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Fans of The Only Way is Essex will know the ‘Towie’ crew’s pre-holiday mantra ‘No carbs ‘til Marbs’.

It’s something I wished I’d followed in the build up to my sunshine break this week in Estapona, 20 miles down the coast from Marbella. I’ve been taking advantage of the tapas bars and the menu del dias (day menus) on offer, and can feel the effects on my waist line!

One dish I’ve fallen in love with is peppers Padron; small green peppers lightly fried in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Really keen to grow my own peppers to cook the dish at home, I took a bit of a busman’s holiday trip to Agrojardin, a huge garden centre just down the road from my apartment. Here I picked up seeds of Pepper ‘Padron’ which I’ll be sowing as soon as I get home this weekend.

I also couldn’t resist picking up seeds of Spanish spring onions and large sweet bulb onions too – both great for summer salads. Walking around the outdoor plant area felt like walking around the indoor plant area in a UK garden centre. The only non-plant items I recognised on the shelves were Fiskars tools, no sign of any other well known UK brands.  If you love gardening and want inspiration from your holidays this year it’s well worth seeking out a garden centre on your travels and seeing what’s on offer.