Monastero Santa Rosa

If you follow me on Instagram (here) you'll know I've been lucky enough to travel quite a bit this year, in fact we're currently exploring a festival island off the coast of Croatia, Obonjan. This post goes back to our Amalfi Coast road trip earlier in the summer and to a rather special hotel, Monastero Santa Rosa.

I've been saving up this post as our visit really was a bit special. We'd planned to head straight to Capri after Atrani, but having heard rumours of a 17th century monastery with an infinity pool to rival any other in the world we thought we couldn't not give it a go. That said, driving there takes some guts. We had planned to get a classic car to do the trip in but my God am I pleased we didn't - for this part of the world you want a standard, small rental car and pay the extra insurance premium. The twists, turns and mental state of some of the Italian drivers is quite something...

outfit credits in the base of this post

So we arrived, comically bedraggled after several sharp turns, wrong turns and inevitable domestic disputes along the way. As the hotel is built into the rock face, from the entrance way you don't really get that much of a sense of the wonder that lies beyond the wall. And then you see it... The view.

The inside to the hotel consists or amazing low ceilinged tunnels between rooms which were really cool to walk around, but outside really is where it's at. For a start the view above is what you get from the pool. You just don't get that anywhere else in the world, do you? The infinity pool is what dreams are made of - I didn't think I could out do one I went to in Colombia, but in comparison that one was a B&Q paddling pool... The little dot in the pool in this picture is the boy. Amazing.

Even the gym is tempting, coming from the worlds most prolific gym avoider that's quite a statement. It's outside too and overlooks the same view. I spent a good hour going around gardens too which are very special. The sun beds are all positioned to be very private, hidden behind branches and bushes in the gardens. You really do feel like you've got the place all to yourself, even though the hotel is pretty much booked out a year in advance...

outfit credits in the base of this post

Before I forget, my outfit. I was wearing a steal of a Topshop buy. Every summer when the sales start I zoom into the store and clean up with their boho style vests. I've just bought this one and this one too - so cheap it would be rude not to. My shorts are also from Topshop - the mom jean shorts. I get the "Tall" ones as they've got a bit more length in the leg (the regular ones are very short, shorts). I live in them all summer, I'm actually in them right now as I type and have just bought the black pair, here.

My shoes are from Tods. One of the best investments I've ever made. When I got them I was half ecstatic, half worried I looked like a toff. But to be honest if there is one thing posh people get right it's driving shoes. They're brilliant on holidays and nothing looks better with skinny jeans and a white shirt, or a fitted sweater at the weekend (although the pearls can go f*ck themselves, never happening). Get your own here, and check out The OutNet as they often have past season reduced ones here.

I don't know how I can best stress to you to get yourselves to this hotel. Yes it's expensive, but to be fair so it bl**dy well should be. It's one of the most impressive places I've ever been to in my entire life. Aside from the view and the venue itself, the staff were exceptional (we realised we were very close to missing our ferry to Capri and they could not have helped us more) and the food was really good. Go on, treat yourself and book it, here. You won't regret it.

Outfit Details (click on links)

sunglasses = as worn, Max Mara

Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.


Pearson Square

Happy Sunday everybody! This weekend is a very quiet one for me. Last week my body sort of went "umph" and I had to rest up and do very little. It's taken me years to realise it's ok to do that; the world isn't going to end if you walk away from your desk. Sometimes you need to just sit back, calm and listen to your body. 

outfit details at the base of this post

When I did eventually surface out of the house, I went for the most basic of all basic outfits. This look is very "me on a Sunday" as it's easy, comfortable and ready for all eventualities. Firstly, the top. It's from the Zara sale I found it right at the back of a rail a few weeks ago (it has sold out but I dug out this from ASOS for £12 for you). Boho tops are just a blessing from above when you want to look like you've made an effort, when in fact you fell out of bed into it...

outfit details at the base of this post

The trousers are from Monsoon, my winning brand of the summer. I've long been a fan of cargo pants, and have owned these Gap slim fit ones for ages. These Monsoon ones are ace; little bit roomier and have a really nice detail on the leg. They're the kind of things that go with everything - they look amazing with a denim shirt, or grey tee shirts or even as a neutral to go with a more patterned top or blazer. I am going to upgrade to a J Crew pair (here) at some point because everyone tells me they're brilliant, but for now these will do me just fine. I guess what I'm trying to say in my round-the-houses fashion is that every girl does need a pair...

outfit details at the base of this post

Shoes wise, I really struggle to do smart casual with footwear but these Topshop flats were a bit of a find. They're genuinely a joy to wear (coming from someone who lives in trainers that's quite a compliment) and make you feel like you've dressed up a bit when you can still run about all day...

outfit details at the base of this post

Lastly but not least, my bag. long time readers will know I'd been stalking Vestiaire Collective for a Neverfull for nearly a year. The number of times one came available, I missed it and I cried - it's probably not a good idea to dwell on it... I wanted a vintage one because the new ones are made from plastic, and I kind of feel if you're investing in a bag you want real leather. Finally one came up in my price range and I got my hands on it. We've lived happily ever after ever since.

outfit details at the base of this post

I hope you all have lovely weeks ahead of you. I'm going to check out Croatia's new festival island called Obonjan for a few days. Follow me over on Instagram here to see what I get up to!

Outfit Details
flats = as worn, Topshop / similar in silver / similar in blue

Photos taken on a Canon 5D from John Lewis here.


The Art Of Living

Last week was an absolute blast. Having finally got home from Scotland (a two day storm meant we were stuck on the island for a little longer than planned) we had a very quick turn around to join the Quintessentially lifestyle team for two days of adventure as part of Aston Martin Lagonda's new Art of Living experiences.

I'm no car expert, but I like fast and good looking ones. Aston Martin is one of those brands every one knows, every one associates with luxury but yet few actually get the chance to drive one. So when we were invited to do just that and be some of the first people in the world to drive their new DB11 it was an instant yes (and I never need buy G a Christmas present ever again...).

outfit details at the base of this post

We arrived at their head office for a tour of the factory which really was fascinating. I had no idea how intricate the processes are when building a car, and Aston Martin really let the car owner get involved - they can come in and see their car being built and are notified when the car is at each stage of development.

It was really apparent that they are a "quality over quantity" brand - with only 85,000 car ever made in the last 104 years (90% of which are still on the road) which is the same as other car manufacturers you might otherwise put alongside AM produce in 6 months... Having learned all of this, I could hear the DB11s being revved up outside and I was itching to get in and give it a go...

I really wish I was better at describing how it felt to drive, other than just saying "OMG it's unreal." Other words that could just about work include: incredible, unbelievable, brilliant... You get the drift. I've been in some nice cars in my time, but this one really is on a new level.

outfit details at the base of this post

We drove in pairs across the Cotswolds with routes carefully planned out so we got a real sense of the car's performance, stopping for lunch at Cowley Manor before driving on to our home for the night, newly refurbished hotel, The Painswick. This place was my kind of hotel; boutique feel with very cool interiors, good sheets, excellent bath stuff (I'm a stickler for this, it was all Neom Organics which is one of my favourite brands). Their veranda (above) felt like it was in Italy, so beautiful!

After a great dinner with the group it was straight to bed to get up bright and early for day two. We drove back to Aston Martin Lagonda HQ through some gorgeous villages like Bourton on the Water and Stow on the Wold (stopping to take a few pictures with Lucy and Etienne) before a morning discovering how every Aston Martin design starts off it's life in clay.

We met the man behind it (John) who was so interesting, and it was great to meet someone clearly so in love with what he does for a living. The craftsmanship involved was incredible, and it was almost relieving to know that in this day and age some skills are required away from a computer to make something like an Aston Martin.

A few hours later, having all failed miserably at trying to craft a car from clay, we reluctantly left to go back to London. If you're looking to treat yourself or someone you know to a unique experience, do this. Just do it. I can't put into words the feeling of driving a car like that, and I'm now itching to do it again. Aston Martin now do all kinds of exciting trips around the world as part of the Art of Living series; check them out here
Thank you to Quintessentially, Aston Martin and The Painswick for a brilliant couple of days.  Rooms at The Painswick start at £149pp, book here (and do, it's awesome).

Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.
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