What really helps me get through the year are the music releases from the artists that I love. This month on of my favourite artists released her follow-up album to her spectacular 2012 debut 'Heal'. Loreen has waited five years to release her second album titled 'RIDE' to her eagerly awaiting fans and although we were teased with music in previous years, an album never came to fruition. Her album ride is a collection of music that really shows the beauty of her voice even though some listeners would wish that she enunciate her words a little better. I personally think that the the way she enunciates her words adds to the feeling of the songs on her album. It works particularly well on the songs '71 Charger', 'Hate the Way I love You', 'Love Me America' and 'I Go Ego. Those tracks, for me are the standout tracks of the album. I'm not saying the others are bad, but they could do with some more oomph especially 'Jupiter Drive' where we saw in one of her live shows in Germany that the beat was much heavier, stronger and more prominent. I feel the same for 'Fire Blue' but I have mixed feelings for that song as I feel its supposed to laid back and relaxed but I feel like it needs more substance. The rest of the tracks are perfect. Loreen keeps her notable vocals from her first album as well as her electronic sound but it sounds more mature and it's slowed down bringing in a mid-tempo feel with it. This ten track album marks a new era for Loreen and a revamped style and I can't wait to see what else it brings.

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I have been holidaying in Italy since I was a young child. My parents would drive me and my sister from London down to Italy through France and Switzerland which I loved because of the scenery but hated it because of the long drive to get there. This did have its advantages since we could practice our French and German on the way and I could admire the scenery. I eventually grew to love it because I could sit and admire the scenery as it went by whilst listening to music and pretending I was in a movie which was beautiful and passed the time considerably faster.

The scenery in the north of Italy is some of the most beautiful due to the lakes and mountains. One place I love is Bellagio located on Lake Como in Italy. It is simply the most elegant place I have been. Especially the hotel me and my family stayed in called Villa D'Este. It was alluring, bright and very open. It has a vast amount of space and has a pool that floats on the lake. I just fell in love.

Back to the present now, where I have come back from latest trip to Tuscany with the family and my friend Francesca who joined us in the second week. We flew this time so we could relax more and not worry about having to drive which was lovely, although I did miss the drive through the Swiss Alps. We stayed in a villa in the small village of Massa e Cozzile just outside of Montecatini Terme. The trip was centred around the cities of Lucca and Pisa but we based ourselves in Montecatini Terme. We did most of the exploring during the second week. We visited Lucca, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano and PIstoia. Where the first few towns I mentioned were tourist friendly, Pistoia on the other hand, lacked anything for tourists except for the Duomo Di Pistoia and the Museo Civico. The cafe culture is very vibrant though. I'd say it was a highlight of the short trip we took there.

Whilst in Tuscany, we also managed to visit the Uffiizi and I highly recommend that you do a tour of the gallery. It was highly informative and interesting. You are allowed to take pictures but I chose not to. I wanted to appreciate the paintings for what they were and admire them during the tour rather than take a picture and forget about it. After that we had lunch in Siena in a restaurant called Al Mangia. I had the Tagliata di controfiletto di “Fiorentina” (Its a sliced steak served with chips, olive oil, rosemary and a rocket salad). I asked for it medium rare and it was delicious. I recommend it if you're a meat eater. We did a wine tour the next day which was great fun tasting all the various wines (Vin Santo) and sweet wines which are now my favourite. I recommend getting som Cantuccini (Biscotti) to dip into the wine and having that as a desert after a meal. Simple yet delicious.

On the penultimate evening, we went to Montecatini Alto for dinner, we got there early enough to have a look around but there wasn't much there like Pistoia. The main Piazza was centred around a few restaurants but if you want uphill towards a small shop to the left was a look out point and a small Basilica. We had dinner at a restaurant called Cash Gala, which is an experimental restaurant and is also a Bed and Breakfast but we didn't stay there unfortunately. The food was delicious once again. I had another steak which was tender and flavoursome. It was medium rare, again, and beautifully done. I can't remember what the dish was called or find it on their menu on their website, but you can trust me, it was gorgeous.

The day after was used for packing and relaxing since we had to fly home the day after, but I had a blast on this trip and I would happily go again. It was sunny for most of the trip with a few storms here and there. Tuscany is one beautiful area of Italy that I have been to and I have been to other places such as Naples and Ancona but Tuscany is the area I will continue to visit for years to come.

A historic villa.

Montecatini Alto.

Montecatini Alto overlooking Montecatini Terme.

The pool of the villa we stayed in with Montecatini, in the distance.

The sunset from Montecatini Alto.

Piazza Del Campo, Siena.

Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore, Florence.

A Basilica in PIstoia.

The Ponte Vecchio.

The look out point in Montecatini Alto.



Hi, My name is John-Louis or John. This is my blog and I would love for you to follow me so you can see what I share with on this blog. I'll be sharing my holidays, recipes, pictures and much more. For example this picture is from when I went to France last year at the end of my road trip to Italy. Its one of my favourites and there will be lots more if you follow my Instagram account.