20 Travel and Money-Saving Tips When Visiting Barcelona

20 travel and money saving tips when visiting Barcelona 4

*First published in 2015 – updated for 2019

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I love Barcelona. The Bloke and I were lucky enough to visit a few years ago and it was an amazing experience. However, like any popular tourist destination it can be expensive and difficult to navigate, so here are 20 travel and money-saving tips when traveling to Barcelona for the first time!

Choose your hotel wisely. When going on a city break, it’s more than likely that you will spend most of your time outside, but, for me at least, it’s important that the room is clean and you feel safe to leave possessions behind while you are out exploring. We did very little research on this, but were extremely lucky with what we booked. The Hotel Sant Augusti was exactly that – clean, safe and in a fabulous location, being right next to one of the main metro lines, La Bouquiera Market, the beach, The Gothic Quarter and La Rambla. It also served a buffet breakfast every morning from 7.30am – 11.00am and had free wi-fi, which was useful when keeping in contact with loved ones.

Work out in advance what it is that you really want to see, and where possible, book tickets online before you go as there are enormous queues and long waits for the main attractions. For example, we arrived at La Sagrada Familia early, but had to queue for about half an hour to buy a ticket and then waited a further three hours before we were allowed in as there were timed entrance spots. It may be also useful to take a guidebook and print off maps of the areas you wish to travel to in advance – we had to buy a map when we were there and soon discovered that it was poorly labelled and many of the sights and attractions were in the wrong place. Continue reading

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Teacher Mode, Even When There’s Blood

This. With more snot.

After teaching for nearly ten years and working with thousands of students it is inevitable that I run into them from time to time as I am going about my daily business. Generally, it’s a relatively painless experience- they either say hello and stop for a chat, look past me as if I’m not there and carry on walking, and the odd few will ignore me yet feel the need to shout my name out at me from a distance. The name-shouting is something that has always baffled me – I must give the impression that I regularly need reminding of what my name is – but I generally ignore it until I’m ready to leave, shoot them my nastiest teacher expression and walk away. I don’t teach anymore, therefore I don’t need to pretend to like any of the little cherubs who wish to cause trouble when they see me like I had to before. Continue reading

14 Ways to Avoid Procrastination

14 ways to stop procrastination  - stop procrastinating and learn how to be more organised

I’ve often referred to myself as the Queen of Procrastination. It has been a problem that began in early adulthood – finding anything and everything I possibly could do instead of something that was important, effectively becoming extremely proficient at doing nothing. Don’t believe me? Here’s how I regularly wasted my time when a deadline was looming.

My procrastination was always at its worst when:

  • I knew that a task wouldn’t be an easy or short process.
  • I found something difficult.
  • I was rebelling against something or someone because I don’t like being told what to do, even if the person telling me to do something was myself.
  • I had to go through the process of learning something new before I even began.
  • I found it boring and/or monotonous, making it become a chore.
  • I wasn’t under pressure with an impending deadline and/or wasn’t accountable to anyone else. 
  • I was frightened of failing. 

Continue reading

New Year, No New Goals

It’s a little belated, but Happy New Year! The Bloke and I celebrated by indulging in a slightly more healthy set of snacky treats than the cheese and Toblerone apocalypse that was Christmas, watching Stardust for the bajillionth time followed by broadcast of the fireworks from the bank of the Thames and the London Eye, after which we went to bed. 

Party animals, we are not. Even now, at the rather spring-chicken-esque age of 37, I think it’s safe to say that my days of throwing on a dress the size of a tea towel and strutting my stuff around a heaving nightclub in a pair of heels that would make my feet hurt for a week are long gone – even the mere thought it sends me running upstairs to find my comfy jammies and slippers.  Continue reading

2018: A Year in Review

My #Best9 of 2018 on Instagram

2018 has been a mixed year. There’s been a few personal and professional changes, some of which were not as positive as I would have liked and I’ve allowed myself to wallow in a funk on more than a few occasions, at one point even contemplating giving up blogging altogether. However, when I looked through my Bullet Journal and the photographs on my phone in preparation for this post, I was reminded that this year has actually been full of more incredible experiences than almost of any other. 

Here’s just some of the highlights…

The Bloke won a camera for a squirrel picture. That squirrel picture was more popular than our wedding photos.  Continue reading

Lego Destruction, An Exploding Camembert and a Christmas Dinner Record

I’m serving some ‘food barrel realness’ after consuming more than my entire bodyweight in Toblerone, cheese, crisps, dip, honey roasted peanuts and potatoes over the last few days. I always find it incredulous how quickly the Christmas Eve / Christmas Day period actually goes, especially with the hype and the level of preparation that goes into the weeks (and sometimes, months) leading up to it, and yet it is already over for another year, seemingly in the blink of an eye.

Our Christmas was spent at home with the cat. I had planned our eating and viewing schedule and got most of the food ready in advance, and for the most part, it all went very well.  Continue reading

Happy Christmas Eve!

Christmas Day is nearly upon us and I’ve just about reached the point where I think that everything is now done. It’s completely different to this time a year ago – I was so excited about our first Christmas together as husband and wife that I had planned and organised the whole thing weeks in advance – whereas this year we managed to get the cards sent out and the food bought just a few days ago. Perhaps it’s my mindset – I hadn’t been feeling the Christmassy vibe over December so most things were left until the last minute. Thankfully, when the cupboards had been stocked, the cards and presents sent and I had turned on the fairy lights, lit the candles and curled up on the couch with The Bloke it (thankfully) started to feel a little more festive.  Continue reading

A Night at the Birmingham Awards

Last week The Bloke and I put on our glad rags and went to Edgbaston Stadium for the Birmingham Awards event. I had been shortlisted for Blogger of the Year, which came as a complete surprise, and I found myself surrounded by businesses, organisations and individuals who work hard to contribute to and promote the city.   It had been an interesting afternoon getting ready – by the time we left the house I had managed to put my toe through my tights and was wearing stomach-holding undergarments that were so tight that I wondered if I could get through the evening without breathing too much.  Continue reading

Dress Shopping and a Fail

Not the dress I bought, but always like a bit of shiny…

At the start of November I set myself the challenge of blogging every day during the month. I managed twenty-one days continuously… until yesterday. Quite simply, I wasn’t in the mood, I couldn’t think of anything productive to write that wouldn’t take several hours, I had spent most of the day working on another project and I gave up. The blogging enthusiasm went in the bin. To be fair, going from posting three to four times and month to writing every day for three weeks isn’t bad, but I’m still a little disappointed that I fell short of my target. Still, with a week to go until the end of the month I can catch up on the missed post, but sometimes a break is necessary to regroup and get back on track, even if it’s a short one.  Continue reading

Putting the World to Rights over Hummus

This evening my friend took me for an early birthday meal at Damascena, a Syrian cafe in Birmingham that offers all sorts of mezze platters and flatbreads. I’d never been there before, the food was lovely and as I shovelled rather tasty hummus and halloumi into my face it was a great opportunity to catch up and see how life has been since she got married earlier in the year.  Continue reading