Discovering Tuscany: Our quirky B&B in Pietrasanta


Mini-moon part 2

Are you looking to book a holiday that is a little less touristy for 2017? Perhaps a last minute October break is on the cards. Whatever your plans, I hope to inspire you to make a decision that is a little less ordinary for your next break away.

Last year we stayed in an Air BnB, by Lake Garda. Off the beaten track, up a mountain and in the middle of nowhere; it was a real hidden gem. Its tranquility provided such relaxation, and our hosts home and cuisine made our stay truly authentic. In fact we loved it so much we decide to look for somewhere similar for our mini-moon.



Le Stipe di Sopora, our Tuscan sanctuary

We discovered Le Stipe di Sopora, whilst browsing online and instantly fell in love with her stunning photos- this was the place for us. (Silvia told us at the time of writing, that she could be booked via Air B n B, and others).

Sylvia, our host was warm and friendly and quick to respond, which made us feel instantly at ease. She even cooked us a delicious Tuscan meal of home-made pasta, basil and tomato bruschetta and local home-made lager (hic!) on our arrival evening.

Le Stipe is only 4 km from Pietrasanta, a pretty market town in northern Italy in the Province of Tuscany. What made Sylvia’s cosy home stand out against all the other hotels and B&Bs we could have stayed in, was its quirky, personal touches and rustic charm.

Sylvia’s home is a classically furnished 19th-century Tuscan building. The beautiful farmhouse-style kitchen had a large fireplace and original marble skink which was decorated with beautiful coloured mis-matched tiles. You can see Sylvia has restored her home with love, she has kept the original features including the timber ceiling and terracotta brickwork. Colourful artworks line the stairwell providing moments of wonder as you make your way up the stairs. *Starts making plans to transform the flat into a Tusacan farmhouse.*

As you enter the bedroom you are instantly hit with how bright, clean and airy it is. Broderie Analgise cushions, gilded antiques, Moroccan inspired flooring and hanging wall art come together to make a dreamy sanctuary for some much-needed rest. When you open the chestnut brown shuttered windows, you get incredible view over the village, the hills and beyond. You don’t get these views in Leeds that’s for sure.

One of our favourite things to do was relax and waste some serious time in the ancient courtyard, in the hammock reading a book.  There are few things more perfect in life than lounging in a hammock with a book don’t you think?




Here’s a few of the town’s highlights

Pietrasanta Marina: One of the best beaches in Italy


The golden sands against a mountain back drop was insanely beautiful and so were the people. Quite possibly the most stunning beach we have been to in Italy.

Pietrasanta vintage market: On first Sunday of the month

As any vintage mama knows there’s always time for a spot of bargain hunting. I got my haggle game on and snapped up this gorgeous blue vintage dress for 5 Euros! I seriously considered leaving all my luggage and bringing a Moroccan rug home instead. And If I have had space I would have tried to smuggle Sylvia in there too!

Le Stipe di Sopora was the perfect Tuscan hideaway. I would highly recommend this or any other similar BnB, if you want to get a true taste of your Italy.



Groovy Threads and Style Inspiration



AirB&B. A review from Lake Garda



Most seasoned travellers will have heard of AirB&B, but I am still surprised that some of the people I speak to haven’t hear d of it. Here’s how they describe it on the website:

“Whether a flat for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries.”

In short opens up an array of opportunities above and beyond the usual hotels and hostels you find on travel websites and if you haven’t given it a go, here’s our review to help you decide if it is for you.

A brief review of DH Lawrence slice of heaven, Lake Garda Italy.

Our must haves

  • Within budget
  • A non- touristy location
  • Sun

Firstly downloaded the smarphone app. This makes creating wishlists, communicating with hosts and booking super easy.

I spent hours browsing. My wish list now includes a gypsy caravans in the Alps, a room in a tower in Florence and a tree top retreat somewhere unpronounceable.

We picked Lake Garda. Clearly a beautiful location but more so, this is a place we felt we could get away from it all. Our location – “San Gaudenzio” in Garagnano. Our reason – well, apart from the stunning photos on their listing, it was the many positive reviews from previous holiday makers.

We were not disappointed- our stay with this wonderful couple was simply perfect.

If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat, off the beaten track – this is for you. The view from the balcony was breathtaking in the day, and at night we enjoyed a glass of wine, (or three!) listening to music looking up at the stars- what a way to spend an evening in!

Our hosts were so kind and made us immediately feel welcome -nothing was too much trouble from making us a morning coffee in their (huge) olive garden to sharing advice to help us find the best spots to visit in our short stay.

They were happy to leave us to our privacy but when we needed them they were around and even dropped us off in the car as there were only a few buses that ran to and from the town.

The apartment was decorated with pretty vintage touches, right up my street, which made it really personal but as it was a separate area we didn’t feel like we were literally staying in someone else’s house.

Gargnano has its own stony “beach” by the lake so we had two days of pure relaxation where we did nothing but laze on the beach and look at the lake on the mountainseide. When it was time to explore we went to Venice but Verona is also only about an hour away.

One of the best places we visited was Malcesine, in the pic below- here we took a cable car to the top of Monte Blaldo the views were insane! I felt like I was ontop of the world.

To book where we stayed visit the link


Our top tips for booking a successful AirB&B trip

  1. Always read the reviews. Its not always easy to leave someone you have stayed with something that is anything less than more or less positive but if they are overwhelmingly positive (like where we stayed) you can’t go too far wrong
  2. Sorry for starting the obvious but a good gauge in how your hosts will be is how they responds to your messages.
  3. It’s not a real b&b or a hotel so treat it as it is, someone’s home and have the expectations to match (ie they aren’t a hotel owner) so your expectations match .








A tree top retreat in Puerto Morelos Mexico

So we found Mexican paradise in Puerto Morelos


When my mum got remarried in Mexico we joined them at  beautiful hotel called Rancho-Sak-Ol, that was on the Mayan Riviera.

The pictures in this picturesque beach setting speak for themselves. It does not have the all inclusive buffet and Karaoke of Cancun, but quite simply why would you want that!  Why stay in Cancun, when you can stay here!  This was hands down one of the most relaxing and spiritual places I have been privileged to visit.
You can find out more over at Rancho Sakol Hotel online.
This tranquil tree top retreat is situated in a stunning fishing village about 45 minutes from Cancun, called Puerto Morelos. You are free to borrow one of their bicycles free of charge and venture into the village and explore. Or simply while the hours lounging in a hammock with a good book watching the pelicans catch their supper as the sun goes down.
Puerto Morelos offers an absolutely stunning experience if you are looking for an authentic taste of Mexico. It seems popular with back-packers and seems to be increasingly of interest with families and older couples.
They do it slow over there- you set your own pace, so make sure you are prepared to do very little….. except for taking in paradise.