Heaven & Hell: Nuria Laiglesia Frances

Nuria loves Norfolk's tulip fields

Nuria loves Norfolk's tulip fields - Credit: Contributed

Nuria is a pharmacist, qualified teacher, and social media influencer, originally from Spain. Alongside a day job working at Community Pharmacy in Norwich, Nuria has travelled to more than 50 countries in the last 15 years, sharing her adventures on Instagram @nuriatravels and her favourite local hot spots @norfolkcountryside. Her international travel account @damestravel has 245k followers, showcasing collaborations with some of the world's best hotels and resorts. She talks to Gina Long...

How did the Covid lockdown period affect you?

Most travel bloggers were greatly impacted as they couldn’t travel for months. I had already stopped travelling just before the pandemic started. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I was sick at the time. I had to stop working, travelling, going out. It felt like the whole world had been given my diagnosis. I started chemotherapy during the first lockdown and fortunately none of my treatments and appointments were cancelled. I was really well looked after by the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, for which I will always be thankful.

What is your connection to East Anglia?

Upon completing my degree, I wanted to travel and have a working experience abroad. I went to one of the UK job recruiting interviews taking place in Barcelona.  I was recruited there. The company paid for my flight ticket and the first weeks of my accommodation, they even asked me where in the UK I wished to live. I had never been in the UK before, I asked them where the driest place in the country was,  hoping it wasn’t in the north, as I’m not used to very cold weather, hence being sent to East Anglia. I hadn’t heard of the county before and I loved it at first sight! I was offered a position as a pharmacist manager in Norwich, which I took, finding the city so charming. I came with the intention of being here a couple of years, 15 years later, I’m still here!

Nuria got engaged in Santorini

Nuria got engaged in Santorini - Credit: @true_santorini

What is your East Anglian heaven?

The amazing landscapes. Especially all the flower fields, the Norfolk Broads and beautiful beaches with beach huts, that I love.  

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What is your East Anglian hell?

The wind, grey days and long winter. I am so used to sunny days, which I had always taken for granted. Living here made me realised how much I really miss the sun. 

What are your favourite East Anglian restaurants?

Norfolk Broads restaurants with a Sunday carvery, especially during the summer.

What are your favourite local landmarks?

The landscapes with windmills. I love going to Horsey Windpump, such a dramatic history, along with seeing the seals by the sea too. 

What’s the best thing that happens here every year?

Norfolk tulips. I go to see them every spring near Kings Lynn - so colourful and majestic.

What's your specialist Mastermind subject?

Medicines. 

What is always in your fridge?

Yoghurts. I always have them for breakfast and often before going to bed.

What’s your simple philosophy of life?

Be positive and smile. Life can be hard, but we learn to become stronger.

Nuria has more than 250,000 followers on her international travel Instagram account

Nuria has more than 250,000 followers on her international travel Instagram account - Credit: Contributed

What’s your favourite film?

The film that I have watched many times is The wizard of Oz. I remember when I saw it for first time, my dad bought us the video and I told him off for bringing a film that was in ‘black and white’, then it changed to colour. I ran to say sorry, and I was so pleased that I watched it every time I had friends coming over. I must have watched it over 30 times 

What was your first job?

My dad was a photographer and had a few photography shops. I started to help in the family business since I was 13.

What is your most treasured possession?

Photos.

Who do you admire most?

I admire many people having a career as a surgeon or a fireman, I wouldn’t be able to do anything like that. So admirable.

What do you like about yourself most?

My hair. I lost my hair during chemotherapy and that was the worst part of the treatment. I realised how much I like my hair, which is now growing and I’m so pleased.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

I love holidays in Europe. The flights are shorter, and I love to see the old towns. My favourite countries to visit are in Spain and Italy. 

Best day of your life?

There are many days to celebrate not only one. Every time I do a new tick on my bucket list is an amazing day! 

My latest celebration was finishing my cancer treatment and ringing the bell, followed by a trip to Santorini. We loved it so much, we went back and got engaged there.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

When I have breakfast at 5* hotels. I fill up my plate, wanting to try everything in the buffet. I go back to repeat it.

What’s your favourite tipple?

I had to Google the meaning of this question!

My favourite wine is rosé, my favourite cocktail is a Piña Colada. 

What’s your hidden talent?

Painting. I was good at art at school, but never have painted again, it’s hidden somewhere in me.

What’s your earliest memory?

My first day at school. I remember sitting very quietly and seeing a boy crying, they gave him some sweets. I kept quiet, thinking how unfair that was, as I didn’t cry like that boy, and they didn’t give me sweets! 

Tell us something people don’t know about you?

That I get travel sickness.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

I don’t recall anything personal, just the typical haters online that comment being anonymous. I just delete the comment and forget about it.

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?

It was love at first sight with East Anglia. I also met my fiancé here; he is from Norfolk. 

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

After what I have been through in the past two years, I would just tell people (especially women) to check their breasts monthly.  I was luckily doing this, so I found the lump early and thankfully had a good prognosis. This can save your life.

I am always looking for interesting people from Suffolk and Norfolk to feature in my Q&A. Please contact me at gina@hallfarmfornham.com @ginalong_geewizz