A Hurricane, A Pelican and a Balcony Bathtub…
Oh, these are exactly the sort of pictures I want to look at just after getting in from the soggy morning dog walk. Pictures of fizzy, tango sunsets and palm trees and clear water and blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos. Ugh, I ache! I get asked a lot, “Why Florida?” Why do I go back year after year when I could be exploring somewhere new for my summer vaycay? And I guess the answer is; I don’t want to go anywhere else. Southwest Florida is home – in a way. Not just for me, but for Sunny too. We’ve both been going there since we were teenagers and know it so, so well by now, that we never experience that foreign feeling you get during the first week of a holiday where you’ve arrived somewhere you’ve never been before and need to spend a couple of days figuring out where everything is, where’s good to eat etc. And yeah, some might say that’s all part of the adventure of going somewhere new, but I love the familiarity of Florida; there’s always a massive sigh of relief when I get off the plane at Miami Airport (and not just because, yay! I survived the flight!), but because the holiday starts immediately. And boy, did we need it this year!
I also get asked a lot why I don’t go anywhere near Orlando. The truth is that there’s so much more to Florida than just the parks. The Gulf Coast and The Keys are where the real party’s at – and our favourite spot by far is Naples. Not only has it got some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and plenty of things do when you’re not topping off your tan, but it’s so quiet – especially during the summer and early Autumn. And honestly, I’m a little nervous about shouting too loudly about how much I love it there because it’s always felt like a bit of a secret – and I kind of want to keep it all to myself. This year, we spent two lovely weeks there chilling out by the pool (all the while keeping our eye on Hurricane Dorian out in the Atlantic), eating a lot of Tacos and filling our suitcase with lots of bargains from the outlet malls scattered either side of I75. 🙂
I pretty much lived in this Hawaiian Shirt while I was out there. One of the best things about taking a late August/early September holiday is that most of the summer fashion goes on sale just before you leave, and everything in this picture was a total steal. I spotted the shirt trawling the sale section of ASOS and decided that not only was it the ugliest shirt I’d ever seen, but that I had to have it. The heart-shaped sunglasses were £3 from H&M (I get so many compliments when I wear them, which drives my husband absolutely nuts because he HATES them), and the bag and denim skirt were bargains from F&F at Tesco for £8 and £7 respectively. I was a little sad packing away these yellow tassel sliders from Zara the other day – I can’t wait to wear them again next year!
For the final week of the holiday, we packed up the car and headed down to The Keys. I used to stay on one of the middle islands called Islamorada with my parents and brother when I was teenager, and last year I took Sunny down there for a few days – knowing that he’d absolutely love the island vibe coupled with the incredible wildlife and fishing. He did love it, and so this year we booked in for a week at my favourite hotel there, Cheeca Lodge, as a treat to finish the holiday with a bang. It’s a beautiful hotel anyway – no matter what room you end up staying in – but lucky us – we got upgraded to one of the mini suites in the main lodge, which came with a balcony bathtub! Over our five or so days there we went fishing, lounged around the pool, went snorkelling on the reef and ate Mahi Mahi Tacos pretty much every single night. 🙂
We also ended up rescuing a pelican. From day one there was a very friendly pelican hovering around at the bottom of the pier waiting to score a fish from anyone who happened to be fishing there – sometimes even when it was still on the hook! I kind of grew a bit of a soft spot for her, and so it was heartbreaking to head down there one morning to find her hobbling around with a massive fishing lure stuck in her flipper. Luckily, she was so tame that Sunny and a few other guests were able to wrangle her and then gently tease out the lure, and she flapped away to fish another day. 🙂
Have a lovely weekend! 🙂