Ten Bloggers, One Villa, Much Wine

This post contains gifted experiences. Our villa on the Mansalto estate was kindly provided by Bookings For You.

Ten Bloggers:

Myself (hello I'm Amy)
Violet (organiser extraordinaire)

One Villa:

We stayed in Villa Le Tornaie, which was located on the Mansalto estate between Siena and Arezzo and was about two hours' drive from Pisa Airport. You do need a car to get to the villa, especially if you want to visit anywhere else during your stay and luckily we had four willing drivers (myself included) between two cars and aside from a rather traumatic rocky hill experience the driving was pretty plain sailing. 

The villa itself was the perfect chill out hideaway, complete with swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, courtyard and huge communal eating space. On our first night we were kindly treated to homemade pizza by Paolo from Massimo Ristorante Belvedere in the dining area, which was the perfect way to settle into the villa and much needed after a very long day.

Tuscany really seems to be a win win region of Italy; you can spend the day completely relaxing within the comfort of your villa, surrounded by idyllic views, you can explore nearby cities such as Florence or Siena or you can discover the history of the area, which is what we did on our first full day of the trip, with help from Arte Al Sole.

After a tour of historic Certaldo (which you need a funicular to travel to - much fun), we were treated to some drinks and nibbles at sunset at Chiosco Ai Renai (which was just the absolute dreamiest location imaginable) before a paper marbling class with Jennifer Leo (can confirm that paper marbling is highly addictive and the kind of thing I'd easily lose hours trying to create the perfect pattern).

One of my absolute favourite things about Italy is, of course, the food. After cooking us pizza on our first night, we spent our last night at Massimo Ristorante Belvedere, just a short drive away from the villa, making (and then eating) our own pasta. Despite a spectacular fail in the form of leaky eggs all over the floor I did manage to make some vaguely acceptable pasta and have even made it again since I got home (considerably more successfully this time I have to say). The pasta making was actually one of my favourite activities of our whole trip and a skill I'm very pleased to now have!

Much Wine:

Our villa was set within the vineyards of the Mansalto estate, which makes wine and olive oil, both of which we were lucky enough to sample during our stay. Not only were we left with a couple of bottles in our villa to sample, we also took part in a wine tasting as part of a tour of the vineyard and cellar (can confirm that fermenting wine smells much nicer than fermenting beer).

We all left with a new favourite red wine and are just waiting patiently for Mansalto to start selling their wine in England!

Have you ever visited Tuscany?

Amy x

A special thanks to Bookings For You for providing us with the villa for our stay and to Violet for being an super organisation machine.
Tuscany, Italy

Call Me Monthly // OCTOBER

At a time when I've not been particularly good at posting anything these monthly round ups certainly come in handy, seeing as the organised part of my mind wouldn't really be able to cope with me skipping one; it would just send everything out of whack wouldn't it?

October has been quite a lovely month actually; it began with a week away in Italy with some other blogging gals (which I will get round to writing about properly soon I promise) and I'm ending it with a few days away in a lodge in Yorkshire with Matthew's lovely family.

Anyway, enough about the finer details of my life; here's what I've been wearing, listening to, reading and watching throughout the month:

I'm having a piano/jazz phase.

Yann Tiersen // Comptine d'un autre ete, l'apres-midi

Ludovico Einaudi // Nuvole Bianche

Bill Withers // Lovely Day

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong // Cheek To Cheek

San Cisco // Too Much Time Together

Blossoms // Your Girlfriend

Count Basie // Splanky

Benny Goodman // Sing, Sing, Sing

Duke Ellington // Take The 'A' Train

Listen on Spotify

After Life // Oh me oh my, if you haven't watched this Ricky Gervais series on Netflix then you really need to get on it. It's the best thing I've watched this year at least. Just prepare yourself for all the emotions; one moment you're laughing your head off and the next your heart is absolutely breaking.

The Angel Tree by Lucinda Riley // I always enjoy books by Lucinda Riley and this was no exception. She always manages to tell two stories in one (one past, one present) but it's never confusing and always keeps me hooked. 4/5.

You by Caroline Kepnes // Yes that's right, I read two books in October. I've watched the first couple of episodes of this on Netflix and quite enjoyed them, but actually found the book a little poor and now I know the (disappointing) ending I don't think I'll bother watching the rest of the series. 2/5

Amy x

BLOGGING // An On And Off Love Affair

Next month will mark five years since I decided I was bored of life and needed a new hobby, so sat down to write my first blog post (I'd appreciate it if you didn't go back and read any of my early posts; yes they're still there for nostalgic reasons, but I promise they're really rather bad).

In that five years I've discovered that if you're in it for the long haul, blogging really is a love affair.

There are plenty of times when I feel like I've 'fallen out of love' with blogging and often spend far too long wondering what I could, or should do differently.

Is nobody reading my content because I've been writing purely for myself?

Am I a sellout for writing posts that make me a little bit of dollar?

There's not really a right or wrong with blogging, and I've learnt that I can write posts both for myself and that make me a bit of money without compromising myself or my blog.

In terms of the love affair, I'd say me and blogging are a little on the rocks at the moment. That doesn't really worry me anymore though because we've been here before; the inspiration and the motivation, along with any real desire to write at all, just aren't really there.

It's easy to become disillusioned with blogging, to question why I even bother when there are a hell of a lot more important things happening in the world than what I wore this week. But then I didn't start a blog with the aim of changing the world, or with the aim of doing anything other than occupying my own little mind.

I know we'll be back on soon, blogging and I; the inspiration and motivation will come charging back with full force, the desire to write will hit me like a ton of bricks and because of that, I won't have time to be disillusioned.

Because when you're truly passionate about something, you ride it out through thick and thin.

When In Tuscany // LOOKBOOK

This post contains gifted items.
My trip to Italy was courtesy of Bookings For You, who provided us with a beautiful villa for our stay on the Mansalto estate.

Hello you dreamy lot, I'm fresh from a five day trip to Tuscany, Italy where much pasta and wine was consumed, impossible looking craggy hills were conquered and a freezing cold swimming pool was braved for the sake of outfit photos (but more of all that in a future post).

For now I'm bringing you a lookbook of my outfits from the week, shot mostly by the lovely Liv with a bit of input from my gals Ashton and Violet. Most of the images were shot within our beautiful villa and the surrounding estate.

Outfit One // Dress - Vintage

Outfit Two // Dress - Asos (here) / Sandals - Boohoo* (gifted) / Sunglasses - Chinese Laundry

Outfit Three // Trousers - Chinese Laundry / Jacket - H&M (here) / Sandals* (as above)

Outfit Four // Jumpsuit - Matalan* (gifted - here) / Hat - Asos (here) / Sandals - Asos (here

Outfit Five // Dress - a Violet Glenton special / Sandals - Asos (here)

Amy x

Tuscany, Italy

Call Me Monthly // SEPTEMBER

This post contains gifted items.

It's certainly starting to feel like autumn isn't it? I've been rediscovering my warmer jackets and jumpers and wrapping up more. I even bought a woolly hat! (Feel free to congratulate me on being so wonderfully organised).

I've also been making a bit more of an effort with jewellery; I was kindly gifted the above gorgeous ring from Carrie Elizabeth from their moonstone rings collection and it's not left my finger. Rings are definitely my thang.

Liam Gallagher // Be Still

Blondie // Call Me

London Grammar // What A Day

The Stranglers // Golden Brown

Rancid // Fall Back Down

Liam Gallagher // Glimmer

Two Door Cinema Club // What You Know

The Last Shadow Puppets // My Little Red Book

Listen on Spotify

How I Met Your Mother // I've seen all of these before, but on the hunt for something easy and binge-worthy to watch we decided to do it all over again. I forgot just how funny they are and because I've only really seen them all once I've actually forgotten a lot of what happens.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris // An extremely powerful read, although one I'd have liked to have been a bit chunkier. It's one of those that really really hits you as it's based on true events and I found the sections at the end really interesting where you can read about the process of the book being written. 4/5.

Amy x