standard olive trees in pots

Summer has properly arrived in the UK and it’s so good to feel the sun on my face and hear the thwack of tennis balls on racquets as Wimbledon reaches its finale. I’m a massive tennis fan and really enjoy watching the tournament as well as getting out and playing a game each week. But it’s not all fun and games as May and June have been exceptionally busy at work, at home and on the travel front so there’s lots of news to catch up on. Here’s what I’ve been up to this summer and what’s coming up including news of a giveaway and a competition…

May

Vegas

May saw me finish up my Las Vegas posts with a visit to The Valley of Fire.  It’s a fantastic way to get beyond Vegas and explore some of the Nevada desert. Did you know the Valley of Fire is only a 45 minute drive from the city and it’s Nevada’s very first State Park named in 1935 to reflect its fire-red sandstone formations and petrified sand dunes. Well worth a visit if you’re in Vegas.

Pink-Jeeps-Valley-of-Fire

 A Celebrity Mini-Cruise

No sooner was I back from Vegas I was embarking on an overnight mini cruise with Celebrity Cruises to Le Havre in France. We sampled way too much of the wonderful food and wine that Celebrity are so well known for. There was an inspirational travel talk from Ben Fogle and were treated to a fascinating and entertaining wine tasting from Oz Clarke. You can read all about it here.

Celebrity Eclipse

 Lisbon and Porto

May also saw a two-centre visit to Portugal. I’d won two night’s hotel accommodation in a Twitter competition at The Sana Epic Hotel in Lisbon. It’s a gorgeous five-star design hotel set up on one of Lisbon’s seven hills and was the perfect base for exploring the city.

We felt Portugal was too far to go for just two nights so we added on two nights in Porto, a city I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. We took the Alfa Pendular train from Lisbon to Porto which took just under 3 hours. Tickets have to be booked and paid for in advance and we did this before we left the UK online at Comboios de Portugal. There was a special offer when I booked and we got tickets for under €19 each. If you’re thinking of making this journey it’d be well worthing checking the website regularly for offers.

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June

Florida

June started off with a work trip accompanying an incentive group to Florida – my first visit to this part of the States. (There are times when I really love my job!)  We started off in Miami on South Beach before taking a road trip down the Keys stopping at Islamorada and ending up at Key West for a few nights. The sunsets in Florida are are as epic as they say they are. Take a look at my Instagram account for lots of photos and leave your handle in the comments so I can follow you. Look out for posts to come on my Florida Keys road trip later this month.

Key West Sunset
Rethymno Old Town, Crete

 

Crete

June saw a visit to the Greek Islands. I visited Mykonos last year with Celebrity Cruises on a day excursion and it struck up a yearning in me to go back to a Greek island for a proper visit. Crete was the island we chose and it was a first for both me and Mr Jones. We stayed at a ‘James Villas’ rustic town house on the beach at Rethymno. I’ll be writing about the ancient town of Rethymno, a review of the villa and how we got on with self-catering for the first time in years.

July and August

July is the only month this year that I’m not travelling overseas. August sees a few days away in Spain to visit friends for a big birthday so there’s nothing travel-wise until mid-September. And to be honest I’m really enjoying being at home. There’s nowhere as gorgeous as England in the summer and as we’ve been dog-sitting this week we’ve been getting out and enjoying the beautiful Sussex countryside with long walks in the sunshine. Yesterday I spent an evening with my daughter enjoying the holiday atmosphere in Brighton and we found an authentic Italian gelato shop. The pistachio flavour was spot on!

I visited the Alexander McQueen ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibition this month at the V&A in London. It’s truly stunning. The show has been so popular that they’ve extended opening times on the last two weekends throughout the night with an additional 12,000 night tickets on sale. If you haven’t been then you should – it blew me away. The exhibition closes on 2nd August and you can find booking info for the late night tickets here.

The Sussex Countryside – why I love being at home in the summer…

Sussex Countryside

As well as posts on Crete and Florida there’s a giveaway on the blog next week so do drop by and enter. There’s also a competition coming up to win an exciting travel prize so why not sign up below to make sure you don’t miss out. I hope there’s lots of sun and fun times for you this summer wherever you’re spending it.  Are you staying home or exploring new places?