Travel Review: Sardinia

If you’re looking for travel inspiration for your next summer holiday, look no further than the middle of the Mediterranean where beautiful and charming Sardinia lies. Last month I enjoyed a fantastic 10 day break in south-west Sardinia with my fiancé. I can honestly say its one of the best places I’ve had the pleasure of visiting in Europe. We stayed at Residence Baia Delle Palme in Santa Margherita di Pula, a sub-division of the nearest town Pula which is about 5 km away and a 20 minute drive to the gorgeous sandy beaches of Chia.  Its full of wonderful scenery, lovely people, delicious food, spectacular beaches and outstanding weather, what more can you ask for?

Pula is a municipality approximately 25 km south-west of the islands capital, Cagliari. It’s a popular holiday destination for Italians and fellow cosmopolitan Europeans, with a selection of fine hotels, shops, restaurants, cafe bars and gelatarias on offer. It’s a colourful, charming, pretty town with a laid-back feel. Most of the action is centered on and around the Piazza del Popollo, where we went almost every night to have dinner in one of the local restaurants. The Nora jazz festival had a couple of events on during our stay and it was great to see the town really come alive.

Shopping in Pula centre

Shopping in Pula centre

Pula at night, Nora Jazz Festival

Pula at night, Nora Jazz Festival

Baia delle Palme is a stylish and laid-back retreat surrounded by exotic palm trees and lush, vibrant gardens. There are a mix of studios and one/ two bedroom apartments available to let. We stayed in a studio which was perfect for the two of us. We found the accommodation really attractive, clean and comfortable. The swimming pool and surrounding outside area is marvelous. The employees of the residence were also fantastic, with a really accommodating, friendly and helpful attitude.

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If you’re accustomed to hotels with extraordinary five-star facilities, this is probably not the best place for you.  There are lots of good hotels nearby which offer complete luxury. Unlike a hotel, it’s really low-key and offers a tranquil base to explore the area. We were looking for maximum relaxation so this was ideal for us and its close enough to Pula to enjoy some culture and nightlife.

The beaches in the Chia region are simply breath-taking. The colours of the Mediterranean here could easily be mistaken for the Caribbean and the sand is almost white. The coastline is rather rugged and the beaches are largely unspoiled, with few beach facilities on offer. Heaven on earth for me! I really dislike bustling beaches filled with sunbeds and a million other Brits abroad. It felt like paradise. All of the beaches in Chia were magnificent but I particularly liked Spaiggia Campana and Su Giudeu, which were amazingly beautiful.

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We played a game of pitch and putt at Chia Golf club which was really good fun and had stunning views to enjoy while we played.

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We took a day-trip to Cagliari which I also highly recommend.  It’s a beautiful city, filled with interesting architecture.  We took an open-top bus tour in order to get a full picture of the city.  I’m glad we did as we managed to see all of the cities hot-spots.  Shopping in Cagliairi is great with many shops and boutiques on every corner.

Traveler tips if you’re heading to Sardinia:

  • I recommend hiring a car if you choose to stay in this region as public transport links are minimal and infrequent. There’s so much to explore and see so having a car made it really easy to get around. Don’t worry about driving in Sardinia; the roads are safe, well maintained and clearly signposted.
  • Take plenty of mosquito repellent and citronella candles! I was munched alive by the wee beasts as was my fiance.
  • Take a packed lunch to the beach. There are few facilities.
  • Plenty of sunscreen!
  • Some stylish clothes, its Italy after all 🙂
  • Learn some Italian!
  • Ryanair offer really low fares to Cagliari from the UK. So keep an eye on their fares to grab a bargain.
  • Booking.com and Tripadvisor make it really easy to search for accommodation without having to book a ‘package’ and also offer impartial travel review from other travelers. We got a great deal on our accommodation and we were really impressed with the standard.

Its not often I feel I want to return to a destination once I have been there on holiday.  But Sardinia makes me want to return for more.  In fact, I think I’d love to live there some day 🙂

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Finding the perfect wedding dress

So I booked my wedding yesterday.  I’m getting married one year today!  I’m excited and a little scared about the lack of savings and preparations I have made.  Whoops! So it’s undoubtedly going to be a busy, exciting,  stressful, and skint year ahead.  But it will all be worth it in the end eh?

I gathered my nearest and dearest a few weeks back and we went to the Scottish Wedding Show at the SECC in Glasgow. To say it was overwhelming is a major understatement. I didn’t have a clue where to begin, which stalls I’d been to, who I’d been speaking to etc. What did grab my attention however was the number of dresses on display and their exclusive price tags.

Typical Katie, I adore all of the dresses which are priced unfortunately way above my budget. I saw some gorgeous, elegant dresses by the likes of Joyce Young, and Sarah Louise Bridal. I’ve also been wasting a ridiculous amount of time pouring over Jenny Packham’s beautiful bridal collection which is way beyond what I can reasonably afford.

So I’ve been deliberating over whether I can find a nice enough sample dress from one of the key players, second-hand designer dress in excellent condition, have my dress made similar to designs I love by a talented dressmaker, or lastly buy an affordable dress online. I know I definitely don’t want a dress from the high-street. But I have concerns about all of the other options above.

  • Have you or anyone you know, ever bought a sample dress? If so, what advice could you offer me?
  • Have you or anyone you know, ever bought a second-hand designer dress? If so, what websites would you recommend? Any other advice would be greatly appreciated too 🙂
  • Can anybody recommend a reasonably priced dressmaker based in the UK with an interest in bridal-wear?
  • Has anyone ever bought an affordable dress online?  Can you recommend any particular websites?

I’d love to hear about your experiences finding your dress for your wedding day.  Please get in touch if you can offer me any advice about finding the perfect dress.

Fall Trend: Leather and Check Mini’s

Leather fabric and tartan/ check  prints are two of my favourite trends for fall 2013.  I love how both looks are really classic and versatile.  I’ve been on the hunt for a black leather pencil skirt and a cute tartan print skirt for the season ahead since I saw the highlights of the catwalk style creations many months ago.  Unfortunately my budget is extremely limited with weddings plans being my highest priority now, so I’ve been on a bargain hunt.

ASOS is amazing for finding a fashionable bargain.  I bought the following two skirts today for £41.00. I guarantee I’ll be wearing these all winter long with so many style combinations to choose from.  

leatherlookmini Image credit: ASOS.

Personally I think the leather look skirt will look great with a chunky bright coloured sweater, tights and edgy boots for a fashionably fierce yet edgy look.  I can’t wait to wear this skirt with my faux fur jacket too!

asosblackwhiteminicheck Image credit: ASOS.

The checked skirt would work well with black, white, red and green.  This skirt would also work well with a slim fitting knitted jumper, tights and funky boots.  

 

L’oreal collection privee by Cheryl

Absolutely loving the new ‘collection privee’ range by L’oreal. I chose Cheryl’s nude as her skin tone is closest to mine, plus it looks awesome with my sardinian tan!

There are also shades by Eva, Freida, Doutzen, Julianne and Liya.

It’s a lovely delicate pink/ brown shade that’s perfect for day and work make-up looks.

For under £10 a piece it offers excellent value for money and has good lasting power for a high-street brand. With some lipcote over it, its set to last for hours.

The packaging is great, in a really smart black and gold case. The scent is amazing too, I actually have to stop myself from licking it off my lips! Highly recommended girls, I’d give it 8 out of 10.

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Daily Find: Topshop Mini Heart Print Blouse

For the girls who can’t afford the gorgeous heart print by Burberry!

I’m in love with this mini heart print blouse new in Topshop this week.  Its only £32 and comes in both navy blue and red.  This would look gorgeous with skirts, jeans and trousers.  I want both!

 

Image credit: Topshop