Carrying on from my ‘Our Summer in Spain – Part 1‘ post, these are my thoughts, memories and favourite shots from the second half of our summer holiday in the south of Spain.

I hadn’t been to Spain in years and in many ways I’d forgotten what a beautiful country it is, and just on our doorstep. Our flight down to Alicante from Gatwick only took two hours – we left at 6.30am and by 9.30am (local time) we were there, ready to start a new day in a new sunny country.

As I’ve already mentioned in Part 1, the first half of our holiday was spent in an apartment just outside Alicante. For the second half we drove up the coast towards Valencia, to a beautiful private villa we’d rented in the hills outside L’Atzubia.

Now, (as you may have already read) we’d loved our time in the apartment in Alicante and we were sad to leave but the moment we drove into the driveway of this villa, we knew that this was going to be something special. Our own little oasis in the middle of nowhere. This villa literally had everything I’d want from a holiday rental – it was secluded and private, with a stunning 180 degree view of the villages below. The villa itself was authentic and traditional and had been sympathetically renovated by the owner. It also had lots of modern touches like wifi, Apple TV and a brilliant sound system.

I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful this villa was, it literally covered all my ‘holiday home’ fantasies, down to the interiors, amazing pool and gorgeous garden area. There was so many spots around the property to sit back and relax, although we were mainly in the pool splashing around and singing loudly to Taylor Swift and Little Mix – another bonus of not having any neighbours!

This is the kind of villa you rent when all you want to do is relax and do nothing. I honestly didn’t want to leave the villa the whole time we were there. I just didn’t want to miss a minute of it, especially the amazing light at around 7.30pm, as the sun went down over the side of the mountains, it was just stunning!

I should probably mention that Clemenvilla is big, it sleeps up to 12 people – we had three extra bedrooms and bathrooms that we didn’t use but it still felt cosy and so relaxing. It’s going to be tough to find a holiday home to beat this one.

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Reading is a big thing in our house, I’ve always read to the girls from a very early age, I think it’s a great way to develop their little imaginations and encourage their love of stories. Lili loves books but unfortunately isn’t the biggest fan of reading.  Poppy on the other hand is eager to learn and is already (she’s four) showing really good progress. I have a feeling she’s going to be the bookworm of our family.

We were excited to discover that our favourite breakfast cereal, BEAR Alphabites, has teamed up with Puffin Books to create the BEAR and Puffin’s Big Book Club. They’ve created an online hub packed full of fun activities, including a ‘Book of the Month’ released each month, as well as extracts from classic children’s books and brand new releases. You can also print off downloadable activity sheets and games to go along with the books.

Setting up a Book Club at Home

We thought it would be fun to set up our own book club at home, so the girls invited their friends over and created a book corner in our kitchen-diner. Each ‘member’ got their own BEAR and Puffin Book Club badge and the big girls read a book aloud. They also ate some yummy Alphabites and then started to recreate some of the scenes and the characters from the book. They also used the magnets that come free inside each pack to fuel their imagination and make up more stories.

It was all very sweet and lovely to see. It’s amazing how kids can really step into the characters and use their imaginations to create these different worlds in their minds.

Why we love BEAR Alphabites

BEAR Alphabites are made with just six simple ingredients, five whole grains, as well as natural coconut blossom nectar. They contain no refined sugar, salt, artificial colours or flavours – the girls think they’re delicious!

#BigBookClub

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

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I used to work at Clarins and was there for over ten years, so I know this product very well… or I should say, all its previous reincarnations – or ‘generations’ as they’re called. This new Clarins Double Serum Hydric + Lipidic Serum is the latest reformulation of this cult anti-aging classic. Clarins tend to bring out a new generation Double Serum every three years, which means they are always making sure they’re ahead of the anti-ageing game. This is one of their hero products and as I’ve said, they’re always working on improving the formula.

I’ve been using the previous formula for the past three years (on and off) and always love the results it gives, so I was really interested to try this new ‘improved’ version.

This new Clarins Double Serum Hydric + Lipidic Serum is the latest reformulation of this cult anti-aging classic.

Clarins Double Serum has always been an age control serum, with two anti-ageing fluids in one product. The two serums are separated in the bottle and come together when they are pumped out. You then blend them together between your hands, before applying the mixture to your face.

Within this newest version there’s a dial that allows you to control the dosage it dispenses, making the amount personalised to you.  I’ve been using the smaller dosage as I find it better suited to my skin’s needs at this time of year. The larger dose is more of a ‘power shot’ for dry skin or normal skin during the harsh winter months.

This wonder product has over 20 different plant extracts including Tumeric to help fight wrinkles, fine lines and boost radiance.

This new Clarins Double Serum Hydric + Lipidic Serum is the latest reformulation of this cult anti-aging classic.

The Verdict

I have seen results after using this daily for 7 days (morning and night) – my skin is noticeably brighter and smoother, especially the mornings.

This is a solid winner in my opinion and exactly what my skin needs now that fine lines have started to appear around my face. Clarins Double Serum is sold in two sizes 30ml (£57) and 50ml (£75), and is available from their website as well as all department stores including John Lewis and Debenhams.

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I’ve been a fan of IT Cosmetics for a while now, it’s a makeup brand that’s reached iconic status over the pond, offering ‘game changing’ products with ‘life changing’ results.

These are big claims but do you know what? On the whole they live up to them, the products are all high quality and give dramatic results. They’re professional level products that will give you a completely flawless complexion and incredible lashes! Their brushes are also unbelievably good and marry up perfectly with their corresponding products.

Here are some of my IT Cosmetics hero products…

Superhero Mascara – £19

I have rubbish, stumpy lashes but this clever mascara really does have ‘super powers’ because the volume, length and stretch from one application is pretty amazing! If you’re on the look out for a new mascara, I really recommend you give this one a go.

Brow Power – £19

This was one of the original IT Cosmetics phenomenon products! It’s a super easy to use brow pencil that gives beautiful, natural-looking, long lasting results. Also, the universal transforming shade adjusts to all hair colours, which is amazing! This is honestly the best eye brow product I’ve ever used.

Bye Bye Pores Pressed Compact – £25

I’m not usually a pressed powder kinda gal but this has got me a little hooked. It blurs away any signs of pores (as the name suggests) and fine lines, and gives you that airbrushed finish you see on beauty shoots. The only down side is that it does give a very matte finish, where I normally prefer a healthy, dewy look.

Your Skin But Better™ CC+™ Cream with SPF 50+ – £30

Colour Correcting Creams can all too often be dismissed as glorified tinted moisturisers but this is not one of them. This CC Cream offers amazing coverage, while being beautifully smooth and silky on the skin. It also has hydrating and anti-ageing benefits as well as an impressive SPF of 50+. I’ve used this over the summer and have really loved the flawless finish it gives.

Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer – £22.50

The brand describes this liquid concealer as ‘8 hours of sleep in a tube’, which is a pretty big claim! To be honest though, I’d say it’s more of an ‘all round’ concealer and not limited to under eye concerns. It’s perfect for hiding dark circles, scars, spots, hyperpigmentation, lines and/or wrinkles. Just make sure you get the correct shade for your skin tone.

IT Cosmetics are available to buy from Selfridges online or QVC.

Disclaimer: I was sent these items to honestly review with no obligations. 

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It’s only been three weeks since we arrived home from our holiday in Spain but it already feels like a distant memory. So much has happened since we got back, with the kids going back to school and the stresses of getting everything ready.

This year we decided to go down the AirBnB route and rent a self-catered property. We’ve done this a few times before in the south of France but never in Spain. After hunting across the site’s available properties we found two perfect but very different options. The first offered us an apartment in a modern complex with shared pools near a big beach, and the second was a traditional style, private villa in the hills, an hour and a half up the coast.

Both properties had their advantages, so we decided to split our time between the two. Why choose one when you can have both?

Our First Stop: Infinity View Apartments

This was a modern apartment in a very new complex, located just outside Alicante in the south east of Spain. The apartment itself had three large bedrooms and two bathrooms, a kitchen/diner, a living room and a huge balcony overlooking the complex. Outside was two infinitely pools and a children’s water area, as well as a gym, play park and an outdoor bar serving drinks and snacks.

This place was great for so many reasons. The apartment was beautifully decorated with stylish modern touches. Also, as it had three bedrooms, we could put the kids to bed and relax on the balcony or in the living room without disturbing them in the evenings. This is not something we can do when we’re all sharing a single hotel room.

The pools were perfect for the girls and were never too busy. We had three different pools to choose from, which included a children’s play pool with colourful slides.

Here are some of my favourite pictures from the first half of our holiday, staying at the Infinity View Complex

This style of holiday really works for us. I’m not the biggest fan of ‘package holidays’ and being with hundreds of other ‘holiday makers’. The thought of fighting for a sun-lounger stresses me out and the whole ‘saving loungers with a  towel’ thing drives me crazy! Yes, we have to make our own breakfast and find somewhere to eat at night (or make something for supper) but to be honest I really don’t mind, it means we’re not worried about missing breakfast and get to try lots of different restaurants in the evenings.

In my next holiday in Spain post I’ll tell you all about our second stop at the traditionally, authentic Spanish villa.

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