A GREEK GETAWAY

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Last week I headed to Zakynthos, Greece, for a few days of sunshine. I stayed at The Peligoni Club, a beautiful set of properties in the North of the island and a family-style club with the perfect mix of fun and relaxation. It's quite literally family-style, too, in that it's family-run and we met many staff working there who had first holidayed at Peligoni with their families when they were younger, before applying to work there after leaving school. For the first time in a long, long time, I properly relaxed, got off my laptop, postponed meetings and tucked into freshly grilled fish, swam in the crystal blue sea (thank goodness, as I'd managed to burn my leg with hot tea on the flight over and the sea healed it pretty quickly!) and relaxed with friends old and new.

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We enjoyed morning yoga at the club on the decking overlooking the waters, which warmed us up nicely before a reviving morning dip and a breakfast of fresh watermelon followed by a feast of Greek delicacies. I treated myself to an oil massage on arrival, an Ayurvedic remedy to help ground the body — essential after a bit of flying! Watersports were on the agenda with paddle-boarding (my favourite), wind-surfing and, for those who just wanted to kick-back and squeal with adrenalin, there were rubber rings on the back of a speed boat for up to 5 mischief-makers to crash around on the waves. We also put our suncream on and took out the cameras for a boat trip to "shipwreck cove," passing the famous Cephalonia island that featured in Captain Correli's Mandolin to arrive at a beach (epic views from above — see Nick Hopper's risky cliffhanger pic below) with a huge, rusted graffiti-etched ship said to have shipwrecked in 1980 after hitting rocks in bad weather, while being chased by the Greek navy who suspected it to a be smuggler ship, managing to get there before a million tourists!

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Food was definitely a key theme of the trip, with long lazy lunches. Suppers were large and late so I asked for fresh ginger as an apéritif to help with digestion and tried to eat a little less and keep it light, which was easy since the breakfasts and lunches were also huge! As well as the Peligoni Beach Club restaurant where you could find succulent prawns with caper mayo, homemade pizzas from their outdoor wood-fired oven, homemade humous with Greek Kalamata olives and a delicious gazpacho served from a bottle, we visited some neighbouring restaurants for traditional feasts. No need to look at a menu — it's a taster of everything which made things fun and kept us out of our heads and firmly in the moment.

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On our last evening our group was treated to an exquisite dinner by guest chef London-based Nina Parker. Three courses of my kind of flavours, finished off with fresh apricot tart. The supperclub took place at the traditional villa we all shared called Anna's — high in the hills (4x4 recommended to get there!) and with the smell of sun-warmed blossoms in the air and in true giggly holiday style, the girls pretended it was our wedding, while the guys played the guitar, made cocktails and took pictures of the beautiful sunset.

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Jasmine Hemsley