Adulting & Growing Old: What Adults Never Told You When You Were Young

I’m coming up to 34 years old next month, and I have to be honest, I still feel 19 in my head. I think I always will.

I’ve been blessed with a young-looking face, and people always think I’m about 6 years younger than I actually am. I used to hate this but now I like it, and I hope it doesn’t change.

Me and my husband used to look at photos of when we had first met and compare them with current ones, then comment on how we hadn’t changed. But now we look at those same pictures and notice a massive difference. I’m getting old! Not really, but I’m definitely looking older.

Last week I found my first white hair – not grey, white – and I was so happy. I love the idea of getting older, and I feel like I’ve hit another milestone. I’ve been looking for greys for a while now, but since I dye my hair (and have done since I was 16) I rarely see my natural colour. For some reason this time around, my mousey-roots making an appearance hasn’t bothered me so I’m holding out dying my hair until I snap back into hating it again. My plan is that if my hair goes white I won’t have to dye or highlight it any more. I’m aware that won’t work, but let me dream for a while.

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When I was a kid, I knew that as soon as I hit 18 I’d be an adult and have it all sussed out. But along with no one telling you how much aftercare having a tattoo takes and what REALLY goes on when you give birth, it’s one of those things that people don’t tell you when you’re a kid and leave you to work out yourself;

You’ll never really feel like an adult. (Shh don’t tell the kids).

I often see a term banded around on twitter – ‘Adulting’, and I think it’s perfect. For example “I had pizza for breakfast #adulting” or “Spent the afternoon doing my accounts, and now I’m off to a wine bar #adulting” It’s used perfectly to illustrate the psyche of an ‘adult’ who has the brain of a teenager doing things they feel that can or should do but not quite feeling like an adult.

I’ve always said that I never want to feel like an adult. If I start feeling that way, things will be dull and boring and I will have lost the fun. I also say you’re never truly old until you hit about 80, so I’ve got some time to go.

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You spend your young life learning how to be when you’re thrust out into the big wild world, but you never really stop learning. You can continue to educate yourself both academically and by learning from experience and the experience of others. Everyone you meet teaches you something about people and about yourself. You never stop making mistakes, learning from them and choosing which path to take.

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I find growing older to be the biggest adventure. It’s exciting. I want to be a sponge taking it all in, adapting myself to it and moving on to the next thing. I know a lot of people who went through a funk when they hit 30, but I was the most excited. This year I turn 34 and whilst I’m not so keen with my skin changing, my ability to go out in the evening on a ‘school night’ diminishing and my life responsibilities going up, I still know there’s so much ahead of me. There’s time to learn, change, experience and move forward. There are people I haven’t met, places I haven’t seen and so many things I need to learn about myself.

Who wouldn’t want to move forward and experience all of that?

2016: My Year in Blogging

I think this year has to have been one of my most consistent blogging years, the last one being during my year of half marathon training.

And I know exactly what changed it; the blogging community on social media and actually being actively social.

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Blogging has changed a huge amount since I started. I’ve been writing a blog for around 15 years and this particular blog for 7 and a half now. I’m so proud that Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug is the way that it is and that people seem to like it!

I started the year with around 300 email subscribers and ended it with over 600. After having started dabbling with makeup I started to see my reader stats increasing and people seemed to be interested in that kind of content. I’m not going to lie, as much as my blog posts are written for me, no one will deny the draw to being popular. Especially in such a competitive environment. And it’s SO competitive.

When I started blogging it wasn’t popular. It was something emo kids and poets did. For the record, and though there’s nothing wrong with being either of those things, I’m neither. I was just putting thoughts to ‘paper’ and then releasing them into the great ocean of the internet. I think that’s why I get on with twitter so much. You have a thought, you release it, and then it’s gone (for the most part!).

When I began putting in that extra 10% effort this year, I could see it made all the difference. But I also saw that the world of blogging, this expansive Blogosphere, was totally different from how it was when I started. EVERYONE has a blog. The content is rarely original, but when it is, it’s so good. And people can really make money from blogging. People are jacking in their 9-5 jobs to work for themselves and become influencers full-time.

And not only that, the popularity contest is so fierce that people actually pay for followers. Things I didn’t know even existed were brought to the forefront – people spend hours scheduling tweets to go out on a weekly basis. They will plan posts months ahead, spending hours perfecting their Media Kit and profile pages to be PR friendly. I have, for the time being, decided that a media kit and PR related type stuff is not for me. The other day someone had to explain to me what an Insta Pod was – I’m still not 100% sure…

A few years ago I dabbled, and worked with companies reviewing their stuff. I worked with Vita Coco, Chobani and a few tea companies. I had chocolate and yogurt coming out of my ears and finding the time to review everything was hard. I found my content was becoming watered down this ad content and I decided to let it go.

I also found it’s so hard to get noticed in the seas of ‘young’ ‘hip’ bloggers who understand social media and branding way more than I can at my mid 30’s. It’s frustrating to think that the 40th review someone has read about the latest Zoella perfume can get so much more engagement than a post I write about travel or a favourite charity….. But still.

So since I considered myself pretty good at twitter I set up a second twitter account dedicated to Musings and let it loose on the world. I got a few followers but they were mainly people who I already knew. And nothing seemed to happen….. Then I realised that I was being totally dumb and in order for people to engage with me I needed to engage with them. It’s been to the detriment of my personal twitter account, I must admit, but even so, I have really enjoyed it.

Things really started to fly when I discovered The Bloggers Hub (or I think they might have found me!), a network of like-minded bloggers who chat, help each other and are really fun. The guys who run the network are great, welcoming, and really help to boost your exposure all at the same time. They seem like the kind of people I’d really get on with IRL and there’s zero bitchiness from anyone, which is the one thing that had put me off being involved in any other twitter blogger network. Their twitter chat was also the first one I ever participated in (and since I’ve never felt the urge to join in with any others, if I’m honest). Through them I’ve found some amazing, friendly and really down to earth bloggers. I’ve also had my eyes opened to some of the pitfalls of blogging, some of the drama and plenty of the scams.

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Through twitter I got the balls to start my YouTube channel too, which is still very much in its infant stage. But it’s great to know there’s an outlet I can push my videos through, when I really want people to know what I’ve been creating.

Something I’ve always had an issue getting over, so not just this year, is the fear of putting what I really think onto the screen. And by that I mean, I sometimes have the strong urge to write a response to something that might be going on in the press or something in my life, but I’m afraid of the responses I might get. Sometimes it’s a social or political issue that I don’t feel like I know everything about but I still have a strong opinion on. I might know enough to write a post about it, but someone who knows more about it than me might comment and I won’t be able to stand my ground. This is something I hope, in time, I’ll get over. But the more exposure my blog gets, the higher the chance that someone might respond negatively to what I’ve written. I mean let’s face it, beauty bloggers get flack for using too much product in their swatches so what hope do I have if I start to comment on politics?

I also had the chance, towards the end of the year, to attend a couple of Blogger events. One was too far from home, but one was right where I live, and I chickened out. Apart from it being too much money for what you got, I didn’t feel ready to take that scary leap and be social with people I’d never met. The fear was too great. But maybe this year I’ll take the leap. There’s one blogger I’ve been friendly with for the past year, who I would consider a friend even though we’ve never met. Maybe meeting her this year will be the first step to conquering this fear. I think I need my hand held!

So what does 2017 and blogging hold for me? This year I upgraded my Peanuts Moleskine notebook, where I usually write in long hand, a full blog, if I have the idea in my head and I need to get it out. I bought a Dot Creates Blogger Planner. Inside it’s got loads of space for planning upcoming blogs. Up until now I’d either use my Peanuts Moleskine or more often just open a new page on my iPhone Notes app. This can be a little clumsy and when it comes to things like this, I appreciate putting pencil to paper more. This blog planner will also be great for planning YouTube video ideas and it makes my brain feel a little more organised!

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So planning will be important in 2017, though I don’t feel like I’ll ever be the kind of person who can sit, plan and write out posts months in advance. I’m far too much of a spur of the moment, type out whatever’s in my brain right now, kind of blogger.

I know I’ll continue with twitter because it’s been so much fun, socialising with everyone and learning too. I considered dabbling with scheduling tweets, but I enjoy actually engaging in real-time too much. Even scheduling blog posts too far ahead of time makes me feel distant from my content, so for the time being I won’t be scheduling tweets.

I’m going to work on my brand, but I want to keep it real. I don’t want to find myself moving back to where I was when I was doing PR and collaborations. That’s not me – if I talk about a product it’s because I love it and I’m just doing the same as if I told my friends about something amazing that I’d tried. And I want my readers to know that too. If I’m telling you about it, it’s because it’s worth talking about!

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I can honestly say that 2016 was my most enjoyable year in blogging, and I hope 2017 follows suit. I now know that putting that little bit of extra effort in, finding your tribe and being social makes a whole heap of difference. There’s a reason it’s called social media but for someone who isn’t incredibly outgoing or social I was just a little slow on the uptake.

But it’s okay now, because I got there eventually. And I love it!

My Itchy Feet; A Blog About Possibility

This time of year, when we’ve all had some quality time off, we’ve woken up when we wanted, chosen what we were going to that day, been adequately lazy and then probably a little more lazy than that, and been completely our own bosses, it’s very hard to go back to work.

Yet, tomorrow we all get up at stupid o’clock and once again join the rat race.

This year seems a little harder for me since it’s the first year out of many that I haven’t had a holiday or big event to look forward to. And last year was a biggie as I had one of my best friend’s wedding and my 10 year anniversary to Disney World to look forward to.

Reading everyone’s 2017 blogs has got me yearning in the same way as I do most years.

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So this year I’m putting fingers to keys (because pen to paper seems so 2008) and I’m going to type out some things I really want, just so that I can be accountable for them. These aren’t necessarily things I want for next 12 months, but for years to come and who knows when I can start putting the wheels in motion. But here’s a start:

I want to properly learn a new language

Let’s face it, it’ll probably be French. I already have a basis in French and I find it the easiest to get to grips with. But I want to be able to confidently hold a conversation with someone in another language without getting flustered and confused.

I want to learn a new skill

For a while I thought maybe calligraphy, but I’m not artistic enough for that. Today I thought I might want to learn shorthand – so maybe I’ll look into that.

I want to get a degree

This is a big one. I’m aware of the work load – and that’s partly why I haven’t taken the leap yet. I really really want to learn Law. For years now I’ve loved the idea of going back to school and learning basic law and then doing a degree in criminal law. I know it’s a huge one, and I am aware it would be hard. Especially since there’s no way I can do without working full-time. Sometimes I feel like it might be too late, but then is it ever too late? I love the idea of using that part of my brain again and being good at something – at least I hope I’d be good at it. But it takes time, money and a LOT of energy so I know it’s not something I can just jump into.

I want to travel

For a long time Gary and I have wanted to take a month off, travel, even just go to New York, rent a place for a while and live there. I’d love to be creative in a place like that. One thing I mention a lot is travelling the UK and taking photos of the kind of places no one takes pictures of. Then making a living selling those photos. It’s a big dream, but again it means taking time off work or leaving work and then how do you fund it. I’m seeing a lottery win in my future…..

So there’s a little insight to my itchy feet. Who knows what the future holds – but for now all bets are off and nothing’s off the table. It’s frustrating but at least I’m happy in the knowledge that any or all of these thing are possible eventually. I just need to work hard to get there!

Awesome Things That Happened to Me in 2016!

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2016 has been an amazing year. It started out with a trip to New York, and deciding to complete another 365 challenge, this time on Instagram.

I’ve really enjoyed posting a photo a day, and only had to miss two days when I got sick in October, which I’ve made up for.

January kicked off with me getting into makeup and starting to blog more. My blog has been through many phases alongside the phases I go through in my life, and I must say that beauty blogging has opened many more doors than any other subject I’ve written about. I’ve met so many people and a fantastic community of like-minded individuals.

February continued in this fashion with the start of my beauty favourites blogs, and I also saw the amazing film It Follows for the first time.

March began with seeing my Book Club girls, well half of them, for the first time in ages, and discovering Pretty Little Liars. I took a trip to London for my niece’s birthday

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and I spent a week off work turning my spare bedroom into a wonderful walk in wardrobe!

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In April, my Mum wrote a guest blog which people really loved, and I started my dedicated blog twitter account. I also discovered some fabulous podcasts and House of Cards became my new favourite tv show.

May teased us with 18c weather followed by horrid winter again. I visited London a few times, went for my only run of the year

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and Ariana Grande released Dangerous Woman! I also became obsessed with all things coconut scented.

June was a big month – Sarah’s London Hen Party was amazing, followed by her wedding in Cornwall.

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We spent a whole week in Cornwall and had an amazing time.

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I saw some great films, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Gallows and this blog turned 7!

In July we said goodbye to Tash the only way we knew – over food! We had fabulous brunch in Dalston followed by cocktails at the John Lewis rooftop bar.

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I went to EDC, which was wildly out of my comfort zone but really fun

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attended a family wedding, Secret Cinema Dirty Dancing

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and watched Stranger Things.

August was filled with movies, including Finding Dory and Suicide Squad for my birthday. I bought my new Sony a5000 and we went to see Romeo and Juliet at Waddesdon Manor as part of the Luna Cinema festival.

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We also saw the Hot 8 Brass Band at a local venue and danced the night away.

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In September, though I didn’t blog a huge amount, I announced my brand new YouTube Channel! I also got very excited for Florida, celebrated by 10 year wedding anniversary and spent the weekend at The Savoy in London!

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October was the month of Disney World. We took the trip of a lifetime and had a blast.

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On my return I got the sickest I’ve ever been, and thankfully recovered within a week. We went to see the Harry Potter play

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went to a Bad Company gig and celebrated my mum and dad’s ruby wedding anniversary.

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November was the return of the Gilmore Girls and I also attended Jurassic Park Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

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From the end of November to present it’s been all about Christmas and New Year. I visited the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, and vlogged.

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It’s been an amazing year and I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds. There’s a lot of change in the air, and I’m really excited about it all. Who knows what I’ll be writing in a year’s time? Here’s to another great one 😀

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

We have now reached that awkward stage in the year where Christmas is over, the new year hasn’t arrived yet and we’re all sort of in limbo.

I like to use this part of the year to reflect on the last 12 months, as many do. I also like to take down the Christmas tree as soon as I can and start tidying and cleaning. No doubt some kind of diet or detox will be on my plan due to all the rich food and drinks I’ve consumed over Christmas. I also tend to try a new skincare routine, which I love for the whole week and then have to go back to work, lose the will to spend the time on my face and go back to soap and water….. (shock horror!)

Anyway, one thing I have done for the past 2 or 3 years is look back and look forward in a more tangible way. Each year, on Christmas Eve, Gary and I read a letter we have written the previous Christmas Eve. It’s a letter we’ve written to ourselves asking about things for the future year. Things we want to achieve, things we wonder and things we’d like to change. We read our own letters and then read out anything we want to each other. I honestly had no idea what I’d written in this year’s before I read it.

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I really enjoy this new tradition we started 3 years ago, because it really puts a timestamp on the mentality I was in when I wrote the letter a year previously, and it sets the tone for the next letter. A year goes so fast but it’s easy to forget how much we do, see and how much we change in that 12 months. Reading my letter year on year really reminds me of this. We keep each year’s letters and at some point in the future I’m sure we’ll re-read them. Or maybe we won’t. It’s just nice knowing they’re there!

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Another tradition we started last year and brought through to this year is a Happy Things jar. I cut strips of coloured paper, and whenever we feel grateful or particularly happy or excited about something we write it onto a strip of paper. Then we roll up the strip and pop it into the jar. On New Year’s Eve we open the jar and take it in turns to read out what’s written. I really enjoyed doing this last year so I’m excited to do it again this year.ny4

 

These are only new traditions, but they make me feel really happy. I love the idea of continuing this for many years to come. Counting my blessings is so important to me. It helps to keep me grounded and grateful for the things I have and what I have achieved. It calms my brain and makes me a better person.

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If you like the idea of these simple traditions, why not start one (or both!) yourself? It’s so easy to write a letter to yourself, and as long as you don’t forget where you put it you’ll have something to look forward to in a year.

I’d love to hear if you do anything similar in your family. Share your traditions with me!

We’re Disney-bound!

So, if you hadn’t realised…. I’m off on holiday for two and a bit weeks. So if it’s a little quiet over here, it’s because:

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Whoop! And I wanted to let you know where you can keep up with my holiday online, whilst I won’t be blogging or uploading to YouTube until we’re back.

You can find me on instagram at @groggits , where I’ll be uploading a minimum of my 365 project photo a day, but more likely much more than that.

Snapchat as @groggits :  I use this occasionally but more likely that not I’ll be using Instagram stories instead. But feel free to add me on there anyhow!

Periscope as @groggits (are you seeing a theme here?) – Depending on how good the wifi is in the parks I hope to broadcast live, so make sure you follow me and request notifications for when I go live!

You can find me on Twitter in two places: @groggits is my personal twitter and @Shutterbug_Blog for blog and blogging related tweets. Instagram photos get pushed to my personal twitter, so you’ll be able to see when photos go up from there.

Please feel free to add me on any, some or all of these accounts and keep track of us whilst we take what will no doubt be the best holiday of our lives so far! I’d love to have you along for the trip 🙂

See you when we get back!

 

To Blog & Vlog

Hi guys! Firstly, I made a boo boo with my last post. I wrote and then accidentally published it without scheduling first, so had to un-publish it. But that meant all you lovely subscribers got an email with a broken link in it to the post. Oh no! And then when it finally did go live, no one got notified. Dang! So if you missed it, it was a blog about the past bank holiday and all the fun stuff we got up to, so you can find it here! (Go ahead and click the link – it’ll open in a new window so you can read it right after you’ve read this!)

For my next update, I’ll let you know I’m not planning an August or September Favourites post. Mainly because I don’t have much content for August, and also because September is jam packed full of fun stuff and I just won’t have time! But October’s Favourites will no doubt be mahoosive, so stay tuned for that!

So now for my real post.

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There’s been a lot of chat this past few weeks about the legitimacy of bloggers and vloggers. If you don’t blog or vlog yourself, you’ll not likely be aware of the pressures people put upon themselves when putting out content. Readers and viewers have too much say in other people’s content, in my opinion. It wasn’t until I recently started my dedicated blog twitter (@Shutterbug_Blog) that I realised how salesy it all is. People are OBSESSED with follower counts, stats, click rates and schedules.

They schedule tweets, brand themselves up the wazoo, and really don’t think too much about their actual content. It seems so important to have collaborations with brands, get the perfect flat lay and start polls asking what content their followers want them to put up.

I find it all really strange. I flick through most tweets because I’ve seen the same post come up over and over again. I long to see posts of substance. And don’t get me wrong, they do exist, it’s just you have to really search for them!

I’m not saying I don’t get it. I do, I really do. It’s so hard not to get swept up in the hype. I have geared a lot of my posts this year towards beauty, because it’s something I’ve started getting into this year. And I noticed my post likes, follows and comments go up dramatically when I post beauty reviews. It’s always nice for a post to be popular! And I enjoy reading reviews about products I’m interested in, so I’ll continue to put out that kind of content because I like reading it. But I do find I miss writing these chatty posts, and putting out blogs about what I’ve been up to and what’s coming up. I like to use my brain a little!

I understand going all in when it comes to blogs and vlogs, if it’s your full time job or if you have all the spare time in the world. But when you’re doing it alongside working a full time job, I think you have to take it less seriously. You don’t need a planner for scheduling in your next ‘chatty’ post. You don’t need to film YouTube videos a year ahead just so you know you’re putting something out. If your followers don’t like your content, let them drop off. And above all, don’t apologise for not posting regularly. What’s better – forced, bland posts every other day, or well thought-out and meaningful posts as and when? I know what I prefer to read!

Anyway, I’m blabbering on about this because it’s becoming more a more frustrating to exist in a blogging world where you feel like you’re having to compete with so many other bloggers. People who are putting out bland, repetitive content but might be good at branding themselves, or at least bombarding enough people with tweets that they get additional followers (or even buy followers!)

I’m so blessed to have you guys as followers, and I hope you enjoy the variety of the content I bring. I hope I haven’t alienated too many of you with the beauty posts, and in turn I hope that if you follow me for the beauty content you aren’t bored by the wordy posts I put out.

That being said, this is where I’d like to announce that I’ve started my own YouTube channel! This year I’ve been enjoying watching YouTube channels so much, both beauty based and also Disney Vloggers, that I loved the idea of having somewhere that my friends and family could follow my trips and travels, and also bring another dimension to Shutterbug.

Having just bought my new Sony a5000 and tested out the video quality, I was beyond happy with the results, so as of writing this my channel has 3 videos on it, and I’d love it if you’d have a look and even subscribe.

I’m taking my new camera away when we go to Florida, and I hope to film during the holiday and then upload some videos when we get back. It’s going to be amazing to have another way to share this trip with you guys, instead of just blogging about it.

Don’t get me wrong, this blog is my baby and it won’t be neglected – it’ll just be a little bolt on to the Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug package!

So this rambling post does have a point, honest – I’m frustrated about the current state of the blogosphere, but I’ve been doing this for over 10 years now, Shutterbug for 7, and I’m not about to give it up based on low numbers or click rates. I’m so blessed that even a handful of you guys read this blog, and I always love to read your comments and see you hitting the ‘Like’ button.

You can follow me over on YouTube by visiting my channel here. I’d love it if you were to click the subscribe button, hit like on my videos once you’ve watched them, and don’t forget to comment – I love hearing from you guys!

So this is where I’ll sign off, but if you blog, vlog or just exist in this world, remember: It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice 😀

Love you guys!

 

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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The weeks have been positively flying by. We’ve been having cold snaps, heatwaves, rain and wind. And all throughout this time I’ve been counting down to my awesome holiday.

At time of writing this it’s 29 days until we fly to Florida, and we’ve been trying to keep ourselves busy in the meantime.

We’ve been visiting friends, buying things we need for our trip, doing lots of planning, and I had a birthday too!

My birthday weekend was great. We went to the cinema twice, saw friends, did some shopping and watched some late-night Olympics.

Our cinema trips were to see Finding Dory in 3D and Suicide Squad in 4DX.

We knew Dory would be awesome, as we love Finding Nemo, and it didn’t disappoint. We really love watching movies in 3D and this film was perfect for that.

We saw Suicide Squad in 4DX. I don’t really know much of the back story for this movie, but I knew the 4DX element would help me to enjoy it even if I wasn’t following the plot. I really really enjoyed this cinema experience. The film was great. Though I lost the plot thread towards the middle, the beginning and end were great. And I know the 4DX experience made it a million times better than if I’d watched it on a standard screen. I’ve only ever seen Jurassic World and this movie in 4DX but I wasn’t disappointed either time. If you’re near Milton Keynes, I’d say make the effort to try it out. It’s worth the little extra cost!

I was also lucky enough to find the camera I have been lusting after for a while. Sony have been having distribution issues on some of their stock since an earthquake in Japan effected manufacture, and I’d been having massive trouble finding the Sony A5000 as a result.

I’d been after the white one, but knew I’d probably have to go for the black one and not be choosy. But G-Man managed to find a white one online and at the price I was happy to pay. I’ve been having great fun playing with it, and especially loving the wi-fi element, meaning I can send an image to my phone with no wires or computer needed. It’s going to be a real asset when we’re away, and I’ll be able to share more photos with friends and family (and YOU!)

I think the next month is going to be tough, trying to hold in my excitement for the trip of a lifetime coming up, but I’ve got some wonderful things coming up before then!

  • Luna Cinema at Waddesdon Manor to watch Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet
  • Hot 8 Brass Band
  • Bank Holiday!
  • My 10 year wedding anniversary
  • An exciting anniversary weekend in London
  • Planning and packing for Florida!!

And all that in just 28 days – I have a feeling it’s going to fly by!

There are a few more exciting things to share too, but all in good time 🙂

I’ve also been looking into books to take away with me. I’m currently re-reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which I’m loving again the second time around. I haven’t read the other two in the series yet, but I’m really looking forward to seeing film of the first book, once it’s out. I also plan on picking up the short story, The Grownup, by Gillian Flynn who wrote Gone Girl. I like the idea of taking short books with me, so I don’t feel like I’m having to dip in and out of the same book throughout the holiday. I often take a lot of books on my Kindle and don’t pick it up once. So I’m back to real books for this vacation!

So that was the past few weeks. Lots happening, and sadly I’m wishing it all away in the excitement for Florida. And before I know it it’ll all be over….. but I know I’m going to have the time of my life!

I Can’t Keep Calm….

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That’s right, next month G and I are off to Disney World Florida, and we’re beside ourselves with excitement!

Disney World was always somewhere I’d wanted to go but never thought it would be possible. It’s so far and so expensive. Instead we visited Disneyland Paris a few times, and had such an awesome time. But since our 10 year wedding anniversary is also next month, we knew we would have to make the trip. It’s such a good reason for it!

We actually booked our trip almost 2 years ago, knowing that we would have the time to save up and plan for it, and I honestly can’t believe it’s almost here.

We’ve booked our ADRs and Fast Passes, planned where we want to be on which days, and we’ve started buying sunscreen, ponchos and the like too.

We’ve also been watching a lot of vlogs of the parks and area. I’ve been making a list of things I’d like to buy – mainly makeup! – whilst we’re there. I’ve got all the clothes I need to take and I really don’t need any more!

When we hit 100 on our Disney countdown, Gary gave me the challenge of telling him a new fact about Disney World, Universal or Orlando every day until we leave. I’ve been doing really well so far, and only a few of the facts are things that he already knew! I’m having a lot of fun doing it.

To pass the time, I’ve got a few friends and family who are visiting Disney this month and I’m really looking forward to seeing photos whilst they’re away. Anything to help reduce my excitement – or else I’m going to be a nightmare…. I know I am already!

We’re staying at Port Orleans French Quarter which looks rather fun from what I’ve seen. It’s themed on New Orleans at Mardi Gras! The main food court of our resort is closed for refurbishment whilst we’re there so I hope this doesn’t affect the quality of our stay, but to be honest, there are so many places to eat elsewhere that I doubt it will make the slightest bit of difference.

We just so happen to be visiting during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which means there will be double the amount of exciting snacks and drinks to try whilst we’re there. And since we’re going to be doing so much walking, I don’t think even eating 3 puddings in one go will make a difference! We’re also there for Halloween (well park Halloween season) so we’ve bought tickets for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I have my costume all sorted, and we can’t wait to go trick or treating, see the shows and meet the villain characters.

As part of our booking we snagged a free Dining Plan and Memory Maker. The Dining Plan means we can get a lot of our daily meals for free which is really awesome. The Memory Maker means we can receive all ride photos/videos and character photos we have taken during our time, emailed to us to keep and print. It usually costs around $100 so we’re really pleased we got it for free.

There are so many rides I can’t wait to ride at both the Disney parks and Universal. We’re trying to gather as much information, tips and tricks as we can before we go. I just can’t wait!

I’ll try to post a bit more about our trip before we go, and will definitely be posting when we come back. I’ll be adding to my Project 365 on instagram with a photo a day, however there’s a very high chance I’ll be posting more than just the one photo! If you’d like to follow my project, and my trip then head over to my instagram. (I also have another awesome trip planned before this one… but it’s a surprise!)

I’d love to hear if you have visited Orlando, your best tips and advice for our trip. Pop it in the comments, and it might feature in a future post.