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.

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.

And just like that our two weeks in Wales has come to an end. For the past two weeks the girls and I have been staying with my parents in Ceredigion, West Wales. This is a little summer tradition that we look forward to every year. The kids get completely spoilt by my mum and dad, and I get a chance to relax a little (with their help). I love bringing my kids “home” to Wales every summer, it breaks up the six weeks perfectly and I’m able to share my childhood summer adventures with my girls. It also gives me the chance to relive my happy memories and make new ones with my children.

When you’re four and seven (like my older two) the summer holidays feel never ending, they go on and on. So it’s no surprise that when I think back to my own childhood most of my memories are summer based, running along a sun soaked country road in a summer dress or along a small local beach in a bright red swimming costume.

The Great British Summer has not been kind to us this year but that hasn’t stopped us from making the most of our time in Ceredigion. We may not have had long, warm days on one of the (many) local beaches but we have enjoyed lots of day trips to the coast and National Trust properties.

Here are just a few of our holiday highlights and some of my favourite pictures from the past two weeks.

Aberystwyth


New Quay Beach, Ceredigion


Llanarchaeron (National Trust)

Lampeter Agricultural Show


Aberaeron


My little home county has so much to offer the British holidaymaker. Ceredigion is full of great restaurants and beautiful beaches, as well as castles, National Trust properties and so much more! If you’re ever in the area you must try the Honey Ice Cream in Aberaeron and Conti’s Ice Cream in Lampeter. You should also check our Pizza Tipi in Cardigan and the Lobster at The Harbourmaster in Aberaeron.

Bye Ceredigion, we’ll be back for Christmas xx

When I’m away on holidays I always take way too many pictures and never really share them on here, which is a shame. Especially when I think back and remember that one of the main reasons I started this blog was to capture our special moments and document them in one place for the future.

In an attempt to resolve this issue I’ve decided to start a new section called ‘My Holiday Photo Album’. It should be quite self-explanatory, I just want to have an area where I keep all my precious moments and favourite pictures from our many adventures and jaunts across the world.

I’m going to start with our most recent trip to Vegas. We were in Las Vegas for four days in June 2017,  during a heatwave that saw temperatures soar to 45 degrees. I’ve never known heat like it!

Anyway, here are my favourite snaps from Las Vegas…

The Vegas Eiffel Tower.

The Las Vegas strip.

Outside the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace.

The Mirage Hotel.

Hotel New York New York.

At the Flamingo Hotel sign.

We didn’t make it out to the ‘Welcome to Vegas’ sign but I did find this Hershey’s version, which I loved.

The neon signs and lights of Vegas old town.

Vegas old town by day.

Palm trees and the High Roller observation wheel.

Posing with my man at the Hoover Dam.

The Grand Canyon.

Luckily I’m okay with heights.

Wondering around the Mojave desert.

Looking at Joshua Trees in the desert – yes that’s what they look like.

Posing inside the Bellagio Hotel’s floral model version of Positano in Italy.

Wondering around the beautiful Wynn Hotel.

Watching the water fountains dance outside the Wynn Hotel.

Posing outside the stunning Venetian Hotel

Who develops pictures these days? Definitely not me, although this is another thing I want to do more often, even if it’s just one or two of my favourite snaps her holiday.

Las Vegas top attractions and travel tips.Las Vegas was never really on my list of places visit but I’m so glad that I recently got the opportunity to go, because I absolutely loved it. It really wasn’t what I expected, it was beautiful and clean, yes it was tacky but in a cool, fun way. I don’t really gamble or drink (that much) but I still had the best time!! And I can’t wait to go again.

Dom and I went without the kids, who stayed at home with my parents – and to be perfectly honest it was the best decision because Vegas is not very child-friendly. Yes, there’s lots for them to see but on the whole ‘sin city’ is designed around adult entertainment and there’s way too much walking for little legs. So my first tip would be – don’t take the children.

As I’ve already mentioned I’m not much of a gambler, or drinker so I wasn’t sure how I’d enjoy this notorious party city but I needn’t have worried, Vegas has so many other things to offer. There are countless things to see and do. Here’s my list of top attractions along with some useful tips…

Las Vegas top attractions and travel tips.

1) The Eiffel Tower at Paris –  this famous miniature version is well worth a visit. Try and go between Tuesday and Saturday, and you might meet Vern who is a brilliant character and works at the top of the tower. He can tell you everything you need to know about each and every hotel on the strip and beyond.  Also, try and stay up to watch at least one of the Bellagio fountain shows, which is located across the road.

2) The Bellagio Fountains –  made famous by the 2001 Oceans Eleven movie, this free water and music show happens everyday from midday to midnight. We managed to catch a few of them as our hotel was opposite the fountains. Each show (we saw) was different but they were all amazing. The shows are every 30mins from midday to 7pm and every 15mins from 7pm to midnight.

Las Vegas top attractions and travel tips.

3) The Mob Museum – I’m a big history geek so the Mob museum was right up my street. Be prepared to read lots and learn how the maffia built Vegas. There was also a few short movies to watch and some interactive sections, where you can shoot a fake gun and take part in a police line-up.

4) The flamingos at The Flamingo Hotel – This is another free attraction that’s available to anyone. The pink flamingos have a gorgeous, peaceful garden area that’s tucked away at the  back of the hotel.

Las Vegas top attractions and travel tips.

5) Shopping – All the big hotels have a shopping area but biggest malls are attached to Planet Hollywood and Caesar’s Palace. There’s also the Fashion Show Mall which is the biggest of them all and includes the large department stores. We also visited the Las Vegas South outlet village, which was a few stops on the bus from Fremont Street. This is where I managed to get a beautiful Kate Spade bag at 70% off.

6) High Roller at The Linq – this is said to be the tallest observation wheel in the world and is another great way to see the strip. Each pod also has a bar so you can enjoy a drink or two as you look out over the city. The wheel is open from 11.30am to 2am everyday and costs $27.

7) The dolphins at The Mirage – For $23 per person you can interact with the famous dolphins at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.

Las Vegas top attractions and travel tips.

8) The CSI Experience at MGM Grand – This is where you can test your inner crime solver CSI skills. The exhibit costs $31 and includes forensic equipment and interactive displays. If you’re a CSI fan this is a lot of fun.

9) The Shows! – you can’t go to Vegas without seeing a show. We saw Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil, which was amazing! Although from what I’ve read and heard, they’re all very good. We tried to see O, another cirque show but failed to get tickets. My tip would be to book your shows as soon as you can, maybe as soon as you’ve booked your trip, to ensure you get the tickets you want.

10) Fremont Street (The old Vegas) – this is the old or original Las Vegas and has all the bright lights of the bygone era. The street has recently been given a modern makeover with a light up roof and a zip line ride but you can still see and feel vintage Vegas in the signs and the buildings. Fremont Street attracts an eclectic mix of people and is definitely not suitable for children- especially after dark! But it’s well worth a visit. It needs to be seen to be believed. They have free nightly concerts on three different stages as well as street performers and an hourly light show on the hour from sunset to midnight.

Las Vegas top attractions and travel tips.Las Vegas top attractions and travel tips.

That’s just ten of my personal favourite things!

The biggest tip I have is to take comfortable shoes! I’ve never walked so much in one holiday. One day my husband’s Fitbit recorded 17 miles. There’s just so much to see and each hotel is so big, you’ll walk for miles without even realising it. Just walking around the shops at the Plant Hollywood Mall is one mile.

Every hotel in Vegas has a unique theme and something different to offer, from; dolphins to flamingos, aquariums to gondolas, rollercoasters to water shows and much more. Each one also has an amazing breakfast buffet, which should not be missed! Without question my absolute favourite hotel was The Wynn, we wondered up there on our last morning for breakfast and I absolutely fell in love with the place. Everything was so beautiful, I felt like Alice walking around Wonderland.

Las Vegas top attractions and travel tips.

The $25 breakfast buffet was simply incredible! Just to give you an idea, I had; fresh pancakes with crispy becon and maple syrup, then some mini muffins and pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola, a mini carrot cake, a mini cup cake and some mango sorbet (because, why not?!) and Dom had some of the same things as well as eggs Bénédicte, some sushi and smoked salmon. We then spent the day walking off the breakfast calories!

Las Vegas top attractions and travel tips.

Las Vegas is a pretty expensive city to eat and drink but here are a few of my favourite inexpensive places that offer great food…

1) The Cheesecake Factory – the portions here are massive so you may want to share a meal and a slice of one of their iconic cheesecakes.

2) Denny’s – we went here for breakfast one morning and loved the food (especially the pancakes) and the cheap prices. Think typical American diner!

3) In and Out Burger –  offer the best burgers and milkshakes in the city.

Other famous attractions that we didn’t get round to seeing but you might want to check out include; the skyjump and other rides at The Stratosphere, The rollercoaster at New York, New York, gondola rides at The Venetian and Shark Reef aquarium at Mandalay Bay. Of course there’s also the Grand Canyon nearby and the Hoover Dam, which we did go and see and I’ll cover in another post. For now, all I’ll say is that this day-tour was the absolute highlight of my Vegas visit.

Las Vegas top attractions and travel tips.

Vegas has so many things to offer, there are countless things to see and do. Here's my list of top attractions along with some useful travel tips...