And another rule breaking blog...

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Yes I know I said to only buy things you're going to wear in the immediate future but I am sure I am not the only one who has "summer holiday" clothes. Those clothes that you year in year out and could basically just live in your suitcase.  Apart from the last two summers in the UK where we've basked in some glorious temperatures and have had to rifle through the "holiday drawer" and unearth those gems, which normally only see the light of day after a flight.  

You will hopefully know by now, what sort of dress works for you . Whether it's the cover up on the beach that you're looking for that you wear a lot.  For me, it's a dress that can double up for wearing down to the beach, but also on a day trip out and if I can wear it out in the evening as well - that's a massive tick in the right box.  

I also love them off the shoulder as I - vanity alert here - can't stand strap marks on my shoulder.  And I've mentioned this before and people have asked - what about the arms?  Randomly, I don't seem to get marks there.  Go figure...

The biggest issue with summer dresses are finding those in a breathable fabric.  I actually don't mind a polyester dress for during the day.  But when it comes to wearing one in really hot weather, that's an absolute no no.  It's literally like wrapping yourself in cling film.  The sweat effect is real.  So natural or breathable fabrics only.  And unfortunately that often means upping the budget as they generally are more expensive.  

WHICH means it's perfectly acceptable to have a look at the sales and and see if there are any that work for you to tuck away until you're lucky enough to jet off to somewhere sunny.  Or if we have a balmy Feb here.. who knows.

First up - I've devoured the sale at Matches.

Eva off the shoulder smocked dress from Rhode at Matches was now £122



And in the blue... which again is amazing and also with 60% off at £122 now.



Now... I also tried this one.  Which wasn't great on me.. (see over on Insta stories for more images) It's a much thicker fabric (they say it's cotton but I think it's more of a linen cotton) and I think you really need to size up.  It's also that sort of yellow that does work with a great tan or a naturally darker skin.  

Harper shirred cotton-gauze midi dress from Rhode was £268 now £134




This held promise from The Outnet for a bargainous £68 but it was SO SO TINY!  Images again are over on InstaStories but the I couldn't even do the 12 up.  Nuts.  However it would be a super useful dress - a friend of mine wore it to Ascot last year and so it is super versatile - from the beach to super dressy. 

Off white Roseburg one shoulder dress from Ganni was £195 now £68



Now this I absolutely loved - BUT it was too big.  So absolutely size down.  They also do it in a white and a pale blue but I do find there is something super elegant about black in Summer (plus I am a nightmare when it comes to sun cream and white fabrics... I can't be the only one...!)

Quince broderie-anglaise cotton dress from A Piece Apart was £350 now £210



Black again and as much as I LOVE this dress - it's a great one for evening on holiday and would also perfectly for our British Summers, I personally was looking for full on day Summer holiday frocks.  And I can't justify another that doesn't serve that purpose.  But this one you could happily wear now with boots and an aviator jacket or trench.  Super versatile.  I size up in Marant, I always find it tiny.

Likoya pintucked cotton-voile dress from Isabel Marant Etoile was £415 now £290



And another from Goen J at The Outnet.  This one now has an extra 30% off... I didn't like it now.. hmmm ooooh... oh I don't know... again images over on Insta with me in it! 

Off shoulder jersey paneled (sp) dress from Goen J was £469 now £257



So now we come onto some shorter ones.  Ok.  So I really REALLY wanted to try these - get the old legs out, I'll regret it when I'm 70 if I don't... 

However.  There is a fine line between embracing wearing what you want and looking like a tit.  I hold NO truck with the "dress your age" brigade, but there are simply outfits that are appropriate for a person and those that aren't.  These don't work for me - because of my height.  I don't think it's anything to do with my age.  The proportions of them are simply better suited to those who aren't so Hagrid in their stature.  They're too short in the waist and definitely too short in the length! 

The hunt for me does go on but in the meantime, these two dresses are so so pretty - if you're perhaps not 46 and 5ft10 (to be fair the fit of these wouldn't have worked for me at 26!)

Gabriel ruffled cotton mini dress from Sir was £230 now £115



And similar in black.

Sir Leila Dress was £240 now £120



And now two which weren't so bad at all actually... BUT I just didn't love them enough.  Certainly didn't feel as comfortable in them as I did the Rhode dresses (not the yellow one!).

Ruffled mini dress from Sandro was £260 now £156



And this in the most stunning blue... 

Ruffle trimmed dress from Halston Heritage was £350 now £154



BUT it's not all super spenny... like the other day with the shoes, there are some great bargains to be had if you look at buying Summer dresses now.  A couple that I found at ASOS. 

This one is gorgeous and is perfect to take you from a holiday to a wedding AND it's not polyester!! 

Asos Design button design maxi linen dress was £38 now £14



This also looks great for the beach and again, isn't polyester. 

ASOS DESIGN Beach maxi dress in 100% cotton was £35 now £18



And two short little numbers that you will have for years. 

Vitamin A Beach Dress was £105 now £32



And the Anmol Midi Length Yellow Plunge Beach dress was £40 now £28



And to wear these amazing dresses - well you need to think about a holiday.  Which is a perfect segue into my review of my last vacation with the family which was to St Lucia.  We'd been to The Dominican Republic with Club Med back in May which was lovely as a resort but we didn't get to explore any of the island. 

Well - St Lucia was a different kettle of fish entirely.  The holiday was arranged for us by Destinology Holidays and the St Lucian Tourist Board and we were given a discount as we were reviewing the holiday. 

We stayed in two hotels and both were absolutely amazing.

First up was The Landings.  We stayed in an apartment which was pretty much the size of our house back home.  Three double bedrooms, all with en suites and balconies, as well as a sitting room and kitchenette.  Did I mention a UTILITY ROOM?  Clearly not the most glamorous of additions to a holiday but holy nora, it made mine.  To be able to come home with pretty much entirely clean suitcases?  Holiday goals right there my friend. 

The beach front hotel is fabulous - five star with three restaurants and two bars that were open when we were there.  The food is excellent - perhaps not as much variety as when you travel East but all incredible quality, ditto the wine list (great French rose, thank you!).  But what really makes this hotel is the service.  Second to none and definitely some of the best I've ever seen globally.  They are kind, generous, attentive and just completely on the ball.  Nothing is any bother (although I'm not sure we asked them for anything too outlandish!) and you even have your own personal butler.  I KNOW, RIGHT?  














We then moved to another absolutely stunning hotel, Marigot Bay, which is built into the side of a mountain and extends out into a gorgeous marina, offering up the most exquisite sunsets.  There's also a beach that the hotel own that can reached by their little ferry service (the beach where they filmed the original Dr Doolittle!)  The same exceptional service is on offer - I would say that the food offering is wider here, the sushi dishes at the beach bar were a huge hit with all the family.  A Tapas bar in the evening also was a lovely change but the local delicacies were also very much appreciated.  A cooking lesson from the Head Chef went down a storm, especially with my two boys (one of whom is now adamant that he wants to be a Chef too - clearly he was very impressed). 

Again the accommodation at Marigot Bay was pure 5star. A duplex apartment with three bedrooms - all en suite and all with fridges and coffee machines was more than adequate for our family of five.  And yes - all hail the washer/dryer which made me happier than I would have thought possible!  The Aqua di Parma toiletries were the ultimate icing on the perfect cake.

















The main difference about St Lucia and other places we've visited, is the amount there is to do.  LOADS.  And something for everyone. 

So what did we get up to... 

WELL.  

Zip wiring in a rain forest, check.




Inflatable fun with the children, check (by the way - this is exceptionally more tricky than it looks... believe me!)




Rum tastings, check.

Kayaking in the Caribbean sea, check.







A trip to Pigeon Island and a (small!) hike up the mountain, check.




Snuba Diving (where you snorkel but with a shared tank of air so can go down lower  - the perfect introduction to diving for those who don't want the expense or time constraints of full on scuba), check.  Well - check fo the husband and the two older children.  I discovered many years ago that snorkelling and scuba aren't for me - a weird thing about not being able to breathe purely through my mouth.  The youngest decided he didn't fancy it either so we had one on one time on THE most perfect desert island beach.  Definitely one of my favourite holiday moments. 




A trip to Hotel Chocolat to make your own chocolate, check.  Followed by lunch at the hotel - yes there is an actual Hotel Chocolat!  Adults only (obviously a reason to go back then) with the most insane infinity pool, set in the original plantation that the cocoa beans came from.  A truly fabulous trip. 











Sulphur springs, check. (not as smelly as I had been led to believe - a LOT hotter than I wold ever have thought possible!)


Desert island waterfall, check.




Catamaran sunset cruise, check (this was at The Landings hotel and was the only time the husband and I got to spend on our own!  Two weeks with the children is perfect but a couple of hours away from them does add to the magic!).






But our favourite trip was definitely the boat trip with the company The Moorings.   From Marigot Bay we sailed around some of the island and learnt about its history, whilst drinking a cold beer, getting to see a genuine bat cave and being able to jump into the best swimming pool in the world - the Caribbean sea.  If we could only have had one experience - a day out on the boat would be the one we would pick and recommend. 










So all in all, I can't recommend St Lucia highly enough.  It's the mix of culture and epic scenery, incredible service and amazing food.  The opportunity to immerse yourself in a new world and really feel part of another place is so rare and makes for the best family holiday.  We all agreed that we would absolutely love to come back.  To see other parts of the island, to explore the beautiful coastline which was probably our favourite activity and to see yet more of those idyllic sunsets.

For more information on Destinology, visit www.destinology.co.uk or call the team on 01204 474801.

I will be back in the swing of things tomorrow or Tuesday with all things WINTER! I promise - or at least things you can wear now.... 

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