This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Hello from a glorious and sunshiny Buckinghamshire. I hope you’ve all been loving the weather we’ve recently been having?

I’m aware that by the time this post publishes, we could be sitting in jumpers and staring into the grey abyss, but as I write this I’m soaking in the sunshine, enjoying the cool breeze and sipping on an iced coffee.

I didn’t realise how much the weather affected me until a few years ago. Up until about 3 years ago my favourite season was always Autumn – not too cold but nice and crisp and you could wear cute jumpers and feel all cosy wrapped up and snuggly. And then I went to Florida and it broke me – in the best possible way. The sunshine, the humidity, the heat. Being able to whack on a summer dress and sandals and fly out the door. The wide open skies with only fluffy white clouds.

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Everyone is happy, everyone looks healthy. My skin was smooth and tanned, my mind was calm and I was getting so many important vitamins into my system. From that point I was a summer person. This year’s winter felt colder than ever. My joints hurt, everything felt dark and dull. Even this heat wave hasn’t been hot enough. I need at least 30c and humid…. I’m ruined!!

So needless to say I’ve been enjoying this taste of summer, and I can’t wait for it to return soon.

Other than soaking in the weather, I’ve been busy doing other things. At my job we celebrated 10 years of the business and all headed to Alton Towers.

It was my first time there, and since it was a chilly grey day we were able to ride every ride with no wait times on the majority. It was an epic day. My favourite rides were Oblivion, Thirteen and the new coaster The Wicker Man (UK’s first wooden rollercoaster in 20 years). Alton Towers is on a massive site. I was very impressed!

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I’ve also been cracking on with my calligraphy course. I’m nearing the end of the second module, learning minuscule (lower case) letters. I’m actually really impressed with how much I’m improving. This course really suits my learning style and I’m brimming with inspiration of how I can put it to use as I continue to learn. I’m waiting until I’ve learned both minuscule and majuscule letters (and possibly how to connect them!) before I start being too creative, though!

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We recently went off to London and to a restaurant we’d seen on Masterchef called Eneko, and had an amazing dinner there. I’m posting a separate review all about it, so keep an eye out for that.

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As you’ve no doubt seen, I’m still completing my 52 new recipes challenge and I’m really enjoying putting the effort in to discover and then make the recipes. If you want to see what I’ve made so far, you can do so by clicking this link. I’ve got a few ideas of recipes I want to try in the future but I’m actually enjoying looking up what I fancy on a weekly basis.

So, without a crystal ball I can’t predict what the weather will be like as you’re reading this post. I hope with all my heart it’s sunny. Even if it’s not in the mid to high 20’s like it has been, I hope it’s still sunshine!

Until next time…

We Went to Disney World!

Our recent trip to Disney world was planned to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I’d never expected to be able to afford to go and so the fact that we were actually going was crazy.

The flight to Florida was fine and fairly uneventful – until an older gentleman collapsed and Gary found him. That was kinda stressful.

We arrived in Orlando after the sun had gone down but it was still balmy hot and it was lovely to be on the bus to the resort.

Once we’d checked in and been given our magic bands we headed to our room. We had chosen to stay at the Port Orleans French Quarter, a mardis gras themed moderate resort. We grabbed some food from the restaurant, took showers and unpacked.

Let me tell you about our Magic Bands. These things are AMAZING! Firstly they’re your room key, so you never had to think about remembering a key, or whether everyone in your party has one. They’re also payment – you can choose to link a card to it and charge things to the band in stores, restaurants and resorts. They store your fast passes, restaurant reservations and photo-pass pictures. They’re your park tickets, parking pass at parks and resorts, and they’re waterproof so you can wear them at water parks. This also means you don’t have to concern yourself over where to keep money when you’re having fun in the pool – scan your band when you want snacks and it’s charged to your room. Magic Bands also hold your dining credits, if you’re on a dining plan. You choose your meal, scan your band and voila – meal paid for! Another funky thing is that because they store all your information, on selected rides you might find your band has been scanned and the ride will interact with you based on what it knows about you. Our bands were also used at a restaurant so that the wait staff knew where we were sitting. It truly was magic!

Anyhow, our first full day saw us mastering the skill of putting on our Magic Bands, loading up on sun cream and heading out.  We knew we wanted to arrive at Magic Kingdom for rope drop so we got up early and headed out.

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We arrived at MK via the free shuttle from the resort and got there about 10 minutes before rope drop. It was really surreal being in the place I’d been researching for so long. Halloween and Autumn decorations were up and everything was shiny and pretty. The Welcome Ceremony was everything I’d hoped. I saw all the characters and Mickey in their finest. Day time fireworks welcomed us to the park and we were in!

I’m not ashamed to say I got a little emotional, and walking towards the beautiful castle in the sunshine and glorious heat. We had some fast passes booked, but as we were there a little while beforehand we wandered around and checked out the wait times. We came across the Winnie The Pooh ride which had no wait and jumped on. It was really nice to be back on a Disney ride!

The rest of the morning was wandering around, riding our fast pass rides and grabbing breakfast and lunch. I had the most amazing Chicken Parmesan sandwich – so good it was the first meal I ate and then happened to be the last meal I ate on our last day too!

After eating we rushed to the Disney Car Care centre to pick up our rental car. We were given Nissan Rogue and it was lovely! We drove it around a little, and then headed back to the hotel for a rest! We were still getting used to the heat, and jet lag was making us struggle! A little nap and a shower and then we were ready to head to Disney Springs.

Disney Springs is the new name for Downtown Disney, and it’s mostly new buildings, restaurants and places to shop. It’s a beautiful area, and we were able to get there by boat straight from our hotel room.

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After having a look around, we grabbed a table at Rainforest Café. It seems to be a Disney tradition for us to eat at Rainforest Café on our first night! We both had really delicious salads and then headed back to the hotel for sleeps!

I’m not going to outline the whole of our holiday – it’ll get dull for you, and if you know me in real life you’ve no doubt have already heard about it all!

So here are the highlights:

We LOVED Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs and Epcot. We weren’t enamoured with Animal Kingdom, though Everest is now one of my all-time favourite rides. Hollywood Studios is great, although would have been better if everything was open. We’re not Star Wars fans, so all of that was lost on us.

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We attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and it was fantastic. We also attended Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, but it was way too intense for me.

Universal Studios was epic, though of the two parks we preferred Islands of Adventure. The Harry Potter areas were so good. I had a frozen Butterbeer and now I want to live there…..

The weather was amazing, and despite being chased home by a hurricane we didn’t have any problems with the rain. Only one evening was rained out and we had to change our plans. But any changes we made during the stay were for the best in the end.

We loved Epcot’s Food and Wine festival. The evening we spent there was amazing, food was great (and all on our dining plan) and we even saw Wilson Phillips perform as part of the Eat To The Beat event. The Japan pavilion shop as AMAZING and I now want to visit Japan simply from having spoken to one of the girls who served us.

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Food in general was amazing. In the parks there’s no shortage of choice. You’re walking a minimum of 10k in the parks so you don’t have to really worry about calories – in fact you should really up them. Outside of Disney we ate at Cracker Barrel for breakfast, which was awesome, and a few other places. Stand out eateries of our holiday were Blaze pizza and Homecoming in Disney Springs. I crave the Moonshine cake I ate there almost daily. I have to go back!

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We also at twice at Be Our Guest, which is beautiful inside, and Sci-Fi Dine In.

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The service, the atmosphere, the weather – the whole place! I’m in love with Florida. I also managed to pick up all the Starbucks You Are Here mugs they had going, both in the parks and outside the parks. I brought a total of 8 coffee mugs home!

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After having never thought I’d make it to Disney World, I’m now excited for the idea that we can, someday soon, book our return. The saddest part about leaving on the last day, after having taken our car back, was sitting on the shuttle back to Port Orleans to pick up our cases and hearing the announcement ‘Welcome Home’ – it felt like home after two weeks, and it was bittersweet that we were heading back to the UK.

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Until next time Disney World, until next time.

If you’re planning your own Disney World trip, I’ve posted about planning your holiday. Check that our here. And keep an eye out for part two, all about how to plan your trip once you’ve booked.

Fun Rides and Roller Coasters

I have to say after the day I had running and walking on Tuesday, that on Wednesday I was a tad achy, but already knew that Wednesday and Thursday would be my rest days because I had a lot planned.

My Sister in Law, Nicky, picked me up and we headed off for our road trip to….. Thorpe Park!! Until last year I was a theme park virgin. I was kind of spoiled because my first theme park was Disneyland Paris. Nicky told me Thorpe Park was nothing like Disney but she hoped it would still be good. Since I got the rollercoaster bug last year I was eager to try out some more. The road trip was great, tunes and chats and we arrived at the park singing I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness at the top of our lungs.

The day was overcast and we had gone midweek so we knew it wouldn’t be busy. There were few lines for any ride. We headed straight for the newest ride Swarm. It’s based around the idea of some disaster or plane crash and you wait inside what’s built to look like a derelict church with an upside down and crashed major incident unit van in it. They play fake news reports about the disaster and I think it implies some kind of alien invasion. It’s an amazing ride. Your legs hang down and you fly through the wreckage, over a crashed helicopter and through a small hole in a billboard. It’s epic!

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Next we moved onto Stealth which takes you from 0 to 80 mph in 2.3 seconds. It kicks off so fast that it literally takes your breath away and you only breathe again seconds later because you’re screaming! Great ride – we went on it twice in one go because the queues weren’t long.

We got some lunch (a light lunch of noodles – I didn’t want to ride on a full stomach!) and headed for Saw. I’d heard the entrance to the ride was pretty scary and I don’t like the Saw movies at all but I know the premise so I was a little nervous. We put our bags in some lockers and headed on. There were no line so we walked straight around the queue system – a few bangs and flashes to make you jump but nothing scary. On the ride we were at the front of a four seater car. You go through a tunnel and Billy the doll rides out on a scooter to tell you you’re locked in a metal box and it’s your choice to live or die. He then says ‘This is what it’s like when you die’. Then everything goes dark and the ride starts in the pitch black! You fly fast in the dark until some light appears and you see a twist ahead. As you turn upside down there’s a mannequin cut in half screaming – it’s very fake so not too unpleasant. You carry on straight to a stop, where there are two screens. Billy tells you ‘Let the Games Begin’ and in front of you is a totally vertical track. You’re basically lying down as you go up – and you know at the top you have to come down – via another 90 degree drop! It’s insane. As you fly down there are huge circular saws in front of you. Then it’s the regular twists and turns and screams.  It was so awesome we did that one again straight after too!

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From there we sought out Nemesis Inferno, which was another ‘brace yourself’ ride. It was very fun. Next was Colossus. From the map I’d seen that this ride has some twisty bits which seemed to go on forever. I’ve got a little issue with too much repetitive movement – makes me feel über queasy, so I was a little apprehensive. The ride was really fun, but three twists one after the other was enough for me. They did put in a last twist which went the other way to help me ‘unwind’ my brain, but still I didn’t really fancy going on it again – time was running out and we wanted to get another go on the first three rides!

We headed back to Saw, then Swarm and then Stealth for another go. In the end we had 11 coaster rides. It was epic. Also while I was there I got a call about a job I really really want and I have an interview next week. It made the day even better!!

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Tired and achy but really happy we drove home to some more tunes.

Today we headed to London for the day! The weather was drizzly but we managed to see everything we wanted to and get some yummy lunch in Covent Garden and have a good chat. We visited the Moomin shop (of course) and I took Nicky for her first Gelupo ice cream. I tried the Ricotta and Sour Cherry flavour which was amazing! Gary has since reminded me they do Earl Grey flavour which I’ve missed on the menu both times so I will just have to go back! We also got to try some yummy tea in Whittard and I stocked up on my lemon black tea so I can start using my cold brew iced tea jug again! Totally knackered by this point we decided to call it a day and get on the train home.

I was worried that with two rest days together I might lose my mojo but I’m ready for my run tomorrow! By the way, you guys should also check out Ari’s blog at The Pace of it All and give her some support. She’s running a 5k today after a long day at work AND she’s got an awesome giveaway happening at the moment!

Only one day of my holiday left and I intend to make it count. I’m actually looking forward to getting back to work too! Life’s boring when you’re lazy, so fill it with fun stuff! Thank god my job is fun as well as hard work!

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