A blog post for blog post sake

As you’re reading this, I’ll be frantically throwing washing into the washing machine, cleaning the toilet and running around with a duster like a mad woman. So, I hope you’re more chilled than I’ll be. Sitting down, taking a peak into ​my week. Perhaps with a nice hot drink?

Coffee at la falua benidorm

Confession: I’m writing this at 9:30a.m frantically trying to get something written before 11a.m comes so that I can say that I haven’t missed a blog post day. Why? Asking it out loud seems weird, but I still can’t stop.

I said I wasn’t going to put things out there that I didn’t think were of value. Things that didn’t represent my best work, but still I find myself setting myself expectations to adhere to. Feeling like I have to post once a week, because that’s what always has happened.

I see a lot of saturated content creation, photos taken in the same pink location with the same big, toilet roll holder dresses and it just makes me question what I’m doing. What depth am I bringing? Am I just another one saturating the internet?

I’ve been thinking more and more about what I’m doing recently.

I’ve been tracking my yoga and my habits since January 1st, and if there’s only two things I’ve noticed it’s this: the first is that I’m much sharper and alert in the day. But weirdly enough, I’m also more relaxed. My mood is generally better, I’m not snappy and my thoughts don’t start back tracking everything. The second? I’m physically a lot fitter. I’ve been consciously doing more steps, drinking lots of water and getting 8+ hours sleep too. Yesterday, I was able to do some press ups. PRESS UPS.

Does that mean I’ve not enjoyed blogging and want to give it up? No, not at all. I’m just still stuck in the “do I post or don’t I post” scenario. I’ve been here before and I’m still doing it. I know I am.

I woke up early knowing that I’ve got to prepare everything before heading off on our day trip, the biggest time consumer? My blog post. I was actually panicking that I hadn’t yet posted anything. But in a weird way, why? Why did it matter? Well, it matters to me. I want to be active. I want to put the time in. I want to keep updating.

This week has been a rather strange one. So, maybe writing it down will be nicer. Use my blog as a diary. Something that I don’t often do.

Sunday

Coffee at baker st cafe Leicester

I’m going to start with Sunday because it’s still part of the week if I’m finishing today! Sunday I was still in England and the wind was starting to build. Trees were fallen and the rain was treacherous at times.

I still managed to see some of my friends and go out for cake, I still managed to see my family, pack my backpack and sit at the airport for 3 hours with a glass of wine writing because my flight was delayed. It’s at this exact moment that I’ve just realised I’ve already posted a blog post this week so actually I had updated this week!

Monday

Monday is always a weird day after being in England. My body clock is always slightly out and I’m always tired. I then have my full day at work and I’m just always glad to be home. Although it went quickly it normally does, I was sad to find out one of my really good students was leaving.

Tuesday

We met Mel for breakfast and her and Rio were best friends. It’s so nice to be able to meet up with somebody for coffee and actually have a real catch up and talk as friends. Somebody my age who I can actually hang around with. It’s definitely something that’s been missing.

Cuddles with Rio the cavalier

We’ve already started planning different places we can take her dog and Rio together. They’re going to be best friends.

Wednesday

Selfie at the coloured houses villa Joiosa

Wednesday was probably the one that upset me most. Looking back, it wasn’t even that bad. But it felt like everyone was against me. It felt like I was being put as the one doing things wrong. I can’t go into details, but it just wasn’t a good day at work. It was one of those days that I was ready to just leave my job altogether.

We did have a lovely lunch together though and the walk to work with Mel was fun!

Thursday

Thursdays at work are always the best. They go quickly and I have all of my really good classes. I finished watching Derry Girls and if you have Netflix then definitely give it a watch. They’re 20 minute episodes and 12 episodes in total. It’s set in Derry in the 90’s and it really shines a light on what it was like in Derry fighting for peace but with loads of humour you’d expect from a group of teen girls causing havoc.

I came into work and Mel had picked me up some malteaster bunnies and made me a coffee. Honestly, it’s so nice to have a friend.

Eating mex y go in Moraira Mexican food Costa

We then decided to go to Mex y Go for dinner. I finish quite early on a Thursday so there was plenty of time to drive over to Moraira and be indulging in nachos and fajitas before they close at 10. For 30€, we had a drink each, a starter of nachos and beef and chicken fajitas that are done superbly. I’d definitely recommend you to go!

Friday

Happy Valentine’s! I’d already given Alex his valentines gift but I still needed to write his card. Luckily, Alex had left my card at his work so all was good.

We didn’t do much before work, Rio and I. I played a bit of brawl stars and not a lot else. This week, I’ve been all out of sorts. I’ve got so much washing and cleaning to catch-up on and that’s just the start. Don’t worry, after I’ve finished this I’m catching up on my cleaning and then getting ready to go!

Valentines 2020 gift from fiancé

Work is short on a Friday, so afterwards I stepped into the car and Alex had got me a red rose in a holder, the new Aladdin DVD and a lovely card. We then headed to El Corte Ingles to do some shopping. I managed to pick up a Tommy dress and a Calvin Klein bikini so that was a success. The dress reminds me of my old cheer outfit, it’s super cute!

Wearing Tommy Hilfiger dress from el Corte ingles

When we got home, Alex cooked us a steak each (if you’re into steak carrefour do a proper good one! 8€ each but they’re real thick Angus steak style. We had that with some chips and salad whilst watching the cheer programme. I was in bed for 10 and started watching Once, a show that Amy recommended to me years ago, I’ve finally got round to watching it!

Saturday

Hello Saturday. Here we are, the 15th February. 10 minutes before I wanted this ready to post. I did it. It’s made me feel better that I’ve managed to do it. And so quickly too.

As you’re reading this, I’ll be frantically throwing washing into the washing machine, cleaning the toilet and running around with a duster like a mad woman. So, I hope you’re more chilled than I’ll be. Sitting down, taking a peak into my week. Perhaps with a nice hot drink?

Alex is finished for half term now, so I’ve got plenty of adventures lined up for this week. I’ll be sharing them on my social media pages so be sure to keep up to date with me, if the Costa Blanca interests you!

See you soon,

Lauren x

The Disadvantages of Living in Spain (Benidorm)

If you are thinking of making a life out here in Spain then you might be intrigued to know what the cons are about living here. You might want to know exactly what you’re signing up for and hear about the disadvantages there are to not only daily life but also long term.

Sure, you might have been on holiday for long periods of time and sure you might love being out here, but do you know exactly what you’re getting in to? You might enjoy living the Spanish holiday life, heading to the beach and lounging by the pool but making a life out here is much different, whether you intend to work or not.

Living in Spain

It’s not the solution to all of your problems at home. Waking up to the sun and blue sky sure is glorious, but it’s not a fix. Many people arrive to Spain and take months to snap themselves out of holiday mode, and even find the motivation to get out of holiday mode to find a job.

Cost of Living

Some people see this as a disadvantage so I thought I would touch on it, but from a personal opinion, I don’t find this the case. Wages and salaries in Spain can be lower than they are in other countries such as United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and the USA. But, on the other hand, I find our outlay much less. Our rent is much lower and we get much more for our money. The only thing we do find expensive is WiFi and TV.

Relationships

Looking at our memories in our photo book

There’s two parts to this one. Your relationships at home, and your relationship with the person you’re moving with (if you are). You might find moving to Spain takes a toll on your relationship as you’re pretty much guaranteed to spend a lot more time with solely that person than if you were at home. This might be because you intend to open a bar together, or because it takes a while to build a friendship group. (We still don’t have hardly any friends albeit a couple!).

Plus, there’s your relationships at home. Not seeing friends or family for long periods of time can also be a strain. Of course, if they’re able to come out and see you on a cheap flight then it’s definitely not the worst place to host! We gave up a pretty solid friendship group where we’d regularly go out or round theirs for dinner, game nights, cinema, you name it. I’d be naive to say it hasn’t affected our friendship and it hurts to know we’ve potentially damaged a friendship and miss out on seeing their children grow up.

It’s definitely hard to not just pop around friends or families houses. Plus knowing you’ve left a lot of people behind and general homesickness can be hard.

Paperwork

Oh please don’t remind me of the paperwork! There’s a video knocking about on YouTube where a girl goes into a government office for a piece of paper. The standing joke is, you have thousands of pieces of paper but they’ll still ask for one more. They’ll even ask for paperwork that doesn’t even exist (I wish I was kidding). Basically, if they can make an excuse, they will.

For what one person needs for a simple documentation, somebody else will need something else. If you’re not armed with an entire tree in paperwork, plus photocopies of everything you own then chances are you’re getting declined. Top this with every time you go you need a previous appointment and involves many trips back to the government building then it gets very tedious and very frustrating very quickly.

Healthcare

From a personal note, I love the healthcare here, well love is a strong word but it’s very good. I say that because I’m young and luckily haven’t had to use it often and hopefully shan’t need to in the future (runs to touch some wood). I’ve visited the walk in centre on a Saturday afternoon in summer and have been seen within five minutes. Walked out with a prescription and off I went. I’ve also been to the doctors and the hospital and have been seen very quickly and received very good care.

However, one common complaint I hear is that for the elderly or others it’s not quite so good. Not every job comes with an official contract meaning they’re not entitled to free healthcare like we are. This puts workers in extremely vulnerable positions as they have to pay premium private healthcare.

Following on from that, there aren’t many elderly homes around. It is assumed that family members will take care of the elderly when the time comes which can be a definite disadvantage.

Boredom

Alex kayaking on the water

There’s only so much beach and pool you can put up with. Many people underestimate the power of boredom and how quickly it comes. In most places, there aren’t many facilities for sports, or activities so the boredom starts to set in. Add this with that if you don’t speak Spanish you might not be able to take part properly or have the confidence to take part.

Luckily, in Benidorm, we do have a lot more facilities than most places and the town hall do work to put on different events. There are always lots of festivities or fiestas going on, but in terms of sports and social I still feel it’s lacking. If you have a car, I do find that this gets diminished though as you can travel to other towns like Javea and Alicante for social clubs like yoga and dance or even English cinemas.

To combat boredom, Alex recently joined a Spanish kayaking club which he’s been loving and I have joined a pottery club. The blog has definitely helped with boredom and is, like I’ve always said, the main reason why I opened it.

Children

I often wonder about the pros and cons for children. While becoming bilingual will be fantastic for them and that they’d have a wonderful life and private schooling, I wonder what life after school will be like. Will they have the opportunities they want? Will Spanish nationals be more likely to be offered a job? I know that both Alex and I have jobs in the sector we want, but I’m not sure what they might want. Hypothetically speaking they might want to work in tourism, or in education or they might have so many languages that it’d actually advantageous, let’s see! From a personal opinion, I think it might be different moving out with a child already having known growing up in their home country as opposed to a child only knowing here.

They also say that childbirth can be difficult in Spain as there aren’t the options to have certain birthing options or pain relief. One thing that does worry many people is the fact they have to face the Spanish healthcare system for all of their appointments, talk to doctors in Spanish and actually give birth in a Spanish hospital. Of course, a translator is definitely recommended (or even required in some places!).

Slanted Buildings

Javea blue door portixol

I said this to Alex and wanted to check his opinion on it. The reason the buildings are on a slant is because, especially around here, the land is so mountainous and hilly. But, from an aesthetic point of view, it’s so frustrating to take a photo and it looks like I haven’t taken it straight because the building is on a slant. When you straighten it, the sea looks like it’s drooping down and it’s just weird. From an architectural point of view, I don’t know if this affects the building at all?

Lack of Flights

budapest travel guide buda castle view of the danube and chain bridge girl looking at castle

Again, this definitely is just for our area. But, we find it much harder to nip away for a weekend or go on holiday because there just aren’t the flights to different places or airport access like we had in the U.K. We had 4 major airports within reach and it was amazing to just click lowest flight to anywhere and see where we could go. Now, it takes much more planning and much more limited options. Even down to the fact sometimes we have to fly to the U.K. for our holidays.

Finding work

In a lot of cases, finding work can be difficult. Especially if you don’t speak Spanish. Generally, bar work can be pretty easy to pick up should the English clients be there, which they certainly are around the Costa Blanca. Also, if you have the skills and experience, teaching in an academy in a possibility. In terms of actual teaching, this is certainly possible with the same qualifications you’d need in the U.K. Not all teachers are keen to teach in Spain as it might include a pay dip and not all schools offer a relocation fee like they do in other countries.

I have to say, it took me a while to think of downsides. It wasn’t easy, and when I asked Alex he could only come up with one. Once I told him the ones I had, he said he agreed to an extent but some were only relevant to other people, which I touched on, or to the Benidorm area. Like he said, clubs and things definitely happen in other places, especially Javea. The pros in our case much further outweigh the cons.

What do you think? Any more to add?

L x

Halloween on the Costa Blanca 2019

Halloween is a time that is celebrated widely on the Costa Blanca. It’s a celebration that puts children and their happiness at the forefront, so like always we celebrated at work by creating little handicrafts and we took some time away from hardcore book studying to relaxing a little with Halloween music and arts and crafts.

halloween crafts 2019

Though, at home, we celebrated a little less this year. With a closer to England timetable, Alex had the full week off as half-term which crossed over Halloween and All Saints Day, the National Spanish Holiday.

Every year, we have carved pumpkins over Halloween but this year, for the first time, we didn’t. Whether that was because time seems to be flying by drastically or whether it’s because we had our fair share of pumpkins at Terra Mitica or just because after work I’ve been so tired and between battling the seasonal colds, we’ve just not felt in the mood. Either way, the pumpkins weren’t around this year. Sorry Rio, I know you love nibbling on the insides!

We might not have carved pumpkins this year, but we did celebrate Halloween in Benidorm.

Halloween at Terra Mitica

halloween fright night at terra mitica benidorm

Halloween at Terra Mitica is my favourite time to visit the theme park in Benidorm. Staying well clear of the rides, it’s the only time that I love wandering around and seeing all of the decorations.

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This year, they had three shows which started at 18:00. The last one was a twenty-minute show that finished as the park closed at 20:00.

We spent the day meandering around the park basking in the October sun. It was crazy just how hot it still was. The dip when the sun went down brought the autumn essence though so I cosied up with a hot chocolate before the show began.

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We entered the park at 15:00, it’s more than enough time to enjoy the park and the decorations, plus it’s cheaper. Even if you are there for the rides you’ll be pleased to know there would still be enough time as the queues are no longer than 10 minutes for the “main attractions”.

Cinema to watch Joker

It’s 18:00 on All Saint’s Day and we’re currently on the motorway driving to Alicante as I write this. So, even though it’s slightly past Halloween, I think this still counts.

We’re going to watch the highly acclaimed Joker movie which is supposed to be both visually disturbing but also incredibly done. Let’s see how this goes.

I always think a good film night is what autumn and winter are all about. We’ve definitely watched a good amount of English films since having access to a car. It’s one of our favourite things to do!

Baked Goods at La Falua

pumpkin baked cookies for halloween

When I say we have really let Halloween pass, I mean it. Normally, I’ve baked banana bread or cookies. I hope I’m in more of a festive mood for Christmas. I don’t know if it’s the fact this year has been so surreal in more ways than one.

breakfast at la falua cafe benidorm

Fortunately, the baked goods weren’t gone completely. Our favourite café brought the goodies by bringing out complimentary Halloween shaped cookies. A coffee, tomatoes and toast and a cookie for 2,95€, absolutely steal.

BBQ Tray at Acqua Javea

bbq tray at acqua javea

Back in the summer, we discovered the BBQ tray at Acqua in Javea. For 22€ for the both of us, it’s a right meat feast!

dog dressed as batman for halloween

It was so lovely to sit on Halloween night seeing all the children trick or treating on the businesses with their costumes. Of course, Rio came with us dressed as batman and very much enjoyed munching on the steak, pork, sausages and chicken too!

All Saint’s Day Walk

walk along poniente beach benidorm all saints day

What’s autumn without a walk along the promenade?

We took a longish walk along the Poniente beach front just as the sun was setting and in the most reflective of ways, it was lovely. All Saint’s Day is a day in Spain where everybody takes a day off work to stay with family and remember loved ones who are no longer with us.

kisses with our cavalier king charles spaniel on the beach

It felt very fitting to be walking as the sun setting on another day.

I hope you all had a spooky Halloween,

Hasta luego,

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Homesickness – Do I miss England?

Although it comes every year, you’re still taken back by it each time.

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“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?”

When I say that I’ve been living in Spain for a while now and over the time people ask me “Do you miss England?” and, like always, I reply “Not really. I miss my family, but not really England”. I’ve said it so often that it becomes a natural reaction. The response is so common that I don’t think I even stop to question, do I actually miss England?

As it comes into winter, it’s usually when I find myself a little homesick. After spending the summer surrounded by family, it’s a shock to go back to spending time just the three of us again. The apartment feels bigger, yet quieter. The once bustling apartment with people dotted around suddenly becomes much quieter.

benidorm skyline hotel bali intempo poniente

I love the Autumn and Winter here, there’s no way I miss waking up and seeing the grey drizzly skies, but the lack of people gets tough. Once busy streets and bustling bars become locked up shells of a business and the once hectic pavements are reserved just for you. Although it comes every year, you’re still taken back by it each time, like a wave of emotion.

It’s times like those that I start to remember what I miss about being back in England. Things we’d do, places we’d go. The place where no matter what time of year, you’d still see the same faces around. Even if people were cosied up more at home in the winter due to the cold, but you’d still see more people at work. I think it makes a bigger difference for me working in such a small workplace. Being a small group of 5, there are never many people to smile at in the corridor or have a chat with on your lunch break.

Perhaps the fact that I miss England sometimes will come as a surprise, or perhaps you’ll think, well obviously. But admitting I miss home at times is something I don’t even admit to myself at times.

Sometimes, I miss it a lot more than others. I miss having our families in the same country and knowing that they can help sort out something straight the way. I miss having friends in the same city that I could meet up with for a coffee or a cocktail without having to match our times to schedule a 30-minute gap.

For somebody who isn’t living the other side of the continent, it all seems mundane and trivial to miss things other than your family.

Moving away you start to appreciate the little things. It’s not that we haven’t created a wonderful life in the sun but sometimes, we get homesick and that’s perfectly normal.

The distance has taken a toll on so many friendships that have dwindled away and I know it’s hard on many people, so I sometimes feel selfish. I don’t regret moving to Alicante at all and I love it here. This is where I want my life to exist. But, sometimes, I wish that all the people I love from back home could be here as well, selfish right?

So, here’s what we miss about home and how we deal with homesickness.

Family and Friends

standing at disney castle

The beauty of technology means that family are only a call or a FaceTime away. I try to head back to England for a weekend once a month or once every other month in winter. We also keep up with what friends and family are doing over on social media. I always find it hard visiting family briefly when I head back and even more so in June.

Cinema dates

aladdin 2019 spoiler free review

This was one thing that I found quite difficult. I love going to the cinema and watching the new releases. I love watching the trailers and deciding which film I’m going to see next (all of them and then I forget and watch none). Since getting a car, this has become so much easier. We now head over to the cinema 45 minutes drive away and watch the big releases. Even if the popcorn isn’t as good.

UK TV

I must say, I do miss TV in the UK a lot. Spending all summer scrolling social media seeing updates about love island and having no clue what’s going on makes you feel like an outsider. I don’t even like Love Island, it’s ridiculous isn’t it? The fear of missing out is real. I definitely miss being able to watch whatever trash everybody else is watching, though having Netflix has made a massive difference, there was only so much Big Bang Theory I could watch before I went insane.

Straight forward paperwork

Not being fluent is the hardest when it comes to paperwork. Things that were so easy in England like nipping and sorting something at the bank or reading paperwork from work is 10000 times harder when it’s in your second language. Loopholes, appointments, residency paperwork, contracts, they’re all just so hard work when you’ve got to do it in a language you’re not completely confident in.

Comfort food restaurants

Yep, I miss you Nando’s and TGI’s. Sometimes I’d love a Jack Daniels chicken wing or a half chicken lemon and herb but, there’s not a chance I’m getting it here. Don’t get me wrong, I love so many restaurants here and we can get things that are similar, but they’re just not the same. I did use to miss a good fish and chips but we’ve found our local favourite now. Northern Sole in the Old Town for anybody wondering!

The Language

I adore the Spanish language. I love listening to it and I love speaking it, when I feel confident. But, I get so self conscious that I’ll say something wrong or sound funny that I don’t do it. I know how words should be and I can hear other people’s errors so I get conscious that people are picking up mine. I try to practise Spanish on Duolingo regularly and use as much Spanish as I can when I’m out. Alex and I also talk Spanish to each other sometimes. But, when the language is causing me grief, I try to remember to be kinder to myself and remember that I’m doing my best and it will improve. Every day I learn something more, or piece something else together. Then, I plan to work on more of my Spanish. Yep, I did just recently finish an entire Spanish workbook in just two hours. 

Hobbies

afternoon tea at the colonnades signet library edinburgh

I missed having a hobby. Whether that was cheerleading or dancing or something else I was flitting between, but since opening my blog it’s given me something to work on and build. It’s like when you’d have to do a project of your choice at school and it was the best task ever. Seeing your work come together. Seeing people enjoy what you put out or the ideas it’s given them or how it’s helped them. Even if it’s just a moment of escape, or some information about where to go. I love that it helps other people as well as me. Plus, the odd freebies are always amazing, especially when I can treat my family to them too, like when we headed to the Escape Room or when we jetted off to Edinburgh and Seville.

Shopping

outside house in altea spain 2019 spring tommy hilfiger primark

You all know how I like to save my shopping for when I’m in England. They just don’t have as good shops here as they do back home. The Primark just isn’t as good, there aren’t so many designer shops selling authentic designer gear and Bershka and Pull and Bear just aren’t as good as TopShop and New Look. I love heading back to Fosse when I’m back in Leicester. But, I love coming back home with my new bits and pieces and taking photos of them here!

I love living in Spain and I love the new life we’ve adapted and built. I’m hoping that at some point we can have our house in the mountains, with the garden for Rio to play and the double door fridge.

Some days we do miss England, but the best way to cope is to remember the reasons you moved in the first place and took the plunge. Look for ways to expose those reasons and embrace them. If all else fails, book yourself a flight to visit family or nip to the supermarket and buy a bottle of vino that would have cost you 3 times that amount at home. Just kidding. Sort of.

Hasta luego,

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The Disney Countdown

standing at disney castle

Products highlighted were gifted to me with no obligation to include in this blog post.

I dream of a far off place where the castle towers above the edge of Main Street and you’re greeted with the widest smiles from the cast members.

I’ll be there. A place where I feel like I belong. Surrounded by Disney and the people I love. It’s been a dream to return as an adult and it’s been a long time waiting since our last visit in 2010.

I know some may say it’s cliche. Why would you travel to Disney, a commercialised Park, when the world is out there. I think it’s important to remember that we can feel like we belong in the big wide world, but also feel like we belong in a park where the world we are in is limited only by our own imagination.

We’ll be embarking from Manchester Airport with Virgin Atlantic. It’ll be the first time that Alex and I have taken a long haul flight together. I’ve got my Months until Disney countdown set up in the living room and it’s so satisfying at the end of the month to take it down by one. I cannot wait for it to be converted into ‘Days until Disney’.

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I’ve made it no secret that I’m excited to visit the castle once more, it’s so much more exciting knowing that it’s the first time I’ll be heading there with my fiancé. Heading back there with my fairytale.

If I’m honest, I never saw Alex has a “Disney goer”. I thought it would take convincing for us to finally go and if I’m being truly honest I thought it would take a lot longer for us to finally book the trip, but from the very first time it was put forward, he was up for it.

A few weeks ago, a colleague asked Alex what he’s most excited about for summer and I believed he’d say New York. I thought he’d see that as his adventure. His trade off for Disney. But instead, he said Disney.

Looks like he’s as excited to go as I am.

Alex has never been to Florida before so I’m going to make it my mission to make sure he loves it, so we can go back.

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I’m already thinking about what to pack in my American Tourister suitcase for Disney. I’m never usually this prepared but I’m so excited for the summer and I just know it’ll come so quickly. I’m very grateful to the brands that I reached out to about our trip who have been keen to send us bits and pieces to try whilst we’re there. We’ve (as in my mum and I!) had some lovely fragrances sent, like Replica, Cloud and Daisy Sunshine. (I’m a massive fan of changing scents each day!). We’ve also had a gorgeous blush gold instax square 6 camera which will be fabulous for taking instax photos by the castle. We’ve had a lovely set of Clarin’s sun-care products too.

replica perfume gifted by world duty free

I’m thinking about clothes a lot too. This year, I want to strip it back. Casual and Timeless. I’ve invested in a pair of Tommy Hilfiger trainers and sandals and I absolutely love them. I’m going to try and get a bikini, a few t-shirts, a beach dress and a pair of shorts all from Tommy Hilfiger and then perhaps a few bits and pieces to compliment it from the high street. I’m sure that’ll mean another trip to Leicester to do some shopping! I’m definitely going to take my denim skirt from Primark that I featured on my Spring Look Book post as I absolutely love it.

We’re getting closer and closer to Disney everyday. We’re almost there.

Hasta luego,

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A Year On: What Blogging Has Taught Me

What has blogging given you?

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You know in thank, u next when Ariana Grande says “look what I got, look what you taught me…” well, it gave me inspiration for a blog post to celebrate one year (and a week or so) on from opening my blog, Diary of a Spanglish Girl and what exactly it has taught me in the past 12 months.

Looking back, it doesn’t seem a year ago since I was sitting in our bedroom in our old apartment toying with the idea of opening a blog. Normally, people have these rather inspiring reasons about why they opened a blog, wanting to inspire others, wanting to share ideas, wanting to have an outlet, wanting to support their mental health. But, mine was for none of those reasons, I don’t think. It was purely because I was bored.

I was working much fewer hours back then and I spent a lot of time doing not an awful lot, except playing Supercell games. It seemed pointless. There isn’t any goal, per se. I’ll never be the best supercell game player, so what’s the point? So, then I’d go shopping. Something to do. Or buy a coffee and sit for an hour in a coffee shop on my phone. It all seemed pointless.

I was also aware of the talk of others. The stigma of Benidorm. The stick it gets and the back talk we’d have to put it with from other people because we’d chosen here. People had this impression of us and our lives, when they hadn’t even been to Spain, let alone Benidorm. People see what the media shows them and construct their own views. We’d get talked down on, we’d get judged on how we live our lives. For why? Because the media share the negatives.

daniel wellington watches diary of a spanglish girl benidorm discount code

So, I wanted to change it. I wanted to show everybody that we don’t live how you might have thought we did. We don’t sit in an English pocket and hang around with English people all of the time. We have Spanish friends, we have English friends, we have Russian friends, the list goes on. Benidorm is multicultural. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: Benidorm is only trash if you head to the trash area. Every city has pockets, imagine if London was judged purely on Peckham? Imagine if New York was based on Tremont?

I think I changed a few opinions along the way. So, taking everything else out of the equation, I achieved what I set out to do. So, am I a successful blogger? Yes. Maybe not in the same way somebody else would define a successful blogger. But, I did what I wanted to do. I know there are people who have visited Benidorm who used to ridicule me for visiting Benidorm. I know there are people who have come to Benidorm who when I first opened my blog were sceptical and then carried on reading. I have people message me saying they would have never visited Benidorm, but now they would. That to me defines success.

If you set out to make money and get freebies – you will more than likely never become a successful blogger. 

So if you are considering starting a blog, do it for the right reasons.

But enough on that, I wanted to talk about what blogging has given me over the past 12 months, which by the time this posts, will be 14  months. I also wanted to find out what other bloggers have gained from blogging. I’m not talking a fancy press trip to somewhere exotic, or a pr package from a company or two, as nice as they are, they’re materialistic things. Perks of the job, I guess. 

It’s always funny to me when people ask why bloggers get so many freebies. Or people message you and say “You get loads of freebies, I’m going to start a blog, any tips?“. First of all, hello – it’s been six years since we last spoke, right? Secondly, doesn’t every job come with perks? I see travel agent friends jetting off to Mauritius to test out a new hotel before the travel company decides to add it to their hotel umbrella or so that they can give first-hand recommendations to customers who walk in the door. I see friends who work at high-end businesses heading off to fancy business events with big fancy dinners. But never do I message and say “hey, your job looks easy! I might start!“. So why do people do it to bloggers? Bizarre.

The amount of blogs I see open and close within months, sometimes weeks, when people realise it is harder than it looks. It is not a case of writing a quick post and pressing send. There are photos to take. Editing. Promotion. More editing. Technical Setup. Bug fixes.

Nothing worth it ever came easy.

Time Management

mr wonderful planner pens and flowers flatlay

This one is fairly recent because if I’m honest, blogging stripped me of time management in 2018. But, since getting myself in gear this year – my time management has been exceptional. Granted, it might be something to do with a pr gift or two that got me into gear, but effectively – it was my blog.

Now that I set alarms for each activity, I have been so productive in terms of writing, housework and general life. I used to spend each weekend on the computer for hours on end and every weekday. It was too much. Now, I have an alarm in the morning where I have breakfast. I spend no more than two hours in the morning on either my blog or pitching to brands. Then, it’s time to turn off, clean the house, walk the dog and just relax before heading to work. The computer doesn’t get turned on in the evenings or at the weekends anymore. That’s time for us. Time to go out. Technically speaking, the weekends are research time now. 

Adventure

pointing to princes street from edinburgh castle girl wearing skirt jumper and tartan bow

My blog has given me so many opportunities to get outside and try different things. Not even necessarily as part of a blogging assignment. But, people would ask questions about different bars, hotels, activities, so I have a list of different things to try. If the company says no to sponsorship, we go out and do it anyway. We have found so many nice spots thanks to my blog.

Perseverance and Determination

how i gained 100k traffic in my first year blogging

Anybody will tell you that I don’t stick at things. I think everybody that knows me is as surprised as I am that I actually still have a blog. I used to go through so many phases, cheerleading, acting, singing, wanting to learn the piano, netball. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. But, for some reason blogging and social media have stuck.

I used to always want to work on social media. I mean, when I first got my job at 15 at Tesco, I used to always ask to be the person to take over the social media. Granted, I didn’t know you needed a degree in it and that there is far more than just dropping a tweet or two, but since opening my blog, I have managed to take social media management and add it to my CV. Incredible.

People are Interested in us

instagrammable locations in benidorm old town

This one sounds quite egocentric but I promise it isn’t supposed to come across that way. But, I was always convinced that what I had to say was boring. I tend to stay fairly quiet. I have a lot to say and a lot of views, apparently. It’s so refreshing and inspiring to hear that people love to hear what I have to say and trust my opinion, whether I’m rambling on about a fairly decent meal or writing chapter and verse about a couple of gifts that are cute or sharing what we did on our travels, it’s lovely to receive such lovely feedback.

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

I always try not to get hooked on numbers. Something I vouched not to get caught up in 2019, but it is nice to see the numbers grow and grow on social media and on my blog when more and more people are clicking follow to see what I get up to. I mean, there are 8,000 people who will receive this rambling into their email inbox. Another 700-800 will click on it from social media. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. Thank you for caring what little old me has to say.

Enough about me. Let’s see what a few other bloggers had to say when I asked them what their blog has taught or gave them:

Rouge and Rouge

Perspective

As a vocational writer, my life has been dominated by the unavoidable fear of judgment.  For a long time I was too worried to share my work — would others like it, hate it, or feel the most devastating lack of interest? After working on the copywriting industry for a while, I finally decided to give my creative side a chance and planned my blog launch. Blogging has provided me with some perspective. It is true what they say: it is not about others but about you. Be passionate about your work and do your very best. You will never regret it and on time, it will be rewarded.

Lucy Kate Burton

Assurance

Blogging has enabled me to be assured about my writing. It’s allowed me to explore different topics and styles, and writing my blog alongside working for a digital marketing agency and studying an apprenticeship in this field has allowed me to understand the wider picture from each viewpoint, whether I’m approaching a brand myself or approaching as a brand. Blogging has helped cement my knowledge on these topics and I am now confident to share this with others.

Jason Likes to Travel

Realisation 

“Have you read it yet?” Five simple words that have stuck with me. We had a weekend-long family get-together and there was one topic on everyone’s lips – my latest blog post! Writing anonymously was easy but knowing family, friends and colleagues would potentially read this had left me in two minds about publishing it. The feedback was overwhelming, I was blown away. It had vindicated the decision to post it. It’s hard putting yourself out there but blogging gave me a realisation that people are really supportive if you give them the opportunity.

Emily Becca

Business Ethics

Blogging was never something I saw myself doing but I gave it a go and never looked back. It’s let me become a little more confident in myself and my style, but also in a business sense. I’m not afraid of branching out to new ideas and projects I could have only ever dreamed of doing. And if they go wrong? Oh well, onto the next thing. I definitely have to thank blogging for bringing out the business savvy in me and making me want to do more with myself.
What has blogging given you?
Hasta luego,

diary of a spanglish girl signature

 

 

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.

1se2.0_appstoreicon

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:

january 2018 1se reflection post benidorm kings day parade

 

  • 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

february 2018 reflection yearly post 1se

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

march 2018 1se reflection

  • 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

april 2018 1se terra natura benidorm

 

  • 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

may 2018 1se reflection post la cala benidorm

  • 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

san juan fiesta finestrat june 2018 1se reflection post

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

july 2018 1se reflection my year in review mallorca peguera

  • 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

august 2018 1se my year in review cavalier king charles spaniel travelling to sagrada familia barcelona

  • 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.

madrid with travelling dog cavalier king charles spaniel august 2018 my year in review 1se

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

september 2018 my year in review cavalier kissing

  • 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

breakfast in bed at gran hotel bali benidorm

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

WLL JOHNSTON PHOTOGRAPHY

  • 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yankee Candle Elevation Collection* – Christmas in a Glass

What do you think of when you think of Christmas time? Cosy jumpers, lots of good food, family time and a Christmas movie night on the sofa with candles burning softly.

yankee candle elevation collection review christmas decor

What do you think of when you think of Christmas time? Cosy jumpers, lots of good food, family time and a Christmas movie night on the sofa with candles burning softly.

What do you think of when you think of candles? Yankee Candle.

I’m already thinking about my Yankee Candle Christmas scent. A few years ago, Alex picked me up Christmas Eve to burn on Christmas Eve. It doesn’t feel like Christmas without a candle shimmering which simply adds a touch of luxury to the home.

As you can imagine, the thought of being able to test out one of the new Yankee Candle® Elevation Collection was such an honour. With the new versatile design and a gorgeous glass silhouette, I was so excited to find out more. 

I was given the opportunity to pick one of the fragrances, let me tell you, that wasn’t easy.  But, I was automatically drawn to one, no, not because it’s an aesthetic cream colour, I do love the scent of Vanilla! There are so many available, you really will be spoilt for choice.

Most of my favourite candle scents, I like to switch it up, are ones that have a soft and delicate fragrance. Whilst popping on a movie, yes you caught me, it was “The Grinch”, I can’t embrace the Christmas Candle without getting totally into character, we lit our candle whilst munching our way through some baked goods. Yes, also Christmas treats!  

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The Sweet Frosting* is the pinnacle of Christmas. A house isn’t a home without a fragrance filling the air and what better way to embrace the magical time of Christmas than a candle that emits the scents of Christmas baked goods. It’s not only warming and soothing, but it perfectly combines that sprinkle of sweet and spice that we all know and love about Christmas.

yankee candle elevation collection review christmas decor

Imagine the most gorgeous Christmas village taking a batch of freshly baked cinnamon Christmas cookies out of the oven whilst the snow gently falls. That’s what Sweet Frosting is. With initial impressions of cinnamon and mid bases of Vanilla cream, freshly baked cookie and allspice with a base of brown sugar, it really is like Yankee Candle have taken a slice of Christmas and packed it into an aesthetically pleasing vase.

Your own piece of Christmas.

Quality, thick glass is such a showpiece in any room, it sits perfectly in our living room. It really does look impressive. The metal lid has been carefully designed to fit nicely underneath the candle to give a whole new perspective. The label has a beautiful watercolour design that is just too stunning to even contemplate removing.

Maybe it’s because of the stunning cream colour being the reason I’m so drawn to it. But, it really does look beautiful no matter what room you place it in. It becomes a fitting part of the decor. It warms. It adds an essence of cosiness. It fits.

yankee candle elevation collection review christmas decor

The double wick really turns up the level of fragrance and boosts the ambience of the room. The double wicks were lined perfectly and if you’re one that notices little things like that, you’ll appreciate the attention to detail.

The scent was a good strength, one double wick was enough to fill the entire downstairs, which was really good. Even though we had been burning it in the living room, we were able to go to smell the pleasant aroma of cinnamon and cookies around the hallway and the kitchen too.

I’ll be saving the candle for the run-up to Christmas, so I’ve got to resist the temptation to burn it every night until it ends!  I really do love it, so the temptation is there!

yankee candle elevation collection review christmas decor

Overview:

I mean, who doesn’t love Yankee Candle? I like that they’re a well-trusted brand who continue to churn out beautiful fragranced candles that not only smell good but it looks a staple piece in the home decor.

My experience with Yankee Candle again was exceptional. From the ease of access, shipping speed and well packaged, it just solidifies why so many of us trust Yankee Candle to make our house a home.

The Sweet Frosting burned well and smelled like the paramount of the excitement leading up to Christmas day. I love it.

Now… it’s time to get more, right? I love it so much that I went out and got a smaller one as a gift for my Mum from Fosse Park. It’s such a sweet smelling aromatic candle that she loves just as much as I do.

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What’s your favourite Yankee Candle?

Hasta luego,

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Thank you to Yankee Candle for sending me Sweet Frosting to test out. All views remain my own.
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