Found: AirBnB – Villa Dioni

It’s the first week of the holidays (or second for some of you) and I reckon many of you will be heading off for summer breaks, or if not, wishing you were, so I thought I’d share some info about my recent holiday.

When we went away 2 weeks ago it was booked not long before we went and I decided to give AirBnB a go for accommodation booking. In my experience accommodation in Greece is often rather basic and unfortunately not in the simple white washed walls and pretty blue painted furniture way… We wanted self-catering, ideally a private villa, with a pool and 2 bedrooms. We totally lucked out with Villa Dioni 🙂

Before I go on, the villa was up a STEEP hill, and a lot of steps – thats what gave it that glorious view, but there was always the pool to dive into after the walk up and we certainly earned our dinner. 😉 It was a really short walk to the main area of Agios Nikitas, (it’s a really small place,) but if you can’t hack a bit of a hike, this isn’t the place for you! We also didn’t take the pushchair and just put Bea in the woven wrap everyday – which made life a lot easier.

The Villa actually has 2 downstairs bedrooms and a bathroom, a main kitchen and living space on the ground floor which goes out onto the pool area and has a balcony for eating on, then a mezzanine with another sleeping area. The main attraction however was the outside space and the pool – wow to the view and wow to the space.

We weren’t sure what to expect from AirBnB but our host Thanasis was great – communicated brilliantly and so quickly. I’m sure keys handover varies from rental to rental but he met us to give us the keys and there were some Greek provisions in the fridge – wine, fruit etc. A cleaner came once and more fruit appeared. As you might know from my other post about travelling with a baby, it wasn’t remotely child friendly. There are steps, stairs, steep drops as the villa is on a hillside, and no child provisions, but Bea wasn’t running around yet so it was ok for us and of course, she never left our sight. Thats might be more difficult with an older child.

I’ll be writing more about the holiday later in the week – the village we went to – its such a lovely place I almost don’t want to share it! 😉


My Month: August

This month has flown by, faster than any other month this year. Perhaps it was how full it was – we went to CarFest one weekend then away for a week in Cornwall. Or perhaps it was the countdown to Jess & Dan’s wedding which is now only 2 days away. Either way, there hasn’t been a moment for reflection so I’m enjoying looking back at my last days of summer before the new season starts next week.

  • The shorts I haven’t had off all summer
  • Summer time gin-drinking
  • Healthy alfresco eating
  • Beautiful evening clouds
  • Making paper poms for the wedding
  • The spare room coming together with hints of coral.
  • Our view from the house in Bude that we stayed at
  • Clifftop and beachfront walks on the north Cornwall coastal path
  • Bodyboarding with Pete
  • A day out in Padstow (more to come!)
  • Dressing for dinner in coral and peach
  • The perfect bank holiday lie in…
  • Sweet Peas from the allotment
  • My favourite summer shirt (from Monsoon)
  • A rare moment of peace on holiday, enjoying the sunset on the beach.

How was your August readers?


The Fash Flash: Your Holiday Wardrobe

Before my recent holiday to South Africa I found I needed to stock up on a few things and although I was looking for a few treats and a few necessary items, I realised a lot of them formed the backbone of the holiday essentials everyone needs, so I thought I’d share them here. This trip was varied with fancy restaurants and hiking in one, had the possibility of unpredictable weather, and of course, I wanted to look half decent without buying things I would never wear again. Here are my solutions…

The Bikini: Not having splashed out last year due to poor weather it was high time I picked up some new swimwear. I bought a Florence Oversize Frill Bandeau bikini in this neon coral and blue flower print, with frilled bottoms, but Accessorize have a great range of Missoni or J.Crew-esque zig zag prints or stripes too.

The pick-me-up lipstick: Remember me saying I wanted an orange-red lipstick? This one appealed because it was more of a sheen, lighter for sunny days on holiday, but also non-staining so I wouldn’t look odd after it wore off or even the next day.

The go-everywhere dress: I wore it belted, loose, with and without heels. Great investment. Second Female, Guess Dress, Atterley Road. Expect a wear-it-two-ways coming soon.

The seasonal flats: Another thing I didn’t update last year as they simply didn’t wear out. I went for on-trend metallic look silver for a change from my usual gold styles, from Topshop.

The perfect Orange-Red nail polish: Essie Meet Me at Sunset.

The travelling bag: A cross body bag in the softest grey leather, which took me from plane (roomy enough for all my essentials,) to beach, to town and beyond. I didnt worry about it being slung in the overhead locker, or by my feet in the car and it was comfortable. Although not cheap, It was simple and perfectly my style so worth the investment as my summer go-everywhere tote.

The showerproof jacket: Knowing the weather would be temperamental and I may well get wet, I bought this sunny and cheap Coated Cotton Parka from ASOS. I found out it wasn’t ‘waterproof’ in a downpour, but to be honest I don’t think much is without buying all-weather gear and I wanted something that would work in spring showers at home too. It did the job and kept me warm enough on many an evening trip out to restaurants etc when cooler weather descended.

The essential scarf: I have never invested in a quality scarf and ordered this thinking I would choose a cheaper alternative I had sen. When it came to it, the print and wool/silk mix made the quality well worth the price and I wore it non-stop for the first 4-5 days of our holiday when the weather was cooler as well as on the plane to sleep and wrap up, then later on safari. Mynuka Peacock Printed Scarf (in blue/grey), Atterley Road

Things I didn’t buy but always take with me.
1. A pair of casual trainers. I dislike planning activities ahead but like to be prepared so I always take a pair of lace ups for comfort and safety when walking up waterfalls, hiking through forests, or walking Cheetah’s 😉
2. A Hat. I forgot mine, but sorely missed my foldable straw number to keep the sun off my face on the beach and around.

So readers, will you be making any pre-holiday investments this year and do you have any must have’s for travelling?


My Month: April

This month is a tale of two halves. As you read this I’m travelling back from 2 weeks in South Africa, (remember when I started planning back in January?) I have so much to share from the trip but for now will whet your appetite with a few Instagram snaps. The first half of the month follows, with my usual and far less interesting exploits 😉

As always, the links in the list go back to posts I have written that correspond to the snaps (if you want to catch up,) and you can follow me throughout the month on Instagram @rebecca_norris on your phone, online or there’s a feed on the right hand side bar here on Florence Finds 🙂

  • My Travel Outfit for the plane: spots and stripes, layers and flats.
  • Cocktails on the roof of The Grand Daddy Hotel, amongst Airstream caravans
  • A long way from anywhere, at the Cape of Good Hope
  • A rainy day outfit for walking and sightseeing on the Atlantic peninsula.
  • The view from our Camps Bay Hotel
  • African Pengins at Boulders beach
  • Just one selection of amazing seafood we enjoyed.
  • Table Mountain, from the ferry to Robben Island
  • My very apt lion birthday card (from Paperchase) from Pete 🙂
  • Birthday outfit
  • The view from Table Mountain
  • Camps Bay beach
  • One of our hotels on route to The Eastern Cape
  • Meeting the Cheetah’s at Tenikwa – a trip highlight.

  • Making macarons with my sister and enjoying nights out over Easter, with Francesca again.
  • Re-wearing my Whistles Wisteria print dress for a (cold) early April wedding with tights and sparkly shoes (see it worn here and here also)
  • Mixing animal prints in my new favourite outfit – worn for the Style Me Vintage Weddings book launch in London.
  • Animal print points with my blue lace skirt (and Pete getting in on the footwear action!)
  • The Style Me Vintage Weddings launch
  • Breakfast in Hoxton
  • New reading material, courtesy of Gemma, pre-holiday.
  • Purchases from & Other Stories
  • Trying out my new boots and my go-anywhere dress for dinner one night.
  • New art (that I bought pete for his birthday) framed and ready to hang, starting off our new gallery wall.
  • Outfits of the day, trying to bring colour into cold days.

How was your April readers? Are you looking forward to May with all it’s bank holidays and the promise of warmer weather?


What to Wear: Island Blue

It feels like a long time since I talked about patterned trousers and it has taken me this long to find the right pair for me. Initially I didn’t want to make the investment when I felt the trend might be short lived but judging by the coming seasons trends, there will still be a lot of statement making legs around.

Trousers, Topshop // Top, French Connection // Boots, Belle Sigerson Morrison (at The Outnet) // Bag, Mulberry // Earrings, Accesorize.

I spotted this pair in the Topshop sale for the princely sum of ten whole english pounds and loved the print – it reminds me of holidays and summer with that perfect blue that you see houses painted in on the Greek Islands. The print itself has a tropical feel almost but is abstract enough to avoid a Hawaiian look.

I knew from the off that it was going to be perfect paired with white and then spotted the earrings I wore with it in the Accessorize sale. The pop of aqua just adds to that holiday feel. I wore it on this occasion out to dinner with Pete and my Sister, taking my navy sparkle Whistles jumper with me to layer up if it got cooler. Originally however it was one of the outfits I chose for the Dream. Find. Do. shoot.

Have you branched into patterned trousers yet this season? (I have to confess, I’ve bought another winter appropriate pair since this one, look out for it here soon…)


Backpack to ballroom: Flexible Packing Tips

So Findettes, leading on from Amanda’s fashion dilemma last week, we’re back talking about holiday packing.  Many guide books will try to tell you that all you need for a trip which takes in more than one country is a pair of cargo pants which zip off into shorts and a black t-shirt.  This, unless you’re built like Angelina Jolie and you enjoy being called ‘that bird who looks like, whatsername, Lara Croft’, is not true.

However. If you’ve just booked the holiday of a lifetime, be it a cruise, a jaunt through Asia, a road trip across the USA or a round-the-world trip, you’re probably not exactly rolling in cash.  So how do you pack a capsule wardrobe on a budget? Well, it’s all about multi-functional separates, day-to-night items and accessories.

ASOS peplum printed jacket and shorts

Taking a matching top and skirt, or jacket and shorts – wear the printed items together for a more formal look and separately with plain tops and bottoms for sight-seeing.
If, like Amanda, your trip calls for both black tie and backpacker, save on space and funds by accessorising. A great way to do this is with ribbon – a couple of lengths of coloured ribbon gives you 2 extra belts for any dresses you take, and they can also be tied around the top of a skirt for a retro-glam look.  Experimenting with texture, like velvet ribbon, adds a luxe edge for less.  

Say you’d packed two maxis like the ones we featured last week, with the black jersey number simply tie the halterneck cords into a bow at the bust where it’s ruched and thread a wide, coloured ribbon through, et voila! A totally new dress.  When a dress comes with a self patterned belt, don’t be afraid to use said belt on another item of clothing. Swapping floral belts from two flowery dresses, for example, works really well.  Finally, if you’ve packed ribbons and you happen to have a pair of espadrilles, re-thread your shoes for a ballerina.

Rebecca’s Tip: Look for heavier ribbons that will hold their shape if you’re expecting them to double as straps and go for patterns or stripes for instant riviera chic. Try VW Rouleaux for a great selection also available online.

Experiment with cardigans and shrugs – get it right and you can totally make the dress a different piece. This lace bolero from MANGO would transform a strapless top or dress: match your colours and they’ll look like one item, contrast them and you can easily change your look.  

Remember Rebecca’s cosy?  It’s another hard working staple that’s perfect for dressing up or down when travelling.  Another great travelling companion is an over-sized scarf – although it doesn’t look it in the picture, this American Vintage scarf is suuuuuuuuuper long and wide… and in a silk blend it can be used as a pashmina, scarf, draped as a sarong or tied into a big floppy bow for a dressier look. 

Scarf – American Vintage at Liberty

Finally, and at risk of sounding like my Grandma, it’s amazing what a good quality slip can do. A nude slip, with a lace front, is great for smoothing lines and wearing underneath wrap dresses and tops for added glamour.  

Slip by Yummie Tummie on ASOS and blue lace slip, Topshop

The ASOS slip above, though pricey, comes with detachable straps and would work under pretty much any dress, and lends itself especially well to wrap-over dresses, as well as making a previously ‘beach-only’ kaftan opaque enough to wear as a top or dress.  The blue Topshop slip would be great worn with a flippy little skirt and a cardigan over the top of it.

So readers, do you have any fool-proof travel items? Something that you took away with you and wore to death? We’d love to hear about it!

Gemma C-S xxx

Fashion Dilemmas: Amanda’s honeymoon cruise

Yesterday while we were all dreaming of colour bright pool-sides and retro road trips across the pond, reader Amanda commented the following:

I’m just planning our honeymoon in May/June 2013…

We’re going to go on a cruise ship from the UK to New York to start off with.  I’ve just booked it and was terrified at the commitment and money.  Now I’m a gibbering wreck having seen that I apparently I will need to wear evening dress on 3 nights, cocktail dress on 2 nights and the other 2 I can be “elegant casual” (which means for men that they don’t have to wear a tie)

I have precisely nothing in my wardrobe that would meet these criteria.  Smart for me is a t-shirt and skirt.  They say with some emphasis that t-shirts are not allowed after 6pm.  And how do you pack one bag with that sort of wardrobe and hiking gear for California?  I mean this metaphorically as I don’t think there is an answer – but if anyone has one I will be pathetically grateful.

Well Amanda – we think there IS an answer, and we don’t expect you to be pathetically grateful, just send us in a report of the highlights of your trip, ok?

Rebecca and I just love putting outfit inspiration together, so readers, please send your dilemmas in to FF – who knows, it could become a regular occurrence!

The maxi dress: An affordable black tie/evening option

It is an absolute sartorial gift that the maxi dress shows no sign of going out of fashion as yet.  Instantly formal due to their length, there is a cut to suit everyone.  The dresses below all have enough ‘wow factor’ to be worn with heels (and the beauty of a maxi is you only need to take one pair of heels on holiday and wear them with more than one long dress because you don’t really see them) and layered during the day.  The lightweight maxi is also a great choice if you’re travelling in countries where you need to cover your legs, if you’re visiting temples, churches and mosques for example.

1. Green printed maxi dress from MANGO – switch the belt for a different look and use the printed belt with one of the plain dresses you’re taking, or even as a headband!

2. Black gathered maxi from ASOS – Wear with a brooch at the bust and long dangly earrings – it won’t crease and no one will know that it’s jersey! Great for wearing during the day underneath a denim jacket or even a knotted shirt (my tip for Amanda? Steal your husband-to-be’s for the latter)

3. Bias cut Maxi from Ghost – This Ghost maxi is definitely an investment piece, but its timeless cut ensures it will never go out of fashion. I mentioned this yesterday but it’s worth saying again – at the moment Ghost are dyeing a range of maxis in 16 different colours.  So there should be something to suit everyone, including Rebecca who’s allergic to black!

Midi dresses: For the cocktail and elegant casual nights

1. Butterfly print asymmetric hem dress, Warehouse – This butterfly printed midi-dress (below right) is feminine yet still has a rock star edge to it.  I think it would look great with wedge sandals in a metallic shade but you could dress it down by wearing a cardigan over it, or a fitted jersey top with a sleeve underneath it.

Butterfly print dress – H&M // Butterfly print asymmetric hem dress – Warehouse

Cocktail and day dresses:

1. Butterfly print dress (above left), H&M – A bargainous number to pad out your wardrobe options… wear with a slip to add more substance to the fabric.

2. Blue Mesh Skirt dress, COS – I am in serious danger of buying this blue number.  Serious danger.  It is incredibly chic, and would be perfect as evening and cocktail wear, yet pair it with opaque black tights and a cropped black blazer and you’ve got a smart/casual outfit with serious catwalk-led credentials.

3. Lilac Jersey Dress, COS – This lilac jersey dress is basically an oversized T-shirt- but it’s the perfect item to dress up or down.  The viscose in the jersey means it won’t cling too much, and with a ribbon belt, high heels and statement jewellery, I’d say you’d have ‘elegant casual’ nailed.

4. Mint drop waist dress, COS – I have a silk dress of a similar cut and colour, and I’ve had it 10 years… I dress it up with heels or have been known to wear it on holiday with flats and a jumper over the top.

5. Gold sequin cuff long sleeved black Dress (see below), ASOS dress – This ASOS dress can be worn as an on deck ‘cover-up’ over your swimsuit, and then worn over a slip with high heels as a cocktail dress.

To give you an idea of exactly how versatile it is, here’s a Day-to-Night respresentation Rebecca made earlier showing how you can style it to take you from sight seeing to cocktail sipping…

Dress – ASOS
Day: Sunglasses – Rayban // Bag – Accessorize // Sandals – Accessorize
Night: Clutch – Accessorize // Earrings – Accessorize // Heels – Zara

Rebecca’s tips:

  • Go neutral with your daytime accessories to find something that works with every outfit in your case. This raffia and tan leather bag dresses down a glam dress for day and won’t look out of place in a National Park over a hoodie. Similarly, take one pair of double duty flip flops that will see you from pool to sightseeing to bar. Think tan, black or metallic, whatever the majority of your wardrobe is.
  • Same goes for evening attire – find a small metallic, black or neutral clutch to work with everything and choose nude shoes – lighter for summer and they’ll work with dark colours, brights and neutrals meaning only one pair of heels required! Did I mention they lengthen your legs? 😉

Woah – I could go on but think I should stop now before I am too tempted to reach for my credit card.  I haven’t really gotten around to skirts and tops for capsule wardrobes either – next week perhaps?

So readers, do you have any suggestions for Amanda? Do leave us a comment with the link if you do!

Gemma C-S xx

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