Scentaddict Perfume Subscription Review

Scentaddict from The Fragrance Shop gifted three fragrances for me to try out. 

What is the Scentaddict perfume subscription?

Scentaddict is a new way to discover new fragrances. You have the option to choose from over 300 different perfumes from over 50 of the biggest brands. You’ll have a new scent delivered to your door every month.

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Instead of forking out nearly £100 for a fragrance you’re not sure on, you can try it out with Scentaddict, or if you’re like me and like to constantly change up your fragrance dependent on mood, season or event, you can have a constant stream of new fragrances to swap between.

What are my thoughts?

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Initially, I was sceptical. I’ve always bought full-sized fragrances and whenever I’ve reviewed a fragrance for different brands, it’s always been the full-size bottle. In my opinion, having the beautiful bottle adds to the depth of review. You can see it in all of its glory and the way the designer intended it to look. I feel it makes for better photos and a more in-depth review. But, I was up for the challenge.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realised how perfect Scentaddict is for travel and daily commuting. 8ml of fragrance means that with its beautiful atomiser you can pop it in your handbag for a fragrance top-up or glide through customs with more than enough fragrance for a weekend away. Fitting perfectly in a small handbag or even your back pocket, scentaddict is your new best friend.

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The way styles and fragrances move it can be a whirlwind to keep on top of it all. With fragrances filling social media every day and perfume adverts one after the other on TV, it can be overwhelming to keep up with it all. Whenever a new fragrance comes out, I want it. No, need it.

Which is why scentaddict is great for keeping on top of that. Whether you’re trying out new fragrances to find the one that sticks for you, or you’re just looking to mix it up, the subscription service gives you that freedom to have it all. At £12 a month, working out to just £3 a week (less than a coffee!), it’s a perfect way to try out and play with different scents and fragrances.

A wonderful incentive from scentaddict means you can redeem your £12 subscription against the largest size bottle of the fragrance, so if a fragrance really sticks, you can get the discount off of it.

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I often find that I love a fragrance to begin with and I become obsessed, then once a few weeks have passed, I get bored. I swap it out for something else. It’s why I love wearing a different fragrance every day to combat that boredom. I also think it keeps me fresh. Something different, which is why scentaddict can be a perfect solution.

The concept is easy, you visit http://www.scentaddict.com and choose the different perfumes that you’d like to test. You can edit and change your sample choice up to 48 hours before dispatch each month. Then, each month around the same day you placed your initial order, you’ll receive an 8ml refill of your chosen fragrance. You pop out the old fragrance and pop in your new one.

The monthly subscription includes postage and packaging and stops you ending up with full-sized bottles of perfume that you don’t like. There’s no minimum term or contract and you can cancel the subscription at any time, (up to 48 hours before dispatch of the next subscription!).

I love the idea of scentaddict subscription service and I think it’s a fantastic feature for travelling and trying out new fragrances, but the downfall for me is missing the beautiful perfume bottles. Although the perfume samples come nicely packaged and the atomiser is super cute and ideal for popping in my bag, I miss the aesthetic side of perfumes.

What perfumes did I try?

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I had the choice of three perfumes and they are all gorgeously unique. I really do adore the three perfumes that I’ve chosen and it’s amazing to have such big brands at such low cost. The three I chose are as follows:

  • Carolina Herrera Good Girl
  • Chloé
  • Elie Saab Girl of Now

Carolina Herrera Good Girl Review:

I’m sitting here smelling Good Girl now thinking how to put it into words. Delicately light but fiercely feminine. It’s one of those fragrances that I know I need the full-sized bottle with the gorgeous shoe I’ve been seeing on the adverts.

It’s elegant, yet promiscuous. It’s enigmatic yet diplomatic. It’s the scent of the girl who combines the good and the bad. The CEO who likes to be treated well. It’s a modern yet sophisticated fragrance and I am obsessed.

It’s a powerful and daring fragrance that I find myself reaching for over and over again. It really does feel like you can take on anything that life throws at you when you’re wearing Good Girl.

With fruity top notes of almond, middle notes of tuberose, Jasmine Sambac and bottom notes of tonka bean and cocoa, it combines this perfect combination of fruity, oriental yet floral.

If you’re looking for an empowering fragrance, this is the one.

Elie Saab – Girl of Now Review

I hadn’t seen the bottle that Elie Saab designed for Girl of Now but before punching it in on google, I knew it would be gorgeous, if the wedding dresses were anything to go by.

From the second I smelt Girl of Now, I loved it. The oriental yet floral fragrance was one I hadn’t researched at all. I had no idea if it would suit me nor if it was my sort of fragrance, but it’s absolutely stunning.

Launched back in 2017, it’s a combination of mandarin, pear, pistachio, tonka bean and almond milk.

It’s an irresistible long lasting fragrance and I’m in love with it!

Chloè by Chloè

Chloè by Chloè was launched back in 2008, so it’s by no means a new fragrance but I’ve always been slightly intrigued by Chloè. Why? Because back in my younger teen fan girl era, Cody Simpson once sung that his love interest was smelling like Chloè perfume. So, yep that’s that!

Truth be told, it’s took me a while to get used to Chloè. I was always told that if you can smell your own perfume, then it doesn’t suit you. With Chloè, I was smelling it on myself hours later. Yet, it smelt… better?

After some googling, I found that if the perfume improves the longer you wear it, then it actually means it really suits you.

Looks like Chloè is for me!

The longer I’ve been testing Chloè, the more I like it. I’m still not at Good Girl, Tiffany, Ariana Grande Cloud or Girl of Now levels with Chloè, but it’s definitely growing on me each time I wear it.

It’s a bold fragrance compiled of peony, magnolia, roses and ambergris and cedar. It really does make a classy and sweet fragrance destined to last for years on end, like it has done already for over 11 years!

Have you tried ScentAddict?

Hasta luego,

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Why We Should Be Reading To Children | Usborne English Readers Review*

As teachers, we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can by the children in our class. We want to give them the best start possible. We want to see them grow and learn. We want to see them progress. We want to help them as much as we can. 

Usborne English Readers are a series of English language books for young learners. If you watched my Instagram story, you will have seen me unbox a lovely selection of the Usborne English Readers books. Today, I’m sharing with you why they have been an invaluable resource in the classroom.

As teachers, we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can by the children in our class. We want to give them the best start possible. We want to see them grow and learn. We want to see them progress. We want to help them as much as we can.

But how can we do that?

As teachers, we’re always looking to keep ahead of the curve. Something to engage the children and keep them wanting to learn more. We want to enrich their minds with information that makes them crave more and more. We want them to succeed. We are their biggest cheerleaders. We want to keep it fresh and up-to-date. We’re constantly trying to keep up.

Usborne English Readers does just that.

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I found out about the Usborne English Readers books on Usborne and knew I had to get in touch with them. I knew the children in my class would adore them. The vibrant colours that bring those classics to life. Stories that I knew and loved from my childhood, I wanted to share them with my class in a whole new light. With beautiful illustrations that fill every page, the story comes to life.

My children are all avid readers. They have a desire and a passion to read and it’s so refreshing to see. Sure, they love YouTube just as much as the next child, but they still love a story. Their faces light up when a new book comes to the classroom so imagine their delight when each day they’ve been introduced to a new Usborne English Readers book. Their faces and eyes light up at the sight of a new book. It’s so heartwarming. These books are so loved by the children.

Usborne sent out all three levels of their Usborne English Readers, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. These books will grow with the different levels. Stories that my older children are enjoying now, will be perfect for the younger ones in a few years time. They will continue to be used and used because I know how much the children love them. They have responded so well to the Usborne English Readers books. They are able to keep up with the story, which is proven thanks to their comprehension activities at the back that we have done as a class.

Usborne English Readers Levels

Level 1: Elementary (CEFR A1)

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We have children from across the board of The Common European Framework of Reference. The A1 is the most popular and the biggest groups at the moment.

Usborne was kind enough to send us 6 of their 9 Level 1 books available.

  • Cinderella
  • The Emperor and the Nightingale
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Puss in Boots
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Gingerbread Man

The Level 1 books are typically around 800-1,200 words which are just long enough to keep their attention and not too difficult for them to keep up with. The stories are all well-loved fairy tale favourites that I recall from my childhood. I was so excited to read Beauty and the Beast to the children, so that was the first one we used.

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The stories come with a vocabulary list too which explains further in simplified terms what the word means which has been perfect for aiding explanation. Tools like these are so valuable in a classroom when you’re sometimes thrown into a question and you feel you can’t actually explain the word! Usborne has done the hard work creating definitions that are accessible for their level.

Another great aspect of the Usborne English Readers is you can actually access their Grammar Structures and expectations for the levels. It gives a clear guideline for what the children should know and understand for their level. You can view Level 1 guidelines here: Level 1 Grammar Structures

Level 2: Pre-intermediate (CEFR A2)

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We have a good amount of A2 students too. These are just as into reading as the A1 students. Just like the children, these books grow slightly to adapt to the needs and learning requirements of the children.

The Level 2 books are typically around 1,400-2,400 words, so they’re perfect for splitting between two classes to leave the children on a little cliffhanger, waiting and hoping for more reading and learning! The stories not only are longer fairy tales but also classics, myths and legends.

We were sent 3 of the 8 titles available and the children are absolutely loving them. We have the following:

  • Snow Queen
  • Pinocchio
  • The Phantom of the Opera

I was really excited to give these books a try. I was concerned as to whether The Phantom of the Opera might be too difficult for the children to understand, but they loved it. The illustrations and vocabulary list really helped them to understand the storyline and access the book successfully.

You can take a look at the grammar structures that students should know at Level 2 here: Level 2 Grammar Structures

Level 3: Intermediate (CEFR B1)

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We have a smaller amount of B1 students and finding things to keep them engaged can be difficult. Especially when they’re still such a young age, it can be hard to find books that are not too mature for them or too easy that it just doesn’t challenge them. That’s where Usborne English Readers comes in.

These books have been invaluable for my B1 children students. Challenging books that are suitable for their age range. They are truly the perfect books for B1 children students. I have found them an incredibly useful resource in the classroom.

The Level 3 books are typically around 3,000-3,600 words, which means they’ve been a great resource to use as a ten-minute activity at the end of the lesson. It’s great for winding down after some intense grammar sessions, whilst still encouraging English language structure learning in a more subtle and relaxed atmosphere. I’m able to find a suitable spot for the children to stop to be able to continue for the next lesson. They’ve been a great resource for a reward! “Finish this page and we can continue the book…” *sounds of pencils writing 100mph*. 

The stories are English language classics which are brought to life with the wonderful illustrations. We were kindly sent the following:

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Frankenstein

You can view the grammar structures for Level 3 here: Level 3 Grammar Structures

If you’re unsure what level you are, you can get your student or child to take the Usborne Online Test which will tell you which level book is appropriate: Usborne Online English Test

Are Usborne English Readers Worth Buying?

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Usborne English Readers are an exemplary resource for use both in the classroom and for independent reading. They have been built alongside an ELT expert, Peter Viney.

The books are all fantastically priced at just £6.99 a book. I never go to work without an Usborne English Readers book slipped inside my bag now. We keep them at home to keep them in the best condition.

Reading is incredibly important, not only reading to children but encouraging children to read out loud. I am a huge advocate of reading and would encourage anybody who is in direct contact with children to encourage them wherever possible to pick up and book and read.

Reading gives the foundation of language. It’s how we started as babies, as children, we loved listening to stories and bringing books to life. The core importance of reading stays with ESL children. Whether no level or on the European Framework, reading is important. It teaches the basis of the language and helps to build a basic grasp of a language. I guarantee, even the children who have not yet reached A1 will be copying words that you’re reading to them. They’ll see the brought to life illustrations and they’ll be soaking up the story and a few new words.

Reading supports speaking skills and helps to form social skills. It also builds their vocabulary. As the children have read through the Usborne English Languages books they have desired to learn more. They’ve asked what new words are and I’ve seen them use their new words in their writing and speech. The stories are instilled in them.

I’ve also used the books as a tool for listening. Reading the text and then testing their comprehension by asking simple questions. The illustrations are also useful for asking further questions to support their learning. “How many people are in this picture”, “What colour is this?” “Who is wearing the red dress?”, “What animal is this?”, “Where is The Beast now?”, “How is Romeo feeling now?”, “What is Cinderella doing?”. It’s great for testing their knowledge and using follow-up questions from the class.

How Can I buy Usborne Books?

You can purchase Usborne English Readers direct from their website if you’re in the UK and certain European countries. You find the book you’re interested in and click ‘Buy this book in UK and EU’ button.

There is a money back guarantee, which is a nice reassurance knowing you can send them back within 14 days for a full refund. But, I just know you’d love them as much as I do if you’re a teacher or have young children at home. VAT is also included in the online catalogue. The online shop is secure too!

Why I Love Usborne English Readers

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When did we last let a book transform a child into a world of fantasy and magic? With beautiful illustrations, the books really come to life. A world of fun and fantasy fills the classroom getting children keen and eager to learn English.

The stories are genuinely engaging for the children. They really do want you to turn just one more page. No matter how many times you tell them they have to wait until next time to find out what happens. They want to know now. They want just one more page, please! They get the children speaking, they get the children asking questions, they get the children wanting to practice more English.

I love that the books come with an audio version, in both American English and British English. They are a great resource to help bring the stories to life, plus gives us teacher a little break, even if it is just for a few minutes!

The children genuinely do sit and listen taking it all in. You see them soaking up the language and genuinely enjoying the story. It’s lovely to see their faces taking it all in. Watching their minds process it all.

I would one hundred per cent recommend investing in Usborne English Readers books for either within the classroom or at home with ESL children. I do believe they’d be perfect for native English children too.

The books come with a range of resources that can be used within the classroom or for home learning that capture the beauty of the story whilst aiding additional learning. The activities test comprehension and merge together the understanding of grammar and vocabulary. They also come with information about the story or the author plus a glossary of words. They really engage and involve the children whilst being a fun and rewarding activity.

I have been so impressed with our Usborne books. They arrived quickly and came well packaged. The books are professionally finished and they’re the type of books you want to display. They look interesting. They look like you want to pick them up and read them.

I have been really impressed with the accessibility of the books for our ESL learners. I would definitely purchase more books from Usborne the Usborne English Readers collection. I will definitely look into different collections from Usborne to use in the classroom after being so impressed with the Usborne English Readers collection.

Language learning is fun with Usborne English Readers.

Hasta luego,

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The books were gifted to me kindly from Usborne, however, views, photos and words are my own.

Christmas Gift Guide – Gifts for Him 2018

Shopping for the important men in your life isn’t something that should be last minute. Whether you’re looking for a gift for your dad, your son, your brother or your boyfriend, you want to get something thoughtful that will wow them.

Shopping for the important men in your life isn’t something that should be last minute. Whether you’re looking for a gift for your dad, your son, your brother or your boyfriend, you want to get something thoughtful that will wow them.

Photobooks, accessories, DVD’s, clothes, tech gadgets and books are a good place to start. To help spark some gift ideas, I’ve put together a list of fantastic gifts for the men in your life.

*contains affiliate or sponsored products*

Daniel Wellington Watches

Buy HERE!

daniel wellington watches diary of a spanglish girl benidorm discount code

Give an affordable, yet classic and sophisticated Daniel Wellington Watch for the man in your life as a Christmas Gift. Men’s watches have never looked so good. The Daniel Wellington Sheffield is a beautiful watch that Alex hasn’t taken off since he got it.

Ladies, treat yourself to a Rose Gold Watch too whilst you’re at it, Daniel Wellington also stock watches for women that are so stunning and timeless. The Daniel Wellington watch straps are interchangeable so you can switch between different watch straps, today Rose Gold, tomorrow classic white.

Daniel Wellington Discount Code: A Daniel Wellington watch is a perfect Christmas gift! Don’t forget you can get 15% off with the code “LaurenBate” when applied at checkout.

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A Kanken Backpack

Buy HERE!

kanken backpack and essentials kits perfect for christmas men

Kanken backpacks are suitable for both men and women. The best backpacks for men need to be durable, fashionable, well-constructed and long-lasting. Kanken ticks all of those boxes!

The Kanken backpack is great for everyday use and is water-resistant too. Made of Vinylon F, it’s extremely durable and will certainly stand the test of time battling against the elements.

The crossover straps mean that the backpack evenly distributes the weight between your two shoulders, allowing you to not only improve your posture and save back pain but also allows you to carry much more than before! As a result, you feel comfortable, and a bit of a boost of ego too!

The main compartment has a large capacity. It also comes with a comfortable seat pad which means your back stays straight and aligned, but also nothing uncomfortable digs in!

There is also a heavy duty zip and a reflective logo on the front. It’s perfect for everyday use and travelling!

The Office DVD Boxset

Buy HERE!

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“Is The Office worth watching” I hear you cry. Don’t worry, it’s taken us this long to watch it too. If you’re a fan of humour and sitcoms, which let’s face it, who isn’t? Then The Office will be perfect for you.

Starring Steve Carell, The Office is an American television series that aired on NBC from 2005 until 2013, lasting nine series. It’s based on the UK version starring Ricky Gervais.

Following the everyday lives of office employees in Pennsylvania, it highlights some of the drama and hilarities that go on inside an office. Let’s face it, the office is where some of the best tea is spilt!

Steve Carell is a great lead actor and the show is fantastic. It would definitely bring a smile and some laughter this Christmas. We’re halfway through Season One and I can’t wait for cosy weekends binge-watching the show!

Amazon Echo Dot

Buy HERE!

I never knew how much I needed an Amazon Echo Dot until I started writing the Gift Guide to include the Amazon Echo Dot. I’d seen it on the Great British Bake Off ad, but wow, I’ve sold it to myself.

Alexa play “Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

The Amazon Echo is a smart speaker that remains a solid favourite amongst many in the sea of smart speakers. The Amazon Echo really brought the craze for voice-controlled speakers to life. Original is always best.

The Amazon Echo is a solid speaker with an AI Smart helper. Alexa really is the addition we all need to our home. It is a low-priced techno-piece that I’m sure the men in your life would love.

What’s best? This is an amazing gift for less than £50.

Get the Amazon Echo Dot here: Amazon Echo Dot

Levi Jeans

Buy HERE!

You can’t go wrong with a pair of Levi jeans. They’re long-lasting, good quality and worth every penny. If you’re wondering what to get men in terms of jeans, then Levi’s are definitely the way forward.

30 & Under Book

Buy HERE!

PLEASE NOTE: This book is only available on Amazon.com so it is in dollars and would need delivering from the US! I would suggest getting the Kindle version if you are in Europe.

We recently got the 30 & under book, which is a selection of short life advice from outliers under 30 and it is fantastic.

It’s packed with life hacks to succeed in your career and well-being, daily habits to adapt and the routines of the most successful people under 30 years of age. There are short interview entries from Forbes List under 30’s, top athletes, entrepreneurs, influencers and contestants from shows such as Shark Tank and Top Chef.

The book is incredible for giving that boost of motivation. It really makes you want to get up and get stuff done. They’re short yet powerful which makes picking it up and reading it so easy. You can have a read of an interview in the morning before getting up or on the commute to work. It’s a great book for picking up and saving another for another day.

“Explore the world around you. The people around you. The cultures around you…”

I also really rate the quote that is added for each person inside. There is a large font quote with a cool background which grabs your attention whilst skimming through.

There is also a section that asks them what advice they would give to their 17-year-old self. There is some really interesting and inspiring advice that is given which would be great for somebody just finishing their A-Levels, or a little off their chosen path, who are seeking a little direction.

Truprint

Buy HERE!

It’s the moments in life that matter and Truprint know that. Men love sentimental gifts too and just imagine their face when they see a beautifully curated high-quality photo book filled with all of your favourite memories.

You can also add little embellishments and text to really bring your creation to life. If you hurry, you can also get 40% off by adding MOMENTS40 at the checkout!

Find Me a Gift

Click HERE to buy!

The Scratch Map is perfect for the man in your life who loves to document his travels. Or, that little gift for your living room, we won’t tell if you don’t!

Keeping track of travel has never been easier, looking gorgeous on a wall in the living room or bedroom, it is a great conversation starter, whilst looking beautiful and rustic. Changing colour when scratched off with a coin, it’s a fun activity to do to share your travels and add a touch of travel to your home decor.

It also features lots of cool travel facts that you can reveal when you’ve visited them!

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The Travel Trivia Game is a great Christmas Day activity and fun for all year around. Bored on the plane? This small trivia game tests your knowledge of travel trivia from around the world. The travel lover and trivia lovers in the family will love this game!

We played this game recently and absolutely loved it. There are some super difficult questions so it will really test their knowledge of the world! With questions ranging from medium to very difficult, it’s sure to test their travel trivia this Christmas! It’s one you’ll definitely pull out when the friends come over to impress them with your travel knowledge! After you’ve revised, of course!

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El Camino Bracelets

Buy HERE!

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The travel lover will love an accessory where they can wear their travels on their wrist. Help them to retrace their steps this Christmas and bring their love of travel to life with El Camino Bracelets.

You can pick out their travels, whether that’s oceans, cities or countries, you can build the mark they have made on the world and share that with them. You can also get a Merry Christmas step as Christmas novelty.

If you’d rather they picked their own steps, you can purchase a voucher from El Camino which allows them to shop freely online.

The El Camino is a beautiful bracelet that they’re sure to love.

Merry Christmas,

Jo Totes Camera Bag Review: Allison Butterscotch*

Stylish and comfortable bags that keep you organised and professional.

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I recently shared a photo on my Instagram of my JoTotes Camera Bag and after the positive response from Instagram and the streams of questions, I thought it was only right to do a full-length review of the camera bag. This should help you make your decision on whether to invest. Which you totally should. 

I had been looking around for a feminine camera bag – one that was super cute, super stylish that looks like a high-end bag but would also keep camera equipment safe with all the padding and dividers to haul photography bits and bobs.

The Jo Totes brand is a fantastic brand that creates just that. Stylish and comfortable bags that keep you organised and professional. They’re perfect for wandering around new cities with your camera in tow, without looking like it! I hate the thought of wandering around a new city getting my bearings and sticking out. I much prefer blending in.

The brand launched in 2009, releasing high-quality bags that are handcrafted using high-quality materials and leather. You can really smell the leather on the bag and the zip is perfect. It’s a YKK zipper and you can truly hear and feel the quality of it. It has that satisfying “zip” sound, do you know which one I mean? It’s a true ZIP.

Each bag comes with extra padding at the sides and the bottom to protect photography equipment. I love that they’re removable and I’m able to use the bag daily. It’s become my day-time bag! It’s perfect for heading to work. There are so many compartments so I can keep everything separate and organised. It’s really light-weight as well and sits comfortably so when I’m walking I’m stocked up with my journal, a jacket, keys, phone charger and all of the other bits and bobs – yet it still feels really light and comfortable to carry.

DELIVERY DELIVERY DELIVERY

Jo Totes also have distribution centres across a variety of bases, they have centres in the USA, United Kingdom, Australia and Hong Kong. I ordered from the United Kingdom base to Spain and it arrived so quickly.

It was really fast shipping, boxed well, so I was really impressed with it. The bag also comes equipped with a handy cotton JoTotes bag which keeps your bag clean and safe when you’re storing it.

FUNCTIONALITY IS KEY

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The functionality of the bag is perfect. For me, a bag has to be functional. It has to work. I’m not a “bag person”. I don’t have a huge stock of bags that match different outfits. Bags do a job with me. They’re there for a reason. Not for a fashion statement. But, saying that, Jo Totes are functional and make a fashion statement. 

I love how functional they are. Without functionality, it’s just a pretty accessory. But, The Gracie Butterscotch has rolled it out in one. The shoulder strap is really comfortable and perches nicely on the shoulder without dropping. There is also a removable shoulder pad which helps distribute the weight when it gets heavier. The straps have perfect swivels that don’t get stuck or jammed.

It’s stable and secure which I appreciate. I don’t ever feel like it’s slipping off of my shoulders which I really value.

PERFECT SIZE AND POCKETS APLENTY

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The dimensions are 13″ x 13.25″ x 4.75″. It has plenty of space to fit an iPad, a camera and multiple lenses.

It’s a sophisticated bag with realms of pockets that serve a purpose. There are seven large, spacious pockets. Not silly pockets that you can’t fit anything in.

It’s a great bag for the ability to stuff in all of the camera equipment plus extras. I hate the thought of lumping around two bags and I feel sorry for Alex always carrying around the backpack full of stuff whilst travelling, so it’s great that I can have a bag that keeps camera equipment safe whilst being comfortable to carry.

You can fit so much stuff in, I feel like Mary Poppins constantly whipping out extra bits! The other day, I actually pulled out plasters and a first aid kit?! Me – prepared!? This has never happened before!

It’s a medium sized bag and would come in great for travelling. It will definitely become my hand-luggage bag for flying.

COLOUR

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You can get so many different colour options from Jo Totes, and I am a huge fan of the pastels and mustards that some of the bags offer, I adore the Warm Butterscotch Brown of my bag. It’s great for Autumn/Winter and goes with pretty much anything!

AFFORDABILITY

The Jo Totes bags are super affordable. For the quality of the bag you are getting, I really do think it’s reasonable. If you have camera equipment, you’ll have paid a lot of money for the body and the lenses and the equipment, you want it safe and protected.

They are high-quality bags for keeping equipment safe.

The bags are all priced in dollars, however, they are distributed from the UK, so there isn’t any customs charges or anything like that! They range from $89.00-$199.00.

ANY DRAWBACKS?

I can honestly say I haven’t had any drawbacks to the bag. It stays in place. It fits my iPad and all my extras. It doesn’t become too heavy to hold. It’s stylish and feminine. The only drawback is I don’t have all of the different styles to change it up every day!

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It goes beautifully with the autumn colours and really finishes off an Autumn/Winter outfit, which means you can go out looking autumnal and fashionable and be able to carry your camera comfortably and capture those gorgeous colours and landscapes that autumn brings.

If you want to get your own Jo Totes bag you can head over to their website here: https://www.jototes.com

Hasta luego,

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I was gifted the bag from Jo Totes.

Autumn Beauty Essentials 2018

Early October has always been my time to stock up on products for the forthcoming winter. (because I’m totally unorganised and wait until my skin is actually dry instead of planning a little earlier and preventing dry skin.) 

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Thursday 4th October: Day 4 of Blogtober

Even here in Benidorm, I find that during Autumn, your skin takes the battering of the weather. The sea air really does get into your skin and leave it dry and sore.

Early October has always been my time to stock up on products for the forthcoming winter. (because I’m totally unorganised and wait until my skin is actually dry instead of planning a little earlier and preventing dry skin.) 

Temperatures start to dip during the Autumn months, even here and the humidity levels tend to plummet too. The drier the air, the more moisture is remove from your skin. That’s why, in summer, especially by the sea, your skin looks glowing and radiant. From late October, you’re more likely to experience some dry and flakiness,  so make sure you stock up on some good moisturiser – especially if you’re prone to dry skin. You’ll need it, even in Spain.

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1. Palmers Cocoa Butter

The first of my Palmer’s product to be featured. This truly is ​essential for me. Every year, I get through one bottle. Not bad for £2.65! I’ve worked out it costs me 0.007 pence every day to keep my skin hydrated. It usually runs out early October, which is why I tend to stock up now.

The cream isn’t too thick and isn’t gloopy or thick. It has an amazing fragrance, that people are always asking me what I’m wearing because it smells so nice. It cleans up dry skin, really quickly. I tend to moisturise and use it more vigorously on my elbows and knees where the dry, irritated skin seems to be more common.

2. Carmex Cherry Lipbalm

It was actually Alex who introduced me to this Autumn/Winter essential. I am the world’s worst for leaving things too late when it comes to beauty. So Carmex is a dream.

Dry, chapped lips are so painful and it makes me regret not taking more care before. But, Carmex clears up the chapped lips really quickly, you really do feel it working on your lips. I’m sure it has some kind of numbing ingredient in it! We always go for the cherry fragrance, it seems to work more intensely than the other fragrances.

3. BED HEAD by TIGI

Now, I don’t know about you guys, but does anybody else have like three different showers? The standard in and out, the mid-range shower where you take a little more care and then the full of spa treatment the entire works shower? Bath comes into a whole new category.

Well, the Autumn/Winter months are usually when the “spa treatment the entire works” shower becomes much more frequent. I mean, it’s so cold that I may as well spend some time in the shower where it’s warm. My hair and skincare are thankful for it, anyway!

For the shampoo and conditioner on my a little more luxurious shower, I always use BED HEAD. It really does add the shine. It’s also topped with UV protection and heat protection which is perfect for in Spain.

4. Aussie Volume Gift Set

For my less luxurious, everyday shower because not trying to replace BED HEAD every month, shower I always use the Aussie Volume Shampoo and Conditioner.

It is a good everyday shampoo and conditioner that is topped with Australian Sea Kelp so I can feel like I’m doing a bit of travelling, even though I’m literally stood in the shower.

It adds a bit of fullness and bounce, but nothing majorly noticeable. The Gift Set comes with a toiletries bag which is great for storing them in.

5. Palmers Cocoa Butter Lip Formula

I told you there was more Palmer’s to come! I have to stock up on Palmer’s Cocao Butter purely because I can’t be without it. I get a pack of 4, one for my bedside drawer, one for my bag, one for next to the computer and one for my backpack. I think I’d go in to meltdown if one wasn’t at my reach.

It’s a good quality daily lip balm, though not always powerful enough to weather the Autumn/Winter. It provides a good level of protection against the heat and cold, but against the wind, not so much. Which is perfect for here. It’s also SPF 15 so it’s definitely a Spain Autumn essential.

Rio absolutely loves the smell and tries to jump up and get it every time I use it, so if you’re after dog kisses, Palmer’s is the way forward.

6. Armani Si Passione

Ahh, fragrance time! I have three fragrances that I mix between. I hate smelling the same all the time so I like to mix it up.

Armani was one that I only came across this year, after being recommended at East Midlands Airport. It’s such a gorgeous smell that I save it for best. This is the time when I wish you could rub the screen and smell it like a magazine.

It’s an amazing fragrance and the best part is it’s Eur de Parfum as opposed to Eau de Toilette. Basically, it contains a lot more perfume oil, meaning it lasts longer and smells more intense. Let me tell you, it definitely does.

I tried on a lot of perfumes at East Midlands, but this was the one that I knew as soon as she sprayed it that I loved it. It was just put on the shelves, brand new product, as I was passing through so it was perfect timing.

7. Narciso Rodriguez

Another Eau de Parfum in my Autumn Essentials. I like my Eau de Parfum’s, you see! 

Narciso Rodriguez is another perfume that I only use for best. I don’t feel dressed up unless I smell dressed up. I just finished the last of the bottle and it was a minor heartbreak to have to take the bottle to the recycling. The pink bottle looks so cute on the dressing table. So, I’ll also be stocking up again!

It’s a floral and warmly spiced aroma with hints of musk and rose which is perfect for the autumn/winter months.

As it’s another Eau de Parfum, it lasts a lot longer. The 100ml bottle lasted me two years.

8. Tommy Hilfiger

We all love a nice price daily perfume, don’t we? Tommy Hilfiger has been my go-to daily fragrance for ages.

A 100ml bottle tends to last me around 8 months, using it every day, except on ‘going out‘ days which I can’t complain at for £19.50!

It has light tones of magnolia and jasmine, with undertones of cedar and leather. I like my subtle smells. I’m not a huge fan of overpowering fragrances so these three are absolutely perfect to rotate with.

It’s also a good perfume just to throw in your handbag, which is a definite essential when I’m heading out in Spain and the sweat just starts dripping.

9. Hawaiian Tropic

Now, if you’re reading this with no plans to come to Spain, or head overseas, this Autumn/Winter then scroll right on to number 10, you won’t be needing this!

If you are heading on holiday for some winter sun, then don’t forget your suncream. Even though it’s cooler, the sun still has its strength.

We use the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Spray and it’s absolutely perfect. It doesn’t feel slimy or oily on your skin but protects really well. It’s a hydrating and moisturising spray too, so it leaves your skin feeling soft.

Alex usually gets burnt, but with Hawaiian Tropic, he didn’t.

I’ve linked the SPF 30, as the sun isn’t at maximum strength so just a daily suncream is okay for us at the moment. If your skin is more prone to sunburn, then I’d suggest opting for a higher SPF. It’s better to go too high than too low!

10. Simple Skincare

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I can’t be without Simple skincare. Some people say it doesn’t work for their skin, but it really does do wonders for mine.

Simple is perfect for sensitive skin, the products give a gentle yet thorough treatment. It’s not uncommon that we look at the cotton wool pads after and see black grime on the pad!

The products are filled wit Pro-vitamins which softens and smoothes skin.

Alex is a gem and will often cleanse, tone and moisturise my face, especially during the winter months. It’s not relaxing when you do it yourself! So, I’ve linked all the products that I use in my skincare regime.

Start with the cleanser, remember to always start from the chin and spread upwards. Spreading downwards encourages wrinkles! Once you’ve swept the cleanser on, use the eye make up remover, if you have any eye make up on. Next, use the toner, again starting from the chin and sweeping upwards. Then add the light moisturiser, with your fingers. I don’t like the rich moisturiser, it feels too thick. But, if you do have exceptionally dry skin, it might be worth using the rich as opposed to the light!

I then finish off with the night cream or day cream.

A cherry-sized blob on a cotton wool pad should be enough to use across the face. If you’re feeling in the mood, you can always spread to the neck and around the back of the ears for a true spa treatment feeling. 

Eye Make Up Remover: https://amzn.to/2OQMu04

Toner: https://amzn.to/2NykPEh

Day Cream: https://amzn.to/2DpjwCV

Night Cream: https://amzn.to/2DBTj4v (they only have a pack of 6 on Amazon, so I’d suggest getting it from elsewhere!)

Moisturiser: https://amzn.to/2zpvOqU

Cleanser: https://amzn.to/2Dyj3hM

What’s your Autumn Beauty Essentials?

Hasta luego,

laurensignature-final

Pinterest:

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A Keeper​ for a Day – Mundomar

Keeper for a Day experience gives you a unique opportunity to get up close with animals at Mundomar.

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“Los animales son muy buenos amigos; no hacen preguntas, no critícan”

The incredible Keeper for a Day experience gives you a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the most popular animals at Mundomar.

The unique insight into some of the species of exotic marine and land animals at Mundomar and get a feel of the day-to-day life of the keepers.

If you like animals climbing all over you, this is an unmissable Benidorm experience for you.

I highly recommend this experience, considering all the extras you get included it’s a great deal. Included in the cost is the entrance to the park all day. You can buy your ticket for €60 direct with Mundomar here: https://tickets.mundomar.es/

A Keeper for a Day – August 2016


The park opens at 10:00am, however, the experience begins at 11:00am. We decided to take a taxi, costing €15 from Poniente end of Benidorm to arrive around 10:30, as advised. This would give us time to find where we needed to go and take a quick look around the park.

We booked our tickets online through the Mundomar website Mundomar Keeper for a Day Tickets.

On arrival, we handed our voucher and we were given the all-clear to enter. We were told to meet under the television to the left promptly at 11:00am and two other guests would be joining us. We had a small group, so it was ideal.

Our guide met us at 11:00am stocked up with t-shirts and goodies, we opted to put everything in the lockers that are available to hire. We wore the T-shirts as required, they are there to protect your clothes, but also distinguish you as part of the group.

The first stop was the tortoise. 

The tortoise was very inquisitive. Having no fear of humans or contact it happily ate from your hand and let you stroke his shell and his face which I was reluctant to do!

Interestingly, tortoises have nerve endings in their shells. So, when you pet and stroke him, he feels it! I think he quite likes it, too.

Tortoises love to eat plants, fruit and veg, we were able to give our new tortoise friend his salad.

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I was quite surprised that I was into the tortoise experience as much as I was!

Then, we should have gone to the meerkats…

Alex is a big meerkat fan. It was one of the reasons I was able to convince him to book the keeper for a day experience. When we arrived at the meerkats, our guide told us, unfortunately, we were unable to enter. The meerkats had been fighting and scratching so they didn’t want to upset the meerkats anymore, or for any of us to get hurt.

I told Alex they’re not the cutest of animals!

Next was the Kinkajous.

We asked our guide to speak in Spanish, trying to get better here! So, I actually had no idea what these animals were. I thought it was my Spanish that held me back from knowing these animals, but in actual fact, I’d never heard of them!

These animals were so inquisitive. They were clambering over each other. The animals originate from tropical rainforests in Central and South America and are omnivores. Apparently, these little creatures eat lizards, small snakes, rodents, insects and fruit. Not my kind of diet, but sounds like a good pet!

They’re often referred to as “honey bears” because they use their long tongues to raid and steal honey from a bees’ nest!

These Kinkajous were little babies and hadn’t yet grown to full size. They were super adorable when they were using their tails as a little blanket.

I’d love to go back and see how much they’ve grown now.

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The Aviary

The aviary is filled with different species of birds all of which are more than happy to land on your head or arm or shoulder or anywhere else they can attach their feet, especially if you have food!

The birds are more than happy to let you stroke them, so if you want to feel like Snow White with the pretty birds in your hands, then this is for you.

You can enter the aviary and pay separately for a photo, like most of the animals listed, however, each photo will cost you €10, so it soon adds up!

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Black-and-white ruffed lemurs

I for sure have a new found love for lemurs. The black-and-white ruffed lemurs were the first of the two lemurs we would visit. Usually found in the Madagascan rainforest, there is a unique opportunity to see and interact with them at Mundomar.

These lemurs are endangered, the cutting down of the forests and being killed for meat, it’s impossible to comprehend how somebody can hurt such an animal. They’re caring, they’re playful and they’re very intelligent.

These lemurs love to climb on you and play around, they love the interaction and we didn’t even have any food for them… to begin with!

Did you know: Lemurs are really good at spreading pollen just like bees?

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The ring-tailed lemurs

Mundomar definitely saves the best until last. Both of the lemurs will steal your heart.

If your kids want to meet King Julian from Madagascar, then be prepared for them to meet 30 King Julian’s from Madagascar (ok maybe not thirty, I didn’t count them!). 

They truly were everywhere. One, however, took an instant shine to me. We were like best mates. He sat there holding my hand, holding my leg and gazing up at me. Can you take lemurs home??? 

It’s so upsetting to think how the lemur population is decreasing and since being at Mundomar it’s made me realise how amazing these animals are. They are only found on the tiny, remote island of Madagascar, and with the rapidly declining of the forests, zoos and nature parks are able to conserve these animals and keep the population steady.

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After we finished our experience, we wandered around the park and took a closer look at some of the other animals, such as the penguins, the dolphins, flamingos, seals and sea lions. There is so much to do and so much to see.

Mundomar is fairly hilly, but, the views from the top of Benidorm are fantastic. Located up on the mountain of the Sierra Helada (ice by name, fiery heat by nature!) it boasts views of Levante, Puig Campana and beyond.

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For just 60€ per person, you too can experience this fantastic opportunity. It’s an absolute bargain for 60€ when you break it down. Included in the price is:

  • Entrance to the Park
  • A Keeper for a Day T-shirt
  • Three professional photos, taken with the black-and-white ruffed lemurs, the tortoise and the ring-tailed lemurs
  • A keychain
  • A Mundomar folder to keep your photos

Most of the animals included you are able to visit once you are in the park and pay for the photo separately. Each photo costs €10, so when you calculate the cost of each photo, the extras and the entrance, it really is a great deal!

If getting up close and personal with the animals isn’t your cup of tea, then general entrance for adults is €31, junior and seniors €25 and disabled entrance is €19. However, keep your eyes peeled at Alicante Airport, Carrefour or McDonalds as there are usually offers on! You can buy general entrance tickets here: Tickets

Good news parents, you don’t have to do the activity if you don’t want to! Children over 8 years old can do this on their own! Children aged between 5 and 7 (both inclusive) must be accompanied by an adult. 

Try the keeper for a day experience at Mundomar and be truly blown away. The keepers also speak English. It is an absolutely amazing two hours, plus you have the rest of the day to enjoy the park! Have fun!

Hasta luego,

laurensignature-final

This post was created entirely on my own experience. It was NOT endorsed, promoted or paid for by Mundomar or any associated companies. We attended in August 2016.

 

 

Locked-Down in Benidorm

This is one experience, not to be missed.

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“Un zombie se esfuerza en conseguir un cerebro.”

Benidorm is so diverse. There is so much to do. Usually, in so little time. Cramming everything into a holiday can be difficult. But, this is one experience, not to be missed.

One of the biggest challenges I have found is finding something different to do. Something enjoyable for everybody. Something everybody will want to join in with.

As it’s Easter, my parents and teen brother have come to visit us. As my brother is here celebrating his birthday, we decided to find different things to do. Something possibly out of the ordinary. 

That’s when we came across the Lockdown Escape Room in Benidorm.

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I have heard a lot about escape rooms and how they’re becoming increasingly popular, and now I see why. We knew very little about escape rooms so we weren’t sure what to expect.

We booked the easier room, ease ourselves into the escape room experiences. The Zombie Room is rated as a 7/10 for difficulty, so that’s the one we went for. We were ready to solve this zombie epidemic!

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Our gamemaster, Ruben, briefed us on the mission and what we needed to do. He helped us through the storyline and gave vital information. The staff were all super helpful and super friendly. They made the experience even better.

We were split into two teams, we split ourselves into the women and the men. We had to work together in order to join together.

I felt like I was in a real-life version of Crystal Maze. As somebody who loves games, it felt so cool to be inside a game. There was no need for physical force or strenuous activity, your mind is your power. 

Solving puzzles, rummaging for clues and using your brain power. You’re put to the ultimate test. With the clock ticking, the atmospheric music and the tensions getting higher, you feel the pressure. You can feel your heart rate racing.

We were required to work together as a team, share information and piece together details to solve the apocalypse. Everything means something.

If you want the ultimate you had to be there moment. This is it. Very close to solving the final piece, we get into the last room and Oliver slams the door on Alex. Nobody gets left behind, right? Don’t worry, we went back and saved him, just.

That feeling when the light goes green and you’re through. It’s like an ultimate victory. We made it. 15 seconds to spare. But, we did it.

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Walking out those doors and knowing you’ve completed it. Such a sense of achievement.

Then, after your brain has already been put to the ultimate test, you have one final challenge. Picking a team name for the team photo.

All in all, it’s a great experience. It was fantastic for something different. Perfect for teens. Perfect for a rainy day in Benidorm. I can’t recommend it enough!

What is it?

The escape room is a real test of logic, observation, determination, teamwork and communication.

Imagine, you’re thrust into the gaming world. Everything is a clue. Riddles, solving combinations to locks, finding patterns. The clues are right before your eyes. Hidden in plain sight.

Perfect for the avid gamers amongst us. Perfect for those who love to solve a good puzzle. Perfect for building teamwork.

Without giving any spoilers, make sure you communicate. You need to work together.

Where is it?

The Lock Down room is located on Calle Ibiza 6. It’s located opposite the Dog House.

Was it Suitable?

We all loved it. We went as a family, but any group would love it. My brother loves video games so, being thrust into a real-life game is perfect for the teens. We were a range of ages and all loved it.

Would you Go Again?

Definitely! We had an absolutely amazing time. We experienced the Zombie Escape Room, so we definitely want to go back and try the other rooms.

How do you Book?

We booked online through the Escape Room page. You can also go in and see the staff and book there!

If you’re looking for an adrenaline buzz then this is a must-do experience.

Have you tried an Escape room before?

Hasta luego,

laurensignature-final

The Benidorm Bucket List

How many have you done?

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Benidorm is so diverse, there really is something for everyone. From water parks to cultural parks and from bars to beaches. There is something to keep the entire family happy.

But, I know what it’s like. We end up doing the same thing over and over again. We get into a routine. Well, this year, don’t be stuck for ideas in Benidorm.

Here’s my Benidorm Bucket-List:

Visit La Creu (The Cross!)

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Stand at the Top of
The Hotel Bali

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Catch the Tram

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Visit Central Perk
in Villajoyosa

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Visit Altea

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Ice-Skate at the Town Hall
(Dec only)

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Visit Mundomar 

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Have a Paella in La Cala

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Watch the Sunset
from The Tossal

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Have Tapas at 18:00

Feed the Animals at
Terra Natura

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Watch the Sunset from Planta 20
of Hotel Madeira

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Visit the Valor Factory in Villajoyosa

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Play on the Water inflatables in the Sea

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Play in a Pedalo

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Join in the Holi Festival at Terra Natura

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Take a Trip to La Isla
(The Island)

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Slide through Aqualandia

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Sunbathe on an Inflatable
at La Isla

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Swim in the Freezing Waters
of Algar Falls

Bowl at CC La Marina

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Have a Cafe con Helado
in Jamaica

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Watch the King’s Day Parade

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Have Tapas at
100 Montaditos

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Shoot Hoops at
the Arcade

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See the Blue Water
at Guadalest

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Eat Pizza at Granier

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Have an Ice-Cream at
El Castell

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Reach New Heights at
Terra Mitica

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Have a Meal and a Show
at Showboat

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Have Coffee at Chila Bar

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Visit Villajoyosa

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Visit the Pink Waters
of Torrevieja

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Dinner and a Show
at Benidorm Palace

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Hire electric bikes from Tao Bike

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Take your pooch to the
dog-friendly beach

in Altea

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Play an Escape Room at
Escape Benidorm

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Go Kart 

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Soak the views at
Cala Tio Ximo

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See the blue waters of
Orxeta

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Head to Guadalest for a day out

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Visit the beautiful Altea port of
Campomanes

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Get an Alicante Starbucks Mug from
Alicante Airport to

remember your trip!

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I hope these have given you a few ideas for some fantastic things to do in Benidorm! I will be adding more soon, so keep checking back!

Hasta luego,

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