Visiting the Basque Country: Biarritz and San Sebastian

After a rather difficult year, I was badly in need of a break and my holiday in Biarritz and San Sebastian was just that.

We booked this holiday prior to my accident and it gave me something to look forward to.

We’d found reasonably-priced flights to Biarritz and after I read Indie and Lily’s blog post on San Sebastian, we decided to spend two nights there also.

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With the cost of two Airbnb’s and renting a car, it was definitely one of the more expensive holidays I’ve been on.

As we’d booked it a long time in advance, it gave me time to save up spending money, however, I did find myself buying clothes for holidays all summer…

I was worried about how my injury would affect my enjoyment of holidays but I actually walked for at least an hour most days.

The most amazing thing happened during our first evening there. I walked a few steps without my crutches! (I’d been trying to do this for some time but could only lurch rather than walk).

I couldn’t believe it as it had been FOUR MONTHS since I had last walked. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing when I showed my boyfriend and I almost cried with happiness!!

Biarritz is a hilly city so there were lots of inclines for me to navigate.

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Biarritz coast

Our Airbnb host informed us that there was a free shuttle bus (the navette) into the city centre every day and we made use of that on several occasions.

However, the city centre navette only ran till 7.30 pm, which meant we usually went for dinner in the local area.

This wasn’t an issue though because our apartment was only 10 minutes from the bustling Les Halles area, full of restaurants and bars.

Our Biarritz Airbnb was a charming retro apartment with a huge terrace.

We spent most of our time at the apartment on the terrace eating outside or chilling in the sun. It was about a 15-minute walk from the city centre but on crutches it took longer.

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The terrace complemented my dinner outfit.

One thing I immediately noticed was that there seemed to be few chain restaurants and stores.

I didn’t see one MacDonalds or Starbucks which was really refreshing. (That’s not to say they weren’t there but there certainly aren’t as many as at home…)

We stuffed our faces with delicious food, from ice-cream to seafood, burgers and frites, churros, croque madames et monsieurs and croissants.

Biarritz is full of gastronomic delights and my diet went right out the window!

Alcohol was also plentiful and I enjoyed several delicious mojitos!

We didn’t really go shopping in Biarritz apart from a brief trip to Galeries Lafayette but this was just for a browse.

We took two day trips, one to St Jean de Luz, a pretty little Basque town.

We lounged on the beach and enjoyed lunch there. I even managed to get into the sea and swim – yay!

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Basque or Euskara is a bit of linguistic mystery, it has no relation to any other European language.

As we drove out of Biarritz, we saw more signs in Basque and signs featuring the Basque cross.

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Sunday was rainy and we decided to drive up into the Pyrenees to a town named St Jean Pied de Port.

The town is famous for being part of the Camino de Santiago Compostela.

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Streets of St Jean Pied de Port

The hilly town wasn’t the easiest for me to negotiate but we walked right to the top of the town, stopping off for a coffee and a trip to a tiny local museum.

Walking up the steep hilly cobbled street in the rain was no mean feat!

I then took a rest while my boyfriend climbed up the Citadelle, a 17th century fortress sitting on the highest point in town. 

On our last day in Biarritz, we wanted to visit the two main tourist attractions, the Rocher de la Vierge, a statue of the Virgin Mary which resides on a rock formation in the middle of the ocean and Le Phare, the historic lighthouse overlooking Biarritz.

However, my injury presented challenges as the Rock of the Virgin entails a long walk out on a metal footpath and the lighthouse has 258 steps and no lift!

We decided to catch a little tourist train out to the Rock of the Virgin (we thought it would let us off but instead it just stopped on the promenade).

This meant we only saw the rock from the distance but given my limited mobility, it was for the best.

It was €6 for a round trip which dropped us back to the city centre.

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Le Phare lighthouse

We drove to the Le Phare and enjoyed taking some photos of the beautiful scenery outside.

I decided against the climb and enjoyed a coffee instead.

The weather was mid-20’s to low 30’s most days with our final day being the warmest and most humid.

We’d gone to the beach that morning to catch a few rays.

That evening there was a thunderstorm which we enjoyed watching out the terrace doors.

After the storm passed, we went to a hipster burger joint called Bonheur. I wasn’t too hungry so just had fries with parsley and garlic -delicious!

The next day we had to rush as we got a message from our host asking if we’d left – we had forgotten to check what time we had to check out at! Oops!

Luckily, we were pretty much packed and ready to go and we set off for San Sebastian or Donostia as it’s known in Basque.

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The streets of San Sebastian

We were only in San Sebastian for two days but it was a wonderful two days.

Buses were plentiful so we didn’t need to use our car.

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Plaza de la Constitucion San Sebastian.

Our first day was spent strolling through the city streets in search of pinxtos.

We soon found a pinxto bar on a side street called Bardulia.

We sampled a mix of cold pinxtos here but to be honest they were quite underwhelming.

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Pinxtos

I noticed that one street was called 31 Agosto and when I discovered that’s because the city was burned to the ground by invaders on the date, apart from that one street.

We arrived on the 29th and apparently, there’s a commemoration on the 31st every year but we were leaving early that day.

We meandered down as far as La Concha promenade and took in the beautiful spectacle of the shell-shaped beach.

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La Concha Beach San Sebastian
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Views from the promenade.

The promenade is lined with ornate white railings with old-fashioned street lamps at the entrance to the beach.

Beside the promenade was a stunningly beautiful carousel which stood out against the bright blue sky.

That evening we had burgers and one of the best mojitos I had all holidays at a restaurant called Muuk in the main square.

The burgers came with a tiny serving of potato shavings, kind of like mini chipsticks!

The following day we went to the beach where I finally got to wear my new bikini from PLT.

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It turned rainy in the afternoon so we went shopping.

I had my heart set on a Longchamps bag but I hadn’t time to go to the Longchamps store in Biarritz.

However, we tracked down the only store selling Longchamps in the area.

N.B shops in San Sebastian tend to close between 2-4, so be aware of this if you are shopping.

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Frizzy hair don’t care

The store in question, Styl, didn’t have a huge stock of Longchamps bags but I decided to get a navy rucksack.

While Stan Smiths were everywhere in Biarritz, in San Sebastian, everyone seemed to sport a Levis t-shirt. I picked one up in Noa and Judy for €25.

I also bought an Iron Maiden tee in Donostia Rock for €24.

After that I wandered through Stradivarius and Bershka, unfortunately, I didn’t get to Zara or Sephora. *sobs*

On our last evening, we stayed in with pizza and beer and watched some ridiculous Spanish TV.

There were some bizarre sketch shows that made us laugh but seeing bullfighting on one channel was horrible.

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Church San Sebastian

I highly recommend both cities and wish we could’ve had more time to explore San Sebastian. Have you ever been to either? Let me know.

PS I’ve been very busy lately so haven’t had any time to blog but will hopefully have an autumn trends post coming soon. Thanks for reading and check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.

Edel

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Bargain Hunt: The best of the summer sales under €30

Summer sale season is here and as I’m pretty much confined to the house, I’m fighting the urge to spend all my money online.

I think shopping the sales online often beats trawling through shops that are busy at the best of times and complete pandemonium during sale (e.g. Zara).

While you can’t try things on, have you ever faced changing rooms during sale? Not a pretty sight! These are some of my favourite items from the summer sales and everything is under €30.

Missguided

One item which caught my eye (and that of many stylish Instagrammers) is this white denim buckled skirt.

It’s reduced from €44 to €22 and would be perfect for a sun holiday abroad. I’ve ordered this and it still hasn’t arrived … beginning to think it is lost! Anyway I’ll keep you posted on the fit.

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White denim buckle skirt. Pic: Missguided.com

 

I’m equally taken with the light blue version which is now €27, reduced from €44. (I have no idea why the blue one is €5 more btw).  It also comes in navy and black, for those of you who prefer a darker hue.

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Blue denim buckled skirt

Asos

If you’re heading to a festival this year, then hit up Asos’s sale before you go. The Asos sale is the perfect place to get yourself a festival bargain like these cut-out shorts.

 

Featuring a funky lolly pop applique on the back, they’re bound to keep you feeling summery even if it’s chucking it down in Stradbally/Marlay Park/delete as appropriate.

These come in at €28/£21. I’m sure I don’t need to remind regular readers but buy in sterling from Asos, click here to find out why.

Another festival-worthy pick are these cute lilac shorts reduced from €37 to €26 – just don’t get them filthy!

PS- Asos don’t have a sale banner or sale section on their site anymore but these items are still available and reduced- you just have to search by description.

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Lilac mom fit shorts. Pic: Asos.com

New Look

One spring trend I absolutely loved was chinoiserie/ jacquard prints. I’m on the lookout for a backpack in this print and can’t decide between these two New Look beauties.

 

The larger one is now €20, reduced from €29.99 and the cute mini one is €17, reduced from €24.99.

PLT

I spotted these unusual pink cracked vinyl trousers over on PLT and I think they are awesome. They don’t look like something you would find on PLT and are a real statement piece. €20, reduced from €39.

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Another deadly PLT bargain is this bright pink swimsuit which is quite similar to Kylie J’s infamous Body Glove swimsuit. Reduced from €25 to €11.

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Zara

Now away from the crazy colours to a classic black bargain from Zara. This cute little dress with lace-up sleeves is now €29.99 down from €49.95.

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Black dress with lace-up sleeves. Pic: Zara.com

And how about this denim and gingham skirt for only €9.99??

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Denim and gingham mini skirt. Pic: Zara.com

Bershka

I recently bought these cute espadrilles in the Bershka sale, although I can only wear the left one at the moment. Reduced from €19.99 to €9.99.

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Bershka espadrilles. Pic: Bershka.com

 

Another great Bershka bargain is this bleached denim jacket reduced from €39.99 to €17.99. (I need to stop talking about festivals now… I’m so jealous I can’t go to Longitude!)

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River Island

River Island always has adorable PJ’s and underwear but they can be pricey. Embrace your inner Ariel with this adorable seashell detail bra and briefs. These are both about a third of the original price with the bra reduced from €22 to €8 and the knickers down from €17 to €4.

 

I’m also loving this tropical palm print underwear set, again the bra is €8 and briefs €4 – Penneys prices!

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Palm print underwear set. Pic: River Island.com

Hope you guys enjoyed this bargain-busting post – I love hunting down bargains to share with you!

I’m off to flex my debit card, so leave me a comment below and let me know if you liked any of the items I featured.

PS- this is not a sponsored post.

I often post bargains I find over on my Facebook page, so if you want to see more of the same give it a like. You can find me here on Instagram and Twitter would love to connect with other Irish bloggers on there. Thanks for reading as always and I’ll be back soon with a new post – possibly a festival one, watch this space.

Edel

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Buying a bikini: How to choose the right style

I have a love/hate affair with bikinis, there were times when I would barely get into one because I felt “fat”/unattractive. Prior to my first ever proper holiday abroad at 19, I went on a drastic diet to try and lose weight.

I definitely wasn’t overweight but my weight fluctuated a LOT when I was younger and I was really uncomfortable with my body for years.

I remember feeling awkward and not remotely confident on that particular holiday but I’ve managed to gain a sliver of confidence since when it comes to donning a bikini.

Cashflow issues and ankle problems aside, these are some bikini trends I am absolutely in love with at the moment and some tips on what style to choose.

Re-worked

I’m obsessed with reworked bikinis and I’m always looking for them on Etsy. These are from one of my favourite Etsy shops Croptopchannel.

At just under €48, they aren’t what you’d call thrifty but bikinis aren’t really something you can pick up in a charity shop..nor would you want to!

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Reworked Adidas bikini. Pic: Croptopchannel
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Reworked camo bikini. Pic: Croptopchannel

I love all things Moschino but you can’t have a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget.

So, a reworked Moschino bikini is about as glam as it gets for me… How cute are these gingham and marble sets?

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Moschino reworked bikini. Pic: Croptopchannel.

 

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Marble reworked bikini. Pic: Croptopchannel

Embellished

This cactus print bikini from Pretty Little Thing is adorable although it kinda looks more like underwear than swimwear.

The bottoms are plain but there’s a matching sarong if you’re a sarong kinda gal.. personally, once I’ve committed to wearing a bikini I’m not going to be half covered up and half not!

The top of this looks quite see-through so it’s probably more suitable for sunbathing than swimming.

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Cactus bikini. Pic: Prettylittlething.com

River Island has gorgeous swimwear and bikinis every year.

Their take on the denim-look trend is this chambray bikini with cactus embroidery and tribal details.

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Cactus print denim look bikini. Pic: RiverIsland.com.

Asos is a good pit stop for an unusual bikini and this 3D floral one is just fabulous. It’s so pretty!

If you’ve ever wanted to recreate this iconic Claudia Schiffer look, then say no more…

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This is quite expensive with the top alone coming in at just under €30 but I always buy in sterling on Asos as it’s significantly cheaper. Check out my online shopping hacks post for more.

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Asos floral bikini. Pic: Asos.com

As the flowers add volume this would suit someone with smaller boobs, rather than large ones.

The high-waisted bottoms are great also if you don’t want your stomach on show.

Sequins & Metallics

I love this super shiny metallic blue bikini from PLT, I never wear bandeau bikinis but I do find halterneck bikinis sometimes give me headaches and neck pain if I’m wearing them for ages so perhaps I should give the bandeau style a shot.

My issue with bandeau bikinis is that they tend to flatter a smaller chest (which is not me ) This would look great on a slight or slim build.

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Metallic blue bikini. Pic: PrettyLittlething.com

If you’re heading to a party spot this year such as Ibiza, this green sequin bikini is the perfect addition to your suitcase.

It would be good for girls who need a larger top half as it offers plenty of coverage and the wraparound style may give some extra support.

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Green sequin bikini. Pic: NewLook.com

Gingham

I’ve never had a high-waisted bikini but they look super-flattering and the blue and white gingham print is really summery. This is also from PLT and comes in pink also.

It also offers plenty of coverage and would suit curvy and slim figures.

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Blue gingham bikini. Pic: PrettyLittlething.com

Gingham is a massive trend this summer and for a cheap little gingham number check out this beauty on sale from New Look.

The top and bottom were €32.98 altogether but now you can get both for €17! #bargain

It has a bra-style fitting so definitely more supportive than a tiny triangle bikini.

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Gingham bikini. Pic: NewLook.com

Hope you all enjoyed this brief post and got some inspiration for your holidays.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you liked this post or the one-piece post better. Check out my Pinterest swimwear board for more inspiration.

I’ve been struggling to blog between my broken ankle, looking for a place to live and working but it’s good to be back!

Thanks for reading and if you would like to follow me on social media,  check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page.

Edel

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Capsule Wardrobe – What to bring on a sun holiday

I’m not a very organised person and often pack for holidays the night before I go. (This could also be down to the fact that I like a spontaneous trip..)

But for once in my life, I’ve booked holidays A LONG time in advance and I’m already outfit planning for it. I haven’t been on a proper holiday in almost two years and I’m really happy to have the chance to go away.

Last summer, I was working Monday to Friday in an internship and working a part-time job at the weekends. It was zero craic…

But this year, I’m going away for an entire week to Biarritz and San Sebastian and there’s no way I’m paying for a check-in bag.

10kg is PLENTY for this outfit-repeating gal!

I’ve already put together a rail of items to bring and hopefully there will be some space left for new purchases 😉

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Looking through the clothes I already have, I realised I don’t really need many new items.

So far, I have one light summery jacket, a pair of white jeans, a playsuit, a dress, a skirt, five pairs of shorts, a bikini, two one-piece swimsuits, two t-shirts, one camisole top, one dressy off the shoulder top and two crop tops. All of these pieces mix and match pretty well together.

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I may bring another bikini or substitute one of the swimsuits for another one, we’ll see.

Holidays are a good time to experiment with colours you don’t normally wear, for instance I normally steer clear of yellow as I’m very fair-skinned and it doesn’t suit me. However, I love these fluorescent yellow shorts for a holiday and have tops with yellow detail to match.

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I don’t wear a lot of white or cream either, but white looks way better in sunshine so I’ve included some white and cream tops to wear with my blue denim shorts.

If you’re going on a sun holiday, casual clothes are more important than fancy clothes, so bring more casual dresses, shorts, skirts, t-shirts and swimwear. Hence, my five pairs of shorts!

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Leave your heels at home and bring a nice pair of neutral sandals for night-time.  For day time, bring another pair of sandals or flip-flops for the beach and a lightweight pair of runners for exploring.

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Heels take up too much room, they’re an awkward shape to pack and your feet may swell on holidays making them even more uncomfortable! (Haha jokes on me I broke my ankle a month after this and spent my holiday in a moonboot).

You can bring a couple of nice outfits for going out to dinner or a night out but try and bring items that double up as daytime wear also.

For instance, I’m bringing a stripy loose -fit playsuit and a floral dress. These will work just as well during the day, unlike a tight bodycon dress or sequin mini-skirt.

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The terrace complemented my dinner outfit.

I have included my lilac faux leather mini-skirt but the rest of my clothes are cotton or cotton-mix to stay cool.

When going to the airport, pick something to wear that you can utilise in your holiday wardrobe also.

For instance, I usually wear a light jacket, a t-shirt, jeans and light runners. Comfortable but easy to shed a layer once you get there. You should always aim to wear your heaviest or bulkiest items, i.e. jeans and runners to keep your suitcase light.

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The first time I ever went on a girl’s holiday to Turkey, I went mad and bought loads of new things, several pairs of heels, three bikinis and loads of going out clothes.

Apart from the shoes I barely wore any of the items again. I was only there for three or four days..mad or what?!

One pieces are great as they double up as a bodysuit with shorts.

You’ll need to leave room in your case for underwear, socks, PJ’s and a small handbag for going out.

I always bring a tote bag to throw all my essentials into, i.e. purse, passport, cosmetic bag, camera etc.

This may not be everyone’s idea of a “capsule” wardrobe as it already contains 19 items before I add shoes but I am going away for a full week,

If I decide to leave anything out, it will probably be some of the dressier items.

With three pairs of shoes, it takes me up to 22 items in total but I will be wearing one pair on the plane.

Let me know your thoughts on packing for holidays, do you stick to a capsule wardrobe or not? I’ll be putting up a swimwear post soon so keep your eyes peeled.

Thanks for reading and if you would like to follow me on social media,  check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.

Edel

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River Island High Summer Press Day

Last week I had a chance to attend the River Island High Summer event in the Grafton Street store and I was thrilled to go as River Island is one of my favourite shops.

Not only that, but I might be going on a real holiday this year so I needed some inspiration.

I took along my new (well second-hand) Canon camera for the occasion but my photos actually came out brighter on my phone so I obviously need more practice with my camera shutter!

There were five main ladieswear collections, my favourite rail was full of beautiful embellished pieces, such as a beaded skirt and white jeans with pearls on them. The dominant colours on this rail were cream, white, coral and silver.

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Then there was a holiday rail with some bright casual wear, among the pieces which caught my eye were a purple tie-dye jumper and a black mesh skirt with sequin pineapples on it.

There were more holiday pieces mixed in around the room adding to the summery vibe.

Across the room was a rail of gorgeous palm and floral print pieces which I obviously loved.

Remember my last trend post where I said embellished denim jackets were the next big thing?

If you want one that really stands out, then look out for this pale blue denim jacket with pearls and crystals of different sizes and shapes on the back. I am OBSESSED with it.

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Beside this were some bright pink shorts, some lilac colours and skirts covered in sequin discs.

There was also a fabulous pink denim jacket and shorts set pinned to the wall.

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There were also some nice accessories such as a pink floral suitcase, pink floral backpack and my favourite accessory was a white satchel bag with western style buckles.

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The key trends in accessories were pastel colours, fluffy sliders and mules, gingham and floral patterns.

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The bikinis on display were pretty cute also.

We were offered a selection of tasty treats including mini brioches and a refreshing pineapple and cucumber juice with an umbrella- totally summery!

There was also a customisation station where you could pick a pair of sandals to decorate with flowers, ribbon, plastic eyes, whatever you fancied!

The fluffy sliders were a big hit with everyone. Although I probably wouldn’t wear them myself, I do think they add a bit of fun to a holiday wardrobe.

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It was a lot of fun and the girls customising the shoes were really helpful. There were green ferns draped on the walls and a bright pink flamingo adding a touch of colour.

The mannequins were beautifully dressed and the one to the left of the door really caught my eye.

It was wearing a white lacy bardot top with wide sleeves, charcoal grey loose-fitting shorts and a gingham belt. It was a simple but classy outfit, ideal for holidays or festivals.

Beside this mannequin was a rail with gingham, light wash denims, muted colours, light knitwear and some printed and beaded pieces.

I quite liked this collection also, it had a hippie folk vibe, again great for festivals. Just above this collection were beautiful Gucci-esque embroidered loafers.

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The kids’ collection was full of funky sparkly items and sequin disc embellishment.

There was a lot of formal items but my favourite outfit was an adorable girl’s red gingham blouse teamed with black denim shorts on the wall.

The kids’ backpacks and shoes were very cute, I especially liked the white laser-cut boots and bronze rucksack on top of the display.

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I only had a quick glance at the menswear as there was just one rail on show.

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 The only thing I thought the collection lacked was jewellery, River Island has the cutest inexpensive jewellery and I didn’t see any on display. However there were lots of other summer appropriate accessories, hats, sunglasses, espadrilles etc.

I really enjoyed the event and got lots of inspiration for my holiday wardrobe.

Thanks to the River Island team for such a nice day and being very welcoming.

Hope you all enjoyed this brief post and let me know if you like the collections and I’d love to hear your feedback on the photos.

P.S. thanks for the supportive comments on my last post. I was a bit anxious about putting that much personal information about myself on my blog but I’ve received nothing but kind comments. So thanks again guys, your support means the world to me.

Edel