Florida 2019: The Best Bits

Florida 2019: The Best Bits

Before getting back to my usual fitness and wellbeing posts, I thought I’d write a post to share some of my highlights and lessons learned from our Florida trip. It’s also helping to keep me awake and flight off the jet lag!

Packing: travel light. You’ll never need half of the stuff you take with you, so don’t bother. I stuck to shorts and to t shirts that covered my shoulders as I know I’m prone to sunburn there, regardless of how much suncream I use as it rubs off of rides. I found t shirts looser, more comfortable and more cooling. Who knew?

I also had two pairs of combat type shorts from Decathlon that I wore A LOT – I didn’t need a bag or bumbag as they had decent pockets, so I could go hands free.

I wore trainers every day- comfort was more important than anything else, plus I didn’t get sunburned feet from sandals or flip flops.

Best Park Tip: use a retractable ticket holder that clips to your belt loop rather than a lanyard. I found that it was easier to use, convenient and didn’t get in the way. I picked this one up in Universal, but Disney has plenty too. It meant my room key and park tickets were always close to hand:

Best travel tip: we hired a car and it was great, but onsite parking at Universal hotels was expensive. To get to and from the park we walked, or used the frequent bus, but the best way to travel was by water taxi. We could also go through security before getting on, avoiding the crowds at CityWalk

Best off-site travel: The I-Ride trolley that runs up and down International Drive was excellent. The virgin rep in the V Hub gave us a voucher each for a free 14 day pass so it didn’t even cost us anything- but passes are very cheap. It’s a great way to get to and from Orlando International Outlets and Vineyard Outlets- and everywhere in between:

Pocket Essentials: At the parks I carried my pass in my retractable holder, SPF50 lip balm, a small 30ml tube of suncream, and this: a cup from Decathlon that is made of soft water bottle material and scrunches up very, very small, fitting into a pocket very easily. I could then get a cup of water at water fountains to sip while waiting in line for attractions. Honestly, this was the best £3.99 I have ever spent!

For days when we walked longer distances outside of the park, and for on the aircraft we used our Decathlon soft water bottles and they too were perfect. Lots of people asked us about them as they thought they were great!

I also carried my trusty fan most days, but I wouldn’t call it an essential:

Best sunscreen: This was a-ma-zing for me, Neutrogena SPF70 and their specific face sunscreen too. I only put it on in the morning and it lasted all day- and for the first holiday ever I didn’t get any sunburn. It’s a game changer for me. It was easy to apply, soaked in well leaving my skin dry to touch, not oily or sticky. I picked it up in Walmart for around $8 I think.

Here’s the SPF lip balm I carried with me at all times too. It was also ideal:

Best drink: the coconut margarita at Chili’s was the best thing I drank all holiday!🥥🍸

Best meal: Best overall meal was at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium at City Walk. We had their own chocolate stout while waiting for our table. I had a salad, and an amazing s’mores dessert that I couldn’t finish, and a cherry chocolate cocktail. TheWelshWookie had a burger, a banana cream sundae and a whisky flight. It was all so good!

Best Sweet Treat: easy- voodoo doughnuts were immense!

Best Secret Menu Item: a ‘Deathly Hallows’ or ‘Triple’ from the Hogs Head. If you ask for it, the bar staff will deny its very existence so it’s very secretive indeed! We found out about it from a UOAP member in line in front of us:

Favourite Park: definitely both parts of the Harry Potter parks, including the Hogswart Express taking us from Kings Cross to Hogsmeade. (And from HS to IOA). It was amazing, I loved it all!

Best Roller Coaster: Hulk! It was by far my favourite! I also loved Maku at Seaworld and the Rip Ride Rocket at US but Hulk beat them all.

Best Water Ride: this is a toss up between Bluto’s Bilge Barge Rats (you get very, very wet!) and Jurassic Park’s River Adventure. The afternoon spent doing the water rides at IOA was a real highlight.

Best Disney Attraction: I loved Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the park overall as I didn’t expect to rate it so highly but it was a great day .

Best ‘awe’ moment: seeing the shuttle Atlantis for the first time at Kennedy Space Center. It was a fab day out and I’d highly recommend a visit.

Best Example of Hospitality: we went to Tropicana Fields to watch the Rays play the Blue Jays. Little did we know that it’s a cash free stadium and I had left our cards back in the hotel. Oops! We tried to pay for two soft drinks using Apple Pay but couldn’t get it to work- so the cashier just gave us souvenir cups and told us to help ourselves. It was so kind of her! Pity about the result of the game, mind you…

Best Universal Hotel: we didn’t visit them all, but of those that we did we were happy with our choice to stay at the Aventura Hotel. It was stunning. We had an upgraded room so had plenty of space, it was very comfortable with good facilities including the onsite V Hub. Our view over Volcano Bay was stunning!

The views from the rooftop bar, Bar 17, were also fabulous. It was well worth a couple of visits.

Bonus Pro Tip: buy glassware and mugs to use as we found that everywhere (including hotels) relies on disposables and plastics for everything. I wish I’d packed my travel cutlery too so I’d recommend that you bring those too. It’s a real shame- they use paper straws everywhere but use disposable cups, plates and cutlery which seems crazy to me! It also tends to be the black plastic that can’t be recycled. It was definitely the biggest negative I took away from the parks.

Flights: the Virgin flights and their Vera in flight entertainment system was ace, and service was excellent. The food was also great- I was very impressed, considering that airline food gets a (usually justifiable) bad rap. But many people just didn’t seem to care about what they were doing throughout the flight. I was mortified looking around as we disembarked to see the disgusting state that lots and lots of passengers left behind them. I felt heart sorry that the impression we left behind for the clean up crew was so bad. On the return flight, the guy behind me kept sticking his bare feet right down beside my seat- urgh! And he didn’t get the concept of a touch screen- I spent the night flight with what felt like him punching the screen and consequently the back of my seat and head rather than touching it! Perhaps we need a ‘flight etiquette’ guide as well as a safety guide?

It was a fabulous holiday though, from start to finish.

What are your top tips and best moments from your trips to Florida?

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Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Hello, did you miss me last week, when I was away gallivanting? @TheWelshWookie and I were off visiting the Harry Potter Studios Tour and it was awesome! Here are a couple of snaps: 

    
 If you get the chance to visit, you have to take it- to visit the actual set and to walk through the Great Hall, Diagon Alley and onto the Hogwarts Express was amazing! 

From a fitness point of view, we did lots and lots of walking in London and around about. We also visited Southend and walked the longest pier in the world, which is 1.3 miles long!  

 I’m glad to be back into a routine, though, and we were back at PiYo tonight, starting the next round, which is round 40. I think I’m going to love some of these routines and the 80s music is fantastic! I tried out my new mat tonight, but it isn’t sticky or grippy enough and I couldn’t grip properly, so I ended up swapping it for one of Jacqui’s. Any tips on how to make a mat more ‘sticky’ if you know what I mean? 

  it is pretty, though!

After a break, and with the summer looming, it’s easy to fall away from routine and to not stick to fitness goals. If that rings true for you, I hope this helps; it has helped me this week: 

 Have a great week!

Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Hi guys, greetings from Toronto!

We’re currently sitting in the Steam Whistle brewery, waiting to begin a tour: I’m having a wonderful time on holiday. 

Yesterday, @TheWelshWookie and I ran in the CIBC Run for the Cure, at Toronto Zoo. It was brilliant: cold, dry and do unusual, to see so much en route. Here’s our ‘before run’ selfie:  

 and our ‘post run’ one too: 
@TheWookie enjoyed his first ever beaver tail- apple and cinnamon for him:  

 Today we’ve been finding our bearings downtown. We’ve already had a tour of the Rogers Centre:  

 😀😀😀

It’s been so much fun! Here’s a little message that’s apt for me this week:  

 Have a great week! 

Holiday Photo Share 

Holiday Photo Share 

As promised, here are some pics from last week’s holiday. I hope you enjoy them.

Here’s Cardiff Castle: 

    
 The Millennium Stadium:  

    
 Cardiff’s Docks: 

    
 And the Dr Who Experience- choosing which pics to share was difficult! 

    
   
I even hugged a Lego Dalek 😉 

 I’d highly recommend a visit!

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

Did anyone miss me last week? I’m was on holiday, and took a little blogging break too. But now I’m back!

We were visiting family, in England and in Scotland, and we also visited Wales for a couple of days – not a bad wee road trip 😀

I’d never visited Wales before, and while there we made the most of it, with a tour around the Millennium Stadium, a good look around Cardiff Castle, a wander around the docks and topped it all off with an afternoon at the Doctor Who Experience. that was awesome!

I’ll definitely do a photo dump later in the week 🙂

But it does mean that my running (and my eating) has been a little very wayward. We did our very first ever ParkRun on the Saturday when we stopped off in Preston. I loved it. But I haven’t run since then. My training will be heading back on track tomorrow, with a seven miler on the training schedule. Eek! Wish me luck!

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Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

Happy New Week to you all.

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How’s your weekend been? Mine’s been very relaxed and chilled: we watched some of the autumn international rugby games, and went to our local Remembrance parade yesterday.Other than that, we didn’t do much of anything.

Some times, we need a weekend to relax and recharge 🙂

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And, yes, that can include taking some time for yourself too 😀

 

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

This weekend, I’ve been very conscious about how busy I’ve been lately. I’ve had jam-packed weekends, lots of trips and journeys, really full work days where I haven’t had time to stop.

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And, I’ve been missing running, missing taking that time for me to get out, clear my head, and chill.

Even when I’ve had ‘down time’, it’s been filled with activities, planning and sorting.

So, I’m going to gift myself some time. Some time for moi.

And, hopefully, that will include pulling on my trainers, too 🙂

Disneyland Paris – In Pictures

Disneyland Paris – In Pictures

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Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

I’m ba-ack!

I’ve had a wonderful week away: we saw Miss Saigon in London, spent a few very busy days in Disneyland Paris, travelled back to Scotland via the Eurostar and then the overnight Sleeper train services.

On Friday, my BFF, Pauline, married the wonderful Gavin, and we had a fantastic day with great food, champagne, fun and plenty of dancing.

Now, it’s back to routine, and back to shifting the pounds I’ve gained, and regaining the fitness I’ve lost!

So, to say ‘farewell’ to my holiday, here’s one of my favourite Walt Disney quotes:

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The Vikings Were Here!

The Vikings Were Here!

The week before we went to Tenerife was a very special one in Tarbert.
For months, villagers had been working on building a proper Viking longoat. It was made by hand, using traditional techniques. And, it was ready to celebrate the inaugural Tarbert Viking Festival, and the traditional boat festival.
So, during the week leading up to the festival, the village was overrun with Vikings, who sailed the boat to ‘raid’ local villages. It seemed like lots of fun!

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We missed the main event on the Saturday, which was a reenactment of Magnus Barefoot’s historic claiming of Kintyre as part of his kingdom. In 1093, Magnus and his Viking hoard laid claim to all of Scotland’s islands. An island was described as any body of land that his boat could circumnavigate. When he arrived in Tarbert, he and his men carried the longboat from the East Loch to the harbour, thereby circumnavigating Kintyre. Hence, Kintyre is known as the Mainland Island 🙂
On the Friday, the Vikings made a victorious return to Tarbert from their marauding and we celebrated with a big barbeque, music and a ceilidh.
The weather was great, and it was lovely to see the village busy.

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The music was provided by villagers, and was brilliant. There were folk groups:

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And choirs:

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A barber shop group:

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And even this guy did a few songs…… do you recognise him?

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We had a famous attendee: Rory McCann, who plays The Hound, Sandor Clegane in Game of Thrones. To be honest, he didn’t seem very pleased to have been spotted. I asked if he’d allow me to have a photo taken with him, and he said ‘no’, and walked off 😦 Good casting, maybe?
Anyway, we had a lovely evening, and it set us up very well for our holiday!

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Have you ever been refused a photo or autograph before?