Monday, 19 June 2017

I'm Not Good At This, Either

I'm happy to talk about my own experiences with mental health, and it makes things a lot easier when people are encouraging and positive and understanding about it. It makes me feel a lot better. Even strangers - one moment that sticks out is when my former therapist, in our first session, told me that I was worth looking after. That was a shock to the system, because no one had ever said anything like that to me before - particularly someone who doesn't know me. I mean, why would they?

Being the one supporting someone else with mental illness can be hard too, even when you yourself struggle with it. I know, doesn't that just make all this a zillion times harder?! I do the best that I can from what I've learnt through my own experiences, but sometimes, I feel powerless. We all have our own journeys, our own struggles, our own ways of coping. Nothing is ever exactly the same. I worry that sometimes I'm saying the wrong thing or that what I think might be helpful is actually really irritating and potentially damaging to someone else. I know what it's like to be at your very worst and not know how to get out, so the last thing I want is to add to anyone else feeling like that too. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

But I also know how it feels when someone seems to be tiptoeing around you, because you just wish that they could relax; it can make you feel like you're not 'normal' (whatever that is) and that you need some sort of special treatment because you're different. It highlights that you don't fit in with anyone else.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that either way, it's hard. So if I ever try to reach out to someone, it's truly because I want to help, and that's it. If I've said something wrong/weird/upsetting etc., please tell me. It's not intentional. But please bear in mind that I have feelings too.

This post isn't intended at anyone in particular - it's just something I've noticed I've been feeling recently, and I wonder if anyone else feels similarly?

M x

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A Guide to Mykonos, Greece

If I've not already made it obvious by now, Paddy and I went to Greece for our 5 year anniversary, and we decided on the island of Mykonos. This was my first time in Greece EVER, and it did not disappoint. Mykonos is known around the world for its beautiful architecture, landscape and beaches, and I fell in love straight away!

Mykonos wasn't actually our first choice; we originally looked to go to Santorini, but it ended up being MUCH more expensive overall. In the end, I'm so glad we picked Mykonos - it was beautiful, the weather was good, and it was nice to know that we hadn't entirely spent all our money when we came home.

How to get there:
We flew from London Gatwick with EasyJet.
We paid just under £130 for return flights for both of us. This is probably because: a) we booked in December, before New Year, and b) we went in low season, in mid-May.

The flight time was just under 4 hours, so we made sure to have food at Gatwick before - we went to Armadillo, which I've never actually been to before, or seen outside an airport? Does it exist elsewhere?

Where To Stay:
We stayed at the beautiful Mykonian Mare Luxury Suites Hotel (see my review here) in Agios Stefanos, towards the north-west of the island. I'm biased but it was gorgeous and I would 100% stay here again! We paid about £300 for 4 nights for a standard double room, but actually got upgraded to a premium ensuite room with a sea view when we arrived!

There are lots of other beautiful hotels on the island - particularly in Agios Stefanos. I really recommend this area as it's a little way out of the town - which is especially good in high season, as Mykonos is a party island in the summer - but it also has a beautiful beach and great views opposite the main town.

Other hotels I know that people have stayed at are Bill & Coo, Mykonos Blanc Hotel, Rocabella Mykonos Art Hotel & Spa (this looked gorgeous) and the Leto hotel (which is right by the town centre). It really depends on what your budget is!

How Long To Go For:
We stayed for 4 nights, getting in late on the first day, and catching a flight home at midday on the last day. Both Paddy and I actually felt this was plenty of time for our trip! However, we didn't actually visit the entire island - mainly just the western coast. From what I can tell, the majority of the touristy stuff is in this area, but if you want to explore the entire island, you may want an extra day or two, depending how much time you want where. And obviously, the more pool or beach days, the longer the stay!

Must-Dos in Mykonos
No matter how long the stay, there are definitely some things you MUST do while you're visiting Mykonos:

  • catch a boat ride and explore the island of Delos (see my mini-guide to the island here)
  • visit one of the beautiful beaches - I recommend Agios Stefanos or Agios Anna in particular
  • get lost amongst the stunning whitewashed streets and alleyways that make the town so popular
  • catch a sunset overlooking the Aegean sea
  • visit the Windmills
  • hire a quad bike/moped/scooter and explore the island in the most adventurous way (Paddy didn't want to do this but I'd have loved to!)
  • visit the Church of Paraportiani
  • hunt down Peter the Pelican around Little Venice (he's bigger than you think)
For me, the best part was just the scenery. Being in such a gorgeous place made me so happy!

Where To Eat & Drink:
Bear in mind that Mykonos is pretty pricey. We were told that both Mykonos and Santorini were not affected by the financial crisis in Greece as they're such big tourist hotspots, so restaurants, drinks & souvenirs did not come cheap!

That being said, we found some really great places! I recommend:
  • Katerina's Bar in Little Venice - this is also a restaurant too. Go for drinks (and/or food) with a view overlooking the windmills and the rest of Little Venice
  • Epistrofi in Agios Stefanos, to have a delicious meal right on the beach, overlooking the sea
  • Capra restaurant at Alkistis Hotel - for one of the best pizzas I've had in a long time, also overlooking the sea
  • Catari - in Mykonos town. This little italian restaurant is incredibly cute, with pale yellow painted furniture, flowers and fairy lights everywhere, plus cracking food and cocktails
  • Trio Bambini - for some of the most insane crepes and waffles you will see, as well as some pretty decent ice cream
  • Attika bakery - because not only was it delicious, but there was a huge amount of choice, some things I've never seen before and wish I could see again, and also they gave us some free food so that was good

Top Tips for Mykonos:

  • Go in low season. Unless you want a holiday of partying and getting hammered (which is some peoples' thing, no judgement here), don't go in July or August because it makes everything more expensive. We were able to get free shuttles to/from the airport and into town from our hotel because it was less busy
  • Check if your hotel has a shuttle service into town if it's not within walking distance. The bus system isn't too pricey, but taxi fare will add up
  • There are boats available that you can get to Santorini, and you can get tickets from a range of companies. Tickets are around the 50-60 euros mark one way. If you want to fly to Santorini, you'll probably have to go back via Athens...
  • Prepare for the wind. The weather, I mean. It gets pretty chilly in the evenings!

I really did have such a magical time in Mykonos; it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and a wonderful introduction to Greece!

Have you been to Mykonos? What did you think?

M x

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