Ibiza - The Misunderstand Island

Ibiza often has a poor reputation for being a rowdy party island, full of sex, drugs and clubbing and is often the right of passage for most 18 to 24 year olds seeking out their first boozy adventure abroad. With films such as 'It Has All Gone Pete Tong' highlighting the Ibiza club scene, it is no surprise that many people have a misunderstanding of the island, but to me Ibiza is the hidden gem of the Balearics and if you look past the party district of San Antonio, there's so much more to be discovered.

I first went to Ibiza when I was twelve years old on a family holiday and my parents rented a car so that we could see the entirety of the island. We visited the old town, the hippie markets at Es Cana and made our way around all Ibizas famous beaches snorkelling. It was a place that really captured my heart from a young age and somewhere I knew I wanted to return as an adult. I returned when I was 21 on my first holiday away with my then husband-to-be and returned once more for my honeymoon. Each visit to Ibiza has been unique and as welcoming as the previous, the islanders are wonderful and there's a friendly, down to earth atmosphere wherever you go - even in San Antonio and Playa D'en Bossa.

The island of Ibiza is rich with culture and history and has the most picturesque landscapes. There's something for everyone of every age to enjoy and much of the island is unspoilt and very traditional, yet many people are blindsided by the bad press. Hopefully the recommendations below will help highlight some of the beautiful places that Ibiza has to offer.

Dalt Vila

Dalt Vila is a UNESCO world heritage site and is known as the 'old town' of Ibiza. The town has over 2,500 years of history from battlements dating to the 16th century and pottery found as old as the 13th century. The town offers panoramic views of the island and features a plethora  of quaint cobbled streets with candlelit eateries.

ES Vedra

If you enjoy taking boat trips, ES Vedra should be on your ibiza bucket list. Es Vedra is an uninhabited rock off the coast of Ibiza that stands over 400 metres high. The rock is said to be the third most magnetic rock on the planet and is heavily featured in Ibiza myths and legends.  This mysterious rock attracts thousands of visitors per travel season and is a must see due to its astounding beauty.

Es Cana

One of my favourite places to visit on the island are the markets at Es Cana, also known as the 'hippy markets'. These markets date back to the 1960s when painters and artisans came to island and decided to sell their items. This popular market still takes place every Wednesday and features an array of crafters selling jewellery, textiles and clothing from all around the world. It is the perfect place to grab some unique items, while listening to music and feasting on street food.

Cafe Mambo at San Antonio

Last, but definitely not least is Cafe Mambo, the ideal place to sit back and listen to music as the sun goes down. The Ibiza sunset is breathtaking and Cafe Mambo is probably one of the only places you will see such a mass gathering for the sun going down and then a round of applause as it finally ends. It's a great atmosphere and definitely worth a visit.

Have you been to Ibiza?

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Sunday Style - Ted Baker at Country Attire

The older I have become, the more I have realised the importance of investing in good quality, higher end clothes compared to throwaway fashion.  When I was younger I used to throw money at clothes, often spending hundreds of pounds on items on many items that I would only wear once. I loved the adrenaline rush of going in a store and coming out with shopping bags that filled my arms and enjoyed looking in my wardrobe to see clothes almost bulging out it was that full. Things changed when I got married, started renting and then looked at saving for a mortgage. I realised that most of my wardrobe was full of poor quality clothing that would barely last me the month and I also started taking note on the real value of money, comparing what I spend on clothes to how much of a house it would buy me - at least if I bought more expensive, better quality clothing it would last me several years rather than having to replace everything. I started living the less is more way of life - I'd much rather have a staple wardrobe and I also realised that if you buy cheap, you're more likely to buy twice as many items in the long run.

Ted Baker have been a brand I've admired for years and I still remember the first Ted Baker dress I bought almost six years ago, it made me feel like a million dollars. It emphasised the curves that I wanted to be on show, while concealing all my other lumps and bumps and it was just the right length on my petite body frame. I still have that dress in my wardrobe and it is still in immaculate condition despite me having worn it numerous times. The dress back then cost me around £180 and I didn't have the most money, in fact I was a student, but I saw it as an investment piece - a dress that I could wear time and time again and after saving up for it, I knew it wasn't going to be something I would toss on the reject pile any time soon.

Since then I've bought many Ted Baker items, all of which take pride of place in my wardrobe and my recent addition to my Ted Baker collection is this Leea Tropical Oasis cold shoulder dress in midi* red that was sent to me by one of my favourite online boutiques, Country Attire. Country Attire are a Manchester based online business that specialise in collating all the best British brands on one website. From Barbour to Aspinal of London, Vivienne Westwood to Ted Baker.  They have so many items to choose from and always pick the best of what each brand has to offer. I've worked with the brand on my blog previously, as well as having been a  customer and I've never been disappointed.

I chose the Leea dress because it had such a vivid red colour, which I thought would be perfect for the summer as most of my outfits are quite autumn and winter based. The dress fits perfectly, ending at a conservative length just above my knee caps and it shows off one of my favourite body features, my shoulders with the cold shoulder and cut out sleeves. For those worried about wobbly bellies, this dress perfectly skims across my torso, hiding any unwanted bits and the fabric is really forgiving and also quite breezy for those looking at investing in this for a holiday outfit. At £149.95 it isn't the cheapest dress on the market, but that's because it is a quality item and you can tell just by feeling the fabric as well as looking at the sturdiness of the zip on the back of the dress and the small branded logo on the zip slider. If it is anything like my other Ted Baker dresses, I know it will last for years and that is what I love so much about the brand.

To complete the look I styled this dress with the Ted Baker Adoni crystal bobble leather crossbody bag. The bag is small, yet spacious for an evening bag and has a versatile design that will go with anything in your wardrobe. The rose gold chain and crystal accents on the clasp is the perfect finishing touch to any of your outfits. Again, you can tell the bag is of a good quality by the texture of the leather and the detachable strap feels sturdy, not flimsy like many other handbag straps can be. The handbag is £128, but for something that is so versatile, it is worth purchasing as an accessory staple.

Today I'm giving one lucky reader a chance to win a pair of Ted Baker bow earrings from Country Attire and all you need to do is enter the form below. This competition is open to anyone in the UK aged 18 and over and will end on the 31st July 2017. Good luck!

Have you bought anything from Ted Baker or Country Attire before?
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Travel To Paradise - The Best Things To Do In Los Cabos, Mexico

Recently I've been looking at expanding the travel section of my blog, but I'm the first to admit that I haven't been to as many far flung destinations as I would like - especially while I'm currently saving for a mortgage this year. To give you and also myself some travel inspiration, I've enlisted Jo from Wander with Jo to give us a guest post on one of her favourite places to visit in Mexico.

The Best Things To Do In Los Cabos, Mexico

Los Cabos is one of my favourite places in all of Mexico to visit and it would be hard not to love, especially with the great weather, water, food, nightlife and the many stunning Los Cabos vacation rentals. This is definitely one of the destinations that you need to know about and for this reason, I thought I would write a post to let in on some of the great things that Los Cabos has to offer.

Lands End (El Arco)

This amazing place is located on the southern end of Cabo San Lucas and features some stunning rock formations that were formed over a long time by the rough winds and sea. Land's End is an absolutely picturesque place to experience the sunset, or sunrise for that matter. The best way to get there is definitely by taking a water taxi from the city and definitely bring a camera if you are making the trek here. If you are wanting to swim, it is recommends that you avoid the Pacific Ocean side of Land's End, which can be rougher and much more dangerous than the other side.

San Jose del Cabo

This resort city is smaller than Cabo San Lucas, but for me personally I like it much more and it is not far from Cabo San Lucas, so travelling between the two is simple. The city strikes a nicer balance between traditional Mexican and modern resorts, which I absolutely love. San Jose is definitely more relaxed and has much less of a party atmosphere. There is still a lot to do here like relaxing at the main square, or Plaza Mijares as it known to the locals. The beaches here are also something of a highlight with Playa Palmilla and Playa Santa Maria nearby. These beaches offer perfect waters for swimming and snorkelling. If you like golf too, the Palmilla Golf Club is definitely the place to visit with three nine hole courses of its own.

Playa del Amor

The name of this beach literally translates to 'lover's beach' and is actually not far from Land's End. This is perhaps one of the most famous beaches in this part of Mexico and is one of the best beaches that I have had the opportunity to visit. The beach is well known for its romantic atmosphere, especially because it is so authentic and much more intimate than many of the crowded beaches that lie in the area. The beach offers waves, white sand and is also framed by stunning rock formations. A must visit when you are in the area and it is also a great idea to with that special someone. This is the ultimate picnic destination, so don't forget to pack some amazing food and drinks and soak it all in.

Chileno Beach

This great beach is a relaxing place and is located 9 miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas. The calm, clear and shallow waters make this the perfect spot for snorkeling and seeing many species of colourful tropical fish. Frolicking in the water or paddle boarding is also a great way to enjoy this stunning beach. This beach that is so popular, but lacks the huge number of bars and restaurants (in a good way)  provides a much more laid back and relaxing atmosphere in comparison to many other beaches in the area. Despite this relaxing atmosphere it has become popular and it is best to get there before 10am to ensure you get the perfect place to sit and relax. If this sounds like it is your ideal beach, I would recommend adding this to your bucket list.

Iglesia de San Lucas

Los Cabos isn't just beaches (although they are stunning), there are other things here to experience and Inglesia de San Lucas is one of them. This is the main church in Cabo San Lucas and a great way to experience the architecture in the local area. The church was actually constructed by Spanish missionaries in the 1700s and is next to a beautiful old plaza that is home to restaurants and shops. The architecture has been well preserved and is a very fine example of buildings from this period of time. Mass is conducted on a Saturday evenings and also on Sundays at noon if you are interested in attending.

Play golf

I already touched on playing golf above, but Los Cabos in general is a great place to play golf. There are a huge number of courses and these are some of the best in the world.One of the main attractions of courses is the fact that you can play with magnificent ocean views right next you. This is truly something that you don't get to experience everyday. I was lucky enough to play golf at Puna Sur, which is also the first golf course built in the area. Here you can experience the finest nine hole course you are likely to see with breathtaking views of Sea of Cortez and the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. Other good courses includes El Dorado Golf Course, Diamante Cabo San Lucas and Club Campestre San Jose. Wherever you are, there is a golf course for you. All you need to do is go looking.

                                                          Have you been to Los Cabos before?
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How to stick to a diet when dining out

Dining out when on trying to stay healthy can be every dieter's nightmare.  Firstly, not every menu has a calorie count and secondly, not every restaurant serves healthy food.  It is difficult to sometimes find the right balance when you are not in control of choosing the place that you're visiting.  Having being diagnosed with a stomach issue that relies heavily on me choosing low fat food to avoid flare ups, I know how difficult it is to choose the right meal when there seems to be nothing available on the menu and as a vegetarian, it is even more difficult when most meals are loaded with full fat cheese. 

Look at the menu before you go

Looking at the menu before you head out for your meal will stop you from making impulsive choices and will enable you to analyse what is safe/ healthiest to eat before you sit down. 

Don't be afraid to ask questions

When you arrive, don't be afraid to ask your waiter questions.  Some meals may be able to be adapted to suit your dietary needs and they may be able to answer questions about the healthier options available.

Opt for dressing on the side

If in doubt, always opt for dressing on the side. Salad dressings can add hundreds of calories to a basic salad as they are often loaded with oil. By asking for the dressing on the side, you can be in control of how much you consume.

Forgo the cocktails

As irresistible as they may be, especially on a hot day or a Friday after work, cocktails are often loaded up with sugar and the calories can soon add up. If you're looking for a slimline drink, opt for a gin and tonic or vodka and soda. Also, many restaurants are also now selling skinny prosecco - so it is worth keeping an eye out for it.

Order some table tap water

Drinking tap water in between courses or between bites of your meal will not only help keep you hydrated, it make you fuller quickly, therefore you are less likely to consume too many calories or be tempted to order dessert.

Don't be too hard on yourself

Finally, don't be too hard on yourself. We all have days where we feel like slacking off our diets and as long as you eat healthy and in moderation most of the time, you are allowed a cheat day. Diets only work if you're happy, being too hard on yourself will make you miserable and in turn, can lead to comfort eating.

How do you stick to a diet when eating out?

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Tips on how to stay healthy when travelling

There's nothing worse than feeling a knot in your stomach after eating something you know you probably shouldn't have abroad. You're out of your comfort zone, in a country you don't really know and you don't have all your usual medical supplies, it is every traveler's worst nightmare. As someone who suffers from a stomach condition and has quite a few allergies and intolerances, there has been several times that I have felt worse for wear on my travels - there was one time I accidentally ate Calamari when I'm allergic to squid just before flying back home and I spent most of my time at the airport clinging to a toilet seat looking like a lobster until my antihistamines kicked in - it wasn't my finest moment. In a country that is you're not own, surrounded by food that you don't usually eat, it is very easy to fall ill. In fact according to a survey in 2013, six out of ten of us get ill abroad every single year. To ensure your holiday is as healthy as it can be, I've put together a few tips that I have picked up on how to stay in tip top shape when travelling.

Research the area before you go

Before you travel anywhere abroad, always research the area to find out what you should avoid, whether you need any vaccinations and to find out tips from travellers who have already been there. Some areas may be better for cleanliness than others and so places may be better to eat at if you suffer from upset stomachs.

Take your own medical kit

It is always best to be prepared for every eventual outcome when you are somewhere you are not familiar with. Travel medical kits should always include basic painkillers, aspirin, antihistamines (in case you find out you are allergic to some food you have only just tried),  basic first aid supplies and of course rehydration sachets if you do come down with the dreaded stomach bug.

Be aware of what you eat and drink

Always be cautious of what you eat and drink while abroad. Look for restaurants that are popular with the locals as they will always be busy and the food is more likely to be fresh and read up on how safe the water is to drink, if in doubt, always drink bottled water. Avoid uncooked food as these are more likely to give you stomach bugs and always make sure fruit is thoroughly washed.

Make sure you have your medical insurance

Always travel with medical insurance, even if you are flying somewhere short distance. You never know when something could happen. Also, make sure you read through the terms and conditions of your travel insurance to see what holiday sickness compensation you would be entitled to if you did fall ill. Some policies exclude certain illnesses if you already have medical issues and some insurances don't cover you for accidents if you take part in certain extreme watersports.

What are your tips to staying healthy when travelling?

*Collaborative post

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