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St Pete and Clearwater are the peanut butter and jelly of Florida. My state-based childhood means I’m always asked for the so-called “best place to travel in Florida” and the combination is, without a doubt, going to be my answer for many years to come.

At just a 30-40 minute drive from St Petersburg, Clearwater (Beach and City) has everything a picture-perfect Florida vacation could promise; dolphins, boats, seafood, an atmosphere perfect for spring breakers & families alike, the best beach in America, and more.

Read on to get acquainted…

clearwater florida 4
clearwater florida
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wisteria hysteria
I have spent a lot of time in and around Straub Park since arriving in St Pete. Lining the waterfront of the Vinoy Basin, it has proven to be as perfect for morning runs as it has for sun-drenched strolls along Beach Drive.

To compensate for the calorific intake of Easter lunch (which was so spectacular its inevitable blog is just around the corner), I decided to take a few laps in an outfit a little more ‘wysteria hysteria’-friendly than my typical activewear…

What I Wore:
Black vintage dress (similar here)
Gold heels from Heavenly Soles

wisteria hysteria
wisteria hysteria

sea salt st pete
It’s time to judge a book by its cover, my treasured foodie friends; Sea Salt is every bit as exquisite as its 22-foot tall wine tower, marble-topped raw bar, and general sweeping sumptuousity.

Naturally, I walked in skeptical. I have visited (and generally refused to review) a number of restaurants with a severe imbalance in style and substance. The meretricious disappointments are part and parcel of food writing.

Sea Salt is one of those glittering, infallible exceptions.

The chef and owner, Venice-native Fabrizio Aielli, is committed to excellence across the board – quality ingredients, quality staff, and quality menu curation that changes by the day.

It is perfection with a soul and – as the name would suggest – an international destination for all things sea and salt (the restaurant sells and serves 130 varieties of the latter).

Perusing the menu over a glass of Schramsberg Vineyard’s sparkling Chardonnay-based Blanc de Blanc, it almost felt rude to feign refusal of the oyster menu so my date and I kicked things off with the raw bar’s Tartufata (black truffle, burrata & leeks) and Kona Kampachi (avocado, red onion, capers & sweet chilli truffle sauce).

They were, without a doubt, the most flavourful oysters I have ever had and the start of a truly unforgettable culinary adventure.

Entrusting our uber knowledgable sommelier with all subsequent liquid decisions, we soaked up an inadvisable amount of Sriracha & truffle-infused salts into olive oil-soaked sourdough and settled in for the night.

Everything on the menu, defying logic and seeming possibility, tasted even better than it looked. From
Diver Sea Scallops (with cauliflower puree, apple, fennel, radichio & an incredible vandouvan curry nage), to Octopus (with smoked paprika, beluga lentils, chorizo & tomato marmalade), to Saffron Cavatelli (with Maine lobster, green peas & an ingenious mascarpone-prosecco sauce), to homemade ravioli (pack with tender braised veal and ricotta in a black truffle sauce), every flourish mattered.

By this point, the sommelier’s phenomenal choices (highlights of which included Delaporte Sancerre with the scallops and Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino with the Cavatelli) settled in and had me waxing lyrical – a tad too vehemently, perhaps – about my love of surf and turf.

Before I knew it, the chef had sent out an off-the-menu ode of his own; their yellowfin tuna (atop seared Hudson foie gras, black venere rice, wasabi pea aioli & a carrot-white soy emulsion) and the most unbelievably tender black Angus fillet mignon (cushioned by burrata-whipped potatoes and a Cabernet Bordelaise). Paired with a glass of Bootleg’s luscious Merlot/Petit Sirah/Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Zinfande red blend, I reached ecstasy’s inevitable breaking point.

From start to finish – hostess to waitress – I could not have asked for more from Sea Salt.

But I suppose since my takeaway box of gourmet, silken chocolates from Norman Love (I live for the “Hot Dark”) lasted all of 24 hours, I’ll have to return at every opportunity over my final two weeks in St Pete to do exactly that…

YOLO and then some.

sea salt st pete
sea salt st pete
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legally blonde
This is one of “those” dresses. The ones that sit in our closet and stare us down when we don’t feel confident enough to wear them (yay, womanhood). Which is always.

It’s bright. It’s tight (with beautiful draping at the top). And confident as I am, all of that paired with curves and blonde made me feel a little more Elle Woods than my own ridiculous standards of professional decorum would allow.

But I packed it for Florida. I packed it because I gave up negative thoughts and almost doing things. I packed it because pink is my secret power colour.

After all, what is the point in doing hundreds of squats a week if I’m not going to take the results out in a hot pink dress?

Grab your own versions of “those” dresses and get them out this weekend. You won’t regret it.

What I Wore:
Hot pink Ralph Lauren dress (similar here)
Gold flip-flops from Badgley Mischka

legally blonde
legally blonde
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cheap flights
Cheap flights can be hard to find. But I am happy to report I’ve got the search down to an art. As a travel blogger who travels as much on my own dime as someone else’s, I am always looking for the best of the best for the lowest price possible. After all, mo’ money mo’ travels, right?

Naturally, I end up helping most of my friends book flights for their own adventures and – as a massive advocate for a life well-travelled – I love doing so.

So why not do the same for you? I have been taking some incredibly cheap flights (many of which have been on my favourite airline) over the last couple of years and now feel fully prepared to share how you can book your cheapest flights…ever.

Get Miles Every Time You Buy Anything
Want to go to America for under £200? I’ve got you covered. Last year, I formed an unlikely interest in airline credit cards as a woman who doesn’t even use a “normal” credit card. Essentially, I have never liked the idea of spending what I don’t have.

And I still don’t. But I use my Virgin Atlantic Credit Card every day. For everything.

Why? The card connects to Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club and by simply making one purchase in the first three months of owning the card, you can earn up to 18,500 miles. There are two options for the card (White and Black) depending on the privileges you would like to receive, but the completely free White option will still earn you 1 mile for every £1 you spend.

The result? Incredibly cheap mile-supported trips to LA, Vegas, and more in the last year alone. Even while I “pay off” the card at the end of each week (therefore incurring no fees).

Sign up to get your bonus miles and start flying!

Be Airline Specific
Especially if you’re flying to a location or continent best served by a small handful. In general, you want to sign up to their dreaded “lists”*, Clubs, and check the almost omnipotent “Flight Deals” part of your chosen airline’s website as they change depending on flight fill and low seasons.

Personally, Qatar Airways is my go-to airline for anything on the East side of this wonderfully wide world. Their business class, as you may remember, is unparalleled and their Privilege Club not only accrues “Qmiles” for three years at a time (great for infrequent travel) but offers lounge access at certain tiers – even if you’re not flying Business!

* I have a separate airline-friendly e-mail address so I don’t have to deal with the deals when I’m not looking for flights.

Check Google Flights
I’ve used a lot of flight aggregators in my time and I have to say Google’s recent addition to their portfolio my absolutely favourite. As well as being great for speed-locating cheap tickets for chosen destinations, they allow you to “Discover Destinations” if you have a rough date in mind but no idea where to go; you can narrow searches by everything from interests to continent!

Best of all? You can track prices if you think you’ve found the best flight but you’re not ready to buy. In my experiences, flight prices can drop and raise upwards of £100 in the space of a few days. Getting e-mail alerts on the patterns means you know exactly when to strike.

If you have any further questions, feel free to pick my brain on social (@lelalondon on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook). Otherwise, have the best (and cheapest) trip ever!

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