shops and pick up something lovely. Instead, I resorted to browsing the web for something special. I’d previously ordered my mum a bunch of flowers for mother’s day a few years ago, forking out a whopping sum in the process – only for them to be delivered squished, untidy and pretty much dead.

Roses Only popped onto my radar and suggested collaborating for a little treat for my mum – as a thank you. Despite their flower-dedicated name (and speciality), the site actually offers a whole host of floral options, however I thought it would be best to go for the full ‘rose’ experience and ordered the most beautiful bouquet of pink flowers to be delivered the very next morning (even, on a Saturday!).

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They arrived in the most ginormous box and caught my mum just as she was whizzing out to the gym. Constantly on the go and always putting the rest of the family before herself, I was rest assured that the delivery reminded her that she’s the best mum ever – and my best friend too! Soppy I know, but it’s true!

She asked very kindly for her face to be cut out, since her pre-gym look didn’t include make-up – however I think you’ll agree, the bouquet is absolutely beautiful!

Have you tried Roses Only? Who would you treat to a bouquet of flowers?

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Marina Grande, Sorrento

After a beautiful first day (you can catch up on that here), we had high hopes for our second day in Sorrento – which began with an incredible breakfast spread, (which you may have seen on my Instagram) piled high with the most amazing pastries, cakes and tarts. Unfortunately, being dairy-free and gluten-free has meant that all of the above are now completely out of my remit however I did enjoy admiring them and snapping away (not quite as good as eating them, but I made do).

The morning was spent lazing by the pool and topping up our tans before hunger struck and we decided to wander down a road we hadn’t yet ventured to – in a bid to find a cafe overlooking the sea (which admittedly, despite the incredible location – was harder to find than we thought). Eventually, we stumbled upon the rather oddly named ‘Foreigners Cafe’ which was aptly filled with Brits and Americans. A gorgeous view and the friendly waiters were tainted slightly by the fact the food was hideously overpriced and terrible. But hey, that’s what you get for going to a cafe named after the tourists!

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I asked for chicken with fresh pomodoro sauce and chips, while Sion opted for chicken, mushrooms and a creamy sauce. While were both edible, it wasn’t anything to write home about unfortunately.

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Inspired by the incredible views, we strolled down to the marina harbouring all the ferries and yachts (not the Marina Grande though, as stated in the title of this post – that one comes later) and bought gelato. I’m actually holding Sion’s in this picture (nutella ice-cream) as I opted for a far less creamy and slightly less appetising lemon granita (a kind of sorbet/slush drink). We saw into the afternoon watching as boats drew into the harbour and unloaded their passengers before setting off again on another journey.

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Once back at the hotel, I started to research places to eat in Sorrento – as I wanted to make sure we went somewhere special and weren’t missing out on a gorgeous spot. I actually found the best information on TripAdvisor, which I normally hate using – as it can be filled with primarily very bitter reviews – however a general consensus among users was that the Marina Grande and a restaurant called Delfino’s was the best place to see the ‘real’ and very romantic Sorrento.

Without a booking in place (which it advised), we decided to get ready for dinner and set off early in order to hopefully bag a table before the place started filling up. Since it was somewhere fancier than our usual last-minute restaurant scour, I decided to wear my new Missguided dress – which is very similar to the one I was wearing here – just with a different pattern. It looks a little more flattering in person than it does in pictures, as I know it can appear a bit sack like here – but when you’ve had a carb-heavy meal, wearing a sack-shaped dress actually sounds very appealing!

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After another obligatory photoshoot (sorry Sion), we strolled down in the direction of the Marina Grande – and as soon as we approached it, were blown away. Despite the name suggests, the area is actually quite small and quaint, more of a traditional fisherman’s marina than anything ‘grande’ but we absolutely loved it. This was the real Italy we’d been hoping to see!

We took several moments taking in the beautiful views. It was honestly one of the most stunning places I’d ever visited. The colours of the buildings, boats and the sea looked like they’d already been through an Instagram filter. We almost didn’t want to tear ourselves away.

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However, the thought of amazing food at Delfino’s did tempt us. It’s the building with the small pier at the far right of the picture.

Although sometimes Trip Advisor doesn’t always give the true indication of a place, this time – luckily – it didn’t lie, as we were presented with the most beautiful restaurant, friendliest staff and panoramic views of the mountains, sea and traditional buildings. Contented with our surroundings enough to have had a brilliant night in itself, the food served was out of this world too – something I’m not sure I’ve done justice to with our photographs, so you’ll have to make do with my word!

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Gluten free, although a foreign word to some of the restaurants in the UK – was actually so easy to explain in Italy, as pretty much everywhere caters for it. Delfino in particular, went out of their way to make sure I wasn’t missing out – as after a quick mention of my intolerances, not another word was said and everything they brought out thereafter (even if I hadn’t ordered it) took them into account.

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As a very kind gesture, the restaurant provides each guest with complimentary bruschetta before their meal, something I would have normally missed out on. They served me up my very own bruschetta on GF bread – probably one of the most incredible dishes I’ve ever tasted. It might not look much but the fresh tomatoes had been marinating in olive oil for hours, sprinkled with chilli and lime and the bread was toasted to perfection. I’m not usually a fan of tomatoes unless they’ve been cooked – however this, had me converted!

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Main course wise, Sion went for the swordfish – which he absolutely loved, while I opted for GF pasta in fresh pomodoro sauce. Probably not the most adventurous but most items had cheese or milk in them and to be honest, I love nothing more than flavoursome sauces and pasta – sometimes the most simple things, are the best!

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I couldn’t finish my plate of pasta (it’s more enormous than it looks) even though I kept trying to spoon more mouthfuls in (it was too good to go to waste) which became a bit of a running joke with the waiters, who kept coming over to check if I’d finished. Eventually, I admitted defeat and so we spent the remainder of the evening walking off our massive meals, exploring every inch of the Marina Grande – even watching the talented fishermen at work!

We had the most beautiful day, ate far too much in the way of carbs (well, I did) and for me – it was the first time I’d felt fully relaxed and at ease in months. There’s something about going on holiday, settling into a good book and completely forgetting all about the everyday worries life presents. I find it very difficult to ‘let go’ and relax completely, something I rarely give in too – however on this day, I was completely absorbed into the chilled Sorrento way of life!

Have you ever visited Sorrento? What did you think about it?

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Exploring Sorrento, one pizza at a time!

After a rather busy first day in Naples (you can read that post here), we set off early the next morning for a train to Sorrento, which we’d been told could take anytime up to around 1 hour 45, depending on whether we chose a fast or a slow one. As luck would have it, we picked a slow one – stopping at every station and completely jam-packed, so much so that I was rammed underneath one rather smelly man’s armpit for the first leg of the journey. Delightful.

However, as soon as we pulled into Sorrento, I knew our trip was about to get ten times better! It was world’s apart from where we’d just come from, the streets were calmer, the people were friendlier and we managed to walk to the hotel without fearing for our lives from passing mopeds.

We arrived a little too early for check-in at our hotel, Grand La Favorita (which I’ve written a full review of here – I’d recommend a peek just for the pictures, as the hotel is very pinterest worthy!) so we dropped off our bags and went on a hunt for yet more pizza. We found a small (but perfectly formed) little restaurant tucked away in a side street with enormous pizzas for 5euros. You can’t really go wrong for that!

You’ll have to excuse the make-up free face – the train was too unbearingly hot to wear any kind of make-up!

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We also ordered chilli bruschetta and garlic bread to share – which just about lasted for a few snaps.

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Before the main course arrived, Sion’s delicious cheesy delight – and my slightly sad looking marinara, emphasised by one meek leaf. I promise it tasted far better than it looks! After cutting out dairy several months back, I actually find pizza tastes so much better when it isn’t smothered in cheese. I very rarely get that bloated feeling afterwards, nor do I feel greasy – plus of course, it makes things much healthier without it! The fresh tomatoes and flavoursome tastes of the pomodoro sauce really come through when you have it plain – I’d definitely recommend giving it the benefit of the doubt, it’s delicious!

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With a little more time to kill before our room was ready, we passed the hotel again and made for the sea – where we stumbled across a couple of newlyweds! What a gorgeous place to get married.

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I annoyed Sion by asking for yet more photographs (he finds it very tedious as I’m very fussy about lighting) – however we had to make the most of this gorgeous view! It’s not everyday you come across somewhere so stunning!

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After lunch, we unpacked and chilled by the pool before slowly getting ready for an evening stroll and scout of the area (where we were also on the hunt for a place to eat dinner). We took the slope in the cliff down to the ‘beach’, which is quite a tough walk in flip flops but we made it – and the views were so worth it! The areas by the sea are a number of ‘beach like’ clubs with places to eat, play table tennis and sunbathe. In our opinion, everything was a little overpriced and worn here, so although we did come back – we didn’t stay any longer than necessary to admire the beautiful views.

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We followed our way through the winding path next to the cliff, coming out at a marina – where the boats set off for Naples and Capri. We did want to book a trip to the island of Capri, as it looked incredible from the pictures but unfortunately, time and budget permitting, we weren’t able to on this occasion. Instead, we admired from afar.

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I wore my new Boden dress, which actually isn’t supposed to be strapless – but I decided I preferred it this way. It’s so super comfy and although slightly baggy (I ordered it a couple of months back, pre weight loss), I do think it’s actually really flattering. I love this kind of enlarged gingham pattern and the colour combination, despite including navy – is perfect for summer!

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After working up an appetite, we decided to find somewhere for dinner – which proved a harder task than we initially thought since there was so much choice. Eventually we settled on a quaint little courtyard restaurant, hidden away from the main hustle and bustle of the town (we almost would have walked past but saw the menu at the last minute). Full of trees, vines and flowers (you couldn’t even see the sky for all the lemons growing above us), it was a really quiet yet pretty setting to tuck into another Italian feast.

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I rather adventurously, decided to go for yet another pizza – this time, with pineapple and ham added in (what a daredevil!) while Sion opted for spaghetti bolognese. As we ate, the place started to fill up – with a wedding party, families and couples alike. It was a people watching haven!

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With our carb fix for the day finished, we strolled (or in my case – waddled) back to the hotel and into the rooftop terrace bar and pool, where we watched the sunset with a glass of champagne in hand – and some accompanying nibbles. In my eyes, the perfect end to the most beautiful first day in Sorrento. In hindsight, I probably could have done without the second pizza, but when in Italy…

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Have you ever visited Sorrento – if so, what did you think? Is anyone planning a visit?

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