The 7 products that cured my adult acne

best-products-for-adult-acne

You might be thinking that my use of the word ‘cure’ is a pretty bold statement to make. And three months ago I would have agreed with you. Because three months ago I was in the depths of despair over my skin – it was just getting worse and worse; adult acne was the bane of my life and it was taking over 99% of my waking thoughts.

I literally thought I had tried everything. Every mattifying moisturiser, every face wash targeted at clearing and cleaning my pores within in inch of their life, and every product that claimed to blitz my blemishes into oblivion.

Nothing worked. Even a healthy diet, a few litres of water a day and some exercise couldn’t seem to offer some relief. I was so, so close to going to the doctors and asking for something – anything – to stop the endless stream of painful, red spots all over my face that were plaguing my life. And then I did some research. Because the answer to most of my face-related problems was staring me in the, um, face. I had spent a lifetime (and a small fortune, no less) applying anti-ageing serums, lotions and creams. And while I’m utterly convinced that they live up to their claims when it comes to preventing wrinkles, what they categorically do not do is prevent spots. Anti-ageing products are heavy, oil-laden and, above all, targeted at women who struggle with moisture. And from the state of my skin approximately 2 hours after I’ve painstakingly applied my make up, the one thing that’s evident is that I definitely do not have a problem with retaining moisture. Quite the opposite, in fact; my skin is so oily that I find make up on anything and everything – pens, my phone, my keyboard, my clothes. The list could go on.

So I had a little think. I asked other people what they recommended. I spent a long, long time reading reviews on all manner of websites. Then I bit the bullet and completely changed my skincare routine. And you know what? It was the best thing I ever did.

If you’re way past your teenage years and still struggling with oily, acne-prone skin then these are the products that I would recommend you think about. I’ve been using all of these for 2 months now, and while they work wonders for me I obviously can’t 100% guarantee they’ll work the same way for anyone else. But if you’re stuck in a rut and getting to the point where a paper bag is looking like a viable option, then you won’t go far wrong with any of these…

how to get clear skin

oily skin solutions

vichy dermablend foundation

 

La Roche-Posay Serozinc Spray:  This spray is everything. Seriously. Designed to be used as a toner after cleansing, this is packed full of (as the name suggests) zinc – and skin loves a bit of zinc. This is really refreshing and light, and a little goes a long way. My face always feels really clean and fresh after using this, plus it doubles up as a treatment for other minor skin irritations like razor burn, too. Winner!

Messinian Spa Micellar Lotion: As you can see from the label I still haven’t taken off it, this was one of my skincare treats from Greece. It grabbed my attention in a Greek pharmacy because it claimed to be 100% organic. Plus the layers of suncream and sweat masking my face constantly by day 5 of the holiday were doing me no favours. I haven’t linked it because it’s not sold or shipped in the UK, but it’s what I’ve been using to take my make up off with in place of my regular micellar water and I’ve loved it.

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser: This caught my eye several times during my research for a good face wash. I like to take my make up off with micellar water and then do a hot cloth cleanse to really finish the job properly. Trouble is, finding a decent cleanser that’t not Liz Earle is a mission. I don’t want to spend a fortune on face wash, and when this came on offer on the Superdrug website for £2.99 I decided it would be worth a go. I really do love this – if you want a great Liz Earl dupe, then this is the one for you (it looks like Liz, it smells like Liz, it cleanses like Liz and guess what, it’s cheaper than Liz).

Vichy Normaderm Anti-Age, Anti-Imperfection, Anti-Wrinkle Resurfacing Care: I actually had a brief dalliance with the Vichy range a spot-ridden teenager, when I woke up one morning and discovered I’d developed a BEARD of spots around my mouth. Attractive. I went to a chemist who recommended the Vichy range and I bought one of everything. Long story short, it worked – but it dried my skin out horrendously. Over 10 years later, I was willing to give it another shot. This is now my Holy Grail daytime moisturiser. Packed full of LHA, Glycol Acid and Vitamin C this is nourishing enough for daytime skin without being overly greasy. It sinks in quickly and makes a great base for my make up. I definitely think the ingredients in this have had a lot to do with my skin improving – the acids are prompting a bit of natural exfoliation, while the vitamin C is healing any little tiny pimples that are cropping up. This works particularly well with the Serozinc, in my opinion. Oh, and if you winced at the price tag, it’s much cheaper elsewhere online – I just linked to Boots so that you could read the reviews and see for yourself🙂

Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Oil:  Now, I know what you’re thinking – oil, on top of oily skin? Yeah, me too. One of the most interesting things I read about when researching The Cure for Oily Skin was that a good facial oil can, in fact, minimise oily skin. Apparently, it’s something to do with different types of oil; the one our skin produces can sometimes be a sign we’re lacking in other vital oils (and I don’t eat fish, so whaddya know, my body was crying out for them), so using the correct oil on top can actually cancel it out. I had nothing to lose at this point, I was desperate, so I bought this and thought to hell with the consequences. And it really does work. I apply this after cleansing my face and using the Serozinc in place of a serum under my night cream (once a day is definitely enough with this, it’s so moisturising). It’s light, sinks in quickly, doesn’t make my skin feel greasy and the Vitamin E has done wonders for the acne scarring on my chin.

Superdrug Clearly Youthful Glycol Peel: The one thing I’ve never incorporated into my skincare routine – even as a skincare fanatic – is a good face mask. I just assumed that as my skin was oily a moisturising one would be too much and anything that would draw impurities out would just cause even MORE zits. And then I found this. This is a retexturising, sebum-fighting, anti-ageing peel-off mask that’s packed full of glycolic and lactic acids – the highest, in fact, that can be included in drugstore facial product. I use this twice a week in conjunction with another exfoliator and am really impressed with the effects – my skin is definitely smoother, clearer and fresher looking as a result. Plus I’m addicted to peeling it off. Not even sorry.

Vichy Dermablend Foundation: This one happened by accident. I was actually quite happy with my L’Oreal Infallible 24hr Matte foundation, and then I got a sample of this in a beauty box and bam, that was that. I don’t usually bother trying foundation samples as they rarely ever include ones that match my pale skintone, but this one (in the shade Nude) caught my eye because of the brand. I had already been using the Vichy moisturiser for a few weeks and was impressed with the results, so wondered whether using the same brand of foundation would further enhance that. Also, this is a full coverage foundation, and as I’m still fighting a bit of acne scarring, I’m all about the full coverage. This is, without doubt, my new favourite foundation. It’s light – both to blend and to wear – covers all my imperfections, lasts all day and even has SPF35 in it, which was a big selling point to me after starting to use so many other products with a high acid content. The only downside is that this comes in a very small range of shades, so it’s quite tricky to get a perfect match.

 

I would 100% recommend all of the above to anyone struggling with oily, acne-prone skin. Skin problems, although not the end of the world, can seem like such a high mountain to conquer when you’re at the end of your tether.

 

 

Things I love #2 – the bath and body edit

bath-and-body-haul

So I’m back with another round up of products I’ve been loving this summer. Talking of summer, how was yours? Did it go as quickly as mine did (like, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it?).

I was outrageously spoilt this year with not just one amazing sunshine-filled trip to Greece, but two. After we got back from our holiday to Rhodes in May we immediately got on the ‘ol internet and got booking for another. Therefore, while most of the products I’m recommending this time are summer-based, you can rest safe in the knowledge that they have been thoroughly road tested in 35 degree heat and therefore they are winners. Fact.

Garnier Ambre Solaire aftersun hydrating tan maintainer: This. Is. The. Bomb. Being fair skinned I rarely tan on holiday until right at the very end, usually when we’re standing in line for the plane home. Therefore I always take a bit of fake tan away with me and this year, with limited luggage space, I decided to kill two birds and take an after sun with added tanning agent. This stuff is amazing. It sinks in quickly, has a sweet, long lasting scent and gives a natural glow that’s not orange or too ‘fake’ looking. The tanner worked pretty quickly on me – two applications and I had a nice golden colour – but beware the Curse of the Orange Palm; had it not been for this then I definitely would have got away with people thinking I actually had a natural tan to show for my week away. For once. I got mine from Boots for a fiver, but there’s plenty of this stuff knocking around the internet in various other places.

Nivea Stress Protect deodorant:  I’m not normally a fan of spray ons, but I’ve grown a bit tired of their cream stick counterparts recently. I hate that they go all sticky under your arms in the heat – the smell when they start to work actually makes me feel a bit sick. Plus I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t leave white marks on my clothes – even the ones that are designed NOT to. I was perusing Boots in search of something to take on holiday (in the mens aisle, FYI, because men’s deodorant is the best) when I came across this and thought I’d give it a go. I wasn’t expecting much from it to be honest, but it really surprised me – not only does this work (in 35 degree heat, no less) but it smells nice and the can seems to last a fairly decent length of time. Winner!

Aloe Treasures silk & silicone leave in conditioner: I’m really struggling with hair products at the moment as so many of my regular favourites have been discontinued (I’m mostly looking at you, Boots, and your unnecessary cull of the Almond & Coconut leave in conditioner. WHY?). I took some Argan oil to Greece with me to put on the ends at night and after washing, but I really do need a decent leave in conditioner for combing through when my hair’s wet. I picked this up in a Greek pharmacy in Rhodes town and it’s been a life saver. At 10 Euros it wasn’t exactly cheap (around £7) but it’s organic and, well, I was desperate. It smells nice and fresh (if a tad synthetic for something that claims to be 100% organic) and my hair is so much happier for it. Now to continue the hunt for something similar here in the UK!

Argan Oil heat defence leave in spray:  Continuing on the hair theme, this stuff has also been a god send. Getting a decent hair cut back in July has given me the incentive to style my hair properly a lot more recently, so I want to try and take care of it and keep it in relatively good condition. I picked this up in Poundland a couple of weeks ago and just give my hair a good spray every time I blow dry or straighten. I’m sure there are better brands out there, but this was ONE POUND. Enough said.

Seascape sea salt body scrub:  I was kindly gifted a few bits from award winning bath and body range Seascape just before we went on holiday again in August, and it couldn’t have been better timing. As any regular tanner will know, exfoliating is so important in maintaining and enhancing your glow and I aim to give my body a good scrub at least once or twice a week. I’m usually a Soap & Glory kind of girl when it comes to scrub (and believe me, I’ve tried them all) but this stuff is amazing. It’s got the same gritty texture as Scrub of Your Life and a little goes a long way. As you can see, I’ve nearly finished my jar – it really is that good. I would say that anyone who doesn’t like heavily scented products might not like this – it’s got a very strong lavender scent, with a hint of eucalyptus. Personally, I don’t mind it, and it makes it great as a pre-bedtime treat for winding down as I find the scent relaxing, but if you prefer sweeter smells like the stuff from Soap & Glory then this might take some getting used to. The only negative I could find was that it came in a glass jar – I’m clumsy, therefore slippery hands and glass jars in the shower aren’t the best combination for me, but other than that this product is amazing and will really make your skin soft and supple.

Seascape Soothe body mist: Lastly, a product I’ve been coveting for most of the summer is this body mist from Seascape’s Soothe range. I’ve struggled all my life with insomnia on and off, and after having a particularly stressful few weeks at the beginning of summer that disturbed my sleep no end I was really keen to give this a go. I spray some on after a shower each night, making sure it’s on my skin and pyjamas, and then mist a bit over my pillow as well. While it won’t knock you into a coma or anything, this definitely has helped to soothe and relax me in the run up to bedtime. This is made from 100% Jersey Lavender, so again if that’s not your thing then you might not enjoy it, but for me it’s a scent that I now associate with relaxation, so I personally find it quite comforting. I’ll definitely be stocking up on some more of this before it runs out – especially as Seascape are currently donating 5% from the sale of any product in their Soothe range to the Target Ovarian Cancer charity. Lovely!

 

I was kindly gifted a range of Seascape products this summer, two of which I’ve reviewed here because yes, they really are as good as I’ve described. All opinions on everything I review – gifted or not – are 100% my own, and I would never recommend anything here that I didn’t genuinely think was worth the time or trouble to write about. Thanks Seascape!

W7: Summer make up haul

nude-make-up-palettes

Make up. I’m not lying when I say I don’t leave the house without it (on my face, that is, not just like, randomly). I’d love to be one of those people that just woke up and put BB cream and one layer of mascara on, or you know, went without it altogether, but sadly it’s not to be. Acne scarring and stubby eyelashes will do that to you.

And frankly, I’ve made my peace with that. Especially in the summer. Summer make up is my absolute favourite. Nude tones, bronze skin, shimmery coral cheeks and bright lips are all big winners in my book.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was contacted by W7 Cosmetics and asked if I wanted to sample some bits from their summer range, I’ll admit I was dubious. For one, I’d never actually even heard of them and for two I had no idea what they wanted to send. And believe me when I say I’ve been sent some curious looking excuses for make up before.

Turns out you should just always say yes to these things, because I ended up with some amazing things that, put to the test, have become regular staples in my make up bag – some so much they are used on a daily basis.

If you’re looking to update your summer make up (before summer runs away…if it hasn’t already) then here are five key pieces I’d thoroughly recommend:

Bronze Queen eye palette: This is, without doubt, my absolute fave product of the whole selection sent to me. The colours are perfect for my skin tone (fair, with a generous layer of St. Tropez, just FYI) and there’s not a single one here I wouldn’t use at some stage or another. To be fair, these would probably suit any skin tone; I’m just obviously over excited about the fact that I’ve FINALLY got my hands on a decent selection of matte eyeshadows. All of the shadows are quite strongly pigmented, and the colour payoff is great – they tend to last all day on me, and that’s without a primer underneath (ain’t nobody got time for that everyday). The gold glitter is nothing to write home about though; if it were more finely milled then it would be perfect, but I ended up with big chunks of glitter all over my face. I can’t actually find this on their website so it’s either not out yet or due to be launched soon. Keep your eyes out!

Hollywood Bronze & Glow, £4.95: Obviously this is a dupe of Charlotte Tilbury’s bronzing palette of the same name – HOWEVER, this is like, ten times cheaper. It’s also my second favourite product – and one I now wear every day without fail, so there’s that too. Both are finely milled powders with plenty of shimmer, so great for an instant glow on the cheeks.

The Cheeky Trio, £9.99: A bronzer, blusher and highlighting trio, this is perfect for anyone who wants everything in one place. The bronzer is excellent for contouring (and with oily skin I’m ALL for a decent bronzer that doesn’t have ten tons of shimmer in it) underneath the Hollywood Bronze & Glow, and the blush is the perfect shade of coral and sits really well when used on top of both bronzers. The highlighter, however, wasn’t the best. Maybe it’s just because the Bronze & Glow’s highlighter is so much more shimmery in comparison, but this took a long time to build and even then I couldn’t really see it. Two outta three ain’t bad though, right!

In the Mood Natural Nudes Eye Palette, £4.95: I’ve actually only really used one shade from this palette properly so far. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just prefer the Bronze Queen palette so much more at the moment, and I’m also not a massive fan of all the really pale nude shades, to be totally honest. Again, these are all highly pigmented matte shades with good colour payoff. You’d probably have to build the lighter shades up a bit though, depending on how strong you like to wear them as they are really subtle. This will, however, be perfect for our holiday in a few weeks time as it’s so small, and I’m planning on using the darkest shade as an eyeliner. If you’re looking for something very basic to get you started with nude eyeshadow then for less than a fiver you can’t go much wrong here.

Liquid Kiss Lipstick in Can Can, £4.95: Oh my days, this year I’ve become OBSESSED with lipstick. I only ever used to wear it on nights out and that, but recently I’ve started experimenting with it during like, ordinary days too. Only problem being, I end up with more on my mug of tea than I do my actual lips. This, however, is the answer to everything. This IS everything. I put this liquid lipstick (is that a thing?) on after lunch one day last week and 6 hours, 3 drinks and a biscuit or two later it was STILL there. Not only that but it didn’t actually come off at all until I used make up remover. There was not a trace on my mug, my pen (I’m a pen chewer, soz) or my teeth at all. And it’s completely lightweight – one of the things I really hate about lipstick, and which kinda puts me off wearing it at all is that you can feel it on you lips, but this is pretty much invisible. I only remembered I was wearing it when I caught sight of myself every now and then. For the price, I would say this is the best value for money, and would be well worth looking into if you have a wedding or party coming up before summer’s out.

*FYI, this is obviously a PR collaboration. W7 were kind enough to send me this selection of make up to test out. However, as always, ALL thoughts are my own and nothing ever gets reviewed here that I wouldn’t genuinely recommend to a friend.*

Currently Coveting: the cold shoulder

Is there actually anything  that screams summer more than a bare naked shoulder? Personally, I think not – particularly when it’s a tanned one. To me, shoulders are somehow just so much more sophisticated than legs. I don’t even know why – maybe it’s just because we never really get our shoulders out at any other time of the year. Unless, you know, you’re Victoria Beckham or something.

This year, it seems I can’t move for seeing bare naked shoulders. And I’m loving it. The ‘cold shoulder’ as it’s been dubbed by Vogue and the like is all the rage at the moment, and is one of the many incarnations of boho, ’70’s style fashion that is filling the high street top to bottom. Move over crop tops, you’ve had your day.

cold-shoulder-fashion

 

L-R: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

What I wore in Greece: Holiday Clothes Haul

holiday-clothes-haul

So this year I decided that instead of throwing 99.9% of my entire wardrobe in my suitcase and hoping for the best I would actually put some thought into my holiday attire.

And while it was tempting to just, you know, make like I always do and pack whatever the hell I fancy approximately 2 days before I travel, I kind of also really wanted to be organised for a change. See, the problem with taking everything is that more often than not it makes you feel like you’ve got nothing; too much choice always makes it harder for me to make a decision, and I just didn’t want to waste time thinking about clothes when I could be sunbathing/sleeping/eating/drinking gin/reading utter trash on the beach whilst drinking gin, etc.

Obviously I took more than the above. But, in all honesty, it wasn’t much more – just another pair of shorts, some comfy camisole tops, 2 other dresses and a silk shirt. And really, it was all I needed. The only thing I did find was that because I took so little, I didn’t have a clean outfit for the journey home, so I caved and bought a kaftan while I was there. And a high waisted skirt. And maybe a crop top to go with it. I mean, there were only so many times I could walk past H&M in one week and not go in. I’m merely human. (Turns out, FYI, Greek H&M is exactly the same as English H&M, so there you go – I did you all a favour.)

I also wished, on many occasion, that I had a bikini – while I felt less self-conscious in a swimsuit, going to the toilet was a pain. in. the. ass (literally), and there were days where we went out and it would have been so much easier to just not be WEARING A GODDAM SWIMSUIT. You live and learn.

On the whole though, packing light seemed to work out well, so when we go back in September I’m definitely going to be doing the same (with a few new additions, of course), safe in the sweet knowledge that not only is H&M is ten minutes down the road, but the local supermarket sells 7 Euro kaftans. Ace.

L-R: Blue and white dip hem dress: Primark // tan belt: Primark // gold chain: Primark // gold heels: Primark // black hat: Primark // floral kimono: Primark // black vest: Primark // pink and gold necklace: Matalan // tan sandals: Primark // cream hat: Everything Five Pounds // geometric swimsuit: Primark // mono striped swimsuit: George at Asda // gold bangles: H&M // black and gold sandals: Matalan // pineapple print skirt: Primark // studded tan clutch: Everything Five Pounds // blush tie front crop top: New Look // navy pleated maxi skirt: Primark

Holidaying in Greece: Rodos

ixian-grand-rhodes

So, let’s talk holiday…finally. 

Way back in May (I say ‘way back’ because it feels like it was about six months ago now, not a mere four weeks. Seriously.) we decided to book a last minute deal and grab some sun before the summer kicked in. And as it goes, last minute was an understatement. There we sat, five days before we flew, simultaneously glued to our laptops, desperately trying to find something…anything; because let me tell you, booking last minute is absolutely fine if you’re a laid back, I-do-this-shit-all-the-time kinda person. If you’re borderline type A with a penchant for organisation then DO NOT do this. I think it aged me at least five years, if not more.

Mostly, our criteria for booking a holiday was Mexico. We really wanted to go to Mexico. We really wanted to go to Mexico on a budget of less than £2,000. If you’re laughing out loud then a) you’re correct and b) you obviously know more than we do because you absolutely cannot fly to Mexico and stay all inclusive for less than £2,000…unless it’s £2,000 per person. Or, you know, you’re happy about sleeping on the beach (no judgement).

Anyway, I digress. From Mexico we slowly worked our way West, burning every single option that nearly every package holiday website had to offer. And then up pops Greece. Because obviously. Now, I love Greece. And I mean LOVE. I’d only been there once before but it just struck such a chord with me – the people, the food, the atmosphere, how god darn happy everyone is 24/7. It’s an infectious place to be. Unfortunately, Mr. B didn’t share my enthusiasm. Once had been more than enough for him, and he was quite prepared to file it under the ‘been there, done that’ section of his travel reportoire and move the hell on. Until he saw this place, however. And then we sat and pored over the reviews on TripAdvisor and before I knew it credit cards were flying about all over the place and I was swiftly checking my suitcase for the fifth time (a job which had been in the making since I booked the annual leave in March, I kid you not).

ixian-all-suitesixian-grand

Aside from the fact the hotel was actual a-mazingness, what really swung this holiday for us was a) the 10 minute transfer time and b) the fact that it was a further 10 minutes into Rhodes town centre. Because if all else fails, especially the food, then at least there’s a plan b.

Not that we needed it here, of course, but you never know.

ixia-grand-garden-room

First thing’s first after checking in (and being given welcome drinks…you know you’re onto a good thing when they get thrown about like confetti), the balcony and said view from it were given a once over. Aside from thinking this was the actual pool and being all like ‘but where are the sun loungers…oh wait, where are the people’ first impressions were good. And they were about to get better.

ixia-grand-beachpineapple-palm-tree

ixian-grand-swimming-pool

ixian-grand-pool-bar

 

As we sat there sipping our cocktails/beers, our only mutual regret was the fact that we’d only booked to stay for a week and not two. Because this place was so good. I mean, there’s an 80% chance that wherever I was in the world at that point with 2 bellini’s inside me and no prospect of work for at least 9 more days (we flew Friday-Friday) I would have thought it was the best-place-ever, but this really was. It had been nearly two years since I’d felt proper Mediterranean sunshine on me, and been within walking distance to crystal clear water.

greek-sunsetgreece-twilight-hour

For the first couple of days, we literally did nothing. Which for us meant sleeping, eating, sunbathing, eating, more sunbathing, a bit more eating, reading and drinking gin. Then we’d take a nap and the whole routine would just start all over again.

You know when you go on holiday and you can’t even get close to a sun lounger unless it’s 5am in the morning? Yeah, that didn’t happen once here.

ixian-grand-sunbeds

ixia-beach-rhodes

After a couple of days, we decided to venture out. Well, by ‘out’ I obviously mean further than the supermarket that we discovered on the first night. Because that mini fridge ain’t gonna stock itself, right? Although the little strip just outside of our hotel was pretty cool – plenty of bars, tavernas, classic gift shops and places to get Greek chocolate. We walked up here nearly every night, and if I’m honest I’m a little sad we didn’t at least go for a drink or have a quick bite to eat.

It’s also painfully obvious once you leave the confines of five star luxury, just how deeply Greece has been affected by its recent economic troubles. It broke my heart to see so many derelict, abandoned buildings that had obviously once been thriving shops or hotels next to the tavernas and mini markets that were hanging on in there. The contrast between the rich and the poor, the new and the old, the past and the present is so very black and white here. I just wanted to reach out and make things better somehow. But the spirit and determination of the people is so strong – there’s a smile for everyone and always some conversation to be had. You would never know from the outside that the people are struggling; their happiness and determination is so infectious.

oldest-bar-in-ixia

bouganviliagreek-garden

greek-garden-bouganvilia

Rhodes Town is amazing though. Ten minutes by taxi from our hotel, this was what I wanted most from the holiday; a bit of culture. Some new places to explore and become familiar with and just a taste of a different life for a while. We always play a game when we go away, whereby we picture ourselves living in the country we’re in, but this time I didn’t have to pretend. I felt right at home.

rhodes-new-town

rhodes-town-centre

The town is divided into the New part (with the likes of H&M, Zara, M&S etc) and the Old part. They sort of merge into one, and as the streets are winding and intertwined you never really know which part you’re in. But that’s part of the charm. And this is how we came to stumble across what is now known in our house as The Best Restaurant Ever. And if you think that’s an understatement, just wait until you see the steak. Man ALIVE it was good.

greek-restaurant-rhodes

rustic-cart

rustic-greek-restaurant

steak-and-chips

authentic-greek-restaurant

rustic-restaurant-decor

 

See what I mean? It was so good that we ate here twice in one week, despite being all inclusive. The decor was just amazing – every last detail was thought about and I definitely took some inspiration for our future Kitchen of Dreams away from eating here. Didn’t hurt that the gin was about 50x stronger than what the hotel were serving, either.

Because the taxi service was so good here, we didn’t rush to get back. Most of the shops in the Old Town by the marina stayed open until around 10 or 11pm, which was amazing – because there’s nothing better than a drunk tourist with a penchant for buying novelty gifts after a day on the gin, is there?

rhodes-new-town

rhodes-old-town

The other amazing thing about Rhodes? It’s a 50 minute boat ride to Marmaris in Turkey. We were walking along the marina one afternoon drinking slush puppies and when we discovered the tour guide offering boat rides there we both actually laughed out loud. Our first ever holiday together had been to Marmaris and well, holiday is a slight exaggeration. Adventure would be more to the point. So we thought, to hell with it, let’s go back. No, seriously. It was such a great day – the coach picked us up from the hotel in the morning and after an hour on the boat (and various security/passport control checks) we were taken by coach…to a gold centre. This was all a bit weird, and there was a moment when I thought I might actually be in one of those movies where they, like, kidnap you or something by enticing you into some fancy jewellers (is there even a movie where that happens?!), but as I’m still here to tell the tale I can vouch for the fact that it was none other than a pleasant little detour/way for the tour guides to get commission on sales. But whatevs.

Next we were dropped off at the Bazaar. Now, if you’ve ever been here before then you’ll know just how mental it is. Literally hundreds of shops, all crammed with what the Turkish call ‘Genuine Fakes’. We had about three hours to look around before the coach picked us up again, so we just wandered. The people here are slightly more aggressive (albeit in a friendly way) than they are in Greece and there is no such thing as just being able to walk around a shop in the leisurely fashion you might be accustomed to. It’s all about the hard sell here, and while it’s fun to have a bit of banter and haggle in the first five shops you go in, it all gets a bit much after that.

So we did what all the other sane people were doing. We sacked off the shops and went for kebabs.

turkish-restaurant

marmaris-turkey

marmaris-turkey

And then we ate ice cream. By the time we got back on the coach we’d basically spent the whole afternoon eating, but man was it worth it. But it didn’t end there, because before we went back to Greece, the coach stopped at a Turkish Delight factory. This was another strange experience, one whereby we listened to a scarily enthusiastic (but again, friendly) man talk us through the wonders of Turkish Delight, before we were then ushered into a gift shop, where naturally we all bought the obligatory gifts for people back home (soz Mum and Dad).

For the rest of the week, we mostly spent the mornings at the hotel, sunbathing (and robbing any free wifi we could get our hands on – hello Daily Mail stalk of Michelle Keegan’s wedding dress) then after lunch we’d go into Rhodes Town, or just wander the strip with no real plans.

ixian-all-suites

rose-garden

ixian-grand

night-time-balcony-view

And before we knew it, the time to think about going home was upon us. I dealt with it in the only way I deemed acceptable; by planning a kick-ass airport outfit and drinking my body weight in Greek coffee (that shit is addictive).

airport-outfit

ixian-grand-breakfast-buffet

ixian-grand-breakfast-room

Needless to say, we had the best time here. That’s not to say I’d ever chance such a last minute holiday ever again. Or that Mexico 2016 hasn’t got my name written all over it. But I couldn’t fault a single minute of this holiday. And, much to my surprise, neither could Mr. B. So impressed were we that we’ve gone and broken our ‘never go back to the same place twice rule’ by booking ourselves in for another stay in September (I know right, who even are we). And this time we’ve got so many more things planned.

Anyone else off to Greece this year? I’m looking into travelling further around Greece and exploring more of what it has to offer, so if you have any suggestions please give me a shout below!

Travel Link Up: Holiday Souvenirs

greek-charm-necklace

As you may have gathered if you follow me on Instagram, I’ve just come back from the most amazing week in Greece (more on the specifics in another post coming soon!).

Any excuse to venture out into the big wide world is good with me, but this holiday was particularly good as it was the first in almost two years. And we booked it totally on a whim –  a whim that paid off spectacularly and gave us the best. holiday. ever (no exaggeration). But more on that later.

I was casually browsing Twitter today, my eyes glossing over everything that didn’t involve the words ‘holiday’, ‘sun’ or ‘prosecco’ when I stumbled across this post by the lovely Angloyankophile.  And it really struck a chord with me – one that I felt I just couldn’t ignore and totally wanted to get involved in.

You see, I’m quite a sentimental soul. If you give me a birthday card, it’ll stay up for the entire month of my birthday (and then probably sit in a draw forevermore. Especially if there’s a cat on the front of it); if you get me in a Secret Santa you can guarantee I’ll keep the keep the present; wherever I go, whoever I see or whatever I eat I need a photo to remember it by. You get the picture – I find it hard to part with things that mean something, in some kind of way. So when it comes to holidays, I can’t help but always want to come home with a gift that I can keep long after the post-holiday washing’s done and my tan’s faded (which is, in my case, approximately 2.5 days).

As well as being sentimental, it seems I’m also a creature of habit. Because on every holiday I’ve ever been on, the one thing that always comes home with me is a piece of jewellery. In Turkey it was garnet earrings. In Greece (the first time) it was a turquoise ring. On honeymoon in Malta it was a silver Maltese cross. And this time? Well the picture above says it all.

I bought the necklace above on our last night in Rhodes. We’d spent the evening in our new favourite restaurant, eating steak and drinking beer. After that, with no agenda, we wandered the streets until we came to a bar on the corner. We sat outside, in the warm evening air, drinking gin and tonic and eating the free slices of orange we were given. We literally watched as the world went by, just chatting, drinking making plans for the future – the kind that you can only make in the comfort of your holiday world after a few too many gins.

As it got darker, we decided to wander the streets one last time, stopping at the gift shops near the marina. I don’t know whether it was the gin, the fact I had 30 Euros burning a hole in my wallet or the regret I STILL felt over not buying one on holiday in Turkey five years ago (gin, most likely) but as soon as I saw this necklace I knew I had to have it.

Everywhere you go in Greece you see the nazar symbol; a talisman which is said to repel the evil eye. Greek people adorn everything in it, from their homes to the rear view mirrors of their cars, and you know what? I think it must work. Because Greek people are some of the friendliest, happiest, most relaxed people I’ve ever met. So if I can have a little piece of that with me every day and remember to live in the moment, just like they do, then I think this was worth every single Euro.