My Holidays In Tenerife. Part 1

Monday, 29 August 2016

Tenerife Holidays Palm Trees

How can I start this post? Uhm, maybe with an apology for not letting you know that I will be pretty much absent for most of the month? Or have you even noticed that I was gone for nearly three weeks? To be honest, it wasn't my intention to be gone for so long. 

I've only had one week planned for my summer holiday in Tenerife, but I left without any guest posts, or posts to publish during and after the holidays, so I just enjoyed the time off the usual online pressure and just did....nothing. I holiday-ed pretty hard (more in a bit), returned to work, worked on a project which I was very happy with when I presented it to my team and now that things are slowly returning back to normal (aka boring work routine), I have a moment to give StyleLingua some much-needed attention and love. 

Bye, Bye London And Hello Holidays In The Sunny Canary Islands

So yes, during the first week of August I went away. I boarded a plane to the sunny Canary Islands and left miserable, toxic London behind. It felt so good to get away, I can tell you. My actual holiday wasn't even a week-long, but those few precious days felt amazing. Time for me, time to catch up on my life. 

I booked flights early in the morning and late at night so that I would get the full day to spent in Tenerife. The flight was smooth and I felt happy when the white top of the Teide came into view. There were no clouds in the sky and from the plane window, I could see the island, the dry desert-like vegetation, the palm trees, the dust and more importantly the blue, crystal clear waves of the Atlantic Ocean. I was excited as a little child to get out of the plane. 

When the moment finally came, it hit me really hard: the heat. It's a moment, that I have experienced a very long time ago (make it 16 years) and every inch of my body lusted or it. Apart from time with loved ones and air, what I need and crave most in life is love and the heat of the sun - and I was going to enjoy it for a full six days. EVERY. DAY.

The low point of the holiday, however, came quite fast, so I better mention it now at the start of this post to have it out of the way and to get over it. The "Four Star" Hotel that I had booked, was at most a two-star accommodation, that had JUST made it to three stars. It was horrible and not what I expected and remembered from previous stays at four-star hotels. 

The hotel staff were nice, but the bedsheets were almost dirty every day, the towels absolutely threadbare, the pool small and nothing special and the food hygiene.....let's not go there. The area was pretty much the hot spot of British tackiness and drunken "Millenials" invaded every inch for clubbing and drugging. GREAT, but to take the blame, I had booked the holiday in a moment of total frustration with only 1h of research (you get the desperate state that I was in to leave London). 

Upon arrival, I was also told, that the island has rubbish public transport, so if I wanted to "discover the island for myself" I was more or less forced to rent a car. ERM no. I'm on holiday and certainly felt not in the mood of driving in 37-degree heat, in a country that I don't know. With this in mind, it took me a good 1 1/2 day to get over this and to fully relax. 

But the whole point of a holiday is to relax and also, to get out and explore new places, so I didn't plan on staying in the hotel for long anyway. The whole point of the trip was to refuel on much-needed sunlight, Vitamin D, swim in the ocean with dolphins and turtles, eat pizza every day, in general, have the diet of a 14-year-old living off ice cream and ice cold ice tea and spent money on shopping. The things you do when you're on holiday.

chill out zone beach club tenerife

And I pretty much did so every day. The sunburnt from a cloudless sky every day: 37 degrees no exception from 8 am till it went down at 9 pm and even then the temperature wouldn't drop under the 30-degree mark. Though the hotel was a disaster, it was only a short 5minute walk away from the sandy, lava grey beach, and a beautiful, perfectly clean beach promenade. 

The promenade connected the entire south from Puerto Colon, to Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos. It was absolutely beautiful and you could walk along the beach for a good 1h or so and still discover new places and things. 

Most days, I walked over to Los Cristianos which was the more affluent area and if I ever book a holiday again in Tenerife, it will definitely be in that part of Playas De Americas. The area is literally studded with clean and tidy shopping malls, beautiful restaurants and palm trees, palm trees, palm trees. The sea is always in sight, the buildings are white and gorgeous, the flowers are colourful and the streets are empty of people (they are all at the beach). 

It was perfect. I was finally able to go shopping without the usual squeeze. NO PEOPLE. Even at night (the shopping malls were pretty much open till 11 pm), the shops were empty, because people were back in their hotels or out eating dinner. What a lifestyle!

summer evening in tenerife
Beach promenade Los Cristianos Tenerife
Mini Golf course los cristianos
giant cactus mini golf course los cristianos tenerife

My usual day in Tenerife: get up at 8 am, then off to the promenade, strolling along, going shopping. One day I went to play mini-golf in this absolutely amazing Gaudi-inspired golf course and I treated myself to a Garra Rufa Fish spa treatment, which was a surreal and very ticklish experience. And whilst getting my feet all cleaned up by my little fish friends, I just leaned back and watched people and life go by.

Garra Rufa Fish spa experience tenerife

In the afternoon off to the beach, swimming (erm, splashing and diving) in the Atlantic Ocean, sunbathing till at least 7 pm. And even then, the sun did not move an inch. It felt like midday all day, but at around 9 pm, the sun would very quickly set. 

After enjoying the peace and quietness of the evening, watching surfers gently rocking on the waves watching the sun disappear for the day, it was Dinner time. Can you imagine? Usually, at 10:30 pm, it is my bedtime in London, but at 10:30 pm Tenerife time, it was time to have some food and dine out by the sea. The light was amazing. A perfect summer evening with the sound of the ocean - aaarrrrrggghhhhh can someone please take me back?

My Visit To The Loro Parque

On two days, I went out for a day trip. The first one took me back to the north of the island, which is more lush and green than the south. It is where the locals live, so less touristy. It also means the weather is more fickle and humid, with clouds hanging over Puerto De La Cruz that nestles in the shadow of the mighty Teide. You can't go to Tenerife, without visiting The Loro Parque and the last time I came here, my visit was more than short (2h) and rushed. When I visited the zoo with my family 16 years ago, the Penguinarium had just opened and Tenerife had the longest shark tunnel in the world. 

Now, the zoo had orcas and a Loro station, where you could see chicks hatching and developing into these pretty paradise birds. Once you got past the entrance (which was maniac), the crowd would slowly lose itself in the park and it became less busy throughout the day. However, if you're planning on going to the Loro Parque, you'll need at least 4-5h if you want to see all the shows and don't want to be rushed to see everything.

Giant turtle Loro Parque
Orcas in the Orca Ocean Loro Parque
orange plant in the loro parque
the dolphin cove loro parque tenerife

I know the zoo has been criticised a lot and received negative publicity for the inappropriate care of orcas, which sadly, is true. It was a surreal experience to see the performance of the orcas which left me with mixed feelings. 

On the one hand, they are incredibly sensitive creatures that need their families and can't be "thrown" together with random orcas they don't know. They are very intelligent and communicative and if they don't get along, they tend to bully each other through fights and singling out. As the tanks are too small, there's no way for the bullied orca to escape the situation (as they would do so in the ocean) so they become upset and float listlessly in their tanks. 

On the other hand, and I admit, this is a very selfish reason, I'm fascinated by them. I love whales and dolphins and I don't know how to ever see them or experience them in their natural habitat without causing them stress. To be honest, as a child my dream job was to join Greenpeace so that I can be on a speedboat and rescue whales in need. Later in my life, I considered to become a marine biologist to study them, but let's be realistic, this would just be as realistic as me becoming a recognised journalist.

Anyway, there was another opportunity for me to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat the next day which I'm going to tell you all about in my second part of my Tenerife holiday.

Thanks so much for reading, 

Till next time,

The Green Dress Inspired By Atonement

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Green Dress Inspired by Atonement

Literature has always inspired me in so many different ways, that I thought I should use today's post to show you, how literature influenced my style. I must have been 16 or so when I read Ian McEwan's novel "Atonement" for the very first time, which has become one of my favourite books. 

The heartbreaking, yet realistic novel about love, forgiveness and a tragic incident that changes the life of all protagonists had some major impact on how I perceive life and shaped some of my core values that I have today as an adult. 

It is an inspiring book so I can only recommend you to read it if you have the chance to. I don't want to give too much away of its plot, but one particular scene stood out to me, mainly when main character Cecilia prepares for a special family reunion dinner and decides on her wardrobe for the occasion:  

"Her latest and best piece, bought to celebrate the end of finals before she knew about her miserable third, was the figure-hugging dark green bias-cut backless evening gown with a halter neck. Too dressy to have its first outing at home." (Atonement, Ian McEwan). 

Fashion Inspiration: The Green Dress From Ian McEwan's Novel Atonement

Though described as "too dressy" Cecilia decides for it anyway as she realises that all of her other clothes are way too conservative and decorous. She feels she has outgrown her old self and is after a fashion piece, that represents her as the strong, sexy and confident woman that she has become. 

So, we all know the dress is way over the top for the occasion, but as you can imagine, she goes for it anyway and I can't blame her. Though we know we should leave some opportunities where they are and no action on them because the consequences would be a terrible mistake, what do we do instead? We go for the opportunity anyway, because life is too short to be boring (who cares, right?).

Described in two single lines and with some sparse phrases, McEwan created an iconic piece of clothing: The Green Dress. It formed in my memory the moment I read those lines as this perfect, fluent and absolute gracious piece of clothing that it has literally haunted me for a few years. In fact, The Green Dress was my ideal dress to wear for my prom, which was despite my mum's constant nagging "you have to wear black" an impossible undertaking - I could not find it. 

So dressed as everyone else at my prom back in 2005, in a horrible black neckline dress that made me look like I was wearing a massive baby romper, I would not give up on The Green Dress that easily. It took me years to find it, but here it is. My Green Dress from Zara, bought in Manchester, 2009.

Green Dress Zara
Green Dress fashion post shot at Sky Garden

The dress has a high-neckline with some casual pleating. It is nicely tailored around my bust/waistline which makes it "figure-hugging", as McEwan would describe it. The shade of green is just perfect. It has this dark, sophisticated but seductive touch to it that Cecilia would love. The material is light-weight and floating which makes the dress a wonderful summer dress. I must admit, that it has spent most of its life with me hidden away in the wardrobe because it is an occasion dress and demands attention from viewers to be appreciated and admired. 

But in true Cecilia style, I ignored social conventions and just wore it out the other day to Sky Garden in London, you know....because I can :) My friend Mille, who visited me earlier this month, kindly took the pictures during our visit. I shot at Sky Garden last summer and I think the location is great for OOTDs as the lighting in there is incredible and the plants plus the London skyline make a dramatic backdrop.

Fashion blog post Green Dress
My Green Dress from Zara
Green Dress inspired by Ian McEwans Atonement

Here's What I'm Wearing:

The Green Dress: Zara (AW08/09, £35)
Cardigan: New Look (current SS16 season, £20)
Bag: Kate Spade (via Bicester Village, £140)
Wedges: Jones Bootmaker (AW15/16, sale £50)

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time, 

Casual Red Checked Shirt OOTD

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Fashion post shot at Leeds Castle

I tend to romanticise Britain a lot which doesn't really come at any surprise if you have ever had the chance to visit any of the medieval castles which are scattered around the island. One place that holds a particular strong magic to me, is Leeds Castle in Kent. Only a 1h train journey south of London, the enchanting water castle is nestled in a generous parkland surrounded by lush greenery, wild rose bushes and tranquil ponds. 

Totally taken by its charm during my first visit in 2011, I was eager to return to Leeds Castle for a day out. This little weekend trip happened with my friend and Mille whilst she came over from Denmark for a few days. Together we explored the endless grounds, hidden archways, got lost in a maze and watched a spectacular bird of prey show. 

The castle itself holds history dating back to the 6th century as it is of Anglo-Saxon origin and has been used during the Tudor reign as a country house and is today in private hands. Keep your eyes open for a full review post which I'll be working on once I'm back from my summer holiday, as for now, I'd like to show you my outfit that I wore on the day.

A Day Trip To Leeds Castle

The British summer has been - well - very British. We had three days of proper sunshine (one more day than last year, yeah!), but apart from that the weather is quite fickle and unpredictable so I wanted to wear something summery, but also appropriate in case of rain. It literally rained all of the time we were travelling and by the time of arrival at Leeds Castle, the rain stopped, but it stayed humid, grey and cloudy.

For this kind of weather, I opted for some comfy faux leather leggings in combination with a long line white vest from Vero Moda. I've had this one for ages and apologise for the slight grey effect which has built up over the years I have had it for, which makes it now impossible to get it 100% white ever again.  It is a favourite of mine though as it is long enough to wear it with comfy leggings and I love the delicate lace detail at the bottom. These days it is quite hard to find anything like this nor a vest that is long enough for tall women like me so this will stay for a little longer in my wardrobe.

The key piece of my outfit is, however, my red checked shirt from Bershka which I bagged during their SS16 sale a few weeks ago (check My Octer Holiday Story for more info!). I've been on the lookout for a checked shirt for a while and I think my wait has paid off. Can you believe I've only paid £10 for it? It has a wonderful length, is super lightweight and the colours are of great intensity. The checked pattern has the right sizing for me and the overall shape is nicely tailored, yet kept in a casual style. Thrown over the white vest and voila, a chic look is born!

fashion post at leeds castle
my casual leggings and checked shirt outfit fashion

To give the look a little extra and to not go entirely without any accessories, I opted for my braided tan belt from New Look (also a bargain at £2.50!). Braided belts are very down to earth and can apply that laid-back touch to your outfit - easy! 

The uncomplicated summer style is finished off with my grey flip flops from Ipanema. Their material, PU, makes them so darn comfy to flip-flop around all day and explore the area of Leeds Castle. We found this ancient stone archway and couldn't resist to use it for our shoot. 

bershka red checked shirt in an outfit of the day fashion post

Here's What I'm Wearing:

Faux Leather Leggings: Joni, Leggsington (current season £25)
Shirt with Lace Detail: Vero Moda (bought 2008/2009?)
Checked Shirt: Bershka (SS16 sale, £10)
Braided Tan Belt: New Look (SS16 sale, £2.50)
Flip Flops: Ipanema (SS15, £20)

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time,
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