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28 February 2016

What I've Been Pinning {February}

It's been a while since I shared my latest pins with you all {way back in August!} so I thought I'd take a quick break from my European Adventure series to show you some of my favourite snaps from the last few weeks.

I've been clicking away on Pinterest a lot this month - if you're an avid Pinner like me, please do send me your link as I'm always looking for new people to follow!


Floral


Carry on looking at my Floral board


Simple Living


Carry on looking at my Simple Living board {one of my new boards!}


Quotes To Make You Smile


Carry on looking at my Quotes To Make You Smile board

25 February 2016

Greek Paradise

Having travelled across rural France, Switzerland and Italy, our journey was off to a flying start, and on the fifth day of our trip we found ourselves waking up on the enormous Olympic Champion boat. A strong coffee and chocolate chip muffins lured us out of our cabin, and as we gobbled up our breakfast cheerily, the island of Corfu came into sight.



My family have a long history with Corfu; my father has been a regular visitor for 30 years, and this would be my 18th trip. We always stay in the same village in the north of the island, where there are picturesque beaches, unspoilt landscapes and peace and quiet - admittedly very different to resorts such as Kavos in the south! The people of the village have watched me grow up, and we have many dear friends there. Our Corfiot holidays are not only a chance for some quality R&R, but to catch up with those friends too.

As the bright blue ocean twinkled in the sun, the boat pulled into the port of Corfu Town where we disembarked. You could feel the heat on your skin as soon as you stepped out onto the warm concrete, but it was a pleasant type of hot instead of being stifling.


Mr Maggie May jumped into the driver's seat and took us up into the hills, strewn with olive trees and villas, their colourful shutters wide open to let in the morning sun. The sound of hundreds of cicadas filled our ears, a noise which I always associate with being on holiday.

At last, we were there - our second home. We stay in apartments owned by friends of the family, and they are absolutely amazing; a wonderful swimming pool surrounded by loungers and double beds (yes, actual beds!) so you can snooze in the sunshine after a long day of relaxing; beautiful balconies (ground floor and first floor) with comfortable armchairs for you to sink into, and fluffy white bath robes to envelop you after a lovely shower. The minute we arrive there, we all instantly relax - and isn't that the point of a holiday?

20 February 2016

Ciao Bella


The next chapter of our travels began the way all good chapters should - with food! We ate a hearty breakfast of Swiss cheeses, meats and fresh yoghurt in our chalet, gazing out at what we could only imagine was a lovely view. We had to imagine, because the white clouds from the previous day had settled around us like a cocoon, obscuring the mountains behind. But then all of a sudden, as I sipped my coffee and peeked over Mr Maggie May's shoulder, I could see a little peephole opening up amongst the fog.


We raced upstairs just in time to see the most adorable view in front of us; the ski chalets and cottages surrounding the town of Villars-sur-Ollon, with magnificent fir trees poking up between them. It almost felt Christmassy, even though there was no snow! It must look even more breathtaking in the winter.

11 February 2016

Our European Adventure

Last August, I went on one of the biggest and best holidays of my life. My parents had been planning a three week drive across Europe for the past year, and Mr Maggie May and I were really excited to be joining them - it was going to be our European adventure! Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen my snaps at the time: scenes from France, Switzerland, Italy and Greece - pictures of beautiful food, idyllic sunshine, and amazing culture. 



We landed back on British soil in September, but since then, life has been a bit of a whirlwind. Over the past few months we have collated and edited photos, shared stories, and I began to write about our incredible travels. I am over the moon that at last, now life is a little less hectic, I can share these stories with you all on my blog! I really hope you enjoy them.

We had made this journey twice before, both times when I was a child, but this time was going to be different - firstly I would be old enough to remember the trip, and secondly I would be able to capture more of the views on my camera and iPhone. Disposable Kodaks were great, but I'm glad technology has progressed a bit since then...

Our trip began on the Euro Shuttle; after a quick dash around the duty-free shop and a spritz of My Burberry (a gorgeous scent that's now on my wish list), we were loaded onto the carriage, and in a blink of an eye we were there - France! The rural landscapes which greeted us were beautiful, and I'm always astounded at how quiet and almost empty the country feels. We weaved our way past fields and fields of sunflowers, admiring the many wind turbines scattered amongst them. 



Don't you think they look like grand and yet peaceful keepers of the land? At certain points it felt like us and those turbines were the only things in the world.

4 February 2016

A Dip and a Flare

My Twitter followers will know that I've been having another CFS flare this week {CFS for those of you who don't know stands for chronic fatigue syndrome - I wrote a post all about it here}. As usual, it's flippin' annoying.

The last time I had a dip like this was back in the summer, and I spent a week lying on my sofa watching boxsets and feeling sorry for myself. Doesn't sound so bad, does it? Well no, but add to that the muscle aches, the overwhelming sense of exhaustion like you've just run four marathons back to back, and the low mood which tends to accompany these symptoms, and you end up feeling quite rubbish.

This time around, I've tried to look after myself a bit better. Self-care, I think they call it. I realised at the end of last week that I was starting to feel unwell, so I have tried to take it a bit easier than normal - hard to do when you're constantly on the go!

When you search Google for ways to manage a CFS flare, I feel like you hit a dead end pretty quickly. There's advice about resting, as you'd expect, and, oddly, specific advice about avoiding supermarket queues (errrr, OK, thanks for that) - but for a young woman in her twenties, who wants to be up and about again as soon as possible, and let this nasty condition affect her life to a minimum, there are not that many helpful words.

Over the last few days, I have thought carefully about how I think a flare should be managed. By sharing this on my blog, I hope I can help other like-minded individuals to deal with their CFS flare ups and get back on track - but I'm also doing this for me! I find writing to be very therapeutic, and I hope my own words will be useful to me in the future.

{Disclaimer - This post involves me being brutally honest about how I feel with my CFS. I am not in any way suggesting that other people with this condition should feel the same way. We're all different!}

3 February 2016

Valentine's Inspiration

With just 11 days to go until the day of lurve (or Valentine's Day, as most people call it), I thought I would share with you some of my favourite gifts for showering loved ones with this February. These prezzies are ideal for that special someone in your life (girls; feel free to leave this page open on your fellas' laptops) - but who says that your special someone has to be a romantic partner? I love giving and receiving gifts from my family and friends at this time of year too, because let's face it: Valentine's Day is about celebrating love in all of its shapes and sizes.

Whoever you're with and wherever you are this Valentine's Day, I hope you have a cracking one. Following on from last year's popular post, here is a lovely selection of items which are guaranteed to put a smile on your Valentine's face!
Love Potions - Hotel Chocolat, £10

Mr Maggie May will tell you how addicted I am to Hotel Chocolat... And with good reason! Their chocolates are absolutely amazing in quality, and this collection of Blood Orange Bellinis, Champagne Cocktails, Passion Berry Margaritas and Golden Martini Kisses sounds too good to be true. 


The Lizzie Bouquet - Bloom&Wild, £26

I first came across Bloom&Wild when my friend sent me one of their bouquets for my birthday last year; their letterbox flowers are such a fantastic idea, and are a lovely surprise to find on your doorstep! Each of the flowers are carefully packaged and wrapped up in a box which fits through most letterboxes - all your recipient has to do is arrange the flowers using the instructions provided. The Lizzie is made up of blush roses, cream lisianthus, pale pink alstroemerias and fragrant eucalyptus - a gorgeous way to show someone how much they mean to you.



Fern Red Suede Courts - L.K. Bennett, £195

Aren't these just beautiful? I think we should all buy ourselves a Valentine's gift this year, and it should be a pair of these. Whether you wear them to smarten up jeans and a woolly jumper, to add a pop of colour to your work outfit, or to finish off your date night outfit with a bang, these are an excellent investment for everyone's wardrobe.
INSTAGRAM | @secretmaggiemay