2018: A Year in Review – 1 Second Everyday

Let’s take a look at my 2018: A Year in Review.

1 second everyday reflection 2018 post

It’s funny because it’s December 20th and I’m sitting here with a burst of creativity ready to write like I love to write. I love being able to do blog posts that help, like information and step-by-step guides like the NIE posts, but, they’re just not fun. I do them to help, not because I enjoy it.

These are the posts I enjoy. Yet, with a busy winter and a hectic summer, I guess I lost the creativity flow to write like this. I would say I love writing my travel posts, yet sitting in my drafts are fourteen different travel posts to write up, so how much do I actually love writing them as opposed to living them? I think I like travelling a lot more than I like writing about travelling. 

I’ve learnt a lot about blogging in my first year. Once January comes around, the year anniversary of Diary of a Spanglish Girl will arrive. Something I did on a whim. In a weird way, I don’t even think I like the name of my blog anymore. Maybe it’s like having a middle name, everybody says they don’t like them, but they don’t change them. I suppose my blog name is a part of who I am now.

When I sat on the computer at 22:00 whilst Alex had fallen asleep watching Star Wars setting up a blog, I never knew what kind of great opportunities and how much fun I’d have. I never knew how exhausting it would be either.

Needless to say, I started burning the candle at both ends. When I start a project, I put my heart and soul into it. I’m still not happy with my blog. Nowhere close. There are themes I want to change. Fonts I want to alter. Photos I want to take. Blog drafts I want to finish.

But, 11 months on, I’ve finally found a balance. Gone of the days of sitting every day from 8:00-12:00 on the blog and then getting home and doing the same. Weekends? They would be all day. Both days. Now, I’ve found a pattern that works.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in 2018. It’s having a balance. Prioritising. Setting a day for different jobs. Blog writing is reserved for one or two times in the week.

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Enough about that, let’s talk about my year and 1 Second Everyday. 1 Second Everyday is the best app I have ever paid for.* Without a shadow of a doubt. I have never once regretted paying for 1 Second Everyday. I know full well when it comes to pro renewal time, I’ll pay to have the pro features once more, there and then. *Lucky you guys, because at the moment [31.12.18] 1SE is free to download on the App store!

I have shouted about 1 Second Everyday quite a lot, sorry about that, but I can tell you now, that even if this was sponsored, which it isn’t, it’s for a perfectly good reason. It’s the best app on the app store. In my opinion, okay! We let the days go past and every day is different. But, do we capture them? Do we remember them? Most likely not. Unless something big happened, like a birthday or an event. The rest of the days are cast aside. Placed in a forgotten cove in our brains. They become a distant memory. Gradually fading.

Why should one day be less remembered than another? Let’s stop having days that are forgotten, like the white crayon. Let’s remember them all. There is good in every day, you just have to look for it.

Every day has a piece of the day that brings each day back to life. A moment sparks a memory. It’s a conversation starter. A memory maker. A sentimental and perfect gift. It’s 1 Second Everyday.

Let’s take a look at my 2018: A Year in Review. This one is going to be very lengthy, so, if you’re into short pieces, I apologise in advance.

WATCH MY 2018 YEAR IN REVIEW HERE:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9_N1MdDGCa8

January 2018 Highlights:

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  • Kicking off 2018 at a local bar with their extravagant gala meal. We even got to take Rio with us!
  • Bowling and arcades
  • King’s Day Parade. It was lovely to see all the floats go by and the beautiful parade.
  • A trip to England for my Grandad’s birthday. Marley, the dog, was ecstatic to see me. His tail wagging and getting all excited. It also snowed that weekend, which caused a slight delay for the plane, but luckily, not a cancellation!
  • A night out at the Madeira Hotel, where it has a beautiful terrace to see the sunset and the Benidorm lights.
  • Starting my blog!

February 2018 Highlights

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February was one of those months where everything seems to go wrong and nothing can go right. It turned out to be one of the most stressful months and the worst Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t a fun month. Although, it turned out to be the turning point and actually made the rest of the year more enjoyable.

  • A trip to England for Amy’s baby shower and saw Kayleigh at my Nan and Grandad’s.
  • Moving Apartment. Early February, we found out we had to leave our apartment, with immediate effect. Trying to find somewhere different to live, with a dog, isn’t the easiest or most enjoyable of activities and after viewing apartments after apartments, we finally found one that we both liked and could afford.
  • My family came over for the February break that doesn’t exist here, so I was still working. It was also the time for breakfasts and dinners out and moving furniture and general stuff into the new apartment.
  • Won a shopping trip at La Marina, which definitely made February a little nicer. With 100€ to spend in any of the shops, I got lots of bits and pieces for the new apartment, including a new kitchen work surface. Collecting the prize winnings was one of the most surreal experiences, still funny to this day.
  • Gino’s after work for a Valentine’s meal. We moved into our new flat the next day. Talk about a quick turn around. It came with a lot of view and sunrise photos now that we have a gorgeous view from our window. Very different to what we had before.

March 2018 Highlights

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  • Finally buying a coffee machine after it was on a massive sale in Carrefour!
  • Cut my hair from almost waist length to above the shoulder, in one go.
  • Headed to Benidorm Palace to support their dog charity event, which was incredibly sad.
  • My family came over for the Easter break, just in time for Oliver’s birthday.
  • We celebrated Oliver’s birthday with Julie and Neil.
  • One of my first blogging opportunities came around in March, trying out the Lockdown Escape Room with my family. We did the Zombie experience and it was such a laugh. Absolutely loved it.
  • The end of March came with another blogging opportunity at the Don Pancho hotel, I got to try my first afternoon tea. It was a lovely experience having tea by the pool with sandwiches and biscuits. I don’t think it will size up to much next to afternoon teas in the UK, but it was a lovely experience.

April 2018 Highlights

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  • April also brought another blogging opportunity. We headed to Terra Natura to try out their experience and see if it’s a suitable activity for teenagers, it is!
  • We took Rio to the dog sitters for the first time in April in preparation for our trip to the UK and it was scary. The trust you place in somebody to take care of your baby is immense. We weren’t sure how he would be, but well, he just trotted off whilst we were stood in tears, perfect.
  • We went to England for a few days during Easter and had some more blogging opportunities. Doing my first campaign with Fosse was such a highlight and has started such a great long-term opportunity that I’m so thankful for.
  • We met Amy and Max’s daughter for the first time, what a gorgeous little girl she is!
  • We took Oliver to see the Riders game where, thanks to Pablo, he got to meet and take photos with all the team.
  • We finished our trip with a visit to the Escape Lounge at East Midlands Airport.
  • Having a car for a little while, we made use of it and headed up to a local village.
  • We started watching Gossip Girl again and got hooked very quickly.
  • We took plenty of walks into Benidorm as the weather picked up and the shorts and T-shirts were out once more.
  • We took Rio to play in our garden for the first time and it was so nice to see him be able to run around freely and play. He loved it.
  • The end of April was the April Feria, though nothing on par with Sevilla! There was a flamenco show complete with horses that were incredible to see on the beach.
  • Alex finally got to go on the terrace of the Hotel Bali!
  • The last day of April was my moment to shine on Cool FM talking about my blog!

May 2018 Highlights

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  • The local pizza place opened again!
  • My Nan and Mum also came over for the weekend, where my Nan got to see our new apartment for the first time.
  • It was also the time of the La Vila Joiosa festival which had a beautiful parade along the street.
  • It was the time for the first dip in the sea, I’m dancing to keep warm in the video, that one purely was for the 1SE, not the gram! 
  • We headed to Altea, back to a bar we’d been to before.
  • We had our first beach day in May and ended up playing the Spanish card game that we always play and say “we should play this more often” then proceed to put it away for another six months.
  • May is Rio’s first birthday and to celebrate his real parents hosted a puppy party. It was lovely to go to Elche and see all of his dog family. Rio absolutely loved following around his mum, dad and brothers and sisters. They laid out a lovely selection of food for all of us humans and gave the dogs a goody bag with treats and laid out the table with their name badges and balloons.
  • Alex and I finally tried out a paella restaurant that is a little pricey but outstanding. It’s somewhere we’d contemplated going for a long time. It’s located on Poniente beach and has a gorgeous view of the sea and sunset if you go at the right time. You sit slightly on a ledge in the window and inside they have a mini garden and waterfall, it’s beautiful!

June 2018 Highlights

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June, already?! It’s my birthday month and I definitely milked it for all it was worth.

  • We met up with Gohar, who took some lovely photos for us, for the first time and took her to Fuxion.
  • We went to see the lovely performance of Aladdin at Casa Cultura in Alfaz del Pi. It was a wonderfully entertaining show, all in English, and we’ll for sure be heading to future productions.
  • Another blogging opportunity came around in the shape of Karting Benidorm. Although it was fun, it wasn’t as much fun for Alex who was only racing against me, yes, he lapped me like 4 times. I was more Driving Miss Daisy than Fast and Furious. You are supposed to check your mirrors and your blind spot in karting, right?
  • In the middle of June, I had a little bit of bored banter with Virgin Atlantic, instead of the £8 flights to Orlando, rude, they sent me some cute aeroplane salt and pepper shakers, sweet, or should I say salt? 
  • Meeting up with Irene and her husband at the San Juan fiestas.
  • We had a visitor from Madrid in June too, Marta came to visit and we took her to the water park for a birthday present. We also met up with Gohar the next day and headed up to Orcheta to take some photos with our Truprint book.
  • We went to a tapas bar to try a variety of seafood and tapas pieces that I’d never tried before. I ended up loving boquerones!
  • We headed straight to Campomanes which is somewhere I’d been desperate to visit. Just past Altea, it’s a stunning port.
  • We went to Moraira which we ended up loving too.
  • The birthday week was well underway visiting Xabia, Sella, Guadalest, Cartagena, Algar Falls, La Manga and Polop.
  • I had Happy Birthday sung to me in Norweigan and had a mini birthday celebration at Seven Stars.

July 2018 Highlights

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  • One last trip to Campomanes before handing the rental car back.
  • It was a time of hope for all of us when it seemed possible that it might just come home for England in the world cup. Spirits were high and the dreams seemed possible. We followed the routine of heading to Seven Stars sitting in the same place and Alex insisting that we had to eat the same meal and he had to wear the same T-shirt. Good job I was washing it in between matches…
  • Having access to a car again after dinner at Julie and Neil’s, meeting Blue, their new dog for the first time, we went to the small cove next to Benidorm. It wasn’t a nice place to be and we ended up leaving after ten minutes.
  • We tried out the newly opened market at Carrefour and had a nice hotdog followed with a gorgeous patisserie. They also have a bar there, so wine for me!
  • In preparation for our holiday to Mallorca, I had my nails done and eyebrows waxed in Alfaz.
  • Work finished for summer!
  • A trip to Mallorca, where we went to the beach, relaxed and went on a great boat tour! We stayed in a nice, quaint hostal next door to their apartment in Paguera. I ended up meeting up with a childhood friend there too which was lovely.
  • Spent a lot of the time at the pool in the summer sun!
  • We went back to the Escape Room in Benidorm again, this time trying out the Cold War game, without Alex as you can only have four! This one was a lot more tedious and slow moving, but enjoyable all the same.
  • Ahh, the red moon. Although not able to capture on film, it was cool to go down to the beach at midnight and see so many people standing around looking at the same moon. If you’re ever alone, just look at the moon. Somebody else will be too.

August 2018 Highlights

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  • Plenty of chilling around the pool! With temperatures soaring, midnight dips in the pool were welcomed.
  • With just over 24 hours notice, my first PR trip was confirmed! We were going to Granada and Sevilla! Well, I was. We had to pay for Alex and our accommodation but it was amazing all the same. We were treated to my bus paid for by Alsa and press passes to the Granada sights for both of us. Unfortunately, we still haven’t made it into the Alhambra though! We stayed at the same places as our previous trips and loved it just as much, if not more as our first trip to Granada and Sevilla. We visited all of the Granada monuments, except the Alhambra and danced around Sevilla and rode on their horse and carriages. A perfect little summer break and what we thought would be our last trip of 2018.
  • Pool days and BBQ’s with friends and arcade visits.
  • We went up to Orcheta and had chicken nuggets in Bar Gregori.
  • We took my mum and Oliver to Campomanes, where Oliver and Alex kayaked on the bay.
  • Another blogging opportunity arose when I took my mum with me to the Hotel Dynastic for a try of their spa experience. Talk about revitalising!
  • Our Road Trip to the North of Spain:

We went to go pick up a rental car after deciding the next day we’d take a road trip. Starting in Tarragona and our first official stop was Barcelona. We headed to the parks so Rio could walk in the shade. Being conscious of the heat, we made sure to plan the driving and the places that would be shaded and cooler for him. That night, we took him to the light show in Barcelona at Montjuic and he and I absolutely loved it. Alex cried. The next morning was an early start to beat the entrance to the Park Guell. Rio was able to walk around the park and monuments with us which was a huge highlight of the year for me. Watching the sunset from Park Guell is definitely something I won’t forget. We took him to La Sagrada Familia too where he gave that wonderful pose for me…

The next stop was up in La Seu, after a brief stop in Manressa. We met up with Alex’s friends from the USA who now live in La Seu. Rio liked sitting by the water at the Olympic ground. Next stop was Zaragoza and somewhere that although it’s beautiful, I wouldn’t return now I’ve seen it. The Basilica of Pilar is absolutely breathtaking though!

Heading to Pamplona, I was pleasantly surprised to find I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Then, we finally reached a place I’ve wanted to go for as long as I have been coming to Spain as an adult. Donostia San Sebastian. Standing at La Concha Beach and just generally being there was so surreal. Although it was a short couple of hours visit, we fit so much in. We then headed to Bilbao and Vitoria-Gasteiz before heading down to Soria for the night.

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After deciding there wasn’t a lot to see in Soria, we headed straight for Madrid. After Madrid, we made a pit stop at Toledo where we saw the beautiful Alcazar and had a Mcdonalds in the square. Cultural! After that, we headed to Albacete where we had local tapas before heading home.

September 2018 Highlights

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  • We had tapas in Benidorm on the famous tapas alley.
  • We met up with Neve and her boyfriend and had a few drinks in the local city.
  • Alex’s birthday meal at Ginos’.
  • We went to the beach for a sunset picnic complete with Croatian Wine which was gifted from Wine and More.
  • Meeting up with Hazel and her husband, we were treated to some Cadbury’s goodies and some Irish crisps!
  • We went to Villa Del Mar, where we ended up arriving as it was closed so no cocktails for us, but we were treated with a gorgeous sunset.
  • Headed to Altea in time for their fiestas, we took the tram there and back which was easy and quick.
  • We took some photos of Alex in his Daniel Wellington Watch which was a kind gift.
  • We headed to Benidorm at night for a drink of the Tossal.
  • We finished September by having a scrumptious paella at Fuxion.

October 2018 Highlights

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The month of Halloween, crispy leaves and Blogtober! I battled blogtober for the first time and managed to smash it. There were a lot of sunset and sunrise videos as I was literally up from dusk to dawn smashing out content and then heading straight to work.

  • A huge collaboration made its way in October. A stay in the suite at the Gran Hotel Bali. The first hotel I stayed at in Poniente that made me fall in love with the area. I had always wanted to stay in the suite with the terrace so the fact my blog brought this opportunity was one of the most mesmerising weekends. Although it was a lot of hard work, it was an unforgettable weekend. We were treated like royalty! I can’t thank the Gran Hotel Bali enough!
  • I headed back to the UK for my first of many winter weekends. Marley was beyond himself in excitement.
  • I did another shopping campaign with Fosse which was perfect and we had dinner with Julie and Neil who were over in the UK too.
  • We tried Druckers cafe for the first time and it’s a game changer in the Food Court.
  • I brought my mum and Oliver along with me to the Escape Lounge at East Midlands Airport.
  • Mum and I went to the cinema for the first time and saw Mammia Mia 2 in Spanish. Afterwards, we met Oliver and dad at the arcade.
  • Settled down to watch the Great British Bake Off, I was over the moon to be able to catch some English TV. I do love the Bake Off!
  • Exam day for our kids and they were absolutely adorable and made us so proud. They were such a strong team and so supportive of each other.
  • We tried out a cafe nearby and it’s fantastic. The cakes are second to none and the cappuccino is smooth and warming. It’s a new favourite.

November 2018 Highlights

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  • Cakes, cakes and more cakes. Not sure how I haven’t put on a stone or two!
  • My nan and auntie Chris came to visit for the week and stayed at the Bali.
  • I was sent a few treats from Usborne for our children and World Duty Free make up so I spent a bit of time taking photos and unboxing videos.
  • The Benidorm November Fiestas arrived and we went to the fantastic fair! We loved it. Alex was off work so it gave us some extra time to spend together in the mornings.
  • We watched the Benidorm fiesta fireworks from our balcony.
  • We ended up meeting a couple in the bar we go to who are planning to rent an apartment in our block, so we had a few drinks with them before going out for a meal together.
  • Another weekend away to Leicester and it was another trip to Fosse to work on their Full of your Favourites Christmas campaign. My first bit of Christmas content and I was starting to feel Christmassy already. After stuffing my case with so many PR gifts it was time to go home.
  • I discovered how important Micellar Water is and how revolutionary it is after being sent a PR box from Bioderma!

December 2018 Highlights

photo by gohar photography at guadalest boy hugging girl my year in review 2018

Can you believe I’m up to December? I’ve just looked and this is already over 4000 words. I’m sorry if you’re bored. I would be bored. I’m not sure why I’m talking in so much detail. I told you, 1SE brings the memories back to life.

So, here we are. The year has nearly ended and the Christmas feeling really is here.

  • We put our Christmas tree up with Christmas music on. We went to a bar for a drink whilst my mum and nan were over.
  • December 6th was a public holiday for Constitution Day and as I’m so prepared and already had smashed Blogmas, it meant we could enjoy the day off together in Moraira. The next day was the Orcheta fiesta where we took a few friends up with us. Wine with three refills for 3€, my kind of party!
  • Trip for Alex and I to Leicester.
  • Visited the Birmingham market, we had a very Christmassy morning having hot chocolate and doing some last-minute (for us!) Christmas Shopping.
  • We had our family party in the evening which was nice to see all the family before Christmas.
  • We went to Alex’s to see his family. We said goodbye. It’s always so hard to say goodbye to people.
  • I started setting up my bullet journal for 2019 and made some confirmation emails for trips in January.
  • Another trip to the UK for me, and it was a quiet weekend at home.
  • We have a car! After the sad announcement that our friends would be closing the doors on their bar for the final time and heading back to the UK, we bought their car. It’s so nice to have a car that is ours!
  • We had a lovely gift of a Milo’s Mail Christmas box for Marley which he loved getting his nose in. Toys, treats and a water bottle made for a great little Christmas hamper for Marley.
  • We went to the garden centre in the morning for a hot chocolate and look around the Christmas bits and pieces.
  • The final week of work came and so the Christmas music was well underway with kids drawing little Christmas pictures. They never fail to amaze me with their extensive English. Sometimes, I forget they’re not English children. They are just so sweet.
  • We had a quiet but lovely Christmas. Alex cooked the dinner, mash potatoes and Yorkshire puddings on Christmas Dinner? Yes or no? Because it’s a definite yes from me. 
  • We booked our transatlantic flights to America!!!!!!!
  • We had a photoshoot in Guadalest and Campomanes with Gohar!
  • We spent New Year’s Eve in Finestrat with our family.

It’s been a very quick year, it’s weird how when you’re younger the years seem to drag, but when you’re older they fly by. It is true what they say. If you’re thinking about creating a 1SE for 2019, I’d definitely recommend it. It’s a fantastic app for documenting your life day-by-day. It also has various modes, like freestyle, which is great for documenting holidays! 1SE has made me friends and supported my blog since the very beginning, I’ll always cheerlead their app and what they stand for!

Here’s to a successful, healthy and happy 2019. Thank you all for following along! 

Be sure to follow me on social media this year, plenty of exciting things coming!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/diaryofaspanglishgirl
Instagram: www.instagram.com/imlaurenbate
Twitter: www.twitter.com/imlaurenbate

Hasta luego,

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P.S if you made it this far, a huge congratulations! Over 4,200 words post is definitely my all-time longest post!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Leicester, England

Let’s put Leicester on the tourism map.

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“Cuando estás fuera de tus lugares de rutina
y has salido de la zona de confort, siempre
tiendes a buscar más ante la adversidad,
las diferencias y lo desconocido.”

When you think of a trip to England, London springs to mind. Maybe Liverpool and Manchester. Maybe even Birmingham. But, let’s put Leicester on the tourism map.

It took me to leave Leicester, to realise just how bustling and happening Leicester is. It took me to travel to open my eyes to see what’s actually around me.

Ahh, Leicester. The city of the premier league champions, yes we’re still clutching to that, The home of Richard III and Lady Jane Grey. The Greenery. The open space. The architecture. There’s so much history here and its future is looking just as interesting.

Every corner has a different style of architecture. Buildings that wouldn’t look out of place in Bath or Stratford or Prague and Budapest.

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Wandering around Leicester is so different when your eyes are open. Like, really open. When you’re looking up instead of looking down at your phone. The whole city has a different vibe.

Stepping out of Gelato Village, you’re met with this spectacular building. It wouldn’t look out of place in Budapest or Prague. It reminded me of stepping out of Starbucks in Budapest.

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Food and Drink


What’s one of the best things about travelling? The food! Unique flavours, varied cooking styles.

An English roast is pretty essential so is a quick stop at the chip shop.

But, why leave those worldwide cuisines in Germany or Italy, when you can have them in Leicester?

The Rutland and Derby have brought the Oktoberfest taste of Germany to Leicester and what a treat it is!

Ever heard of a Flammkuchen? Neither had I!

A Flammkuchen literally means flame cake! They are a massive hit at Christmas markets and I can see why! Originating from the South Germany and Alsace region of France the flammkuchen was originally made to test the temperature of bakers’ ovens.

Simply, the flammkuchen is a pizza. A very good one at that. Normally, when you think of pizza, you think Italy. But this crisp and fresh pizza is definitely worth a bite!

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The flammkuchen is a delight for those amongst us who love a good thin and crispy pizza. Baked to perfection with crème fraîche as opposed to tomato sauce, it is a refreshing afternoon bite.

What goes with German pizza? Beer, of course!

I’m not talking any old beer, I’m talking a Maisels Weisse beer.

This cloudy deep orange beer is a real win. So refreshing and so aromatic. On first taste, the bursts of banana quench your taste buds and it’s a perfect match with a flammkuchen.

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The Rutland and Derby is a beautiful red-brick pub located on Millstone Lane.  

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What’s for pudding, I hear you cry!
Let’s do a European tour and have Italy come to us at Gelato Village

Gelato Village is unique. It really is.

Where else can you get the authentic Italian gelato taste, without leaving the country? Ice cream just doesn’t tingle the senses like a good gelato does.

Good luck picking a flavour!

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When all these flavours are jumping out at you, it’s impossible to choose a favourite. The Gelato Village staff are so incredibly helpful, from explaining how Gelato is made, to informing me about the different ingredients and flavours and how they are sourced, to giving me a little try of each to help me make my decision!

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I decided on Fior di latte, milk chocolate and stracciatella. Stracciatella is a personal favourite of mine if you can bring yourself to choose! Creamy gelato filled with crunchy dark chocolate. Or, the Fior di latte, gelato in its purest form. No flavouring, no egg yolks, just pure gelato perfection. Paired with a few other flavours, it really is a complimentary flavour.

I told you, I just can’t decide. They’re all so good!

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The fun doesn’t stop there though…

What do I want? Coffee. When do I want it? Now.

A trip to Italy Gelato Village isn’t complete without a coffee! This Italian coffee will give you an instant boost, that we all sometimes need! Especially after a long week…

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Something Different?

Leicester has so much to offer in terms of eating and drinking. You could do an entire food guide!

For a taste of the Caribbean, head to Turtle Bay. Portuguese? Nandos is the place to go. Tapas tonight? Make your way to Barceloneta. American is more your style? TGi’s is ready! How about some fajitas from Mexico? Las Iguanas is your one! There really is a dish for everybody in Leicester.

Shopping


For the ultimate shopping experience, Fosse Shopping Centre is where I head. I’m not the only one who thinks it either…

“Fosse has such easy access and free parking. The shops suit all budgets” – Joanne

“I love the free parking and the perfect range of shops. Once the shopping is finished you can pit stop in the food court!” – Amy

“I love that Fosse is near to my home, convenient and easy free parking with a wide variety of shops” – Joan

“I feel so comfortable shopping at Fosse. There is a good range of shops so it’s always so easy to find what you’re looking for!” – Kayleigh

There is a shop for everybody. Young, old, men, women and everything in between.

Parking is the bane of most people’s lives. But, with over 2,000 free parking spaces, it’s so easy and convenient. I mean, why pay to park for shopping elsewhere, when you could treat yourself to something from Primark or New Look at Fosse?

In Fosse, the cleanliness definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. The toilets smell and look clean, the shops are aesthetically pleasing.  It doesn’t look like a jumble sale in Primark, like other Primark stores elsewhere. There is a sense of pride. Whoever the cleaners are at Fosse, they’re doing well!

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Fosse has shops to suit all budgets, Primark, Outfit, New Look and Next to name just a few. Good news for those of you that like to fill Pandora bracelets like me, because Pandora can also be found at Fosse!

Fancy a nibble after a tiring shop? I know I always do! Shopping is cardio, after all! The Food Court at Fosse has wonderful cafes and convenient fast foods. If a Greggs sausage roll is what you’re after or a comforting coffee from Costa, then you’re in for a treat because they’re all there, all under one roof!

Once you step into that dining space, the hardest choice will be deciding what to eat. We know how much I love a good afternoon tea so, of course, I didn’t miss the advertisement that Druckers, the patisserie, are offering a gorgeous afternoon tea for two for just £17.50. I definitely need to check it out the next time I’m at Fosse!

To find out what #SpringStyles I am loving at Fosse this year, and more about Fosse, read all about my Fosse experience on http://www.diaryofaspanglishgirl.com/springstyles-at-fosse

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Nature Trails


Spring is finally starting to make an appearance and what makes you feel better than a relaxing walk around beautiful surroundings? Plus, they’re free!

Bradgate Park

Where else can you find over 800 acres of unspoilt countryside with herds of red and fallow deer and history to interest even the less impressed amongst us?

The home of Lady Jane Grey in her childhood days, the Bradgate House, built circa 1500, the ruins are beautiful to bring history to life.

Every visit to Bradgate Park is a fantastic one, with the quaint little tea house in the middle, to soaking up the view from the top of Old John.

Your four-legged friends will love Bradgate just as much as you will!

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Castle Gardens

A little peaceful green space sitting next to the Grand Union Canal.  The idyllic park is lined with flowerbeds and greenery.

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Castle Gardens is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the views. It’s a gorgeous reading spot, or in my case, the perfect blog photos location!

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Sports


I’ve always known Leicester was a bit of a sports champion. So, if you love sports, then Leicester is the place to go.

Sure, we’re still raving about Leicester City winning the league in the 2015-2016 season and, of course, we’re buzzing that Leicester Tigers seem to have a decent win ratio. If you’re anything like my Grandad and keep up to date with the cricket, then you’ll know that the Leicestershire County Cricket team don’t do too bad either!

But, don’t forget about the Leicester Riders basketball whilst you’re here!

Cheering on the Leicester Riders when we were back was a real treat. There is a different kind of atmosphere at a basketball game. The crowd are really into it, it gets so pumped. I think I’ve been converted into a basketball fan!

There are only a few games left in this season, so make sure you head on down and cheer on the Riders! http://www.leicesterriders.co.uk/games/

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Getting There


Soaring the Skies?

Thinking of travelling to Leicester from overseas? East Midlands Airport is your gateway to Leicester. Located approximately 20 miles from Leicester City Centre the airport is a quick and easy way of travelling.

The Skylink bus runs frequently from East Midlands Airport to St Margarets Bus Station every 20 minutes during the day and hourly at night. That’s all day, every day! Getting to Leicester has never been easier!

Riding the Railways?

Conveniently, Leicester is sitting on the London-Sheffield and the Birmingham-Peterborough lines. On London Road, you will find Leicester Rail Station. Hop off your train and you’re right in the City Centre action.

Fancy something a little more outdoorsy? Take the train from Leicester Rail Station into Narborough, Market Harborough or South Wigston! Have something else in mind? Buses and taxes are right outside, so getting to where you want to go is simple!

Cruising by Coach?

If arriving by coach is more your style, why not check out www.nationalexpress.com to find the best deals.

St. Margaret’s Bus Station is your hub into Leicester City Centre and the surrounding areas.

Road trip?

If taking your car or motorbike is more suited to your stay, the M1, junction 21 or 22 provide good access to Leicester. If you’re coming from Wales or the Southwest, the M69 or the M6 is your route!

Don’t worry about parking either! There are plenty of secure car parking across Leicester and surrounding areas.

Departing in Style


Like they say, all good things must come to an end. But, it was time to end it in style. We had a fantastic time in Leicester but it was time to say adios, for now!

East Midlands airport is a fantastic hub for travelling across Europe with direct routes to some absolutely breathtaking countries, Hungary, France, Spain, Italy and The Netherlands to name just a few! *adds every travel destination to my ever-growing bucket list*

Have you ever been in an airport VIP lounge? I suggest you do! There’s an ultimate VIP feel when you step into the Escape lounge at East Midlands Airport.

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A comforting coffee before the journey

Unlimited food and drink, (and yes, that includes alcoholic beverages!) comfy seating and fast WiFi – it’s the ultimate travel necessity.

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Catching up on the looks direct from the runway

Start your holiday the right way. Let’s face it, the holiday starts at the airport!

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Something to tickle everybody’s taste buds
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100% pure fruit juice

Who wants to be cooking on the day of their holiday? Plus, the washing-up? No thanks! Relax and rejuvenate in the Escape Lounge. When prices start from just £20, it would be rude not to!

Have you visited Leicester? Add it to your list!

Hasta luego,

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Thank you to Fosse, Gelato Village, Rutland & Derby and East Midlands Airport for making this blog post possible. As always, the views are 100% mine.

A Twilight Taster – Ragdale Hall

There is no relaxation that can compare to the relaxation at Ragdale Hall.

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Tomarse un tiempo cada día para relajarse y renovarse es esencial para vivir bien.

There is no relaxation that can compare to the relaxation at Ragdale Hall. I have been to Spa Days before, I’m trained as a masseuse, I’ve had my fair share of relaxation and massages. I’ve even had a massage at the famous Széchenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest.

But, none of them size up to Ragdale Hall.

The Grounds

Ragdale Hall is located in the Leicestershire countryside. Surrounded by fields, tranquillity and away from the hustle and bustle of a busy day to day life. We arrived for the Twilight Taster session at 18:00, ready for check-in. (After browsing the Internet, it seems the Twilight Taster session has been extended from 16:30!)

 

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The Portal to Heaven

 

Checking-In

The staff at Ragdale Hall truly are wonderful. They are attentive and friendly, making you feel welcome the minute you walk in. The building itself is impressive, just pulling up makes you feel relaxed. The Victorian decor really is stunning and you feel like you’ve been thrust back in time. On arrival, you’re provided with a complimentary drink, whilst waiting for those famous robes and the locker key that unlocks the access to the haven that awaits. You also complete a brief health questionnaire.

 

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Complimentary Drink upon Arrival

 

Amenities

After a speedy check-in, you’re able to freely spend the time as you wish. Whether that be to quietly read a book in the Retreat, a few brain training exercises in the Mind Gym, a relaxing dip in the Spa area or enjoy a warm cup of tea overlooking the grounds in the Greenhouse.

Thermal Spa

The Thermal Spa area is filled with plenty of natural features, such as rocks, stones and plenty of greenery! The thermal spa is located just through the main indoor swimming pool. Incredibly, it has 12 different spa rooms, filled with hot and cold experiences. There truly is something for everybody. If your idea of relaxation is a humid steam room filled with soothing aromas or a dry sauna with the scent of roses. Ragdale has it all. 

Once you enter The Thermal Spa, don’t forget to make a wish and toss a pebble into the wishing stream. Let’s clear all of that negative energy. No Bad Vibes.

Even though we only had a couple of hours in the thermal spa, we still managed to try out all of the rooms. Our personal favourites were the Volcanic Salt Bath, The Colourflow Cave, The Scented Room and of course, The Outdoor Pool.

 

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The Outdoor Pool

Starting from indoors, take a journey to the outdoors and relax to the sound of the waterfalls. The pool is filled with relaxation bays that provide you with privacy whilst enjoying the powerful massage jets and the lit up waterfall. As it was October, the colourful mist and heat bouncing off of the pool were stunning.

 

Dinner

Before dinner, we headed to the indoor pool to make the most of our final few minutes. I knew exactly what I was ordering, the food is incredible, I was excited.

A lot of people ask if you should wear your dressing gown for dinner. My answer: YES. There is nothing more comfy and cosy than sitting having an amazing candlelit dinner in a cosy dressing gown and slippers. After all the relaxation, it seems counteractive to go and get ready. Plus, with all the essential oils being soaked into your now sparkling and radiant skin, the last thing you want to do is shower and wash them off and stop them from working their magic!

I ordered the organic fusilli pasta, which was just as amazing as the first time I ordered it. Followed by the gorgeous mousse.

 

After dinner, it was nearly time to check-out (please don’t make me leave!). Before getting ready and checking out, we had a lovely mocha.

 

 

Should You Go?

Yes. 100% YES. If you are in Leicestershire, do not forget to visit Ragdale Hall. We went twice in one week, and I could’ve easily gone again! It’s my third time visiting Ragdale and there is still so much I haven’t seen. The Twilight Taster experience that we did now includes a spa treatment in the price and the new rooftop pool has recently opened (December 2017) so it really is well worth the money! To find out further details about the Twilight Taster, you can click here.

Where To Book?

There are plenty of ways to book an experience, spa day or even a spa break. All of which can be arranged through the Ragdale Hall website.

If you’re thinking about booking a spa day or break at Ragdale Hall, go do it. You will not regret it.

Hasta luego,

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