Wednesday, 20 September 2017

DOWNSIDES TO SUNNY HOLIDAYS . . .

One thing you probably know about me is that I love a sunshine holiday. So much so that I am less than 2 weeks away from my third one this year.
 
One other thing you may know about me, however, is how much I enjoy a good rant.

 
  
So, as much as I love a week away in the sun, leaving all my troubles behind, getting to relax and chill out by the pool while reading shedloads of books… there are also some downsides. At the risk of sounding a tad overdramatic, its time to look at the darker side of a sunny holiday abroad!!!
  
 
Holiday transfers
 
So picture the scene: you’ve made it to your destination, you’re (I’m projecting here, obviously!) relieved to have survived the flight, and your luggage has finally appeared off the carousel, so you no longer need to worry that you’re going to be sunbathing by the pool in the underwear you’re wearing all week because your bikinis were in your case… time to relax, right? Well, nope. Because it’s time for the holiday transfer bus . . . if it’s actually there waiting for you, that is! And if it is waiting for you, you will probably have to spend your first hour in paradise inside a coach, waiting for it to leave the airport. Only to discover that you have actually got another hour and a half to spend actually travelling down to your destination, and approximately twenty other stops before you get there. Once you get there, you can breathe a sigh of relief, it’s over, you’ve made it. Just the journey from hell back to the airport at the end of the holiday to look forward to… And, no, you can’t get a taxi because you already paid a fortune for the bloody holiday and the transfer bus was included!
  
 
Bugs
 
I’ve been through this with you guys before, so I won’t elaborate too much on this. Mosquitos absolutely love me and consider me the tastiest of treats . . . I’m pretty sure I am the goddess of the mosquito world. They haven’t told me this but given how much they enjoy feasting on my blood, I am fairly convinced this must be true. They always manage to catch me in the five seconds before I’ve armed myself with repellent, or find the one unsprayed chink in my armour. And they always turn into horrific scabs. I’m still recovering from my Kavos wounds 3 weeks later, ffs! And don’t even get me started on the wasps . . . they seem on a mission to ruin my life at certain times of year, whether it’s hovering over me evilly while I’m trying to relax, or dive-bombing into my pina colada.
  
 
Music wars
 
I enjoy lying around the pool accompanied by a bit of music from the pool bar, I’d rather do that than listen to my own music when I’m on holiday. However, I hate it when a random sunbather thinks it’s okay to play their own music loudly so I’m forced to listen to that instead of whatever other music is going on. Heard of headphones, mate, yeah? Use them, you’re not the fecking pool DJ! Even worse is when others then decide to compete with the original troublemaker and you are hearing three or four different pieces of music at the same time. It drives me mad.
  
 
Constant reapplication of suncream
 
It’s a necessary evil I know – but I’m sooo lazy and I struggle to maintain my beauty routine when I’m at home . . . reapplying suncream several times a day stresses me out. Especially when it won’t rub in quickly, or goes gloopy, or adds to my sweat and forms a paste.  It actually puts me off getting in the pool because I know that I’m going to have to reapply it once I’m dry. And of course I’m having to reapply the mozzy repellent too because of the whole Goddess of Mosquitos thing so you can guarantee I’m not enjoying myself at this point . . .
 
 
Loungers
 
Is it actually possible to get on or off a sunlounger gracefully?  I seem to be missing that particular knack. And they’re largely incredibly uncomfortable . . . if you can even get one in the first place, that is, since those early morning towel baggers are usually rife.
  
 
Restaurant PR folk
 
It really would be nice to be able to walk down the street of a resort at any time of day, even when you’re not in the market for food at the moment, and not have several thousand eager folk try to happily strong-arm you into their restaurant. Especially if you’ve been there the previous night and want to try something different. It can come in handy sometimes, if you genuinely can’t make up your mind what you want to eat and where you want to go . . . but it’s mainly just very annoying. (and yes, I know people are just trying to make a living, but I’m always entitled to a moan. And just entitled, period…)
  
 
Unfamiliar pointy furniture
 
I always end up going home from holiday with bruises. If the loungers don’t get me, the apartment furniture finishes me off. It always seems to have random sharp edges that I end up walking into since I’m not used to it. Especially after I’ve had me a couple of vinos, or are trying to stumble short-sightedly to the loo sans contact lenses in the middle of the night. Maybe I should just start wearing protective clothing . . 
 
 
And so ends my rant. But . . .What about you guys? Any downsides you have to sunny holidays?

Monday, 4 September 2017

KAVOS: ONLY FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD?!?

One of my favourite places in the world is the Greek island of Corfu. I love Corfu so completely that I even raved about it last summer on this very blog.  I absolutely adore the place and myself and the fella have made the trip out there every year since our first sunshine holiday together in 2014. We'd earmarked a week at the end of August for another holiday with the aim of going to Corfu and were delighted, when we finally had the opportunity to book last month, to see that there were tons of bargain holidays for the island . . . but the cheapest by far were those in the party resort of Kavos.


Kavos was never going to be my first choice, let's be honest. I've had the dubious pleasure of watching a couple of episodes of "What Happens in Kavos" after all and cringed most of the way through it. I've never been a "party hard" sort of girl, even when I was young enough to go on an 18-30 holiday (for the record, in case you aren't aware, the age brackets for an 18-30 holiday are actually 17-35 . . . and I don't even meet those requirements anymore!). And, at the age of 37 and 3/4, I'm more of a have-a-couple-of-drinks-by-the-pool-go-out-for-dinner-then-fall-asleep-during-a-bottle-of-wine-in-the-apartment-later sort of girl. 

But then there was also the fact that, although the holidays to Corfu were relatively cheap, the ones to Kavos were by far the cheapest.  And I'm also one of those people who thinks it's really up to you how good your holiday is. Yes, you can have bad customer service or things can go wrong that you weren't anticipating, but largely it is what you make it . . . and sometimes when I see people moaning in bad reviews on Trip Advisor about their holidays I'm a bit unsympathetic because of this.

Anyway, we decided to go for Kavos. And I only had like five weeks to think about the decision but I did worry. And I jokingly would say to the fella "no matter what, I'll have to write a post about whether or not Kavos is just for the younger crowd" . . .

Personally, I'm happy to say it is not.

Yes, the apartments we chose to stay at were predominantly full of people in their late teens and twenties, yes. But it didn't bother us. And we were not the oldest by any means either. Which was very nice. But here are some of the advantages of not being in the younger crowd and going to Kavos . . .

1) Yes the hotel was cheap. But, in addition, we weren't spending massive amounts of money on foam parties or club nights. I took 300 euros with me, ate out every night, had breakfast/lunch in the hotel 3 times, had plenty of cocktails, wine and Mythos and came home with 30 euros. (I read a blog post somewhere prior to going that said if you were going for a "mad with it" time you'd need 750 euros for a week. Thank goodness I wasn't in that market!)

2) The reps didn't bother us. We had booked a "Scene" holiday through Thomson and I had checked to make sure there wasn't an upper age limit with this a la the aforementioned 18-30 holidays (which are Thomas Cook). There wasn't. But the reps did take one look at us and, although they were perfectly pleasant, they didn't do a hard sale on us. If we'd been younger, we'd have had to dodge the sales pitch and that's why sometimes being "old" pays off.

3) We didn't go out to the pool at ten am to discover most of the loungers were full. That's probably because our younger apartment dwellers were not sloping back in until five am in the morning and most of them didn't actually think to put their towels out before they went to sleep. We nearly always got a decently placed lounger, which would not have happened had the clientele been largely older than us. Trust me - I know!

4) We mostly got peace at the pool for a good hour or two before most of the residents woke up. It was amazing. Usually things didn't start to completely come to life until after 11am; by 2pm it would usually be quite noisy but as we tend to like to start and finish sunbathing earlyish it worked out great for us.

5) We got so many good deals on the food in Kavos. I guess because of the fact people probably drink and party more than they eat, the local tavernas were wanting to fill tables. We didn't actually know this until we were in most of the time, and were amazed to be leaving after two courses each, a litre carafe of wine and free garlic bread and dessert with a bill of just over 30 euros. Quality food as well.  It was incredible. In particular, check out Terry's, Pavlos and Aristos - I'd highly recommend all three of these amazing tavernas; fabulous service and we got delicious food for ridiculously low prices!

6) We luckily didn't get a lot of noise disturbance. We weren't right in the centre of the resort - we stayed in the Kavos Plaza (very nice apartments with a lovely bar and pool area) which was just at the edge of the resort. Kavos isn't a massive place, so everything was still in walking distance and the best of the tavernas were really close by. Some of the other apartments available were smack-bang in the middle of the resort so bear this in mind if you are looking to book. We weren't really bothered by much in the way of noise at all during the night, but it might be different if you are closer to the main action.  

7) The beaches were lovely. In our welcome meeting, the male rep had claimed the main beach wasn't that great but we thought it was really nice. There's also Arkoudilas beach, which is about a 45 minute walk and is gorgeous . . . however, we were plagued with wasps after walking all that way in ridiculous heat so I'd probably only recommend that if you aren't there in wasp season.

All in all, I 100 per cent feel you can totally come and not party in Kavos. I still don't think it would ever be my first choice, granted . .  but if you are looking for a week holiday for less than 300 pounds and you want a greek island experience without spending too much money while you are there . . . it's amazing! No matter what age you are.

Have you been?

Saturday, 2 September 2017

MY HOLIDAY STYLE . . .

I'm just back from Kavos! I know... what was I thinking? I'm 37 years old! Don't worry, I have a post on whether Kavos is good for a slightly older crowd coming up very soon which will answer this. I also have a couple more holiday inspired posts which will be appearing on the blog over the next week or so and an update on my reading challenge so stay tuned please! 😉


Today, however, I'm going to talk about holiday fashion... specifically MY holiday fashion. Yes, I know I'm not a fashion blogger by any means but I do absolutely love clothes and spend an inordinate amount of time looking through fashion websites online to find bargains in my particular style. For holidays this tends to be shorter dresses, shift dresses, Bardot and/or off-the-shoulder dresses . . . I like to search specifically for these sort of items when I pop online, then sort them by price (from low to high, obviously - I wonder how many people actually choose the option "price high to low"? I've only ever done it by accident) and search only for items in my size if possible to avoid disappointment.

And then I spend an absolute shitload of money. Because, well, my name is Paula and I'm a shopaholic . . . and a dressaholic.

Anyway, here is a selection of my outfits from my most recent holiday. I've included links to any I actually have links for since I did get compliments on a few of them when I posted them on instagram over the week. You are welcome.


This Boohoo bardot dress was picked up on sale from asos - link here
This Only dress, also from asos but not in the sale, is a bit longer than my usual style but I felt like the length, combined with the Bardot neckline and animal print would be perfect for my holiday. The dress can be found here.


This Boohoo off-the-shoulder gingham number was probably the dress I was looking forward to wearing the most. It is sooo cute and best of all? It was a mere six pounds in the boohoo sale. AND . . . it's still available. What are you waiting for? It can be found right here.

Another asos find, I couldn't resist the pattern and style of this QED London dress. Link here.
 
I go to Ibiza in less than a month's time (don't hate me) and I'm sure all four of these dresses will be making a reappearance when I'm there also . . . but I also can't guarantee I won't end up spending even more money on new outfits for that holiday too. We'll see . . .like I said, I have a problem!

Do you like these dresses? When you're off on holiday are you a need-a-whole-new-wardrobe type of person too, or do you always just return to old favourites? I'd love to know.