Before I went away, I wrote a blog post detailing what outfits and accessories I was packing for ten days in Nerja. With that, I included my recommended travel essentials and tips to make for easier holiday packing. Subsequently, I wanted to share my favourite of those holiday outfits, which were photographed in some stunning locations.

Holiday Outfits: My Favourite Dresses

I discovered this divine blue door on El Balcon de Europa, when I was in Nerja last year. It’s too beautiful not to use as the backdrop for at least one holiday outfit, so I used it to show off the brightest of my dresses. This *zig zag striped maxi dress is lightweight and easy to wear and I accessorised it with *citrus yellow espadrilles and my *Pomfret Slouchy Pouch.

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The mini honey bee necklace and honey bee ring in gold, are both by Danon and available from my own accessories website, Lizzy O

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The fabulous *retro turquoise and gold sunglasses are from Retrospecced. This is a company that refurbishes vintage and used designer spectacle frames then donates a percentage of their profits to charity. Consequently, every pair of glasses and sunglasses they sell is unique.

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The statue of King Alfonso XII, also on El Balcon de Europa, is something of an icon. He is very popular for photographs and in fact, I took a picture with him last year him which I posted on Instagram.  This year I’m wearing a *pink and grey snakeprint maxi dress from the latest collection at Kaleidoscope. It’s fully lined, so I’ll wear it in autumn with a chunky cardigan or denim jacket. With it, I wore three crystal-set wrap bracelets, also from Lizzy O. Don’t they look pretty stacked together and sparkling in the sunshine?

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This red dress with contrast hemp is another of my favourite holiday outfits, more of which is in my previous post.

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Holiday Outfits: My Favourite Beach Cover-Ups and Bikinis

As well taking enough holiday outfits for ten days, I took a lot of cover-ups.  I think kaftans and beach dresses are invaluable to wear to breakfast and lunch as well as on the beach. I adore this pretty *white Iconique Ronda poncho. The lace detailing is exquisite and it’s lightweight, cool and comfortable. It’s from UK Swimwear, which stocks a wonderful array of beachwear-particularly useful once the shops move to Autumn wear.

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Another *white embroidered dress, this time with red and blue detailing. Again, in common with the previous dress, it’s loose enough to be cool and comfortable, yet has enough structure to be stylish.

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This *blue Seychelles bikini and the matching *Seychelles kaftan, are by Fantasie. Although the gorgeous azure floral print is striking, it was the crossover straps that caught my eye.

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This red leopard print bikini is very flattering and super-stylish and I featured it in the blog post before last. Also in that post, are lots of tips for feeling beach ready at any age. 

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My final holiday outfit is the full-length *Halona fish print beach caftan by Rose Fulbright. It was the glorious printed silk that caught my eye along with the wide neckline. In fact, I wore this to evening dinner with the yellow espadrilles as well as on the beach.

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I like to accessorise my holiday outfits with something appropriate, so what could be better than a lobster? This *navy and white stripe leather cross body bag, is beautifully made and is the perfect size for my camera.

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The photographs were taken by my daughter Poppy Johnston and it was wonderful to be surrounded by such stunning locations. Later this week I’ll be linking this post to I Will Wear What I Like,  Brilliant Blog Posts and The Saturday Share.

Thank you for reading and for supporting those brands that support my blog.

When I first saw this striking red dress with its black and white striped contrast hem on Instagram a short while ago, I knew it would be perfect to wear on holiday. The dress gods must have been smiling on me, because the lovely people at Lagom contacted me and asked If I’d like to choose something from their website. Several styles caught my eye, but this was still my favourite.

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The Lagom Allegra Contrast Hem Dress

This dress is named Allegra and years of piano lessons mean I know this is the term used to describe fast, happy music. The contrast hem with its black and white stripes is of course reminiscent of a keyboard too. It drapes and catches the breeze beautifully and I want to swish and swoosh and dance in it. Therefore, this happy, vibrant dress is perfectly named.

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My shoes are from by Lotus, a brand that has a fabulous selection of footwear and handbags. I wear their footwear regularly so you might remember my leopard print boots, the houndstooth check ankle boots or the nude pumps with multi-coloured wedge that I wore earlier this year. I chose these black glimmer strappy sandals because they compliment the contrast hem on my dress beautifully. They have a very elegant mid-height heel which I know will make them a wardrobe staple. Not only that, they’re comfortable and versatile enough to wear with jeans or trousers too.

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These photographs were taken on the Balcon de Europa which is where we stayed in Nerja. It’s a wonderful part of the town which comes alive at night with portrait painters and singers. Furthermore, it has breathtaking views which I don’t think I could ever tire of.

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I think you’ll see why.

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My red Allegra dress is a gift from Lagom (£75) and the Gabby black shimmer sandals, (£59.99), are a gift from Lotus. In addition, Lagom and Lotus co-sponsored this blog post. As always, everything I write is 100% honest and all content is my own. It’d be lovely if you’d support the brands that support me. I’ll be linking the post to I Will Wear What I Like,  Brilliant Blog Posts and The Saturday Share.

Throughout the year, I dream about putting my bikini on to bask in the sunshine. In fact, I’m sure most of us anticipate our summer holiday more than any other week or two of the year. It’s a time to relax, recharge, re-energise and spend quality time with loved ones. For me, it’s a heady yet healthy mix of enjoyment and indulgence with a sense of freedom thrown in for good measure. Freedom from deadlines, from emails, from food shopping, cooking and housework. It’s also a chance to read, to chat, to laze, to drink Cava with breakfast and eat ice-cream every lunchtime. And that’s exactly what I did for ten days in Nerja.

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Sunshine makes me feel more alive and more vital. In addition, I welcome the subtle changes it imparts on my appearance – the golden tan, the freckles and the highlights in my hair. It makes me feel better, and after all, we all want to look and feel our best.  Yet, even the most self-confident of women can feel a little vulnerable in her bikini, so what can we do to look and feel our best in our swimwear?

How To Shine On The Beach (Without The Bikini Bootcamp)

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-First of all, exfoliate, exfoliate and  exfoliate some more. Dry body brushing is excellent for smoothing the skin and boosting circulation. Moisturise daily, especially after bathing or showering and pay particular attention to knees, elbows, ankles and heels. As a result, a tan, whether fake or real will be more even.

-Have an eyelash tint, especially if, like me, you’re fair and need mascara but want to submerge your face. Every waterproof mascara I’ve ever tried had mutually exclusive staying power and removability. This resulted in either panda eyes in the sea when it came off, or panda eyes all night when it wouldn’t.

-Have a professional manicure and pedicure. For 51 weeks of the year, I paint my nails myself, but a beautician or nail technician always produces a neater finish, so I treat myself.  Bright colours in bright sunshine work perfectly but so do soft pastels because they contrast beautifully with tanned tootsies.

-Suncream is a given, but remember to protect your hair and if you have a parting, protect that too. A sore, red sunburned parting is a friend to nobody. Take it from one who knows.

-Accessorise with a fabulous and functional pair of sunglasses. Mine are StyleColours by Transitions. They darken in the sunlight and protect the eyes and surrounding skin from harmful UV rays and furthermore, they fade to become clear when indoors which saves taking them off and on.

-Most of all, have fun. Why not play in a rubber ring, jump into the pool, have a lilo race or try a new watersport?  There is little more attractive than seeing someone laughing and loving life.

How To Choose The Right Bikini or Swimsuit

Of course, as with any clothing, the right swimwear makes all the difference to how we look and feel about ourselves.

-Try on several different styles and colours including some that are out of your comfort zone- as a consequence, you may find THE perfect silhouette.

-Take a few quick snaps on your phone from all angles, therefore you can be sure it fits and looks as good from the back as it does from the front.

-If you are between sizes, opt for the smaller. This is important because bikinis and swimsuits expand when wet.

-Make use of ties and straps. Go tighter than you think, lean forward and keep adjusting until you feel confident and secure.

-More fabric does not necessarily mean more flattering coverage. The extra fabric will draw attention to the area you wish to conceal. Try something less demure, especially with bikini bottoms. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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My Red Leopard Print Bikini

My bikini is from an exclusive new collection of swimwear styles at M&Co. This summer, the swimwear range was designed to boost confidence in women of all ages, aiming to help them to discover their perfect poolside look. The collection focuses on a range of swimwear styles including swimsuits, bikinis, tankinis and slimming beachwear.

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A halter neck bikini top is always very flattering and this one is no exception. It fits extremely well and has subtle shaping. The briefs are particularly comfortable and have a little bit of matte gold embellishment which makes them that little bit more special.

I always take plenty of beach cover-ups and this long red, lightweight beach dress, also from M&Co is ideal for wearing over my bikini, to go to breakfast and lunch. The lace and embroidered detailing is beautiful yet simple.

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What Women Really Think

M&Co conducted a survey among their customers, (which you can read here), and asked about their swimwear style, habits and preferences. They received 1300 responses from women aged 18-80 and consequently discovered some fascinating facts about bikini bodies, celebrity style and body shapes…

Younger women appreciate an icon with 18-34 year-olds preferring Marilyn Monroe to Halle Berry.

Women of all ages prefer natural bodies as opposed to fake.

85% of women would not give up their other halves for a year in exchange for the dream bikini body.

 The most confident ladies in their swimwear are 65-74 year-olds.

This latter fact made me smile because I was on holiday with my parents and children and both my 67 year-old mother and my 16 year-old daughter wore (two-piece) bikinis. Without doubt, my mum is just as happy in her bikini as my daughter and I are. Of course, as we age, so do our bodies and she does on occasions refer to “lumps and bumps” but we all think she’s a fabulously gorgeous granny. Her self-confidence and love of life are all we see when we look at her. I have every intention of rocking a bikini just like her when I’m in my seventh decade, and what a wonderfully positive message this is for my daughter.

My Thoughts On My Bikini Body

I’m 43 years old and a mother of two teenage children, so consequently, my bikini body isn’t what it was twenty years ago. Without question though, I’m happier and feel more self-confident now, than I did back then. I look after myself; I work out at the gym and go to spinning classes. Because exercise has always been part of my life, it’s second nature to want to feel fit, strong and toned. Having said all of that though, I do believe that it’s what’s inside that makes a difference. I’m healthy, loved and fulfilled. I’ve never felt happier and I think it shows.  And, for the record, I’m definitely among the 85% of women who would not give up their other half for a year in exchange for the dream bikini body!

So in conclusion, maybe the best thing to wear on the beach is a smile!

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Your Exclusive Discount Code for M&Co

Use Code: LIZZYLOVES10 online for 10% off full price items.
(Terms & conditions: Valid online at www.mandco.com until 31st August 2017. This excludes promotional or sale items and online P&P charges. Items from non-participating concessions are excluded from this promotion and returned items will be refunded at the discounted price paid. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer)

The animal print underwired top, £14.40, animal print roll over bottoms, £11.20 and the crochet maxi beach dress, £32, were gifted to me by M&Co. This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with M&Co but my opinions are always honest and the content is always my own. It’s lovely when you support those brands that support What Lizzy Loves. The photographs were taken by my daughter Poppy Johnston and I’ll be linking this post to I Will Wear What I Like,  Brilliant Blog Posts and The Saturday Share