Our Favourite Beaches in Menorca

Our Favourite Beaches in Menorca - A Pretty Place To Play

Both Mike and I are massive beach people. We love being by the water, and when we visit Menorca beach days are at the top of our to do list! While we've not explored every beach on the island (give us time), there are a few that we really like, both for chilling out on the sand and messing about in the water! 

Playa de Cavellaria 

This gorgeous beach is in a secluded cove surrounded by dunes, vegetation and high cliffs and is the perfect place to hang out for a day of lounging on the beach interspaced by some snorkelling! We were so lucky to swim over schools of fish and be able to explore rock formations not too far out in the bay - it's a great choice if you're curious about snorkelling or sea swimming as it's not too deep and there are lifeguards on hand. 

Cala Mitjana

Cala Mitjana is considered one of the best beaches in Menorca and it's an opportunity to experience swimming in a beautiful cove without a trek along the Cami de Cavalls. The water is clear and warm, you can swim out and explore the coast (watch the cliffs!) and if you're lucky you might see some cool sea life (like a jelly fish! So pretty, but I swiftly swam in the other direction). The downside of this beach is it's really busy, so get there early and leave before the crowds descend. 

Our Favourite Beaches in Menorca - A Pretty Place to Play

Cala Galdana

I think this might be Mike's favourite beach. Situated in the south of the island it's a sweeping bay of golden sand and calm sea that's perfect for a swim. It's even been awarded a Blue Flag for it's environmental credentials. The area around Cala Galdana is more built up than other beaches, so it's the perfect place to spend a day, with lots of restaurants and bars where you can grab lunch or a drink. It's also a good spot to base yourself when visiting the island. 

Playa Arenal den Castell

This is one of my favourite beaches to run to when I'm in Menorca, and it's also home to one of Mike and I's favourite restaurants - Restaurante Alcalde.  Although the area is quite touristy, the beach is quiet in the mornings and the bay is a really nice spot to chill out and swim. 

Our Favourite Beaches in Menorca - A Pretty Place To Play

Son Parc

Located in the north of the Island, Son Parc has a beautiful sweeping beach surrounded by lush vegetation and is the perfect place to stretch out and relax for the day. Son Parc is a quieter resort, but there's still bars and restaurants if you fancy a snack and you can hire sun beds if you really fancy bedding in for the day! The only downside for me is that the water can be pretty shallow, so I have to head further out if I want to snorkel - it's a hard life! 

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Love Trails Festival Highlights

Love Trails Festival 2018 Highlights - A Pretty Place To Play

There's just two more sleeps until Love Trails Festival! I am so excited, after a week in the office I can't wait to spend the weekend outside camping, running and having fun with what I know is going to be an awesome group of people. I'm also really looking forward to spending time in Wales! My family is from Swansea, but since my Nana passed away a few years ago I don't get down there all that often and I've never taken Mike to the land of my fathers. It's going to be a pretty special weekend! 

Love Trails Festival 2018 Highlights - A Pretty Place to Play

There's so much going on at Love Trails, from runs to workshops to talks, it's hard to know where to start when it comes to deciding what to do! So rather than walking around in a haze of indecisiveness I thought I'd share my highlights from the festival schedule! 

Friday

I won't be getting to the festival until a bit later on Friday (traffic dependent!) so unfortunately it's unlikely you'll see me at some of these talks/workshops, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't go! They'll be fab!

Workout - Project Awesome Workout (7am and again at the same time on Saturday)

If you've not worked out with Project Awesome before you need to go to one or both of these sessions! This crew are awesome and their tough workouts are an awful lot of fun! Expect obnoxious outfits, lots of cheering and hugs galore from some of the friendliest people I've ever me. I'll be hitting the Saturday session, come hug me (if you're really lucky Mike will succumb to pressure and come along too, so hug him as well!).

Workshop - Performance Breathing & State Control with Chevy Rough (10am and 1pm)

Ever wondered what I'm on about when I talk about breathing exercises and training? Well learn all about it from the mindful mover himself (and my coach) Chevy Rough. During this workshop you'll discover:

  • How to put your body into an optimal state for peak performance and recovery
  • How to use various breathing and visual protocols to gain control over physiology 
  • How runners can have control over their energy systems without the need for technology

This one is free and you can just turn up! 

Workshop - Training Plan for a 21km or 42km Race with Matt Buck (9am and Saturday 11am)

Matt's an experienced ultra runner who trains runners of all abilities, helping them achieve their goals. Sounds like the right man to show you how to set goals and targets, and create a training plan that is just for you! 

This one is free and you can just turn up! 

Workshop - How to Plan an Epic Adventure in London with Belinda Kirk (2pm)

I really really hope I make it to the festival in time for this one! When you live in a city it's so easy to dismiss adventure as something out of reach because of the landscape, but it doesn't have to be that way! Belinda's workshop is guaranteed to be mega inspiring and will have you thinking up all sorts of adventurous schemes in no time! 

This one is free and you can just turn up!

Talk - Bad Boy Running Live Podcast - The Death of the Running Club (19:30)

One of the best running podcasts is going LIVE and it's bringing together two of the most entertaining men in running, David Hellard and Danny Bent to discuss the death of the running club. This is one you won't want to miss!

Talk - WMN Run Panel Discussion (20:35)

Come and nerd out with me about women in running and hear some of the most awesome women in the sport sharing their views.

Love Trails Festival 2018 Highlights - A Pretty Place To Play

Saturday

Saturday is going to be a crazy busy day for me, not least because I'm one of the run leaders for the Mikkeller Run to Beer! I've heard a lot about this crew of booze hound runners and I can't wait to run with them. Meet us at 2.30pm for a run followed by some special Love Trails Session IPA - consider it a warm up for the iconic Beer Mile later in the afternoon!

Workshop - Trail Photography and Awesomeness with @knowjack and @maxwilko (9am)

I worked with Max a few weeks back in Holland and he is an exceptionally annoying man, but he is also an insane photographer, videographer and trail runner whose dedication to his work kind of blows my mind, so I'll let him off! I can't think of a better person to share how to record your runs and epic-ness in style. 

This one is free, but you'll need to book on site.

Talk - Tried and Tested Techniques for Busy City People Looking to Get Outdoors and Active (9am)

How do you do it all? It's a common question if you run/work/have a sort of life, and usually a difficult one to answer! Often running is the first thing to go when life is busy, but Annie is here with ideas to inspire and motivate.

Talk - Journey of A Mindful Mover (9.40am)

Curious about what it means to be a mindful mover and the idea of connecting with the reasons why we move? Come along and listen to Chevy chat all about it. You'll be nosediving down the rabbit hole before you know it. 

Workshop - A Zero Waste Life with Anna Jackson & Charlotte Watkivs (1.30pm)

Anna is one of my favourite people, and also the reason why decent photos of me exist, and I couldn't not include her on this list! Anna is genuinely passionate about reducing waste, it's part of her life and I can't think of a better person to inspire you to ditch the single use plastic! She recently talked me into giving up face wipes, even when camping - a serious coup! 

This one is free and you can just turn up! 

Love Trails Festival 2018 Highlights - A Pretty Place To Play

Sunday

Come and run with me again! I'll be one of the leaders for the Love Trails Coastal Adventure at 9am (which is also at 9am on Friday and Saturday...but you know you want to run with me!) and I can't wait to explore those amazing views over the salt marshes and the festival site!

Talk - Running with your head...not just your legs (9:20am)

I am all about the mind-body connection, and this talk with James Holt explores the concept that running is just as much in the mind as in the legs. 

Talk - Prejudice and Pride - why the healing power of sport should be accessible to all (12 noon)

Another talk where you can come and nerd out with me! Participation and accessibility fascinate me, and it's something I've explored a lot in my academic work, I'm looking forward to an interest discussion around barriers to sport for those who are likely to benefit from it the most. 

Talk - Social running, how it changed my life and how it can change yours

I am passionate about the power of social running, it can be life changing! If it's not something you're involved in already, head to this talk and get inspired to find a social running group, if you are then remember why social running is so special! 

Love Trails Festival 2018 Highlights - A Pretty Place To Play

Top Tips for Love Trails

Of course, any post about a festival wouldn't be complete without some top tips for survival! Here are the big things I think you need to know when getting ready to head to The Gower!

  • the festival is trying to be free of single use plastics, now's the time to take some tips from Anna and Charlotte and go zero waste!
  • remember your swimmers, there are hot tubs! 
  • don't pack booze - Love Trails is a grassroots festival and a lot of the costs of putting the event on are recouped through the bar. So support all the work that's gone into putting on a great weekend and buy some of the fab beers on offer at the bars.
  • it's Wales, the weather can be variable (and wet), pack accordingly!
  • don't forget your head-torch, it's essential kit in a field. 
  • relax and have fun! 

Are you headed to Love Trails this weekend? Let me know where I'll see you in the comments! 

* images courtesy of Love Trails Festival. 

** I’m an ambassador for Love Trails Festival, but all opinions are my own. 

 

 

 

 

Running in Ibiza

Running in Ibiza, A Pretty Place To Play

Last year Mike and a load of his mates went to Ibiza for a stag do. They had an awful lot of fun, and decided to repeat the adventure this year and head back to San Antonio for a weekend of partying. Oh and this time they decided their girlfriends were invited too. So I packed up my best party dresses (and some running shoes!) and headed to the sun.

Running is my favourite way to explore new places, and I'd heard that Ibiza has amazing trail running, technical paths that would show me another side of the island away from the buzz of the bars and clubs, but not knowing the island I had no idea where to start. Luckily some googling led me to James Allchurch and RunIbiza. James is an experienced coach and guide who shares a similar outlook to me when it comes to running and leads personalised guided runs on the island, and was just the man to show me around. 

Running in Ibiza, A Pretty Place to Play

Meeting on the edges of San Antonio we were quickly out of town, scrambling along the coastline through scrub strewn with loose rocks and through shadier trails and over rocky patches. It was amazing how quickly the landscape changed, and how varied the terrain was! I've not had many opportunities to run trails, and it was so much fun to mix things up and bring together running and scrambling. I really loved how it tested my running form - when you trail run you really need that shorter stride and be light on your feet - and brought me in to the moment, if only because I had to avoid tripping over tree roots! It was a whole different workout, and I definitely felt it the next day when my legs and bum ached!

James was awesome, very friendly and knowledgable about the island and running more generally. It was so interesting chatting to him about form and discovering that Ibiza has an annual trail marathon, which may or may not be on my bucket list! Good guides adapt to their runners, it's like reading the room but with trainers, and James just made sure I was comfortable and the pace and route were working for me, it was great! Plus I loved how the run gave me an opportunity to explore the quieter, more natural side of the island. 

San Antonio Highlights

San Antonio is the party capital of the White Isle. The streets are crowed with people looking to have a good time in the bars, clubs and on the beach. There are gangs of boys and girls on their first trips without their parents, older ravers going big for the weekend and loads of stag and hen dos complete with questionable accessories. Whatever time of day it is there'll be people out, whether they're crawling home from the clubs as the sun rises, or headed out to the beach to catch some sun. The party never stops. Which is just as well, because the crew I was with love to party! 

It's easy to get overwhelmed in San Antonio, especially if you don't know it (we were so lucky to be with friends who really know the island), so I thought I'd share my highlights:

- brunch at The Skinny Kitchen - San Antonio is packed with places to get greasy beige food, so The Skinny Kitchen is a real breath of fresh air, and their brunch is awesome! Definately one to visit on the days you feel like you might not've had enough greens, but you still need something to soak up the night before.

- drinks at Pearl, Ibiza - the smaller, less intimidating sister of Ocean Beach, Pearl is an excellent place to spend an afternoon sipping cocktails and people watching (and Ibiza is amazing for people watching). Get there from noon and enjoy drinks deals while you chill on a big comfy chair and mentally prepare yourself for the night ahead! Their food is also pretty tasty.

- people watch at Ocean Beach - I wasn't sure whether to include this one, because I don't think I'd pay for it (a friend sorted us with guest list), but if you happen to end up in Ocean Beach it is quite something. A flashy pool party with multiple levels of VIP, this is the place to come and be seen. There are teeny tiny bikinis everywhere and muscles glowing with fake tan, and I felt amazing cool that I was confident enough to wander round in my scruffy trainers! It's a fun one for a special occasion, but go with a sense of humour and deep pockets.

Running in Ibiza, A Pretty Place to Play

- watch the sun go down at Cafe Mambo - well, just by Cafe Mambo! One of my favourite hacks is hitting the beach in front of Cafe Mambo with a couple of 90cent beers procured at a local shop to watch the sun go down to the sound of whichever DJ is playing that night (we were lucky enough to catch Pete Tong). The sunsets are beautiful, and once the sun goes down the party begins, so it's the perfect way to kick off your evening! 

- sleep at Hostel Florencio - accommodation in Ibiza seems to either be crazy expensive or super basic, there's little middle ground. This cheap and cheerful hotel was recommended by a friend, and I was really impressed. It's central (so maybe take ear plugs), really clean and the bathroom was lovely. Plus there's a cycle centre on site if you fancy some mountain biking.

Running in Ibiza, A Pretty Place to Play

- party party party - nearly all the guys in our group are DJs and they all had gigs in San Antonio, so a lot of the places we went were dictated by that. It's pretty awesome seeing your friends (and boyfriend!) play somewhere so iconic (at least in the world of dance music), and it meant we got to do a few things that were a bit special (VIP at Eden anyone?!). I reckon everyone should have a big night out at least once, and it can be a great opportunity to see some big name DJs, so do some research and find a night you know you'll love (and make sure you get your tickets from a reputable source!). 

Have you been to Ibiza? What are your top tips?